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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.

Since you’re here…

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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!

Click here to sign up to our newsletter.

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 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:

W Nashville

In true W style, ready to cause disruption to conventional hotel design and hospitality, W Nashville is set to take the stage in the heart of The Gulch. “Striking the music city chord,” the hotel is expected to open with curated local tunes, garden-to-glass cocktails and welcoming communal spaces. “Expect the unexpected” is how the brand is teasing this special 346-key arrival, with a high-energy urban experience paired with our Whatever / Whenever® approach to hospitality and Southern comfort you can expect in downtown Nashville.

AC Hotel Maui Wailea (Hawaii)

AC Hotel in Maui render of pool bar

Image credit: AC Hotels/Marriott International

Perfectly placed and featuring two white sand beaches, AC by Marriott Maui Wailea offers scenic views of South Maui. 110-key hotel will shelter a ‘stylish comfort’ and will be complete with an infinity pool and a restaurant serving European cuisine, among other amenities.

Six Senses Botanique

Wooden interiors inside a suite of Six Senses Brazil

Image credit: Six Senses

Six Senses is gearing up to open its first property in the Americas. Situated in Brazil’s Mantiqueira region – known as the “mountains that weep” – Six Senses Botanique showcases its surrounding beauty from a hillside amid 700 acres (283 hectares) of lush, mid-tropical Atlantic forests.

Formerly known as Botanique Hotel & Spa, the hotel was born out of Fernanda Ralston Semler’s vision to set a new benchmark in luxury hospitality that was completely home-grown, recognising local traditions and culture, as well as its natural setting. The hotel was constructed in 2012 by regional architects and designers using indigenous materials such as jacaranda wood, natural stone, and chocolate slate. The slate is mined just once every 17 months and the hotel’s bearing walls incorporate three-ton boulders from the adjacent river. The massive 120-year-old wooden beams are reclaimed from farms in nearby Minas Gerais. Huge glass panels line the rest of the construct to evoke a sense of “outdoors inside” with uninterrupted views of Mantiqueira’s valleys and mountains.

NoMad London

Although we have been updated that this boutique gem is preparing to cut its ribbon in Spring of 2020, February was supposed to be the month when NoMad arrived in London, which is sheltered inside a heritage shell. Just days ago, we caught up the visionaries at EPR Architects, which teased our editorial senses before we are allowed to officially check in.

Located metres from Covent Garden, NoMad London will take residence inside the historic, grade II-listed building famously known as The Bow Street Magistrates’ Court and Police Station. Designed by New York-based interior design studio Roman and Williams, the transformation of the storied 19th century building draws inspiration from its history and location in Covent Garden, as well as exploring the artistic and cultural connection between London and New York.

Keep an eye on the Hotel Designs website for all the latest hotel opening news. On the editorial desk, we are hopeful and anticipate the lockdown regulations to relax somewhat. With this in mind, we expect more noise on the hotel design scene from March onwards. In the meantime, you can read all about this year’s hottest hotel openings in part one and part two of our editorial series on hotel openings. 

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: NoMad London

Pascale Lauber & Ulrike Bauschke on steps

5 minutes with: The hotel designers behind Ostuni’s new boutique jewel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
5 minutes with: The hotel designers behind Ostuni’s new boutique jewel

Pascale Lauber & Ulrike Bauschke, owners and hotel designers of Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa, have not had the smoothest ride to open their labour of love. Hotel Designs’ Hamish Kilburn catches up with the duo as they prepare to welcome the world to their dream boutique hotel…

Pascale Lauber & Ulrike Bauschke on steps

Back in early 2020, before Covid-19 had become the distraction of the year, Hotel Designs was packing its bags ready to check in to a new boutique hotel that had made it onto the editorial team’s radar. Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa is situated in the heart of Puglia’s White City of Ostuni – on the heel of Italy – and is elegantly sheltered inside a restored red palace.

Arial view of Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa

Image credit: 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa

The team were particularly impressed by the story of Pascale Lauber and Ulrike Bauschke, owners of the property, who painstakingly restored every inch of the former Italian palace using traditional handcrafted techniques, while injecting a splash of modern flair.

Unfortunately, days before our scheduled trip to review the new 11-key hotel that stands in stark contrast to the whitewashed buildings of the city around it, the spread of Covid-19 put a major halt on plans to visit the naturally stunning destination.

Almost one year later, plans to review the luxury lair are unsurprisingly still on hold. While we wait patiently, though, it felt fitting to catch up with Lauber and Bauschke in order to understand the context and challenges that come with such a magnificent project.

A vintage looking room inside 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa

Image credit: Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa

Hamish Kilburn: How did you come to take on the restoration project?

Pascale Lauber: It was in 2016. We were actually in Puglia to recharge and had no intention of taking on a new project at all. An Ostunian friend invited us to visit the Palazzo Rosso and we agreed, simply to admire the architecture of such a historic building. However, as soon as the red carriage door opened it was love at first sight and we knew instantly that we would not be able to resist. We were immediately drawn to the potential of the centuries-old gem. The height of its ceilings, its vaults, its frescoes, its red-stone.

HK: Did you always know that you wanted the building to be transformed into a hotel?

Ulrike Bauschke: For us, it was unthinkable not to make the building a hotel and accessible to the public, it really is just too beautiful to stay hidden! We have shaken up the rules of real estate and interior design in projects all over the world, from Romont, Lausanne and Verbier, Switzerland; to Paris, New York and Cape Town and knew instantly that we could do the same here.

“Several smaller details and treasures were also discovered, such as a wooden door with peepholes typical of 17th century cloisters” – Ulrike Bauschke.

A artefact of a monkey on a bar

Image credit: Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa

HK: What discoveries did you make during the restoration?

UK: We worked with conservator Maria Buongiorno to uncover the mysteries of the multi-secular Palazzo, which has so many stories to tell from the 17th Century to present day. The most ancient parts of the building from the 1700s including fireplaces, stone vaults and also frescoes, like the magnificent “Jesus and the Samaritan” were significant discoveries. Several smaller details and treasures were also discovered, such as a wooden door with peepholes typical of 17th century cloisters that suggests that the Palazzo once housed a convent.

PL: Equally, the beautiful original majolica tiles, which have been brought to new life in Bar 700. On the back of some of those tiles, we found an M stamp, the brand of a famous workshop owned by the three Massa brothers, ceramics masters of early 18th century Naples, suggesting the building was once in Neapolitan hands.

a dark room with high vaulted ceilings

Image credit: Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa

HK: You both worked on the project together, who does what and are you always in agreement on the design details?

UK: We have opened and renovated restaurants, boutique hotels and apartments all over the world together and we make a complimentary pair, each with our own, very distinct strengths.

PL: I’m an instinctive designer, something that runs through my veins and guides everything I do, so the architecture and interiors were very much my vision. I took the lead with the renovation, but the way I work is with few words and thousands of images in my head. Sometimes I wish one could invent a copy machine to print all my ideas that are spinning in my head 24 hours a day… I couldn’t have brought it to life exactly how I wanted it without the help of Ulrike, who as a passionate traveller as well knows exactly what makes an outstanding hotel.

UK: Yes so we are pretty much in agreement and the only challenge was to show and create understanding of what Pascale’s vision was. She had it all in her head so between us bringing it to life exactly as she envisioned it was the biggest challenge.

A large red headboard in a vintage setting

Image credit: Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa

HK: Let’s address the elephant in the room… You opened the hotel in the middle of Covid-19, how was this?

UK: The timing could not have been worse for us and like everyone in the hospitality and travel industry we have been badly affected. However, we’ve been luckily has it seemed that everybody wanted to come to Puglia when we finally managed to open our doors and welcome guests throughout the summer months. With only 11 rooms and plenty of beautiful outdoor space, the hotel is actually ideal for safe travel in these times so we are lucky in that respect as well and have always made sure the health and wellbeing of our guests and team is paramount. We have been blown away with the glowing feedback from our guests and if we can make a success of a hotel opening during a global pandemic, we can do anything!

HK: Pascale, can you explain your personal design ethos and would you say Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel embodies this?

PL: Each project I do is so different and distinct, but the creative association of old and new art, objects and furnishings in a head-spinning and yet personal mix is my trademark and signature design style. I have a vision that is multicultural and original down to the smallest detail and this creates a unique result that is coherent, deeply modern and stimulating. I would say that Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa embodies my design ethos. The heart of the hotel’s design and what I really set out to achieve was creating exquisite design in every detail with beautiful energy while also preserving and celebrating the history of the building.

HK: Where do you look to for inspiration?

UK: We love travelling and have been lucky to live around the world, providing a fantastic source of inspiration. Visiting countless international art and trade shows, but also local flea-markets, is always inspiring and for this particular project the architecture and heritage of Puglia was certainly an influence.

Image credit: Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa

HK: If (or should I say ‘when’!) I can come and visit the hotel, what should I do first?

UK: If you can, request to stay in the room called Onyx. Every one of our guest rooms and suites is different, but Onyx, which is black, is a firm favourite. Once you have checked it out, head to the pool, which is the only one in the city, for a refreshing swim followed by some time unwinding in the garden and of course an aperitivo at Bar 700. The next day you will be ready to enjoy beautiful Puglia- the food, culture, people, history, landscapes, countryside and sea!

A luxury pool with white washed buildings

Image credit: Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa

PL: With only 11 guest rooms, our friendly team are able to offer an insider experience so be sure to ask them for their personal tips and recommendations and also enjoy some of our bespoke experiences, from burrata making to motorbike tours or trips out on our boat, a former carabinieri boat transformed into a private yacht, Dragonfly.

Main image credit: Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa

Collage of ME Dubai, including the exterior of the building, the sleek bedrooms and the luxury pool area

Checking in to ME Dubai, the ‘legacy project’ of Zaha Hadid

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Checking in to ME Dubai, the ‘legacy project’ of Zaha Hadid

We set renowned furniture designer Rock Galpin a comfortable mission to kickstart the year: to write the exclusive design review of ME Dubai, the brainchild of the late Zaha Hadid, which has become the destination’s latest architectural marvel…

Collage of ME Dubai, including the exterior of the building, the sleek bedrooms and the luxury pool area

Being a designer myself, and familiar with the pioneering and expansive body of work of Zaha Hadid since her very first project, I was very much looking forward to reviewing the recently opened ME Dubai, which is sheltered inside The Opus.

Known as Hadid’s ‘legacy project’, ME Dubai is the only hotel in the world to have both its interiors and exteriors designed by Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) – and its futuristic architecture, characterised by curves, sharp angles and bold materials epitomises the studio’s unique design style.

An exterior shot of the Opus

Image caption: Set in Dubai’s Burj Khalifa district, the Opus is a mixed-use mirrored glass building, designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, that shelters ME Hotel’s latest property. | Image credit: ME Dubai

Inside the 93-key hotel you can find lighting, furniture, patterns, bespoke-shaped products, rugs and seamless features and detailing, all of which have been designed by the forward-thinking studio – it really is a celebration of Hadid’s full scope of work and will be remembered, no doubt, for this.

Following Hadid’s passing, Christos Passas, who recently won Architect of the Year at The Brit List Awards 2020, was responsible for the project that aimed to ‘leave its mark’ in the urban space of Dubai. “I think the idea of having a coherent approach, to both interior and exterior design, is very compelling and indeed it requires a whole lot of commitment by the designer,” he told Hotel Designs. “We were given the opportunity to transit intellectually and emotionally from an architectural, large scale project to the finer details of the building that have to do with the user interfaces and the experience of the visitor. Such a context can allow designers to develop more holistic experiences for the user and to express the clients vision in a much more consistent and eloquent way.”

First impressions count

Having recovered in awe from taking in the huge glass cube facade and amorphic structure of the building in person, the entrance into the hotel itself is subtle and aptly plays down your reaction to what is to follow, with its minimal led forecourt dot lights, at night, tracing a suggested route to the door for cars. The proceeding experience, as you head into the reception is simply quite special.

Approaching the lobby, I was not surprised to be suitably impressed by the vast and completely and utterly unique parametric design styling of the four-storey atrium.

An image to show the expansive atrium inside the ME Dubai

Image caption: The expansive atrium inside the ME Dubai, which is a strong first impression. | Image credit: ME Dubai

“Here, all the rules are broken and re-written with inspiring results.”

Sweeping and fluid mezzanine balconies flow in rhythm around all floors, traced by a light channel and a sloped-in continuous glass railing at an impossible angle. There are so many examples of bold innovation and experimentation which demonstrate very advanced design vision and engineering feats indeed. Hadid’s undulating, fluid and visually engaging design typology references, for me, a soft bio mimicry that clearly push the technological boundaries of materials, fabrication and build possibilities. Here the rules are not only being broken they are being re-written with inspiring results.

Whilst the atrium is an addictive dream for any photographer, myself included, it does somehow feel perhaps lacking a little something if it’s aiming to house a ‘warm’ hotel reception. Therefore, I question whether the design in this space is too hard – are softer acoustics and materials absent? Some would argue that as a hotel lobby, the space is too sparse (or too white perhaps).

Close up of furniture in the atrium at ME Dubai

Image caption: ME Dubai is the only hotel in the world only hotel in the world to have both its interiors and exteriors designed by Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA). | Image credit: ME Dubai

The large oval-shaped seating zones carefully positioned around, which feature built-in sweeping curved sofas, provide neat social areas that create necessary micro enclaves of activity. These softer social spaces, within a vastly white atrium, work well but feel almost not enough to create warmth, softness and a welcoming feeling. In fact, it feels a little sterile – a tad cold – but nonetheless, no one can argue against this space being spectacular! When the hotel is up to speed, with a healthy occupancy and the vibrancy and colour of many guests, it may fill that void.

“If you love progressive architecture and interior design that pushes the boundaries, bringing interior typology and technology closer to us, then you will no doubt be impressed with ME Dubai.”

QUICK-FIRE ROUND

Hotel Designs: What will you remember most about the hotel?
Rock Galpin: The dynamic and compelling relationship between architecture and interior design and the emotive impact that this parametric based design has when experienced first hand.

HD: What should guests experience when checking in?
RG: DESEO Restaurant, bar and pool complete with Ibiza DJ, and the Wagu steak and Rum sponge. The 18:00 ‘lights on’ till 00:00 where the building’s facade comes to life with LEDs – most notable is the inner ‘hole’ which is more intensely lit.

HK: What could be improved?
RG: The extreme, experimental interior is impressive to say the least, however, there needs to be a further appraisal of how people feel in this space; how they react, how they interact and their needs in order to improve guest engagement. Despite the staff being lovely, the service throughout the hotel was, when I checked in at least, a little erratic.

HK: What was your favourite area of the hotel?
RG: DESEO restaurant and bar and of course the atrium.

HK: Can you describe the hotel in a sentence or two?
RG: This is a unique and inspiring hotel to be experienced first-hand. If you love progressive architecture and interior design that pushes the boundaries, bringing interior typology and technology closer to us, then you will no doubt be impressed with ME Dubai.

Between spaces, an often-forgotten part of the hotel experience

There’s a lovely journey to be had when walking from your room to most parts of the hotel, as you’re pleasurably forced to walk along the atrium mezzanines taking in beautiful elevated views of the upper floors. Aside from the DESEO restaurant and pool area, there is a distinctive lack of outdoor space in the hotel, so you do feel somewhat incubated with some light passing through the atrium roof.

Guestrooms and Suites

I had the opportunity to explore two category rooms; the standard Aura room at 47m squared and the much larger Personality Suite at 92m square. There are two colour schemes. Desert is much more subtle – think spiritual and cool. Meanwhile, the Midnight Blue scheme is deeper and more intimate that also packs a masculine punch. Both are equally as beautiful and any decision for either style will be down to personal preference.

Aura Room

The first impression of the generously sized Aura room was of light – there’s lots of it – from floor-to-ceiling windows which span the width of the whole room. The beds are quite something! Not only are they large, but they are super comfortable, with an angled cushioned Alcantara headrest at 45 degrees, which works really well.

The built-in cantilever bedside tables are a well-considered feature – there are no ugly plug sockets in sight. Instead, these are hidden under the table with a useful, minimal touchtronic operated black light arm sprouting upwards from the tables, with two useful USB ports at the base. The bed base also features flat areas to the frame that extend useful seats, which works well with the complementary, asymmetric matching rug underneath.

“No wall was perpendicular to another.”

As I started to look more at the interior, I was surprised to realised that no wall was perpendicular to another and that many materials are cut on the angle or applied in complex shapes. The full marble bathroom, for example, white in the Aura and black in the Personality Suites, runs on the diagonal in both directions, so the pieces are actually rhombus shaped. These features very much reflect the entire design approach, to experiment and push the limits of what has conventionally been done up until now.

Personality Suite

The Personality Suite, similar to the Passion Suite, is 92m square and is one of the hotels larger mid-level rooms. It’s differentiated by a separate lounge/dining area and two bathrooms, one with bath, double sinks and shower cubicle the other with toilet, bidet and another sink. The Midnight Blue suite felt special. The deep blues and darker colour scheme had more contrast to that of the Desert scheme. The black and white quartz streaked marble throughout the whole bathroom is beautiful, offset by the amorphic ZHA shaped double sink and mirrors, with parametric laser etched patination.

“The technology in the rooms match the design form in being progressive.”

All bathroom fittings are designed by ZHA and follow suit to studio’s typology. The technology in the rooms match the design form in being progressive, with touch plates on many walls for the double-skinned electric curtains and lighting throughout. In fact, download the ME Hotels App and you have full mobile electrical control of the entire suite, including the two large TVs.

The lounge area, complete with the boomerang shaped ZHA sofa and beautifully crafted dark wood desk blended in and, looks aesthetically harmonious. However, the comfort and desire to want to use this space was sorely missing. The sofas are extremely hard, no doubt to retain the sculpted form, but off-putting in terms of comfort and relaxation, where the lounge should be king.

Image caption: A ZHA designed sofa in one of the Midnight Blue themed suites in the hotel.

Image caption: A ZHA designed sofa in one of the Midnight Blue themed suites. | Image credit: ME Dubai

The F&B experience

The F&B journey within the luxury hotel starts on the ground floor. Botanica, described as a gin bar, features an Italian accent throughout and doubles as a lunchtime restaurant. It occupies part of the lobby, where the reception dominates with its music, reverberation and activity that is heard through the pale-slatted wooden walls of the bar. The space is soft, comfortable and pleasant, lending itself more to a relaxed lounge bar/restaurant.

Meanwhile, Central is the designated breakfast restaurant that seems quite lifeless outside of breakfast time, inward looking to the Atrium, which gives you the opportunity to take more of those lovely views in. This would seem a hard, austere place for a morning bite, however, despite the reverberation from lower down, the experience was actually very pleasant being relaxed and quite peaceful.

Where the Botanica, on the ground floor, is perhaps lacking some atmosphere, DESEO makes up for it ten-fold – in fact it is real contrast in most ways and a very welcome part of the hotel experience. This is where the up-tempo vibes lives.

The design of the restaurant uses Downtown skyscrapers as a backdrop and contrasts this with a leafy green design scheme that is simply lovely. With a raised freestanding bar and a wooden pergola adorned by a thousand wind cones, the impression was of movement and energy, mix that with a DJ on an Ibiza-style white podium – his back to a rectangular pool lined by sun loungers one side, slatted cabana’s the other – you realise DESEO has what it takes.

The gym is a generous in size and a pleasant space to work up a good sweat. there is also a sauna, which is an intimate small, pined welcome addition. On the fourth floor, a little bit out the way, but worth a trip just for the quirky space complete with high tech curved glass, as it’s on the cusp of the atrium’s ceiling curving into the vertical inner ‘void’ wall is a specialist massage treatment facility.

An industrial-styled gym in ME Dubai

Image caption: The hotel features a state-of-the-art industrial-style gym. | Image credit: ME Dubai

In addition, and not to be missed, there are two excellent restaurants, which are also part of The Opus building. The Maine is a big favourite of mine, from interior to food quality, and Roka restaurant is also a fantastic new asset to the local area.

Standing out in a city like Dubai, which is no shrinking violet, is one thing. But sheltering an interior design scheme that is equally as impressive as its architecture is an almost impossible task. The interior design scheme inside ME Dubai seamlessly compliments the buildings unique architectural form and meets, I would argue, the ever-changing demands of modern travellers and in-the-know locals alike.

Over and out,

Rock.

Main image credit: ME Dubai

Luxury pool at Domes Zeen, a Luxury Collection Resort, Chania

Marriott International to open almost 100 hotels in Asia Pacific this year

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Marriott International to open almost 100 hotels in Asia Pacific this year

Following Marriott International announcing its 800th hotel opening in Asia Pacific, the group is expected to open almost 100 more properties in the region this year alone…

Luxury pool at Domes Zeen, a Luxury Collection Resort, Chania

Last year, despite the pandemic putting a halt on travel demand, Marriott International opened 75 new hotels in Asia Pacific, representing more than one opening per week across the region. This year, the hotel group is expected to continue this growth in the region. In a recent press statement, Marriott announced announced its ambitious plans to open nearly 100 new properties in the area in 2021.

“I am proud of the way we have continued to grow and have moved quickly to adapt to the challenges that arose from the pandemic. With the launch of new global industry hygiene standards in April 2020, innovative offerings such as work anywhere packages and hyper-localised marketing and sales strategies, our nimble and forward-thinking approach will continue to lead us through the recovery,” said Craig S. Smith, Group President, International, Marriott International. “We are grateful for the continued resilience and positivity demonstrated by our associates and for the confidence our guests, owners and franchisees continue to have in us. We remain well-positioned to meet the travel demands of our guests across Asia Pacific and the rest of the world.”

Greater China has led the global recovery to date, and the company expects to soon celebrate its 400th hotel in Greater China and its 50th hotel in Shanghai with the opening of JW Marriott Shanghai Fengxian in spring 2021. With this hotel opening, Shanghai has the distinction of reaching this important milestone for the company in Asia Pacific.

“Mainland China is on track to become the world’s largest personal luxury market by 2025.”

According to a joint report by consultancy Bain & Co. and Alibaba’s Tmall Luxury unit, Mainland China is on track to become the world’s largest personal luxury market by 2025 even seeing year-over-year domestic growth in 2020 despite the pandemic. To leverage this trend, Marriott International continues to strengthen its luxury portfolio with expected openings in 2021 such as W Changsha, W Xiamen, St. Regis Qingdao and The Ritz-Carlton Reserve Jiuzhaigou. With the anticipated opening of the Ritz-Carlton Reserve, China will be the first country in Asia Pacific to house all of Marriott International’s luxury hallmarks.

Pool at Ritz-Carlton Reserve, China

Image credit: Marriott International/Ritz-Carlton Reserve, China

Marriott’s leisure bookings in China have been particularly strong, up over 25 per cent year over year in the third quarter in Mainland China, demonstrating the resiliency of demand once consumers are comfortable that the virus is under control and restrictions can safely be lifted. The company is introducing more travel experiences across its brand portfolio, including at popular leisure destinations such as Mianyang in the Sichuan province with the expected opening of Sheraton Mianyang, as well in the culturally-rich destination of Nanjing with the anticipated opening of The Westin Nanjing Resort & Spa.

Beyond Greater China, Marriott International continues to strengthen its footprint, with several expected brand debuts across Asia Pacific in 2021. In Japan, W Hotels is expected to debut with the opening of W Osaka, while The Luxury Collection is also slated to debut in Australia with the opening of The Tasman in Hobart. The iconic Ritz-Carlton brand is expected to celebrate its debut in the leading resort destination of Maldives in early summer, bringing legendary service to the picture-perfect archipelago.

A render of the first Luxury Collection hotel in Australia

Image credit: Marriott International/The Luxury Collection

Further expanding Marriott’s presence in breathtaking resort destinations, the JW Marriott brand is slated to bring its warm luxury experience to Jeju Island in South Korea with the planned opening of JW Marriott Jeju in late 2021. The company’s signature wellness brand, Westin, is also highly anticipated to debut in one of India’s top beach destinations, Goa, this summer.

Since you’re here, why not read ‘The Hot List’, referencing the most significant hotels openings expected in Q1, Q2, Q3 and Q4 of this year?

To support domestic travel in Japan, the company plans to open six additional Fairfield by Marriott hotels throughout 2021 along ‘Michi-no-Eki’ roadside stations aimed at revitalising the country’s local sightseeing spots. Japan expects to have more than 30 Fairfield by Marriott hotels by the end of 2023. Touted as one of the best cities in the world for art, culture, music and food, Australia’s Melbourne is expected to see the opening of the country’s second W Hotel with W Melbourne in spring and the opening of Melbourne Marriott Hotel Docklands in early 2021.

Pool area at Melbourne Marriott Hotel Docklands overlooking city

Image credit: Marriott International/Melboure Marriott Hotel Docklands

“The strength of our pipeline is testament to the long-term growth prospects in Asia Pacific,” said Paul Foskey, Chief Development Officer, Asia Pacific, Marriott International. “Despite a challenging environment in 2020, we are pleased with the signings we have achieved across the region during the year. We have full gratitude to our owners and franchisees for their belief in the resiliency of travel and the strength of Marriott’s portfolio of brands.”

Main image credit: Marriott International/Domes Zeen, a Luxury Collection Resort, Chania

A render of an organic guestroom inside the Hilton hotel in Crete

Crete to welcome island’s first ever Hilton hotel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Crete to welcome island’s first ever Hilton hotel

This summer, Crete is set to welcome Royal Senses Resort Crete, Curio Collection by Hilton, one of the island’s few internationally branded properties…

Crete is about to welcome its first Hilton hotel. The 179-key Royal Senses Resort Crete, Curio Collection will boast some of the best views on the island – Hilton is describing its style as ‘timelessness of Cretan hospitality in a contemporary way’.

A render of an organic guestroom inside the Hilton hotel in Crete

“Crete is one of Greece’s most popular islands, thanks to its warm climate, rich history and picturesque villages,” said Patrick Fitzgibbon, Senior Vice President, Development for Europe, Middle East and Africa at Hilton. “Royal Senses Resort Crete will make a stunning addition to our rapidly growing Curio Collection of unique hotels, which includes upcoming properties in destinations including Lisbon, London and Reykjavik.”

The island’s unique landscape and rich cultural heritage make it ideal for curious travellers and anyone wanting to experience everything Greece has to offer by visiting one, very diverse, destination. The hotel will be located in the picturesque Rethymno region on the northern part of the island, which has the best weather and attractions that Crete has to offer, including the Melidoni Cave and Knossos Palace.

Eleni Troulis, President of Troulis Royal Collection added: “We are delighted that the Royal Senses Resort Crete, Curio Collection by Hilton will be the first in Greece to join this stunning selection of handpicked properties. Having successfully operated its sister property, the Royal Blue Resort, since 2009, we are now excited to be expanding our portfolio and partnering with Hilton. It’s the perfect collaboration for us, as it combines the resort’s contemporary appreciation of Crete’s multifaceted culture and our family’s hospitality values with Hilton’s strong international customer appeal.”

Since you’re here, why not read our feature that explores ‘Crete’s most stylish hotel’?

The Royal Senses Resort Crete, Curio Collection by Hilton will be a contemporary new build that connects seamlessly with the island’s rugged natural beauty. The hotel will feature state of the art facilities including a spa, indoor and outdoor pool, water park, tennis courts as well as a private beach and marina.

A render of private pool terrace overlooking sea

Image credit: Hilton Hotels

Last year Hilton announced that it had more than 100 hotels in the pipeline. Curio Collection by Hilton currently has more than 90 hotels and resorts worldwide, that have been handpicked for their distinct character and personality. Each hotel is a true reflection of its surroundings, meaning that every hotel is different, with a different story to tell. The Royal Senses Resort Crete will join the portfolio of unique Curio Collection by Hilton properties, including The Trafalgar St James London, Aleph Rome Hotel, The Britannique Naples and Grand Hotel des Sablettes Plage.

Main image credit: Hilton Hotels

Rosewood Hotels to arrive in Rome in 2023

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Rosewood Hotels to arrive in Rome in 2023

Rosewood Hotels has announced that it will open a 157-key luxury hotel in Rome in 2023, which will become the brand’s 11th property in Europe. Here’s what we know… 

Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, a global leader in luxury travel and lifestyle experiences, has been appointed by real estate firm Antirion SGR to manage Rosewood Rome, which will open in 2023 in the heart of the capital city.

The latest news follows previous announcements referencing the brand’s expansion in Europe, including properties in Amsterdam, Sardinia and Madrid.

Located in the former headquarters of Italy’s Banca Nazionale del Lavoro (BNL) overlooking the iconic Via Venet, the new hotel will Extend an entire block and will encompass three historic buildings, each of which were originally built in the early 1900s.  The crown jewel of the project will be the reimagination of the former BNL headquarters, the main unit of the development that was initially designed by renowned Italian architect and urban planner Marcello Piacentini.

Image credit: Rosewood Hotels & Resorts

Image credit: Rosewood Hotels & Resorts

“The design will take influence from the hotel’s location overlooking Via Veneto.”

The property’s transformation will be managed by Colliers International, led by global architecture and engineering firm, Jacobs, and Australian interior design firm, BAR Studio, to build upon Piacentini’s legacy and pay homage to the property’s roots as an exemplar of modernist Italian architecture. The design will take influence from the hotel’s location overlooking Via Veneto, one of Rome’s most elegant streets and a symbol of the celebrated Federico Fellini film, La Dolce Vita, with elegant interiors that blend timeless style with contemporary comforts. In keeping with Rosewood’s guiding A Sense of Place philosophy, Rome’s relaxed ambiance and devotion to dolce far niente, or the art of “doing nothing”, will influence the hotel’s design concept, which will mix traditional architectural elements with modern décor and detailing to create a sophisticated environment for the ultimate life of leisure.

“Over the last several years, we have been searching for the right opportunities to evolve our European footprint and bring the Rosewood brand to new corners of the continent,” said Sonia Cheng, chief executive officer of Rosewood Hotel Group. “As one of Italy’s most vibrant cities with an undoubtedly rich legacy and charming character, Rome has long been at the top of the list of priority destinations in which to set the Rosewood flag, and we’re thrilled to be working with our partners at Antirion SGR on this project that will surely set a new standard for luxury lifestyle experiences in Rome.”

Upon completion, Rosewood Rome will offer 157 accommodations, including 44 suites. Home to three dining outlets, including a contemporary Italian bistro, a lobby bar and café and a rooftop bar with a terrace with sweeping views of the city, the hotel will serve as a luxurious escape for locals and visitors alike. Additional amenities include a subterrain experience within the bank’s original vault featuring a modern Roman Bathhouse and Sense, A Rosewood Spa, located on the rooftop which will feature four dedicated treatment rooms and a wellness terrace with a reflecting pool and dynamic fitness centre. Dedicated event spaces will encompass three meeting rooms and a grand ballroom.

“We are honored to embark on this exciting project with Rosewood Hotels & Resorts,” said Ofer Arbib, CEO of Antirion SGR. “We could not think of more suited partner to create a new world-renowned destination that celebrates the heritage and rich offerings of Rome while simultaneously extending a sophisticated interpretation of ultra-luxury hospitality.”

Rosewood Rome will be the brand’s fourth Italian property, joining Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco in Tuscany and the upcoming Rosewood Porto Cervo and Rosewood Venice, set to open in 2022 and 2023, respectively. Rosewood’s existing European properties also include Rosewood London and Hôtel de Crillon, A Rosewood Hotel in Paris.

Main image credit: Unsplash/Caleb Miller

A modern and contemporary design in suite of hotel

Dominvs Group secures £68.5m for two flagship UK hotels

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Dominvs Group secures £68.5m for two flagship UK hotels

Dominvs Group has secured almost £70 million of fresh-bank funding from Coutts and Clydesdale Bank Plc for two new flagship hotels in London and Oxford…

A modern and contemporary design in suite of hotel

Dominvs Group, a London real estate development and investment group, has successfully secured £68.5 million of fresh funding, facilitated by Coutts and Clydesdale Bank Plc in two separate facilities; with £48 million from Coutts allowing for the development of a new Hampton by Hilton hotel in London’s Aldgate, and a £20.5 million investment loan from Clydesdale Bank Plc for the Courtyard by Marriott hotel in Oxford.  

The group highlights that the successful raising of funding for both projects reflects the firm’s good banking relationships and confidence in the group’s development and operational capabilities, alongside rising optimism in the UK hotel industry after the start of COVID-19 vaccination programme in the UK.

The hotel at 12-20 Osborn Street in Aldgate, formerly the Arbor City Hotel, was purchased by Dominvs Group in October 2018 and planning was granted for a new larger hotel scheme on the site during Q4 2018. The new £48 million of funding from Coutts covers the refinance of the original acquisition loan for the site and allows for the development of the new 118,000 sqft 278-key Hampton by Hilton London City hotel, with practical build completion scheduled for June 2023.

The new five storey Hampton by Hilton London City hotel will comprise the refurbishment of the existing hotel plus a new-build extension, with the construction undertaken by leading contractor McAleer and Rushe. Alongside 278 guestrooms and suites, the new hotel will provide meeting, dining and events space including a cinema room and large function room. The hotel is located in the heart of East London by Brick Lane, an area undergoing significant investment from Tower Hamlets Council, and just five minutes from the City of London. 

Located in the historic centre of Oxford, close to the world famous Oxford University buildings and libraries, the Courtyard by Marriott Oxford City Centre hotel is situated at 15 Paradise Street overlooking the Castle Mill Stream canal on both sides. The hotel was completed in July 2019, with an 11-room extension opened in January 2020.  

Yello and blue furniture inside public areas of hotel

Image credit: Dominvs Group Hotels

Despite the pandemic, the 151-key hotel achieved more than 50 per cent occupancy rates during the summer of 2020. The new investment of £20.5 million from Clydesdale Bank Plc refinances an incumbent loan that funded the development of the building and ensured that construction was on schedule.  

“It is excellent to see confidence in the hotel industry returning.” – Preeptal Ahluwalia, Director at Dominvs Group.

The site at Paradise Street was purchased by Dominvs Group in October 2014 and was formerly the HQ of Cooper Callas, a kitchen and bathroom distributor. Dominvs Group obtained planning for a 140-key hotel in 2017 with the construction undertaken by McAleer and Rushe. 

The six-storey hotel has a red-brick and glass façade with rooms and suites overlooking the canal and the ruins of Oxford Castle’s St George’s Tower. Alongside the Kitchen and Bar Restaurant and lounge areas the hotel has a spectacular rooftop cocktail bar and rooftop garden/terrace offering panoramic 360 degree views over Oxford’s stunning spires, domes and landmarks.  

By May 2021 the UK Government forecast that a third of the UK’s 66 million population will have been vaccinated against COVID-19. By summer 2021 around 50% of the population should be immunised, and international flights and tourism should start to recover. The vaccination of the entire UK population is estimated to take up to 12 months, with ‘normality’ returning by November 2021. 

Preeptal Ahluwalia, Director at Dominvs Group, says: “Dominvs Group is delighted to have successfully secured £68.5 million of fresh bank funding which allows for the development of our new Hampton by Hilton branded hotel in London’s Aldgate and has refinanced our Courtyard by Marriott branded hotel in Oxford. The successful funding reflects our good banking relationships and confidence in the group’s development and operational capabilities, alongside rising optimism in the UK hotel industry following the start of the Covid-19 vaccination programme in the UK. It is excellent to see confidence in the hotel industry returning and these two hotels are well-placed to benefit from the gradual return of both domestic and overseas visitors to London and Oxford, two of the UK’s most popular tourist and business trip hotspots and destinations of increasing hotel need.”

Main image credit: Dominvs Group

Sneak peek: inside SLS Cancun, a “barefoot-chic tropical” hotel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Sneak peek: inside SLS Cancun, a “barefoot-chic tropical” hotel

The new beachfront sanctuary in Cancun, which officially opens on February 1, features 45 suites, ocean views and world class design led by famed architect and designer Piero Lissoni. Hotel Designs takes a look inside…

Having designed a myriad of hotels around the world, Piero Lissoni brought his iconic design magic to Cancun to bring to life sbe’s vision of a “barefoot-chic tropical” hotel. SLS Cancun, which opens in early February, is a perfectly timed arrival as the SLS brand is one at the centre of the Ennismore and Accor merge to become the largest and fastest growing global player.

Complete with bright contemporary spaces intertwined with Italian décor, reminiscent of his hometown in Italy, the hotel shelters just 45 striking suites. From oceanside floor-to-ceiling windows with unobstructed views of the ocean and tones of deep ocean blue and vibrant turquoise to an open-floor concept lobby featuring soft, white-washed wood and light stones, Lissoni’s latest property evokes a feeling of calmness as the space connects the interior and exterior as one. 

“This hotel is like a cocktail,” Lissoni explains. “We’ve incorporated a few different ingredients: the local culture together with that of America and Europe. And we’ve bound the style of the latter to that of Mexico. So the light and the presence of art works, antiques and local craftsmanship dialogue with those of other worlds. And I think we’ve come up with a cocktail that’s particularly interesting.”

SLS Cancun guestroom render in Cancun hotel

Image credit: SLS Hotels

Guestrooms and suites are described by the hotel brand as “sparkling and shining” that promise to “take your breath away”. Each area is modern with sleek lines to compliment azure waters of the ocean that are effortlessly framed.

Meanwhile, the public areas feature a contemporary lobby bar, and to further stretch the theme of barefoot luxury, the hotel experience focus is steered towards a luxurious poolside scene, sandy beach and  the state-of-the-art fitness centre and spa.

Complimenting the overall design of the hotel, LEYNIA is an Argentinian grill, led by chef Jose Icardi, which is inspired by flavours from Japan, melding the rustic allure of open flame cooking.

The opening of SLS Cancun becomes the brand’s fifth property in North America, as the brand enters into an exciting era that will no-doubt promise thoughtful growth to further enhance the “new kind of luxury” that the brand has created.

Main image credit: SLS Hotels

A clean and luxury hotel room in Cairo

St. Regis arrives in Cairo, Egypt

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
St. Regis arrives in Cairo, Egypt

An epitome of modern Egyptian glamour, and heralded as a new beacon of luxury on the Nile, the new St Regis hotel brings exquisite design and signature service to the bustling metropolis and tourist hotspot…

A clean and luxury hotel room in Cairo

With Marriott International expected to meet its 2020 aims this year to to open 30 new luxury hotels in 2021, St. Regis Hotels & Resorts has announced the highly-anticipated opening of The St. Regis Cairo. Rising tall on the banks of the River Nile, The St. Regis Cairo is an illustrious icon weaving a powerful story of luxury in the region. Located at the North end of the Corniche, in the heart of Egypt’s bustling metropolis, the 39-story hotel offers easy access to the magnificent monuments of a city steeped in history.

“Egypt has historically been one of our key markets and strategically significant to our growth in the region,” said Satya Anand, President for Europe, Middle East and Africa, Marriott International. “Cairo is a storied destination that has long mesmerised the global traveller with its incredible energy offering a vibrant mix of history, culture, tradition and glamour. The St. Regis Cairo is an exciting addition to our fast-growing brand portfolio and is set to elevate Cairo’s luxury hospitality landscape with its remarkable design, uncompromising service, and exceptional culinary venues.”

Eng. Abdullah Bin Hamad Al Attiyah, CEO of Qatari Diar commented: “We are delighted to strengthen our global portfolio of hospitality developments with the opening The St. Regis Cairo. This luxury landmark will introduce higher standards of hospitality to this beautiful destination with its unparalleled levels of luxury and exceptional service – both of which the iconic St. Regis brand is renowned for.”

With its striking architecture, created by renowned architect Michael Graves, The St. Regis Cairo firmly establishes itself as a pivotal landmark in the city and beyond, carefully balancing opulence with refinement and elegance to evoke a profound sense of grandeur. Uncompromising in its decadence, the hotel is an exquisite reflection of a passionate vision that conscientiously draws on the city’s influential and storied past while confidently introducing its vibrant future.

Graceful geometric lines flow throughout the interiors, creating a repeated structural motif that quietly references the heritage of the region. Dark wood and rich textures combine with intricate embroidery, bejewelled paneling, bronze and wood carvings embellished with flashes of shimmering gold, mother of pearl inlays and imposing crystal chandeliers creating a dramatic Egyptian aesthetic with modern execution. A striking mural entitled “The Pink Sun” graces The St. Regis Bar. Staunchly modern in its execution, the mural references ancient Egypt and the birth of a modern civilisation.

The hotel’s approach to design pays particular homage to the hundreds of craftspeople who dedicated their time and handiwork to perfecting each and every detail offering a distinctly modern vision that immerses guests in moments that are simply awe-inspiring.

Main image credit: Marriott International/St Regis

Render of Hotel Indigo Nottingham

IHG to launch a landmark duel-branded hotel in Nottingham

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
IHG to launch a landmark duel-branded hotel in Nottingham

Hotel operator IHG has signed terms with development group Conygar to bring two of its world-renowned brands, Hotel Indigo and Staybridge Suites, to Nottingham…

In December of 2020, a planning application for phase 1B proposing a 17-storey landmark hotel in Nottingham was submitted.

Render of Hotel Indigo Nottingham

It is now confirmed that the multi-million-pound scheme will include a new hotel, which will be managed by IHG and developed local development group Conygar, in order to create new home for both the Hotel Indigo and Staybridge Suites brands.

The duel-branded hotel, with architecture and interior design led by Jestico + Whiles, will comprise 223 guestrooms and suites – 155 located within Hotel Indigo and a further 68 aimed at multi-night business and leisure travellers in the Staybridge Suites, which will include a range of amenities such as a full kitchen and dedicated shared outdoor space exclusively for Staybridge Suites guests.

They form part of the latest stage of the development, which will include a further 247 residential rental apartments and an extensive food and beverage area featuring a stunning bar and busy 100-metre long forum for people to meet. There will also be 3,000 sqm of flexible serviced office space, with some 400 desks.

Image caption: An example lounge area from a Staybridge Suites in Dundee | Image credit: IHG

The hotel is the city’s first of its size in nearly two decades, forming part of a landmark tall building.

Karan Khanna, Managing Director, UK & Ireland at IHG said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Conygar to bring the leading global brands of Hotel Indigo and Staybridge Suites to Nottingham as an important part of the regeneration of the Island Quarter. These new properties will add to IHG’s presence in the city, sitting alongside our existing Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn hotels. As we begin 2021 these new hotel signings show the confidence that owners and investors have in IHG and our potential for continued growth for when travel can finally resume.”

The brand has said that guests will experience the “same quality of design” as in IHG’s recently opened Hotel Indigo in Bath and dual-branded Hotel Indigo and Staybridge Suites in Dundee, as well as the mixed-use elements of its recent IHG dual-branded Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn Express in Warsaw, Poland.

Inspired by ‘the neighbourhood story’ of the city, Hotel Indigo will take design cues from the local area and its bar and restaurant will offer locally sourced ingredients to customers. Meanwhile, the Staybridge Suites will feature a 24-hour fitness room, storage lockers for guests wishing to store items between stays and a communal ‘outdoor living room’ complete with firepit, grilling areas and covered seating. All the suites allow people to enjoy a flexible space to relax, play and work.

“The Island Quarter is one of the most significant city centre regeneration schemes in the UK at the moment, and it was vital that the hotel brand which we brought to the development was reflective of that,” said Richard Watson of Conygar. “We are absolutely delighted to have agreed terms with the team at IHG to bring its Hotel Indigo and Staybridge Suites brands to Nottingham.

“This is a very important step for us as we move this development forwards and securing a hugely successful global operator in IHG shows real confidence in the flagship element of the scheme as a whole. These two brands are world-renowned as upscale and quality hotels, which really play a part in the communities in which they are based.

“The hotel forms a key element of this latest phase, which is truly cohesive, creating a range and fluidity of uses that will spread across the whole site. The Island Quarter is a development that Nottingham can be proud of and bringing brands of this calibre to the city plays an important part in that.”

Main image credit: IHG

Bvlgari render of Miani hotel

Bvlgari Hotels to open debut property in the US

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Bvlgari Hotels to open debut property in the US

Bvlgari Hotels & Resorts has announced the agreement for a new hotel in Miami Beach, scheduled to open in 2024…

The luxury hotel brand, Bvlgari Hotels & Resorts, is on a roll, following announced projects in Paris, to open in 2021, Moscow and Rome in 2022 and Tokyo in 2023.

Bvlgari render of Miani hotel

Its latest announcement to arrive in Miami will bring the Bvlgari Hotels & Resorts Collection to eleven properties, including Milan, London, Dubai, Shanghai, Beijing and Bali.

The new hotel in Miami will be located at 100 21st street in Miami Beach, and will mark Bvlgari Hotel’s debut in the United States. Waterfront located with beautiful beaches while being a short walk from the city’s most vibrant attractions and South Beach’s trendy Ocean Drive, the Bvlgari Hotel Miami Beach will offer stunning ocean views just a few steps from the exciting Miami Art Deco district.  

The building hosting the Bvlgari Hotel Miami Beach was originally designed as hotel by Miami architect Albert Anis in the late 1950’s, as part of the Miami Modern movement in Miami Beach; it is a contributing building located in the National Register Architectural District and was well known as a centre of events and parties for the Hollywood Crowd descending on Miami Beach for the winter.  

Image credit: Bvlgari Hotels & Resorts

“We are particularly proud to have secured such an extraordinary location for the new Bvlgari Hotel in Miami Beach,” said Jean-Christophe Babin, CEO of Bvlgari. “This will be our first property in the United States which is a key market for our Brand and we are delighted to add the vibrant and glamorous Miami Beach to our Collection. We are convinced that the Bvlgari Hotel Miami Beach, to be opened in 2024, will represent an irresistible Roman Jeweler Hospitality, a unique ultra luxury experience in the American upscale hotel market.”

The design project, which will be curated , like all the other Bvlgari Hotels, by the Milanese architectural firm Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel, will contemplate around 100 rooms, most of them suites, and a full range of luxury facilities including an outdoor swimming pool, a large spa and fitness center, and a Bvlgari restaurant and bar both curated by Italian three Michelin-star chef Niko Romito. 

Main image credit: Bvlgari Hotels & Resorts

Render of what London Olympia will look like in 2023

cititzenM to land in Olympia London in 2023

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
cititzenM to land in Olympia London in 2023

The fifth citizenM hotel in London will be in the regenerated Olympia London exhibition centre, a £1.3bn mixed development in cooperation with Yoo Capital and Deutsche Finance International; featuring a state-of-the art live music venue and conference centres set to open in 2023…

Render of what London Olympia will look like in 2023

citizenM London Olympia will be the brand’s fifth hotel in London, featuring, for the first time, a listed living area: the historic Apex room. The 145-key hotel will comprise the first floor with front-of-house and three guest room floors on top of the existing historic building. 

citizenM’s hybrid hotels offer travellers luxury accommodation at affordable prices in prime urban centres. This latest addition will be part of a major £1.3bn Olympia London redevelopment project, led by Yoo Capital and Deutsche Finance International, that will create a new cultural hub in West London. The new neighbourhood will include a four-screen arthouse cinema, 80,000 sq ft performing arts space, 1,500-seat theatre, restaurants, shops, cafés, hotels and 550,000 sq ft of office and co-working space. The Heatherwick Studio and SPPARC-designed project will also see the redevelopment of the existing exhibition halls and 2.5 acres of new public space created. 

“We’re taking a strategic approach to expansion in London,” commented Klaas van Lookeren Campagne, CEO of citizenM hotels. “Despite the current challenges in both the hotel and conference industries, we are confident in the positive future outlook for citizenM, and therefore Olympia London fitted the brief perfectly. We believe our offer of affordable luxury accommodation will appeal to visitors of the conference centre, as well as the theatre and music venues, and confirms our commitment to expand in London’s most desirable neighbourhoods.”

Chairman of Yoo Capital, John Hitchcox, said: “Having citizenM as an anchor operator is a huge positive for the Olympia project. They are an ideal partner to have on board as we continue our work to transform this area into a destination for culture and creativity and today marks a major milestone towards the realisation of a new vision for Olympia London.”

The hotel interiors will be designed by citizenM’s Amsterdam-based partner Concrete and will feature furniture from long-term collaborator Vitra. The guest rooms will include citizenM’s famous XL king-sized beds, powerful rain showers and large flat screen TVs. Guests will be able to enjoy the same creative technology that has marked citizenM as an innovative force in hospitality, from online check in to in-room mood pads. Since June, citizenM is also offering contactless stays powered by its new award-winning app.

citizenM London Olympia will be located at Hammersmith Road and will be the fifth standpost of citizenM in London, following openings in Bankside (2012), Shoreditch (2016), Tower of London (2016) and Victoria Station (2022). citizenM was advised by CMS during the drafting process of the agreement and closing of the transaction.

Since you’re here, why not read about the arrival of citizenM in USA’s west coast?

Main image credit:wearenarritiv

The Residences DC Duplex 28

Sneak peek inside The Residences, Dorchester Collection, Dubai

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Sneak peek inside The Residences, Dorchester Collection, Dubai

The opening of the 32-storey glass-facade building, which is being described as ‘a landmark of opulence’ in Dubai, will mark the Dorchester Collection’s entrance into the Middle East. Here’s a sneak peek inside the luxury address…

The Residences DC Duplex 28

Developed by OMNIYAT, which is one of the most recognised property developers in the Middle East, The Residences, Dorchester Collection, Dubai will be located in globally renowned Downtown Dubai, and will be sheltered inside an eye-catching, glass-facade building that has been designed by award-winning architecture firm Foster + Partners.

The Residences Dorchester Collection Dubai Exterior

Image credit: Foster + Partners/Dorchester Collection/OMNIYAT

Boasting two spectacular interconnected towers – one housing the 10th iconic Dorchester Collection hotel and the other a residential tower – the property, which is said to be 60 per cent complete, perfectly captures the essence of chic metropolitan dwelling and offers patrons of luxury around the world an unequalled lifestyle experience.

The Residences Dorchester Collection Dubai Terrace

Image credit: Foster + Partners/Dorchester Collection/OMNIYAT

The 32-storey residential tower includes just 39 fully furnished residences, ranging from 3,900sqft to 10,100sqft, with two-, three- and four-bedroom apartments. Additionally, situated on the 30th, 31st and 32nd floor, The Residences, Dorchester Collection, Dubai, offers six elegant four- and five-bedroom penthouses exclusively designed to create a private, high-quality and lavish lifestyle statement for the world’s luxury cognoscenti. Consisting of a staggering 17,700sqft with soaring ceilings and vast, uninterrupted views of the sea, each penthouse features its own swimming pool overlooking Dubai Canal and stunning Dubai cityscape.

The Residences DC Duplex 14

Image credit: Dorchester Collection/OMNIYAT

“At OMNIYAT we work with pioneers and leaders in their respective fields to provide audiences with a bespoke, luxury lifestyle, and The Residences, Dorchester Collection, Dubai, embodies this,” explained Mahdi Amjad, Founder and Executive Chairman of OMNIYAT. “We are delighted to be the first developer to collaborate with the legendary hospitality brand Dorchester Collection in launching the 10th iconic hotel and exclusive residences, therein bringing an unrivalled experience to Dubai.”

The Residences DC Duplex 46

Image credit: Dorchester Collection/OMNIYAT

Managed by legendary hospitality brand Dorchester Collection, synonymous with quality and known for its unparalleled standards of service – with The Dorchester in London arguably being the flagship of the brand – this development will be setting the benchmark for the ultimate city lifestyle. An inimitable blend of design, landmark architecture and exceptional service in the heart of Dubai, The Residences, Dorchester Collection, Dubai, is as unique as a fingerprint, set to meet the needs and expectations of connoisseurs of luxury around the world.

“We are immensely proud to partner with OMNIYAT, a pioneer renowned globally for its architectural landmarks,” said Christopher Cowdray, CEO of Dorchester Collection. “Set to become a significant new beacon on the Dubai skyline, The Residences, Dorchester Collection, Dubai, will offer one of the most exciting propositions seen in the Middle East, especially combined with our legendary award-winning service.”

> Since you’re here, why not watch our design tour of The Dorchester?

Bringing the interior design to life is the Parisian Duo Gilles & Boissier. Ensuring residents step into their very own sanctuary of sophistication, the interiors combine exquisite finishing, intricate detail and a sumptuous material palette with unique features such as floor to ceiling glass windows and doors, expansive terraces and bespoke furniture designed by Gilles & Boissier, offering a seamless turnkey experience for buyers.

A large masculine bedroom overlooking Dubai

Image credit: Dorchester Collection/OMNIYAT

At OMNIYAT, details make perfection, and in addition to a timeless and elegant interior design, residents get to enjoy a wide variety of the latest technology and utilities. With grandiose kitchens fully equipped with modern touches such as large fridge and wine cooler made by Sub-Zero, as well as cooking and cleaning appliances by Gaggenau, each residence is also fitted with instant filtered, sparkling and boiling water by Quooker and modern taps by THG Paris, custom designed by Gilles & Boissier.

Image credit: Dorchester Collection/OMNIYAT

Each apartment also features the latest collection of wide-screen televisions by Bang & Olufsen, audio systems fitted by Sonos, home automation system for easy living by Crestron and dressing rooms by Molteni Dada and Poliform.

Further adding to the overall living experience, residents will get to indulge in unrivalled amenities including swift access to sports thanks to the private gym and yoga studio, the expansive outdoor pool with a view of Dubai and a 200-metre wide untouched water frontage on the Dubai Water Canal.

Main image credit: OMNIYAT/Dorchester Collection

Marriott debuts first Moxy hotel in Taiwan

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Marriott debuts first Moxy hotel in Taiwan

Moxy Taichung combines stylish, industrial-chic design with sociable service at the intersection of Taichung’s uptown and downtown districts…

Following the hotel group announcing its 800th hotel opening in the Asia Pacific region, Marriott International has announced the opening of its first Moxy Hotel in Taiwan, shaking up the city’s hospitality scene with its playful spirit. The experiential and next gen-focused Moxy Taichung is located near many of the city’s attractions, including the colorfully quirky Rainbow Village, Zhongshe Flower Market, as well as the street food paradise of Yizhong Street Night Market – all must-visit destinations for the young and young-at-heart.

“We are excited to see the arrival of the Moxy brand in Taiwan with the opening of Moxy Taichung,” said Henry Lee, President, Greater China, Marriott International. “This opening marks the sixth Moxy Hotel to open in Asia Pacific and further underscores Marriott International’s commitment to continue growing its lifestyle portfolio across the region, and to cater to the next-generation of travelers with tailored experiences in a well-designed space that is surprisingly affordable.”

Queen supier room inside Moxy Hotel

Image credit: Moxy Hotels/Marriott International

Moxy Taichung features 262 bedrooms that are cleverly designed to maximise space and allow guests the flexibility to adapt the room to their needs. Each room is equipped with the latest technology featuring a 55-inch flat screen television, high quality sound system, furiously fast and free Wi-Fi, ample USB power outlets, motion-activated LED guidelights below the bed, and a backlighted glass panel to add ambiance.

The hotel also features several of the brand’s signature playful touches, kicking the experience off with check-in at Bar Moxy where guests are greeted with a complimentary “Got Moxy” cocktail. The bar also doubles up as a communal hub for dining, drinks, and social gatherings. At sunset, the chic rooftop bar XOXO is buzzing with energy, and is the place to be for light bites, decadent drinks, and curated cocktails.

The hotel also shelters a 24-hour fitness centre decked out with cardiovascular equipment, free weights, and other equipment including SYNRGY and TRX. In addition, a tech-enabled meeting room is also available for any team brainstorming sessions in the hotel.

“Across the Asia Pacific region and the world, the strong growth of our playful Moxy brand is proof that its brand philosophy resonates with millennial and next-gen guests, who seek a hotel stay at an affordable price point, saving on space and splurging on experiences,” said Jennie Toh, Vice President, Brand, Asia Pacific, Marriott International. “We are excited to be bringing the Moxy brand to Taiwan with the opening of Moxy Taichung, and to welcome travellers to the Moxy experience in this dynamic, future-forward city.”

Taichung is Taiwan’s second largest city, home to its lively cultural, arts, entertainment, and lifestyle scenes. In addition to its many museums, theaters, parks and temples, Taichung’s Chun Shui Tang teahouse is said to be the original birthplace of bubble tea. The city is also home to many of Taiwan’s high-tech manufacturing facilities, particularly in the semiconductor and transport industries.

Main image credit: Moxy Hotels/Marriott International

EXCLUSIVE: Space Copenhagen appointed to design revolutionary wellness hotel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
EXCLUSIVE: Space Copenhagen appointed to design revolutionary wellness hotel

Danish designers Peter Bundgaard and Signe Bindslev Henriken of Space Copenhagen will mastermind the complete interiors for new wellness and eco hotel in Norway, Svart

Svart, which will become the world’s first energy positive hotel, has appointed award-winning Danish design firm Space Copenhagen to lead the property’s interior design.

Image credit: Svart

The 99-key hotel, which Hotel Designs first unveiled the concept of last year, will be located in Arctic Norway at the base of the Svartisen glacier and will house an indoor-outdoor spa, four restaurants, an education centre and a design laboratory. Developed by Miris and archtiecture by Snøhetta, the glass-fronted, circular property will float on stilts above the Holandsfjorden fjord. Following my hype already, the hotel is slated to open to guests in late 2022, and aims to be fully off-grid, carbon neutral and shelter zero waste within the first five years of operation.

The Denmark-based design studio Space Copenhagen, founded by Peter Bundgaard and Signe Bindslev Henriken in 2005, has been charged with masterminding the entire interior vision for the new hotel. The duo will draw on their years of creative collaboration, with past projects including 11 Howard, Geist 2.0 and The Stratford London, to create an aesthetic which will reflect the project’s core values of sustainability, innovation and holism.

“It was essential for us to find a design partner that shared our vision, with the ability to create a truly stunning aesthetic that both complements and emphasises the natural beauty of the destination, without distracting from it,” said Ivaylo Lefterov, Svart’s Development Director and judge for The Brit List Awards 2020. “Longevity, human connection and a distinctly Scandinavian quality – themes which run through Bundgaard and Bindslev Henriken’s award-winning work – will be at the heart of the Svart experience. We could not have found a better fit for us in Space Copenhagen and we are thrilled to have them on board.”

“The design aesthetic does not seek to mimic or filter the magnificence of the Norwegian landscape, but to be a humble backdrop to it.” – Peter Bundgaard and Signe Bindslev Henriken, founders, Space Copenhagen.

Image credit: Space Copenhagen

Providing Hotel Designs with an insight into their vision, founders Bundgaard and Bindslev Henrikson said: “The four elements’ intrinsic connection to Norse mythology has provided the design aesthetic, poetically and holistically bringing together the tactile materials of stone and wood from the earth, the transparency and fluidity of water, the magic warmth of fire and the ephemeral intangible qualities of air. The design aesthetic does not seek to mimic or filter the magnificence of the Norwegian landscape, but to be a humble backdrop to it. The building itself – an unbroken, seamless circle – will become a portal dedicated to enhancing human connection to nature, the seasons, and to time itself.”

With an approach they call ‘Poetic Modernism’, Space Copenhagen seeks to forge new paths by balancing opposites within their work. For the team, curiosity is a fundamental human condition and it is this transformative curiosity they will bring to Svart.

While you’re here: click here to read more about Ivaylo Lefterov, Development Director at Miris and judge for The Brit List Awards 2020.

Main image credit: Svart/Space Copenhagen

Rosewood brand to arrive in Amsterdam in 2023

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Rosewood brand to arrive in Amsterdam in 2023

Rosewood Amsterdam will open in 2023 as the ‘ultra-luxury’ group’s 11th property in Europe and first soiree in the Netherlands…

Following several development growth announcements, Rosewood Hotels & Resorts has announced that it will open a property in 2023.

The hotel group, which has recently announced entrance strategies in destinations such as St Barths, Madrid and Venice, has been appointed by CTF Amsterdam B.V. to manage Rosewood Amsterdam.

Sheltered in the former Palace of Justice, a building of great architectural, historical and social significance that overlooks the Prinsengracht (the Prince’s Canal), one of the city’s most beautiful waterways, in the UNESCO World Heritage listed Amsterdam Canal District.  The hotel will be ideally situated near many of Amsterdam’s finest attractions including the museum district, the high-end shopping district on P.C. Hooftstraat and the hip De Pijp neighborhood. With its central location and befitting design carefully conceived to offer an inviting and amiable atmosphere, the property is poised to serve as an unparalleled gathering place for visiting guests and the local community alike.

Originally constructed in 1665 and later expanded in 1836 by Dutch architect Jan de Greef, the Palace of Justice was Amsterdam’s main courthouse for over 175 years and one of the finest examples of de Greef’s classic, multi-cultural style influenced by his travels to Paris and Rome. Working closely with the Bureau Monumenten en Archeologie (BMA) and The City of Amsterdam to preserve the rich heritage and quintessential character of this iconic building, Netherlands-based architectural firm Kentie & Partners has been selected to spearhead the property’s evolution into an ultra-luxury hotel. Leading the property’s interior design is acclaimed Dutch designer Piet Boon, of Amsterdam-based Studio Piet Boon. Known for his ability to balance functionality, aesthetics and individuality, Boon will honour the property’s original elements and distinctive Dutch identity while incorporating a contemporary sense of style that captures the energetic and exciting Amsterdam of today’s times. 

Given its esteemed reputation for being one of the leading architecture firms in the Amsterdam, it is unsurprising that Studio Concrete will have a major role in the design of the hotel. The firm has been appointed to design the hotel’s main restaurant, which will become a fresh and vibrant interior in the heart of the building, flanked by two courtyards with outdoor seating. London-based interior design firm Sagrada, led by David D’Almada, has been appointed to design an intimate bar in rich colours and high-end finishes, with stunning views overlooking the canal.

Rosewood Amsterdam will offer 134 guestrooms and suites, with many boasting spectacular views across the two adjoining canals, quiet internal courtyards and iconic townhouse rooftops. Amenities will include three restaurants, one of which will be an Indian restaurant, and bars; Sense, A Rosewood Spa offering ayurvedic treatments; a state-of-the-art wellness and fitness centreand an indoor swimming pool. 

In addition, multiple event spaces and meeting rooms, including a 3,000 square-foot ballroom, will offer advanced audio and visual services and natural daylight.

Decorative details throughout the hotel’s public spaces will pay homage to the signature spirit of both the building and city while creating a selection of differentiated yet unified spaces through subtle albeit impactful means, such as contrasting colour schemes that seamlessly separate one setting from another. Notably, the lobby lounge will feature a library adorned with beautiful legal books doubling as art pieces, photographs and artifacts, as well as comfortable and stylish seating, to create an enticing enclave that will invite visitors to linger and laze.

The library will also host an Indian Business Club which will stimulate high-level business and networking in an exclusive setting. All public spaces will overlook the three distinct, internal landscaped courtyards of the building, imagined by renowned landscape designer, Piet Oudolf. Internationally renowned for his work on the High Line and The Battery, both celebrated New York City attractions, Piet Oudolf will use his extraordinary expertise to artfully varnish the property with lush gardens and outdoor communal spaces.  

“Through design, décor and service, Rosewood’s properties worldwide mirror their surroundings and the souls of the destinations, and Rosewood Amsterdam will be no different,” says Sonia Cheng, chief executive officer of Rosewood Hotel Group. “With a unique character and culture, Amsterdam is a fitting locale for which to bring Rosewood’s guiding A Sense of Place philosophy. We’re looking forward to combining the city’s quintessential charm with a modern sense of style to meet and exceed the latest standards of luxury hospitality.”

As the latest demonstration of Rosewood Hotels & Resorts’ thoughtful growth strategy, Rosewood Amsterdam joins three existing European properties – Hôtel de Crillon, A Rosewood Hotel, Rosewood London and Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco. Additional European locations with Rosewood developments in the pipeline include Edinburgh, London, Madrid, Munich, Porto Cervo, Vienna and Venice.

Main image credit: Rosewood Hotels & Resorts

Inside Hart Shoreditch, London’s latest lifestyle hotel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Inside Hart Shoreditch, London’s latest lifestyle hotel

The 126-key hotel, which is in the heart of Shoreditch, has been designed by Fabled Studio and draws inspiration from East London’s past as a centre of craftspeople and makers. Hotel Designs takes a peek inside…

East London lifestyle hotel, Hart Shoreditch Hotel London from Curio Collection by Hilton, which has recently opened, was designed in collaboration with London-based interior design consultancy Fabled Studio. The 126-key property seamlessly blends the vibrant heritage and modern-day creativity of East London, through its thoughtfully designed spaces.

“Gone is the tired aesthetic of exposed graffitied brick walls, filament lightbulbs and mis-matched furniture to create a bright, fresh and life-affirming space.” – Steven Saunders, co-founder and director of Fabled Studio.

Image credit: Hart Shoreditch/Gary Edwards

Drawing inspiration from East London’s past as a centre for craftspeople and makers, the hotel’s design narrative is deeply rooted in showcasing the industries that thrived there including furniture makers, metal workers and silk weavers. In keeping with the Curio Collection by Hilton portfolio, the hotel will give visitors to London the chance to experience one of the city’s most sought-after neighbourhoods and discover its unique history.

Image caption: The lobby | Image credit: Hart Shoreditch/Gary Edwards

“We set out to create a brand-new identity for a Shoreditch hotel and restaurant/ bar by delving deeper into the stories and history that the East End has to tell,” said Steven Saunders, co-founder and director of Fabled Studio. “Gone is the tired aesthetic of exposed graffitied brick walls, filament lightbulbs and mis-matched furniture to create a bright, fresh and life-affirming space. Natural textures and a muted architectural colour palette create a crisp canvas which we have dressed with soft sage velvets, woven linens and Kilim patterns to offer an elegant and mature space to enjoy.”

Luxe guestroom

Image credit: Hart Shoreditch/Gary Edwards

Hart Shoreditch takes its name from one of the building’s previous occupants, The Harts, who were cabinetmakers in the 1800’s. The distinctive space encapsulates East London’s rich industrial and artisan past. Design details including a steel re-bar and copper staircase, and contemporary, bespoke mahogany lights have been designed to replicate cabinetmaker’s boxes and pay homage to the building’s earlier artisan life.

Soft textures, furnishings and warm lighting will guide guests through to Tavla, the hotel’s bar where guests and locals alike will be encouraged to relax and spend time throughout the day and into the evening. Here, textured woven stools are mixed in with lounge chairs in muted tones and softened textures giving the space a modern, residential feel. The restaurant BARBOUN, boasts an industrial-luxe aesthetic with rattan and Thonet-style chairs and partitions inspired by the Victorian furniture makers workshops of Great Eastern Street. Warmth and softness is brought into the space through natural linen café curtains, drapery in deep oxblood and upholstery in nude leather; as well as the asymmetric architecture of the vast timber ceiling replicating the beamed structure of a factory warehouse. A striking steel re-bar and copper staircase sits towards the back of the space along with a central cascade of moon chandeliers.

Guests can choose from nine room and suite categories, all of which feature a soft and elegant colour palette of white and grey with striking burnt orange and deep green accents. Predominantly contemporary in style with copper mirror detailing and simplistic modern furnishings, the guestrooms are warm and inviting with subtle design details throughout such as saddle-stitched leather strapping and copper rendered marmorino textures. Copper leafed bedside mirrors are embossed with woven lace etchings in a nod to the deep-rooted Huguenot history of nearby Spitalfields. Bathrooms feature a combination of materials which come together to create a sophisticated, urban space. Luxurious marble showers and rolltop baths with impressive views across Shoreditch are complimented by contrasting concrete vanities, herringbone flooring, bold geometric tiling and paired back brass detailing.

Hart Shoreditch is also home to two unique meeting spaces which have been designed to emulate the look and feel of 18th century Huguenot townhouses synonymous with East London and its silk weaving past. A classic London aesthetic intertwined with modern textures and details set against soft green walls.

Image credit: Hart Shoreditch

Located in the heart of Shoreditch on Great Eastern Street, the hotel is conveniently situated just a moment’s walk from Shoreditch High Street underground station and within walking distance of the neighbourhood’s independent boutiques, vibrant bars, restaurants and famous markets such as Brick Lane and Spitalfields.

Main image credit: Hart Shoreditch

Render of high-rise building

Hotel opening // Marriott opens duel-branded hotel in Yinchaun, China

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel opening // Marriott opens duel-branded hotel in Yinchaun, China

The building that shelters the duel-branded JW Marriott and Courtyard by Marriott hotel has been described as a new elegant landmark in Northwest China…

Render of high-rise building

Marriott International, Inc. has announced the opening of its dual-branded hotel, JW Marriott Hotel Yinchuan and Courtyard by Marriott Yinchuan in Northwest China, recognised as an oasis in China’s hinterland, a historical and distinctive destination surrounded by deserts and the Helan Mountains.

Invested and established by Ningxia Genyuan Real Estate Development Co., Ltd., the dual-branded hotel is an architectural masterpiece depicting a grand sailing ship boasting a total of 513 rooms. The property will deliver purposeful and memorable service to guests, from the warm luxury experience signature to the JW Marriott brand to the innovative and passionate offerings from Courtyard by Marriott.

Located in the cultural center of Yinchuan, JW Marriott Hotel Yinchuan and Courtyard by Marriott Yinchuan are adjacent to Yinchuan International Convention and Exhibition Center, Ningxia Museum and Ningxia Grand Theatre.

We are excited to welcome JW Marriott Hotel Yinchuan and Courtyard by Marriott Yinchuan to our expanding portfolio in the northwest of China. The opening of this dual-branded hotel demonstrates the growing demand for travel as more travelers seek to discover new and emerging cities all across China,” said Henry Lee, President, Greater China, Marriott International. “This milestone opening signals a new chapter in the dynamic hospitality industry of Yinchuan, and we look forward to bringing our signature offerings to our guests through thoughtfully-curated experiences, leaving them with unforgettable memories from our brands.”

JW Marriott Hotel Yinchuan offers 247 guestrooms and 32 suites featuring floor-to-ceiling windows with dramatic views of Yinchuan skyline. All rooms are thoughtfully decorated, equipped with the latest in-room technology and modern amenities, including a 55-inch LCD TV and capsule coffee machine. Embracing a sense of modern luxury, JW Marriott Hotel Yinchuan promises a haven designed to allow guests to focus on feeling whole – present in mind, nourished in body, and revitalised in soul.

A luxe dining set up inside residence

Image credit: Marriott International

JW Marriott Hotel Yinchuan features signature offerings centred on encouraging guests to celebrate being in the present, foster connections and revitalise the mind. JW Garden, a farm-to-table program, ensures sustainable sourcing of fresh herbs and vegetables for guests. Guests who want to maintain their wellness routines during their stay will enjoy the 24-hour Fitness Centre, which is complete with an indoor heated pool and is flooded with natural sunlight.

An indoor pool

Image credit: Marriott International

Designed to meet the diverse needs of business events, conferences and banquets, JW Marriott Hotel Yinchuan is able to accommodate large-scale event with the pillar-free JW Grand Ballroom. Covering a total area of 1,400 sqm and equipped with a 90 sqm LED screen, the ballroom can accommodate 1,300 guests and be divided into four independent areas. For more intimate events, the 500 sqm JW Ballroom is equipped with a 50 sqm LED screen, and can be repurposed as three independent multifunctional ballrooms. In addition, 10 multi-functional Meeting Rooms of varying sizes will meet the diverse needs of guests.

Courtyard by Marriott Yinchuan features 234 stylish and contemporary guestrooms that cater to passion-driven guests looking to pursue their personal and professional ambitions whilst on the road. Showcasing modern design and decor, as well as a vivacious and inspiring ambience, all guestrooms are equipped with flexible work areas, high-speed Internet, and high-definition televisions for discerning business travellers.

Main image credit: Marriott International

Inside Selina Brighton, a new rough-edged boutique jewel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Inside Selina Brighton, a new rough-edged boutique jewel

Selina Brighton is a 31-key boutique hotel that is about to open its doors to an experience-led hospitality adventure on the South Coast. Ahead of its opening, editor Hamish Kilburn takes a peek inside…

Selina, the experience-led hospitality group for the modern nomadic traveller, has opened its third property this summer with the launch of Selina Brighton in the heart of the vibrant, boho city centre.

The timely arrival of Selina Brighton offers what is describes as the ‘ultimate staycation in 2020 and beyond’, and boasts unparalleled sea views from each of its 31 uniquely designed private rooms, suites and shared rooms. 

Playful, colourful and just a little bit cheeky is what we seem to be gathering from the hotel’s style – we’ve also been told to expect the unconventional.

Image credit: Selina

“We’re thrilled to bring our unique Selina concept to one of the most exciting cities in the UK, and in such a thriving and bohemian neighbourhood full of culture, individuality and a place to cultivate hedonism and escape social restrictions,” said General Manager, Hugo Carvalho. “We can’t wait to open our doors and provide a new hub for the Brighton community; a fairground for daring and unadulterated fun.” 

Selina sign above the entrance

Image credit: Selina

Designed to reflect Brighton’s ocean-front location and the city’s creative spirit, interior designer Tola Ojuolape collaborated closely with Selina’s workshop team, using materials that represent and embrace the community. As a result, each of the rooms has been given a quirky and whimsical twist, offering something new and unique to the accommodation sector in the city.

31 rooms range of categories including lofts, suites, family rooms that accommodate up to four, standard and micro-sized double rooms, with a further 19 opening in 2021 including shared community rooms which fit up to six guests. 

Social spaces are inherent in each of Seina’s properties, and the brand will be hosting specially curated programming, engaging workshops and unique pop-ups throughout the year in its Brighton property that are in-line with new social distancing guidelines.

The aptly named restaurant, The Old Pier, is set to become a Brighton favourite, serving a range of delicious dishes with a side of sea views, including sourdough focaccia with whipped burrata and fermented honey, Mexican style cactus salad and mac’n’cheese croquettes with truffle mayo. 

The understated lobby area will also be utilised as a social space for guests and locals alike, offering a grab and go coffee shop for your morning pick-me-up, as well as a sizable retail space selling products from local brands.

In addition, and to answer modern demands, a co-working space will also be launching for locals to use as a community hub with artwork created and curated by local artist Amy Isles Freeman, whose work themes around female sexuality, freedom and joy.

Selina currently operates +70 urban, beach, jungle and mountain-side locations across 20 countries worldwide and is developing a global infrastructure for nomads and remote workers who want to make the world their classroom, office, and playground.

Main image credit: Selina

Inside the latest luxury lifestyle hotel in Mayfair, London

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Inside the latest luxury lifestyle hotel in Mayfair, London

From the people who brought us the renowned Cliveden House and Chewton Glen comes The Mayfair Townhouse, which is slated to open this Autumn…

Curious, engaging and witty, The Mayfair Townhouse is said to deliver the unexpected and redefines what it means to be a London hotel – think  Oscar Wilde meets Alice in Wonderland.

Part of Iconic Luxury Hotels, this will be the fifth property in the portfolio, but promises to offer a new unexpected personality from what the brand is traditionally known for. Bringing a new lifestyle product into one of London’s most distinguished neighbourhoods – The Mayfair Townhouse is the new charismatic ‘kid on the block’ – a product that has never been experienced in Mayfair.

“We’ve created a product – a personality – that’s exceptionally unique to our collection at Iconic Luxury Hotels.” – Andrew Stembridge, Executive Director of Iconic Luxury Hotels.

“There is nothing like The Mayfair Townhouse,” said Andrew Stembridge, Executive Director of Iconic Luxury Hotels, who has been instrumental in developing this outstanding lifestyle hotel for London’s Mayfair. “When the property debuts in Autumn 2020, you will see something that has not yet been done. We’ve created a product – a personality – that’s exceptionally unique to our collection at Iconic Luxury Hotels. We’re looking to give London and travellers from all over the world, something fresh, something totally different and something totally unexpected. This is a new and exciting chapter for Iconic Luxury Hotels, and as we welcome our second property in London, we look forward to creating remarkable memories in the heart of Mayfair.”

Render of the entrance to the bar

Image credit: Iconic Luxury Hotels

A carefully stylish, imaginative home for the modern traveller – the essence of the new Townhouse invites discerning travellers who appreciate an intuitive, perceptive level of service and a guest who above all, has a refined palette for curiosity. Without the traditions of a regular hotel, there is no room at the Townhouse that has not been thoughtfully curated. The hotel bridges the gap between ritzy high-end lavish hotels and the corporate enterprise properties that currently stand in Mayfair.

When guests walk through the doors of this new Townhouse, expect the unexpected. Moments of surprise await around every corner of the fifteen connected Georgian buildings that line Half Moon Street, which was once the setting for Oscar Wilde’s most famous play, The Importance of Being Earnest. Built from 1730, Half Moon Street was a colourful haunt for bachelors, bohemians and artistic types in Victorian London. During this time many of Half Moon Street’s townhouses were split into residential apartments for the elite to live before marriage. Iconic fictional characters, Oscar Wilde’s Algernon Moncreiff and Bertie Wooster in P. G. Wodehouse’s comedies resided here. Moments of this history and culture are immersed throughout The Mayfair Townhouse’s discreet address, and quickly become the central pillars of design and personality of the eclectic house.

A refined Mayfair restaurant inside the hotel

Image credit: Iconic Luxury Hotels

Dandy is the cornerstone theme and design language of The Mayfair Townhouse – building on the historic connections with Oscar Wilde, Half Moon Street and the dandy lifestyle associated with Mayfair. Capturing this playful spirit to create a new era of the Dandy, Goddard Littlefair has helmed an authentic, quick-witted design of the Townhouse. Telling the tale of Oscar Wilde’s world through an imaginative design, Goddard Littlefair has revived the interiors of the townhouses of which seven are Grade-II listed, bringing to life the Georgian spirit and blending this with a contemporary rhythm. The fox, the hotel’s mischievous motif, is woven throughout the hotel, from the art collection showcasing a series of fox images, to intricate design elements throughout the property.

The design delves into the personalities of the original inhabitants of the area, taking inspiration from characters like Wilde and his contemporary aesthetes, and also the flamboyant aesthetic movement of that period. The result? A contemporary Georgian style interwoven with English eccentricities, capturing the adventurous mischief of the dandy. Twists of the unexpected, curiosities, and a humorous, playful design tone resonate throughout the hotel through various fabrics and colour palettes, to create a flamboyant dressing on the residential townhouse.

Luxe dining area

Image credit: Iconic Luxury Hotels

If the walls could talk. Art plays a pivotal part of the hotel, with Minda Dowling, a leading art specialist, curating unique and unusual pieces for The Mayfair Townhouse to further bring each space to life. The hand-picked collection includes both known names and emerging artists, to celebrate different creators of our time all with their own wow factor. Take Clarita Brinkerhoff’s peacock sculpture for instance – the piece sits at 67 inches high and is made out of 25,000 Swarovski crystals. Guests are invited to learn about the art through special QR codes that have been developed – so guests can scan and absorb details.

The aptly named Dandy Bar is the heart and soul of the Townhouse. This is where you’ll find refuge from the bustling streets of Mayfair. A theatrical, dimly lit atmosphere that creates a place to see and be seen. Dandy Bar epitomises bespoke cocktails. Take The Mayfair Dandy for example – an avant-garde take on the classic Dandy cocktail once enjoyed by hedonists of the area, or AR Lenoble Brut Champagne, Oscar Wilde’s favourite. Of course, the design evokes the dandy spirit. Lampshades have silk pleated shades, seating is covered in printed velvets and leathers with marble, brass and high gloss timbers adorn the room. The flamboyance of feathers in flapper outfits and the traditional gentleman’s pocket inspires the design of the Dandy Bar.

A London hotspot bar

Image credit: Iconic Luxury Hotels

Flavours of whimsy yet practicality make its way through the Townhouse’s individually designed guest rooms and suites. From the functional Classic Rooms, to the indoor-outdoor living themed Garden Suites, to the Dandy muse ‘Penthouse Suites’ – every corner of each room is thoughtfully designed and appeals to what the discerning modern traveller is seeking today.

Super luxurious guestroom/suite

Image credit: Iconic Luxury Hotels

Expect to find the highest quality linens and robes, superb bathrooms, luxury mattresses, his-or-her toiletries, good lighting and intelligent use of space. Little touches reflecting the hotel’s quick-witted personality include minibar contents from local artisans, flamboyant spare socks, takeaway mints and in-room cocktail kits using the dandy’s ingredient of absinthe.

A very plush yet minimalist bathroom

Image credit: Iconic Luxury Hotels

With no traditional restaurant at The Mayfair Townhouse, you’re invited to the Lower Ground floor – a vibrant space located downstairs off the entrance lobby. Appealing to the modern nomad traveller, this is a place to work, explore and connect with the personalities of the time, and enjoy breakfast. Take in the whimsical characters on the walls as you enjoy this convivial Library-esque space. Beyond the walls lies a further dining room, which instils a feeling that it belongs to the residence’s owner. Your own private versatile oasis which can be used for private dining, or a ‘meeting of the minds’ gathering place.

From Autumn onwards, The Mayfair Townhouse is where you’ll find both luxury and the joy of the unexpected. Guests come for the exceptional service and inspiring atmosphere and leave with a renewed confidence that choosing personality over conformity is always worth it.

Main image credit: Iconic Luxury Hotels

Is this the most isolated hotel in Sweden?

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Is this the most isolated hotel in Sweden?

Pater Noster, described as a ‘home on the horizon’, is an unedited destination in Sweden where no hotel designer has dared to design – until now, that is. Editor Hamish Kilburn explores how a team of entrepreneurs, hoteliers, restaurateurs, designers and professional sailors have given this island a new purpose…

In the outpost of the archipelago that form the Pater Noster islands – one of Sweden’s most windblown, barren and exposed places – you will find an unlikely hotel experience that rises from the point where two straits (The Skagerack and Kattegatt) meet.

It is marked by a lighthouse; a masterpiece that gave hope and guided seafarers safely for more than a century. Adjacent to it, the keepers and their families built their home, a small-scale community on an island dictated by the elements that had always been perceived as uninhabitable. Until now, that is.

A dramatic view capturing the lighthouse and houses surrounding them

Image credit: Pater Noster

A team of Swedish entrepreneurs, hoteliers, restaurateurs, designers and professional sailors have breathed new life into the lighthouse master’s old home, creating nine design-led guestrooms, accommodating up to 18 guests.

Entrance to the building

Image credit: Pater Noster

Award-winning design agency Stylt, which has completed projects such as Stora Hotellet and HUUS Hotel, in Gstaad, was responsible for the concept and interior design. “During my 30 years within the hospitality business, I have rarely come across such a unique destination”, says Stylt’s founder and partner in the lighthouse project Erik Nissen Johansen. “It’s all there – the remote location, the fantastic nature, the extreme weather conditions, the thrilling history – and soon, great hospitality with a dash of roughness and low-key luxury.”

With the project being so isolated in the middle of the sea, logistics were perhaps the main challenge. “The extra layer of freight combined with heavy winds made things interesting,” Nissen explains. “We had an incident when our new DUX beds arrived at the dock. It was a rough sea and we lost a large box in the water. It quickly disappeared, and all the legs to 24 beds were drifting towardsDenmark. Luckily, we managed to catch all of them with our smaller boats, but they will probably rust faster than normal.”

The interior design has completely been inspired by the destination, even down to the fruit bowl that is a repurposed piece of driftwood that washed up on the shores as the work was being completed. “When we were completing building the large dining table, a piece of driftwood just floated ashore,” Nissen tells Hotel Designs. “It was as if the island wanted to help.” The washed-up item was upcycled into a fruit bowl that now rests on a large dining table that was so large it had to be manufactured inside the property.

Image credit: Pater Noster

The artwork in the dining hall, shot by underwater photographer Christy Lee Rogers, hangs in a respectful bow to the hundreds of shipwrecks that surround the island. The photographic works together push the possibilities of movement, colour and light.

“This is a home, not a hotel, filled with history.” – Mirja Lilja Hagsjö, Chief of Operations at Pater Noster.

Ship and artwork in hallway

Image credit: Pater Noster

The entire site, which is only about 250 metres long and 120 metres wide, includes a restaurant, a bar and outdoor café. “The spirit of the old lighthouse master is all over the place” explains chief of operations Mirja Lilja Hagsjö. “This is a home, not a hotel, filled with history.”

Pater Noster is an apt example how to meet the new demands within the world of hospitality, offering genuine guest experiences with a strong cultural heritage. Depending on the weather, the island is reached by boat or helicopter. It’s perfect for smaller groups looking for a one-off experience, hosting meetings and private parties as well as a range of activities such as deep-sea fishing, sailing, kayaking, scuba diving and visiting the legendary lighthouse itself.

The property is the result of like-minded people, all of whom have different crafts and skills, coming together with a common aim: to put the island on the travel bucket list of all modern travellers and explorers. These individuals behind the project are entrepreneur Olle Langenius, Mirja Lilja Hagsjö (Chief of Operations), Zana ”Sassa” Usorac – (F&B), Frida Langenius och Carl Sylvan – transportation and sea adventures and Erik and Elisabeth Nissen Johansen (design and concept).

Throughout August, Hotel Designs is exploring inspirational hotel concepts from around the world. If you would like to be included in this editorial series, please tweet @HotelDesigns.

Main image credit: Pater Noster

Inside Bermonds Locke – an alternative hotel experience

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Inside Bermonds Locke – an alternative hotel experience

Ahead of speaking at Hotel Designs LIVE in October, Lifestyle hospitality brand Locke will open its third London property this September. Before then, Hotel Designs has managed to get a behind-the-scenes glance at the interiors inside Bermonds Locke

Designed to be lived in, and offering an alternative to traditional hotels in the post-pandemic world, each individual studio apartment inside Bermonds Locke is equipped with fully fitted kitchens and modern living space.

Combined with activated public spaces and a locally-led cultural programme, Bermonds Locke will simultaneously allow guests to enjoy the benefits of a lifestyle hotel. The flexibility of the home-meets-hotel format appeals to a broad range of travellers across the leisure and business markets, for both extended and short stays. As the demands of contemporary travellers rapidly change, Locke’s burgeoning success and European expansion plans put it at the centre of the future of travel.

“We are delighted to open our third property in London with Bermonds Locke,” said Stephen McCall, CEO of edyn. “Locke aims to liberate guests from the confines of a typical hotel room by creating beautiful apartments that are designed to be lived in. The type of guest we’re accommodating wants to explore life as a local, and so the Bermondsey neighbourhood has played a significant role in defining the aesthetic, partners and programming.”

“Concrete testing cubes destined for landfill find new purpose serving as a plinth for a six-metre long terrazzo tables in the ground floor workspaces.”

Image credit: Locke

Bermonds Locke marks the first collaboration for the brand with London-based interior architecture studio Holloway Li. Paying homage to nature’s wonder in both aesthetic and eco-responsibility, Holloway Li have created a living experience out of re-purposed construction materials in both the public areas and private apartments. Concrete testing cubes destined for landfill find new purpose serving as a plinth for a six-metre long terrazzo tables in the ground floor workspaces; whilst in the rooms bespoke bed frames woven out of blackened rebar are accented with linen canopies to infuse old ideas of the concrete jungle with a new sense of sanctuary.

“We are really excited to be partnering with Locke to pave a new design direction for the brand’s home-meets-hotel concept,” explained Alex Holloway and Na Li, Co-Founders Holloway Li. “By challenging the purpose of materials, we hope to highlight how a circular material economy can generate an incredibly unique aesthetic and a new kind of living experience – doing more, with less.”

Image credit: Locke

Bringing the changing gradient of the desert sunset to south London, Locke’s signature studios on the upper floors will be dipped in blue, beige and grey hues and saturated vibrant pinks on the lower floors. Responding to a narrative and concept developed by Heather Tierney from Wanderlust (the visionary behind cult US restaurant The Butcher’s Daughter), Bermonds Locke evokes the Southern California cool of Joshua Tree, the Mojave Dessert and Abbott Kinney – a culture and food destination comparable to Bermondsey Street.

Rendering of bar with lots of plants around it

Image credit: Locke

Situated within walking distance of some of London’s favourite spots, guests can enjoy the energetic Bermondsey Street – home to some of the best bars, restaurants and art galleries in London. To the north of the property, guests can meander through the cobbled streets of Shad Thames and Maltby Street Market– the smaller, slightly more charming younger sister of Borough Market. As with all Locke properties, Bermonds Locke comes fully staffed by a team of House Hosts, offering excellent insight to ensure both long and short-term visitors have access to the best local knowledge and insider tips.

The opening of Bermonds Locke comes as the brand continues to expand both within the UK and internationally. With further openings planned in Dublin, Berlin, Lisbon, Munich and Copenhagen, Locke is also slated to open its fourth London outpost in Dalston in late 2020.

Main image credit: Locke/Nicholas Worley

TREND ALERT: 2020 outdoor/interior design styles

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
TREND ALERT: 2020 outdoor/interior design styles

Whether you are designing for a small patio, a city-sized rooftop area or a large piece of land, each outdoor living trend can be adapted to suit any interior/exterior style, writes Paisley Hansen…

Following on from predicting 2020 interior trends at the backend of last year, here are some ideas that will help designers and architects maximise their outdoor space in style.

Biophilic design

For years, the biophilic design ‘trend’ or ‘movement’ has been gaining in popularity. It began as a concept for commercial properties to bring nature indoors and has been expressed in the form of living walls and communal green spaces.

According to Stephen R. Kellert at Metropolis Magazine: “Biophilic design focuses on those aspects of the natural world that have contributed to human health and productivity in the age-old struggle to be fit and survive.” It is not enough to simply be outdoors; a purposeful design for an outdoor living space should complement and connect you to your outdoor space.

Hardscaping

The man-made features used in outdoor spaces are the basis for landscape design and generally are installed first. These include paths, walls, and patios. If you are not working with a professional landscape designer, it is wise to sketch your intended design and play with ideas on paper before you rent a bobcat.

Currently geometric designs for garden beds and patios are popular, however a curvilinear design is timeless. The style of your home will help you determine the design for your outdoor spaces.

Plant materials

It is wise to plan your garden on paper also, rather than plant, dig up and plant again. Make use of your public library, horticulture sites and the agriculture department of universities in your plant zone to compile lists of trees, shrubs and flowers that will grow in your area. Merely loving tulips will not make them grow well if you live in southern Texas. The biggest trend in plantings over the last decade is the installation of plants that are native to a climate instead of fighting to keep a plant alive in an inappropriate zone. Not only does this end up saving money it also discourages nuisance plants–especially those that become invasive.

More plant trends

Choosing a type of garden previously meant flowers or vegetables, but this has changed significantly in the last decade. Combination gardens are easy to grow and the variety of flowers, herbs and veggies that are available to home gardeners will help you create a beautiful garden for all your needs. Match plants according to the amount of sunlight and water for companion planting.

Furnishing outdoor space

The current trend in outdoor furniture is the use of natural materials like rattan, wood, or wood-like, along with wicker elements – just look at Minotti’s new 2020 collection.

Lifestyle shot featuring Minotti sofas outside

Image credit: Minotti

Styles range from mid-century modern and classic coastal to contemporary. The perennial favourite in outdoor furniture is the porch swing. The nostalgia associated with a big porch, a wooden swing and a warm summer night is classically American. With fewer front porches these days many people are finding alternatives to the hanging porch swing.

Furniture designs

Adirondack chairs have been fashionable for centuries and the style is popular even today, though many current pieces are brightly painted for a fresh new look. Egg chairs and barrel chairs are trending right now as is flexible outdoor seating. Furniture that can be moved around the yard for various occasions allows you to invest in a few quality pieces rather than buying furniture for every spot in the garden. When creating a fashionable outdoor area, choose what appeals to you. If an all-white garden gives you a sense of peace and harmony that should be your goal to create. For others, a riotous mix of colours may be your happy place.

Additional trends

The trends in lighting are currently focused on overhead string lights hung in outdoor-café style. Lights can also be strung on the perimeter of your space to give more definition to the area. Up-lighting beneath a specimen tree or shrub will highlight the structure of the special plant or vignette of plants. Fire features run the gamut from huge stone fire pits to small, gas-fuelled tabletop models. Water features are also available in a multitude of sizes and shapes.s

Current trends in outdoor design can be specific to a style or be an eclectic mix of styles. The most important part of outdoor design is making it fit your lifestyle.

Main image credit: Taylor Simpson/Unsplash

Hyatt Regency brand arrives in Qatar

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hyatt Regency brand arrives in Qatar

Hyatt Regency Oryx Doha, scheduled to open next month, is set to strengthen Hyatt’s brand footprint in Qatar and the Middle East…

Opening in September 2020 and marking a significant milestone for the hotel group, Hyatt Regency Oryx Doha will become the third Hyatt hotel in Qatar.

Hyatt Regency Oryx Doha will be joining Hyatt’s portfolio in Qatar, alongside Park Hyatt Doha and Grand Hyatt Doha Hotel & Villas.

The 400-key hotel will be strategically located close to Hamad International Airport and a few minutes from the heart of the city, the palm-fringed corniche and Doha’s vibrant business district.

The property itself was the first to join Dhiafatina, which has been owned by Qatar Airways since 2010 and received the 2019 World Luxury Hotel Award as the best ‘Luxury Business Hotel in the Middle East and North Africa.

“We are thrilled with our relationship with Dhiafatina Hotels, and we look forward to growing Hyatt’s portfolio in Doha,” said Srdjan Milekovic, senior vice president operations EAME, Hyatt. “We believe that Hyatt Regency Oryx Doha will become a key destination in the city, satisfying the needs of on-the-go business travellers with an exemplary setting for meetings and leisure, and attracting local guests looking for modern dining experiences.”

With 12 luxury suites, the hotel offers a multitude of social spaces designed for seamless gatherings, including a Regency Club and several food and beverage concepts including three restaurants, a pool bar, two lounges and a Jazz Club. In addition, the property shelters 10,700-square-foot (1,000-square-meter) of meeting and event facilities, including a state-of-the-art business centre, two ballrooms and eleven modern meeting and conference rooms.

“We are delighted to work with Hyatt on the first Hyatt Regency hotel in Qatar, a global brand with the caliber of offerings suited for this market,” commented Philippe Anric, director of operations Dhiafatina Hotels. “The Hyatt Regency brand perfectly aligns with both the business and leisure culture of the dynamic city of Doha and we look forward to providing an exceptional hospitality experience.”

Of the more than 900 Hyatt-branded hotels around the world, more than 200 of them in more than 30 countries are Hyatt Regency properties. The opening of Hyatt Regency Oryx Doha is part of a wider expansion strategy for the brand and group in the Middle East.

Main image credit: Hyatt Hotels

Inside the first ‘luxe lifestyle wellness resort’ in Grenada

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Inside the first ‘luxe lifestyle wellness resort’ in Grenada

Opening on October 1 2020, The Point at Petite Calvigny will be the first dedicated luxury lifestyle and wellness resort on the island of Grenada in the Caribbean. Editor Hamish Kilburn writes…

With just three design-led villas and 12 suites nestled on an 11-acre estate on the south coast of Grenada, The Point at Petite Calvigny is the island’s new ultra-luxury resort.

The resort, which slopes down to Benji Bay, features a privately accessed secluded beach, a state of the art gym and wellness centre including The Petite Spa, five swimming pools, a beach bar and restaurant and a private marina.

Chris Ashby, the property’s owner who, in collaboration with Adriana Hoyos Hospitality, took it upon himself to design the interiors following his extensive travel experience, fell in love with the raw, natural beauty of this part of Grenada and its stunning views. This ultimately inspired him to create the luxury ‘cloistered sanctuary’ where the outside world is left at the ‘entrance/gate’. “The Point is the first luxury resort in Grenada that is totally focussed on wellness,” Ashby explains. “We offer discerning travellers the perfect combination of luxury accommodation in a peaceful setting with the ability to design their stay exactly as they wish. I am proud to say that The Point is owned by a Grenadian, was built by Grenadians and is staffed by Grenadians.”

No effort was spared in creating the perfect ambiance, which included changing the orientation of the buildings following recommendations from a Feng Shui consultant who advised that they be aligned ‘with water in front and mountains in the background’. As a result, all the buildings stand in an optimum location in order to capture uninterrupted views of the waters of Benji Bay, the unspoilt marine sanctuary of Woburn Bay and the private resort of Calvigny Island.

Image caption: The hotel has been configured to capture uninterrupted views of the waters of Benji Bay, Woburn Bay and the private resort of Calvigny Island. | Image credit: The Point at Petite Calvigny

The Point at Petite Calvigny, which was developed by C.A.C Partners Ltd., has been built to the highest eco standards without compromising on comfort or luxury. There are many hidden eco-friendly elements such as environmentally compliant building materials; super insulated walls, UV filters on windows and doors to minimise energy consumption; rainwater harvesting to provide drinking water and a wastewater treatment system that produces water to irrigate the gardens.  All toiletries are vegan friendly and free from parabens, sulphates and phosphates while the spa incorporates local products such as scrubs made using natural, local ingredients.

“Designed in a contemporary West Indian style with warm wood finishes, all the rooms are spacious and bathed in natural light.”

Reflecting the wellness focus of the resort and Grenada, all accommodation has been named after crystals such as Citrine and Blue Lace. Designed in a contemporary West Indian style with warm wood finishes, all the rooms are spacious and bathed in natural light from floor to ceiling windows that allow for magnificent, unobstructed views of the bay and nearby islands. Inside the rooms, nautical artwork further reflects the property’s unique sense of location, as does the lighting and sensitively designed furnishings.

Image caption: The clean design of the interiors feature interesting lighting, natural materials and a large nautical map of the region. | Image credit: The Point

Image caption: The clean design of the interiors feature interesting lighting, natural materials and a large nautical map of the region. | Image credit: The Point at Petite Calvigny

Each of the three split level villas have three bedrooms, three bathrooms, a private infinity pool and deck with a grilling station. The 12 single-floor suites have two bedrooms, two bathrooms, private balconies and share two large free form swimming pools, a swim up bar and outdoor grilling station.  A selection of fresh herbs are available for guests wishing to add a little extra flavour to their barbecue.

Image caption: Exterior image of one of three villas available at the resort. | Image credit: The Point.

Image caption: Exterior image of one of three villas available at the resort. | Image credit: The Point at Petite Calvigny

Both the villas and suites have fully custom kitchens, dining and living rooms and internet-based TV. Extra touches such as oil diffusers, mood lighting, high quality hypo allergenic bedding, insulation to reduce sound and black out curtains help to enhance sleep performance.

The Point is specially designed to promote rest and rejuvenation. To take this up a level, and in order for the service to match Ashby’s aim, a complimentary consultation with the hotel’s ‘Vibe Director’ is available to each guest in order to create a stay that is perfectly attuned to their specific needs.

Places like this sanctuary within the Caribbean are highly coveted. The Point Private Residence Club is the first and only luxury residence club on the island of Grenada.

In conclusion, every detail of The Point has been specially designed and curated for the discerning eye – from the location and architecture of the residences to the carefully manicured tropical gardens and exceptional experiences – it is a paradise that is naturally self-isolating in its own unique corner of the world.

Main image credit: The Point at Petite Calvigny

A series of renders of W Sao Paulo

W Hotels to open second hotel in Brazil

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
W Hotels to open second hotel in Brazil

The 80-key W Gramado is expected to open in 2023 and will become the second W Hotels property to open in Brazil. Editor Hamish Kilburn writes…

For some months now, the highly anticipated – and Covid delayed – opening of W Ibiza has taken the spotlight. In June, Hotel Designs welcome the project’s designers and architects from BARANOWITZ + KRONENBERG to debate the future of public areas at Hotel Designs LIVE.

A series of renders of W Sao Paulo

While the noise amplifies as the hotel is finally able to open its vibrant doors, the cutting-edge hotel brand has announced its next venture. W Gramado will become the brand’s second hotel in Brazil and fourth in the Southern Cone of Latin America.

The news was announced after the brand signed an agreement with KJP Participaçoes LTD to bring the W Hotels brand to Gramado, a mountain resort town in the Brazil’s southernmost state, Rio Grande do Sul.

“To have a cutting-edge W hotel in Rio Grande do Sul, a destination ready for the brand’s bold design, signature Whatever/Whenever service and innovative programming is exceptional,” said Laurent de Kousemaeker, Chief Development Officer, Caribbean and Latin America for Marriott International.

Renders of the hotel’s design scheme, or any information on which architecture/design firm has been appointed for the project, have yet to be announced – but here’s what we do know.

The 80 room hotel, W Gramado, will be located in the Swiss Village, the highest point of Gramado, known for exceptional views into the valley and hills beyond the city center. The property borders Orchids Park and is located less than one mile from the main attractions of Gramado. The property is planned to occupy a single four-story building with sustainable architecture with vegetation features that are indigenous to Orchids Park. The adjacent W Residences will be developed in a cluster of low-rise buildings within walking distance of the hotel.

The hotel is set to offer guests the world’s most lust-worthy resort experience in a wildly different way, and provide Brazilian visitors an exciting new lodging option that embodies the W Hotels brand’s “work hard, play hard” philosophy.

W Gramado will bring a lodging alternative that does not yet exist in the city, which will provide its guests and owners of W Residences an experience normally only offered in the most sought after global travel destinations. The hotel plans to provide several food and beverage options, both indoor and outdoor; an exclusive Wet Deck, AWAY Spa; FIT Fitness Centre, as well as a rooftop bar that will be at the highest point of Gramado, boasting a view across several surrounding cities. For corporate and social events, the stunning property will provide 500 square meters of meeting space and event centre.

“W Gramado will help put the city firmly on the map as a sustainable luxury destinations with the arrival of W Hotel & Residences,” explained George Brody representing the owners of the Swiss Village. “I believe the city is perfectly set up to welcome future generations of travellers with this exciting addition to Orchid Park.”

KJP Participaçoes LTD expects to begin construction in early 2021 and aims to complete and open the hotel in Q1 2023.

Main image caption: Renders of W Hotel Sao Paulo, expected to open in 2021 | Image credits: Marriott International

Byblos Hotel on Spain’s Costa Del Sol to join The Unbound Collection by Hyatt

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Byblos Hotel on Spain’s Costa Del Sol to join The Unbound Collection by Hyatt

Following extensive renovations, the iconic Andalusian resort will join The Unbound Collection by Hyatt brand and mark the first Hyatt-branded hotel in Southern Spain…

The former iconic Byblos Hotel in Mijas on the Costa del sol, which has been closed since 2010, will be redeveloped to join The Unbound Collection by Hyatt.

The news was announced after a Hyatt affiliate entered into a franchise agreement with a wholly owned subsidiary of Intriva Capital European Principal Investment Fund I LP (“Intriva”), a European private equity fund.

Expected to open in early 2022 (the same year as Conrad Hotels & Resorts is slated to debut in the Costa del Sol) in one of the country’s most visited regions, Andalusia, the luxury 200-key resort will mark the first Hyatt-branded hotel in Southern Spain.

“The illustrious past and distinctive architecture of the hotel make it a perfect fit for the brand.” – Nuno Galvao Pinto, regional vice president of development Europe, Hyatt.

“We are delighted to collaborate with Intriva to redevelop and rediscover the splendour of this famous building and welcome it into The Unbound Collection by Hyatt portfolio,” said Nuno Galvao Pinto, regional vice president of development Europe, Hyatt. “The illustrious past and distinctive architecture of the hotel make it a perfect fit for the brand and we expect it to be a truly exceptional addition this collection of storied hotels. We look forward to further growing this exciting independent brand across Europe, inviting guests to create story-worthy experiences at unforgettable properties.”

Traditional Spanish interiors inside guestroom

Image credit: Hyatt Hotels

Since its original opening in 1986, the hotel has been known as a hideaway for jet setters and royalty alike. The iconic blue and white building will be restored as a luxury resort reflecting memories from a golden age of travel, attracting independent-minded guests seeking a sophisticated yet unscripted experience. Behind its new Andalusian latticework, the Byblos Hotel will offer moments that inspire visitors to create their own stories and enjoy Southern Spain’s distinctive lifestyle with its lush gardens, pools, bright spaces, and unique interiors. The hotel will offer an abundance of luxury amenities including a health club and spa, indoor and outdoor pools, a cinema, and a night club, family facilities including a kid’s club, and exceptional conference spaces for private events and business meetings.

The food and beverage venues at the hotel will incorporate and reflect Andalusian culture with a rooftop bar offering guests stunning views of the Sierra de Mijas mountain range. It will be located adjacent to two 18-hole golf courses, originally designed by Robert Trent Jones, making the resort an excellent base for guests looking for a golfing retreat.

Image credit: Hyatt Hotels

“We are thrilled to team-up with Hyatt on this exciting project, restoring the iconic hotel to its former grandeur on the Andalusian coast,” said Tom Saunders, head of post-acquisition, Intriva. “We look forward to working with the local community to bring a new luxury resort to the area, underlining our commitment to the European leisure and hospitality sector at this challenging time. The hotel has a rich and exciting past that we intend to bring it to life once again supported by Hyatt.”

The announcement signifies a major addition to The Unbound Collection by Hyatt brand in Europe and marks the first Hyatt-branded hotel in Southern Spain. As the third most visited region in Spain in 2019[1], Andalusia represents a key opportunity to expand the Hyatt brand’s footprint in Southern Europe and to tap into the growing popularity of the region with tourists.

The resort will join other Hyatt-branded hotels in Spain, including Hyatt Centric Grand Vía MadridHyatt Regency Hesperia MadridHyatt Regency Barcelona Tower, and Hotel SOFIA Barcelona, which is part of The Unbound Collection by Hyatt brand.

The Unbound Collection by Hyatt gives guests the freedom to create their own story-worthy experiences at unique properties around the world, whether it’s a historic gem tucked in the heart of Paris, like Hôtel du Louvre, or a spectacular architectural monument such as Parisi Udvar Hotel Budapest. Additional properties within The Unbound Collection by Hyatt in Europe include Hôtel Martinez in Cannes, Hôtel du Palais Biarritz, Nish Palas in Istanbul and Great Scotland Yard Hotel in London.

Main image credit: Hyatt Hotels

Sleep & Eat 2020 Introduces ‘hotel guestroom 2035’

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Sleep & Eat 2020 Introduces ‘hotel guestroom 2035’

International hotel groups, students, architects and designers are collaborating to create concept guestrooms of the future, which will be unveiled at Sleep & Eat 2020

Sleep & Eat, which recently announced the plans around this year’s virtual event, has unveiled the hotel brand partners that will be working with award-winning architecture and design firms in the creation of this year’s ‘guestroom sets’.

The firms are: Accor, partnering with Perkins and Will; IHG, working with AD Associates; and Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, collaborating with Chalk Architecture, Hotel Hussy and students from University of West London. In addition, ReardonSmith Architects is creating a guestroom for a hotel group yet to be launched in collaboration with students from Glion Institute of Higher Education and Hotelschool The Hague led by the directors of hotel creative consultancy, HoCoSo, and branded by Delight Lifestyle Brand Agency.

The designers and Hotel Brand Partners have been tasked with not only showcasing the best of innovative hotel design today but also, in this 15th anniversary year of the event, giving us a glimpse into what to expect from our hotel guestrooms over the next 15 years. Each Hotel Brand Partner has selected one of its brands for this forward-looking adventure into design innovation: Wyndham Hotels & Resorts – Wyndham; IHG – Voco; and Accor – Mővenpick Hotels & Resorts.

Since this year Sleep & Eat will be a virtual event, the design projects will culminate in simulated digital walk-throughs allowing visitors to explore the concept in detail, navigate around the room and enjoy an interactive three-dimensional experience.

For the hotel groups, this is a unique opportunity to work with design firms that are new to them and to imagine the future for their brands.

“This year’s theme captured our imagination and enticed us to participate in Sleep & Eat 2020,” explained Chris Lee, Director of Architecture, Design & Construction for Wyndham Hotels & Resorts. “We have been given the opportunity to approach guestroom design with a truly open mind and to bring our vision to life. It’s also a wonderful opportunity to work with our extended team including the inspiring designer Paul Nicholson at Chalk Architecture; Katie Brinsmead-Stockham for Hotel Hussy; and Professor Layton Reid and his students at the University of West London.”

Emma King, Head of Design at IHG, said: “We have built many concept rooms in the past but this is different – the opportunity to conceptualise a room so far into the future,” she said. “Sleep & Eat is a great chance to showcase new design and we’re really pleased to be working with AD Associates on this.”

Accor’s Vice President design for Lux and Premium brands, Federico Toresi, added: “This is a great opportunity for Accor to continue imagining the future of hospitality through design. Today, more than ever before, it is vital to create hotels that are aligned with expectations of our guests whilst fully reflecting brands’ ambitions and their promise.”

Ever since their introduction, the Sets in all their iterations have proved a perennial favourite among visitors as a thought-provoking take on the hotel experience, cultural values and human desires. They have also been a rare opportunity for architects and designers to explore conceptual thought and interrogate societal and environmental issues.

Neil Andrew, Head of Hospitality at Perkins and Will, says: “For us, innovative sustainable design is pivotal to our industry, now more than ever, so our Set will be exploring the role the sector can play in meeting the environmental targets we so urgently need to reach.”

Jonny Sin, Director of ReardonSmith Architects, echoed this sentiment: “We are living through a time of re-calibration when some existing trends will accelerate and others will be re-thought. This makes it particularly meaningful to be working with students who will be the managers and owners, as well as influential guests, of hotels in 15 years’ time.”

Katharine Le Quesne, MD of HoCoSo, added: “Engagement with tomorrow’s stakeholders has been key. Based on our relationships, we handpicked a team of students from two of the best hospitality schools in Europe, to inspire the creative process.”

The four guestroom Sets will be joined by immersive wining and dining experiences as well as by a virtual lounge bar and hotel lobby, and the new on-line platform will enable all event participants and registered attendees around the globe to pre-arrange meetings at the event.

Sleep & Eat Virtual will take place on 17-19 November. For more information and to register, visit the website.

Main image credit: Pixabay/Sleep & Eat Virtual

Feature: a new era of luxury hospitality has begun

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Feature: a new era of luxury hospitality has begun

To coincide with the opening of Birch, which has been described as a ‘next-generation escape’ hotel just outside London, editor Hamish Kilburn considers how Covid-19 has challenged the luxury hotel market by hearing from international architecture and interior design firm Red Deer on the luxury hotel’s design story…

Even after lockdown, Covid-19 has created a distance between us, which is predicted to last for a while. Although we will meet again as we did before, architecture firm Red Deer believes that a new shift in the luxury market will emerge from our time apart.

“For Red Deer, luxury comes from the creation of a meaningful emotional connection between the hotel guest and the space they inhabit.”

Red Deer considers the term ‘luxury’ as degraded through overuse, and the parameters of what constitutes a ‘luxury hotel’ can be difficult to define. The concept can be specific to each individual guest, based on their own expectation, habits and culture. For Red Deer, luxury comes from the creation of a meaningful emotional connection between the hotel guest and the space they inhabit.

Image credit: Birch/Red Deer/Adam Firman

“Millennials represent only about 32 per cent of spending in the personal luxury market, but by 2025 they are expected to make up 50 per cent of the total market,” writes Forbes contributor Pamela N. Danziger. “Some 130 per cent of market growth in the next seven years will be attributed to the Millennial generation.”

Rejecting traditional wealth values

The luxury industry has often been aligned with indulgence and excess rather than sustainability and connections. Quality craftsmanship and experiences may continue to command a premium price tag, however, Millennials are creating a new focus towards sustainability. Both Millennial and Gen Z groups’ expectations from luxury brands are very different from those of Gen X and Baby Boomers who favour traditional wealth values. Social connections and insider knowledge are of more importance to these younger consumers who are more likely to make value-based acquisitions and purchases. Luxury weaves its way through their experiences, free time, travel, community, self-growth and security.

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

“With Birch, the firm felt it crucial to collaborate with local artists and makers to create some unique pieces in the rooms.”

Image credit: Birch/Red Deer/Adam Firman

As the landscape for luxury hospitality has evolved, the onus is now focused on creating a unique and personalised one-to-one experience for guests. This bespoke experience is a key driver throughout the design of Red Deer’s projects. With Birch, the firm felt it crucial to collaborate with local artists and makers to create some unique pieces in the rooms and challenge the idea that uniformity was essential for large batch furniture specification.

The most prominent of these pieces is a bespoke valet stand constructed by Jan Hendzel Studio, utilising recycled plastic orbs by sustainable material designer Charlotte Kidger, textured vases by ceramicist Emma Louise Payne and hand-beaten copper bowls by metalsmith Lucie Naujalis. It’s a piece that is intimate and personal, telling a story of three different elements brought together in a single form that is simultaneously light and robust, whilst able to be easily taken apart when required and updated over time. It’s a piece designed to stimulate the guest’s senses and spark their curiosity.

Before the pandemic, the global luxury market was predicted to reach €1.3 trillion by 2025. As the hospitality industry enters a challenging period in Q2/3 2020 it is ever-important for the designers and hotel investors to consider the changing market needs and place social connections and insider knowledge alongside premium experiences at the forefront of their business models. Hotels aren’t just bedrooms with smart technology, but memory-making experiences that create value and loyalty.

Image credit: Birch/Red Deer/Adam Firman

Red Deer believes Birch to be an example of how hospitality projects should be approached, considering a long-term commitment to sustainability within a renovation or new build as a crucial component of architectural design.

Main image credit: Birch/Red Deer/Adam Firman

Conrad Hotels & Resorts to debut in Spain

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Conrad Hotels & Resorts to debut in Spain

Conrad Costa del Sol, Spain’s first Conrad Hotels & Resorts property, is slated to open in early 2022…

Hilton has announced the signing of an agreement to open the Conrad Costa del Sol – a 194-key luxury resort set to bring ‘a new level of contemporary luxury’ to the Andalusian coast.

Owned by Markway Inversiones S.L., a company of the Platinum Estates Group, the property will be managed by Hilton and is set to open at the beginning of 2022, and will mark the Conrad brand’s arrival in Spain.

“The Costa del Sol is an incredibly popular destination with holidaymakers from all over Europe and beyond, thanks to its year-round good weather, expansive beaches and stunning scenery,” said Carlos Miró, Hilton’s Managing Director of Development for Spain and Portugal.” This property – our first Conrad Hotels & Resorts property in Spain – represents an important step for Hilton, as we look to expand our footprint of luxury properties across Europe. We look forward to welcoming guests to this stunning hotel.”

Roshni Mohinani, President of Platinum Estates ltd. added: “We are delighted to announce our agreement with Hilton to operate this hotel under the prestigious Conrad brand, and we look forward to continuing to work closely with our valued partners in the local community to bring this project to life. The beautiful Costa del Sol continues to attract domestic and international tourists alike, and we see great potential for investment in this area.”

The new hotel will join a collection of award-winning Conrad Hotels and Resorts spanning five continents. Each property features contemporary luxury experience, intuitive service and infinite connections with local culture, powered by the latest innovation.

The new hotel will join a collection of award-winning Conrad Hotels and Resorts spanning five continents. Each property features contemporary luxury experience, intuitive service and infinite connections with local culture, powered by the latest innovation.

Conrad Costa del Sol will be no exception, boasting stunning sea views from its vantage point in the Andalusian hills, with spacious contemporary guestrooms and expansive luxurious facilities including a large spa with indoor pool, multiple outdoor pools, two bars and a high-end restaurant. The Costa del Sol’s vast coastline, which is home to more beaches than any other area of the Andalucía region, is a five-minute drive away.

“This property, which exemplifies the contemporary design, beautiful facilities and connection to local culture with personalised experiences which guests expect from the Conrad brand, is a fitting first entry into Spain.” – Nils-Arne Schroeder, Global Head for Conrad Hotels & Resorts.

“From Bora Bora, Koh Samui and The Maldives in Asia to the Algarve and Istanbul in Europe, the Conrad brand is renowned for its award-winning hotels and resorts,” explained Nils-Arne Schroeder, Global Head for Conrad Hotels & Resorts. “This property, which exemplifies the contemporary design, beautiful facilities and connection to local culture with personalised experiences which guests expect from the Conrad brand, is a fitting first entry into Spain. We aim to bring the sophistication of the Conrad brand to key locations all over the world and we are looking forward to introducing our unique luxury to the Costa del Sol.”

The Costa del Sol attracts millions of international and domestic tourists each year, with visitors drawn to its sandy coastline, glamourous harbours and charming remote villages. The area benefits from excellent rail and air connections to the rest of Spain, Continental Europe and the UK from Malaga, which is located just over an hour from the resort.

The Conrad Costa del Sol will join a portfolio of exquisite luxury hotels across the world, including Conrad Algarve – home to Gusto by Heinz Beck, Conrad Maldives Rangali Island and Conrad BaliConrad Bora Bora and Conrad Koh Samui.

Main image credit: Hilton Hotels

Building which will be the rosewood hotel in Shanghai

Rosewood announces new hotel in Shanghai

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Rosewood announces new hotel in Shanghai

Shanghai is a strategic addition to the Rosewood Hotels & Resorts brand, expanding its footprint in Asia. Rosewood Shanghai will join nine properties in operation and six in development across the continent…

Following recent announcements from the luxury brand to open hotels in St Barths, Madrid and Sardinia, Rosewood Hotels & Resorts has been appointed by Shanghai-based property development company, Lonsen Land Group, to manage Rosewood Shanghai.

Building which will be the rosewood hotel in Shanghai

The new 200-key hotel in mainland China, which will join nine properties in operation in the continent, is set to break ground in 2022, with an expected opening in 2028.

Ideally situated in the heart of Shanghai’s Jing’An District and Suhewan area, an emerging business and cultural hub, Rosewood Shanghai will offer travellers unparalleled access to the city. The announcement of Rosewood Shanghai underscores the brand’s careful, selective growth strategy in Asia and across the globe, as well as the strength of its impressive property pipeline, which is now the most robust in Rosewood’s history.

Occupying prime real estate within a mixed-use project designed by renowned international studio Foster + Partners, Rosewood Shanghai is set to transform the city skyline. Occupying the top floors of the site’s landmark building, which will be one of the tallest complexes in the city’s Puxi district at 320 meters, the hotel will deliver unique design conceived to showcase its expansive views of the metropolis. In keeping with the brand’s guiding A Sense of Place® philosophy, the destination’s storied history, rich culture and dynamic spirit will serve as additional inspiration for the property’s design ethos and bespoke programming.

“The country’s largest city and economic hub, Shanghai embodies several of our key brand values – innovation, creativity and originality.” – Sonia Cheng, chief executive officer of Rosewood Hotel Group.

“As we continue to grow the brand throughout Asia and specifically mainland China, Shanghai has long been a priority destination in which to plant the Rosewood flag,” said Sonia Cheng, chief executive officer of Rosewood Hotel Group. “The country’s largest city and economic hub, Shanghai embodies several of our key brand values – innovation, creativity and originality. We are thrilled to bring a new standard of luxury to the region and thank our partners at Lonsen Land Group for the opportunity they’ve given us to do so.”

Rosewood Shanghai will offer 200 guestrooms and suites, five food and beverage establishments and Asaya, Rosewood Hotels & Resorts’ revolutionary wellness concept.

“For many, Shanghai is known as “Mo Du”, the Magic City; cherished for its rich cultural heritage, modern lifestyle offerings and captivating social scenes,” says Mr Ruan Xingxiang, chairman of Lonsen Land Group. “With the brand’s A Sense of Place® philosophy and referencing to the success story of its trophy property in Hong Kong, Rosewood Hotels & Resorts makes an ideal partner of us to reinvent Shanghai’s charm as a destination to the affluential explorers from around the world.”

Rosewood Shanghai will join Rosewood’s collection of distinguished city and resort properties in Greater China, which currently includes Rosewood Hong Kong, Rosewood Beijing, Rosewood Sanya and Rosewood Guangzhou. Additional projects in development in the region include Rosewood Chengdu and Rosewood Ningbo, both set to open in 2023, along with Rosewood Shenzhen and Rosewood Taipei, which are planned to open in 2024.

Main image credit: Rosewood Hotels & Resorts

Stock Exchange Hotel in Manchester to re-open in August

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Stock Exchange Hotel in Manchester to re-open in August

Stock Exchange Hotel in Manchester, which will host MEET UP North on May 6, 2021, has sensibly decided to delay its reopening until August 28, allowing its team to put…

Following the government announcement on June 23, which highlighted that the hospitality sector could re-open once more from July 4, The Stock Exchange Hotel in Manchester started to work on its re-opening plan.

The Manchester-based luxury hotel, which will host MEET UP North on May 6 2021, was among one of the first hotels in the UK to close its door to the public and offer its rooms to NHS key workers during the Covid-19 crisis. Having operated throughout the Covid-19 lockdown period due to hosting NHS professionals, the hotel has already had first-hand experience of operating under rigorous guidelines and processes in order to protect the NHS team and its own volunteers in the building. In a statement, the hotel said: “This has given us valuable insight to how to do things even more safely than we used to before the virus outbreak.

In order to adapt its protocols to face the post-pandemic world, the hotel released a statement, which said: “Even though our doors are not officially open, members of our sales and commercial team have returned to the business and will be dealing with any guest enquiries as we head towards our re-opening date of the August 28.” 

Within the statement, the hotel outlined some of its new health and safety measures, including increasing the frequency of sanitising all public areas and facilities, PPE, increased signage and contactless check-in.

MEET UP North, which was forced to postpone this year due to the Covid-19 spread, will take place in Stock Exchange Hotel in Manchester on May 6. To find out more about the event, and how to secure you tickets, click here.

Main image credit: Stock Exchange Hotel

Hotel Designs LIVE: ‘eco warrior’ Bill Bensley confirmed as headline speaker

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel Designs LIVE: ‘eco warrior’ Bill Bensley confirmed as headline speaker

Back by popular demand, following last months debut event, Hotel Designs LIVE, which will take place on October 13, has  announced the renowned ‘eco warrior’ Bill Bensley as its headline speaker…

Last month, the industry gathered for Hotel Designs’ debut virtual conference, which broadcasted a series of debates and discussions.

Following the positive response, highlighting how well the virtual event was received, Hotel Designs LIVE (part two) will welcome yet more internationally renowned designers, architects and hoteliers in order to start relevant conversations like no other.

If you are designer, architect, hotelier or developer, click here to secure your complimentary virtual seat in the audience for Hotel Designs LIVE on October 13.

The next edition of Hotel Designs LIVE, which takes place on October 13, will focus on sustainability, adding personality in public areas, reassuring the post-corona consumer and the revival of smart technology post-pandemic.

Editor Hamish Kilburn, who will host the event, explains: “When we launched Hotel Designs LIVE as a meaningful way to keep the industry connected throughout lockdown, it was our mission to select engaging and thought-provoking topics that would resonate with our audience. The next Hotel Designs LIVE will look past the short-term issues and solutions that emerged during the pandemic, and will instead focus the editorial lens on wider topics, with sustainability expecting to dominate the general tone of the event. It is important to for us to continue discussing new ways to challenge conventional ideas in order to find sustainable, alternative methods when it comes to design and service – and who better to discuss this than the eco-warrior himself, Bill Bensley?”

Affectionately known as the ‘Willy Wonka of Design’, Bensley is a dedicated eco-warrior and a highly qualified jack of all trades – gardener, fisherman, architect, interior designer, lover of all things natural, and most of all, a wide-ranging explorer of as many corners of the earth as he can. Most recently, he made headlines for unveiling his plans to design a human zoo after publishing his white-paper on sensible sustainable solutions.

Sustainability is at the core of everything I create as a designer.” – Bill Bensley.

When interviewed by Hotel Designs in 2018, the award-winning designer described himself in three words as: “serious, inquisitive and wacky”. Bringing all that energy to discuss innovative and sustainable solutions, Bensley will join Kilburn on the virtual stage to explore how design, architecture and hospitality can coincide with nature. “Sustainability is at the core of everything I create as a designer,” Bensley told Hotel Designs. “I am simply ecstatic to join Hamish Kilburn for Hotel Designs LIVE where we will talk about how, as an industry, it is essential for us to work together to design hotels with meaning, and rework conventional ideas and methods in the process – all to create a more profound and considerate international hotel design landscape that puts nature first.”

Hotel Designs LIVE takes place virtually on October 13. Bensley is first speaker of the event who has been announced, with the full panel being unveiled next week.

If you are a designer, architect, hotelier  or developer and would like to find out more about Hotel Designs LIVE, or book on to any or all of the above sessions, you can do so by visiting the event page.

If 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.

Hyatt announces plans for its debut hotel in Cyprus

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hyatt announces plans for its debut hotel in Cyprus

Grand Hyatt Limassol, set to open in Cyprus in 2025, will mark a significant milestone for Hyatt’s growth in Europe…

Weeks after IHG announced its arrival on the island, Hyatt has also announced that the group has entered into a management agreement to open the first Hyatt hotel in Cyprus.

With a design and architecture team yet to be assembled, the 300-room luxury resort is expected to open in 2025 and signifies Hyatt’s continued growth into Europe’s leading travel destinations.

The new-build beachfront resort will be situated at a Blue Flag beach east of Limassol, one of the island’s most cosmopolitan cities. With a prime beachfront location on the southern coast of the island and 300 bold, light-filled rooms offering sea views, Grand Hyatt Limassol will be a captivating destination within a destination featuring a stunning 43,000-square-foot (4,000 square meter) beach club including premium spa and fitness facilities as well as an indoor pool and two outdoor pools.

The resort will additionally offer five elevated food and beverage concepts as well as 15,000 square feet (1,400 square meters) of event space. Furthermore, Grand Hyatt Limassol will be a key element of Zaria Resort, a mixed-use luxury development, comprised of residential apartments and private villas totalling more than 861,100 square feet (80,000 square meters).

“We’re delighted to work with Anolia Holdings Limited to bring the Grand Hyatt brand, known for its access to iconic locales, to the island of Cyprus, one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe,” said Takuya Aoyama, vice president development for Europe and Africa, Hyatt. “Grand Hyatt Limassol represents a key element of our growth strategy in Europe as we continue to seek opportunities to extend our resort footprint in the Mediterranean.”

Arriving guests will drive past the lush greenery of the hotel’s 150,000-square-foot (14,000-square-meter) public garden and promenades and enjoy a spectacular view of the Mediterranean. The resort promises to be a celebration of all the exquisite details of Cypriot culture, offering guests a stay beyond the ordinary through magnificent moments of more and superior service.

“We are thrilled to team-up with Hyatt on this development,” said Alexander Iakovlev, director of Anolia Holdings “The Grand Hyatt brand is synonymous with luxury and creating unique experiences for guests which remain authentic to the destination itself. In addition, given Limassol’s status as a financial capital of Cyprus, the hotel will not only attract leisure guests but may also prove popular for business travelers, conference-goers and event attendees. We are eager to see Grand Hyatt Limassol become the heart of the Zaria Resort development.”

The announcement of Grand Hyatt Limassol follows a significant expansion in Hyatt’s brand footprint in Europe over the last 12 months. Nine new hotels including Great Scotland Yard, Hyatt Centric Dublin, Andaz Vienna Am Belvedere, Hyatt Regency Chantilly and more opened in the region in 2019, with four more additions in Barcelona, Manchester and Frankfurt this year.

These plans for a hotel in Cyprus represent a key opportunity in Europe as it builds upon Hyatt’s existing and upcoming portfolio in Malta, Athens Thessaloniki and Izmir. The island has furthermore proven to attract travellers from Hyatt’s key strategic markets including the UK, Russia, Greece, Germany and the Middle East.

Main image credit: Hyatt

Marriott International opens 800th property in Asia Pacific

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Marriott International opens 800th property in Asia Pacific

A milestone opening underscores the continued development of the Marriott International portfolio in Asia Pacific with brand debuts expected across the region throughout 2020…

Months after claiming to open more than 30 luxury properties in 2020, Marriott International has announced the opening of its 800th property in Asia Pacific, the JW Marriott Nara, marking the brand’s the entry into Japan.

The company also expects the EDITION and Aloft brands to debut in Japan before the end of the year. Across the Asia Pacific region throughout 2020, the Moxy brand anticipates its first hotel opening in China.

“We are encouraged by recent trends, especially in China, where demand has been driven primarily by domestic tourism.” – Craig S. Smith, Group President, Asia Pacific for Marriott International

“We remain confident in the resilience of travel, our owners and franchisees, guests and associates as well as the future prospects of lodging in Asia Pacific, our second largest market, ” said Craig S. Smith, Group President, Asia Pacific for Marriott International. “We are encouraged by recent trends, especially in China, where demand has been driven primarily by domestic tourism, and we will continue to focus on strengthening our footprint in this important, growing market.”

The group in Asia Pacific has, on average, added close to 80 hotels per year in the last three years, with its pipeline growing by nearly 10 percent annually over the same time period. In the first half of 2020 alone, the company recorded 73 new signings, including 43 in the Greater China region.

“These highly anticipated brand debuts are a testament to the confidence that the owner and franchisee community has in Asia Pacific, as well as Marriott International’s long-term vision, especially in today’s challenging business climate,” said Paul Foskey, Chief Development Officer, Marriott International, Asia Pacific. “Our owners and franchisees trust and choose Marriott International because of our overall reputation for product quality, our powerful and differentiated portfolio of brands, our Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program with more than 142 million global members, and our proven track record of operational excellence.”

In the last three years, the hotel group in Asia Pacific saw a 20 per cent increase in the number of conversion hotels added to the portfolio on an annual basis. Conversions allow owners and franchisees to plug into the Marriott system at a quicker pace compared to opening a new build hotel. This year, the company signed Singapore’s first two Autograph Collection hotels – Marriott International’s dynamic collection of independent hotels that champions individuality – both anticipated to fly the Autograph Collection brand flag in 2021.

With six billion domestic trips made to China in 2019 alone, largely attributed to a rise in average disposable income, demand for brands positioned at a moderate price-point has gained momentum among both travellers and hotel owners. To meet this growing demand and support franchisees, the group has introduced an “Enhanced Franchise” model. Under this model, Marriott will appoint a general manager for the first year of a hotel’s opening to help train and equip franchisees to leverage Marriott’s powerful systems.

Marriott International recently debuted the AC Hotels by Marriott brand in Asia Pacific with three AC by Marriott hotels in Malaysia earlier this year and the AC Hotels Tokyo Ginza earlier this month. AC Hotels by Marriott celebrates the beauty of modern design with its European soul and Spanish roots with hotels that are intuitively designed. Also in Japan and situated on the edge of a 1,300-year-old garden set on former royal palace grounds, the 158-room JW Marriott Nara is the first offering from the JW Marriott brand in the country. Additionally, expected to open by the end of this year, the EDITION Toranomon in Tokyo is slated to be the brand’s debut in the country.

With millennials expected to return to travel first, the anticipated opening of the Moxy Shanghai Xujiahui this year is expected to be an ideal addition to the vibrant cosmopolitan city. The millennial-focused Moxy brand features lively public spaces, minimalist design elements and rooms fitted with custom furniture that offers a playful style of traveling.

Note from the editor: while milestones like these should be celebrated as exceptional achievements, it’s also worth understanding that, as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak, the demand for hotel development, hospitality and tourism in this region specifically is expected to suffer. It is therefore my hope that familiar hotel brands, like the ones that Marriott International shelters, will re-engage with the modern traveller, giving them much needed assurance to explore destinations beyond their reach once more in the post-pandemic world.

Main image credit: Marriott International

Everything you need to know about hospitality salaries and staff expectations

1024 1024 Hamish Kilburn
Everything you need to know about hospitality salaries and staff expectations

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

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

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

Image credit: Planday

So what — exactly — does that look like?

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

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

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