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Hotel Development

IN PICTURES: Jean-Michel Gathy’s plans for Amaala Island, Saudi Arabia

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
IN PICTURES: Jean-Michel Gathy’s plans for Amaala Island, Saudi Arabia

Design and architecture studio Denniston’s Jean-Michel Gathy has been announced as the master planner of the Ultra luxe AMAALA Island in Saudi Arabia…

Denniston’s internationally multi-award-winning architect, Jean-Michel Gathy, has released the first rendering showing what Ultra Luxe Amaala Island will look like.

Designed to evolve and elevate the very best in travel, AMAALA, located along Saudi Arabia’s northwest coast, is an ultra-luxury destination that focuses on curating transformative personal journeys inspired by arts, wellness and the purity of the Red Sea.

Rendering of 'The Palace', which will be situated on The Island

Image caption: A rendering of ‘The Palace’, which will be situated on The Island

Set in the Prince Mohammed bin Salman Nature Reserve across three unique communities, the 3,800-square kilometres (1,460-square miles) year-round destination will include 2,500 hotel keys and more than 800 residential villas, apartments and estate homes, alongside 200 high-end retail establishments, fine dining, wellness and recreation.

“This is truly unique, nothing like it has ever been planned before.” – Jean-Michel Gathy

“The Island development will be an immersive and interactive art-inspired jewel,” explained Gathy. “Its lifestyle components, its landscaping, the museums, and art installations together with the art community will transform this island into the ‘Diamond of the Red Sea’. It will feature many different venues for permanent installations or temporary exhibitions and artistic performances. The graphic layout of its spine will be distinctive from the air and will be recognised internationally as an iconic landmark. The project features all elements programmed and reflects the areas, numbers and facilities. This is truly unique, nothing like it has ever been planned before.”

Image caption: A rendering showing the open-air design scheme of a 'seven-star' hotel room

Image caption: A rendering showing the open-air design scheme of a ‘seven-star’ hotel room

Representing one of AMAALA’s trio of communities – Triple Bay, Coastal Development and The Island – ‘The Island’ will be the tranquil home of an exclusive art community, and an Arabic botanical garden filled with sculptural pieces. The new destination will house masterpieces across four key design elements: a contemporary art museum and academy, a Riviera-lifestyle artists’ colony, immersive artistic experiences, and art and sculpture co-creation opportunities.

The active community of The Island will be anchored by an artists’ village of working studios, artisanal shops, galleries, plus exhibition and performance facilities hosting a year-round calendar of immersive, and transformative works, representing the pillar of arts and culture. Fully aligned with Saudi Arabia’s ambitions for the future, the development of AMAALA is being rolled out across three key phases, with completion of the destination aimed for ahead of the realisation of Saudi Vision 2030.

AMAALA carves a unique positioning within the global hospitality portfolio, catering to select travellers looking for innovative experiential escapes,” said Chief Executive Officer of AMAALA, Nicholas Naples. “Our ambition is to create personalised experiences, catering to the individual needs of each guest. Entrenched in the philosophies of art, wellness, and inspired by the purity of the Red Sea, we are excited to be working alongside Jean-Michel Gathy and Denniston to bring to life our vision for The Island. It is here where our guests will embark on a transformational journey and feed the soul through arts and cultural offerings, with opportunities for philanthropic art co-creation.”

In addition to the The Island, Triple Bay will offer a fully holistic wellness retreat, state-of-the-art diagnostic medical facilities and authentic treatments designed to feature the local environment. Triple Bay will also be home to a fully integrated sports and entertainment community.

Elsewhere, The Coastal Development is set to become the defining hub of contemporary art in the Middle East, playing host to a dynamic programme of exciting events from the global arts and cultural calendar.

All image credits: Denniston/AMAALA

Aloft Hotels arrives in Bali with new ‘future-proof design’

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Aloft Hotels arrives in Bali with new ‘future-proof design’

Aloft Hotels’ First property on the Island of Bali introduces the brand’s new ‘future-proof design formula’…

Aloft Hotels, Marriott International’s hotel brand for music enthusiasts and tech-savvy travellers, has announced the opening of Aloft Bali Seminyak.

Located in the heart of vibrant Seminyak, within walking distance to the beachm, the urban-inspired hotel features interactive social spaces and modern style, along with a fresh new social scene to Bali as the first Aloft hotel to open on the island.

“We are excited to be unveiling the Aloft Hotels brand in Bali,” said Mike Fulkerson, Vice President, Brand & Marketing, Asia-Pacific, Marriott International. “The new Aloft Bali Seminyak is set to own the stage as the hottest gathering hub for travellers visiting the well-known social scene of Seminyak. From its bold design to its live music programming, locals and guests alike can experience the next generation of hotels that will enhance their stay while vacationing on island paradise.”

Aloft Bali Seminyak embodies the brand’s new tech-forward design philosophy with a lively, industrial-inspired aesthetic intermixed with distinct local touches that complement the free-flowing open spaces. The hotel is home to 80 modern and stylish guestrooms, all of which have been designed with the brand’s signature artful and innovative loft layout in mind. They feature airy nine-foot-ceilings, Aloft’s ultra-comfortable beds and contemporary décor with Balinese accents. In addition, the hotel features eight guestrooms with direct access to a lap pool, complete with stunning views of a tropical hanging garden.

render of luxury guestroom

Image credit: Aloft hotels/Marriott International

The hotel features a variety of dining and social spaces including its main attraction: The Kahuna rooftop restaurant, which serves up a fusion of eclectic fare with a playful twist on international and local cuisine complemented by mesmerising sea views as a backdrop.

The open and expressive lobby is adjacent to Re:mix lounge that provides locals and travellers a space to mix and mingle. The brand’s signature W XYZ bar offers signature cocktails and light bites for guests to enjoy over live music as part of the brand’s iconic Live At Aloft Hotels music series which offers emerging local artists a platform to showcase their musical talent.

Business travellers can make use of the two multi-functional, tech-forward meeting spaces equipped with fast and free Wi-Fi, which can also be transformed into an intimate event venue accommodating up to 66 people.

Aloft currently operates 176 lifestyle hotels globally. There are 132 Aloft hotels in the signed pipeline expected to open in North America, Caribbean & Latin America, Europe, Middle East & Africa, and Asia Pacific.

Main image credit: Marriott International/Aloft Hotels

GROHE adjusts production across Europe amidst pandemic

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
GROHE adjusts production across Europe amidst pandemic

The bathroom brand GROHE has announced suspended production in Portugal and manufacturing sites in Germany to  run adjusted production schedules in reaction to the COVID–19 pandemic…

GROHE has implemented its next steps in taking action to protect employees across its European manufacturing sites.

Production in Albergaria, Portugal, will be suspended from 30th March 2020, reflecting latest government regulations and the intensifying situation in this region. It is currently planned to resume operations on 12th April 2020. The structured and orderly phasing out period for the production in Albergaria has started. Besides the European plants, the manufacturing site in Klaeng, Thailand, is also following strict procedures including those around temperature controls to ensure increased hygiene standards and safety for employees.

With its measures the GROHE brand wants to uphold the safety and health of its staff and support overall efforts to help contain the pandemic. For all sites, applicable regulations and measures are under constant review and subject to adjustments as necessary. Together with its business partners, the GROHE brand is closely working on managing stock and service levels across the EMENA region, taking into account the circumstances and requirements of individual markets.

“With the spread of the novel coronavirus we witness an unprecedented situation, across the globe. Over the recent weeks, the impact has increased on society and the economy alike. Given the overall dynamics, we have constantly evaluated the rapidly changing circumstances early on to determine necessary actions. It is now, that we are tightening existing measures to further protect our employees,” says Thomas Fuhr, COO Fittings LIXIL International and CEO Grohe AG.

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

Main image credit: GROHE

Annual Hotel Conference unveils 2020 programme

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Annual Hotel Conference unveils 2020 programme

As the world continues to adapt in response to the current pandemic, The Annual Hotel Conference (AHC), which is due to take place later this year, has shared a sneak peek of this year’s programme…

Over the last 18 years, The Annual Hotel Conference (AHC) has become one of the leading events for the UK hospitality industry.

In a statement, the show said: “The immediate future is uncertain, but we do know that the uncertainty won’t last forever and when it disperses there will be a new normal where originality, information, passion and adaptability will be king. The importance of face-to-face meetings, handshakes, clinking glasses, and embraces will resume, even within the context of a new normal.”

The programme, which is available to view on The AHC website, is full creativity but also addresses the areas fundamental to the industry’s recovery. The conference content has always been rooted in delivering practical knowledge that delegates can take back to their hospitality businesses and implement and the event organisers remain steadfastly true to that promise. “We have a relentless focus on researching, shaping and delivering content that is relevant and fresh from speakers who are well-informed, interesting and stimulating,” the statement added. 

In light of the current circumstances, The AHC is making adjustments to significantly reduce the cost of attending The AHC for hoteliers to ensure they are able to join together with the rest of the UK hospitality community to learn, network and be inspired. The AHC was created by hoteliers for hoteliers and it is vital you are able to be part of the experience. 

The event is due to take place on September 21 & 22 at the Manchester Central Convention Centre. For more information and to register, please visit www.theahc.co.uk.

Main image credit: The AHC

MINIVIEW: A story of sustainable design inside Heritance Aarah, Maldives

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
MINIVIEW: A story of sustainable design inside Heritance Aarah, Maldives

The recently opened Heritance Aarah resort was the first property to be awarded gold for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. Hotel Designs takes a peak inside the sustainable masterpiece…

Opened in September 2019 in the  Raa Atoll of the Maldives, Heritance Aarah has not sacrificed style or design in its quest to become the most sustainable hotel in the region.

The resort is owned and managed by Aitken Spence Hotels, which currently operates 21 hotels and resorts across Sri Lanka, Maldives, Oman and India, which are reflected under the Heritance, Adaaran and Turyaa brands.

Image credit: Heritance Aarah

Four years in the making, the 150-key Maldivian resort shelters a design scheme that compliments the uninterrupted views that stretch across the horizon. The overall aesthetic of the resort follows a strict approach of sustainability. With the aim to outshine other luxury hotels in the area, the hotel has implemented components such as fuel-saving generators, energy-saving LED lighting, water-saving fixtures and energy-efficient air conditioning.

Image caption: Beach Villa, complete with energy-saving technology | Image credit: Heritance Aarah

These operational achievements, married with thoughtful design, enabled Heritance Aarah to become the first ever property in the Maldives to be awarded the internationally recognised Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification, which complies with the US Green Building Council rating system and is awarded to properties that save energy, water and resources; generate less waste; and support human health.

“We are honoured that Heritance Aarah has been presented with numerous accolades after just a few months of opening,” said Stasshani Jayawardena, Executive Director of Aitken Spence PLC and Chairperson of Aitken Spence Hotels. “Aitken Spence Hotels are known for distinction in the culinary field and Heritance Aarah’s 11 dining and drinking outlets introduces guests to flavours from across the world.

“Furthermore, our strategies to expand are led by guests’ expectations and design- led refurbishments to enrich the experience at our properties. A key priority is to ensure our resorts contribute positively to protect and preserve the environment and the ecosystems we operate in so we are proud that Heritance Aarah has been named as the first LEED Gold certified property in the Maldives.”

The resort’s 150 villas allow guests to wake up either atop of the turquoise ocean or beside it on the soft, sun-drenched shores – either way, the ocean is never far away. The intimate villas and suites, each with thatched roofs and calming interiors, seamlessly blend indulgent comforts with traditional aesthetics, adding a further layer to the unique sense-of-place.

Scattered around the property are the dynamically designed, contemporary F&B areas. The six restaurants and five bars, which have collectively won a total of 130 medals, house open-air dining options to once again frame the postcard-perfect views.

Image caption: The interiors inside Falhu Bar, one of the 11 F&B options in the resort | Image credit: Heritance Aarah

The Medi Spa, with six treatment rooms, is situated Situated above tranquil lagoon waters. Its scaled-back design not only compliments the laid-back luxury approach of the resort, but also allows nature in to offer a holistic wellness experience.

Image caption: The main pool | Image credit: Image caption: The interiors inside Falhu Bar, one of the 11 F&B options in the resort | Image credit: Heritance Aarah

Image caption: The main pool | Image credit: Image caption: The interiors inside Falhu Bar, one of the 11 F&B options in the resort | Image credit: Heritance Aarah

Like all hotels at the moment (in all sectors), Heritance Aarah is feeling the effects of the COVID–19 pandemic – and recently released a statement on its website on this. In these no-doubt turbulent times, one thing is as clear as the waters that surround Heritance Aarah: the luxury nest, situated in one of the world’s most desired far-flung destinations, is waiting to welcome its next sea plane of luxury travellers (whenever that may be).

Main image credit: Heritance Aarah

Outstanding Property Awards’ 2020 winners announced

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Outstanding Property Awards’ 2020 winners announced

Outstanding Property Award London (OPAL), which Hotel Designs is a media partner of, has announced the winners of this year’s international awards…

Outstanding Property Award London (OPAL)’s global search to find the best architecture, interior design and property development projects from around the world has come to a close as the winners have been announced.

With entries from all over the world, each project was anonymously peer-reviewed by the distinguished OPAL jury panel comprised of international industry experts, rating each project according to their individual merits. The final winners were chosen based on the overall score of all the Jury votes.

“Being on the judging panel for the inaugural OPAL has been an enlightening experience from beginning to end,” commented editor of Hotel Designs and OPAL jury member Hamish Kilburn. “The quality of projects that were submitted this year, in all categories, is a true reflection of the boundless creativity that our industry is famous for. As a result, OPAL has emerged as a prestigious international award that celebrates mind-blowing and functional design, which will inspire designers and architects around the world to reach new heights.”

OPAL’s ‘Project of the Year’ trophies were awarded to who the jury voted to be the single best projects in three categories:

Architectural Design of the Year: The Shed
Design/architecture by: Diller Scofidio + Renfro / Rockwell Group

Image credit: The Shed/Diller Scofidio + Renfro (lead Architect) And Rockwell Group (collaborating Architect)

Image credit: The Shed/Diller Scofidio + Renfro (lead Architect) And Rockwell Group (collaborating Architect)

The Shed is dedicated to commissioning, producing, and presenting original works of art, across all disciplines, for all audiences. The building is designed to physically transform to support artists’ most ambitious ideas. Its eight-level base building includes two levels of gallery space, a versatile theatre, a rehearsal space, a creative lab, and a skylit event space. A telescoping outer shell can deploy from its position over the base building and glide along rails onto an adjoining plaza to double the building’s footprint for large-scale performances, installations, and events.

Interior Design of the Year: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Designed by: Shenzhen Wanjing International Design Consultant Co., Ltd.

Image credit: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon/Shenzhen Wanjing International Design Consultant Co., Ltd.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is located in Suichang, Zhejiang Province. It is a tea garden village with a thousand-foot cliffs of Jiulong Mountain. The minimalist design of the property was inspired by the local culture and craftsmanship, using natural materials to enhance a strong sense-of-place.

Property Developer of the Year: One Manhattan West
Developer: Brookfield Properties

Render of glass skyscraper

Image creditL Brookfield Properties/
One Manhattan West

Manhattan West is a seven-acre mixed-use development located in the heart of Manhattan’s Hudson Yards district. The 2,117,000 Sq Ft project completed in 2019 demonstrates our multi-faceted development capabilities – site assembly, master planning, development, leasing and operations. The site sits directly between the busiest train station in North America and New York City’s first subway extension in decades.

Speaking about OPAL’s award program, Jesper Thomsen, OPAL’s co-founder, commented: “Our esteemed jury members have worked hard to select the best projects. We are proud to present the winners of our inaugural year, celebrating the creativity and talent of incredible design projects from around the world, giving them the global exposure they deserve.”

Each winner receives the coveted OPAL Winners Seal to promote their award, a Winner’s Certificate, and a permanent profile on the OPAL online Winner’s gallery. OPAL has decided to postpone the Awards Ceremony due to the unfortunate Covid-19 situation until further notice and hope all are staying safe during these troubled times.

The full list of winners can be accessed on the OPAL website.

Main image credit: The Shed/Rockwell Group

Hotels that are self-isolating in style (part 3)

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotels that are self-isolating in style (part 3)

The editorial series continues with part three, as editor Hamish Kilburn mentally checks in to some of the best hotels that are self-isolating in style…

The weeks are starting to feel like years. As the number of cases of COVID–19 increases day-by-day, so too do our social restrictions. From our new-found goldfish bowl perspective on the world, travel is beginning to feel like a distant memory.

Following on from parts one and two in this series, Hotel Designs continues to start the week during lockdown with some Monday motivation, – a non-permanent day-dream, if you like – to explore some of the world’s hidden luxury gems. Here are a handful of hotels that are naturally self-isolating in style.

Dharana at Shillim, in the Western Ghats of India

Lounge overlooking greenery

Image caption: Spa Pool Villa’s Living Room | Image credit: Dharana at Shillim

Spread over 3,000 acres of its own fertile valley, Dharana at Shillim used a completely local work force to respectfully build 23 rooms and three Presidential Villas within the forest. Each room celebrates the nature they’re in while also paying homage to Indian local design. The roofs are made out of tin, as a reflection of the village homes surrounding Shillim, and also to heighten the sound of the rain during monsoon season, reminding guests that nature rules here.

Treehotel, Sweden

Glass-mirrored structure hanging from trees

Image credit: Treehotel Sweden

The mirrorcube structure was launched as an “exciting hide-out among the trees, camouflaged by mirrored walls that reflect their surroundings.” Its base consists of an aluminium frame around the tree trunk and the walls are covered with reflective glass. The interior is designed from plywood with a birch surface. The total of six windows provide a stunning panoramic view. A 12-meter-long bridge leads up to the tree room.

Matetsi Victoria Falls

Luxury suite with sensitive interiors

Image credit: Matetsi Victoria Falls

Nestled within a 123,000-acre (55,000 hectres) wild game reserve, Matetsi Victoria Falls is arguably the most self-isolated hotel in the world. The hotel has been constructed to blend into its natural surroundings. The interiors, designed by local designer Kerry van Leenhoff, have been sensitively created to evoke sense-of-place at every turn.

Artist Helen Teede spent much time on site at Matetsi in order to find the inspiration of a unique collection of 18 paintings entitled ‘Mapping Matetsi’. Having done extensive walks and drives in the area, Teede divided the cartographic map of Matetsi unit seven into 18 parts and drew it to scale on each canvas, adding her own impressions of the river, the landscape and the pathways walked in the area, both man and animal-made. These 18 paintings hang separately in each suite. However, put together and these pieces of art actually form the aerial map of the reserve.

Severin*s – The Alpine Retreat

Luxury pool inside the hotel

Image credit: Severin*s – The Alpine Retreat

Severin*s is an uber-luxe hotel in Lech, situated in the Arlberg region which is part of Austria’s largest inter-connected ski areas. It set a new design standard in an otherwise predominantly traditional hotel landscape – Severin*s oozes James Bond glamour with pine interiors, fires in the rooms and fur throws.

The luxury hotel shelters just nine exclusive super-suites, each with private terraces and mountain views, a private four-bed Residence and an indoor luxury spa. 

Heritance Aarah, Maldives

Luxury pool on stilts in the middle of ocean

Image credit: Aitken Spence Hotels

The design of Heritance Aarah compliments the group Aitken Spence Hotels’ policy of sustainability by implementing components such as fuel saving generators, energy saving LED lighting, water saving fixtures and energy efficient air conditioning. The premium all-inclusive resort boasts 150 villas, six restaurants, five bars, a PADI dive centre and the first of its kind IASO Medi Spa.

Main image credit: Dharana at Shillim

Marriott debuts multi-purpose-built property in South Africa

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Marriott debuts multi-purpose-built property in South Africa

Marriott International grows its footprint in South Africa with the opening of Johannesburg Marriott Hotel Melrose Arch, the chain’s first multi-purpose-built hotel in the country… 

Marriott International has announced the opening of Johannesburg Marriott Hotel Melrose Arch, which marks the first purpose-built Marriott Hotel in the country.

Owned and developed by the Amdec Group, the hotel and apartments are situated in the bustling Melrose Arch Precinct and provide a premium destination for business travelers and a fully serviced extended stay destination.

“We are thrilled to open Johannesburg Marriott Hotel Melrose Arch and Marriott Executive Apartments Johannesburg Melrose Arch, further strengthening our relationship with the Amdec Group in South Africa,” said Sandra Schulze–Potgieter, Vice President Premium & Select Brands, Marriott International Middle East and Africa. “The openings are part of Marriott International’s commitment to expand our footprint in Africa and deepen our brand portfolio in South Africa. The property is a strong representation of two brands which will deliver tailored services, sophisticated spaces and enriching experiences.”

Johannesburg Marriott Hotel Melrose Arch is the first Marriott Hotel in South Africa to showcase the brand’s new design touchpoints. The property features 306 guest rooms, including 10 Junior Suites. Each of the spacious rooms are thoughtfully designed with a balance of tailored utility and contemporary style for the traveler who believes that form is just as important as function. Local accents add a sense of place to the sleek aesthetic, while open workspaces allow for flexibility to connect anytime.

The hotel is home to spaces that spark brilliance and seamlessly blend work and play with state-of-the-art business facilities, such as the Greatroom – a contemporary space located in the hotel lobby designed for socialising, relaxing and working. Guests can enjoy an elevated experience through the Mobile Guest Services, delivered with the warm and professional service for which the brand is globally renowned.

The F&B areas include Archer Bar and Eatery – a charismatic social space, part bar and part coffee hangout, serving local craft beers, specialty coffee and creative mixology, and Keystone Bistro – a stylish restaurant serving international cuisine with a South African flair. In addition, the hotel features seven meeting rooms, a ballroom, pre-function space and a 24-hour fitness centre, complete with outdoor heated swimming pool and pool bar.

On the upper floors of the new build, Marriott Executive Apartments Johannesburg Melrose Arch features 84 fully sized and equipped apartments, ranging from one-, two- and three-bedroom units, for travellers seeking a trusted, longer stay.

Main image credit: Marriott International

Radisson signs debut beach resort in Dubai

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Radisson signs debut beach resort in Dubai

Radisson Hotel Group has announced the signing of the Radisson Resort Dubai Palm Jumeirah, its first beach resort in Dubai and third Radisson hotel in the United Arab Emirates…

Located on the Jumeirah shoreline, Radisson’s latest resort brings the group’s UAE portfolio to 23 hotels in operation and under development.

Inside Radisson Resort Dubai Palm Jumeirah’s 389 upscale rooms and suites, guests will discover the renowned hospitality and modern amenities. The hotel will feature five food and drink outlets, with cuisine suited to every taste at the all-day dining restaurant and guests can explore the hotel bars which overlook the infinite views of Dubai and the sea.

“Radisson is a very compelling brand to all stakeholders, blending real estate efficiencies with guest relevance,” said Elie Younes, Executive Vice President & Chief Development Officer, Radisson Hotel Group. “We are excited to enter this new partnership and look forward to a successful journey with our partners based on trust and responsibility.”

The hotel will also house a fully equipped gym, and a luxury  spa, which will utilise the breathtaking views of the Arabian Gulf. The hotel will also be home to three meeting rooms; the ideal space to host any leisure or business function.

Main image credit: Radisson Hotel Group

VIP Arrivals: hotels opening in April 2020

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
VIP Arrivals: hotels opening in April 2020

Despite COVID-19 putting the brakes on hotel development activity, Hotel Designs’ Hamish Kilburn wants to still celebrate the hotels that were originally planned to open in April so that we have something to look forward once the crisis is over…

It was all going so well. Only last month I wrote that 2020 was shaping up to be a year of expansion for many hotel brands.

A few weeks after publishing that article, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared a pandemic following the COVID–19 outbreak. Now with businesses and homes in lockdown – something that everybody is having to comes to terms with – hotels that were originally planned to open in April have hit a temporary red light, but we still want to shine the spotlight on a handful of them away.

Villa Copenhagen

CGI rendering of a light and open classy brasserie

Image caption: CGI rendering of The Brasserie inside Villa Copenhagen

Sheltered inside what was the century-old Central Post and Telegraph Head Office, the 390-key Villa Copenhagen was originally planned to open in April. Traditional Danish and international F&B areas have been designed by London-based studio Goddard Littlefair with the aim to promote wellbeing and sociability. It was described in an interview with Jo Littlefair as “the destination’s answer to The Ned, London”. A member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts, the hotel will offer a conscious approach to luxury with a focus on all things eco-friendly.

W Ibiza

Render of green and blue exterior of the hotel

Image credit: W Ibiza

The brainchild of BARANOWITZ + KRONENBERGW Ibiza was slated to open in April. Located off the beaten track, the 167-key hotel strikes a pose on the palm-fringed beachfront of Santa Eulalia. As the only global brand on the island, the design brief was to fuse together the parallel realities of Ibiza with a magnetic pull that turns up the sass.

The design scheme has opened up the public spaces to become a flexible social hub, the hotel becomes a place that nurtures human connections, and through the use of subtle levels creates touchable distance between each functional area. “The idea is that the energy descends into the unconventional pool area,” Alon Baranowitz told Hotel Designs in an exclusive interview. “As you move up levels, the lobby/lounge area becomes more reclined, but the open architecture scheme allows for a clever connection between all spaces.”

Soneva Fushi, Maldives

Render of luxe villa on the water

Image credit: Soneva Fushi, Maldives

Sources have told Hotel Designs that there are no new guests arriving in any of the hotels in the Maldives at the moment, and that hotel staff are being told to self-isolate for at least 14 days.

Meanwhile, Soneva Fushi is preparing to launch new overwater villas, which were expected to be up and running in April. The one- and two-bedroom villas of the refreshed Soneva Fushi will feature private pools, sunken seating areas, catamaran nets strung over water, and retractable roofs.

Six Senses Shaharut

Villa over looking desert

Image credit: Six Senses

Following a significant year of growth for the hotel brand that aggressively extended its luxury portfolio with a number of openings around the globe, Six Senses is preparing to open its first hotel in Israel.

Perched on the edge of a cliff in the south of the Negev Desert, the 58-suite hotel will pride itself of on eco-living, going as far to ban cars on the property as well as all outdoor lighting to further minimise light pollution.

Camp Sarika by Amangiri, Utah

Image credit: Aman/Amangiri

A five-minute drive across the desert from Amangiri, Camp Sarika’s collection of 10 elegant and spacious one- and two-bedroom pavilions was slated to open in April. Complementing the clean lines and natural material palette of Amangiri’s suites, the generously proportioned pavilions each have indoor living and dining areas, as well oversized terraces with fire pits and heated plunge pools.

Hotel Designs is currently researching and writing the next article in this series, which will identify the top hotels that are opening in May, 2020. If you are working on a hotel project, or know of a hotel that would be suitable for the feature, please email the editorial team

Main image credit: Aman/Amangiri

CASE STUDY: Creating ‘sense-of-place’ in nhow London carpets

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
CASE STUDY: Creating ‘sense-of-place’ in nhow London carpets

Carpet manufacturer Brintons were asked by design studio Project Orange to help them capture the theme of ‘London Reloaded’ in the carpets inside nhow London…

Brintons supplied carpets for key public areas and the Royalist Suite within the UK’s first nhow hotel, a four-star property under NH Hotel Group’s design and lifestyle brand, which is situated on the fringe of Shoreditch.

The hotel, which Hotel Designs was the first to check in to, exploded onto the London hospitality scene earlier this year. Themed ‘London Reloaded’, the interiors were designed by architect James Soane, combining “British icons with unconventional contemporary elements”.

Brintons worked with James Soane at Shoreditch-based design firm Project Orange; together creating carpets to suit both the business traveller and tourist guest of the hotel. The bold, floral carpet designs seen throughout the corridors and staircases of the eight-floor hotel reflect the Walk in the Park theme, while the sharp modern ‘space invaders’ houndstooth that forms the design in the three meeting rooms called Laboratories enhance the hotel’s modern structure.

“Working with the creative brief ‘London Reloaded’, Project Orange continued their long-time collaboration with Brintons to develop original and playful designs that tell a story,” said James Soane, Director at Project Orange. “The guest corridor was pictured as a Walk in the Park – where the bedroom doors are painted different bright colours complete with brass door knockers along with a dark green carpet strewn with roses. This romantic and theatrical experience offers the guest an immersive experience unlike any hotel and is truly unique.”

Image caption: Brintons supplied thew carpets for the Royalist Suite inside nhow London

Image caption: Brintons supplied thew carpets for the Royalist Suite inside nhow London

The East End’s coolest new hotel, plays homage to both the area’s industrial past and technological future. Throughout the hotel, bold and fresh design takes inspiration from traditional British icons, such as the Royal Family, London landmarks and the underground. This quirky new offering is the fifth property in the nhow portfolio, joining hotels in Milan, Berlin, Rotterdam and Marseille.

Image caption: Brintons supplied carpets for all the meeting rooms inside nhow London, including the Tech Lab.

Image caption: Brintons supplied carpets for all the meeting rooms inside nhow London, including the Tech Lab.

Loughton Contracts were commissioned to install the carpet for the project. “It was great to work with Brintons on such an amazing project,” added Craig Anstey, Divisional Director at Loughton Contracts. “The vibrant and luxurious carpet design worked perfectly with the eclectic and industrial look of London’s first nhow Hotel. I can’t wait for the next collaboration between Loughton Contracts and Brintons.”

nhow, commissioned Brintons to supply custom axminster carpets to run throughout the corridors, staircases and meeting room areas, and to create a bespoke axminster rug for the Royalist Suite, each echoing the contemporary feel of the hotel setting.

Main image credit: Brintons

Editor Checks In: The hospitality industry fights back

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Editor, Hotel Designs

MINIVIEW: Escape to nature at Anantara Iko Mauritius Resort

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
MINIVIEW: Escape to nature at Anantara Iko Mauritius Resort

The architecture and interior design narrative of Anantara Iko Mauritius Resort & Villas has been inspired by its natural surrounding beauty. As the world daydreams about travel, editor Hamish Kilburn writes… 

For luxury travellers already aware of the Anantara brand, they will recognise the brand’s DNA of connecting people to genuine places when checking in to Anantara Iko Mauritius Resort & Villas.

Located on the southeastern coast of Mauritius on Le Chaland Beach, the resort is a tranquil hideaway offering secluded luxury, where design and service work together to providing heartfelt hospitality.

Set around manicured tropical gardens, the new resort shelters 164 guestrooms and suites with eight additional pool villas, as well as a 30-metre ozone-treated infinity pool sits at the heart of the resort, mirroring the iridescent sky and looking out onto the crashing waves beyond the shoreline.

Modern villa overlooking the sea

Image credit: Anantara Iko Mauritius Resort & Villas

The interior design scheme reflects the natural wonders of Mauritius, echoing the sparkling shades of the Indian Ocean, golden beaches, amber sunsets, green sugar cane fields and rare corals.

Bangkok based interior designers, Abacus Design Co. Ltd. referenced Mauritius’ natural tropical colour scheme and landscape in native materials when creating the concept. “By mirroring the sea’s movement of ripples, waves and corals, as well as restoring driftwood and recycling materials, we aimed to showcase nature and sustainability at the core of the resort, whilst blending seamlessly with the stunning beachfront environment,” explained Director Samantha Lightbody.

“The measured decision to build the resort a hundred metres back from the beach was taken to lessen the environmental impact on this stunning rugged coastline.”

Australia-based Grounds Kent Architects were responsible for the architecture in collaboration with the Office of Global Architecture in Mauritius. Renewable energy sources have been incorporated into the design to aid sustainable and environmentally friendly operation management, whilst various green initiatives across the resort reduce waste and promote energy recycling. The measured decision to build the resort a hundred metres back from the beach was taken to lessen the environmental impact on this stunning rugged coastline.

The lobby appears to float around a tranquil water garden, where the boundaries between indoor and outdoor are softened, creating a sanctuary-like feel. Upon arrival, the eye is immediately drawn to the ocean, framed picturesquely beyond the infinity pool through a striking stone window. 

Indigenous materials honour the warmth and detail of local Mauritian architecture. Distinctive antique basalt stone, used throughout the public spaces in a thoughtful manner, has been reclaimed from demolished buildings on the island. Throughout, traditional roofing materials such as corrugated iron, wood shingle and thatch are incorporated with a modern and refreshing touch.  

At the signature restaurant Sea.Fire.Salt, striking driftwood chandeliers draw attention to the high vaulted ceilings in the restaurant and open air bar area, complimented by the gentle sound of waves as backdrop to this refined take on beachfront dining. In addition, the adjacent alfresco courtyard offers an unforgettable feet-in-the-sand dining experience with tables nestled in powdery white sand to root diners in nature as they enjoy flame grilled seafood.

The poolside Karokan bar’s interior design is reminiscent of a traditional sugarcane mill and a replica sugarcane crusher dominates the space behind the bar. Mounted rum barrel heads create decorative walls whilst natural jute soft furnishings and hessian fabrics are illustrative of the materials historically used in such mills, the remains of which are still visible across the island from the rock mills and chimneys that jut out of the Mauritian landscape.

In the all-day dining restaurant, Horizon, exposed wood trusses lend a lofty spaciousness to the eatery, whilst terracotta chenille fabrics pop against its bright ivory wood palette reflecting the ‘beachscape’ below. The restaurant is furnished with teak tables and braided rope chairs whilst ceramic tile mosaics add a splash of colour to the breakfast stations. Indoors, the air-conditioned glass walled wine cellar, 1884, showcases a rich collection of international wines and can house intimate private dinners, whilst the adjoining Zafran can be reserved for larger exclusive private dining events.

Modern, beachside restaurant

Image caption: Horizon Restaurant | Image credit: Anantara Iko Mauritius Resort & Villas

The accommodation buildings feature blade walls to create protected courtyards which define secluded spaces, provide natural lighting and encourage breezy cross ventilation. Spacious balconies frame views of the ocean or surrounding lush tropical gardens. The interior design of the guest rooms has a contemporary feel with silk soft furnishings chosen in colourways that reflect the soothing blue tones of the ocean and the island’s golden sandy beaches, the Jim Thompson fabrics also providing a nod to Anantara’s Thai heritage. Framed artworks from young local Mauritian photographers depict scenery from the authentic South of Mauritius to complement the minimalist décor.  

Modern villa overlooking sea

Image credit: Anantara Iko Mauritius Resort & Villas

A cocooned village of well-being, the Anantara Spa is housed beneath thatch roofs in a secluded tropical garden bordered by a colonnade of trees known as the Almond Allee. The thoughtful design combines tactile elements and comprises of two double treatment rooms and three single treatment rooms, a beauty salon, a traditional Turkish Hammam, two outdoor Thai massage pavilions and a whirlpool. Additional resort recreational facilities include a state-of-the-art fitness centre and a library filled with classic fiction and historical and cultural books of Mauritius. 

The overall design of Anantara Iko Mauritius Resort harmonises with both the natural scenery and the history of its location, combining modernity with indigenous design while retaining a true sense of tranquility and escapism.

Main image credit: Anantara Iko Mauritius Resort

Spain has closed all hotels to fight COVID–19 spread

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Spain has closed all hotels to fight COVID–19 spread

Today, for the first time (in well) ever, Spain has ordered all hotels and tourism accommodation in the country to close as it ups its efforts to fight against the spread of Coronavirus COVID–19…

Spain has taken further measures to prevent the spread of Coronavirus COVID–19 by announcing that all hotels in Spain will close today.

Spain is among the European countries that has been worst affected in the ever-evolving coronavirus pandemic, with 33,098 cases recorded cases and 2,206 deaths so far.

The virus has now spread to all Spanish regions, with Madrid suffering the highest number of cases with 9,702 people. The impact in the northern regions of Catalonia and Basque Country was also significant, with 4,700 thousand and 2,000 cases respectively.

Like the UK government, the Spanish authorities have been reported to be planning on turning empty hotels into temporary hospitals, to help ease pressure on the country’s healthcare system.

The country has been in lockdown since March 14, which restricts people from leaving their homes other than to buy food, medicine, to seek medical help or travel to and from work.

Main image credit: Pixabay

UK hotels to become shelters for homeless people during COVID-19 outbreak

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
UK hotels to become shelters for homeless people during COVID-19 outbreak

Hotels will be transformed into emergency safe spaces, outlines a new national action plan to fight the Coronavirus COVID–19 pandemic…

In a new action plan drawn up by government outlines that hotels will be converted into temporary safe spaces after the government was accused of “sleepwalking” on homeless people’s vulnerability to Covid-19, reports The Guardian.

The strategy to safeguard the homeless is expected to be announced imminently following the lead of California in allowing vacant hotels to be requisitioned into homes for rough sleepers and those vulnerable to the virus.

Hotels, which are currently empty in the wake of social distancing and self-isolation guidelines, are being seen as a ‘ready-made solution’ during COVID–19 outbreak, and some hotel chains are already in talks with the government on converting their hotels into hospitals.

It has been reported, that, in practical terms, 45,000 ‘self-contained accommodation spaces’ need to be found in order to protect and shelter the UK’s population of homeless people and rough sleepers.

Although ambitious, this is not unachievable, as the capacity for housing homeless people in hotels certainly exists. London alone is to have almost 160,000 hotel rooms, with further 8,000 sheltered under 65 new hotels that are projected to open this year.

The news comes in after Stock Exchange Hotel in Manchester block-booked its hotel rooms for NHS workers and InterContinental Hotel Group was the first chain to announced it was block-booking 300 beds for the next three months so that homeless people can self-isolate. The development has designed to halt the spread of coronavirus, and will mean two London hotels are given over to rough sleepers.

Main image credit: Pixabay

Hotels that are self-isolating in style (part 2)

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotels that are self-isolating in style (part 2)

While the entire world continues to feel the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Hotel Designs is turning up the temperature on the editorial desk. Part two in the series ‘Hotels that are self-isolating in style’ takes editor Hamish Kilburn on a journey of discovery without his feet even leaving the ground… 

The industry has really taken a hit from COVID-19. While some hotel groups are in talks to transform their hotels into hospitals, others are shining as beacons of hope for locals in lockdown.

The outbreak is also taking its toll on the major trade events that the industry was looking forward to attending; MEET UP London and Clerkenwell Design Week are the latest events that have been forced to postpone until later in the year.

Following on from part one in this series, Hotel Designs has taken the baton in this unfair relay to maintain a steady pace of inspirational stories in order to keep moral in the industry high. If you are understandably lacking Monday motivation, just think that once all this is over everybody is going to be booking – and needing – a holiday. Here are a few gems that are naturally self-isolating in style.

Aristi Mountain Resort & Villas, Greece

‘Off the beaten track’, and then some, Aristi Mountain Resort and Villas is the perfect location for travellers who are looking for some adventure as well as some relaxation – think the opposite of a Greek package beech holiday. Situated in west Zagori, Epirus in north-western Greece, Aristi Mountain Resort & Villas is home to luxurious accommodation set within a wild and rugged landscape.

Hotel Lou Pinet, Saint Tropez, France

Soft-lit guestroom

Image credit: Hotel Lou Pinet

Captivated by the location to this day, the Pariente family, which recently opened Le Coucou in Meribel, took over the Hotel Lou Pinet in 2017 and completely transformed it with the help of the ultimate dream team. Charles Zana was invited in to be responsible for the architecture, landscape designer Jean Mus was called up to work his magic in the gardens, while the restaurant BeefBar was imagined and created by Riccardo Giraudi. The result is a luxury boutique hotel that works in harmony when it comes to both style and service.

Marbella Elix, Corfu, Greece

Greek interiors inside suite overlooking sea

Image credit: Marbella Collection

The soon-to-open Marbella Mix will become MarBella Collection’s first property to open outside the mainland of Greece. Like all motherships when it comes to leaving the nest, its children (of hotels in this case) can’t fly too far from the nest. The new hotel will find its home in the rugged mountains within the resort-studded shoreline of Corfo.

Eclipse at Half Moon, Montego Bay, Jamaica

Large, spacious and locally sourced lobby

Image credit: Eclipse at Half Moon

Opened earlier this month, and nestled on the 400-acre Half Moon property, between the lush rolling hills of Montego Bay and the glistening Caribbean Sea, Eclipse at Half Moon is a celebration of authentic Jamaican culture and its surrounding natural beauty. The most luxurious addition to the Caribbean in a generation, the resort features 57 new beautifully appointed accommodations, a natural swimming cove, seven bars and restaurants, and a stunning infinity-edge pool with views of the Caribbean Sea.

The heart of the resort is the Great House, the property’s new reception area, marked by a large Gaungo Tree which was carefully replanted to ensure natural and mature surroundings. Inspired by traditional Jamaican design and the history of the property, the Great House is decorated with elegant shutters, vibrant colours and vintage photographs from Half Moon’s founding families.

Joali Maldives

Pool overlooking endless ocean in the maldives

Image credit: Joali Maldives

One of the Maldives’ few independent luxury hotels, Joali was designed around each and every palm tree on the island of Muravandhoo in the unspoilt Raa Atoll. A collective of young international artists from all over the world including Porky Hefer, who has worked with the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, and Misha Kahn, were commissioned to create an array of eco-inspired pieces of immersive art for Joali, made from natural and sustainable materials and each with an environmental message. Guests receive a map to the resort’s ‘art trail’ on arrival, including an underwater coral mosaic museum that can be experienced when snorkelling, a giant Manta ray shaped treehouse among the palms for sunset cocktails and special dinners and a hanging, woven heron’s head on the beach that guests can sit inside and read a book.

 

Mullion Cove Hotel, England

Indoor pool with glass overlooking bay

Image caption/credit: The main indoor pool of the spa | Mullion Cove Hotel/Hart Miller Design

The clifftop retreat, Mullion Cove Hotel, with its infinity pool and stunning sea views enhances the hotel’s existing offering and marks a new chapter in its history. Hart Miller Design were selected to create a distinctive spa experience, unique to the South West of England. At the heart of the project is a contrast of scale – placing intimate human sensory experiences within a jaw-dropping natural location of rock, sea and elemental power. Japanese mountain retreats were taken as a key inspiration, grounded in ritual and symbolism.

Main image credit: Joali Maldives

The Unbound Collection expands in The Americas region

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The Unbound Collection expands in The Americas region

New Unbound Collection openings and signings signify a strategic focus on the Hyatt brand expanding in the Americas region… 

Hyatt Hotel’s recent announcement of Unbound Collection openings and brand transitions suggests that the brand is focusing its ongoing development plans on the Americas region.

Currently, The Unbound Collection by Hyatt brand includes more than 20 unique hotels – located in key destinations around the world – each with their own distinct story.

“Because Hyatt’s efforts are grounded in listening and fuelled by care, The Unbound Collection by Hyatt brand has a unique position within the Hyatt portfolio, as each property has the opportunity to tell its own story,” said Heather Geisler, senior vice president of global brands, Hyatt. “As we continue to see the brand thoughtfully grow across the globe, we are excited to watch each story unfold, further driving brand loyalty to travellers looking for experiences unlike any other.”

Image caption: Aerial of Carmel Valley Ranch | Image credit: Hyatt Hotels/Unbound Collection by Hyatt

The latest development agreements within The Unbound Collection by Hyatt brand include plans for Hotel La Compañia in Panama City, Panama, which will be nestled within the heart of Casco Viejo (Spanish for “Old Quarter”), a UNESCO World Heritage site. Expected to open in 2021, the 88-key hotel is set to become the first property in Panama that is part of The Unbound Collection by Hyatt brand.

The historic Chicago Athletic Association landmark property located in the heart of Chicago’s business and cultural district joined The Unbound Collection by Hyatt brand in November 2019. The unique property was restored from a renowned 19th century athletic club to a hotel in 2015, with the purpose of returning the building to Chicagoans following 125 years of members-only access. Today, the 241-key “urban playground” offers seven award-winning food & beverage outlets – including the Prohibition-era microbar Milk Room, lively Game Room, the swanky, James Beard Award-winning Cherry Circle Room, and the hotel’s crown jewel, Cindy’s, its rooftop restaurant and bar perched 13 stories above Millennium Park.  In addition, locals and guests alike are invited to experience the Chicago Athletic Association hotel’s 150+ annual programming events, ranging from pop-up roller skating nights in the hotel’s vintage gym to hands-on cocktail workshops with in-house experts.

The storied Carmel Valley Ranch, a 500-acre all-suite resort tucked in the foothills of the Santa Lucia Mountains on the Monterey Peninsula, joined The Unbound Collection by Hyatt brand in January 2020. Unveiled as part of the resort’s 2019 reimagination, Carmel Valley Ranch offers a variety of interactive adventures including artisanal cheesemaking workshops at The Creamery, wine and cheese tastings at The Market, falconry, hatchet throwing and more.

Mar Monte Hotel, located just minutes from downtown Santa Barbara, nestled between the rugged Santa Ynez range and pristine Santa Barbara beach, is set to join the collection in Spring 2020, rebranding from Hyatt Centric Santa Barbara after an extensive renovation. The 200-key hotel has been reimagined to establish a style of contemporary Santa Barbara with classic Spanish-influenced design.

Two additional properties within The Unbound Collection by Hyatt brand that are set to open in the U.S. in 2020 and 2021, respectively, include the 144-key restored landmark property, Hotel Kansas City, in Kansas City, Mo. and a 64-key boutique hotel in Hollywood, Calif. Both properties are currently being restored to their original beginnings, with a focus on providing extraordinary architectural details for guests looking to feel inspired.

Globally, The Unbound Collection by Hyatt brand expanded its footprint in 2019, with the reintroduction of Hotel du Louvre, after completing a property-wide renovation in June 2019. Inspired by the original Napolean III style, the famed hotel sits in the heart of the Paris’s Palais-Royal district, surrounded by the Musée du Louvre, the Comédie-Française, the Palais Garnier and Palais Royal.

In December 2019, the brand also debuted in the UK with the opening of Great Scotland Yard, a luxury hotel with rich history residing on the site of the former headquarters of the Metropolitan Police. Expected to reopen in summer 2020 is the historic gem Hotel du Palais Biarritz, a palace built by Napoleon III for his wife Eugenia de Montijo.

Main image credit: Hyatt Hotels/Unbound Collection by Hyatt

BREAKING: MEET UP London postponed until September

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
BREAKING: MEET UP London postponed until September

BREAKING NEWS: MEET UP London, which is Hotel Designs’ premium networking evening for designers, architects, hoteliers, developers and suppliers, has postponed this year’s event until September 15 in response to the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak… 

MEET UP London was due to take place at Minotti London on May 13, but in response to the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak, and Government recommendations, the event has been forced to postpone until later in the year.

Sheltering the theme of Inspiring Creativity, the networking evening will still welcome award-winning sound designer and functional music innovation expert Tom Middleton and award-winning research entrepreneur Ari Peralta as headline speakers.

“The decision to unveil the shortlisted finalists of The Brit List Awards 2020 at MEET UP London has come because we want to give the individuals a platform that lasts longer than one awards ceremony.” – said editor Hamish Kilburn

In addition, given the timing of the postponed event, Hotel Designs will use the event as a springboard to unveil the shortlisted finalists for The Brit List Awards 2020. “We are used to adapting to the times here at Hotel Designs, and the decision to unveil the shortlisted finalists of The Brit List Awards 2020 at MEET UP London has come because we want to give the individuals a platform that lasts longer than one awards ceremony,” said editor Hamish Kilburn. “In line with our theme for MEET UP London, Inspiring Creativity, it makes sense to celebrate the individuals who are proving to lead the way.”

MEET UP London 2020 is just the latest event that has been forced to postponed in response the spread of COVID-19. Yesterday, Clerkenwell Design Week announced it has postponed this year’s event until July 14 – 16. Salone Del Mobile, which is arguably the most popular trade fair in the design calendar, was the first to announce a postponement, which was followed by the Independent Hotel Show Amsterdam last week.

Tens of thousands of people in the UK have been tested for Covid-19, with currently 1,950 cases. Meanwhile, the government has now put in place strict social distancing rules in an attempt to deal with the pandemic.

How to attend MEET UP London

EARLY BIRD SUPPLIER TICKETS*: £99 + VAT (expires on March 31)  | CLICK HERE to purchase your tickets.***
EARLY BIRD BUYER  TICKETS*£10 + VAT (expires on March 31) | CLICK HERE to purchase your tickets.***

If you would like to discuss various sponsorship packages available, or if you have any enquires regarding tickets, please contact Katy Phillips via email, or call 01992 374050.

Exclusive headline partner: Hamilton Litestat

Exclusive style partner: Minotti London

Event partner: Crosswater 

* Those eligible to purchase Supplier Tickets must be industry suppliers.
** Those eligible to purchase buyer tickets must prove that they are an interior designer, architect, hotelier or developer.
***Hotel Designs’ Early Bird promotion ends on March 31. After this time, tickets for designers, architects, hoteliers and developers will inflate to £20 + VAT and supplier tickets will inflate to £150 + VAT. 

SPECIAL FEATURE: Crisis mitigation – gaining back control of your hotel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
SPECIAL FEATURE: Crisis mitigation – gaining back control of your hotel

COVID-19 has attacked, and crisis is looking through the door. What are the smart ways to manage your hotel during this crisis? How did we recover when something similar hit the industry in past? The experts at STAAH and the team at Guestjoy explore further… 

The occupancy rates in hotels have taken a hit, hotels are experiencing a dip, and major international events are being put on hold. Meanwhile, the travel industry has been grounded. The headlines surrounding COVID-19, and the daily updates from the Government, are worrying for the hospitality industry, which unsurprisingly sparked a petition doing the rounds.

However, we’ve been through things like this before, except the media coverage wasn’t so extensive and panic-inducing. Where is the swine flu, SARS or H1N1 now and how did hotelier deal during those outbreaks? Remember, websites often implement a pay-per-click rule, therefore spreading hysteria is beneficial for them.

Recessions naturally happen in economic cycles, however, and investing during a recession is an old ‘trick’ to make it through to the recovery period. If you want a quick course on that, check out Investopedia – investment during recession.

For our industry that we love serving, here are our tips to stay on top of your business

  • Stay flexible, give your guests what they ask for and provide an easy way for them to cancel their booking.
  • Don’t lower your rates too much, it will hurt your business. Focus on your extras and add-ons to make their stay better and exciting, and to encourage them not to cancel but reschedule where possible. (eg: Mother’s day is coming up!) As Sherri Kimes – Revenue Management Expert puts itWhile the pressure to reduce rates is understandable, hotels should exercise caution in manipulating rates because of the potential negative long-term effects on profitability and the hotel’s image.
  • Try new technologies. This is exactly the right time to invest and implement things that can potentially strengthen your presence on the market. You can still conduct business through the internet, e-mail, video conferencing, telephone and by other means.
  • Maintain high employee morale: Keep them enthusiastic and happy so your quality of service does not suffer. Keep all your employees informed about your decisions.
  • Invite your local community: Domestic travel could also provide you with revenue.
  • Create strategic partnerships – especially with your distribution channels (travel agents, OTAs, they might be willing to share a higher proportion of their business to you)
  • Focus on your loyalty program: Send out a newsletter to them, offer rewards or reduce the number of nights needed for a free stay. This will keep your loyal guests connected and encourage them to spend more in other outlets. Acquiring new customers can cost so much more, cut the coin on attracting new people and invest in your existing customers or domestic market.
  • Stop cutting costs! It will hurt customer satisfaction and the quality of the service. “Don’t reduce standards but add added value; guests are very sensitive to changes. Bad time is not forever and it could take a longer time to recover if you cut corners to save a buck!”
  • Keep your guests healthy. Take a look at how this Hong Kong-based hotel is informing guests.
  • If there is nothing else to do, and you have free time on your hands then train your staff, refurbish, or deal with those issues you have been putting on hold. Try to implement new technology and improve your hotel.

We hope these tips help you, let us know how you are coping and how is the current situation at your location! Tweet us @HotelDesigns

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

Main image credit: Pixabay

Edge Architects completes 3 design-led Mercure hotels

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Edge Architects completes 3 design-led Mercure hotels

The architecture and design firm has recently completed Mercure hotels in Cardiff, Birmingham and Bedford…

In the last few months, Edge Architects + interior designers has completed three Mercure-branded hotels in Cardiff, Birmingham and Bedford.

The lead designer on all three projects, Craig Parry, has an impressive portfolio including ibis Styles Southwark, Doubletree by Hilton Snowhill, a host of other Mercure hotels, Hampton by Hilton Manchester and Old Bishops Palace Chester.

Parry has sensitively designed the hotels, inside and out, with the aim to balance consumer demands for fresh interiors as well as the need for flexible public areas while also retaining character and style in the architecture and the motifs sheltered within each property.

For example, the 121-key Mercure Bedford Centre Hotel is located in a popular destination for canoeing and kayaking, with the property itself encompassing elements of the area’s cultural and historic past, including timber features from canoes, water graphics and rowing illustrations.

Meanwhile, the new Mercure Cardiff North Hotel draws inspiration from local landmarks such as the Millennium Centre façade in Cardiff Bay, with details such as copper aesthetic lining and curated display items that encompass elements of the area’s cultural and historic past.

The Mercure Birmingham West Hotel is an urban retreat that consists of 168 rooms, which feature locally inspired and sourced artwork and design elements.

White bed, with construction inspired wallcovering

Image credit: Mercure Cardiff North

“Each hotel has the Mercure service and features that guests expect but they offer local touches too.” – Michael Brag, Chairman of Proark

Having previously operated under the Park Inn brand, the hotel is one of six across the UK to have been signed by Danish based property group, Proark, and rebranded to Mercure.

We have worked closely with Accor since signing this portfolio of Mercure hotels and are extremely pleased with the result of the refurbishment. Each hotel has the Mercure service and features that guests expect but they offer local touches too, which we are confident will be well received by business and leisure travellers alike,” Michael Brag, Chairman of Proark told Hotel Designs. “For the design, we decided to work with Craig Parry, as he has vast practice experience in hospitality for Mercure, as well as independent boutiques, so we felt he was the right man for the job.”

Main image credit: Accor/Mercure/Proark

Modern guestroom with colourful accents in headboard and art

Destination Hotels arrives in Charlottesville, Virginia

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Destination Hotels arrives in Charlottesville, Virginia

Quirk Hotel Charlottesville, the latest boutique hotel to open in the Destination Hotels’ portfolio, pays tribute to local culture, history and arts with unexpected twists…

Quirk Hotel Charlottesville in Virginia is said to be the first boutique hotel in the area that has opened with a focus on curated art inspired by the city’s historic downtown.

Modern guestroom with colourful accents in headboard and art

Charming and distinctive by nature, Quirk Hotel Charlottesville delivers a warm sense of approachability and playfulness that appeals to curious travellers of all ages seeking a sense of belonging, and is the second rendition of the Quirk Hotel concept within the Destination Hotels collection, with its original location in Richmond, Va.

“After opening Quirk Hotel Richmond in September 2015, we are excited to bring to life our gallery concept and beautiful hotel amenities into a new, charming Virginia city,” said Kate Ukrop, co-owner of Quirk Hotel Charlottesville alongside her husband, Ted. “Alongside the Quirk Gallery in Richmond, I am looking forward to also being the director of Quirk Gallery in Charlottesville, continuing to make art more accessible for guests across the Destination Hotels brand.”

The concept for Quirk Hotel Charlottesville stemmed from the desire to use art and history as central design elements to spark curiosity and conversation. This vision was realised by building a main hotel around two street-facing homes that date back to the 19th century. Incorporating the historic red and beige brick homes at 501 West Main St. and 503 Main St., respectively, Quirk Hotel Charlottesville embodies the Quirk Hotel reputation for “uncommon accommodations.”

Large, minimalist lobby area with contemporary art on walls

Image caption: An artist’s impression of the contemporary public areas | Image credit: Hyatt Hotels/Destination Hotels

Creating a novel space where guests can genuinely embrace new people, places and culture, the hotel features original works of contemporary art by renowned artists. Adding unexpected surprises to every nook and cranny, the artwork is speckled throughout the entire property, some of which can be purchased at Quirk Gallery. The locally curated, bi-level gallery, features local, regional and national artists, and serves as a gathering place for artist talks, classes and openings, as well as private events.

Designed by national architecture and interior design studio ARCHITECTUREFIRM, the 80-key hotel showcases a minimalist, contemporary design, elevated by gold accents. Each guestroom has a signature look including original artwork throughout, floor-to-ceiling windows with stunning views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and downtown Charlottesville, mini bars with locally sourced goods, and custom headboards designed especially for Quirk Hotel Charlottesville.

In juxtaposition to the contemporary art and design inside the main property building, the two 19th century historic farm homes resemble art relics of Charlottesville’s years past. Plans for the Vernacular style Red Brick House include a quaint café and an expansive barrel aged spirits bar, set to open in late April. The Federal style Beige Brick House is home to Laurie Nicole’s upscale beauty salon on the main floor, while the upstairs will be repurposed into a private room and loft suite.

A true to place destination where independent travellers can make their experience their own, the hotel features a new signature dining concept, a laid-back rooftop bar, an indoor lobby lounge, two spacious ballrooms, an in-house art gallery and two historic homes surrounding the property with added amenities.

Main image credit: Hyatt Hotels/Destination Hotels

Amp by the side of white bed

Ruby Hotels to open second Swiss hotel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Ruby Hotels to open second Swiss hotel

The 220-key hotel, which is yet to be named, will bring the Ruby Hotels brand’s ‘Lean Luxury’ philosophy to a central Geneva location…

In the wake of the brand’s loud debut in London with the opening of Ruby Lucy, Ruby Hotels will launch its second Swiss property in early 2022 in Geneva.

Amp by the side of white bed

The new 220-room hotel will follow the launch of Ruby’s Zurich hotel in 2021 and forms part of an ambitious expansion plan to unveil a total of seventeen new properties by 2023.

The new Ruby Hotel will be located right in the heart of the city, between the rue du Rhône and the rue du Marché – the two biggest shopping streets in Geneva. The hotel entrance will be in the famous Malbuisson Passage, with the Lake Geneva promenade just 200m away and the Geneva Old Town reachable on foot within a few minutes.

“We will be able to exploit a previously unfilled niche in Geneva, one of the most stable hotel markets in Switzerland.” – Ruby Hotels’ CEO Michael Struck

“This works because we base our design on the model of modern luxury yachts and confine our luxury to a relatively small area, simply omitting non-essentials,” explained Ruby Hotels’ CEO Michael Struck. “Our management methods are also quite different from the usual practice in the industry as we utilise our own technical solutions. We plan and construct in modular form, adopt a more centralised approach and make a consistent effort to automate procedures behind the scenes. This helps us to make a luxurious and unique hotel experience affordable for our guests. In this way, we will be able to exploit a previously unfilled niche in Geneva, one of the most stable hotel markets in Switzerland.”

The hotel will be created from three existing buildings, one of which has a historic facade. The seventh floor will feature a roof terrace with an atrium at the centre, which will also be accessible from the public areas. The Molard tram station and bus stop is located in the immediate vicinity, which will provide the hotel with ideal access to local and long-distance public transport options.

The property will house 220 rooms, ranging in size from cosy ‘Nest’ rooms (14-15 m²) to expansive ‘Loft’ rooms (21-23 m²), a stylish 24-hour bar, a communal work station and a library. All guest rooms will showcase Ruby Hotels’ sleep-scientist-approved formula for a peaceful night’s sleep, with full soundproofing, blackout curtains, high-quality linen and extra-long and wide custom mattresses.

Just like the group’s other houses, the new hotel in Geneva will follow Ruby’s ‘Lean Luxury’ philosophy: a top location, high-quality fittings, and outstanding design. All of this is offered at an affordable price by rigorously cutting out the superfluous and focusing on the essential. 

Main image credit: Ruby Hotels

Hotels that are self-isolating in style (Part 1)

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotels that are self-isolating in style (Part 1)

While the entire world is feeling the effects of COVID-19 pandemic, Hotel Designs is here to start your week with some stunning hotels that are naturally self-isolating in style. Editor Hamish Kilburn emerges from his quarantined slumber to write part one… 

In uncertain times, it can become easy for designers and architects to lose focus on a creative vision.

The outbreak of the recent coronavirus COVID-19 is taking its toll on all creative industries, and has resulted in a number of major events, such as Independent Hotel Show Amsterdam, Hotel Summit and Salone Del Mobile Milan, to postpone all activity until later in the summer.

With the aim to simply lift spirits and steer those who are lacking Monday motivation back on course, here are a handful of remote hotels that will allow you to escape from the madness, even if it’s for just a minute.

Lepogo Lodges’ Noka Camp, Limpopo Province, South Africa

Large bedroom overlooking the African wilderness

Image credit: Lepogo Lodges’ Noka Camp

Lepogo Lodges, one of Africa’s few entirely not-for-profit high-end safari lodges, has opened its very first lodge in South Africa’s Limpopo Province, Noka Camp. Just a short air transfer or a three-hour drive from Johannesburg, Noka Camp enjoys a remote spot within the 50,000-hectare, malaria-free Lapalala Wilderness Reserve, home of the ‘big five’.

Lepogo Lodges is the very first luxury camp in Africa to offset the carbon footprint of every visiting guest, from the time they leave their home to the moment they return. Family-owned and operated, the project has been developed as part of a life-long dream to create a sustainable conservation legacy in Africa, with 100% of any financial gains made re-invested back into the reserve for the benefit of wildlife, conservation and the local community. 

Jade Mountain, St Lucia

walkway to suites

Image credit: Jade Mountain St Lucia

On the western stretch of Saint Lucia, an island that last year welcomed more than 1.2 million visitors, two incredible design gem stones can be found. While the two hotels are very different in style, the experience of Anse Chastanet and Jade Mountain comes as one.

Not only are the hotels two of the region’s most sought-after places to check in to, but they also stand as a permanent reminder of an unforgettable journey, which is full of discovery, challenges and sustainable solutions that is still ongoing for husband-and-wife team Nick and Karolin Troubetzkoy. 

Zannier Hotels Sonop, Nambia

Image credit: Zannier Hotels/Tibod Hermy

Arnaud Zannier’s inspiration for Zannier Hotels Sonop’s design was conceived during his very first trip to the site and first view from the top of the boulders. Arnaud recognised that he had been fortunate enough to discover somewhere very special, likening the feeling to an old explorer discovering a destination for the first time – hence the property was designed to resemble a 20th Century tented camp for explorers.

The construction process was challenging due to the hotel’s remote location and protected surroundings. All building materials and interiors were manually transported up the huge boulders, by expert craftsmen from Namibia. Zannier Hotels only used a limited number of existing roads to the site, to ensure the human impact on the fragile flora was minimal. In addition, each piece of furniture, including twelve 30kg handcrafted four-poster beds, had to be carried by hand over the rocks and boulders thereby avoiding the use of disruptive machinery.

Hotel Chais Monet, France

Image of old and new architecture blending into one frme

Image credit: Hotel Chais Monet

The project was reported to have cost €60 million, and was the brainchild of chief architect Didier Poignant of Ertim Architects. But the result of the sensitive restoration to transform the traditional Cognac trading house site into a 15,000m2 luxury spa hotel, offering what it was described back then as a “modern take on traditional French luxe”, has given the buildings a new lease of life.

I would go one step further in saying that it has reopened up the destination’s history books, perhaps to a different chapter. In the process, it has added a new contemporary architectural jewel ­­– a rare find in and around the low-level city ­– one that is sensitive to its surroundings.

Four Seasons Nevis

Recently, the Four Seasons hotel underwent a complete renovation, which was led by TAL Studio. The hotel is situated on the pristine beaches of the remote Caribbean island where building regulations state that no building is allowed to be taller than a palm tree.

The hotel’s latest chapter of renovations includes the redesign of the resort’s main signature pool, construction of a new restaurant concept – On the Dune – that extends out on to the sand and the unveiling of additional improved spaces around the property for guests to enjoy a variety of new experiences and amenities.

The Farm at Cape Kidnappers, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand

Image of restaurant overlooking green countryside

Image credit: Cape Kidnappers

The Farm at Cape Kidnappers is just that: a working farmstead of arable land and sheepherding, poised on the edge of a scenic bluff on North Island’s east coast so dramatic, idyllic and untouched that the views – and best enjoyed from the outdoor swimming pool or Jacuzzi. The hotel’s design is one that is considered to blend in harmony with the natural beauty of the area. 

Image credit: Zannier Hotels

5 reasons to attend Hotel Summit 2020

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
5 reasons to attend Hotel Summit 2020

Hotel Summit, the original hotel meet-the-buyers event that last year was shortlisted at the Indy Awards, is gearing up to once again bridge the gap between hotel operators and suppliers with engaging talks and networking opportunities throughout… 

For more than 20 years, Hotel Summit has been bridging meaningful relationships between suppliers and hotel operators alike.

While uncertainty surrounding recent headlines is forcing industries to consider and control numbers at networking events over the coming months, Hotel Summit’s successful meet-the-buyer concept is an event that is capped to 150 people.

Here are five reasons to attend this year’s event:

1) The speakers

Hotel Summit 2020 speakership line-up

Hotel Designs is proud to be curating this year’s speakership programme, and has deliberately put certain subjects, such as accessibility, technology and sustainability, at the forefront of conversations. Editor Hamish Kilburn will chair a panel discussion entitled: Designing accessible spaces for modern travellers with the multiple award-winning hotelier Robin Sheppard and accessibility design expert Ed Warner. Alexandra Tollman, Director of Sales at Red Carnation Hotels, will speak to the audience about how to tackle sustainability to make travel matter, and to lift the spirits The Summit will also welcome happiness guru, Danny Bent, to explore the ‘happiness of being you’. The full line-up of speakers can be accessed on the Hotel Summit page.

2) Valuable pre-arranged meetings with suppliers

Qualified buyers (hoteliers, operators and procurement managers) attending Hotel Summit, Hotel Summit, which includes overnight accommodation and a gala dinner, are able to attend free of charge. The two-day event consists of a number of pre-arranged face-to-face meetings with key-industry suppliers of products that buyers have specified in knowing more about. These are carried out throughout the event, in-between seminars, and are designed seamlessly to benefit both supplier and buyer alike. To find out if you qualify as a delegate, please email Kerry Naumburger.

3) The venue: Five Lakes Colchester

establishing shot of hotel around countryside

Image credit: Five Lakes Colchester

Balancing the requirement for the event to be sheltered in an interesting venue that is easily accessible, Hotel Summit this year will take place in the serene Five Lakes Resort in Colechester, Essex. The 194-key spa and resort is run by AB Hotels group. The four-star hotel is located in 320 acres of parkland between Colchester and Maldon, has two restaurants, an indoor pool and spa and two 18-hole golf courses, which sits alongside a large exhibition hall and has 18 purpose-built meeting rooms.

4) Quality suppliers on board

Hotel Summit’s supplier list (so far) is full of key-industry brands from all corners of the industry; from technology software to fitness equipment, lighting to bathroom solutions. They are:

Portable Floor MakersAirwaveBirchall TeaVictoria + AlbertADI TradingCole & SonSicoLUQELJames Alexander Bespoke FurnitureRuark AudioMatrix FitnessMeikoHCIGood EnergyFalcon Contract FlooringSchluter and NT Security

5) Forum Events’ professional approach to synchronise business

Forum Events is respected and well-known for being one of the leading meet-the-buyer forums and summits providers in the industry today. Putting its clients first to create experiences that synchronise business, the company has been the root to many meaningful relationships that have formed in all sectors. The quality reputation of the company is enforced by a dedicated team for each brand. Everyone attending Hotel Summit is briefed prior to the event so that they are aware on who they will be meeting and when, to ensure that The Summit is facilitating relevant meetings that are business appropriate for both buyers and suppliers alike.

How to register for Hotel Summit 2020: 

If you are a supplier to the hospitality industry looking to meet top hotel professionals, contact Jennie Lane at j.lane@forumevents.co.uk– or click here to book your place.

If you are a hotelier and would like to attend the Summit for free, please contact Kerry Naumburger at k.naumburger@forumevents.co.uk – or click here to book your place.

*Please contact Kerry Naumburger for complete delegates list.

Red headboard, colourful art work and a white bed

Hard Rock Hotels makes its long-awaited debut in Ireland

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hard Rock Hotels makes its long-awaited debut in Ireland

Hard Rock International debuts in Ireland with Hard Rock Hotel Dublin, which aims to brings the brand’s musical energy to the famed Temple Bar district…

With a presence spanning more than 76 countries, Hard Rock International continues its expansion into Europe with the opening of Hard Rock Hotel Dublin.

 

Red headboard, colourful art work and a white bed

The iconic red-brick property is located on Exchange Street Upper near the Temple Bar district, and shelters a theme that is a celebration of the rich cultural and musical history of Dublin, bringing Hard Rock’s signature music-infused vibes to the heart of the city.

The 120-key hotel is a contemporary reimagining of two historic buildings, combining the Exchange Building, a listed property built at the turn of the 20th century, and the adjacent Fashion House building, linked together by a newly built glass bridge.

“Dublin connects to our deep musical roots, we are honoured to bring the Hard Rock Hotel experience to the city, its residents and visitors alike.” – Dale Hipsh, Senior Vice President – Hotels for Hard Rock International

Reflecting Dublin’s vibrant atmosphere, the rooms are furnished with electrifying colour schemes, paired with warm woods and bright stone. The fresh interiors are adorned with priceless Hard Rock memorabilia, expertly curated to include treasured possessions and instruments from some of Ireland’s most loved musicians. Irish favourites such as Phil Lynott, Van Morrison, Hozier and U2 feature, as well as pieces from artists that have played truly memorable gigs in Ireland.

Image credit: Hard Rock International

“As Hard Rock furthers its expansion into Europe, we continue to target destinations that are culturally influential and perfectly aligned with our musical soul,” commented Dale Hipsh, Senior Vice President – Hotels for Hard Rock International. “Dublin connects to our deep musical roots, we are honoured to bring the Hard Rock Hotel experience to the city, its residents and visitors alike.”

Enda O’Meara, CEO of the Tifco Hotel Group, added: “We are greatly looking forward to the opening of Hard Rock Hotel Dublin. Our aim is to match the energy of this vibrant city through our world-class service offered by the people who truly make up the fabric of the hotel, and who will work passionately to deliver the best guest experience.”

Surrounding the hotel is an abundance of local attractions, heritage sites, eateries and bars. Within walking distance are the world-famous Guinness Storehouse, the Jameson Distillery, Dublin Castle and the renowned Temple Bar district. Also easily accessible from the hotel are several of Dublin’s cultural institutions, including the Olympia Theatre, the Gallery of Photography and the Irish Film Institute.

Following the opening of the hotel in Dublin, Hard Rock International portfolio plan to open Hard Rock Hotel Amsterdam American will break into the entertainment capital of Europe in April 2020, located in a famous Art Nouveau building on the lively Leidseplein Square. Opening in May, Hard Rock Hotel Budapest will be situated in the heart of “Budapest’s Broadway” surrounded by the city’s famed cultural attractions. Hard Rock Hotel Madrid will follow, opening in a prime location opposite the historic Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in the Atocha district.

Main image credit: Hard Rock International

The St Regis San Francisco completes renovation

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The St Regis San Francisco completes renovation

The luxury hotel in San Francisco’s new guestrooms, meeting and event space were designed in collaboration with Chapi Chapo Design to evoke renewed vibrancy… 

Toronto-based studio Chapi Chapo Design has completed a project to renovate the guestrooms and meeting spaces inside The St. Regis San Francisco.

Namesake of the famed St. Regis Hotel in New York City, founded by John Jacob Astor in 1904 and synonymous worldwide with design excellence, European-style elegance and personalised “anticipatory service,” The St. Regis San Francisco introduced a new dimension of luxury and gracious living to San Francisco, personified by the signature St. Regis butler service, when it opened in 2005.  The hotel remains the crowning jewel of the Yerba Buena cultural corridor, steps from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Contemporary Jewish Museum and the Yerba Buena Centre for the Arts and proximate to Union Square, the financial district and the Moscone Convention Centre. 

“This has been a wonderful opportunity for us to return to The St. Regis San Francisco,” said Boris Mathias, co-CEO of Chapi Chapo Design. “Our goal was to honour St. Regis’ distinctive heritage while refreshing the property with a design that captures San Francisco’s innovative spirit, rich history and natural beauty, and to create ultra-luxe guest rooms and event spaces that anticipate the needs of today’s discerning traveller.” 

luxe suite open up to striking vistas of the city

Image credit: Marriott International/St Regis

The St. Regis San Francisco’s 260 rooms and suites were refitted with customised furniture, exclusive to the hotel. New room seating includes chairs and ottomans designed both for lounging and working.  Headboards picoted with rich leather paneling, suggestive of a luxury sports car interior, also serve as homes for the connections that power the rooms’ sophisticated technological upgrades.  San Francisco’s iconic hills and valleys are subtly referenced in wall covering that features the soft curves of a Richard Serra-inspired sculpture. Viewed through layered smoked desk glass, California’s glorious panoramas, as captured by legendary landscape photographer Ansel Adams, evoke the dreamy intrigue of a Dashiell Hammett novel. 

Continuing the theme of wedding historic milestones to contemporary sensibility, the California Gold Rush of 1849 that put San Francisco on the map is referenced by a colour palette of silver, copper and iron, adding an alluring luster to the rooms’ ambience but setting off distinctive custom 3D computer graphic applications created by Christo Saba. The artwork pays homage to the innovative spirit of San Francisco with subtle visualisations of past luminaries and today’s tech industry giants.

Image credit: Marriott International/St Regis

The redesign also focused on enhancing The St. Regis San Francisco’s 15,000 square feet of meeting and event spaces, creating refined, comfortable and innovative areas designed to facilitate conversation and collaboration.  Continuing to balance tradition and contemporaneity, the new custom carpet in the ballroom features a modern, earthy abstract pattern with unexpected bursts of color that ideally complements the room’s magnificent existing chandelier.

And with a subtle touch of whimsey that acknowledges the city’s storied geological uncertainty, Chapi Chapo Design fitted the hotel’s meeting spaces with tectonic-plate themed custom-designed carpet.  

Main image credit: Marriott International/St Regis

Render of large, luxury property

Corinthia Hotels announces debut hotel in Doha

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Corinthia Hotels announces debut hotel in Doha

Corinthia Hotels has signed an agreement to manage and operate a luxury Corinthia hotel in Doha to be built in the Gewan Island development…

As the final preparations are underway for Corinthia Hotel’s entrance into the Middle East, with the opening of Corinthia Dubai around the corner, the hotel group has just signed a deal to open a property in Doha.

Render of large, luxury property

The agreement with United Development Company (UDC) was signed by UDC senior officials; H.E. Mr Turki bin Mohammed Al-Khater, Chairman and Mr Ibrahim Jassim Al-Othman, President and Chief Executive Officer and Member of The Board. Signing on behalf of Corinthia was Mr Simon Naudi, CEO, together with Mr Paul Pisani, Senior Vice President of Development and Mr Matthew Dixon, Area Managing Director Middle East. Under the agreement, Corinthia will manage and operate the first Corinthia Hotel in Doha which will be constructed by UDC.

Corinthia currently owns, operates or is developing a portfolio of luxury hotels in major destinations including London, Lisbon, Prague, Budapest, Malta, Tripoli, Khartoum, St Petersburg, Rome, Brussels, Moscow, Dubai and Bucharest.

Corinthia Doha is therefore poised to be a prominent structure in Gewan Island, overlooking the Island’s planned golf course and beach club.

Corinthia Doha will be established on an area of 13,000 sqm and will comprise 110 guestrooms, a banquet hall and outdoor patio with a 1000 people capacity, an all-day dining and specialty restaurants in addition to a luxurious spa facility. The development will also include luxury branded villas, a golf course, and a beach club, all to be managed by the Corinthia Hotel.

“This project is part of Gewan Island’s development plans and will ensure the Company’s sustainable growth and the creation of new opportunities and revenue sources over the long term,” said UDC Chairman H.E. Mr. Turki bin Mohammed Al-Khater.

H.E. Mr. Al-Khater also highlighted that partnership with Corinthia Hotels which boasts an extensive experience in managing and operating hotels worldwide, falls in line with UDC’s development strategy to support Qatar’s real estate sector and underscores the importance of constructive partnerships that support the national economy and facilitate foreign investment.

For his part, UDC President and Chief Executive Officer and Member of The Board, Mr. Ibrahim Jassim Al-Othman, said that the leading reputation of Corinthia Hotels in the hospitality sector and its success in providing luxury hospitality services and facilities, and spreading its Mediterranean heritage culture internationally, are the main motives for choosing it to manage the new landmark hotel in Gewan Island.

Mr. Al-Othman also added: “Driven by UDC’s mission and vision, the agreement with Corinthia Hotels lays solid foundations for UDC’s expansion plans through investments in vital sectors such as real estate and hospitality that aim to optimize and sustain good shareholder value. This is further evidenced by the growth witnessed in the tourism movement in Qatar as a result of recent various government incentives, which in turn bodes well for UDC’s planned developments in its flagship projects; The Pearl-Qatar and Gewan Island.”

“Corinthia Doha will be another landmark property that will enrich our portfolio and will equally add value to Doha’s hospitality offerings.”  – Simon Naudi, CEO, Corinthia Hotels.

Further echoing their excitement to be operating in the Qatari market, Mr. Simon Naudi, CEO of Corinthia Hotels said: “We are delighted to have signed an agreement with UDC to manage a luxury hotel in Gewan Island which promises to be a magnificent location. The energy, vision and quality of resources assembled by UDC for this project will ensure that Corinthia Doha will be another landmark property that will enrich our portfolio and will equally add value to Doha’s hospitality offerings.”

Gewan Island, UDC’s latest real-estate project, is situated next to The Pearl-Qatar, spanning 400,000 sqm. Once completed, the Island will accommodate 3,500 residents and a similar number of daily visitors. Gewan Island will be home to 714 residential units, including 641 apartments, 20 standalone villas located along a placid beach in a quiet and gated seaside community, as well as 21 beachfront villas with private beach, 26 waterfront villas that are equipped with private pontoons for private boats and 6 island villas, in addition to 11,000 sqm of retail spaces and several multi-use buildings.

Gewan Island will feature in addition to Corinthia Hotel, a golf course with a beach club, an air conditioned ‘Crystal Walkway’ outdoor promenade, parks and green areas, which will play a major role in attracting various new brands to Doha. The Island will also be home to entertainment facilities, a sports club and a mosque.

Main image credit: Corinthia Doha/Corinthia Hotels

MEET UP North confirms Manchester venue

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
MEET UP North confirms Manchester venue

Hotel Designs’ MEET UP North will take place on July 6 at Stock Exchange Hotel in Manchester… 

In hot pursuit of the exclusive March-only Early Bird promotion launch for all of Hotel Designs’ MEET UP networking events, MEET UP North has announced that it will take place this year in Stock Exchange Hotel in Manchester.

Hotel Designs’ premium northern networking event, which will bridge the gap between designers, architects, hoteliers, developers and suppliers, will be themed Manchester On The Boards following the number or creative hotel concepts being developed in the city.

Situated in the heart of the city – in the former home of the Manchester Stock Exchange – the hotel was one of the city’s most anticipated openings of 2019. The stunning example of Edwardian Baroque architecture, with its original marble, brass and woodwork, has been carefully restored to breathe new life into one of the city’s most historically symbolic institutions.

Monochrome tiles in the luxury lobby at Stock Exchange Hotel, Manchester

Image caption: The lobby inside Stock Exchange Hotel in Manchester

“The hotel’s event space, The Vault, is the perfect setting to shelter a networking event like MEET UP North,” said editor Hamish Kilburn who will host the evening. “Oozing character, style and sensitive interior architecture, Stock Exchange Hotel will effortlessly and aptly shelter the creative geniuses who are transforming cities and hotels in the north of England.”

More information on our headline speaker will be announced shortly.

Exclusive Headline Partner: Hamilton Litestat

Event Partner: Crosswater 

Venue: Stock Exchange Hotel

MEET UP London announces headline speakers

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
MEET UP London announces headline speakers

MEET UP London, under the theme ‘Inspiring Creativity’, will welcome two award-winning visionaries to explore the concept of using sensory experiences in international hotel design… 

Hotel Designs has invited an award-winning sound designer and functional music innovation expert Tom Middleton and award-winning research entrepreneur Ari Peralta to become headline speakers at MEET UP London.

“The visionaries will respond to MEET UP London’s theme by immersing our audience into a sensory experience like no other before.”

The event, which takes place on May 13 at Minotti London, will be carry the theme of ‘Inspiring Creativity’, and will further bridge the gap between designers, architects, hoteliers, developers and suppliers.

Applying principles of neuroscience, behaviour and psychology, the visionaries will respond to MEET UP London’s theme by immersing our audience into a sensory experience like no other before. This will be followed by an engaging talk, entitled: “Amplifying Wellness: Using Sensory Experiences To Innovate International Hotel Design”. The talk will discuss how and why sound should be considered when designing the hotel of the future. From Jet Lag to Mindfulness solutions, their unique collaboration represents the synergy and creativity needed to future-proof hospitality.

“As the boundaries of our industry widen, designers, architects, developers and suppliers are willing to reach new depths to find innovative and meaningful ways to evolve the hotel experience,” said editor Hamish Kilburn who will host the evening’s event. “I believe it is, therefore, perfect timing to invite both Tom and Ari to share their wealth of knowledge and experience in this subject with the aim to inspire the leaders of our industry to think beyond conventional architecture and interior design.”

The pair, who in 2019 gave a powerful keynote on the ‘future of wellness’ for Innovation Day’s (ID19) at Marriott International HQ, are on a mission to engage with the hoteliers, designers and architects to highlight how the sensory experience could enhance the overall guest journey. 

About the speakers

Tom Middleton headshot

Image caption: Tom Middleton in the studio

Tom Middleton is a true polymath who literally wears many hats, including a pioneering electronic musician, award-winning sound designer, DJ and producer, a certified Sleep Science Coach, trained in Mental Health First Aid, and Co-Chair on the AFEM Health Group. He has toured the world and performed to millions observing the positive affects of sound, and has shared the stage with Mark Ronson, Lady Gaga and Kanye West.

Middleton regularly speaks on panels covering sensory customer and guest experience, immersive wellness, sound architecture, how to sleep better, workplace wellbeing and mental health.

Creator and innovator of empathic science-backed functional music and soundscapes for mental, physical and emotional health and wellbeing, relaxation, mindfulness, focus and productivity. 

His mission is to rescore the soundtrack to life with functional, transformational soundscapes, music and immersive experiences to help tackle stress, anxiety, burnout and sleep deprivation. Middleton aims to do this by applying principles of the neuroscience and psychology of sound, listening, breathing and human behaviour. 

As YOTEL’s chief Sound Architect for eight years, he developed smart and cohesive soundtracks to optimise guest experience.

His most recent work includes content for meditation and sleep app Calm, a collaboration with Nissan to create a zero-emission lullaby and Breathonics for Silentmode –  the first passive fitness platform for guided breathwork and music on the Appstore.

Middleton believes the science of sound, combined with mindful listening and conscious breathing within holistic multisensory environments can help us relax and reduce stress, be more happy, healthy and productive.

Headshot of Ari

Image caption: Ari Peralta

Ari Peralta is an international award-winning research entrepreneur working alongside a global network of scientists, immersive technologists and artists, developing wellness-led sensory initiatives across a wide range of industries.

By 2019, after two decades working in media research (Nielsen), medical marketing (ALO), immersive and strategic development (ProFix), he co-launched Arigami, an independent innovation consultancy dedicated to helping organisations design healthier and happier environments. 

Today, Peralta is a Forbes recognised provider for wellness and sensory-based strategies within hospitality, mobility, retail and healthcare. Arigami powers holistic innovation programs for startups, corporates and academic labs seeking to mitigate anxiety by developing transformative immersive and service design solutions for complex human problems within wellness, sleep and human performance. Besides leading his firm, Peralta dedicates much of his time guest lecturing at universities, speaking at international conferences and volunteering for organisations that promote STEM education for children.  

How to attend

EARLY BIRD SUPPLIER TICKETS*: £99 + VAT (expires on March 31)  | CLICK HERE to purchase your tickets.***
EARLY BIRD BUYER  TICKETS*£10 + VAT (expires on March 31) | CLICK HERE to purchase your tickets.***

Exclusive headline partner: Hamilton Litestat

Exclusive style partner: Minotti London

Event partner: Crosswater 

* Those eligible to purchase Supplier Tickets must be industry suppliers.
** Those eligible to purchase buyer tickets must prove that they are an interior designer, architect, hotelier or developer.
***Hotel Designs’ Early Bird promotion ends on March 31. After this time, tickets for designers, architects, hoteliers and developers will inflate to £20 + VAT and supplier tickets will inflate to £150 + VAT. 

EARLY BIRD tickets to MEET UP events now open

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
EARLY BIRD tickets to MEET UP events now open

Early bird catches the worm, as discounted tickets to attend Hotel Designs’ MEET UP London (May 13) and MEET UP North (July 6) are now available to purchase…

During March, Hotel Designs is offering designers, architects, hoteliers, developers and suppliers to purchase discounted EARLY BIRD tickets to Meet Up London and Meet Up North.

The regional events, which last year bridged the gap between more than 400 design and hospitality professionals, are regarded as two of the industry’s most established networking events. “We are fully committed to host our networking events in locations and venues that are at the heart of the hotel design community,” said editor Hamish Kilburn. “We hope that Meet Up London and Meet Up North, which include relevant themes and talks at both, help to build seamless relationships as well as inspire the industry to further push boundaries in design and hospitality.”

About Meet Up London 
Date: May 13, 2020 | 6pm – 10pm
Venue: Minotti London | Theme: Inspiring Creativity
Headline Partner: Hamilton Litestat | Partner: Crosswater | Style Partner: Minotti London

Following the success of last year’s spring networking eventHotel Designs is delighted to return to Minotti London for Meet Up London 2020, the publication’s first networking event of the year. The London Fitzrovia showroom, which recently played host to an exclusive roundtable, will shelter an evening like no other around the theme of Inspiring Creativity, with the concrete aim to further bridge the gap between designers, architects, hoteliers, developers and key-industry suppliers.

EARLY BIRD SUPPLIER TICKETS*: £99 + VAT (expires on March 31)  | CLICK HERE to purchase your tickets.
EARLY BIRD BUYER TICKETS**£10 + VAT (expires on March 31) | CLICK HERE to purchase your tickets.

About Meet Up North 
Date: July 6, 2020 | 6pm – 10pm
Venue: Central Manchester (venue to be announced shortly)| Theme: Manchester On The Boards
Headline Partner: Hamilton Litestat | Partner: Crosswater | Style Partner: Minotti London

Considering the vast amount of hotel projects currently on the boards in the north – many of which are slated to complete in Manchester and open this year – Hotel Designs will be returning to the city of Manchester for Meet Up North 2020. The city, which has hosted the concept since its launch in 2018, will once again welcome leading designers, architects, hoteliers, developers and key-industry suppliers for the market’s leading networking event in the north of England.

EARLY BIRD SUPPLIER TICKETS*: £99 + VAT (expires on March 31) | CLICK HERE to purchase your tickets.
EARLY BIRD BUYER TICKETS**£10 + VAT (expires on March 31) | CLICK HERE to purchase your tickets.

If you would like to discuss various sponsorship packages available, or if you have any enquires regarding tickets, please contact Katy Phillips via email, or call 01992 374050.

Early Bird offer strictly ends March 31, 2020.

* Those eligible to purchase Supplier Tickets must be industry suppliers.
** Those eligible to purchase buyer tickets must prove that they are an interior designer, architect, hotelier or developer.

Sindhorn Midtown hotel opens in Bangkok

750 565 Hamish Kilburn
Sindhorn Midtown hotel opens in Bangkok

The opening in Bangkok marks the new hospitality brand’s debut in Thailand… 

Sindhorn Midtown, the flagship property of a stylish new Thai-inspired hospitality brand, opens in the heart of Bangkok’s Langsuan neighbourhood. 

Inspired by local artistry and designed for a sophisticated lifestyle, Sindhorn Midtown introduces a contemporary Thai hospitality experience for today’s business and leisure travellers alike.

Image of pool and skyline of Bangkok

Image credit: Sindhorn Hotel Bangkok

“We’re thrilled to open our doors and introduce guests to our new brand of hospitality,” said Jee Hoong Tan, Sindhorn Midtown’s General Manager. “Sindhorn Midtown is a chic urban escape that welcomes guests with authentic warm Thai hospitality. With intuitive service, thoughtful amenities and sleek design, Sindhorn Midtown is setting a new standard in the market sure to appeal to savvy travellers.”

“Sindhorn Midtown delivers modern living with the allure of relaxation, comfort and sustainability.”

Uncomplicated and harmonious, Sindhorn Midtown delivers modern living with the allure of relaxation, comfort and sustainability. Nestled within a pocket of greenery in the midst of the quiet Langsuan neighborhood area, the hotel offers a collection of 344 hotel guestrooms and suites and 49 serviced residence units within two sleek, modern towers offering urban views.

The hotel blends art-infused contemporary interiors with a calm vibe. Food and beverage offerings include Tr.EAT, an in-house eatery with the flavour and flair of the local neighbourhood; and Rhumba, a lively gathering spot offering a large selection of rum, mixed into classic and creative cocktails. On the 18th level, the Horizon Pool offers skyline views, cocktails and small bites; while the Fitness Center on the 19th level allows guests to stay fit 24/7 with the latest equipment from Life Fitness.

Main image credit: Sindhorn Hotel Bangkok

Inside the world’s first ‘super boutique’ hotel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Inside the world’s first ‘super boutique’ hotel

The world-class design team of The Londoner ‘super boutique hotel’ consists of interior designers at Yabu Pushelberg, engineer experts at Arup Associates and artist Ian Monroe

After seven years and a £300 million investment, The Londoner, the world’s first super boutique hotel, will open its doors in June 2020.

The property will take centre stage on London’s Leicester Square and is the latest project by Edwardian Hotels London.

 The project is a feat of design, architecture and engineering that aligns with the vision of Edwardian Hotels London’s Founder and Chairman, Mr Jasminder Singh to create “a celebration of London; its history, aesthetic and people.”

Its 16 storeys will incorporate 350 guestrooms, suites and a tower penthouse with panoramic views, two private screening rooms, a mix of six concept eateries – including bars and a tavern, alfresco dining on the ground floor and a contemporary Japanese lounge bar with a rooftop terrace and fire pit – plus an expansive ballroom suited for any occasion, a variety of meeting spaces and a results-driven gym and spa.

Edwardian Hotels London’s Design Architect, Rob Steul and architectural firm Woods Bagot CEO, Nik Karalis collaborated to develop the architectural design concept fitting of its cornerstone position on Leicester Square, and a guest experience with a ‘West End Story’ narrative at its core. Interior designers Yabu Pushelberg, engineers Arup Associates and artist Ian Monroe round out the world-class design team.

“From inception, Edwardian Hotels London saw the building as more than a hotel and sought to create an ‘urban resort’ destination of the highest architectural quality,” said Steul. From the wellness space below, to an extraordinary rooftop terrace overlooking Trafalgar Square, we developed a central core of meeting, eating, lounging and event spaces running vertically through the building around which wrap the guestrooms.”

“It is essentially two buildings intertwined – with the interplay between them creating a dynamic guest experience. Working closely with City of Westminster planners, we carefully considered the urban context of the site and responded with a building which fits its context in both massing and materiality.”

Engineers Arup Associates provided expertise across 16 different disciplines, from mechanical, electrical and public health to fire, acoustics, vertical transportation, accessibility and façade engineering.

Image credit: Edwardian Hotels London

Due to urban planning height restrictions, the architects proposed a 30-metre subterranean series of spaces on six levels, creating the deepest habitable basement in London and among the deepest in the world – a factor that presented a number of architectural, structural and engineering challenges for the teams involved.

In order to reach down to the depths required, an excavator had to be specially designed and made by construction company McGee Group, who built the basement and building superstructure.

Portland stone predominates on the façade with a vertical pattern of punched bronze-framed windows trimmed in rich blue architectural faience tiles numbering over 15,000, which were both conceived and designed by artist Ian Monroe and individually hand-made by British company Darwen Terracotta. 

Each tile took traditional artisans up to six weeks to create, from the initial pour through to the final firing – and when in place, set at a specific angle, will reflect the natural light of the sky during the day and the dynamism of the area’s myriad of lights following nightfall.

A truly public work of art (a condition of the hotel’s planning approval) and Monroe’s first hotel project, the faience extends from the ground floor of The Londoner up and through to its roof.

Inside, a luxurious and contemporary experience crafted by world-renowned designers Yabu Pushelberg speaks to the backdrop and approximation of the city’s cinema district. Marrying charming wit with British sentiment, thoughtfully designed common areas, dining spaces and guest rooms enhance the motions of everyday life.

When talking about The Londoner’s guestrooms, George Yabu of Yabu Pushelberg said: “The Londoner was designed to play into the roots of Leicester Square as London’s historic theatre district. We created layers of programming up into the sky and deep into the earth that emphasise this extraverted, alluring, playful voice.

“Through subtle nuances, we gently infused this energy into the guestrooms because we wanted them to remain evident spaces for comfort and relaxation. Stylistically, we tapped into traditional British sensibility and a minimal, cohesive neutral palette.”

Ensuring sustainable luxury for future generations, The Londoner secured a £175 million Green Loan from HSBC UK, which will ensure it exceeds the BREEAM Excellent category in building environmental and sustainable performance.

The Londoner, a member of the prestigious Preferred Hotels & Resorts Legend Collection, is the latest project by Edwardian Hotels London, the privately-owned hotel group behind the development of The May Fair Hotel, the newly opened The Edwardian Manchester and a collection of restaurant and bar brands, including May Fair Kitchen, May Fair Bar, Bloomsbury Street Kitchen and award-winning Peter Street Kitchen.

Main image credit: Edwardian Hotels London

Editor Checks In: Colouring outside the lines, searching for creativity

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Editor Checks In: Colouring outside the lines, searching for creativity

Casting back to a two-dimensional art classroom, editor Hamish Kilburn has a few confessions to make regarding the creativity of his sketch book before rekindling his relationship with art in design…

As someone who regularly rushed his art homework in blue biro ink at the back of the school bus, reserving a seat in detention in the process, I am a disgrace to art enthusiasts everywhere. I had no time for the subject, or its storied history. Patience didn’t come naturally to me or my teachers. As far as they were concerned, there were two types of people in the world: people who could draw life-like hands to not look like Monster Munch on a portrait and people who couldn’t. In hindsight, though, I am regretful for not digging beneath the surface of the subject and for not paying more attention. I realise now that I would have loved learning about the likes of Van Gogh, Andy Warhol, Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso, Edvard Minch and other hall-of-famers.

12 years later, I am writing about the very topic that made my eyes enthusiastically roll with disinterest when presented with the next homework assignment. Still unable to draw or paint anything to resemble anything or anyone, the ink from my biro-infected Year-9 art book has run into my career; its stain is in every hotel I review, every feature I commission, every conversation I have, and now even in one of my editor’s letters. The fact is, art is unavoidably everywhere. It is adding texture and meaning to the beautifully painted picture of an industry that refuses to colour within the lines and that is not afraid to veer off into new lanes in search for creativity.

This month, I attended my first ever fashion show, which is shocking considering creativity in interior design and architecture very often derives from unconventional threads in fashion. But the reality of manning the editorial desk, scrutinising which envelopes are necessary to open and which should remain sealed, quite often results in me avoiding the noise amplified through London’s landmark during London Fashion Week. That is until now.

“It was a fantastical depiction of a partnership between two worlds that often meet, art and fashion, but rarely hold hands in public.”

Having finally joined the stampede of fashion week, the first theory of the fashion world I crushed into a myth was being ‘fashionably late’. Unapologetic to the stragglers, the lights went down at 6.30pm on the dot to signifying the show starting, as we were pre-warned on the e-invitation. The perfectly timed, choreographed performance of artistic frocks commenced – and a late arrival would have almost certainly ruined the atmospheric mise én scene, as well as ones captured point of view.

Everyone’s eyes in the high-ceilinged lobby inside Sofitel St James London were fixed to the centre of the room. Detaching the audience from their day-to-day deadlines, the models marched forward, one by one, to showcase a moment. It was a fantastical depiction of a partnership between two worlds that often meet, art and fashion, but rarely hold hands in public.

It was the work of French artist Stephane Koerwyn who put these colourful pieces together, delicately connecting the stylish similarities between the two industries and creating a new layer of design in the process. Bright, colourful and bold dresses made from Aluminium illuminated the catwalk to celebrate the sustainability movements in both territories. We were able to appreciate the pieces in motion before they were displayed as statues throughout hotel in an exhibition of the artist’s work, which is now on display until June 2020.

Koerwyn is not the only creative who isn’t afraid to cross boarders into other industries. In all corners of our endless industry, designers and artists are raising the ceiling and filling the space with more iconic, standalone statements. Hotel Le Coucou, which I recently reviewed in the French Alps, is the brainchild of Pierre Yovanovitch – a former fashion designer – whose injection of houte couture interiors, has taken this slope-side 56-key luxury boutique to new heights of creativity where bear chairs, emoji-themed plates and ice-cube lighting become genius layers in luxury design.

Meanwhile, meaningful collaborations between suppliers and designers continue to catapult innovation in material, style and wider in design. A few years ago, a collaboration between sportswear brand Odlo and Zaha Hadid Design (ZHD) went under the radar of most designers. But in reality, it was a remarkable ‘two heads are better than one’ approach that led ZHD to vastly improve the form of a conventional sports ‘baselayer’, with new technology allowing the companies to create a seamless garment that adapted with the body.

Only last year, at Sleep & Eat 2019, Laufen’s A New Classic was launched. The collection of bathroom products and furniture was the unrivalled result of a partnership with Marcel Wanders, who further pushed the boundaries in bathroom design and aesthetics to create a collection that confronted gender. At the same time, Roca unveiled its next collection of timeless bathroom gems with fashion brand Armani and furniture brand Benchmark worked with architecture legend David Rockwell to transform the workplace with a new, ergonomic table.

Even as we speak, commercial furniture brand Morgan, known and respected for its carefully aligned collaborations, is (I am told) working on its next partnership that will be unveiled at Clerkenwell Design Week 2020 in May.

Before that, lighting brand Chelsom, which was recently specified in Riggs Washington D.C. and Great Scotland Yard Hotel, is preparing to light up a new collection of lamps, pendants and chandeliers that has been inspired by two years of thorough research. Meanwhile, luxury Italian furniture brand Minotti is weeks away from raising the curtain on the 2020 – 2021 collection of luxury indoor and outdoor furniture, inspired, no doubt, by the family’s travels and evolution of public spaces in hospitality.

As the list of conscious collaborations continues to grow, Hotel Designs is inviting the industry to celebrate creativity in all its colours at Meet Up London. Taking place on May 13, at the Minotti London showroom, our spring networking event will further bridge the gap between designers, architects, hoteliers, developers and suppliers with conversations like no other. Above all, though, we promise to inspire all avenues of creativity, even if that means colouring outside the lines from time to time.

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

Editor, Hotel Designs

Renaissance Hotels debuts in New York

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Renaissance Hotels debuts in New York

The 39-floor luxury hotel, Renaissance New York Chelsea Hotel, has opened as plans for the brand to open another hotel in the city move forward…

Renaissance New York Chelsea Hotel has officially opened its doors to become one of the tallest properties in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood.

Rising an impressive 39 floors at 430 feet high, the brand’s first hotel in Chelsea is crowned with one of the highest rooftop pools in the city, offering unparalleled 360-degree views.

Located on the former site of the iconic Antiques Garage flea market, the hotel pays homage to the site’s history and the area’s charming antique shops with a theatrical design concept by architecture and interior design firm Stonehill Taylor. Drawing inspiration from the surrounding neighbourhood, spaces within the hotel aim to surprise and delight guests with unexpected moments, each thoughtfully designed to tell a story.

“Renaissance New York Chelsea Hotel encourages guests to discover this iconic location with a sense of reimagined curiosity,” said George Fleck, vice president of global brand marketing and management, Renaissance Hotels. “This new hotel, coupled with our significant growth and renovation strategy in North America, further reinforces our brand’s global commitment to ensuring that guests experience the DNA of the neighbourhood through our dramatic design and engaging guest experiences – ultimately leaving with a new appreciation of the destination.”

Colourful artwork in the suite

Image credit: Marriott Hotels/Renaissance Hotels

Underscoring Renaissance Hotels’ unexpected design aesthetic, Stonehill Taylor created an escape that plays on the contrasting dichotomy of the hotel’s industrial, antique and floral market surroundings to create the illusion of walking through a secret garden. The hotel’s top-floor exterior features a sleek, modern glass facade, while the entrance embodies the look and feel of an English manor. Behind a stone-walled arcade entry lays a private, open-air courtyard studded with lush foliage and seating for guests to lounge.

Penthouse bedroom overlooking skyline of New York

Image credit: Marriott Hotels/Renaissance Hotels

Tapped to curate the hotel’s collection of artwork, art consultant Indiewalls led a massive two-story installation of antique knobs, locks and keys created by local artist Laura Morrison that takes center stage as the backdrop to the lobby staircase. As guests pass through the space, they are encouraged to touch and interact with these whimsical wares. Indiewalls also oversaw mixed media artist Liam Alexander’s creation of various video art moments throughout the hotel, reflecting inspiration from the flower district and flea market concepts in the surrounding locale, eliciting the feeling of a “living painting.” Trellage-Ferrill Studio fabricated custom pieces like a collection of upside-down bird cages, as well as a large pendant at the elevator lobby inspired by a bird’s nest to pique the curiosity of travelers. Inside the elevator cabs, leather tiles made from vintage belts coat the walls, adding intrigue of the hotel’s overall design.

Earth tones dominate the color palette of the 341 guest rooms and suites. Interiors are outfitted with wood-panelled printed wallcoverings and unexpected playful touches include gnome desk lamps and rabbit coat hooks. Guest bathrooms evoke a quaint garden shed with concrete sinks, porcelain tiles and mirrors etched with silhouettes of wildflowers. Suites on the fourth and 36th floors are distinguished by their 14-foot high ceilings. A focal point of each suite is a floor-to-ceiling framed wallcovering art installation of a magnified peacock feather, as well as an oversized mural of a woman’s silhouette comprised of fuchsia roses by artist Sara Byrne.

The hotel is the latest property to debut under the brand’s growing North American portfolio which includes recently opened hotels in Philadelphia, Toledo, Reno, Dallas and Newport Beach, as well as renovated properties in Los Angeles, Minneapolis and Palm Desert, among others. Additionally, the brand is set to grow its New York City footprint two-fold over the next two years with highly anticipated openings in both Flushing and Harlem.

Main image credit: Marriott/Renaissance Hotels

5 minutes with: Radisson’s Hotel Group’s new Area SVP (UK, Ireland & Western Europe)

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
5 minutes with: Radisson’s Hotel Group’s new Area SVP (UK, Ireland & Western Europe)

Radisson Hotel Group’s new Area Senior Vice President for UK, Ireland & Western Europe (UKIWE), Tom Flanagan Karttunen, speaks to Hotel Designs about project pipelines and where, geographically, is the next hotel hotspot…

Tom Flanagan Karttunen joined Radisson Hotel Group more than 20 years ago and has grown within the company, holding different leadership positions in numerous business areas at Radisson Blu Hotels in Copenhagen, Beijing, Manama, Hamburg and Galway. He has served as District Director Turkey, Azerbaijan & China, based in Istanbul, before being appointed as Area Vice President Eastern Europe & Russia, based in Moscow in 2009, and then Area Senior Vice President, Northern Europe. Most recently, though, he has become the group’s new Area Senior Vice President for UK, Ireland & Western Europe. 

Hamish Kilburn: What have you identified as being the main areas of change in your 20 years at Radisson?
Tom Flanagan Karttunen:
Radisson Hotel Group has made huge progress during my time with the company and is a leader in the hospitality industry, with properties situated in the heart of key global destinations. In 2019, Jin Jiang International acquired Radisson Hotel Group, becoming the second largest hotel chain in the world by number of rooms. Despite rapid growth, we have retained a customer centric approach, delivering best-in-class service to our guests. This is helped by our teams providing outstanding, personalised experiences and our hotels showcasing iconic, sophisticated and stylish design. My team and I have worked extremely hard to reposition our Northern Europe offering through an extensive renovation programme over the last few years, all with the aim of improving guest experience. With my expanded role, I now look forward to the opportunities to develop the UK, Ireland & Western Europe portfolio.

HK: Can you tell us a bit more about where, geographically, the brand is developing its portfolio within UK, Ireland and Western Europe?
TFK: There are exciting openings in the pipeline and large-scale renovations underway across the region in global hubs such as London, Madrid, Paris and Brussels. These projects include introducing the Radisson Collection and Radisson RED brands to countries and major cities where they don’t yet have a presence. For example, later this year we will open a Radisson RED in Greenwich, London, close to The O2, the world’s busiest concert and events venue.

“Beyond 2020, we already have more than 60 hotels in the pipeline for the region and no doubt more exciting developments to come.” – Tom Flanagan Karttunen, Area Senior Vice President for UK, Ireland & Western Europe

HK: Your new role requires you to grow talent, what do you look for in your employees?
TFK:
At Radisson Hotel Group, we are lucky to have the best talent in the industry. We value employees that embody our values and are willing to go the extra mile to give our guests exceptional service. Also, we are proud to have an international employee base that can understand how guest expectations differ between countries and regions, and therefore deliver the best possible service and experience.

HK: How many hotels is the group planning on opening this year? Can you divide into brands?
TFK: Across EMEA, we are on track to introduce 30 new offerings to the market within 2020, which are either new properties or significant renovations. Beyond 2020, we already have more than 60 hotels in the pipeline for the region and no doubt more exciting developments to come. In the UK, Ireland & Western Europe, our brands of focus for openings are Radisson Collection, Radisson RED and Radisson, our Scandinavian-inspired upscale brand, which is yet to arrive in the region.

Main image credit: Radisson Hotel Group

Nobu Hotels announces 8 new properties in the pipeline

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Nobu Hotels announces 8 new properties in the pipeline

2020 is an exciting year for Nobu Hotels, with 10 hotels currently open and eight more in the pipeline across the US, Europe and Middle East, including regions such as London, Chicago, Warsaw and Riyadh…

Founded by Chef Nobu Matsuhisa, Robert De Niro and Meir Teper, Nobu Hotels continues to solidify its reputation as a global hospitality brand with instinctive design, discreet service and fine ingredients at its core.

With eight properties in the pipeline, here are what are expected to be the most significant openings in the near future…

Nobu Hotel Warsaw

Image credit: Nobu Hotels

Nobu Hotel Warsaw 2020 marks the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II, making this year the ideal time to explore modern Poland. The capital is evolving as a vibrant travel destination, and with nearly a dozen hotels set to open in Warsaw in 2020, none are as highly anticipated as Nobu Hotel Warsaw. Dynamic and distinctive, the new Nobu Hotel Warsaw is set in the heart of this historic city and will occupy a new building located at Wilcza Street.

Designed by the Polish architectural firm, Medusa Group, the property will also encompass the existing Hotel Rialto. The design will be a collaborative effort between Medusa Group and Californian-based Studio PCH, and will see a transformative architectural design for Warsaw, blending with the original Rialto building.

Nobu Hotel Palo Alto

Slated to be Silicon Valley’s most anticipated hotel renewal in some time, Nobu Hotel Palo Alto will unveil a completely brand-new hotel following its multi-million-dollar transformation.

The 73-room boutique property is elevating its façade, reception and arrival experience, wellness offerings, meeting venues and amenities, guest rooms and a signature Nobu restaurant to reflect the world-renowned standards of Nobu Hospitality. Standout highlights include high-tech guest rooms with Alexa and Toto Neorest washlet toilets, with 90-inch televisions in the eighth floor Ryokan guestrooms, and an elevated fitness studio.

Nobu Hotel London Portman Square

Image credit: Nobu Hotels

Expected to open in summer 2020, the hotel is set in the heart of the city’s West End, in Portman Square W1. Steps from Mayfair’s vibrant restaurants and independent boutiques and on the edge of Soho’s world-famous theatres, Nobu Hotel London Portman Square will shelter 259 guestrooms and suites, a Nobu Restaurant, ballroom and meeting spaces.

Conceptualised by London-based architecture and design firm, David Collins Studio, in conjunction with Make Architects, the property will embody Nobu’s signature Japanese minimalism, drawing upon traditional weaving techniques, patterns and artworks.  

Nobu Hotel Chicago

Image credit: Nobu Hotels

Ideally situated in the vibrant area of Chicago’s west loop, Nobu Hotel Chicago will harness the essence of the energetic and iconic Midwestern town.

Offering 119 guestrooms and suites, Nobu Hotel Chicago will play host to a 10,000-square foot Nobu restaurant, opening out on to Randolph’s famed Restaurant Row. An exquisite 3,000 square foot, multi-use suite will be available for private social functions and meeting space, alongside an indoor pool, state-of-the-art fitness centre, spa treatment rooms and a stylish rooftop indoor and outdoor bar and lounge.

Nobu Hotel Riyadh

Set in the heart of downtown Riyadh, Nobu Hotel Riyadh sports clean lines and a casual elegance, an urban oasis that is the very first five-star luxury boutique hotel in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

A 23-story glass panelled skyscraper, the property rises proudly above the storied skyline and is styled to reflect Nobu’s Japanese heritage, with a nod to arabesque architecture. Innovative printed, layered glass allows light to flood through the façade, complimenting the airy interiors and addressing its striking surroundings. 119 guestrooms and suites sit alongside a spa, fitness facility, executive club lounge, meeting spaces, ballrooms and the Kingdom’s first Nobu Restaurant.

Nobu Hotels are distinctive destinations, each offering a sense of place and a celebration of their own locality.  What they have in common, is that each is designed as a space in which to relax and savour an experience, in an atmosphere charged with a sense of being a part of something rather extraordinary.

Main image credit: Nobu Hotels/Make Architects

In Conversation With: Hamish Brown, Partner at 1508 London

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In Conversation With: Hamish Brown, Partner at 1508 London

Following some major global project wins, 1508 London’s entrance into hospitality was one that was led by a burning desire to reference local culture, unique design and organic materials in a new generation of luxury hotels. Editor Hamish Kilburn joins one of the firm’s Partner, Hamish Brown, in the London-based studio to learn more…

“There’s a real desire at the moment for brands not to be completely dictatorial about what their hotel should look like,” comments Hamish Brown, Partner at 1508 London, who warmly welcomes me into the studio moments before arriving himself having just walked off the red-eye flight from New York to London. “There are operational and functional standards, for sure, but in terms of design and aesthetics, there is so much more freedom now than there ever has been in hotel design.”

Could it be this movement that opened the door from residential into hospitality for the design studio? Or maybe it’s Brown’s ability to sharply define where the industry is at in this moment even while enduring transatlantic jetlag. Before then, the team at 1508 London were residential pioneers who had created a unique thread of new design standards on the high-end market around the globe; an appealing DNA for developers and operators in the hospitality arena.

It’s a refreshing experience, visiting a working studio that is – despite having already completed The Spa at The Lanesborough, awarded Best Hotel Spa 2019, and is currently working on new spaces for brands such as Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts, Park Hyatt, InterContinental Hotels and Jumeirah – still relevantly new on the international hospitality scene. It is perchance the gems that are on the boards, as well as the major project wins that the studio has achieved recently, therefore, that is causing the heads in the industry to turn towards the direction of 1508 London.

“I have always really hated the ‘one size fits all’ approach in design.” – Hamish Brown, 1508 London

Most recently, the studio’s pipeline of statement projects includes Rosewood Doha, which is said to become “Qatar’s latest landmark five-star hotel”, the first branded residences in Beverly Hills’ golden triangle and the redesign of Jumeirah Carlton Tower in London, which will infuse a new, lighter sense of grandeur to elevate the guests’ arrival experience.

Render of two towers in doha

Image caption: Render of the majestic towers that will shelter Rosewood Doha, slated to open in 2020 | Image credit: 1508 London/Rosewood Hotels

The structure of the 70-strong designers at 1508 London is supported by four design directors, one of which, Akram Fahmi, was published in The Brit List 2019 following his recent move from his success at another studio. “We try as much as possible here to throw things up in the air, because I have always really hated the ‘one size fits all’ approach in design,” Brown tells me. “We start by first understanding the building’s context – the architecture and the local vernacular – and, as designers, it is our job to be able to draw inspiration from that.”

Brown, who The Times named as a ‘tastemaker’ in 2018, joined the firm in its infancy in 2010. Before that, he worked for a property development firm, swerving anything design-related succeeding a full-on interior architecture degree at the Birmingham Institute of Art and Design. “To be honest, I was a bit overwhelmed after my studies,” he admits. “The modules were attempting to be sensible, but, in reality, they did not prepare me for what life is really like as a designer. It felt a bit like passing my driving test and then merging onto the motorway for the first time.”

Render of the outside of the building

Image caption: Render teasing what the front of Jumeriah Carlton Tower will look like when it majestically remerges back onto the London scene later this year. | Image credit: 1508 London/Jumeriah Hotels

After flirting with the idea of working in high-end residential and retail development, giving student life some time to deliquesce in the memory, Brown initially joined 1508 London as a Business Development Manager. Climbing the ladder rapidly, in 2011 he became Head of Projects, was promoted one year later to become Studio Director and in 2013, he joined CEO and Partner Stuart Horwood as a Partner. “Originally, we were just four people with one vision, and we deliberately didn’t have a house style.” Walking around the studio, I am presented to the brand’s perhaps most impressive creation: the carefully curated cluster of characters – AKA, the designers – who are all driven, I’m told, by the idea of producing better spaces. “We take pride in being very client-centric, and that’s not to put anyone else or any other studio in the industry down – we really do try to respond to briefs with creativity,” Brown adds.

In a recent exclusive roundtable discussion on the topic of meaningfully differentiating luxury in hotel design, Brown mentioned that the studio tries to always capture and create sense-of-place with every project it works on. “Intrinsically, we believe that the exterior and interior of a building should have a strong relationship,” explains Brown. “And that’s often the starting point on most projects. We ask about the location, the architecture and the materials. Quite often, our inquisitive nature then takes over and we will investigate more about things like the culture, the art and the food.”

Luxury pool area inside The Lanesborough

Image caption: Thoughtfully designed, The Spa at The Lanesborough shelters a luxurious hydro pool area. | Image credit: 1508 London/The Lanesborough

In regards to the company’s own sense-of-place, the studio is situated in the heart of the capital and has famous neighbours, sharing the same roof as fashion house Tom Ford’s studio and showroom. With 27 different nationalities under one roof, 1508 London is an outwardly thinking practice that is inspired by different cultures. “Britain is a design hub because of its education,” Brown says. “Our studio is a perfect example. There is a natural flow of talent in London, and that is because individuals from all over the world choose to operate here.”

“Although the first impression in a hotel usually comes from the look and feel, the last impression is of equal importance.” – Hamish Brown, 1508 London.

QUICK-FIRE ROUND

Hamish Kilburn: Where do you feel most at home in London?
Hamish Brown: In South London, with my wife and two children

HK: Where’s next on your travel bucket list?
HB: Sri-Lanka

HK: Was there a designer/or designers who inspired you when you were studying?
HB: Zaha Hadid and Antoni Gaudi, I’ve always fascinated by their uses of materials.

HK: What is the most rewarding part of your role?
HB: Working with people, and learning about cultures. I have learned more about geography as a designer than I ever did at school.

HK: If you were not a designer, what would you do?
HB: I would restore furniture, which is what I want to do when I retire.

HK: How would you describe your four design directors?
HB: They are completely open-minded and expansive beyond belief. You give them a challenge and they will each respond in the most wonderfully exciting ways.

HK: What’s the last item that shows up on your bank statement?
HB: A tactical coffee a Gatwick airport.

One of Brown’s most valuable lessons that he has learned is the balance between design and function. “Although the first impression in a hotel usually comes from the look and feel, the last impression is of equal importance,” he says. “The lasting memory comes from the service and function. To make someone fall in love with their stay, to attract them in the way it looks, you have to be able to deliver on that promise – and that is where the symbiosis happens between design and function.”

For most designers, one project will stand out in the portfolio. For Brown, that project sits majestically on Hyde Park Corner, just a few miles from the studio, and was also one of the first luxury hotels I checked in to as a journalist. “Working with the hotel’s Managing Director at the time, Geoffrey Gelardi, on the design of The Spa at The Lanesborough was incredible,” he says. “He had unbelievable knowledge on how the back-of-house operated, which allowed us to design spaces with complete precision, and enabled us to learn exactly how each area should be utilised. Without a doubt, those lessons have been the major transition between residential and hospitality.”

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 is an urban sanctuary unlike any other. | Image credit: 1508 London/The Lanesborough

The fact that we are sat around a beautiful oak table that I find out was rescued by the 1508 London team from an antique shop in Chelsea, exemplifies the studio’s respect for objects and restoration. “In many ways, you are only as good as your materials,” explains Brown. “This rug, even, came from a woman I met in the Middle East. She devoted her life to travelling to tribal areas, bringing groups of people together in the process to make these detailed rugs.”

“I remember using a recycled car windscreen in a bar, which a supplier fused together in order to create a striking bubble-like surface.” – Hamish Brown, 1508 London

The studio is so passionate to learn about new materials and products that it even dedicates time, one day a week, to invite select suppliers into the studio. “This time is an opportunity for us to learn, which is fascinating,” he says. “I remember using a recycled car windscreen in a bar, which a supplier fused together in order to create a striking bubble-like surface. When you backlit it, the result was incredible. The point is, I would never have thought about doing that on my own, and it added a new layer to the high-end project.”

Inspired by the studio’s infectious ethos – as well as its ability to sensitively lead the industry’s evolution ­– I leave Brown and his team in peace to continue reshaping the international landscape of luxury hotels. My evaluation of Hamish Brown? He is a polite and modest man who you can effortlessly spark up a conversation with. Listening intently to hear his passion for design, architecture and the carving out of a new era of hospitality, I can conclude that we do, after all, have more in common than simply a memorable name.

Main image credit: 1508 London

F&B Special: Restaurants raising the bar in architecture & design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
F&B Special: Restaurants raising the bar in architecture & design

Say farewell to conventional restaurants, and say hello to a delicious and enticing world of pure imagination to the latest design-led restaurants to open. Editor Hamish Kilburn writes… 

Ahead of next month, when Hotel Designs will take centre stage at Hospitality Restaurant Catering show, I have good reason to believe that some of the latest restaurants that have opened recently (in and out of the hotel industry) have changed the landscape of hospitality.

And while, some may argue that we should be cautious to focus the lens on purely the F&B scene in fear of losing purpose on other areas within the hotel, it is also an undeniable truth that the new era of international hotels are using their restaurants and bars to drive in a local crowd in order to make the public areas a vibrant hub of activity.

Therefore, here are just some of the latest restaurants and bars to open, which have been designed holistically to improve the overall guest experience.

Under, Europe’s first underwater restaurant

Located at the southernmost point of the Norwegian coastline, where the sea storms from the north and south meet, Europe’s first underwater restaurant is situated at a unique confluence. Marine species flourish here in the both briny and brackish waters to produce a natural abundance in biodiversity at the site. The Snøhetta-designed restaurant, which has just received a Michelin-star status, also functions as a research centre for marine life, providing a tribute to the wild fauna of the sea and to the rocky coastline of Norway’s southern tip.

The structure is designed to fully integrate into its marine environment over time, as the roughness of the concrete shell will function as an artificial reef, welcoming limpets and kelp to inhabit it. With the thick concrete walls lying against the craggy shoreline, the structure is built to withstand pressure and shock from the rugged sea conditions. Like a sunken periscope, the restaurant’s massive window offers a view of the seabed as it changes throughout the seasons and varying weather conditions.

“Under is a natural progression of our experimentation with boundaries, says Snøhetta Founder and Architect, Kjetil Trædal Thorsen. “As a new landmark for Southern Norway, Under proposes unexpected combinations of pronouns and prepositions, and challenges what determines a person’s physical placement in their environment. In this building, you may find yourself under water, over the seabed, between land and sea. This will offer you new perspectives and ways of seeing the world, both beyond and beneath the waterline”.

 Burbank Restaurant at Roomers Frankfurt

Burbank is a new design-led, Asian-fusion restaurant by leading chef, The Duc Ngo. It is situated within Frankfurt’s chic Design Hotels member, Roomers Frankfurt by the Gekko Group. The restaurant is the third partnership between Berlin culinary innovator, The Duc Ngo, and Gekko Group’s founders, Micky Rosen and Alex Urseanu. Burbank joins the group’s portfolio of leading destination restaurants including moriki Frankfurt, moriki Roomers Baden-Baden, and the Golden Phoenix at Provocateur Berlin Hotel. The Duc Ngo creates an inventive and unconventional menu at Burbank, fusing pan-Asian flavours with relaxed Californian and Latin American cooking. 

Beefbar restaurant, Le Coucou Hotel

Reviewed recently in Hotel Designs’ wider feature of Le Coucou Hotel, Beefbar restaurant is, like the rest of the property, sheltered within a unique design scheme. Pierre Yovanovitch, Wallpaper*’s Designer of the Year 2019, pulled out all the stops for this area, using it’s naturally striking vista as strong inspiration. The area is full of thoughtful nods to the hotel’s name, location and character of its owners. A wall of cuckoo clocks above the tables, for example, reflects the traditional decor of the region, and emoji-themed plates create humour in all the right places.

Hey Yo – Hong Kong

Think fresh, vibrant (and wear sunglasses) when stepping inside Hey Yo, which was a winner at the Bar and Restaurant Awards 2019. Inspired by the all the pastel colours of macaroons, the design team at Design Action & Associates took and adopted these colours in different areas of the shop, just like a pastry chef forming different shapes with flour and dough. The designer formed different shapes of design and furniture. Each arch window is painted with grey texture paint. The arch window on the front of the door, includes a bright neon sign which permeates the atmosphere. Beside the continuous arch windows, different colours of display shelves and display items are composed like a dream-like oil painting. Round countertops resemble Macaroons is in their unique hues, and chairs resemble coloured dough in contrast to shaped countertops.’

Wild Honey St James

black and white floors above striking chandeliers

Image credit: Sofitel London St James

Situated metres from The Mall in London, Sofitel London St James’ Wild Honey is a collaboration with renowned chef Anthony Demetre and a reimagination of his iconic restaurant concept. Located on the former site of the beloved bistro The Balcon, the dining room decor has been redesigned and refurbished by Jim Hamilton Design to echo its new direction.

Harlan & Holden Glasshouse Café

With biophilic design wrapping its branches around almost every sector, is it any wonder why design firm GamFratesi used nature as its primary inspiration in the creation of Harlan & Holden Glasshouse? We think not. The rehabilitative restaurant is inspired by a greenhouse. Breaking boundaries between interiors and exterior, the studio swapped windows for walls and used the surrounding landscape to create the space.

Main image credit: Under/Ivar Kvaal

Hotel Designs speaking at HRC next month

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel Designs speaking at HRC next month

As part of Hotel Designs’ media partnership with Hospitality Restaurant and Catering, editor Hamish Kilburn will speak on both the Vision Stage as well as the TechX area of the show… 

With less than a month until the industry gathers at ExCeL London for Hospitality Restaurant Catering, Hotel Designs has announced its movements around the three-day event.

HRC (formerly Hotelympia) is the UK’s largest and most prestigious event for the hospitality and foodservice industry and is one event is split in to four shows: The Food Service Show, The Professional Kitchen Show, Interiors and Tabletop Show and Hospitality Tech Show.

All of the four shows within HRC offer food service and hospitality professionals the chance to meet with a range of leading suppliers, to taste, test and source new products and business services to drive their business forward for 2020 onwards. Learn more about what’s on at the show here.

The Vision Stage on March 3 (13:00 – 13:45)
Session: Designing Hospitality for the Modern Consumer

Joining a popular list of professional speakers, Hotel Designs will host the panel discussion entitled: Designing Hospitality for the Modern Consumer. With first impressions now being made before guests have even considered checking in or making a reservation, the future design of hospitality needs to evolve with the connected and eco-conscious consumer. How does an independent or group operator add personality, stay relevant and appeal to the experience and social media gripped customer? The design-savvy panel will explore the top design trends to engage the next generation.

On the panel: Hayley Roy, Harp Interiors | Rita Alves Machado, Great Hotels of the World | Terry McGillicuddy, Richmond International | Stefan Trepp, The Dorchester.

TechX Stage on March 4 (14:30 – 15:00)
Session: Comfort and Control – Tech’s Place in Hospitality Design

Following the panel discussion, Kilburn will engage the audience on the TechX stage with a TED-style talk entitled: Comfort and Control – Tech’s Place in Hospitality Design.

As hospitality design continues to evolve, exciting developments in technology will allow us to further push the limits of conventional hotels and restaurants, creating space for more creativity in their design. But are we thinking about technology meaningfully enough? Hotel Designs’ TED-style talk will investigate technology’s place in tomorrow’s hospitality.

HRC takes place between March 3 – 5, 2020. Head over to the website to register for your ticket.

FIRST LOOK: Inside the Maldives’ next-gen wellness hotel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
FIRST LOOK: Inside the Maldives’ next-gen wellness hotel

Kagi Maldives Spa Island will harbour a 360-degree wellness experience, complete with a teardrop-shaped floating yoga pavilion at its centre…

Designed by esteemed architect Yuji Yamazaki, who was the mastermind behind the world’s first underwater villa, Kagi Maldives Spa Island is expected to open in July 2020. 

The boutique 50-villa property will provide travellers with a 360-degree wellness experience, with 1500-square-metre spa and wellness hub, complete with an open-air, teardrop-shaped floating yoga pavilion at its centre. Kagi will also house a state-of-the-art gym, two restaurants, three bars, a dive centre and a house reef.

Guests will be able to choose from three room types, a Beach Pool Villa, a Lagoon Pool Villa or an Ocean Pool Villa, all of which will be distinguished by their unique locations and will house a private pool, a sun deck and an expansive indoor-outdoor bathroom.

render of floating villa

Image credit: Kagi Maldives Spa Island

A fully integrated wellness centre, the spa will consist of four treatment rooms with outdoor bathing facilities, a relaxation lounge, beauty salon, fully-equipped yoga and sound-healing studio, steam rooms and a spa wellness boutique. A ‘Spa Corner’ will raise the ‘juice’ bar with superfoods and ingredients rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, offering a variety of drinks that are as delicious as they are energising and nutritious.

The hotel will shelter two restaurants, three bars and an expansive wine cellar in addition to the wellness-oriented ‘Spa Corner’. The resort’s fusion cuisine will take inspiration from the geographical ‘ring of fire’ that surrounds the Maldives, from the highly spiced and fragranced cuisine of East Asia to the bold, fiery flavours of South America and Oceania.

Render of open-planned restaurant

Image credit: Kagi Maldives Spa Island

The resort will provide an ‘out-of-home kitchen experience’ across its dining outlets, with a focus on whole foods and locally and sustainably sourced ingredients. Menus will be designed to create dishes that are high in flavour and low in sugar, fat, salt and gluten. For example, chefs will make use of the tandoor, a type of Indian oven that allows for the fat-free cooking of meat and fish while introducing a smoky, charred flavour.

Main image credit: Kagi Maldives Spa Island

One of the Maldives’ few resorts with a female-led management team, Kagi will embody the country’s warm island spirit while promoting the art of wellbeing.

Render of luxurious public area

Hilton’s ‘Collection’ brands add more than 100 hotels to global pipeline

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hilton’s ‘Collection’ brands add more than 100 hotels to global pipeline

Curio Collection and Tapestry Collection by Hilton unveil to increase global pipeline by 120 hotels…

From picturesque island getaways to charming small towns, Hilton’s full service Collection brands – Curio Collection by Hilton and Tapestry Collection by Hilton – opened 40 unique hotels last year in sought-after destinations.

Render of luxurious public area

In 2020, the brands’ development goals feature notable milestones, including Curio Collection’s 100th hotel opening and Tapestry Collection’s debut in Europe.

“Today, Curio Collection and Tapestry Collection offer travellers distinctive experiences at more than 100 hotels worldwide – from enjoying locally sourced seafood from the surrounding ocean waters as part of the Dock to Dish program at Baker’s Cay Resort Key Largo, to admiring the original chocolate factory design at The Wilbur Lititz near historic Hershey, Pennsylvania,” said Jenna Hackett, global head, Hilton’s Collection brands. “Hilton’s Collection brands promise our guests an enriching travel experience. Through the introduction of unique hotels to our growing global portfolio, we can maintain that promise on an even greater scale with anticipated openings in destinations like Lisbon, Paris and Madrid.”

In the year ahead, Curio Collection and Tapestry Collection are expected to welcome the following hotels:

Curio Collection openings

  • The Emerald House Lisbon, Curio Collection by Hilton (Q3 2020): The Emerald House Lisbon is undergoing a multi-million-dollar renovation and will be situated in the heart of Lisbon, steps away from many of Lisbon’s top attractions and the historical districts of Chiado and Baixa, known for its vibrant restaurant scene, boutique shops and local culture. The hotel will boast 67 guest rooms, a fitness center, restaurant and bar for guests and local residents to enjoy.
  • Navy Pier Chicago, Curio Collection by Hilton (Q3 2020): As Curio Collection’s second property in Chicago and the first hotel on Navy Pier, Navy Pier Chicago’s 222 guest rooms will feature floor to ceiling windows that showcase breathtaking views of the city’s famed skyline, Lake Michigan and the Pier. Guests will also enjoy a high-energy first floor restaurant, a state-of-the-art fitness center and an unparalleled 30,000-square-foot rooftop restaurant, bar and event space.
  • The Fellows House Cambridge, Curio Collection by Hilton (Q3 2020): The Fellows House Cambridge embraces Cambridge’s heritage as home to one of the U.K.’s most prestigious universities. Everything from the hotel’s interiors to its name pays tasteful tribute to the great minds who have graced the city through the centuries. Filled with poetry, scientific drawings and famous quotations, the hotel will offer guests a place to truly stay, eat and drink in the style and culture of the city.

Tapestry Collection openings

  • Atocha Hotel Madrid, Tapestry Collection by Hilton (Q1 2020): The first Tapestry Collection hotel to open in Spain, Atocha Hotel Madrid will introduce the Tapestry Collection experience to Madrid locals and visitors alike. The 46-room hotel on Calle Atocha is just metres from Madrid Atocha railway station, the busiest in Spain, and is within walking distance of popular tourist attractions, including the Golden Triangle of Art museums, Puerto del Sol which contains the famous city square clock and Plaza Mayor, boasting grand Spanish architecture.
  • Le Belgrand Hotel Paris Champs Elysees, Tapestry Collection by Hilton (Q1 2020): As the first Tapestry Collection hotel in France, Le Belgrand Hotel Paris Champs Elysees is undergoing a significant renovation designed to create a unique ambience and reflect the building’s heritage. Guests will enjoy a lobby/bar area and thoughtful touches throughout the property, including original artwork exclusively curated for the hotel and placed in all rooms and public areas showcasing well-known French artists.
  • Bermudiana Beach Resort, Tapestry Collection by Hilton (Q4 2020): Situated on a cliff overlooking the pristine pink-sand beach and turquoise waters, Bermudiana Beach Resort will welcome guests to 90 fully furnished hotel residences. As the first Hilton property in Bermuda, the resort will offer an array of vibrant amenities including a family-friendly swimming pool and infinity pool, an indulging spa, an immaculate and secluded beach in addition to a terrace with its signature restaurant, bar and ocean views.

Together, Curio Collection and Tapestry Collection have more than 120 properties in their pipelines. From urban destinations like Washington, D.C. to cultural hot spots like Taipei, both brands will continue to evolve their offerings to feature each hotel’s unique identity and story, weaving in local culture and providing each guest a rich experience that is authentic to its destination.

Main image credit: Hilton Hotels

Yello and blue contemporary arm chairs in light chalet-style room

Checking in to review Hotel Le Coucou, Meribel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Checking in to review Hotel Le Coucou, Meribel

15 years after first discovering the magic of Meribel in the French Alps, editor Hamish Kilburn is back – this time to review the destination’s latest ski-in/ski-out luxury hotel

In-between snow-blanketed fir trees, more than 1,400 metres above sea level in the French Alps, Hotel Le Coucou is Meribel’s latest luxury ski-in/ski-out hotel.

Yello and blue contemporary arm chairs in light chalet-style room

Award-winning French designer/architect Pierre Yovanovitch, who was last year crowned Wallpaper*’s Designer of the Year, was presented with a blank-canvas brief with his latest hotel project. Within just three years, he managed to create a sensitive architectural shell and fill it with his signature couture approach to interior design, including more than 140 bespoke furniture and lighting pieces – think abstract, animal-like armchairs and ice-inspired chandeliers. “There was so much pressure, because three years is not long for a project on this scale,” says Yovanovitch, “but it was a good challenge and the time restraint spurred me on to create something unique for the area.”

“We were familiar of Pierre’s work and knew instantly that he was perfect for what we had in mind for this hotel.”  – Kimberley Cohen, Artistic Director of Maisons Pariente.

Image from balcony looking out onto the mountains

Image credit: Hotel Le Coucou

With a list of strict local architectural planning constraints to abide by, in regards to using only local materials and regionally-integrated styles, the 55-key boutique hotel quickly became one the of designer’s most ambitious projects to date. “Previously, hotels that opened in ski resorts made a lot of mistakes, especially new-build properties that opened in the ‘70s,” Yovanovitch adds. “It was impossible to create a striking architectural structure because of the town’s uncompromising architecture regulations.”

“We had to lose a bedroom in the design stages in order to open up space for the oval-shaped lobby.” – Pierre Yovanovitch.

Despite the hotel seamlessly blending in to the natural winter wonderland location from the exterior (literally positioned on what was previously a piste ski route), inside, Yovanovitch paints a contrasting picture. Through the blonde, wooden-framed automatic doors, an understated check-in desk sits under a large painted oval ceiling. “Originally, the ceiling in the lobby was too low,” the designer explains. “As a result, we had to lose a bedroom in the design stages in order to open up space for the oval-shaped lobby.” The now intricately painted ceiling that forms a backdrop for a chandelier that looks like a melting ice cube is also guests’ first introduction to a loose motif, which continues throughout the hotel: the theme of owls – think of it as the designer’s contemporary flair, or a well-placed obsession.

intricate dome in the ceiling shelters seating underneith

Image caption/credit: The quirky, understated hotel lobby/Hotel Le Coucou

For the owners of the hotel, Maisons Pariente, there was only ever one designer for the job. “We were familiar of Pierre’s work and knew instantly that he was perfect for what we had in mind for this hotel,” said Kimberley Cohen, Artistic Director of Maisons Pariente. Thanks to the designer’s idiosyncratic take on slope-side luxury, Hotel Le Coucou has made it onto the radar of winter luxury travellers.

As well as the property remaining sensitive to its location in order to not lose the charm and personality of the local architecture, the public areas are also a nod to Yovanovitch’s stamp in the world of interior design. Several iconic Bear Chairs from his recent collaboration with R&Company, for example, are meaningfully scattered around the public areas, which adds the designer’s signature playful and contemporary style inside the shell of what on the outside looks to be a traditional alpine hotel.

“I was inspired to ensure that every room had an amazing view.” – Pierre Yovanovitch.

Capturing what you could strongly argue, from a hotels perspective at least, to be the most striking panoramic vistas in all of the French Alps, each of the boutique jewel’s guestrooms and suites have been designed to frame postcard-perfect views of undulating mountains. “I was inspired to ensure that every room had an amazing view, that was the most important thing when I came to design these areas,” explains Yovanovitch. “Sometimes, the view itself is more important than the décor.”

The 39 suites and 16 rooms are adorned with rich, warm colours and more than 160 contemporary art pieces as well as modern technology. The snow-inspired carpets inject sense-of-place and add a new layer of character into the lodge-like spaces. Although each guestroom and suite share the same motif, each shelter individual elements and somehow still maintain a traditional alpine style.

Bear chair next to lamp and on snow-inspired carpet

Image credit: Hotel Le Coucou/Jérôme Galland

The plush en-suite bathrooms, which are layered in marble, feature quality supplier labels and are complete with Italian faucets from Stella, Duravit W/Cs with Geberit operation panels and Beurer vanity mirrors as well as discreet wash-room style shower that is simple to operate. Character is injected into these spaces with imperfect oval-shaped mirrors and Yovanovitch’s bulb lighting.

Hidden downstairs, away from the public eye, are the hotel’s two four-bedroom chalets; worlds of their own. Both expansive two-floor chalets showcase Yovanovitch’s mastery of volume and architectural angles and continue to combine five-star luxury amenities with the detailed craftsmanship found in a traditional alpine home. Each are fully equipped with en-suite bedrooms, spacious living area and a games area as well as a private ski room, pool and spa.

For the main hotel guests, the hotel’s indoor and outdoor pool also feature private moments, such as relaxation areas that are nestled poolside underneath sculpted arches. The pool areas, divided by a bay window, create a stunning, trompe-l’oeil effect with views of the postcard-perfect vista outdoors. Down the corridor, six massage treatment rooms with specialist treatments from Tata Harper and a sauna area offer a deeply relaxing experience, and above this area is a state-of-the-art fitness studio and gym.

While there are three F&B areas in the hotel, the Beefbar restaurant and the adjacent bar create equal statement, as they frame the most spectacular views through unobtrusive floor-to-ceiling windows and are deliberately placed on the ground floor to create a dramatic first impression.

The Beefbar restaurant is full of thoughtful nods to the hotel’s name, location and character of its owners. A wall of cuckoo clocks above the tables, for example, reflects the traditional decor of the region, and emoji-themed plates create humour in all the right places. In the bar, low-level furniture that, when not sat on, abstrusely depicts an owl sitting on a textured geometric carpet. Together with a pastel pink, blue and mustard palate in the walls and furniture makes this area an exciting instagrammable space that feels warm, inviting and far from stuffy. Meanwhile, the hotel’s fine-dining restaurant, Bianca Neve, is located on a lower floor and is ideal for an evening meal, once the sun has disappeared over the horizon and guests’ attention can focus inwards. Yovanovitch’s artistic mark continues with a strong choice of bold colors, rich materials and an intricate ceiling fresco for good measure.

Light and bright restaurant

Image caption/credit: Bianca Neve restaurant/Hotel Le Coucou

Hotel Le Coucou is the third opening for Maisons Pariente in 2019, following closely behind the opening of Hotel Lou Pinet, Saint Tropez in June 2019 and the reopening of the refurbished Hotel Crillon le Brave in Provence on May 1, 2019. The Pariente family have their sights set on Paris, in le Marais, for a fourth addition to the collection in 2021.

Exterior shot of the hotel

Image credit: Hotel Le Coucou

A destination as precious as Meribel, in my humble opinion, requires a meaningful design eye when it comes to redevelopment. Yovanovitch has proven that rigid architectural boundaries do not automatically limit the level of creativity. Instead, it is clear that his studio’s eccentric style was everything and more the destination was crying out for.

Image of man standing with back to camera overlooking snow-capped mountains

Image caption/Credit: Editor Hamish Kilburn saying goodbye to Meribel once more from his slope-side luxury suite at Hotel Le Coucou/hotel_design_editor

If anyone was in doubt of Yovanovitch’s credentials of being one of the great modern designers of our era, then they have only to check in to a place truly like no other, Hotel Le Coucou is open for business.

Suppliers
Bathroom: Duravit, Geberit, Stella | Furniture: Pierre Yovanovitch Studio, R&Company, Ethimo| Lighting: Pierre Yovanovitch| In-room technology: Samsung

Main image credit: Hotel Le Coucou

Dorchester Collection unveils first foray into branded residences

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Dorchester Collection unveils first foray into branded residences

Mayfair-based developer Clivedale London has unveiled Dorchester Collection’s first branded residences in London…

With interiors by acclaimed Parisian design duo Patrick Jouin and Sanjit Manku from Jouin Manku and fully serviced by neighbouring hotel, 45 Park Lane, Mayfair Park Residences are Dorchester Collection’s first foray into branded residences and set a new benchmark for the London super-prime market.

Located in south-west Mayfair, adjacent to Hyde Park and opposite the world-famous hotel, The Dorchester, ‘Townhouse One’ – a 3,334 sq. ft, three-bedroom duplex townhouse – offers the first glimpse inside this collection of 24 residences in the form of apartments, townhouses and a penthouse all fully serviced by Dorchester Collection. The eight-storey residential development seamlessly integrates the building’s Grade II listed façades on two traditional Mayfair Streets. Lee Polisano of PLP Architecture designed the residences, taking a scholarly approach to the refurbishment of historic Georgian façades whilst creating a contemporary counterpart, blending effortlessly into Mayfair’s eclectic patchwork of architectural styles.

Clean and spacious bedroom

Image credit: Clivedale London/Dorchester Collection

Accessed through its own private Georgian portico on Stanhope Gate, ‘Townhouse One’ features capacious Georgian proportions that exude a refined luxury. Marking the first time the innovative Parisian designers Patrick Jouin and Sanjit Manku have created interiors for a residential development project, the practice has created a luxurious, yet liveable space inspired by the fusion of classic and contemporary elements. The resulting design is one that exudes a strong sense of place – where historical references of English heritage and the period grandeur of the building’s Georgian origins are blended with exquisitely considered, custom interior architecture to create sumptuous interior spaces that are organic, elegant and evocative.

“We are thrilled to be part of the creation of Mayfair Park Residences and to work with Dorchester Collection again,” said Sanjit Manku, Founding Partner at Jouin Manku. “We’ve endeavoured to create a high-end interior with a sense of ease, relaxation, warmth and comfort with a little bit of sizzle and dazzle; a little bit of sparkle. A focal point of the new home is the blending of both natural and warm light throughout with coffered backlit ceilings illuminating the space and a six-metre-high bespoke light installation which extends down to the lower ground floor, melding the two levels together.”

Beyond the ornate décor of ‘Townhouse One’ lies a hidden gem; a 1,280 sq. ft vaulted garden filled with decadent alcoves, that span the length of the residence and is accessible from the kitchen and the bedrooms.

Tarun Tyagi, CEO at Clivedale London, commented: “Mayfair Park Residences marks a significant moment for Clivedale, and we are thrilled to be the first residential developer globally to partner with Dorchester Collection to create one of London’s most sought-after addresses. Our residents will become the first people in the world to enjoy the renowned services of a Dorchester Collection hotel in the comfort of their own home and we are excited to set a new benchmark for private residential developments. We are overjoyed how ‘Townhouse One’ reflects the unprecedented standard that will be seen throughout the wider scheme and hallmark quality that is synonymous with both Clivedale London and Dorchester Collection.”

Dorchester Collection’s 45 Park Lane will provide exclusive access to a tailor-made array of services including housekeeping service, 24/7 concierge services, 24-hour in-residence dining, a Rolls-Royce town car and chauffeur service, sommelier expertise as well as secure valet underground car parking, all helping to facilitate every and any aspiration of a resident. Indulgent in both service and amenities, Mayfair Park Residences 10,000 sq. ft Health Club will comprise a state-of-the-art gym, 20m pool, sauna and steam rooms, hydrotherapy pool, two private treatment rooms and residents lounge, all fully managed by the team at Dorchester Collection.

“Our first venture into private residences is a pivotal moment in the history of our company,” added Christopher Cowdray, Chief Executive Officer of Dorchester Collection.” We have partnered with Clivedale as they are known for their pursuit of outstanding design excellence in prime locations. Mayfair Park Residences will offer its residents the best combination of a spectacular home close to Hyde Park with the highly personalised services offered by 45 Park Lane.”

Main image credit: Clivedale London/Dorchester Collection

Radisson brand to debut first property in South Africa

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Radisson brand to debut first property in South Africa

Radisson Hotel Group has signed its first ‘Radisson branded’ hotel property in South Africa, the Radisson Safari Hotel Hoedspruit

Slated to open as early as 2022, Radisson Safari Hotel Hoedspruit will be the first ‘Radisson branded’ hotel to arrive in South Africa. 

The brand Radisson will become Radisson Hotel Group’s fourth brand and 13th hotel to open in the area and will take the group’s portfolio to almost 100 hotels in operation and under development.

The new 138-key hotel will comprise of rooms and suites, coupled with Radisson’s Scandinavian-inspired hospitality and unique brand features. Guests will be able to indulge in local and international cuisine at the all-day dining restaurant. Drinks can be enjoyed at the bar and coffee lounge overlooking the infinite and tranquil landscape as well as the pool bar and traditional lapa, with the majestic Drakensberg as a backdrop. 

“We are thrilled to introduce the Radisson brand to South Africa with our first safari-inspired hotel in the country,” said Elie Younes, Executive Vice President & Chief Development Officer, Radisson Hotel Group. “The hotel will be the perfect complement for our other hotels in South Africa.”

Gerrit Jan van der Grijn, CEO of the Lowland Group, developer and owner of the hotel, added: “It is an honour to be partnering with the Radisson Hotel Group to introduce the Radisson brand to South Africa and welcome the first safari-style hotel to the Group’s African portfolio. The hotel will most certainly uplift the area with the credibility that the Radisson Hotel Group brings as the first international hotel brand in the region. We look forward to a flourishing and long-standing partnership with the Group and together opening the doors in 2022.” 

With the rise of blesuire travellers, the hotel will also boast an expansive meeting and events area, which will include contemporary and versatile venues, from a conference centre to various meeting and board rooms which lead onto a spacious pre-function area and a business centre.

Main image credit: Radisson/Radisson Hotel Group

7 savage hotel construction projects on the boards

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
7 savage hotel construction projects on the boards

To celebrate ‘Architecture & Construction’ firmly being in the spotlight this month, the editorial team at Hotel Designs have identified some of the industry’s most ambitious hotel projects that are expected to open in the next few years… 

The hotel industry is booming, is the verdict from the data analysts at STR as they reveal to Hotel Designs that there are currently 74,417 hotels on the boards in Europe alone.

In the next few years, millions of rooms will open in major cities, towns and far-flung travel hotspots around the world. In order to shelter these rooms and suites, architects are using new rendering software to challenge conventions like never before to conceive new exciting buildings that will have the power to transform skylines on an epic scale.

Ahead of Forum Events’ up-and-coming inaugural Building and Construction Summit next month, here are just a few hotel construction plans that we expect will disrupt the international hospitality industry as we know it when they complete with innovation, style and substance.

Mandarin Oriental Melbourne

render of the Mandarin Oriental Melbourne

Image credit: VA

Mandarin Oriental’s first hotel in Melbourne is taking shape. First realised in 2016, Zaha Hadid Architects were asked to design the mixed-used 185-metre tower located in the heart of the city’s financial district. When completed, it will feature an all-day dining restaurant and a bar with a landscaped roof terrace. There will also be a variety of meeting spaces and an executive club lounge. A Spa at Mandarin Oriental will offer the Group’s renowned wellness,relaxation and beauty facilities, while further leisure options include a comprehensive fitness centre and an indoor swimming pool.

Rosewood São Paulo 

image of building camouflaged in trees

Image credit: Jean Nouvel

Opening later this year, Rosewood Hotels & Resorts will launch its first South American property situated in the centre of São Paulo. The hotel, which is being designed in collaborations with design and architecture legend such as Philippe Starck and Pritzker Prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel, will feature 151 guestrooms. The striking biophilically designed building will include two swimming pools with one rooftop pool and the other set amongst the landscaped grounds and a large spa and a fitness area.

Shishi-lwa House

From one Pritzker Prize winner to another, architect Ryue Nishizawa has designed the concept of Shishi-lwa House in Japanese city of Nagano. Expected to open next year, the eight-key hotel’s aim will be to provide a sanctuary in a cluster of 10 interconnected pavilions made out of locally sourced jinoki cypress wood.

Downtown LA Jenga-like skyscraper

Render of the top of a building that has been made to look likke a jenga set

Image credit: Arquitectonica | JMF Developments & Co.

Architecture firm Arquitectonica‘s dream to evolve the city of Angels’ iconic landscape is becoming a reality after the company has recently got approval for the 53-storey building by the city’s planning commission. The condo tower with its cantilevering glass-bottom swimming pools. JMF Development Co. aims to have the building completed by as early as 2023.

25hours Hotel Paper Island

Slated to open in 2024, 25hours Hotel Paper Island will mark the brand’s arrival into the Copenhagen property market. Pulling out all the stops, the hotel company has enlisted the help of interior design guru Erik Nissen Johansen from Stylt Trampoli and architecture firm Cobe to imagine the concept of the hotel developed by Nordkranen and Union Kul.

Kisawa Sanctuary 

render of beach-front bungalows

Image credit: Kisawa Sanctuary

Taking the hotel scene in Mozambique back to basics, Kisawa’s founder Nina Flohr’s latest hotel is stripped-back luxury escape in the pipeline. Comprising of 12 luxury bungalows – each one furnished to echo cultural references of the island – the hotel is expected to open this Summer. “My mission for Kisawa is to create a level of hospitality and design that to my knowledge, does not exist today, a place that inspires feelings of freedom and luxury born from nature, space and true privacy,” Flohr. “We have used design as a tool, not as a style, to ensure Kisawa is integrated, both culturally and environmentally into Mozambique.”

Infinity London

Once you have worked out how to get in and out of what was surely the talked-about infinity pool concept of last year (via a spiral staircase “based on the door of a submarine” that rises from the pool’s floor), the next question is: who would be brave enough to peer over the edge? Infinity London is the brainchild of Alex Kemsley, a pool designer and technical director for Compass Pools. The 55-story high-rise in London, will provide 360-degree views of the city below and takes wellness to new death-defying heights.

If you are a contractor, developer or surveyor and are interested in attending the Building and Construction Summit, which takes place on March 16 – 17 at Radisson Blu Hotel, please email Daniella Batchelor or Josh Oxberry. Alternatively, you can call 01992 374048/04.

Main image credit: Arquitectonica/Kisawa Sanctuary/Rosewood Hotels/Compass Pools 

Everything you need to know about Hilton’s new lifestyle brand

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Everything you need to know about Hilton’s new lifestyle brand

Last month, Hilton dropped the news that it was launching a new lifestyle brand. Tempo by Hilton is an elevated and approachable brand offering thoughtful design, efficient service and exciting partnerships. Editor Hamish Kilburn investigates…

With no less than 30 hotels under development – and 30 more pending deals – Tempo by Hilton has launched with no intention of pacing itself into the market.

By combining thoughtful design and diverse lifestyle partnerships, Tempo by Hilton provides hotel owners and developers with a highly scalable brand that is both uplifting and within reach for future guests – all powered by an efficient service model.

“For more than 100 years, Hilton has pioneered the hospitality industry as we know it,” said Christopher J. Nassetta, President and CEO, Hilton. “Tempo by Hilton is the latest example of our unique ability to anticipate what our guests are looking for and deliver unmatched value for customers and owners alike. We’re thrilled to welcome this new brand to our Hilton family and look forward to building on our legacy of innovation with Tempo by Hilton.”

As part of its commitment to helping guests live better lives, Tempo by Hilton has established and built upon partnerships with leading experts across the well-being, food and beverage and other lifestyle spheres. The experts on board include Arianna Huffington’s renowned behaviour change platform, Thrive Global and established culinary firm, Blau + Associates. These organisations bring a sense of discovery to the brand, while empowering guests to continue prioritising well-being and personal growth even while travelling.

“Tempo by Hilton introduces a new concept by combining all the benefits and efficiencies owners expect from a limited service model with an uplifting dose of inspiration,” said Phil Cordell, SVP and global head of new brand development, Hilton. “Utilising a data-driven blueprint, we identified lifestyle offerings inside the guest rooms and throughout the property that push the entire sector to new heights. The end result is a compelling, yet approachable brand that enables owners to expand their portfolios in sought-after locations across the country as well as capture a new demographic of travellers.”

Guided by its various lifestyle partnerships, as well as exhaustive market research surveying more than 10,000 consumers, each Tempo by Hilton property will feature elements designed to help ambitious guests continue their journey without disrupting their routine.

Reinvigorating and Relaxing Guestrooms

More than rooms, Tempo by Hilton accommodations are said to serve as a refuge where modern travellers are reinvigorated for the day ahead. In-room experiences include the one-of-a-kind Power Up and Power Down collections; curated assortments of morning and bedtime rituals created in partnership with Thrive Global; as well as other unexpected touches, such as a finely tuned sleep environment and a dedicated Get Ready Zone with space to get ready, organise for the day and focus on work. In addition, the oversized bath suite, which includes mirrors with built-in Bluetooth speakers, is spacious, bright and invigorating to help guests recharge and renew.

render of plush yet simple guestroom

Image credit: Tempo by Hilton

Shared spaces

Envisioned as catalysts for genuine, memorable experiences, all Tempo by Hilton public areas bring a fresh approach to industry mainstays. These include art and design collections specifically chosen to encourage guests to look up from their daily grind and take a moment for themselves. Guests will also enjoy state-of-the-art fitness offerings; flexible meeting spaces.

Render of public areas

Image credit: Tempo by Hilton

Culinary journeys

Developed alongside the award-winning Blau + Associates, Tempo by Hilton’s food and beverage offerings ensure guests have access to everything they need to sustain energy and boost focus.

Sustainability

Tempo by Hilton aligns with Hilton’s Travel with Purpose 2030 Goals to double its investment in social impact and cut its environmental footprint in half. To that end, this new brand is committed to implementing sustainable practices throughout the guest experience. Examples of specific initiatives include LightStay, food waste programs, responsible seafood sourcing, hydration stations throughout the property to replace single-use plastic bottles and full-size bath amenity dispensers to reduce disposable plastics.

“Through our research, we found that while our current upscale offerings have been incredibly successful at earning loyalty among specific guest segments, there was a rising demographic of ambitious and highly discerning travellers that weren’t engaging with the category,” said Jon Witter, chief customer officer, Hilton. “With Tempo by Hilton, we are able to reach these influential consumers through a new, elevated yet approachable class of hotels designed to surpass expectations of both customers and owners in truly meaningful ways.”

Conceived with extensive input from leading hotel owners and investors around the country, the new brand has seen strong momentum ahead of its unveiling. There are more than 30 individual commitments to date with properties confirmed in several prime markets across the US, including New York, Maui, Boston, Los Angeles, Lexington, Nashville, San Diego, Charlotte, Washington D.C., Houston, Atlanta, and more. An additional 30 deals are in various stages of development.

Tempo by Hilton is the latest brand created by Hilton to address the future of travel. Other recently launched brands include Motto by Hilton – an affordable, lifestyle micro-hotel with a communal vibe in prime urban destinations – and Signia Hilton – the portfolio’s premiere meetings and events brand.

Main image credit: Tempo by Hilton

Concept to Completion: Designing Hotel Indigo Clerkenwell (Part 1)

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Concept to Completion: Designing Hotel Indigo Clerkenwell (Part 1)

In the first article of a new series, editor Hamish Kilburn exclusively speaks to the designers at 3Stories to understand how the studio will sensitively convert an iconic neighbourhood pub into Hotel Indigo Clerkenwell… 

It’s been almost a year since IHG announced plans to open a 151-key Hotel Indigo in the heart of London’s design district.

Responsible for the interior design of the 151-key boutique hotel is Ben Webb and Jordan Littler who are the co-founders of 3Stories. The entire project, meanwhile, is being overseen by IHG’s Director of Interior Design, Henry Reeve, who was highly commended in the Interior Designer of the Year category at The Brit List Awards 2019. Reeve, who recently led the completion of Kimpton Fitzroy and Hotel Indigo properties in Stratford-Upon-Thames and Barcelona among other projects, is a sharp, dynamic designer who awarded 3Stories with one of the firm’s first hotel projects, Hotel Indigo Antwerp that opened in 2017.

Almost three years later, while the studio is working on on-going projects such as a Jo&Joe hotel in Liverpool, a Bistro in Brixton and a new music venue down the road in Kings Cross, Webb and Littler are putting their hearts and souls into sensitively restoring Clerkenwell’s much-loved pub, the Hat & Feathers, into a thriving hotel hub. 

I travelled to the duo’s Clerkenwell studio to exclusively speak to Webb about the plans of converting what is currently a building site into a statement hotel in the city’s design hub.

 

Hamish Kilburn: When did you win the project?
Ben Webb: August 2019

HK: How much time went into the pitch?
BW: We utilised the studios entire time, as we only had two weeks to come up with our concept.

HK: Can you explain for us how 3Stories developed?
Jordan Littler and I started our careers together 15 years ago and subsequently over that time worked for a number of different design agencies. In 2017 we both decided to join forces and essentially set up a company that specialises in hospitality design. 

HK: How did your pitch allow you to keep an ‘open window’ of ideas throughout the project?

BW: We kept the presentation quite broad, looking at all of the different areas in the hotel, meaning we didn’t present a finished design. This left more room for the client to use their own imagination and fill in the gaps. From a render perspective, we kept the visuals in a hand-sketch format as we felt a stunning photorealistic 3D was not required and the pitch was more about the ideas we could bring to the table. 

“Our first design job was located opposite the hotel and we would use the Hat and Feathers pub as our local.” – Ben Webb, Co-founder, 3 Stories

HK: What is the significance of this project, the site and why do you believe you are the best designers for the job?
BW: My business partner and I have worked in Clerkenwell for the past 14 years and are therefore very familiar with the area. Our first design job was located opposite the hotel and we would use the Hat and Feathers pub as our local. We specialise in F&B which is a huge part of the project and therefore our knowledge in the market helped us sell the concept to the client. 

HK: What are the biggest challenges you expect to run in to during the project?
BW: An obvious answer, but I have to say budget. There are a lot of elements to this project especially surrounding the listed nature of the pub and therefore the budget maybe squeezed in certain places. 

HK: Can you set the scene for our readers on what the hotel’s interiors will look like?
BW: If you are not familiar with the Hotel Indigo brand it is all about creating the neighbourhood story. With that in mind the hotel’s interior takes lead from the areas architectural and design heritage. The bedrooms themselves (three types) are designed in relationship to Clerkenwell, giving the guest a choice when booking to stay at the hotel. We have also defined four restaurant concepts within the hotel that we are currently developing with the F&B consultants, all of which take on a different feel based on the level cuisine being served.

HK: Do you plan on using suppliers that are local to the area?
BW: 100 per cent yes. This project more than any, due to its location in Clerkenwell and being surrounded by so many suppliers. One of the bedroom designs is purely dedicated to the ‘supplier showcase.’

HK: What are you most excited about with this project?
BW: The fact that we can bring a lot of local knowledge to the design from the relationships with current suppliers down to our understanding of the F&B market in Clerkenwell. 

The project continues…

This is part one of Hotel Designs’ Concept to Completion series, following design firm 3 Stories and IHG throughout their journey to create Hotel Indigo Clerkenwell. If you have a question regarding the design of the project that you would like to put forward, please email our editor.

Main image credit: 3 Stories

Render of rooftop bar and pool in city

Canopy by Hilton to open 20 hotels in 2020

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Canopy by Hilton to open 20 hotels in 2020

Hilton is calling it ’20 in 20′ as its lifestyle brand, Canopy by Hilton, is predicting to nearly triple its portfolio with 20 expected openings in the next 11 months… 

Hotel group Hilton has just announced that its ‘upper upscale’ lifestyle brand, Canopy by Hilton, is predicting to open 20 hotels in 2020 across seven countries.

Render of rooftop bar and pool in city

Canopy’s current and projected openings in 2020, which join the brand’s 12 existing hotels in China, Croatia, Iceland and the U.S., include:

  • Brazil: São Paulo-Jardins
  • China: Hangzhou-West Lake
  • France: Paris-Trocadero
  • Mexico: Cancun-La Isla (opened Jan. 28)
  • United Arab Emirates: Dubai-Al Seef1
  • United Kingdom: London-London City
  • United States: Austin-Downtown; Baltimore-Harbor Point; Charlotte-SouthPark; Dallas-Frisco Station; Grand Rapids-Downtown; Jersey City-Arts District; Kansas City-Downtown; Memphis-Downtown; Philadelphia-Center City; San Antonio-Riverwalk; Scottsdale-Old Town; Tempe-Downtown University Area; Washington, DC-Embassy Row (opened Jan. 14); and West Palm Beach-Downtown

“We’ve received resoundingly positive feedback from guests who have loved their local adventures while staying in our 12 existing hotels,” said Gary Steffen, global head, Canopy by Hilton. “We are excited to create more of these authentic experiences with all that Canopy offers in 20 more vibrant neighbourhoods this year.”

Strategically located in dynamic neighbourhoods across the globe, the concept of a Canopy hotel is a natural extension of the community in which it calls home and provides an energising atmosphere with thoughtfully local touches.

Following extensive consumer research, Canopy by Hilton was created to provide the uncomplicated comforts, thoughtful design and thriving atmosphere that today’s travellers demanded.

Prior to 2020, Canopy by Hilton opened properties in Atlanta-Midtown; Chengdu-City Centre; Columbus, OH-Short North; Dallas-Uptown; Ithaca-Downtown; Hangzhou-Jinsha Lake; Minneapolis-Mill District; Portland, OR-Pearl District; Reykjavik-City Centre; Washington, DC-Bethesda North; Washington, DC-The Wharf; and Zagreb-City Centre.

Beyond this year, the brand is working with local partners to develop hotels in Bangkok, Boston, Cape Town, Chicago, Kuala Lumpur, Madrid, New Orleans, Riyadh, Toronto and more.

Main image credit: Canopy by Hilton

Ruby Hotels arrives in London

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Ruby Hotels arrives in London

The 75-Room, carnival-themed ‘Ruby Lucy’ brings the disruptor brand’s ‘Lean Luxury’ philosophy to the Southbank in London…

Following the opening of Ruby Leni, and Hotel Designs’ exclusive interview with the brand’s Head of Design Matthew Balon, Ruby Hotels has arrived to London, opening its debut hotel on the Southbank.

The new 75-room hotel, Ruby Lucy, forms part of an ambitious expansion plan for Ruby Hotels to unveil a total of eleven new hotels – including a second London property – by 2022.

Enjoying a prime position on the Southbank’s Lower Marsh, Ruby Lucy’s interior design is inspired by the area’s bustling fairs and markets, entertainment and theatre scene, with a carnival theme running throughout the hotel. Rich, dark tones meet bright brass accents and subtle stripes are accented with playful props including circus drums and juggling pins.

Booth to look like a circus tent

Image credit: Ruby Hotels

Just like the group’s other houses, Ruby Lucy follows Ruby Hotels’ ‘Lean Luxury’ philosophy: a top location, high-quality fittings, and outstanding design. All of this is offered at an affordable price by rigorously cutting out the superfluous and focusing on the essential. 

For example, a hip communal space serves a healthy, locally-produced breakfast without the need for a kitchen or chef, and instead of overpriced minibars and room service, galley kitchens, vending machines and ironing stations supply guests with all of their needs. Likewise, a modular design sees Ruby hotels occupying mixed-use and former office buildings in the heart of the city, rather than the traditional, prestigious addresses with sky high rents typically favoured by hoteliers. 

“This works because we accommodate luxury in a relatively condensed space, similar to luxury yachts, and we forego unnecessary services,” explains Michael Struck, Ruby Founder and CEO. “Every hotel is designed and developed individually, referencing local themes and stories. Thanks to proprietary technical innovations, we plan, build and organise ourselves differently from conventional hotels. To be precise, we plan and build in a very modular way and centralise as well as automatise processes behind the scenes wherever possible. This helps us create a luxurious and unique hotel experience at an affordable price.”

Located just a three-minute walk from Waterloo station, Ruby Lucy rubs shoulders with some of the city’s best-loved and lesser-known cultural gems. From theatres and galleries to concert halls and independent shops, the area buzzes with artistic flair and creativity.

Ruby Lucy houses 75 rooms, ranging in size from cosy ‘Nest’ rooms (14-15 m²) to expansive ‘Loft’ rooms (21-23 m²) and a stylish 24-hour bar. All guest rooms showcase Ruby Hotels’ sleep-scientist-approved formula for a peaceful night’s sleep, with full soundproofing, blackout curtains, high-quality linen and extra-long and wide custom mattresses.

Image credit: Ruby Hotels

A laid-back, contemporary design sees quirky touches such as the inclusion of a Marshall guitar amp in each room, which guests can use both with their own guitar or one borrowed from reception, and ‘Ruby Radio’, the hotel group’s own internet radio station.

Founded in 2013, the group already operates eight Ruby Hotels, with 11 additional hotels either under construction or in the planning phase of construction. Also, with the Ruby Asia joint venture, founded in 2018, and following it’s London arrival, Ruby Hotels is expanding into new territories around the globe.

Main image credit: Ruby Hotels

The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach re-opens following $90 million renovation

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach re-opens following $90 million renovation

The historic Art Deco Ritz-Carlton resort unveils an elegant new design as it is poised to become one of the most coveted destinations in South Florida…

The iconic Ritz-Carlton, South Beach has re-opened its doors following a $90 million, multi-year renovation by owners Flag Luxury Group, LLC and Lionstone Group that touched all elements of the property.

Ideally located in the heart of South Beach, Miami, the landmark hotel was originally imagined by architect Morris Lapidus, and following its floor-to-ceiling restoration is set to deliver a rare and refined experience marked by timeless design, thoughtful programming, and the anticipatory service of the Ladies and Gentlemen of The Ritz-Carlton.

Positioned at the intersection of Collins Avenue and Lincoln Road, the historic hotel showcases a design scheme created by Meg Sharpe, who oversaw the lobby, the Lapidus Bar, restaurant, pool, club and spa, and Cristian Rubio, from design-firm HBA, who was charged with reimagining the guestrooms and meeting spaces. Finding inspiration from the gorgeous natural surroundings, the interiors are warm and inviting, reflecting the serene natural beauty of Miami while celebrating the historic roots of the hotel.

Upon entering The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach, guests will discover the stunning new lobby that is a celebration of the original design, enhanced by elegant touches that transition the property into a modern era. Steps away, the all-new Lapidus Bar is a classic cocktail lounge honoring a bygone era of Miami with live music, vintage cocktails, and a design that invites visitors to settle in and absorb their magnificent surroundings.

“The design of the public spaces was inspired by the history of the building itself,” said Sharpe. “By upholding the integrity of the storied past of the property, we have revealed the architectural base created by the giants of the Art Deco and Mimo styles renowned in Miami. The gentle nod to the past is imbued with modern purpose.”

The vibrant flavors of Latin America take the lead at Fuego y Mar, the hotel’s new restaurant with Executive Chef Anthony LePape at the helm. Within this space guests also find a tech lounge, where they work in a sophisticated, convivial setting while ordering coffee and cocktails. DiLido Beach Club and its oceanfront location promise an intimate dining enclave with plush seating and views out across the turquoise water.

A true urban oasis in the heart of South Beach, The Ritz-Carlton Spa centres around a holistic approach to wellness that celebrates mindfulness and offers a range of therapies and journeys carefully designed to promote rest and rejuvenation. Home to the only Timeless Capsule in the United States, this one of a kind elliptical space is designed to condense spa treatments and is the ideal offering for time-restricted guests.

Each of the 376 guestrooms and suites reflect Rubio’s vision, which is the result of his extensive research into Miami and the many facets of the city that make it so special. Meticulously-designed furnishings and custom millwork blend together to create a space celebrating the city and its culture. Enhanced soundproofing additionally ensures guests a restful night’s sleep.

“Culture has been infused into each and every guestroom and meeting space, resulting in an authentic Miami experience,” said Rubio. “A relatively new city, Miami’s unique culture has been translated into the hotel with both depth of design and whimsical details that allow guests a feeling of being in the city without having to leave their rooms.”

The ballroom at The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach spans more than 10,000-square-feet, and is supplemented by 11 separate meeting and event spaces, all of which showcase a design that is infused with the spirit of Miami’s history and rich cultural scene.

Main image credit: Marriott International

Shama expands Bangkok presence in 2020

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Shama expands Bangkok presence in 2020

The serviced apartments brand will be present in four prime Bangkok neighbourhoods by late 2020…

Already a fast expanding Asia-Pacific serviced apartments brand with two properties in two prime locations in Bangkok, Shama Serviced Apartments by ONYX Hospitality Group is doubling its neighbourhood presence in the Thai capital by adding Phrom Phong and Yen Akat to its portfolio in 2020.

The two new properties – Shama Sukhumvit 39 Bangkok and Shama Yen Akat Bangkok – will complement the existing Shama Sukhumvit Bangkok in Ploenchit and Shama Lakeview Asoke Bangkok.

 Douglas Martell, President & CEO, ONYX Hospitality Group, said: “We are excited to welcome the new decade with the expansion of Shama to four prime locations across the Thai capital – Ploenchit, Asoke, Phrom Phong and Yen Akat. This follows an exciting 2019 where we opened our second Shama property in Hangzhou, relaunched Shama Lakeview Asoke and Amari Pattaya following extensive refurbishments and signed our first hotel in Japan with Amari Niseko. As we enhance our presence across the Asia-Pacific region, we are equally committed to expanding our reach within Thailand where we are headquartered.”

Developed by Walton Asset Limited and managed by ONYX Hospitality Group, Shama Sukhumvit 39 Bangkok in Phrom Phong is scheduled to open in February 2020 as an extended stay residence with 52 apartments in five different one-bedroom and two-bedroom layouts. The property features a pool and terrace, gym and kid’s playroom.

Situated in the heart of what has affectionately been referred to as Bangkok’s largest Japanese neighbourhood, Shama Sukhumvit 39 Bangkok is a short stroll from the EM District comprising the Emporium and Emquartier shopping malls, Samitivej Hospital, numerous international schools and Soi Thonglor, best known for fine cuisine, buzzy bars and hip coffee shops.

Shama Yen Akat Bangkok, developed by SP Plus Property Company Ltd and managed by ONYX Hospitality Group, is scheduled to open in September 2020 with 136 units, welcoming both short stay as well as extended stay guests. The property will offer a restaurant, gym and a rooftop pool terrace with barbeque pit.

The hotel brand was named the “Best Serviced Apartment Operator of Asia” for the 7th time at the AHF Asia Hotel Awards 2019. It was also named the “Best Serviced Apartment Operator” at the Hong Kong Business High Flyers Awards 2018.

Shama is a leading and award-winning provider of premium serviced apartments, with a portfolio of 11 properties in China, Hong Kong and Thailand. Upcoming Shama openings are anticipated in Johor, Malaysia and additional locations within mainland China.

Based in Bangkok, ONYX Hospitality Group has a growing regional portfolio of 50 operating properties across three core brands in eight markets. The Group has a robust development pipeline of 25 new properties in markets such as China, Malaysia and Laos, and has set a target of having 99 hotels open by 2024 as part of its journey towards being the best medium-sized hospitality player in the region.

Main image credit: ONYX Hospitality Group

Hyatt expected to open up to 200 hotels in the Americas region by 2022

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hyatt expected to open up to 200 hotels in the Americas region by 2022

Hyatt’s Americas full service and select service brand portfolios expected to grow by 33 percent by 2022…

Hyatt Hotels plans to grow its Americas brand portfolio with the expected opening of more than 50 full service and select service hotels in 2020 and the addition of more than 140 additional hotels to its pipeline of hotels expected to open by 2022.

This growth is set to fuel Hyatt’s regional brand presence by 33 per cent of its current Americas portfolio. Newly executed deals for properties – under management and franchise agreements – will join 585 Hyatt hotels that are currently open and operating in the Americas.

The Americas region continues to be a top priority for Hyatt and prospective developers due to business demand in several strong regional markets like California, Texas, New York, Canada and Mexico.

“Hyatt remains focused on thoughtfully growing our full service and select service portfolio of brands in the Americas region – and growing and running our core hotel business: the development, management and franchising of full service and select service hotels, while being best-in-class,” said Pete Sears, Americas group president, Hyatt. “Hyatt’s Americas growth through 2022 further signals incredible strength in our brand among owners, customers, and guests across the largest region within Hyatt’s global portfolio.”

Image credit: Hyatt Hotels

Notably, Hyatt’s newest brands – Alila, Destination Hotels, Joie de Vivre, and Thompson Hotels – are experiencing strong growth with new openings and executed managed and franchised deals, including the following:

  • The 225-room Thompson Washington D.C., which marked the Thompson Hotels brand’s introduction to the nation’s capital on January 8, 2020;
  • A 130-room Alila hotel in Encinitas, Calif., which will mark the Alila brand’s first new-build hotel in the Americas in early 2021;
  • The 80-room Quirk Hotel Charlottesville, A Destination Hotel (Va.), which will mark the second Quirk Hotel in Virginia, joining Quirk Hotel Richmond in March 2020; and
  • A 161-room Joie de Vivre hotel and 226-room hotel within the Destination Hotels brand, located in Oceanside, Calif., in late 2020.

The growth of the Hyatt Place and Hyatt House select service brands, remains a strategic priority with more than 100 expected to open across North and South America through 2022.

New openings and executed managed and franchise deals in the Americas, per brand, 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.

  • A hotel within the Alila brand, located in Encinitas, California, will shelter 130 guestrooms, and is expected to open in early 2021

Andaz

Global in scale while local in perspective, the Andaz brand of luxury lifestyle hotels weaves 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 Palm Springs (California), 150 guestrooms, Late 2020
  • Andaz Toronto – Yorkville, 160 guestrooms, 2021
  • Andaz Turks & Caicos at Grace Bay, 184 guestrooms, 2021

Destination Hotels

The Destination Hotels brand is a collection of more than 40 upscale and luxury independent hotels, resorts and residences across North America. Serving as both the explorer and the guide, Destination hotels ensure a sense of genuine belonging and the chance to encounter life-enhancing discoveries.

  • Quirk Hotel Charlottesville, A Destination Hotel (Va.), 80 guestrooms, March 2020
  • Wyndhurst Manor & Club, A Destination Hotel (Lenox, Mass.), 46 guestrooms, May 2020
  • The Shay, A Destination Hotel (Culver City, Calif.), 148 guestrooms, Late Summer 2020
  • A hotel within the Destination Hotels brand, located in Oceanside, Calif., 226 guestrooms, Late 2020

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.

  • Grand Hyatt Nashville (Tenn.), 591 guestrooms, Fall 2020
  • Grand Hyatt Grand Cayman, 351 guestrooms, 2022

Hyatt Centric

Hyatt Centric is a brand of full-service lifestyle hotels located in prime destinations around the world and is Hyatt’s fastest growing lifestyle brand. Hyatt Centric hotels help fuel guest discovery, located in the heart of the action with passionately engaged team members always on-hand to serve up insider knowledge and provide local expertise.

  • Hyatt Centric Old Town Alexandria (Va.), 124 guestrooms, January 22, 2020
  • Hyatt Centric Downtown Portland (Ore.), 220 guestrooms, February 2020
  • Hyatt Centric Downtown Minneapolis, 145 guestrooms, Spring 2020
  • Hyatt Centric 39th & 5th New York, 163 guestrooms, March 2020
  • Hyatt Centric San Salvador (El Salvador), 138 guestrooms, April 2020
  • Hyatt Centric Las Olas Fort Lauderdale (Fla.), 238 guestrooms, May 2020
  • Hyatt Centric City Center Philadelphia, 332 guestrooms, June 2020
  • Hyatt Centric Beale Street Memphis (Tenn.), 227 guestrooms, 2021
  • Hyatt Centric Downtown Austin (Texas), 200 guestrooms, 2021
  • Hyatt Centric Downtown Nashville (Tenn.), 252 guestrooms, 2021
  • Hyatt Centric Downtown Sacramento (Calif.), 172 guestrooms, 2021
  • Hyatt Centric Koreatown Los Angeles, 310 guestrooms, 2021
  • Hyatt Centric SouthPark Charlotte (N.C.), 175 guestrooms, 2021
  • Hyatt Centric Buckhead Atlanta, 218 guestrooms, 2022
  • Hyatt Centric Niagara Falls (Ontario, Canada), 364 guestrooms, 2022
  • A hotel within the Hyatt Centric brand, located in downtown Los Angeles, 138 guestrooms, 2022

Hyatt House

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

United States: More than 40 executed contracts for Hyatt House hotels in key markets, including Scottsdale, Ariz.; Los Angeles; Sacramento, Calif.; Denver; Lewes, Del.; Tampa, Fla.; Orlando, Fla.; Atlanta; Chicago; Louisville, Ky.; Kansas City, Mo.; Minneapolis, Minn.; Harlem, N.Y.; Allentown, Penn.; Columbus, Ohio; Portland, Ore.; Nashville, Tenn.; Houston; and Dallas.

Canada: Six executed contracts for Hyatt House hotels in Edmonton, Alberta; Winnipeg, Manitoba; and Ottawa, Hamilton and Mississauga, Ontario.

Hyatt Place

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.

United States: More than 65 executed contracts for Hyatt Place hotels in key markets, including Fairbanks, Ala.; Flagstaff, Ariz.; Fayetteville, Ark.; Bakersfield, Paso Robles and Sonoma, Calif.; Titusville, Fla.; Chicago; Indianapolis; Des Moines, Iowa; Wichita, Kan.; Bossier City, La.; Boston; Reno, Nev.; Fort Lee and Newark, N.J.; Albany, N.Y.; Winston Salem, N.C.; Philadelphia; Sioux Falls, S.D.; Murfreesboro, Tenn.; Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, and McAllen, Texas; Harrisonburg and Virginia Beach, Va.; and Vancouver, Wash.

Canada: Fourteen executed contracts for Hyatt Place hotels in Kelowna and Prince George and Richmond, British Columbia; Edmonton, Alberta; Winnipeg, Manitoba; Moncton, New Brunswick; Toronto, Ottawa, Mississauga, Brampton, Ontario; and Montreal, Quebec.

Latin America: One executed contract for Hyatt Place San Jose Cariari located in Heredia, Costa Rica.

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.

  • Hyatt Regency Frisco (Texas), 301 guestrooms, Spring 2020
  • Hyatt Regency Insurgentes Mexico City, 250 guestrooms, 2021
  • Hyatt Regency Niagara Falls (Ontario, Canada), 703 guestrooms, 2022
  • Hyatt Regency Salt Lake City (Utah), 700 guestrooms, 2022

Joie de Vivre

Since its founding in San Francisco in 1987, the Joie de Vivre boutique lifestyle brand has made curating playful travel through local connections and eclectic experiences its signature. Each Joie de Vivre hotel is an original concept designed to reflect its neighbourhood.

  • The Ambassador Chicago, a Joie de Vivre Hotel, 285 guestrooms, February 2020
  • El Capitan, a Joie de Vivre Hotel (Merced, Calif.), 114 guestrooms, Summer 2020
  • A hotel within the Joie de Vivre brand, located in Oceanside, Calif., 161 guestrooms, Late 2020

Miraval

Miraval is a luxury leader in wellness resorts and spas for individuals looking to create a life in balance through alignment of the body, mind and spirit. Opened in 1995, Miraval Arizona in Tucson, Ariz., pioneered the destination wellness spa resort category with its comprehensive program of activities, experiences and personal treatments.

  • Miraval Berkshires (N.Y.), 102 guestrooms, May 2020

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.

  • Park Hyatt Toronto* (Ontario, Canada), 219 guestrooms, October 2020
    • *Reopening after property redesign
  • Park Hyatt Los Angeles at Oceanwide Plaza, 184 guestrooms, 2021
  • Park Hyatt Los Cabos (Mexico), 163 guestrooms, 2021
  • Park Hyatt Mexico City (Mexico), 155 guestrooms, 2021

Thompson Hotels

Founded in 2001, Thompson Hotels is an award-winning lifestyle brand that 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. Each location offers a stunning, carefully layered and dynamic urban or resort setting that molds into the surrounding community.

  • Thompson Washington D.C., 225 guestrooms, January 8, 2020
  • Thompson San Antonio, 162 guestrooms, Late Summer 2020
  • Thompson Dallas, 219 guestrooms, Fall 2020
  • Thompson Hollywood (Calif.), 190 guestrooms, 2021
  • Thompson Austin, 200 guestrooms, 2021
  • Thompson Denver, 220 guestrooms, 2021
  • Thompson Savannah (Ga.), 193 guestrooms, 2021
  • Thompson New York – Central Park*, 2021
    • *Rebrand from Parker New York
  • Thompson South Beach (Miami), 150 guestrooms, 2022

The Unbound Collection by Hyatt

The Unbound Collection by Hyatt brand is a portfolio of independent, premium hotel properties, ranging from historic urban gems to contemporary trend-setters and boutique properties to resorts. Each hotel is one-of-a-kind and offers story-worthy and extraordinary experiences for our guests.

  • Mar Monte* (Santa Barbara, Calif.), 200 guestrooms, Spring 2020
    • *Rebrand from Hyatt Centric Santa Barbara
  • A hotel within The Unbound Collection by Hyatt brand, located in Kansas City, Mo., 144 guestrooms, Summer 2020
  • A hotel within The Unbound Collection by Hyatt brand, located in Hollywood, Calif., 64 guestrooms, 2021
  • Hotel La Compañia (Panama City, Panama), 88 guestrooms, 2021

Main image credit: Hyatt Hotels

Hamilton Litestat announced as Headline Partner for MEET UP networking events

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hamilton Litestat announced as Headline Partner for MEET UP networking events

Recommended Supplier Hamilton Litestat has been announced as Headline Partner for MEET UP London and MEET UP North….

Electrical Solutions and wiring provider Hamilton Litestat will once again support Hotel Designs as Headline Partner at two of its key industry networking events in 2020.

MEET UP London, which will take place on May 13, and MEET UP North that takes place in Manchester on July 6.

Having previously supported Hotel Designs with its annual The Brit List Awards event, Hamilton aims to further increase its business and product awareness amongst the site’s loyal audience.

“We’ve found a supportive partner in Hotel Designs and The Brit List Awards was a great way for us to strike up meaningful conversations within the industry.” – Gavin Williams, Head of Marketing for Hamilton

“A key part of the Hamilton business is engaging with those within the design, architecture and hotel industries, and the Hotel Designs MEET UP events are an ideal way to get face-to-face time with important players,” said Gavin Williams, Head of Marketing for Hamilton. “We’ve found a supportive partner in Hotel Designs and The Brit List Awards was a great way for us to strike up meaningful conversations within the industry. We’re hoping that we can take that one step further with the MEET UP networking events.

Until January 31 (this Friday), EARLY RELEASE tickets to both Meet Up London and Meet Up North are available to purchase for designers, architects, hoteliers, developers and those who supply to the hospitality industry. The regional events, which last year bridged the gap between more than 400 design and hospitality professionals, are regarded as two of the industry’s most established networking events. “We are fully committed to host our networking events in locations and venues that are at the heart of the hotel design community,” said editor Hamish Kilburn. “We hope that Meet Up London and Meet Up North, which include relevant themes and talks at both, help to build seamless relationships as well as inspire the industry to further push boundaries in design and hospitality.”

To book tickets to MEET UP London:

EARLY RELEASE SUPPLIER TICKETS*: £99 + VAT (expires on January 31)  | CLICK HERE to purchase your tickets.
EARLY RELEASE BUYER TICKETS**£10 + VAT (expires on January 31) | CLICK HERE to purchase your tickets.

To book tickets to MEET UP North:

EARLY RELEASE SUPPLIER TICKETS*: £99 + VAT (expires on January 31) | CLICK HERE to purchase your tickets.
EARLY RELEASE BUYER TICKETS**£10 + VAT (expires on January 31) | CLICK HERE to purchase your tickets.

If you would like to discuss various sponsorship packages available, or if you have any enquires regarding tickets, please contact Katy Phillips via email, or call 01992 374050.

Early Release offer strictly ends January 31, 2020.

* Those eligible to purchase Supplier Tickets must be industry suppliers.
** Those eligible to purchase buyer tickets must prove that they are an interior designer, architect, hotelier or developer.

 

Four Seasons to open six new hotels in 2020

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Four Seasons to open six new hotels in 2020

Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts continues to expand its global portfolio with strategic openings of new hotels, resorts and branded private residences…

Luxury hotel giant Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts has lifted the lid on its 2020 hotel development strategy, which includes the opening of six new hotels in tourism and business hotspots in Europe, Asia and America.

Planned openings for 2020 follow an exciting year as Four Seasons celebrated a significant number of new openings around the world in 2019, including its first entry into Greece with the rebirth of the legendary Brudzizki-designed Astir Palace Hotel in Athens, and the company’s return to Montreal with a stunning and sleek new hotel in the heart of the city’s Golden Mile, featuring the opening of the restaurant MARCUS with celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson.

Additional openings included a new hotel in the Garden City of Bengaluru, its second in India; the return of the brand to Philadelphia (located within the Comcast Centre, the city’s tallest building) as well as a second hotel in Boston at One Dalton Street; a third address in Mexico, this time on the pristine beaches of the East Cape of Los Cabos; the company’s first all-inclusive wellness retreat in the fully refurbished Lodge at Koele on the Hawaiian Island of Lanai; and the completion of its full suite of historic chalet offerings in the French Alpine community of Megève.

“An unwavering commitment to service and quality, a strong operating model and alignment with hotel owners who share our vision places Four Seasons in an enviable market position as we continue to grow our portfolio and strengthen our global development pipeline,” says John Davison, President and Chief Executive Officer, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. “As we begin a new decade, we continue to elevate the experience for our guests and enhance our product offering, affirming our passionate dedication to excellence and the industry-leading innovation that has defined our brand for nearly 60 years.”

Working in concert with its partners, each new development authentically reflects the character of the destination, envisioning new ways for travellers as well as local residents to experience the world of Four Seasons. Recent innovations have included the company’s first standalone Private Residences, fully serviced by Four Seasons, in London at Twenty Grosvenor Square, a technology-led development with Comcast in Philadelphia, the Athenian riviera conversion of the iconic Four Seasons Astir Palace Hotel Athens, and the company’s first all-inclusive wellness retreat in Hawaii.

Soon, having just opened its collection of traditional chalets at the foot of the Mont d’Arbois slopes with Les Chalets du Mont d’Arbois, Megève, the company that also introduced the first private jet will debut its first resort with an onsite winery in Napa Valley.

Planned Openings in 2020

The six new openings that are anticipated for 2020 include the return of Four Seasons to Bangkok with the glorious new Jean-Michel Gathy-designed landmark along the Chao Phraya River, debuting with nearly 300 stunning guest rooms and over 350 beautifully appointed Private Residences. Also opening in the Asia-Pacific region early in the year is a third address in Japan, in the Otemachi area of Tokyo facing the Tokyo Imperial Palace.

In Europe, Four Seasons will debut in Spain for the first time with a new hotel in central Madrid, an assembly of several historic buildings now fully restored and reimagined, and highlighted by a rooftop restaurant by three Michelin-starred Spanish celebrity chef Dani García.

Long established as the premier luxury hospitality brand in California with seven existing locations, Four Seasons continues to expand its presence in the northern part of the state with the spring opening of its second hotel in San Francisco, a soaring building in the Embarcadero district. Also scheduled for 2020 is the highly anticipated opening of Four Seasons resort in Napa Valley, including a unique collection of Private Residences as well as Four Seasons first on-property winery in partnership with acclaimed winemaker Thomas Rivers Brown.

Also in the United States, a recently announced hotel in New Orleans is expected to open in late 2020 in the city’s historic World Trade Center.

In addition to announcing new properties in San Francisco and New Orleans, Four Seasons also unveiled plans for new hotels in Okinawa, Japan; Nashville and Minneapolis, USA; Cartagena, Colombia; and a second resort in Cabo del Sol, Mexico. The company also previously announced new Four Seasons projects in Dalian, China; Makkah, Saudi Arabia; Hanoi, Vietnam; and Caye Chapel, Belize.

“Four Seasons residential portfolio is expected to double, with more than 90 per cent of all development projects including a residential component.”

Building upon Four Seasons 35-year history in branded residential following the opening of its first Private Residence in 1985, the company continues to strategically enhance its portfolio of exclusive Private Residences in markets around the world.

In the next five years, Four Seasons residential portfolio is expected to double, with more than 90 per cent of all development projects including a residential component. The company’s global portfolio is on track to exceed 7,000 homes, affirming Four Seasons as the world leader in luxury property management services. In 2020, Four Seasons anticipates to open 9 new Private Residences including three standalone private residences in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Marrakech.

Main image credit: Four Seasons

Location special: Factors behind rapid hotel growth in West Africa

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Location special: Factors behind rapid hotel growth in West Africa

In an interview, Philippe Doizelet, Managing Partner of Hotels at Horwath HTL in conjunction with the Forum de l’Investissement Hôtelier Africain (FIHA), identifies four fundamental factors that are fuelling an increasing flow of investment into the hospitality sector in West Africa. Bench Events reports… 

Air connectivity, better economic growth, currency and demographics are the four factors recently identified as being the catalysts for hotel development in West Africa.

Today, Africa is seen as one of the most promising regions for hotel developers. Aside from small chains and independents, four global hotel groups dominate signings and openings on the continent.

Over the last four rolling quarters, as of September 2019, Accor, Hilton, Marriott International and Radisson Hotel Group have opened 2,800 rooms and signed deals for 6,600 rooms. Across Africa, hotel development remains important in most advanced economies, such as Morocco and South Africa; and projects are multiplying in East Africa, especially in Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. In West Africa, Nigeria is back on the development scene thanks to emerging regional destinations beyond Abuja and Lagos. Francophone Africa is also moving fast. The Ministry of Tourism of Ivory Coast has launched an ambitious national plan for tourism development, Sublime Cote d’Ivoire, and already announced more than US$1bn investment in the sector. Senegal is the other regional star, with local programmes such as Diamnadio, Lac Rose near Dakar and Pointe Sarene. Other countries showing active hotel development include Benin, Cameroon, Guinea, Niger, and Togo.

Now, in an interview, Philippe Doizelet, Managing Partner, Hotels, Horwath HTL, West Africa’s leading hospitality consultant, in conjunction with the Forum de l’Investissement Hôtelier Africain (FIHA), the premier hotel investment conference in Francophone Africa, has identified four fundamental factors which are fuelling an increasing flow of investment into the hospitality sector in West Africa. They are, in alphabetical order: Air connectivity, Better economic growth, Currency and Demographics.

“According to the UNWTO, international tourist arrivals in Africa grew by seven per cent in 2018, one of the fastest growth rates in the world together with East Asia and the Pacific.”

In the past few years, additional flight connections have transformed travel to and from West Africa, which, in the words of Philippe Doizelet, Managing Partner, Hotels, Horwath HTL, has been a game changer. He said: “It used to be that the main hubs for flying between West African countries were Paris and Casablanca. However, thanks to the rapid growth of Ethiopian Airlines and other carriers, such as Emirates, Kenya Airways and Turkish, the situation has changed; and new routes are offered to travellers. For example, it is now possible to fly direct from New York to Abidjan, where the African Development Bank is located, and to Lomé, where the Central Bank of West African States (BOAD) is situated… and with increased travel comes increased commerce and demand for accommodation.”

According to the UNWTO, international tourist arrivals in Africa grew by seven per cent in 2018, one of the fastest growth rates in the world together with East Asia and the Pacific. The flight data analyst, ForwardKeys, recently confirmed that trend continuing. In 2019, African aviation experienced 7.5 per cent growth and it is the stand-out growth market for Q1 2020. As at January 1, international outbound bookings were ahead 12.5 per cent, 10.0 per cent to other African countries and ahead 13.5 per cent to the rest of the world. As a destination, Africa is also set to do well, as bookings from other continents are currently ahead by 12.9 per cent.

The second factor is the superior economic growth of many West African countries, which are expanding substantially faster than many of the world’s most advanced economies. According to World Bank data for 2018, several, such as Benin, Burkina Faso, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Ivory Coast and Senegal are growing at six per cent per annum or better, more than double the world average, three per cent. That is a potent attraction to international investors. However, that’s not all; as prosperity grows domestically, so too does the local financial services industry. It then looks to invest client monies; and a good proportion of that capital gravitates towards real estate projects and, in turn, new domestic infrastructure. As those projects come to fruition, more prosperity is generated and so a virtuous cycle is stimulated, which acts as a catalyst for further economic development.

Currency is the third factor. Later this year, the CFA franc, which is pegged to the euro, is planned to be dropped and 15 countries in West Africa (ECOWAS) will adopt the Eco, a new, free-floating, common currency, designed to reduce the cost of doing business between them and so increase trade. However, whilst there is great enthusiasm for the Eco, it is somewhat qualified because the economies of participating countries are at different stages of development and governments may find it difficult to adhere to agreed guidelines for managing their economies.

The fourth factor is demographics. The population is young and the fastest growing of any major world region. According to Doizelet, it is also characterised by a hunger to learn and confidence about the future. “People are seeing their standards of living improve and they are keen to seize opportunities. We are seeing that mindset reflected throughout the hospitality industry; it’s incredibly refreshing and it’s attracting business.” He explained.

“Africa is not the easiest place to do business, but it is an incredibly exciting place because the opportunities substantially outweigh the threats.” – Matthew Weihs, Managing Director, Bench Events.

However, the picture is not all rosy. Horwath HTL also identifies four factors which threaten economic progress; they are security issues, political agenda, governance and increasing public debt. Although Africa today experiences much less conflict than it did three or four decades ago, when most African countries experienced war, some parts of the Sahel are still subject to security threats. On the political front, although democracy is continuing to spread, it is not yet the general rule everywhere, especially when come the times of major elections. Third is governance. Doizelet adds: “When people are poor and the state is weak, there will be corruption, but I’m not convinced that it is much worse than in other parts of the world.” The fourth concern is rising public debt, much of which has been incurred as long-term loans from the Chinese to build infrastructure. That said, the debt to GDP ratio of many West African states is still less than many highly developed nations.

Matthew Weihs, Managing Director, Bench Events, which organises FIHA, concluded: “Africa is not the easiest place to do business, but it is an incredibly exciting place because the opportunities substantially outweigh the threats. Every time we organise a hotel investment forum, I see more hotel openings being announced and I meet new players keen to enter the market. The FIHA delegates are literally constructing the future of Africa in front of our eyes and anyone who attends the conference has the opportunity to join in.”

FIHA takes place at the Sofitel Abidjan Hotel Ivoire in Abidjan, March 23-25.

Main image credit: Hotel Bab Rimal, Foum Zguid, Morocco

Authentic restaurant inside 18th century palace. Large pillars separate tables and rustic fabric hanging down from the ceiling adds charm and character

Palacio Solecio opens as Malaga’s first luxury boutique hotel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Palacio Solecio opens as Malaga’s first luxury boutique hotel

An inspiring transformation of an aristocratic palace, Palacio Solecio has opened as a 68-key luxury boutique hotel in 18th century building…

In the heart of old town Malaga sits Palacio Solecio, an 18th century architectural gem that now shelters the destination’s first luxury boutique hotel.

Authentic restaurant inside 18th century palace. Large pillars separate tables and rustic fabric hanging down from the ceiling adds charm and character

The palace, which was derelict for 80 years before restoration began, has been lovingly and sensitively redesigned by Antonio Obrador in order to retain its authenticity. The building, which became a masterpiece of architecture for its time, has been transformed, whilst maintaining the essence of its architecture and decorative details, creating a hotel where old meets new.

“The idea was to be authentic, but not folksy.” – Pablo Carrington, founder of Marugal Hotels.

The hotel is operated by Marugal Hotels, which specialises in the management of independent, one-off hotels. “Palacio Solecio is one of the finest examples of 18th century domestic architecture in Málaga, so our restoration has been incredibly sensitive,” said Pablo Carrington, founder of Marugal Hotels. “We’ve been able to incorporate the wonderfully decorative original architectural elements – pilasters, garlands, Tuscan columns topped by vases, the original staircase – into the design of the hotel. For the interiors, we’ve been led by old photos of the palace. The idea was to be authentic, but not folksy.”

Exterior of the palace

Image credit: Palacio Solecio

Current rules dictate that the footprint of Listed buildings in Spain must remain the same – so details such as the inner courtyard are exactly as they would have been when the palace was new. Original features – the old grills over the windows, elements of the main staircase (including the decorative arch and columns)– have been meticulously restored. The façade has been re-painted and returned to its original appearance.

Reading light on blue and cream textured wallcovering

Image credit: Palacio Solecio

In a deft and subtle acknowledgment of Andalucía’s history, the decorative details are rich with Moorish influence. Painted leatherworks – Cordobanes – which became popular in Andalucía in the 16th and 17th century adorn the walls, bringing their striking patterns and deep colour palettes to the interior. Fabrics have been reproduced from old photos of the palace interiors, such as the typical espiga fabric with its herringbone design, used in the guestrooms. Even the smallest detail – door handles, the bedside tables – are subtly redolent with local character to brilliant effect.

Image of the guestroom, which features blue and cream fabrics on bed, headbaord and led lighting in the ceiling

Image credit: Palacio Solecio

The guestrooms meld quiet sophistication and comfort with the authentic charm of the building, with parquet floors, and stunning lighting. The interiors are both rustic and modern, a combination of neutral colours with splashes of bold prints and local Andalusian artwork.

Following the initial opening, in 2021, the hotel is expected to add a further 49 rooms as well as a rooftop bar and pool.

Main image credit: Palacio Solecio

In Conversation With: Hotelier of the Year 2019, Thomas Kochs

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In Conversation With: Hotelier of the Year 2019, Thomas Kochs

The Managing Director of Corinthia London, Thomas Kochs, has confidently evolved – and arguably led – the luxury hospitality scene in London for decades. Editor Hamish Kilburn joins the man of the moment who was recently crowned Hotelier of the Year at The Brit List Awards 2019

London’s luxury market stands and operates alone on the global hospitality map. Although ‘competition’ is a rare word spoken among hotel operators in the city, there is no denying that the luxury hotels in the capital are all vying for the title of being the best and most interesting hotel in London.

One man who knows more than most hoteliers about the luxury hospitality scene is Thomas Kochs, the Managing Director of Corinthia London. In the last decade alone, the German-born hotelier has managed properties such as The Berkeley, The Connaught Hotel, Claridge’s and Hotel Café Royal. More than likely, it was this impressive portfolio that qualified him as the man for the job to take the helm of Corinthia’s flagship property in 2017.

Roof terrace that has modern furniture, a large chess board and the view of the London Eye

Image credit: Corinthia London’s Whitehall Penthouse

Since its opening in 2011, in a building that dates back 1885, the 300-key property has proven, time and time again, that Mayfair is not the only neighbourhood for premium hotels in London. Sitting undisturbed on the bank of the River Thames; a hop, skip and a jump away from London landmarks such as Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace, Corinthia London faces, and in some suites frames, the iconic London Eye and the contemporary and eclectic South Bank.

Having just clinched the prestigious title of Hotelier of the Year at The Brit List Awards 2019, Kochs is rightfully considered one of the best in his field. With an acute eye for detail, and a calm, collected yet dynamic approach to leadership, the hotelier has seen – perhaps even led – the evolutions of many hospitality trends driven by consumer behaviour and demands. “Design has evolved,” says Kochs. “10 – 15 years ago, hotels had more opportunities to impress through design. However, a good design formula alone is no longer enough in today’s market. There are some design-driven brands where the customer only checks in because of the design and aesthetic, but we don’t consider ourselves one of them.”

Spacious and luxury hotel lobby. Grand piano in the centre, and a large chandelier in the background

Image cpation/credit: Corinthia London’s luxurious lobby | Jack Hardy

Last year, Corinthia London was the backdrop of a BBC docuseries entitled: A Hotel for the Super Rich & Famous. The two-part series, which echoed a similar format of another series that featured Kochs when he was General Manager of Claridge’s, gave consumers a window into the inner workings of a luxury hotel.

As well as following the day-in-the-life of housekeepers, florists and the concierge, the cameras were also given access to creative meetings with the hotel’s Futurists-in-Residence, The Future Laboratory. The trend forecasters, who began their partnership with the hotel in 2018, believes the future of luxury is about intelligent encounters – think cool cultural exchanges, and the kind of exemplary food for the mind, body and soul that stimulates thinking. “These are dear friends of ours,” Kochs explains. “The Future Laboratory were trying to make the point that that consumers are too busy with themselves, to the point that only severe disruption would make them talk to each other.” One option suggested was to deliberately shut down one of the lifts. “That’s all well and good,” Kochs adds, “but that just doesn’t work in hotels. The aim of the partnership was to position ourselves as a forward-thinking hotel that also respects our history and brand values.”

Another common theme explored in the TV series was how decisions were made, and often changed. “Why would you stick to something that your mind is warning is not the right decision?” Kochs rhetorically questions. “I know it can sometimes be exhausting and an inconvenience to people around you, but it’s important to get it right and sometimes you just have to trust your gut.”

Quick-fire round

HK: Congratulations on your win at The Brit List Awards 2019. How does it feel, being Hotelier of the Year?
TK: It’s amazing, I have never been a hotelier of the year before.

HK: Why is Britain a hospitality hotspot?
TK: Because creativity, design and hospitality is deeply rooted in British culture.

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

HK: What’s the one item you cannot travel without?
TK: My Bottega Veneta holdall travels everywhere with me.

HK: What is the one hospitality trend you hope will not return?
TK: The idea that the most expensive is the most desirable. That was vulgar.

HK: What is the last item that will show up on your bank statement?
TK: Organic dog food, hand-cooked in Devon, for my new puppy.

HK: What is the most important element to get right in hospitality?
TK: The team is essential. The team here really do inspire me every day.

HK: What did you want to be when you were growing up?
TK: A GP in the countryside.

HK: If you were not living in London, where would you be?
TK: Somewhere with a beach, potentially Los Angeles.

HK: Who inspired you when you were early on in your career?
TK: It was more the feeling of quality hospitality that inspired me.

HK: What’s your favourite part of the hotel?
TK: I really like the Northall Bar. I like the high ceilings and the historic elements, but also there is space to breathe.

As a someone who has been at the top of the luxury hotel triangle in London since 2001, Kochs understands that the roles of a hotelier are changing, and evolving fast. “The structure of having your strategy, the next five-year plan and the budgets has remained the same, explains Kochs. But now, more than ever, you need to be really close to your team; understand your employees and what they are working on. You also need to spend time with the guests, and really consider the sense of location when doing so. The minute you lose interest in any of these components, you’re fighting a losing battle. That brings me nicely onto relevance. The hotel has to understand how to remain an exciting place. It is a beating heart; a live operation. It’s not something that we can put into storage and sell later. Instead, it’s happening now.”

modern, contemporary guestroom with green cushions and bed throw.

Image caption/credit: Corinthia London’s Duluxe King guestroom | Jack Hardy

It’s an interesting time for Corinthia Hotels. Following its announcement to debut in Dubai, which CEO Simon Naudi explained the ins and outs of in an exclusive interview last year. While the brand expands sensitively, the London hub remains the mothership of the group, where the DNA of its award-winning style and service was born and refined. “I do certainly feel the responsibility,” adds Kochs. “We are in one of the most exciting cities in the world, which is all too easy to forget because we have access to it every day. We are lucky and blessed that we identify trends before others. This, I believe, comes with experience. It’s crucial to stay alert and awake to consumer trends and shifts in demands so that we capture them both verbally and intellectually, which we can then communicate seamlessly through the hotel experience.

Render of luxe, light and airy suite.

Image caption/credit: Render of Corinthia Dubai | Corinthia Hotels

Considering its widely known reputation, it’s easy to forget that the hotel group currently only has one hotel on UK soil. “We have the advantage of being small,” says Kochs. “Look at what is going on around us. Everything is getting bigger. Travel to Vietnam, for example. You enter Saigon and the streets are a bit dusty, and souk is steaming on the side of the road. But then you are confronted with Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Prada; the same brands and products you would find on Bond Street.

“The hotel industry is not too dissimilar. The Corinthia brand is small, and we are quick in our decision making. There isn’t a corporate paralysation and we are not overly governed by brand guidelines. A large brand would argue that the opposite is their advantage, which can also be true.”

Dark spa with fire on the left and luxe sauna on the right.

Image caption/credit: The Spa inside Corinthia London | Jack Hardy

What I believe is most telling of Kochs’ style as a hotelier is the fact that, throughout our interview, he had a subtle, non-invasive watch on everyone else in the room. The self-proclaimed perfectionist continues to stand as a leading example for the brand that is slowly by surely expanding its luxury offering in far-flung destinations around the world.  Personally, I believe that Kochs’ attention to detail is what sets him apart – like how, during this interview, he paused politely to ask for the lighting to be lowered as the last of the London light filtered into the late afternoon. Despite his impressive background in hospitality, Kochs remains humble, warm and a worthy Hotelier of the Year.

Main image credit: Corinthia London

VIP ARRIVALS: Top hotels to open in February 2020

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
VIP ARRIVALS: Top hotels to open in February 2020

With the aim to cut through the noise in a contemporary tone, Hotel Designs has the scoop on which statement and game-changing hotels are expected to open in February, 2020…

The hotel industry never ceases to amaze with its ability to break through hard barriers to take design, architecture and creativity to new heights and levels.

Following Hotel Designs’ two-part series published last month, where it shared the major hotel openings of 2020, the editorial team have narrowed down the search even further to identify the hotels that will arrive onto the international hotel design scene this month. From architectural firsts in Dubai to long-awaited heritage hotels in London – and the start of a family of hotels in Manchester – the industry, in all corners of the globe, is about to display a spectacular performance of how far design and architecture briefs can be stretched.

Here’s February’s top picks…

Hotel Brooklyn, Manchester

Image credit: Bespoke Hotels/Hotel Brooklyn Manchester

As Hotel Designs prepares its troops for its annual northern networking event to take place in the city that is fast-becoming a hotel developer’s dream, Hotel Brooklyn is ready and waiting in the wings to unveil its contemporary design.

Designed by Squid Inc – the team behind the renowned Hotel Gotham – the long-awaited Hotel Brooklyn will shelter 189 rooms that are inspired by the New York Borough and chosen for its resonating similarities to Manchester, in terms of its buzzing industrial growth, as well as its strength of identity and culture.

If Hotel Gotham, its older sibling that opened in 2015, is anything to judge by, then we expect a playful hotel that is not afraid to bend, even break, the rules of hospitality for its guests.

ME Dubai

Image credit: ME Dubai/Zaha Hadid Architects

Following the opening of The Morpheus last year, and Hotel Designs’ interview with one of the lead architects behind the projectZaha Hadid Architects is preparing to celebrate yet another groundbreaking moment in architecture.

The London-based firm’s latest project, the Opus, is days away from entering onto the international hotel design landscape with arrival of ME Dubai. The 93-key hotel will feature dramatic, signature furniture in the lobby, lounges and reception area, which were either designed or personally selected by the late Zaha Hadid.

Zedwell, London

Image credit: Zedwell London

Opening it’s doors February 2020, the first Zedwell will be housed in one of central London’s most iconic venues; The London Trocadero. Holding in excess of a staggering 700 guestrooms, the flagship Zedwell will be one of the largest hotel openings in the capital within the last decade.

As well as large in size, the hotel is also clever and ahead of its time for many reasons, such as installing high-tech soundproofing, filtered air to enhance the overall guest experience.

Artist Residence, Bristol

Image credit: Artist Residence

The founder of Artist Residence, Justin Sailsbury, is known today as a true pioneer in sustainability and meaningful design who spends hours on end browsing ebay and other search engines for vintage-gem furniture and casegoods to layer into his hotels.

Following the success of the London property, the brand is expanding – and so too is his message to other independent hoteliers in the industry. Entering into tier two cities around the UK, allows the brand to stay in its unique lane of offering a residential, friendly and quirky hotel and hub. The bustling city of Bristol is the next location on the list, with the opening of Artist Residence Bristol moments away.

Arctic Bath in Lapland, Sweden

Image credit: Arctic Bath Sweeden

Situated under the northern lights in winter, and the midnight sun during the summer months, Arctic Bath is a unique hotel and spa experience that welcomes guests to immerse themselves in the elements while leaving a minimal environmental footprint behind.

The idea of a floating sauna first came to Harads resident Per-Anders Eriksson during the opening of Treehotel in 2010. At first, the vision was a glass cube on a raft. Bertil Hagström, who designed Treehotel’s The Bird’s Nest, took over the idea and in 2013 he and Johan Kauppi designed Arctic Bath’s floating, circular building.

The Guardsman, London

Image credit: The Guardsman Hotel/Tonik Associates

The Guardsman is a purpose-built luxury London boutique hotel that is expected to offer the atmosphere, discretion and personal service usually associated with a private members’ club.

Presenting guests with what is being described as “a true home away from home experience”, the 53-key hotel, which sits on Buckingham Gate, London, has been designed by Dexter Moren Associates and multi-disciplinary design practice Tonik Associates.

Hotel Designs is currently researching and writing the next article in this series, which will identify the top hotels that are opening in March, 2020. If you are working on a hotel project, or know of a hotel, that would qualify, please email the editorial team

Main image credit: ME Dubai/Zaha Hadid Architects

CASE STUDY: Furnishing London Marriott Hotel Kensington

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
CASE STUDY: Furnishing London Marriott Hotel Kensington

Recommended Supplier Curtis has recently supplied headboards, TV units, wardrobes, desks, vanity shelves and mirrors in London Marriott Hotel Kensington…

In line with the design brief to create a stylish and modern ‘bleisure’ hotel, Curtis was specified to create bespoke furniture for London Marriott Hotel Kensington.

The company supplied furniture in xylocleaf MFC, hand-selected pressed European walnut, including upholstery, and polished stainless steel.

Due to the complexity of the room design for this stunning hotel refurbishment, the client needed to find a supplier whom they could trust to work closely in partnership with the main contractor.

Having worked with the furniture company before, the client chose Curtis to supply the hotel because it is a quality UK-based supplier with large manufacturing capability, it prides itself on having a meticulous project management process, tried and tested since 1998 and its solid partnership approach with a strong customer service record.

“The effect of all these different co-ordinating materials is of a luxurious design with consideration given to every detail.”

Each room needed to be supplied over four separate visits to allow other contractors, such as decorators and electricians, in to complete their work in the correct sequence.  Curtis, already known to the client for our eagerness to be flexible and provide great customer service, worked in close partnership with the main contractor to ensure our timings fitted into the schedule perfectly.

“The initial stages had tight lead times and Curtis pulled out all the stops to ensure we could get moving as quickly as possible,” explained David Elliott from County Contractors. “We were impressed with how smoothly everything went, and with the quality of finish and fitting of the furniture.”

Curtis manufactured, supplied and installed bespoke furniture, including:

  • Upholstered headboards
  • Gladstone oak MFC TCMF trays with black powder coated legs
  • Statement hand-selected pressed walnut features on TV units, sideboards and wall panels
  • Xylocleaf MFC bedsides
  • Fenix NTM desks, with solid ash legs and mirror panelling
  • Upholstered luggage benches
  • Co-ordinating wardrobe areas with Gladstone oak drawers with leather handles, xylocleaf minibar units and black powder coated hanging rails
  • Metal-framed mirrors with integrated glass vanity shelf.

In the suites, slotted privacy walls and swivel TV units in hand-pressed walnut add to the impressive combination of beauty and function.

The effect of all these different co-ordinating materials is of a luxurious design with consideration given to every detail and how it will impact on the guests’ experience.  Thoughtful design doesn’t come better than this.

Curits 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.

Radisson opens in the heart of Times Square, New York

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Radisson opens in the heart of Times Square, New York

Marking the brand’s third opening in New York City, Radisson has opened a 320-key hotel in the heart of the tourist hotspot…

Following the news that the brand will debut in Iceland in the coming years, Radisson Hotels has announced the opening of Radisson Hotel New York Times Square at a unique landscaped entrance that offers a park-like setting and a sleek and elegant interior design scheme.

 

The newly constructed hotel in the center of New York City’s most thriving tourist district exemplifies Radisson’s growth in key gateway cities.

“The opening of this new hotel in the heart of New York City is a true testament to Radisson Hotel Group’s commitment to growth in key international gateway markets,” said Aly El-Bassuni, chief operating officer, Americas, Radisson Hotel Group. “With New York City being one of the top leisure and business destinations in the world, we’re excited to greet travelers from across the globe with this newest addition to the Radisson family.”

Located in Midtown West, the hotel offers 320 guest rooms, with 70 rooms that offer stunning views of the Empire State Building. Each room features free Wi-Fi, room service and a mini fridge, creating a perfect sanctuary to unwind after a high-energy day of shopping or seeing the latest hit show on Broadway. Throughout their visit, guests have access to an onsite fitness centre and business centre, luggage storage and complimentary tea and coffee. For those traveling on business, a 12-person New York style boardroom is available with a coordinator to assist with all the important details, including catering. The hotel also has a seasonal rooftop cocktail bar featuring sweeping views of the Empire State Building, the Hudson Yards development including The Edge observation deck and the Hudson River.

Main image credit: Radisson Hotels

MINIVIEW: The Spa at South Lodge

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
MINIVIEW: The Spa at South Lodge

Following a thread of rave consumer reviews, Hotel Designs travels to the scenic countryside of West Sussex to take a dip inside the nature-inspired spa at South Lodge…

Opened in the Spring 2019 to become a contemporary wellness extension for the luxury hotel, The Spa at South Lodge was designed sensitively by Sparcstudio in partnership with architecture studio Felce and Guy.

Situated within the grounds of the hotel, The Spa at South Lodge follows the natural contours of the land and provides a haven away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Surrounded by wildlife, nature and peace, and perched above the rolling hills of the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. the 44,000 sq. ft. spa champions the estate’s landscape.

The natural theme continues throughout the Spa’s interior, with a colour palette of beige, white, pale blues and greens across the walls, floors and soft furnishings. Natural light floods into the wide, open spaces and carefully placed lighting guides guests down the stairs and through to the workout areas, 14 nature-themed treatment rooms and changing rooms. Luxurious brushed-brass hardware and plush chairs give the expansive changing areas a personable touch, complemented with the very best in grooming equipment, including premium brands such as Dyson Supersonic hairdryers and Paul Mitchell hair straighteners.

Image credit: South Lodge Hotel

Relaxation is at its best in The Spa’s treatment rooms encourage deep relaxation, with heat, light and sound mood pods. A variety of thermal experiences include a private mud room and infused sauna, as well as marble-lined salt steam and jasmine herbal steam rooms.

Outside, lounge chairs lead the way to a vitality hydrotherapy pool and beyond, the spa boasts a serene heated wild swimming pool, with an attractive wooden bathing platform inviting guests to take a revitalising dip. In colder months, the 22m x 10m indoor infinity swimming pool is the place to swim against the dramatic Sussex landscape.

New-York style gym area with punch bag and weights area

Image credit: South Lodge Hotel

A New York loft-style fitness gym slots right into the West Sussex countryside, where beaten-leather punch bags, retro-inspired boxing gloves and state-of-the-art Technogym equipment compliment all kinds of fitness programmes. An adjoining terrace provides space for alfresco training and first-class fitness instructors are on hand to ensure workout goals are met.

Outdoor hydrotherapy pool on wooden decking

Image credit: South Lodge Hotel

The hotel’s spa has been meaningfully designed to combine the best of luxe interiors with the natural, untouched geology of the surrey countryside. What really sets it aside from others, though, is its answer to the rise and evolving demands of modern travellers in regards to wellness and wellbeing. For that reason, The Spa at South Lodge is a timeless gem, perfectly placed in England’s pleasant land.

Main image credit: South Lodge Hotel 

Industry insight: What is driving the digital bathroom trend?

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Industry insight: What is driving the digital bathroom trend?

As Hotel Designs continues to put technology under the spotlight, Nick Brown, hospitality channel manger for GROHE UK, explains why digital modern bathrooms are going to be trending for a while… 

In recent years, the hotel guest experience has undergone a mass transformation.

As seen in Hotel Designs’ Year in Review of the most significant products to launch in 2019, digital technology is now commonplace throughout a hotel from app-based digital check-ins to slick entertainment systems providing music, TV and concierge support at the touch of a button.  The hotel bathroom is the natural next step in the evolution of the smart hotel, offering convenience, comfort and relaxation for the customer. Digital or smart fittings in the bathroom are now being specified to help increase functionality and usability in the bathroom, and in many cases, enhance the luxury atmosphere that so many visitors are now seeking from their travel experiences.

As far as interiors go, it is usually the crème de la crème of hotel designs that spark the trends for residential interiors. However, with digitalisation, the roles have been reversed to some extent. The integration of digital and smart concepts in the home is much more readily available now than they were even a few years ago, and with increased understanding as to their benefits and how to use them, the uptake from the mass market has become more profound. As most consumers are now much more in touch with tech and the digital world, hotels can really benefit from integrating smart features and there is even a growing expectation from savvy travellers for these elements to be included as standard.

“In particular, there has been a growing desire amongst hoteliers for infra-red basin mixers in guestrooms.” – Nick Brown, hospitality channel manager, GROHE UK.

The rise of lifestyle hotel brands over the past few years has certainly helped spur on the desire for digital. Designers of these spaces are instilling character and innovations such as smart technology into both guest rooms and communal areas to create an enhanced, unique atmosphere. These experiential hotels are generating enormous appeal particularly with millennial guests and are consequently being shared in abundance on social media platforms. The hotel bathroom already has its own corner of the social media sphere, with the most luxurious and aspirational designs reaching hundreds of thousands of users around the world. Like bespoke design and idyllic aesthetics, digital products offer this same element of aspiration and can really help create a unique hotel experience, a trend which is trailblasing travel experiences for younger generations.

From the perspective of hoteliers and facility management teams, the trend for digital products in the bathroom stems from growing pressure on hotels to reduce their footprint and integrate fittings that will generate more efficient consumption of water and energy, as well as being mindful of how much single-use plastic waste they are generating. In particular, there has been a growing desire amongst hoteliers for infra-red basin mixers in guestrooms which can be monitored via an app as well as set to run for a limited amount of time, helping to reduce on water consumption and costs whilst preventing against water damage from the tap being accidentally left on.

Many of the leading global hotel groups are beginning to implement their own sustainability targets and initiatives and are therefore turning to suppliers for smart solutions that can help them to reduce consumption without comprising performance as well as use app connectivity to monitor and manage their usage. Hotel conglomerates such as Hilton have subscribed to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, a blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all, which encourages the implementation of 17 targets to be in place by 2030. GROHE and its parent company LIXIL can work hand in hand with hotels supporting these initiatives as it too has pledged its support to the programme.

The challenge for meeting this new trend for digital is that bathroom interior fittings must still be beautiful and elegant, as well as functional and innovative. Each aspect is valued of equal importance and is key to creating an aspirational bathroom setting that will create a lasting memory in the minds of the guests, both for its looks and the experience it offers. Of course, sustainability will remain a dominating factor too as digitalisation continues to transform hotel bathrooms. Guests are becoming more and more conscious of the footprint they leave when travelling and will welcome encouragement from their hotel to help them be more eco-conscious during their stay. In 2020, basin mixers with LED temperature displays will emerge on the market, acting as a subtle but impactful reminder that guests can make small changes such as turning the temperature of their water down by just a few degrees to help reduce their energy consumption. Infra-red operated eco-modes will also be available on basin mixers which will see hotels actively offering guests more conscious choices when it comes to managing their carbon footprint and water usage.

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

Main image credit: GROHE UK

Apurva Kempinski Bali unveils new design-led villas

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Apurva Kempinski Bali unveils new design-led villas

Newly launched villa collection, designed by Trivium Design Group, marks the competition of The Apurva Kempinski Bali…

Nestled in tropical gardens on the clifftops of Nusa Dua, The Apurva Kempinski Bali has completed its design renovation, which results in the launch of 43 new villas. 

Named after the mighty kingdoms that once ruled over Indonesia, the one-, two- and three-bedroom pool villas designed by Trivium Design Group evoke the tropical characteristics of southern Bali, offering discerning visitors complete privacy, spacious indoor-outdoor living and a delectable flavour of Balinese life.

“We have made tremendous efforts to showcase Indonesian heritage in the eyes of the world by incorporating the best local craftsmanship, philosophy and materials into the interior design,” said Rudy Dodo, founder of Jakarta-based Trivium Design Group, which is responsible for interiors throughout the resort.”

Image credit: Kempinski Hotels

Hidden away among tropical gardens, each of the two-storey villas affords complete privacy. Self-contained plunge pools and outdoor terraces are surrounded by lush foliage and clever architectural features created by architect Budiman Hendropurnomo, who founded the Indonesia office of Denton Corker Marshal.

“The debut of our new villa collection means The Apurva Kempinski Bali is ready to welcome families or groups of any size, for any occasion; from intimate family escapes and show-stopping weddings, to board-level meetings and incentives,” said General Manager Vincent Guironnet. “The completion of the villas marks the final stage in our development, just in time for our grand opening. With 475 rooms, suites and villas, six dining outlets, an outstanding spa and a collection of versatile meetings and events spaces, The Apurva Kempinski Bali is one of the most dynamic, dramatic and breath-taking resorts on the Island of the Gods.”

All of the villas offer private plunge pools and spacious outdoor terraces, while the larger options also feature kitchens and rooftop dining areas. Wood and stone-clad interiors are meticulously finished with rattan bamboo furniture, woven Sumba textiles and handmade woodcarvings from Bali and Java, giving guests a flavour of Bali’s rich history of design and creativity.

Main image credit: Kempinski Hotels

Property group JAHAMA unveils plans for debut hotel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Property group JAHAMA unveils plans for debut hotel

JAHAMA Group has received pre-planning consent from South Lanarkshire Council for a full-service 100-bedroom facility in Clydebridge on the outskirts of East Glasgow…

International property and investment business JAHAMA Group has announced plans to develop its first hotel.

Investment in hospitality facilities is part of JAHAMA’s wider strategy to develop surplus land around existing and former industrial sites for a range of property uses, which enhance local communities while also bringing employment and tourism to the area.

South Lanarkshire Council’s support follows a pre-application enquiry submitted by JAHAMA last September. The scheme is for redundant land to the east of sister company Liberty and its iconic Clydebridge Steelworks, situated to the north of Cambuslang.

Once built, Clydebridge Hotel will deliver 50 permanent jobs and help create further indirect jobs in the wider community. UK property and development expert Strutt & Parker (part of the BNP Paribas Real Estate Group) has been appointed to advise JAHAMA on this project and secure planning permission for the development.

The 10-acre site benefits from a strategic road network including easy access to the M74, proximity to the River Clyde and a substantial area of woodland, providing opportunities for future guest amenities.

The plans for a full-service hotel are designed to offer a wide variety of activities to both leisure and business travellers as well as amenities to the local community. When developed, the site will include a restaurant, café, bar and state-of-the-art fitness club.

The east of Glasgow has undergone considerable regeneration over the last decade with the construction of buildings for the Commonwealth games such as the Athletes Village at Dalmarnock, Emirates Arena and The Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome.  The wider Clyde Gateway regeneration project is also attracting plenty of property investment and additional businesses into the area, which the hotel will be serving.

JAHAMA’S CEO Dilip Awtani said: “We are delighted to be contributing to the huge regeneration activity that is currently taking place in East Glasgow. The recent investment in the infrastructure and recreational facilities will drive tourism and business activity to the city, create jobs and other benefits for the local community. This is why we believe that Cambuslang is an ideal location for a modern enhanced-services hotel and leisure facility.

“Our team has a wealth of property development and finance experience that can bring these plans to fruition and advance further commercial property developments, utilising the extensive land within JAHAMA’s portfolio.

“For this project, we would also be keen to partner with branded operators in the area or new to the city that can work with us to turn the hotel in Clydebridge into a popular destination.”

JAHAMA is part of a collection of industrial companies that form the GFG Alliance, which also includes the owner of neighbouring Clydebridge and Dalzell steelworks, Liberty Steel Group.

Sanjeev Gupta, Founder and Executive Chairman of the GFG Alliance said: “We are focussed on Scotland as a key area of investment, already deploying funds of £500m as recently set out in our Scottish Investment Report.  The Clydebridge site was part of our first Scottish investment and I am pleased that the initial investment in the steel business is also bringing further local opportunities.

“We have recently received permission to build a zipwire leisure facility in the Highlands at Kinlochleven so the tourism industry is becoming an increasingly important part of GFG’s Scottish portfolio.”

Main image credit: Google Maps

Manchester welcomes two new Hyatt hotels

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Manchester welcomes two new Hyatt hotels

The opening marks the first two Hyatt-branded hotels in Manchester, and the debut of the Hyatt House brand in the United Kingdom…

After Hotel Designs announced it will return to the city for Meet Up North, Hyatt Hotels  has announced  the opening of the 212-room Hyatt Regency Manchester and the 116-key Hyatt House Manchester in the city’s landmark building “The Lume.” The openings represent a significant milestone for Hyatt’s brand growth in the U.K. and the debut of Hyatt’s extended stay segment, the Hyatt House brand.

Hyatt Regency Manchester offers empathetic service that anticipates the needs of guests and event planners to ensure they have a seamless and personalised experience. The hotel will stay true to the brand promise of making travel free from stress by providing guests everything they need under one roof. Hyatt House Manchester is designed to make guests feel at home, offering residents spacious, apartment-style living paired with amenities that help them maintain work and personal routines while on the road.

Situated in the Innovation District on the Oxford Road Corridor, both hotels are close to Manchester’s major transportation hubs and provide easy access to major attractions. “We look forward to welcoming guests to the first Hyatt hotels in Manchester – one of the UK’s most multicultural cities and a hub for innovative start-ups,” said Assumpta McDonald, general manager of Hyatt Regency and Hyatt House Manchester. “A city popular for leisure and business travelers, Manchester and its growing commercial center is an ideal destination for having two brands within one building. Located in close proximity to the University, the city center and a number of tourist attractions, we believe that both hotels will attract business and leisure travellers alike.”

Image credit: Hyatt Hotels

The properties offer a variety of shared facilities, including The Laureate Restaurant, The Graduate Bar, seven state-of-the-art meeting rooms and a fully equipped 24-hour fitness centre. Additionally, guests staying at Hyatt House Manchester have access to the Omelet Bar and the 24/7 H Market.

Establishing shot of hotel

Image credit: Hyatt Hotels

Hyatt Regency Manchester offers 212 contemporary guestrooms and suites, all featuring floor-to-ceiling windows with city views. For travellers looking for an extended stay, Hyatt House Manchester offers 116 studios and one-bedroom suites, all featuring fully equipped kitchens, free wi-fi and stylish living and working spaces. Guests of the hotel can also enjoy 24-hour access to complimentary laundry facilities, inclusive breakfast, and the 24/7 H Market.

Hyatt Regency Manchester and Hyatt House Manchester share two distinctive gastronomic offerings – The Laureate Restaurant and The Graduate Bar. The Laureate Restaurant boasts a menu that celebrates Manchester as one of the UK’s most multicultural cities. Aptly named to reflect the academic brilliance of the hotel’s surroundings, The Graduate Bar is a vibrant, airy oasis inspiring guests and locals to relax and unwind. It offers cocktails, quality beers and gourmet bites. Exclusively accessible for guests of Hyatt House Manchester, the H Market is open 24/7 and provides a range of groceries and on-the-go snacks.

Hyatt Regency Manchester offers an array of flexible meeting spaces, with seven state-of-the-art meeting rooms. The hotel pays tribute to some of Manchester’s best-known academics, naming the meeting rooms after famous alumni and those working closely with the University. These include former chief executive of Manchester City Council Sir Howard Bernstein and renowned mathematician Alan Turing, best known for his work in breaking the German Enigma code during World War II.

Hyatt House Manchester offers two intimate event spaces: The Conservatory and The Living Room, both located on the 18th floor of the hotel.

The varied selection of meeting spaces offered by the two hotels provide guests of both properties the option to book from a range of options to ensure a seamless environment for every event. The meeting rooms are equipped with LCD projectors and screens for presentations, and the on-site business center is open 24 hours a day. Additionally, all meeting rooms and event spaces offer expert catering services.

Hyatt Regency Manchester and Hyatt House Manchester are the seventh and eighth Hyatt-branded hotels to open in the U.K., alongside Andaz London Liverpool Street, Hyatt Regency Birmingham, Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill, Hyatt Place West London/Hayes, Hyatt Place London Heathrow Airport and the recently opened The Great Scotland Yard Hotel.

Main image credit: Hyatt Hotels

INSIGHT: 5G and hotel security technology in the ’20s

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INSIGHT: 5G and hotel security technology in the ’20s

To launch the next few weeks putting Technology under the spotlight, Mark Tucknutt, the owner of specialist security consultancy Toren Consulting Ltd, breaks down some of the cyber security issues the design, architecture and hospitality sector will face in the Roaring 20s…

It’s pretty hard to resist a technology forecast at the turn of the decade, and when you misspent your teenage years playing ‘Cyberpunk 2020’ its nigh on impossible.

I run a boutique security design consultancy, supporting developers and architects in designing hotels that meet the security requirements of planning authorities, hotel brands and hotel guests. While we’re not living in the dystopian tech-obsessed 2020 that 13 year old me was promised in the early 1990s, we are living in interesting times for the hotel sector, for technology and for security risks.

Most commentators agree that one of the key technology trends for the 2020s is going to be the continued rolloout of 5G networks. Here are a few ways that I believe that may impact on hotel security and allow ‘security’ devices to better support hotel business operations.

Distributed Video Analytics

We all know from the mainstream media that 5G is coming, and that it will bring huge increases in bandwidth and speed over mobile networks. The impact of 5G on hotels, with their transient users and geographically dispersed properties, is going to be significant. Of course, I’m not talking about the ability of guests to download a movie more quickly, as exciting as that might be. 5G is going to enable hotel chains to make use of a wide range of intelligent devices, and I predict that some of the most valuable will be video surveillance cameras.

5G networks will increase the ability of business systems to make decisions based on information from edge devices. For traditional security cameras monitored by a human operator, the reduced latency isn’t really a factor; fibre optic latency is already a tiny factor compared to human decision-making speeds. But when we’re talking about automated business systems, that faster response is going to enable lots of interesting processes. 5G will allow hotel brands and operators to reliably use video analytics to monitor and react in real-time to AI-based alerts from a global hotel portfolio, for example about queue lengths, unusual patterns of behaviour in the lobby or recognition of a VIP guest.

More devices, fewer wires and more integration

Security systems have been, somewhat belatedly, moving to a cloud-based architecture during the last few years. 5G is going to accelerate that development so that access control panels and servers and video surveillance recorders located on the premises will be consigned to history.

Video surveillance cameras will finally become truly wireless for data transmission. The increased reliability of 5G will give hotels the confidence to deploy wireless cameras throughout hotels, rather than only in hard to reach locations. Instead of ‘wireless’ guestroom locking connecting to wired hubs (often several in each guest corridor), guestroom locks will make use of 5G’s reduced latency to become truly wireless, also improving the guest experience by reducing the time taken to unlock the door.

5G will therefore lead to reduced security installation costs for new hotels by removing network cabling, switches, wireless access control hubs, network video recorders etc from construction. New locks and cameras will become quicker, easier and cheaper to deploy.

Mobile app guestroom locking comes of age

The capabilities of 5G phones are going to make mobile phones even more ubiquitous, and hotel guests even more comfortable with expecting to use phones for secure tasks.

The use of mobile phones for guestroom locking ‘keys’ has existed for a while now, but adoption hasn’t been as strong as it might have been. I’m predicting that as the technology matures, and integrations between locking systems, guest apps and booking systems become more open, that 2020 is the year that we finally see mobile phones take over from plastic RFID cards as the de facto guest room access control device.

While there is still a concern that guests will be reluctant to download a new app for each hotel stay, the major guestroom locking providers are at least now offering integration to not just a hotel’s own app development but to the main third-party hospitality app providers. This means that just as smaller hotel chains can now ‘white-label’ a guest app solution from a third-party (such as HotelBird or AeroGuest), those apps are now likely to be integrated with a guestroom locking product (such as Salto XS4 or Vingcard Essence).

Main image credit: Salto

EARLY RELEASE tickets open for Hotel Designs’ premium networking events

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
EARLY RELEASE tickets open for Hotel Designs’ premium networking events

For limited time only, Hotel Designs has opened discounted EARLY RELEASE tickets to Meet Up London (May 13) and Meet Up North (July 6)…

After hosting a hat-trick of successful and meaningful premium networking events up and down the country last year, Hotel Designs is offering designers, architects, hoteliers, developers and suppliers to purchase discounted EARLY RELEASE tickets to Meet Up London and Meet Up North.

Until January 31, tickets to both Meet Up London and Meet Up North are available to purchase for designers, architects, hoteliers, developers and those who supply to the hospitality industry. The regional events, which last year bridged the gap between more than 400 design and hospitality professionals, are regarded as two of the industry’s most established networking events. “We are fully committed to host our networking events in locations and venues that are at the heart of the hotel design community,” said editor Hamish Kilburn. “We hope that Meet Up London and Meet Up North, which include relevant themes and talks at both, help to build seamless relationships as well as inspire the industry to further push boundaries in design and hospitality.”

About Meet Up London 
Date: May 13, 2020 | 6pm – 10pm
Venue: Minotti London | Theme: Inspiring Creativity
Headline Partner: Hamilton Litestat | Partner: Crosswater

Following the success of last year’s spring networking eventHotel Designs is delighted to return to Minotti London for Meet Up London 2020, the publication’s first networking event of the year. The London Fitzrovia showroom, which recently played host to an exclusive roundtable, will shelter an evening like no other around the theme of Inspiring Creativity, with the concrete aim to further bridge the gap between designers, architects, hoteliers, developers and key-industry suppliers.

EARLY RELEASE SUPPLIER TICKETS*: £99 + VAT (expires on January 31)  | CLICK HERE to purchase your tickets.
EARLY RELEASE BUYER TICKETS**: £10 + VAT (expires on January 31) | CLICK HERE to purchase your tickets.

Sponsors for Meet Up London (so far): 

About Meet Up North 
Date: July 6, 2020 | 6pm – 10pm
Venue: Central Manchester (venue to be announced shortly)| Theme: Manchester On The Boards
Headline Partner: Hamilton Litestat | Partner: Crosswater

Considering the vast amount of hotel projects currently on the boards in the north – many of which are slated to complete in Manchester and open this year – Hotel Designs will be returning to the city of Manchester for Meet Up North 2020. The city, which has hosted the concept since its launch in 2018, will once again welcome leading designers, architects, hoteliers, developers and key-industry suppliers for the market’s leading networking event in the north of England.

EARLY RELEASE SUPPLIER TICKETS*: £99 + VAT (expires on January 31) | CLICK HERE to purchase your tickets.
EARLY RELEASE BUYER TICKETS**: £10 + VAT (expires on January 31) | CLICK HERE to purchase your tickets.

Sponsors for Meet Up North (so far):

If you would like to discuss various sponsorship packages available, or if you have any enquires regarding tickets, please contact Katy Phillips via email, or call 01992 374050.

Early Release offer strictly ends January 31, 2020.

* Those eligible to purchase Supplier Tickets must be industry suppliers.
** Those eligible to purchase buyer tickets must prove that they are an interior designer, architect, hotelier or developer.

close up of wall partition in the restaurant

How twenty2degrees redesigned Budapest Marriott Hotel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
How twenty2degrees redesigned Budapest Marriott Hotel

Hotel Designs follows twenty2degrees, which has just completed a two-phase refurbishment of Budapest Marriott Hotel…

Whenever a project completes from The Brit List 2019 accredited design firm twenty2desgrees, you know that its design is going to do three things: 1) stand out from the crowd, 2) be full of personality and 3) have meaning. The team’s latest project, Budapest Marriott Hotel, is no exception of that unwritten, yet widely known, rule.

close up of wall partition in the restaurant

Phase one of the renovation began with the brand’s signature ‘greatroom’ concept, which harmonises reception, lobby lounge, bar and restaurant in a single open space, followed by the hotel’s function and meeting rooms. The result not only aligns with brand expectations but, thanks to the designers’ introduction of local context and artistic provenance, feels absolutely at home in this historic and creative city.

Large contemporary partition in lobby/f&B area

Image credit: Marriott International/twenty2degrees

Tucked along the banks of the Danube River, the hotel overlooks some of the capital’s most iconic landmarks including the Chain Bridge and Buda Castle. The 50-year old building belongs to the Brutalist mid-twentieth style of architecture, and the designers pay homage to the concrete façade with a new stone sculptural relief in the lobby. Beyond this, however, the interiors are now modern and tactile with numerous residential-style details to ensure guests feel at their ease from the moment they arrive. The firm, headed up by Nicolas Stoupas and Joseph Stella, has also introduced Marriott’s first ‘disruptive bar’ – a free-standing island bar in the lounge designed to evolve through the day, from morning coffee and pastry service, to cocktails and snacks in the evening.

Large and comfortable lobby/lounge area

Image credit: Marriott International/twenty2degrees

“While addressing all the ‘Marriott Modern’ touchpoints, we felt it was important to also capture the rich essence of Budapest, a vibrant European city with a tremendous amount of history and a vast number of creative individuals, both past and present, from whom to draw inspiration,” explained Stella, Creative Director of twenty2degrees. “Whenever we begin a new project, we first look to the brief in order to form the bare bones of the design. Then we explore the locality in order to added layered design elements”.

The work of Hungary’s renowned Bauhaus designer, Marcel Breuer, and artist, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, was the inspiration for the specially designed carpets and the refined-yet-elaborate decorative screens throughout the Greatroom. Integrated as an artistic and architectural element, they also serve to zone the space without shutting off any areas. These areas include: The Individual Zone for guests to relax, read, work and enjoy a coffee or a light snack, The Social Zone that is centred on the Liz and Chain Bar, and The Guest Service Zone where customers check in. Zones are defined by varying colour palettes as well as by different seating, tables and lighting options. The multi-functional, open plan scheme is designed to reflect our modern lifestyle where the opposing demands for privacy and human connection, work and socialising need to be met within a flexible space.

large island in the middle of modern F&B area

Image credit: Marriott International/twenty2degrees

Together with cubist shapes and Bauhaus curves, twenty2degrees’ celebration of the local is continued through a collaboration with contemporary local artists, Janos Huszti, Petyka, and Stefan Osnowski. Their pieces, as well as a collection of traditional paintings and prints and integrated artworks compliment the colour scheme and provide an impressive gallery feel to some of the areas.

The meeting and banqueting spaces boast stunning views of the city. Together they represent 17,000 square feet of versatile space that includes Grand Budapest Ballroom, Ballroom Terrace, and a number of flexible meeting rooms. The redesigned spaces display similar aesthetic values to the Greatroom, echoing Bauhaus principles, favouring functionality over ornamentation and asymmetry over symmetry. They too are modern and tactile, combining cubist inspired forms with a contemporary design style.

Main image credit: Marriott International/twenty2degrees

colourful, modern guest room

Room Mate Hotels to launch beach resort brand

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Room Mate Hotels to launch beach resort brand

Room Mate Hotels, the Spanish hotel chain founded and led by Kike Sarasola, will launch its beach resort brand next year with the opening of Room Mate Olivia

Having established its position in the hospitality market, the Spanish urban chain, Room Mate Group has created a new beach resort brand that will launch next summer.

colourful, modern guest room

Owned by HIP in Calviá, Mallorca, the 391-key Room Mate Olivia’s opening will mark the brand’s arrival. Envisioned by interior designer Jaimie Beriestain, who drew inspiration from the island’s unique charm, the hotel will feature a total of four outdoor swimming pools, a sun deck with Balinese beds, a wellness centre complete with gym, gardens and a children’s play area.

Room Mate Olivia will also have a range of dining options, including an à la carte and buffet restaurant – where guests will be able to enjoy a variety of dishes from around the world – and a healthy corner offering a selection of nutritious snacks.

The new hotel and brand is part of Room Mate Group’s ambitious plan to rediscover the experience and concept of the beachfront hotel. The entrance into beachfront hotels is part of a larger expansion plan to open 14 hotels and 13 apartment buildings over the next 24 months, doubling their portfolio from 1,900 rooms to more than 3,600 rooms.

Main image credit: Room Mate Hotels

NH Hotels arrives in style to join Amsterdam’s hotel scene

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
NH Hotels arrives in style to join Amsterdam’s hotel scene

nhow Amsterdam RAI is the brand’s second hotel to open this year – and it is as quirky as the rest of the portfolio…

Just days after opening the brand’s first hotel in the UK, NH Hotels has official cut the ribbon to its debut property in Amsterdam, which is located on the fringe of the culture hub’s city centre.

Designed by Dutch architecture firm OMA, famous for its cutting-edge buildings, the 24-storey shell that shelters the hotel a series of glass and steel triangular slabs that area stacked on top of each other at different angles. This is so that the building is not limited to face just one direction.

In addition to its location, which is situated steps from Amsterdam’s RAI convention centre, the hotel has been designed for bleisure travellers, and is complete with nine meeting spaces over three floors that offer the latest technology and stunning views of the city.

The 650-key hotel is described on its website as: “A place where contemporary art, design, gastronomy and cultural expressions mix. A new vibrant hub for business travelers, tourists and Amsterdam locals alike. The iconic building, facing various wind directions, symbolises the melting-pot the city of Amsterdam has always been.”

The guestrooms are inspired inspired by the cardinal direction the particular room faces – South, East, North, South West, South East and North West, with an eclectic mix of vibrant colors, patterns and traditional elements freshly interpreted throughout.

Referencing Amsterdam’s many different cultures and cuisines, the hotel features three terraces, each overlooking a different part of the city and a restaurant located on the 17th floor, with a bar also located on the ground floor.

nhow Amsterdam RAI is NH Hotels’ latest property to opening, making its permanent mark in The Netherlands as well as the overall European hotel scene.

Main image credit: NH Hotels

Render of high-rise among low level buildings

Radisson Red to open hotel in Reykjavik in 2021

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Radisson Red to open hotel in Reykjavik in 2021

Radisson Hotel Group has revealed the design concept and renderings for the brand new Radisson RED Reykjavik…

It is said to be a new urban hub for travellers and locals alike, the first ever Radisson RED in Iceland is slated to open its doors in 2021 and will take shelter in a 17-storey sea-facing building in the heart of the city.

Render of high-rise among low level buildings

“Radisson RED is Radisson Hotel Group’s upscale, select service hotel brand that presents a playful twist on the conventional,” said Tom Flanagan Karttunen, Area Senior Vice President of Radisson Hotel Group in Northern Europe. “Radisson RED hotels inject new life into hospitality through informal services, a social scene that’s waiting to be shared and bold design that kick-starts the fun. It is the perfect match for Reykjavik and the entire Radisson Hotel Group team and owners are thrilled to introduce this landmark Reykjavik.”

“It is inspired by the history of the architecture and geology of the land, with its colorful buildings painted red, black and white and dramatic natural phenomena of basalt columns and red and black lava flows.” – Architect Tony Kettle.

The 203-room Radisson RED Reykjavik will be a newly built property that provides travelers with an ideal base from which to explore the city and beyond. Located in the city centre, the hotel will be an ocean front property offering guests panoramic views of the ocean, city and the surrounding mountain ridge. The design is comprehensive, welcoming, accessible and connects locals and travelers with the restaurant and bar on the ground floor, street plaza, Red Sky bar and a Terrace viewpoint.

“The idea for this new landmark hotel is to create a special building which will reinforce the sense of the city of Rekyjavik and the landscape of Iceland to create a new and exciting destination for the city,” added the architect Tony Kettle. “It is inspired by the history of the architecture and geology of the land, with its colorful buildings painted red, black and white and dramatic natural phenomena of basalt columns and red and black lava flows.”

The roof of the hotel is activated with a two-level roof bar and viewing terrace accessed from a glazed panoramic lift with spectacular views to and from the spectacular city.

Sigurborg Osk Haraldsdottir, the chairman of the planning and transport committee says the planning and transport committee emphasized that special attention was paid to the local environment, that the building would be accessible to the public and that the building would be of the highest quality.

“I, myself would say that it has been successful and that this building will be a great part of the city’s skyline for the future. The building, its surroundings and all the finishing work, in my opinion, create a comprehensive design that leads to higher quality in the urban environment and it matters when condensing settlements”, says Sigurborg Osk Haraldsdotti and adds: “I also emphasise that the redesign of Vitastigur and the square in front of the Skúlagata building will be safe and very accessible for the public. In the site plan, there is a requirement for access from Skúlagata through the entrance to the site, so that the public will have access to the entire site. The ground floor will also be open with dining facilities along with the top floor with, a terrace viewpoint for guests and walking.”

Main image credit: Radisson Red

Streets of vienna at night

Hotel market in Austria to expand by 12,000 rooms

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel market in Austria to expand by 12,000 rooms

Could Austria be the new hospitality hotspot in Europe? The Latest findings by TOPHOTELCONSTRUCTION could suggest so…

With more than 12,000 rooms due to be added to Austria’s hotel market in the coming years, according to TOPHOTELCONSTRUCTION, the Alpine nation of Austria is adapting to growing demand.

Streets of vienna at night

According to the online database, 90 hotel projects are currently in the development pipeline in Austria, 62 per cent of which will open as either ‘first class’ or ‘luxury’ properties.

For 2020 specifically, the region is expected to welcome 29 hotels, which will add a further 4,125 rooms to the Austrian hospitality scene, which compared to 21 openings in 2021 and just nine openings in 2022, suggests that the next 12 months will see the market peak in Austria with a flurry of new design-led hotels entering the market place.

Austria’s capital, Vienna, will be the backdrop of 27 of these openings, adding 5, 488 new rooms in the city. This follows the demand for more urban, midscale four-star developments in Vienna, as the tourism board recorded an increase of almost 12 per cent in room revenue between the months of January to November.

Brands jumping on the hotel development bandwagon in Austria include Hilton, Accor, Six Senses and Radisson Red.

Main image credit: Pixabay