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Hotel Designs in conversation with Jean-Luc Naret for The Set Collection

Talking all things luxury hospitality with Jean-Luc Naret

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Talking all things luxury hospitality with Jean-Luc Naret

Inside The Set Collection’s iconic London hotel, Hotel Café Royal, Editor Hamish Kilburn meets legendary hotelier and Executive Director Jean-Luc Naret to discuss hotel development, the definition of luxury and how (and why) the collection is expanding…

Hotel Designs in conversation with Jean-Luc Naret for The Set Collection

In the heart of London – straddled between the well-to-do neighbourhood of Mayfair and the exuberant quarters of Soho – sits the iconic Hotel Café Royal, which for many is the epitome of luxury hospitality with its bold, voguish design that meets the height of quality service.

“If only walls could talk,” I say to myself when walking through the paired-back, minimalist corridors being told tales of the building’s former existence, when it was, as the name suggests, a café. But not just any café in London. It was a place where the rich and famous were seen rubbing shoulders. Patrons include the likes of Mohamed Ali, Virginia Woolf, George Bernard Shaw, Mick Jagger, Elizabeth Taylor and Diana, Princess of Wales.

Hotel Designs Cafe Royal London Lobby

Image caption: The magnificent lobby inside Hotel Café Royal. | Image credit: Hotel Café Royal/The Set Collection

In 2008, the hotel closed for an extensive renovation, which was led by David Chipperfield Architects and Donald Insall Associates. The task was to transform the building into a thriving luxury hotel, while also being sensitive to the building’s long and storied heritage.

Hotel Café Royal emerged in 2012 from its building site to reveal a modern five-star hotel. The second hotel of what was then The Set, its sister hotels include the Conservatorium in Amsterdam and Hotel Lutetia in Paris.

A decade on from that spectacular opening party, I am back here, inside the Regent Suite that casts an unparalleled view over Piccadilly Circus, to meet Jean-Luc Naret, the Executive Director of The Set Collection, which is made up of a cluster of iconic hotels in spectacular locations.

Prior to starting his journey with The Set Collection, Naret took the global hospitality industry by storm. He was the Director General of the Michelin Guide and also managed luxury hotels worldwide, in destinations such a Mauritius, the Maldives, Barbados and also become CEO of La Réserve Hoetls & Spas, where he was at the helm of a collection of six hotels and five private residences.

His latest mission is to sensitively expand The Set Collection’s small cluster of award-winning luxury hotels, to welcome new members that speak the same design and hospitality language. “The Set Collection launched a few years ago during the pandemic,” he tells me. “We started with four properties in Europe (the original members, if you like). From there, we wanted to expand and that’s where our search for unique design-led hotels began.”

Hotel Designs Hotel Lutetia suite bedroom

Image caption: A bedroom inside a suite at the iconic Hotel Lutetia in Paris. | Image credit: The Set Collection

When it comes to selection process of which hotels will be sheltered under The Set Collection umbrella, Naret and his team are looking for properties that sit in a class all on their own and have a strong and meaningful sense-of-place, both in the design as well as hospitality. “We are not looking for more than one hotel per destination,” Naret explains. “We want to avoid our hotels feeling like they are competing against each other. Therefore, we are looking for a properties that are leading luxury hotels within their neighbourhoods. Each of the hotels that are already in the collection – Lutetia in Paris, the Conservatorium in Amsterdam, the Mamilla in Jerusalem and Hotel Café Royal in London – are based locally. Take this hotel, for example, you have one foot in Soho and one foot in Mayfair.”

The latest news is that The House Collective will be joining The Set Collection, which will add a further four properties to the mix. “Like our founding members in Europe and Israel, The House Collective’s properties have made an impact on their market and the luxury traveller’s collective consciousness that is far greater than their relatively small footprint would suggest,” Naret said in a press release that was issued a day before our meeting. “It is a privilege to work with these expert hoteliers, not only to offer them the myriad benefits that being a part of The Set Collection offers but also to learn and grow together in new and exciting markets during these unique times.”


Hamish Kilburn: So, you currently have properties in London, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Paris, Beijing, Chengdu, Jerusalem and Amsterdam… If you had to chose one destination answer where you choose to party, live and work?
Jean-Luc Naret: Party in Paris, live in Amsterdam and work in London

HK: Is there such thing as an unachievable guest demand? What’s the most outrageous one you have heard of?
JLN: No. A guest once requested 1,000 rose petals to be floating in an Olympic-size swimming pool

HK: What’s the last item that shows up on your credit card transactions?
JLN: Last night’s dinner with my team.

HK: Number one item you cannot travel without?
JLN: My phone. What would we do without them?

HK: Incredible food with a sleepless night or an incredible sleep with a standard F&B experience?
JLN: Food every time.

HK: Define luxury for you in 2022?
JLN: Luxury is defined by quality service, in my opinion.

Given Naret’s experience working on the operational and management corner of luxury hospitality, I am keen to understand where design, in his opinion, sits when it comes to the new era of luxury travel. “The hospitality businesses that set themselves aside from others, such as Club Med, One&Only, Rosewood and others, will create their own style that will be replicated by other brands,” he says. “Design plays a vital role. Ian Schräger is a fantastic example of someone who challenged what was then the conventional way of designing hospitality spaces. He poured his energy into the public spaces so that the guestrooms and suites were almost secondary, and that completely transformed the hotel market in the luxury sector. In the luxury business, we used to be – dare I say it – boring. Today, people like to do things differently, and have bold ideas for the future of luxury travellers.”

As we wrap up our morning meeting, and Naret prepares to leave for the airport to travel to The States for more meetings, and no-doubt interviews about The Set Collection, I am keen to understand where he sees the next big movement in luxury hotels and hospitality. “For me, I have been keeping an eye on the fashion industry’s launch into hospitality,” he says, “and that’s an interesting concept that I think will further change the landscape.”

Image caption: Fashion meets design. The dramatic courtyard at The Temple House. | Image credit: The Set Collection/The House Collective

Image caption: Fashion meets design. The dramatic courtyard at The Temple House. | Image credit: The Set Collection/The House Collective

Off the record, I am told that The Set Collection, currently with eight properties as members, is not planning on procrastinating, with Naret and his time moving towards the ambitious goal of having 25 – 30 hotels under its umbrella by 2023. Following the destruction the pandemic caused on the independent hospitality sector in particular, it is refreshing to see a brand that is working to celebrate the essence of luxury hospitality by collaborating with hotels that channel deep senses of place and purpose.

Main image credit: The Set Collection

curio collection hotel in the heart of florence italy

Curio collection by Hilton to debut in the heart of Florence

730 565 Pauline Brettell
Curio collection by Hilton to debut in the heart of Florence

Hilton has announced plans to open Anglo American Hotel Florence, Curio Collection by Hilton in autumn 2022, following a full renovation. Here’s what we know…

curio collection hotel in the heart of florence italy

Anglo American Hotel Florence, Curio Collection by Hilton is less than 15 minutes by foot to renowned palaces, churches, and museums — all replete with Renaissance art, including the works of the great masters such as Giotto, Brunelleschi, Botticelli, and Michelangelo, and the beautiful architecture that Florence is famed for. Top nearby attractions include the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, Piazza Duomo, the Uffizi Palace and Gallery, the Accademia Gallery, and the Ponte Vecchio, the beautiful bridge spanning the Arno river.

“Anglo American Hotel Florence is a stunning addition to Curio Collection by Hilton, joining almost 50 Curio Collection hotels trading or under development in Europe,” said Patrick Fitzgibbon, senior vice president, development, Europe, Middle East and Africa, Hilton. “Across the continent, we’re seeing growing owner interest in our Collection brands, which allow hotels to maintain an independent look and feel, while benefiting from Hilton’s commercial systems and global customer base. We look forward to welcoming guests in the historic centre of Florence.”

Following an agreement with Westmont Hospitality Group and funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management, L.P., the 115 guestroom hotel, located in the centre of Florence, a renowned UNESCO World Heritage Site, will undergo a full renovation prior to opening. The hotel will feature distinctly local offerings in a stunning setting, exemplifying the Curio Collection flair for authentic, curated experiences. A mere two blocks from the famous Arno River in a tranquil neighbourhood, the elegant hotel reflects the history and the charm of the city, complete with romantic Tuscan shutters and a sun-drenched interior courtyard typical of classic Italian villas.

“We are excited to strengthen further our relationship with Hilton following our highly successful collaborations both in Italy and around the world,” said Westmont Hospitality Group. “Originally built in 1792 as one of the first hotels in Florence that has also hosted Leo Tolstoy and Maria Callas among its former guests, the fully renovated Anglo American Hotel Florence will retain its historic and elegant grandeur while enjoying the added consistency and global recognition of the Curio Collection brand.”

The renovation will follow the parties’ commitment to ESG investment, with a particular focus on sustainability. The main emphasis will be on the restoration of the property in keeping with its architecture and history, and the restoration of original finishes and utilisation of existing materials will make up a key part of the sustainability strategy.

> Since you’re here, why not have a look at The Royal Senses Resort Curio Collection by Hilton?


Main image credit: Curio Collection by Hilton

Hotel Designs Ace Hotel Toronto modern guestroom

Exclusive first look inside Ace Hotel Toronto

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Exclusive first look inside Ace Hotel Toronto

Opening this summer, Ace Hotel Toronto will be housed in a new building in Toronto’s Garment District designed by award-winning Toronto firm Shim-Sutcliffe Architects, in collaboration with Atelier Ace’s interior design team. Editor Hamish Kilburn shares what he knows about Ace’s first foray on the Canadian hospitality scene…

Hotel Designs Ace Hotel Toronto modern guestroom

The opening of the 124-key Ace Hotel Toronto this June will mark the brand’s debut property in Canada. The modern hotel, which has been developed in partnership with Zinc Developments and Alterra Group and designed by Toronto-based design firm Shim-Sutcliffe Architects in collaboration with Atelier Ace’s interior design team, will be housed in a new building in Toronto’s Garment District designed. “Our intention with Ace Hotel Toronto was to make a positive contribution to our city, a welcoming civic space where life happens and memories are made, and where both locals and their guests feel equally at home, Brigitte Shim from Shim-Sutcliffe Architects told Hotel Designs.

Guestroom inside Ace Hotel Toronto with wooden interiors and modern design scheme

Image credit: Ace Hotel Group

The new hotel also features dining from critically acclaimed chef Patrick Kriss, who helms the signature restaurant, Alder, and a yet-to-be-named rooftop bar and lounge debuting later this summer.

Ace Hotel Toronto is adjacent to Queen West, Chinatown, and the Downtown business core, blocks from famed music venues Horseshoe Tavern and Velvet Underground, from the Art Gallery of Ontario and TIFF Bell Lightbox — Toronto International Film Festival’s HQ, and from the Bentway, the city’s artistic, cultural, and recreational public space. The hotel reflects the city’s past through a prismatic and future-facing vantage — preserving its layered legacies and adding texture with considered design and feeling. Intentionally crafted as a civic space, the hotel stands both in homage to and in dialogue with the neighbourhood it inhabits.

“We’ve long admired Toronto, a free-thinking city and international cultural capital, and we are thrilled to open our first Canadian home here,” Brad Wilson, CEO, Ace Hotel Group said. “Ace Toronto is housed in a brand-new building inspired, both in design and ethos, by the electricity and independence of this remarkable place. Along with our brilliant collaborators, including Shim-Sutcliffe and Chef Patrick Kriss, we have created a site that reflects the city’s legacy as a global meeting ground and aims to actively share in its future. We look forward to opening our doors and welcoming everyone — locals and visitors alike.”

Entering Ace Hotel Toronto, guests will be greeted by a suspended lobby overlooking St. Andrew’s Playground Park — site of the city’s first patch of green devoted to children’s play. The hotel’s public spaces are defined by an honest and refined material palette of concrete, clay, copper and wood that is echoed throughout the hotel’s public spaces as well as the guest rooms. Site-specific furnishings and lighting were custom-designed by Atelier Ace and Shim-Sutcliffe Architects to bring tangible comfort to the building’s design, and playfully intermix with vintage furniture sourced locally in Toronto. Original artworks by primarily Torontonian artists will offer reflection and joy across the hotel.

The guestrooms, conceived as urban cabins to offer respite from the city, feature deep-set window benches that invite conversation and closeness, and grant sitters bird’s-eye views of the park below.

Widely regarded as one of the world’s top culinary talents, Chef Patrick Kriss holds the distinction of being awarded the title of “Outstanding Chef” by Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants consecutively from 2017-2020. Relaxed and inviting, Alder aims to be an all-day hangout for Toronto. “For Alder’s menu, we’ve been inspired by the use of earthen and tactile materials in the design of Ace Hotel Toronto,” explained Kriss. “In the same way, our offerings will be direct and elemental. Drawing on elements from the wood-fired grill, we envision a little more olive oil than butter; lightly-treated seasonal vegetables; a selection of crudos, handmade pastas, and charcoal- grilled seafood and meats.”

The restaurant’s keystone is its wood-fired hearth and grill, which offer the simple yet effective preparation methods of open flame and smoke to gently transform seasonal ingredients selected at their peak.

Ace Hotel Toronto will take the Ace into a new territory. The lifestyle hospitality brand also has properties in Seattle, Portland, New York, Palm Springs, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, New Orleans, Chicago, Kyoto and Brooklyn. Following high anticipation, Ace Hotel Sydney is due to open next.

Main image credit: Ace Hotel Group

Marriott provides insight on 2022 hotel development

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Marriott provides insight on 2022 hotel development

Marriott International, which added 86,000 gross rooms last year and 517 properties, provides Hotel Designs with the latest on its hotel development progress, while also indicating a few emerging travel trends that are currently shaping hospitality development. Editor Hamish Kilburn writes…

Following the lows of the pandemic, 2021 was a surprisingly good year for Marriott International and there was plenty to celebrate about, including opening its 70th hotel in Japan, opening its 100th JW Marriott property worldwide and agreeing the signings of three new hotels in Saudi Arabia.

At the end of 2021, the hotel group’s worldwide system consisted of nearly 8,000 properties and roughly 1.48 million rooms in 139 countries and territories. At year-end, the company had the largest global development pipeline, with roughly 485,000 rooms. The company signed 599 agreements during 2021 representing approximately 92,000 rooms of which slightly more than half are located outside of U.S. and Canada. Rooms falling out of the pipeline remain at historically low levels, despite challenges brought on by the pandemic. During 2021, Marriott added more than 86,000 rooms on a gross basis, growing the system 3.9 percent, including deletions of 2.1 per cent. The deletion rate was 1.2 per cent excluding the exit of 88 Service Properties Trust select service hotels.

“Marriott has the benefit of sitting at the intersection of information and insights from a global community of developers, properties, owners and franchisees, as well as the more than 160 million members of our Marriott Bonvoy travel program,” said Stephanie Linnartz, President, Marriott International. “Our analysis of the prevalent trends in global development is particularly instructive as we continue to recover from this global pandemic. We have been focused on working closely with our valued community of owners and franchisees throughout these unprecedented times. We are pleased with our strong 2021 development results and look forward to continuing to drive value for our owners and franchisees throughout the recovery and beyond with our quality brands, our comprehensive business support systems and industry leading loyalty platform.”

Luxury maintains momentum

Travellers crave leisure luxury travel experiences seeking iconic destinations and undiscovered locations. Marriott is poised to meet this demand with its unmatched portfolio of seven dynamic luxury brands across 476 hotels spanning 69 countries and territories.

In 2021, Marriott International signed 40 luxury hotel deals, representing more than 6,000 rooms, and grew its portfolio of luxury hotel rooms by 4.8 per cent net, with notable additions in prime locations around the globe including Philadelphia (W Hotels), Nashville (W Hotels), Charlotte (JW Marriott), Bermuda (St. Regis), Paris (Bulgari), Rome (W Hotels), Maldives (The Ritz-Carlton), Budapest (The Luxury Collection) and Reykjavik (EDITION).

Hotel Design of W Rome

Image caption: Lobby/lounge inside W Rome. | Image credit: W Hotels

The company continues to expand its luxury footprint and has by far the largest global pipeline of hotels in this important, high fee earning segment, with nearly 50,000 rooms. Marriott anticipates debuting more than 30 luxury hotels in 2022 in destinations from Mexico (The St. Regis Kanai Resort) and Portugal (W Algarve) to Australia (The Ritz-Carlton, Melbourne) and South Korea (JW Marriott Jeju Resort & Spa). Marriott’s industry leading luxury portfolio adds to the power of Marriott Bonvoy, giving members a tremendous choice of experiences around the globe.

The leisure boom continues booming

Leisure demand has led the travel recovery, a trend that is expected to continue into 2022, as travellers continue to embrace multi-purpose trips, mixing remote work and vacation time. Leisure transient global room nights were the first to recover to 2019 pre-pandemic levels in the second quarter of 2021. For some time prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, leisure travel had been growing at a faster pace than business travel, and according to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), all signs point to a continuation of the trend. Marriott’s industry leading resort network includes more than 600 properties in beach, mountain and desert locations around the world that have seen incredibly high demand and have demonstrated impressive average daily rates.

Contemporary public area inside a Marriott Hotel

Image credit: Marriott International

Consumer interest in the very high growth all-inclusive resort segment continues to increase. Marriott intends to therefore capitalise on its strong recent momentum in this area, leveraging its proven brands to drive additional growth in this important segment. Currently, Marriott International’s all-inclusive portfolio spans 28 properties, representing more than 8,000 rooms in locations across the Caribbean, Mexico and Central America. In 2021, Marriott International signed 22 agreements for all-inclusive resorts, marking a company record, including 20 all-inclusive resorts under its Autograph Collection Hotels brand and the first Marriott branded all-inclusive resort agreement in North Africa.

“Marriott’s all-inclusive platform is energising the segment and providing Marriott Bonvoy members, owners and franchisees access to our strong brands,” said Carlton Ervin, Global Development Officer, International, Marriott International. “While our initial all-inclusive growth has been focused in the Caribbean and Latin America, we see tremendous opportunity to expand our all-inclusive platform into additional markets, including the Mediterranean and the Middle East.”

Europe, Romania, Bucharest, The Marmorosch

Image caption: The Marmorosch Bucharest, Autograph Collection. | Image credit: Marriott International

The extended stay segment has always been attractive to leisure travellers and has become even more popular with the increase in remote work and the blending of business and leisure travel. Marriott International is the leader in the extended stay segment, setting the bar with the introduction of its Residence Inn brand almost 40 years ago. In 2021, extended stay accounted for 37 per cent of the company’s rooms signings in U.S. and Canada. Marriott Bonvoy’s extended stay brands – Element Hotels, Residence Inn by Marriott and TownePlace Suites by Marriott – include more than 1,400 hotels, offering stays from a few nights to a few weeks. Notable expected openings in 2022 include Element City Center Doha, Residence Inn by Marriott The Hague City Center and TownePlace Suites Cape Canaveral Cocoa Beach.

With growing consumer demand, Marriott’s extended stay portfolio offers modern design, signature programming​, new food and beverage offerings​, a flexible room mix for leisure and business​ travel and a proven operating model. At ALIS, Marriott will be showcasing Element Hotels, Residence Inn by Marriott and TownePlace Suites by Marriott through its ‘Longer Stay Lounge’, a space where investors, owners and operators can experience the latest in brand programming and designs while networking. The Longer Stay Lounge will present immersive brand vignettes that will allow visitors to learn about and experience each of the company’s longer stay brands.

Modern spa area inside the JW Marriott hotel

Image credit: JW Marriott

“The extended stay segment has been extremely resilient over the past few years and guest and owner demand continues to grow, driven in some measure by the rise in multi-purpose travel,” said Noah Silverman, Global Development Officer, U.S. & Canada, Marriott International. “We are excited for continued momentum around extended stay and to use our presence at ALIS to communicate the strength and possibilities of Marriott’s longer stay category and the impressive value it brings to owners.”

Conversions transform across the portfolio

Conversions are an important driver of rooms growth in any year, but they have been particularly meaningful during more disruptive times. Marriott provides a rich and flexible conversion platform with significant revenue synergies, cost saving opportunities and turnkey access to many of the programs and services that the company provides, including the company’s powerful Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program.

Marriott added more than 18,000 conversion rooms in 2021, accounting for 21 per cent of overall openings. In addition, conversions accounted for 27 per cent of rooms signings in 2021. Interest in conversions into Marriott brands remains high, led by the company’s robust portfolio of collection brands, including Autograph Collection Hotels, The Luxury Collection, and in particular the Tribute Portfolio, which has grown its footprint of open and pipeline hotels by nearly four times in the past five years. In addition, Delta Hotels by Marriott, the company’s flexible full-service conversion brand represented nine percent of signed conversion deals in 2021. Notable expected conversion additions in 2022 include the JW Marriott Hotel São Paulo in Brazil, The Brix, Autograph Collection in Trinidad and Tobago, The Serangoon House, Singapore, A Tribute Portfolio Hotel and a Delta Hotels by Marriott City Center Doha in Qatar.

Strong international growth poised to continue

In 2021, the company signed 256 agreements representing nearly 51,000 rooms in international locations outside the U.S. and Canada. With the company rapidly growing its international footprint, Marriott continues to enter new markets, offering travellers more exciting destinations. In 2021, the company expanded into Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Bermuda, Grenada, St. Lucia and Turks & Caicos. In 2022, the company expects to plant its flag in Albania and Honduras.

Luxury minimalist suite

Image credit: Ritz Carlton/Marriott Hotels

Development activity for well-established brands within the select service space remains another key driver of growth, especially internationally. Comprised of brands including Courtyard by Marriott, Fairfield by Marriott, Four Points by Sheraton, Aloft Hotels and Moxy Hotels, Marriott International’s select brands are increasingly resonating internationally. In 2021, the company opened 107 select service hotels representing nearly 19,000 rooms in 29 countries across its international regions. In China, select brands further expand consumer travel experiences and choices, bringing guests diversified experiences in emerging Chinese destinations. Notable expected openings in 2022 include Element Yangjiang Hailing Island and Moxy Suzhou City Center. In 2021, Fairfield by Marriott continued to make its mark in Japan with the “Michi-no-eki” project, bringing six more hotels to key locations across four prefectures in Japan. The company also launched its new Fairfield prototype in Europe and the Middle East.

Branded residential soars

Marriott’s branded residential business soared in 2021 as evolving lifestyle changes have sparked growing interest in on-demand amenities and services from brands people admire and trust. Marriott continues to lead the branded residential segment with nearly 190 projects open or in development worldwide across 14 of the company’s brands.

Marriott’s branded residential offerings include a standalone residence model with similar elevated services offered at the company’s hotel properties, but without a co-located hotel, which speaks to the power of Marriott’s brands to attract residential buyers in markets around the globe. In 2021, Marriott signed its first standalone residences for the EDITION brand in Miami and for the Autograph Collection Hotels brand in London. The company currently operates 14 standalone residences with 16 in the pipeline. Overall, the branded residential sector continues to grow rapidly internationally, with nearly 80 percent of Marriott’s upcoming projects located outside of the U.S. and Canada. The company expects to debut 14 residential projects in 2022 in destinations from New York City (The Ritz-Carlton Residences, New York, NoMad) and Algarve (W Residences Algarve) to Belgrade (The Residences at The St. Regis Belgrade).

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Main image credit: Marriott International

Raffles Boston Back Bay Hotel & Residences, The Secret Garden,

Raffles announces hotel openings expected in 2022

730 565 Pauline Brettell
Raffles announces hotel openings expected in 2022

Raffles Hotels & Resorts is continuing its global expansion with new openings in Boston, Macau and Jeddah slated for later this year. Here’s what we know…

Raffles Boston Back Bay Hotel & Residences, The Secret Garden,

Known for transforming landmark properties in storied destinations around the world, Raffles is adding a host of distinguished locations that will continue to set the standard in the luxury hospitality industry. Later this year, Raffles has announced that it will debut flagship locations in Boston, Jeddah and Macau, among others.

Raffles Boston Back Bay Hotel & Residences, Balcony overlooking the city

Image credit: Raffles Hotels & Resorts / Binyan Studios

Raffles Boston will be the brand’s first mixed-use North American venture, featuring both a hotel and private residences. Located in Boston’s prestigious Back Bay neighbourhood, just a block away from Copley Square, the 35-storey building will be a new landmark in Boston’s skyline, with 146 residences, 147 guestrooms, and six restaurant and bar venues, including a sky bar and speakeasy. The property will feature state-of-the-art facilities and amenities. The striking three-story sky lobby, the first of its kind in Boston, will be the centrepiece of the property, complete with a grand staircase spanning the 17th, 18th and 19th floors.

Raffles at Galaxy Macau will be situated within a stunning architectural landmark featuring a glass airbridge that connects the two towers on every floor. Each of the 450 suites draws inspiration from a modern palazzo, with curated artworks and some featuring private pools and gardens. Raffles at Galaxy Macau will be a spectacular addition to the Galaxy Macau, a world-class luxury integrated resort that offers an array of bespoke leisure activities, on-site entertainment and a specialty restaurant helmed by a multi-Michelin-starred Japanese chef.

dramatic glass and marble entrance and lobby to Raffles Hotel Jeddah

Image credit: Raffles Hotels & Resorts

Inspired by the rich history of Saudi Arabia and Jeddah’s old town architecture, Raffles Jeddah will have 181 guestrooms – including a spectacular wedding suite and penthouse suite with in-room entertainment – and 188 branded residences. Alongside six restaurants and lounges, there will be an extensive library, a 1,200 square metre spa with eight treatment rooms and a state-of-the-art fitness club. The hotel’s meeting facilities include a 1,500 square metre ballroom overlooking the corniche and 1,000 square metres of conference rooms.

Raffles Hotels & Resorts has an illustrious history with some of the most prestigious hotel addresses worldwide, starting as far back as 1887 with the original Raffles Singapore. With these properties set to open in 2022 the brand will continue its tradition of luxury in leading cities across the world.

> Since you’re here, why not have a look inside the first Raffles hotel in India?

Main image credit: Raffles Hotels & Resorts

Accor Hotel restaurant and bar design with natural materials and surfaces

Accor steps into boldly into 2022 with 25 new hotel signings

730 565 Pauline Brettell
Accor steps into boldly into 2022 with 25 new hotel signings

Accor ended 2021 on a high note with the signing of 25 hotels in northern Europe in December, bringing its total signings in the region to an impressive 89. We take a closer look at its plans and pipeline for the year ahead…

Accor Hotel restaurant and bar design with natural materials and surfaces

Last year saw a strong development across Accor’s Northern European region, which today consists of more than 1,100 hotels across a portfolio of more than 20 brands spanning 31 countries, from Ireland through to Russia.

“2021 was a phenomenal year for signings culminating in a strong year end across the region,” said Camil Yazbeck, Senior Vice President Development, Accor Northern Europe .”Accor has maintained its stronghold on the region with a 39 per cent branded hotel market share in signings. In 2020 development was resilient, in 2021 our signings returned to pre-pandemic levels. Development is future looking and our strong pipeline reflects our and our partners’ strong belief in market recovery.”

Accor hotel lobby in black and white with gold accents

Image credit: Accor

Within the UK, 2021 ended with 13 signings across all of Accor’s portfolio, and added more than 500 guestrooms to the group’s already strong London portfolio. The year closed with the signing of Hyde Paradox Hotel London City, which will be coming soon to the historic location by the Old Bailey in the heart of London. The 110 guestroom property will occupy the 15 Old Bailey, originally known as the Spiers & Pond Hotel. Built in 1874 by architect Evans Cronk and converted to office use in the early 1900’s, the latest re-conversion by Hyde London City owners OB Capital, seeks to return the asset back to the iconic hotel that it once was. This stylish property is expected to open in 2023. Hyde Hotels, Resorts & Residences is part of Ennismore, a joint venture with Accor, formed in 2021.

Accor Hotel guestroom detail with orange sofa

Image credit: Accor

Signings span Accor’s strong spectrum of brands, from economy to luxury, with notable growth in key brands such as the ibis brand family, with 27 signings across ibis, ibis budget and ibis Styles. Mercure saw an additional 15 signings across the leading midscale brand, including one Mercure Living longer-stay brand. Novotel signed a further 7 properties, including two Novotel Living brands, and the new economy and midscale conversion brands, greet and By Mercure, gathered momentum, with 10 signings across the two brands.

Germany, Poland, Russia and the Benelux continued to dominate the brand acquisitions, with strong signings in each region. Eastern Europe remains a strong pipeline for the group with multiple signings in countries including Albania, Croatia, Georgia, Hungary, Moldova, Montenegro and Romania.

Black freestanding bath in Accor Hotel guestroom

Image credit: Accor

Accor boasts an unrivalled portfolio of distinctive brands and has one of the industry’s most diverse hospitality ecosystems from luxury through to economy brands. Its growth moving into 2022 ensures it is set to retain its position on the lifestyle hospitality platform.

> Since you’re here, why not find out more about Accor Masai Mara, Kenya?

Main image credit: Accor

The Retreat inside The Londoner

How The Londoner created a new dialogue between design & wellness

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
How The Londoner created a new dialogue between design & wellness

Sitting majestically above Leicester Square, in its very own island site, The Londoner took the design and architecture community’s breath away when it opened in 2021. One year on, Editor Hamish Kilburn meets Rob Steul, the Creative Director of Edwardian Hotels to learn more about the unparalleled design and wellness narrative…

The Retreat inside The Londoner

It was one of the most ambitious architecture and hotel development projects that Leicester Square had ever seen. The plans for the world’s first ‘super boutique’ hotel, The Londoner, designed by Yabu Pushelberg, engineer experts at Arup Associates and artist Ian Monroe, reportedly cost £5 million and included 15-storeys of innovative design and architecture. 

Rob Steul, the Creative Director of Edwardian Hotels, was the puppet master – AKA architect – behind the magnificent and innovative performance. Due to urban planning height restrictions, Steul and his team proposed a 30-metre subterranean series of spaces on six levels, which created the deepest habitable basement in London and among the deepest in the world – a factor that presented a plethora of architectural, structural and engineering challenges for all involved.

As the hotel moves close to its one year anniversary – a milestone in itself considering the unpredictable landscape along with travel restrictions that the hotel opened within – Hotel Designs, in association with AXOR and Hansgrohe, caught up with Steul to understand how, as well as architecture, the hotel has reached new heights (or depths is perhaps more apt) in wellness and wellbeing.

Hansgrohe is one of our Recommended Suppliers and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our Recommended Suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

Main image credit: Hansgrohe

Render of Somewhere Else in The Bahamas, by Pharrell Williams and David Grutman

Pharrell Williams and David Grutman to open hotel in The Bahamas

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Pharrell Williams and David Grutman to open hotel in The Bahamas

The 13-time Grammy rapper, songwriter and producer Pharrell Williams and nightclub entrepreneur David Grutman have announced that they will open a new lifestyle hotel in 2024. Set the be the creative duo’s largest hospitality project, Somewhere Else, will be located on a small island just off Nassau in The Bahamas. Editor Hamish Kilburn writes…

Render of Somewhere Else in The Bahamas, by Pharrell Williams and David Grutman

It’s not the first time celebrities have dipped their toe in the hospitality waters, with the likes of Hugh Jackman, Donatella Versace, Elizabeth Hurley and of course Robert De Niro among A-listers owning hotels. The recent addition to the list includes Pharrell Williams and David Grutman who in 2021 opened The Goodtime Hotel to rave reviews.

Less than a year later, the pair have tasked design and architecture studio Rockwell Group to bring to life their next hotel vision of a design-forward lifestyle hotel in The Bahamas.

“Throughout the resort, there will be a strong emphasis on indoor-outdoor flows with flush, freeform landscaping.”

The new hotel will be situated on Atlantis Paradise Island, in a building that has been, until now, referred to as The Beach – and was the island’s first hotel, originally designed by the late Morris Lapidus who was a leader of the vivacious ‘Miami-modern’ style.

The 400-key hotel, named Somewhere Else, is slated to open its doors in 2024 and will shelter multiple F&B outlets and  bungalows featuring recording studios. Throughout the resort, there will be a strong emphasis on indoor-outdoor flows with flush, freeform landscaping. Williams referred to the project as “tropical modernism” in a recent interview.

The design of the property will be led by Shawn Sullivan, Partner at Rockwell Group. The overall aesthetic will take inspiration from topography of the landscape. The latest renders show a water-coloured depiction of a flamingo pink-trimmed building. On the site, the hotel will feature cascading pools that draw the eye towards the sea and polychrome room concepts with flashes of colour, CNN reports.

Despite this project being Williams and Gutman’s largest and most complex development undertaking to date, the 13-time Grammy winner and the nightclub entrepreneur have previously completed two other hospitality ventures; Miami-based restaurant The Swan and The Goodtime Hotel.

Main render credit: Somewhere Else/Rockwell Group

The House Collective

Weekly digest: Eco hotel openings, tech updates & Vegas developments

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Weekly digest: Eco hotel openings, tech updates & Vegas developments

Roll up, roll up! Editor Hamish Kilburn here with your weekly digest. If you’re drowning in work, hurtling towards deadlines or are unable to scour the net for design and hospitality news, then this is the only article you need to read about the latest hotel openings and news to be stay in the loop…

The House Collective

In this week’s digest, there’s a lot to cover – from technology hit and misses at CES 2022 to Regent Hotels’ debut property Vietnam, and even our feature that follows our cheeky trip to the Harrison Spinks farm. Having looked at the analytics, this month’s news is largely dominated by hotel openings, which come in all shapes, sizes and styles – and this week has been no exception with a number of sneak peeks garnering a lot of attention.

From all the headlines that we have published, here are the most significant.

How the design scene is embracing Net Zero initiatives

coastal bedroom designed using net zero principles and sutainable materials

Image credit: Perkins&Will

With Net Zero fast becoming the buzzword of 2022, along with conversations around sustainability and the importance of working towards a circular economy, and brands such as GROHEHarrison Spinks and Room2 pledging to become Net Zero, design studio Perkins&Will has published a report which identifies the steps it is taking – and what other design studios could be doing – to create Net Zero projects by 2030.

Read more.

On the farm with Harrison Spinks

Image caption: Each interior design scheme has been themed to celebrate the locality of the farm, such as Fenton, my hut, which is a nod to RAF Church Fenton. | Image credit: Harrison Spinks

Image caption: Each interior design scheme has been themed to celebrate the locality of the farm, such as Fenton, my hut, which is a nod to RAF Church Fenton. | Image credit: Harrison Spinks

In the heart of the Yorkshire countryside – slap-bang between Leeds and York – editor Hamish Kilburn arrived on the 300-acre farm where the Harrison Spinks journey evolved into one that was centred around sustainable and innovative initiatives. From understanding the benefits of hemp to seeing how the bed manufacturer is keeping British manufacturing alive, Hotel Designs was given full access for 48 hours to understand why the bed and mattress manufacturer is commonly referred to as ‘the true bedmakers’.

Read more.

Hard Rock Hotels to transform the Las Vegas strip

guitar shaped hard rock hotel in las vegas

Image credit: Hard Rock Hotels

Hospitality and entertainment company Hard Rock International, has announced its agreement to acquire The Mirage Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas from MGM Resorts International. Having made history in 2019 with designing the first ever guitar-shaped hotel for its Florida expansion, Hard Rock is planning to add to its guitar collection by building  its second guitar-shaped hotel, this time on the famous Las Vegas Strip.

Read more.

The technology products that hit and missed at CES 2022

A stillness bath by Kohler

Image credit: Kohler

Quiet floors, a lack of international travellers and it all coming to close a day early due to the organisers facing pressures from travel restrictions and the Covid-19 crisis: is this really the same CES that dominated the world’s attention every January with the biggest tech show on earth? Well, the answer is ‘no’ but for good and healthy reasons for the hotel technology sector.

Read more.

Regent Hotels to arrive in Vietnam this spring

Regent Phu Quoc villa with swimming pool over looking the lagoon on long beach vietnam

Image credit: Regent Hotels & Resorts

IHG Hotels & Resorts will launch the first resort from its recently acquired, leading luxury brand, Regent Hotels & Resorts this Spring in South East Asia. Situated off the southwest coast of Vietnam, alongside a UNESCO-designated World Biosphere Reserve, Regent Phu Quoc will usher in a new era for this heritage brand, offering guests 176 spectacular suites and 126 spacious villas, set against the serene waterfront backdrop of Long Beach.

Read more.

Nordic Hotels to open Sommerro in Oslo this year

Scandic climate neutral hotel guestroom

Image credit: Scandic Hotels

Nordic Hotels & Resorts has announced that it is bringing one of Oslo’s most iconic buildings back to life as Sommerro – a new luxury hotel set to open its doors in September 2022.

Read more.

The Set Collection adds four new properties to portfolio

fireplace and lounge area in the Upper House in Hong Kong

Image credit: The House Collective

In an exciting marriage of East and West, this the first chapter in an organisation that looks set to disrupt the traditional models of what went before, while doing justice to the reputation and success of the iconic properties present at its start.

“I cannot think of a better group of hotels to be our first new members than The House Collective,” said Jean-Luc Naret, Executive Director of The Set Collection.

Read more.

And one for the January blues: Vibrant, story-telling hotel art for optimistic times

breaking boundaries by Frances Bildner

With coming out of lockdown and the latest omicron fears easing up, it’s time to look forward to some fresh outlooks. Frances Bildner of Frances Bildner Expressive Arts produces and sells dynamic artwork to hotels, other businesses and residences and is no stranger on Hotel Designs‘ radar. Her paintings often tell stories, albeit abstract ones, and enhance interior design schemes by injecting vitality to the environment. Her paintings, described by New York’s Village Voice as being “vital enough to convert even the most jaded of people”, bring life and colour to empty walls.

Read more.

Since you’re here…

More than 60,000 readers per month enjoy the content we publish on Hotel Designs. Our mission is to define the point on international hotel design, and we are doing that by serving relevant news stories and engaging features. To keep up to date on the hottest stories that are emerging, you can sign up to the newsletter, which is completely free of charge. As well as receiving a weekly round-up of the top stories, you will also access our bi-monthly HD Edit –staying ahead of the curve has never been so easy!

Click here to sign up to our newsletter.

Main image credit: The House Collective

Regent Phu Quoc spa and treatment room

Regent Hotels to arrive in Vietnam this spring

730 565 Pauline Brettell
Regent Hotels to arrive in Vietnam this spring

Regent Phu Quoc, with design inspired by the tropical and tranquil surroundings in which it is set, is on track to combine the brand’s trademark luxury with Vietnamese heritage to create a unique and immersive destination resort…

Regent Phu Quoc spa and treatment room

IHG Hotels & Resorts will launch the first resort from its recently acquired, leading luxury brand, Regent Hotels & Resorts this Spring in South East Asia. Situated off the southwest coast of Vietnam, alongside a UNESCO-designated World Biosphere Reserve, Regent Phu Quoc will usher in a new era for this heritage brand, offering guests 176 spectacular suites and 126 spacious villas, set against the serene waterfront backdrop of Long Beach.

Regent Phu Quoc villa with swimming pool over looking the lagoon on long beach vietnam

Image credit: Regent Hotels & Resorts

Designed by BLINK Design Group who were inspired by the island’s tropical abundance and tranquil surrounding, the villas at Regent Phu Quoc showcase panoramic views of the translucent ocean and sky from their private infinity pools. The resort offers multiple accommodation options perfect for both couples and families, from one-bedroom havens to expansive seven-bedroom ultra-villas, including beach pool villas with direct access to the pristine white beach, sky pool villas situated high in the Sky Wing with breathtaking ocean views and lagoon pool villas which overlook the striking vista of the resort’s lagoons.

“Founded more than 50 years ago, Regent Hotels & Resorts changed the face of modern luxury with bold firsts, such as pioneering the private villa with pool concept which have since become luxury hotel standards,” said Juan Losada, General Manager, Regent Phu Quoc. “With the opening of Regent Phu Quoc, a truly visionary resort has been conceived which marries the calming, the imaginative and the extravagant. We look forward to setting new luxury benchmarks through exceptional Vietnamese hospitality and guest experiences which feel simultaneously luxurious and effortless.”

infinity pool at sky villa in Regent Phu Quoc Vietnam

Image credit: Regent Hotels & Resorts

With a design brief of Vietnamese heritage meets minimalist modernity, the resort’s architecture echoes and reflects the traditional Vietnamese vernacular, while its design maximises access to the environment with floor-to-ceiling glass windows framing enchanting ocean views, and inside spaces featuring decadent touches that hint at the tropical surroundings. Guests will be greeted by a modern interpretation of Vietnamese roofs, and a variation of the local traditional wooden truss structural system, known as the Bovi, has been developed into subtle patterns found on screens, carpets and accessories. Another local style, known as Gian Nha, comprising small courtyards within a traditional Vietnamese house, is the inspiration for the layouts in the villa designs. The boundaries of indoor and outdoor areas blur through intelligent zoning across the resort as a homage to Gian Nha, providing privacy within a luxurious setting in this evolution of a traditional way of living.

main swimming pool under a pagoda at Regent Phu Quoc

Image credit: Regent Hotels & Resorts

The Spa at Regent Phu Quoc will offer an innovative approach to wellness, with a curated schedule of contemporary and traditional treatments that go beyond the ordinary. Guests can experience a highly personalised wellness itinerary guided by the resident Holistic Wellness Coach. The resort’s holistic wellness programmes include Acoustic/Vibrational Therapy complemented by the Welnamis System, as well as Psammo Hot Sand Therapy on an exclusive quartz bed designed by Gharieni, one of the world’s leading spa manufacturers. In addition, guests can experience Biologique Recherche treatments, and the Pedi:Mani:Cure concept salon by renowned podiatrist Bastien Gonzalez. alongside all these treatments, the Health Club features a fitness centre, reset meditation studio and rooftop yoga pavilions to recharge and rejuvenate.

Adding to the sense of natural rejuvenation on offer, is the fact that nearly half of Phu Quoc island is a National Park. The northern part of the island is home to  kilometres of lush tropical forest which has been declared as a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, while the southern part of the island is popular for its pristine white sand beaches. With this impressive natural backdrop the resort has kept this as its focus, and maintained a sensitive approach to the design while introducing visitors to a range of immersive destination experiences that showcases all the rustic charm of an idyllic island life.

Main image credit: Regent Hotels & Resorts

Scandic climate neutral hotel guestroom

Scandic to open climate-neutral hotel in 2024

730 565 Pauline Brettell
Scandic to open climate-neutral hotel in 2024

Sweden’s Scandic Hotels puts sustainability high on the agenda as it is set to go climate neutral in its latest development. Here’s what we know about the plans for Scandic Sundsvall Central…

Scandic climate neutral hotel guestroom

Scandic Hotels has signed a long-term lease agreement with Skanska for a new 210-key hotel in downtown Sundsvall. The new hotel, located in the city’s harbour area and slated to open in 2024, will be built of wood giving it a very high environmental standard. The hotel will be called Scandic Sundsvall Central and will be ideally located next to Sundsvall’s harbour and railway station.

exterior of proposed new scandic climate neutral hotel

Image credit: Scandic Hotels

“We’ve been developing the hotel together with Skanska for the past two years and naturally, it feels extremely positive to be further strengthening our hotel offering in the city,” said Peter Jangbratt, Head of Scandic Hotels Sweden.

Along with the proposed guestrooms, it will have a restaurant and bar area on the ground floor. One floor up, guests will be able to enjoy the hotel’s spa and wellness facilities, gym and meeting rooms while taking in the spectacular view of the Bothnian Sea. The building’s frame, facade and interior will all be made of wood, meeting the requirements for the high-ranking environmental certification, LEED Gold. With its choice of energy-efficient materials and solar panels on the roof, the new hotel will maintain a very high energy standard and be 100 per cent climate-neutral during its lifetime.

“It is gratifying to now have Scandic as a tenant – a company that shares our values in terms of sustainability and with which we have worked closely in other projects,” added Joakim Åkesson, Regional Manager at Skanska Sverige.

Adding to its existing portfolio of two hotels in Sundsvall, this new addition to the Scandic family will be a modern and attractive meeting place ideally located in an exciting area where the brand has identified a growing demand for hotel accommodations.

Main image credit: Scandic Hotels

The House Collective the atrium in the opposite house beijing

The Set Collection adds four new properties to portfolio

730 565 Pauline Brettell
The Set Collection adds four new properties to portfolio

The House Collective, one of Asia’s most lauded luxury hospitality brands, is joining forces with London based curated hotel portfolio, The Set Collection. Its four distinctive properties will be joining forces with the four founding member hotels of The Set Collection to double the numbers…

The House Collective the atrium in the opposite house beijing

In an exciting marriage of East and West, this the first chapter in an organisation that looks set to disrupt the traditional models of what went before, while doing justice to the reputation and success of the iconic properties present at its start.

“I cannot think of a better group of hotels to be our first new members than The House Collective,” said Jean-Luc Naret, Executive Director of The Set Collection. “Like our founding members in Europe and Israel, The House Collective’s properties have made an impact on their market and the luxury traveller’s collective consciousness that is far greater than their relatively small footprint would suggest. It is a privilege to work with these expert hoteliers, not only to offer them the myriad benefits that being a part of The Set Collection offers but also to learn and grow together in new and exciting markets during these unique times.”

statement chandelier in entrance to The Middle House in Shanghai

Image credit: The House Collective

One of the tenets of The Set Collection is to work only with exceptional and like-minded organisations that truly embody the spirit of their locations, a determination that is exemplified in its properties in four of the world’s great cities; Amsterdam, London, Paris and Jerusalem. Those hotels harness the artistry, combined talent, skills, expertise and flair of their teams to create inspiring environments and individual experiences that feel beautifully composed and the four hotels of The House Collective are similarly uniquely imagined to reflect the soul and aesthetics of their locales.
Whether in the neon cityscape of Hong Kong and London’s vibrant thoroughfares, the fashionable streets in Shanghai and Paris’ majestic boulevards, Beijing’s thriving art scene and Amsterdam’s museums or Chengdu’s monumental past and Jerusalem’s unparalleled history – the hotels of The House Collective and The Set Collection’s could not be better matched.

fireplace and lounge area in the Upper House in Hong Kong

Image credit: The House Collective

The Set Collection has positioned itself as a new luxury brand representation company of like-minded independent hotels, run by hoteliers for hoteliers. It has been designed for owners, investors and management teams seeking an alternative to the traditional representation and distribution service. With an agile and flexible business model, The Set Collection provides a tailored solution to supply only the services that hoteliers need, designed to adapt quickly to continually evolving markets conditions and business needs of its member hotels whilst providing a competitive fee structure. Under The Set Collection, owners and management teams retain their hotel brand and identity alongside the day-to-day running of their property, whilst taking advantage of tailored services to support their operation and existing teams.

the hotels that make up The House Collective portfolio

Image credit: The House Collective

The House Collective by Swire Hotels is a group of highly individual properties that defy comparison. Each uniquely imagined, The Opposite House in Beijing, The Upper House in Hong Kong, The Temple House in Chengdu and The Middle House in Shanghai were designed to create a different, intimate and personalised experience in luxury travel. Each House is a sophisticated, singular piece of design, created by talented architects and designers, that reflect the unique qualities of their surroundings.

“We believe this exciting partnership will further elevate The House Collective reputation in the ultra-luxury hospitality space and help our brands stand out and appeal to the growing number of luxury consumers outside of Asia,” said Dean Winter, Managing Director for Swire Hotels.

The Set Collection is building a portfolio of non-competing hotels whilst providing a platform that will encourage them to work together to achieve their business objectives, and the addition of The House Collective can be seen as an important milestone in this development.

Main image credit: The House Collective

NOBU Santorini and a birds eye view of swimming pool

Nobu to arrive in Santorini this spring

730 565 Pauline Brettell
Nobu to arrive in Santorini this spring

Nobu Hospitality, the global lifestyle brand founded by Nobu Matsuhisa, Robert De Niro, and Meir Teper, has just announced that its first hotel and restaurant in Greece, the Nobu Hotel and Restaurant Santorini, is scheduled to open in spring 2022. Here’s what we know…

NOBU Santorini and a birds eye view of swimming pool

Situated on the island’s captivating northeast coast, the boutique hotel houses a signature Nobu Restaurant, full-service spa, fitness facility, dual-level infinity pool, and five luxurious pool villas, and offers panoramic views of both the Caldera and Aegean Sea from its unique clifftop location in Imerovigli. Just a short drive to the charming coastal town of Oia and within striking distance of Santorini International Airport, the hotel is well-positioned along the famed Oia-Fira hiking trail that runs between Oia and Fira, Santorini’s cosmopolitan capital.

view of Nobu Santorini looking across pool and out to sea

Image credit: Nobu Hospitality

Nobu Hospitality has entered a long-term management agreement with MonteRock International (MRI), a group with over 25 years of experience in a variety of core industries including hospitality, media, food & beverage, real estate, banking, and industrial technology.

“We are really proud of the rock-solid collaboration we are having with Nobu brand throughout the years, and we are now more than delighted to expand together in the hospitality industry,” said Alfredo Longo, Chief Executive Officer MonteRock International. “In this incredible canvas such as the Island of Santorini, the finest of what Nobu lifestyle and cuisine have to offer would be served in a picture-perfect setting, catering to every need at the highest standards.”

Nobu hotel Santorini at sunset

Image credit: Nobu Hospitality

“We are very excited to be coming to Santorini and to work with the local community on this exciting project,” said Trevor Horwell, Chief Executive Officer Nobu Hospitality. “Santorini is one of the most highly regarded destinations in the world with its rare beauty, famed for its distinctive cuisine, whitewashed architecture set with a backdrop of steep cliffs, and dramatic sunsets lighting the sea and sky. We look forward to inviting locals and international travellers alike to experience the Nobu lifestyle in this special destination.”

Adding to Nobu Hospitality’s European portfolio, the launch of Nobu Hotel and Restaurant Santorini marks the 26th hotel around the world and tenth in Europe. Nobu Hotels are also in development for Marrakech, Rome, Riyadh, Atlanta, Toronto, Atlantic City, New Orleans, San Sebastián, São Paulo, Tel Aviv, Thailand, Hamburg, and Al Khobar, as the brand is strategically focused on further expanding its global portfolio of hotels through a solid pipeline.

> Since you’re here, why not read about Nobu Hotel’s plans for Saudi Arabia?

Main image credit: Nobu Hospitality

Rosewood Sao Paulo Exterior

Weekly digest: Hotel openings, wellness trends & colour in 2022

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Weekly digest: Hotel openings, wellness trends & colour in 2022

Hello, sunshine! Editor Hamish Kilburn here to brighten up your day with the weekly digest, which this week contains a Rosewood opening that will blow your mind, wellness and colour trend forecasts for 2022 and beyond, and COMO’s new island-within-an-island resort. Follow me, this way…

Rosewood Sao Paulo Exterior

This week, Hotel Designs recorded its highest pageviews in a day on record (with 3,901 pageviews on Wednesday and more than 10,000 views this week), and we’re not really surprised given the juicy news that’s landed on our desk. From hotel openings to trends of all different sizes and colours, the stories that have dominated the headlines this week include a colour moodboard, case studies and bold moves in hotel development, including one very special exclusive from Kerzner International and interior design studio Atellior.

Here are just some of the stories that we’ve picked out for you:

EXCLUSIVE: Introducing SIRO, the new holistic wellbeing brand from Kerzner International

SIRO Boka Place Rooftop

Image caption: Render of the rooftop that will open in SIRO Boka Place, designed by Atellior. | Image credit: SIRO

Kerzner International has launched SIRO (Strength, Inclusive, Reflection and Original), a new hospitality brand that’s purpose will be to offer a balanced wellbeing experience for guests aspiring to become a healthier, more energised and rejuvenated version of themselves. The forward-thinking aim will be nurtured by SIRO’s engaging environment, supported by experts in a suite of health-related specialisms and made especially memorable by opportunities to experience destinations urban –  from urban jungles to serene countryside – through the lens of fitness.

Read more.

Rosewood arrives in São Paulo

artwork and local crafts in the bedrooms at Rosewood Sao Paola Brazil

Image credit: Rosewood Hotels & Resorts

Centrally located in the heart of the vibrant city near the lively Avenida Paulista, Rosewood São Paulo, which featured in our top 7 hotels on the boards in 2020, is a metropolitan oasis set within the historical enclave of Cidade Matarazzo, a complex of elegantly preserved buildings from the early 20th century that have been carefully transformed into private residences, high-end stores and entertainment venues.

Anchoring the 30,000 square-meter mixed-used lifestyle hub, the hotel occupies the historic former hospital, Matarazzo Maternity, as well as a striking new vertical garden tower. The transformation of the heritage buildings is rooted in sustainability and makes Cidade Matarazzo Brazil’s largest upcycling project, with a focus on celebrating and protecting the country’s cultural heritage and natural environment. Sustainable features executed in the property’s design include a biodiversity program that repopulates the indigenous flora and fauna from the Mata Atlantica rainforest, including 250 trees up to 14 metres in height placed vertically on the Mata Atlantica Tower.

Read more.

COMO expands private island portfolio with ‘island within an island’

aerial view of buildings using natural materials at COMO Laucala island

Image credit: COMO Hotels and Resorts / Trey Ratcliff

COMO Laucala Island offers guests the perfect island escape in a unique and carefully protected ecosystem, and is as much about the signature COMO design as it is about the location and lifestyle on offer. This is a resort where space is luxury: 25 residences, each with their own COMO butler, spread out on private beaches, above lagoons, atop hills and mountains. With a private airstrip, this exclusive sanctuary has been designed to unparalleled levels of luxury living on the northern shore of the island.

Read more. 

Moodboard: Design & colour trends emerging in 2022

Newmor colour palette of bright jewel like colours

Image credit: Newmor

With the arrival of a new year and the ‘colour of the year’ being a hotly debated topic, this is also the time when we would all normally be heading to events and exhibitions such as Heimtextil to share product and trend predictions. Heimtextil 2022, however, has fallen victim to the virus, but the conversation about trends and colours continues undeterred. So, to keep the noise echoing around the industry’s arena, Pauline Brettell caught up with Rose Campbell from Newmor to chat about the predictions for 2022, and to take us through the process in developing these design and colour trends.

Read more.

How MEET UP London plans to tantalise your senses – early bird tickets now on sale!

Meet Up London 2022

On March 24, the team at Hotel Designs – along with a few industry friends – will unveil their interpretation of the theme ‘inspiring creativity’ at the Minotti London showroom in the heart of the Fitzrovia neighbourhood. Long regarding as London’s premium networking event for interior designers, architects, hoteliers, suppliers and developers alike, MEET UP London will pull out all the stops in order to ensure that the ambiguous theme is well and truly captured with meaning.

Read more. 

Wellness trends: The shifting shape of spas and wellbeing

natural textures and surfaces in spa at auberge beach residences

Image credit: TLEE Spas + Wellness

Following our insightful look at the design trends that are shaping hotels and hospitality, we spoke to TLEE Spas + Wellness President and Founder Tracy Lee to dig a little deeper into the trends that are specific to spa design and development, while looking more broadly into how we define and create a sense of wellness in hospitality moving forward into 2022.

Read more.

W Hotels plans to open in Macau

W Hotels, W Macau Studio City

Image credit: W Hotels

Marriott International has signed an agreement with Melco Resorts & Entertainment to bring the W Hotels Worldwide brand to Macau by the end of the year. W Macau – Studio City is expected in 2022 to become an iconic addition to the world-class leisure destination through its detail-driven, unexpected design, and signature whatever/whenever service.

Read more.

Since you’re here…

More than 60,000 readers per month enjoy the content we publish on Hotel Designs. Our mission is to define the point on international hotel design, and we are doing that by serving relevant news stories and engaging features. To keep up to date on the hottest stories that are emerging, you can sign up to the newsletter, which is completely free of charge. As well as receiving a weekly round-up of the top stories, you will also access our bi-monthly HD Edit –staying ahead of the curve has never been so easy!

Click here to sign up to our newsletter.

Main image credit: Rosewood Hotels and Resorts

Laucala island swimming pool within the lagoon

COMO expands private island portfolio with ‘island within an island’

730 565 Pauline Brettell
COMO expands private island portfolio with ‘island within an island’

COMO Laucala Island, an exclusive retreat in the South Pacific, is the brands newest addition to its private island collection, and shelters an exclusive 25 standalone residences, all surrounded by turquoise-blue sea, white sandy beaches, and the ultimate luxury of space…

Laucala island swimming pool within the lagoon

COMO Laucala Island offers guests the perfect island escape in a unique and carefully protected ecosystem, and is as much about the signature COMO design as it is about the location and lifestyle on offer. This is a resort where space is luxury: 25 residences, each with their own COMO butler, spread out on private beaches, above lagoons, atop hills and mountains. With a private airstrip, this exclusive sanctuary has been designed to unparalleled levels of luxury living on the northern shore of the island.

Laucala island aerial view of buildings using natural materials

Image credit: COMO Hotels and Resorts / Trey Ratcliff

The sympathetically designed spaces have kept the location central to design, both with the emphasis on views as well as the use of materials, and the construction has been carefully considered using local materials where possible. The Residences, all featuring private pools and ranging in size from 3,000 to 4,000 square metres, are built in a South Pacific style, which is blended seamlessly with COMO’s unmistakable contemporary flair. Interiors are softly curved and full of free-flowing shapes, allowing the space to flow freely between indoors and outdoors. Thatched roofs are made from the leaves of sago palms, floors are laid with local timber, and the spaces also feature ‘balabala’ fern stems and a traditional coconut husk weave known as ‘magimagi’.

natural materials and finishes in the villa interior at COMO Laucala island fiji

Image credit: COMO Hotels and Resorts

A first for COMO, the island features a tropical 18-hole David McLay Kidd designed golf-course, along with a wide range of land and water activities, from a fleet of jet-skis, sailing and game fishing boats to horse-riding, mountain biking, nature hikes and tennis. The emphasis throughout is about the heart of the island, its tropical rainforests, volcanic mountains, blue lagoons, mangroves and coconut groves, all fostering a unique habitat that is waiting to be explored by the guests.

COMO Shambhala Retreat, the island’s wellness centre, is the embodiment of COMO’s philosophy for holistic, healthy living. At this nurturing retreat, guests can expect physical fitness classes, yoga, and a fitness centre. Treatments make use of COMO Shambhala’s signature products, as well as the island’s herbs, spices, flowers, and fruits. COMO Shambhala’s signature Asian-inspired massages and body treatments using the island’s river stones, mineral crystals and rich volcanic soils are also provided.

laucala island restaurant designed with natural materials

Image credit: COMO Hotels and Resorts

To minimise its impact on the environment and in line with COMO’s farm-to-table philosophy, the island’s five dining options receive fresh produce from the resort’s 240-acre farm, cultivating a wide range of organic crops and livestock. Fresh seafood supplies are sourced exclusively from local fishermen, contributing to the island’s commitment to sustainability.

COMO Laucala Island joins resorts like COMO Parrot Cay and COMO Maalifushi as the brand continues to expand its signature design and luxury ethos that keeps, at its core, a focus on sustainability and wellness.

Main image credit: COMO Hotels and Resorts

Meet Up London 2022

How MEET UP London plans to tantalise your senses

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
How MEET UP London plans to tantalise your senses

Returning this year by popular demand, the leading London networking event for interior designers, architects, hoteliers, suppliers and developers, MEET UP London will welcome two visionaries who will transform Minotti London into a sensory experience. Editor Hamish Kilburn writes how he and the team are interpreting the theme ‘inspiring creativity’…

Meet Up London 2022

On March 24, the team at Hotel Designs – along with a few industry friends – will unveil their interpretation of the theme ‘inspiring creativity’ at the Minotti London showroom in the heart of the Fitzrovia neighbourhood. Long regarding as London’s premium networking event for interior designers, architects, hoteliers, suppliers and developers alike, MEET UP London will pull out all the stops in order to ensure that the ambiguous theme is well and truly captured with meaning.

And to whet the industry’s appetite even further, Hotel Designs has secured sound and wellness experts, Tom Middleton and Ari Peralta, who will help to transform the Minotti London showroom into an immersive, sensory experience.

Early bird tickets for MEET UP London are now on sale. Click here if you are a supplier to secure your ticket for just £99 + VAT (prices rise to £150 plus vat per person from January 29, 2022*. Click here if you are a designer, architect, hotelier or developer to secure your early bird ticket for just £10 + VAT (prices will rise to £20 + VAT per person from January 29, 2022).*

Image caption: MEET UP London 2019 took place at Minotti London's showroom

Image caption: MEET UP London 2019 took place at Minotti London’s showroom, welcoming more than 200 interior designers, architects, hoteliers, developers and suppliers. | Image credit: MEET UP London

Tom Middleton, an award-winning composer, wellness architect and sensory design technologist, will discuss and demonstrate the mood-enhancing and wellbeing properties of spatial sound, combined with scientifically designed imprinting scents to elevate interior design, and deliver more memorable and meaningful experiences.

Meanwhile, wellness expert and neuroscientist, Ari Peralta, Founder of Arigami, will showcase the power of colour on our emotions using cutting-edge, deep learning technologies and generative graphics. Peralta will unveil an experience at MEET UP London that will reset the senses, with the power of colour and meditation, to ground, relax and replenish the mind.

*Early bird tickets will only be available until the end of the day on January 28, 2022. Please note, there are limited tickets available for MEET UP London. Due to the demand for this event, we anticipate that tickets will sell out and tickets will be issued out on a first-come, first-served basis.

Main image credit: MEET UP London

W Hotels, W Macau Studio City

W Hotels plans to open in Macau

730 565 Pauline Brettell
W Hotels plans to open in Macau

Slated to open in December 2022, Marriott International has announced its plans to bring the W Hotels brand to Macau, which will take the W brand footprint for Greater China to 10 properties. Here’s what we know…

W Hotels, W Macau Studio City

Marriott International has signed an agreement with Melco Resorts & Entertainment to bring the W Hotels Worldwide brand to Macau by the end of the year. W Macau – Studio City is expected to become an iconic addition to the world-class leisure destination through its detail-driven, unexpected design, and signature whatever/whenever service.

exterior render of W Macau Studio City

Image credit: Marriott International

“Macau’s super-charged energy and unique identity as an entertainment hub, together with its mix of Eastern and Western culture, makes it a natural fit for W Hotels,” said Henry Lee, President, Greater China, Marriott International. “In line with Marriott International’s ‘Brand + Destination’ development strategy, we are excited to work together with Melco Resorts & Entertainment to introduce W Macau – Studio City and bring the brand’s luxury lifestyle to Macau.”

Situated in the heart of Cotai, W Macau – Studio City will serve as the buzzing centrepiece for Studio City Phase 2, a multi-complex development that includes indoor and outdoor water parks, cineplexes and state-of-the-art MICE facilities. W Macau – Studio City expects to shelter 557 guestrooms, including 127 suites and wellness facilities, a spa, fitness centre, and an indoor swimming pool. The hotel is also set to include two destination dining venues – one featuring international cuisine with an Asian twist and another with the finest Chinese and Portuguese dishes. Set to be a first in the Greater China region, W Macau – Studio City is slated to feature a W Sound Suite, the brand’s signature, on-site recording studio as well as a WOOBAR where guests can connect. Additionally, the new hotel will offer 1,100 square metres of event and meeting space.

“Melco is thrilled to welcome W Hotels to Studio City and Macau,” said Mr David Sisk, Chief Operating Officer, Macau Resorts of Melco Resorts & Entertainment. “W Hotels is without a doubt one of the world’s most iconic luxury lifestyle brands and we expect the hotel to elevate Studio City’s hospitality offerings to a new level. Together we look forward to bringing new experiences to our guests and further strengthen Macau’s proposition as a world-class leisure destination.”

Marriott International currently operates nine properties and residences under the W Hotels brand across Greater China. W Macau – Studio City is anticipated to mark the brand’s 10th property in Greater China.

> Since you’re here, why not check out W Hotels in Osaka?

Main image credit: Marriott International


EXCLUSIVE: Introducing SIRO, the new holistic wellbeing brand from Kerzner

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
EXCLUSIVE: Introducing SIRO, the new holistic wellbeing brand from Kerzner

Kerzner International, the company behind One&Only, Atlantis Resorts and Residences and Magazan Beach & Golf Resort, has announced it is creating a pioneering new hospitality brand designed to sit at the convergence of travel, fitness, health and wellbeing. Here’s what we know about SIRO…


Kerzner International has launched SIRO (Strength, Inclusive, Reflection and Original), a new hospitality brand that’s purpose will be to offer a balanced wellbeing experience for guests aspiring to become a healthier, more energised and rejuvenated version of themselves. The forward-thinking aim will be nurtured by SIRO’s engaging environment, supported by experts in a suite of health-related specialisms and made especially memorable by opportunities to experience destinations urban –  from urban jungles to serene countryside – through the lens of fitness.

The holistic wellbeing brand’s first property will be located in Boka Place, a new neighbourhood in the luxury marina destination of Porto Montenegro. Combining a 96-guestroom hotel and 144 managed residences, SIRO Boka Place is being designed by London-based design studio Atellior, and is slated for completion by the end of 2023.

“It is always very exciting to create the first property for a new hospitality brand and this is particularly so with SIRO because it is such a forward-looking concept – destinations of excellence forging an approach to fitness and wellbeing that meets the aspirations of modern, global lifestyles,” Una Barac, Executive Director of Atellior, told Hotel Designs. “We are also blessed with one of the most stunning locations in Europe, overlooking the breath-taking Bay of Kotor as well as Porto Montenegro, and with the Montenegrin mountains rising behind.”

SIRO Boka Place Gym cropped

Image caption: Render of the gym and fitness centre that will be sheltered inside SIRO Boka Place, designed by Atellior. | Image credit: SIRO

SIRO Boka Place will provide thoughtful environments for both guests and local residents. The public areas, we are being told, will emphasise the social aspect of wellbeing, providing a fully immersive experience and encouraging social interaction, with an overriding theme of ‘exploration’ and ‘play’ dictating the tempo. Sculptural bleacher seating in the lobby’s Amphitheatre zone will offer an informal and open place for people to relax and work, where leather cushions add comfort to the typical stadium experience and power points are hidden within integrated tables to provide numerous work hubs. The lobby is designed to come to life through sight, touch and sound, encouraging guests to linger.

Since nutrition is central to wellbeing and integral to connecting with the culture of the locality, the restaurant will provide a ‘mindful menu’ – balanced and nourishing cuisine crafted by SIRO dieticians and chefs using ingredients that are sourced locally and harvested seasonally. The restaurant’s design will have an urban vibe, with a grey conglomerate stone-effect floor and exposed service black-painted ceilings with a striking black mesh; a back-lit feature wall will create a dramatic focal point. In the centre of the space, comfortable lounge furniture in hues of grey, black and deep green surrounding low tables will lend themselves to a casual dining experience, whilst other dining tables will flank the perimeter and spill out onto the meticulously landscaped terrace.

> Designer Una Barac has joined several Hotel Designs roundtables. Since you’re here, why not check out the latest one she was involved in, on the ‘art of lighting’?

Adjacent to the restaurant will be another another pivotal feature of the ground floor lobby; the Juice Lab and After Work-Out Bar, where bar tenders will mix healthy and nutritious cocktails, juices and smoothies.

For those seeking a party vibe, a rooftop bar with live DJs will be a glorious rendezvous spot from day into the night. Contemporary furniture in cognac leather hues will occupy the space, offering a  variety of seating arrangements, from bar stools set around tall, communal tables through to comfortable lounge chairs. Striking, bespoke light features, inspired by sports’ physical movements will decorate the walls and hang as pendants. Contemporary outdoor furniture will grace the terrace together with lanterns and ample planting, creating a perfect al fresco experience and offering views across Boka Bay.

By contrast, the guestrooms are being designed as poised sanctuaries where guests can continue their fitness regime, recharge and sleep very well thanks to blackout and soundproof technology. Importantly, the rooms can transform quickly and easily between active and passive mode, pulse and restorative spaces. Each room comes with a range of fitness equipment, including punch bags, yoga balls and dumbbells, and there is plenty of space to work out or meditate. Another unique feature within the guestrooms will be the stretching bars, which form an integral part of the built-in joinery, enabling guests to exercise whilst also achieving a striking design feature. In-room mist showers, innovative furniture design and sustainable materials will work together to create a private retreat for rest, rejuvenation and recovery.

A high-performance fitness club will sit at the heart of the hotel. Featuring signature equipment and studios for workouts, yoga and dance, it will offer ample natural light thanks to the carefully designed see-saw roof, reminiscent of the industrial buildings that previously occupied the site. In addition, there will be the ‘Experience Box’ – an immersive studio with club-style lighting, sound and a large XL screen, and a smart climate-controlled 20-metre pool with a retractable roof which will allow guests to train freely regardless of weather, pausing only to take in the stunning views from the pool’s rooftop location.

Since rehabilitation is an important part of the SIRO experience, a ‘Recovery Lab’ will offer sports rehabilitation, innovative procedures, meditation classes and relaxing treatments. The Lab’s state-of-the-art equipment and procedures will explore new avenues to renewed, improved and harmonious health. Recovery facilities will include a selection of health spa services, ranging from cryo chambers, specialised massage therapies to meditation classes for mindful regeneration.

Igniting guests’ passions for exhilarating pursuits in the great outdoors, SIRO Boka Place will come complete with access to a number of demanding sailing circuits, plus cycling routes of varying intensity. Other outdoor activities will include hiking, boxing, climbing, kite surfing, parkour and, during the winter months, skiing, to name but a few.

SIRO will also be building TEAM SIRO, a team of key athletes from around the world who’ll each play an advisory role as SIRO develops the fitness and wellness elements at the heart of its immersive lifestyle experience. The first ambassador is GB Olympic gold medallist swimmer Adam Peaty – an Olympic, World, European and Commonwealth champion, and a favourite to win gold again at the next Olympics.

“SIRO is a gamechanger.” – Una Barac, Executive Director of Atellior.

Atellior’s aesthetic for the hotel has taken its cue from SIRO’s brand values, reflected in finishes that combine both traditional and contemporary materials such as oak, plaster, stone and aniline leather together with concrete, metal and glass. In this way, the contrast between the active and passive faces of SIRO, the physical as well as the mindful benefits that the experience provides, are expressed. The dramatic landscape background has inspired and defined the colour palette – tan leather and dark green upholstery combined with the softer tones of the warm ivory plaster, pale fabrics and light textured wood. Materials are being specified with great care to ensure they are ISO certified, regionally sourced and, where possible, incorporate elements of recycling within their manufacturing process.

The managed residences will range from studio apartments to three-bedroom duplexes and penthouses designed with a pared-back aesthetic. Clean lines and neutral tones will create an optimal environment for holistic wellbeing. Similar in aesthetic to the hotel guestrooms, they are designed with a calming and neutral palette inspired by the local limestone, with pops of colour in aniline cognac leather and striking artwork. Varying in size from 45 metre-squared to 170 metre-squared, the managed residences will all qualify for Montenegro’s Citizenship by Investment Programme (CBIP).

“SIRO is a gamechanger,” says Barac. “Developing a unique concept with health, well-being and mindfulness at its core has never been more relevant and together we have the opportunity to achieve a benchmark of excellence that will be the bedrock of future SIRO hotels. It is also special to us, as a firm with studios in London and Zagreb, to work in Montenegro with such a forward-looking international team.”

> Since you’re here, why not read about One&Only’s first property in Europe (it’s a stunner)?

Main image credit: Kerzner International

rooftop with pool at The Lana Dorchester

Hottest hotel openings anticipated for 2022 (Q3 & Q4)

730 565 Pauline Brettell
Hottest hotel openings anticipated for 2022 (Q3 & Q4)

Keeping the momentum going and following hot on the heels of our list of hotel openings slated for Q1 & Q2, Pauline Brettell takes over, keeping a collective eye glued to the hospitality horizon with a list of openings that are planned for the second half of 2022, which have piqued our curiosity and titillated our design tastebuds…

rooftop with pool at The Lana Dorchester

If, like many, you are unable to schedule your personal life beyond a 24-hour window, looking forward to plans and proposals post-spring of 2022 might seem a little unrealistic. Thankfully, for those who find themselves in this situation, we have identified the movers and shakers on the hotel design stage who are planning for 2022 and beyond.

Despite all the setbacks and slowdowns, there are so many exciting and ambitious hotels on the horizon that is a challenge to narrow it down. However, rising to the task in hand – and following on from our first article in this series that looked at openings this side of the year – here’s a must-read list of some of the VIP arrivals that have caught our attention and which we plan to follow as they unfold in Q3 and Q4.

Locke at East Side Gallery, Berlin – opening in Q3, 2022

Locke at East Side Gallery Berlin

Image credit: Locke

Lifestyle aparthotel brand Locke is to expand further into Europe with two new German openings in 2022. The opening of Locke at East Side Gallery in Berlin plans to continue with the brand ethos by challenging convention, and partnering with unique up-and-coming designers and local food and drink partners to give this location its own distinctive character and style. The 2022 openings continue the rapid expansion of the home-meets-hotel brand, which has established itself as a leader in the hybrid hospitality movement.

Maisons Pariente Paris – opening in Q3, 2022

a new maisons pariente scheduled for Paris Le Marais

Image credit: Maisons Pariente

After Crillon le Brave in Provence, Lou Pinet in Saint-Tropez and Le Coucou in Méribel, Maisons Pariente has chosen the heart of Le Marais for its new five star hotel. Le Grand Mazarin is located in the heart of the action in a buzzing district that’s bursting with creativity and constantly coming up with cutting-edge trends and avant-garde concepts. With its dream location on the corner of Rue des Archives and Rue de la Verrerie near Hotel de Ville, the collection’s first city-centre hotel embodies Le Marais’ signature bold and cosmopolitan eclecticism. Le Grand Mazarin is a place to meet and get together in a sophisticated setting that puts a playful spin on styles and periods. With 61 quirky guestrooms and suites, a spectacular restaurant with all-day service, a chic yet enigmatic underground bar, not to mention the largest private pool in Le Marais, Maisons Pariente are ready to make their mark in the City of Lights.

The Lana, Dorchester Collection – opening in Q4, 2022

Slated to open in the last quarter of 2022, The Lana marks Dorchester Collection’s first address in the Middle East. Taking its name from the Arabic expression ‘for us’, The Lana is a striking 30-storey tower designed by the award-winning architects Foster + Partners that perfectly captures the essence of its destination as an unparalleled luxury experience in Downtown Dubai. With its 225 guestrooms, it will be located in the heart of Dubai, in the Burj Khalifa District and overlooking the vibrant Business Bay area.

Como Le Montrachet  – opening in Q4, 2022

gardens and exterior at COMO Le Montrachet

Image credit: COMO Hotels and Resorts

COMO Le Montrachet will be the COMO Group’s first French property, and is set to bring its signature style and design to the Burgundy region where it will make its home alongside some of the regions most acclaimed wines and vines. Italian designer Paola Navone will be bringing her trademark contemporary touches to the historic 18th-century property in the sought-after Côte-d’Or. Arranged across four heritage buildings, 31 guestrooms and suites will be converted into chic sanctuaries over the course of 2022.

Six Senses New York – opening in Q4, 2022

calm natural tones at six Senses New York

Image credit: Six Senses

Six Senses New York, the group’s first North American property, will be housed in The XI – two unique, twisting towers designed by world-renowned architect Bjarke Ingels in an unparalleled location between Manhattan’s Hudson River and The High Line. Guestrooms and suites designed by Parisian firm Gilles & Boissier will be contemporary in style, while offering every modern convenience in a calm ambiance of natural-hued fabrics and furnishings. Two restaurants will showcase the brand’s popular culinary approach to wellness, while the Six Senses Spa will introduce its layered approach to wellness with treatments that are an intuitive mix of science and human awareness, and where a high-tech and high-touch approach is crafted around the individual.

Nobu Marrakech – opening in Q4, 2022

view over marrakech from planned Nobu Marrakech

Image credit: Nobu Hospitality

Nobu Hotel Marrakech will be the brands debut in the Red City, where it plans to bring its contemporary style to the design while keeping the city’s rich heritage as a reference and backdrop. The hotel will be located in the Hivernage district, steps from the historic heart of the city, souks and vibrant Djemaa el-Fna. Transformed into a luxury lifestyle destination, the hotel will house 71 spacious guestrooms and suites, a selection of dynamic dining venues and rooftop spaces, 2,000 square meters of luxurious spa and fitness centre, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, and meeting and event space.

Ritz-Carlton Arizona – opening in Q4, 2022

Ritz-Carlton Paradise valley

Image credit: Ritz-Carlton

Set in 20 acres of lush, cooling landscape with the grandeur of Camelback Mountain on the horizon, The Ritz-Carlton, Paradise Valley is an exclusive sanctuary and retreat that will evoke a sense of playfulness and escape. Its modern accommodations and luxury amenities include secret gardens and citrus groves, world-class shopping and dining, all underlined by a statement 120 metre pool.

citizenM Chicago – opening in Q4, 2022

facade and exterior of new citizenM Chicago Downtown

Image credit: citizenM

citizenM is planning its first opening in Chicago with a newly constructed hotel that will be part of Sterling Bay’s mixed-use development at 300 North Michigan Avenue, situated between the Riverwalk and Millennium Park. The 280-room hotel sits within the 47-story tower which also includes 289 residential units and 25,000 square feet of retail space. citizenM Chicago Downtown will offer the signature brand experience, with an art-filled living room, 24/7 canteenM and three societyM meeting rooms. The hotel façade will feature a commissioned piece by New York-based artist Nina Chanel Abney, whose artwork will also appear in the entrance.

W Hotel Sydney – opening in Q4, 2022

Render of new W Hotel sydney australia

Image credit: W Hotels

The W Sydney is set to make its debut in the city later this year. It will be the third W hotel in Australia, following the W Brisbane and the W Melbourne. The hotel will mark the re-entry of W Hotels into Sydney, and will be part of ‘The Ribbon’ development The 25 storey build designed by HASSEL, will shelter 539 guestrooms, serviced apartments, along with an infinity pool, all with stunning views of the harbour.

Raffles Resort Sentosa – opening in Q4, 2022

artist impression of proposed Raffles Resort Sentosa singapore

Image credit: Raffles

And finally, ending in style, Singapore is about to get a second Raffles Hotel, this time on Sentosa, 135 years after the original now iconic colonial-style hotel in Beach Road opened its doors. The developers say they are taking Raffles ‘back to the beach’, as the original hotel, which opened in 1887, was conceived as a beach hotel and has long since been engulfed by the bustling city. Each of the 61 villas will feature its own private swimming pool, and will be set in more than 10 hectares of sprawling tropical gardens with beautiful views over the south China Sea.

Singapore Sling anyone…?

Main image credit: Dorchester Collection

A hotel in the middle of the desert - with a pool and unmatched accomodation

Weekly digest: Hotel openings, a review from Paris & trends galore

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Weekly digest: Hotel openings, a review from Paris & trends galore

Peek-a-boo! Editor Hamish Kilburn here, emerging from the Holidays slumber, with your first weekly digest of 2022 – and it’s a big one! Our list of must-read stories this week features an extensive look at significant hotels openings expected between now and June, a hotel design trends special as well as a hotel review, sent with love, from Paris…

A hotel in the middle of the desert - with a pool and unmatched accomodation

And just like that, it was January: a month that crawls by under the shadow of the Holidays. It’s not all dark mornings and freezing evenings, though, as January is a time at Hotel Designs when we put our fortune-telling hats on to explore some of the most significant hotel openings expected over the next 12 months.

Okay, we may not quite qualify as fortune tellers, but we do our best to keep our readers in the loop on all the latest hotel developments, emerging trends and new products – all while providing an entertaining read (and sometimes listen with our podcast) to keep things aptly light.

As important as it is for designers, architects, hoteliers, developers and suppliers to keep their fingers of the pulse, it’s not always the easiest of tasks to do when on-the-go and on site (somewhat of a novelty these days). Therefore, the weekly digest, published (you got it, every week) will include all the most-read and must-read stories. Shall we get started?

Hottest hotel openings anticipated for 2022 (Q1 & Q2)

A render of a modern, contemporary guestroom bedroom with wooden headboard and a colour scheme of blue, brown and cream

Image credit: xenodocheio Milos

Each year, adhering to tradition, we started January on a unique mission: to pinpoint the hottest hotel openings; the game-altering properties that will flex their muscles, challenge conventional approaches to hotel design and effortlessly take hospitality, on an international scale, forward.

If last year was about recovery, then 2022 will be defined by the designers, architects and hoteliers who are willing to put it all on the line for the sake of innovation and creativity – it’s time to show-off as we gather around the crystal ball once more to see which hotel openings of 2022 will make the biggest impact. And we start the two-part series by taking a glance at the hotels that are expected to arrive in Q1 and Q2.

Read more.

Hotel review: Fauchon L’Hotel Paris, where rock & roll meets luxury hospitality

Hotel suite bedroom with pink accents on bed and mosaic floor, in Fauchon L'Hotel Paris

Image credit: Fauchon L’Hotel Paris

Briefed to expect the unexpected, Gareth Thomas sets off on a Parisian adventure – far removed from chichés but still in the beating heart of the action – and checks in and checks out Fauchon L’Hotel Paris, where a bold interior design scheme juxtaposes heritage architecture in the heart of the city.

Read more.

Hilton reveals its list of new hotels for 2022

Cream, blue and gold decor in guestroom at Waldorf Astoria Kuwait

Image credit: Hilton Collection

With more than 75 new hotels planned across Europe, the Middle East and Africa in the coming year, Hilton is sharing its optimism and enticing us with their choices. It is starting to feel like it is time to start planning the next year’s jet-setting adventures. From Morocco to Mallorca, here is a taste of what is to come on the Hilton International agenda.

Read more.

Architecture structure ‘Phase Dance’ wrapped into the natural world

Exterior of PHASE DANCE, an architectural structure in forest in Japan

Image credit:Phase Dance/Koichi Torimura

Nestled in a hilly forested area in Shizuoka, Japan, Phase Dance is an impressive architectural structure, designed by Takeshi Hirobe Architects. But the journey to create this masterpiece was not as effortless as the result itself.

Read more.

7 hotel trends shaping hospitality in 2022

Render of lady in nest-like space in front of an outdoor pool and modern villa

Image credit: SB Architects

As we start look past the crisis period of Covid-19, and start to settle into a ‘new normal’, the definition of hospitality has a new meaning – one of comfort, security and escape. International architecture firm SB Architects has identified which key hotel trends are shaping hospitality design in 2022 and beyond.

Read more.

Dream Hotel Group unveils plans for Miami flagship in 2025

view of Dream Miami Hotel from across the river

Image credit: Dream Hotel Group

A new 165-key Dream Hotel has been planned as a centrepiece to the world-class Riverside Wharf hospitality and entertainment development in the heart of Downtown Miami. Here’s what we know.

Read more.

Product watch: The modern Statement shower collection from Kohler

Matt Black shower in contemporary bathroom. Products supplied by Kohler

Image credit: Kohler

The modern Statement shower collection from global brand Kohler brings a range of unique shapes and various sizes to the shower, breathing new, contemporary life into well-loved standards and marrying the latest in technology with enduring craftsmanship. Innovative sprays elevate the showering experience, and universal compatibility means the system works wherever in the world it is installed. Inspired by iconic furniture and home goods, and defined by soft, approachable designs, the collection carries an underlying familiarity while creating striking aesthetics within the space.

Read more.

Since you’re here…

More than 60,000 readers per month enjoy the content we publish on Hotel Designs. Our mission is to define the point on international hotel design, and we are doing that by serving relevant news stories and engaging features. To keep up to date on the hottest stories that are emerging, you can sign up to the newsletter, which is completely free of charge. As well as receiving a weekly round-up of the top stories, you will also access our bi-monthly HD Edit –staying ahead of the curve has never been so easy!

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Main image caption: A render of a resort in the Middle East. | Image credit: SB Architects

PHASE_DANCE, an architectural structure, combining conrete and timber in Japan

Architecture structure ‘Phase Dance’ wrapped into the natural world

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Architecture structure ‘Phase Dance’ wrapped into the natural world

Nestled in a hilly forested area in Shizuoka, Japan, Phase Dance is an impressive architectural structure, designed by Takeshi Hirobe Architects. But the journey to create this masterpiece was not as effortless as the result itself, as editor Hamish Kilburn discovers…

PHASE_DANCE, an architectural structure, combining conrete and timber in Japan

The sloping location of Phase Dance, in Shizuoka, posed a range of challenges – not least the question of how the building should be positioned on site so that its architectural qualities can be admired while also remaining sensitive to the surrounding typography. To avoid an excessively large and deep foundation, a third of the floor space of the building was designed as an overhang, reducing the contact area with the ground. The basic structure from the basement to the ceiling of the second floor consists of reinforced concrete covered with wood.

Furthermore, the architects at Takeshi Hirobe Architects noticed an orangebark stewartia tree during their site visit. Calculations taking account of building-spacing regulations and other restrictions indicated that the tree stood at the centre of the area in which construction was possible. They decided to leave the tree intact and to design the structure of the building around it – as a tribute to the importance of nature, which – whether they intended or not – instantly created a new layer of the overall design narrative.

While the studio understood the tree to be central point, they were careful to avoid a symmetrical design with uniform angles in order to create unique, generously sized rooms. With that in mind, the architects sought to lend each room a cozy and playful air.

In the bathroom, the clear formal language of the Duravit washbasin from the Vero complete bathroom range blends perfectly into the overall ambience – as elegant as it is durable. The range, which launched in 2001, has found great popularity, especially among architects, thanks to its iconic rectangular character.

Large windows that follow the uneven contours of the walls afford expansive views of the green landscape and bring natural light into the interior.

The upper floor serves as a library and reading area. It has the same floor plan as the lower floor and includes a triangular roof. Although the roof is subdivided into multiple sections, it gives the impression of being a single piece that covers the building.

During the continuous decision-making process, Takeshi Hirobe Architects likened their reactions to the various phases and aspects of the project to a dance – and dubbed the project ‘Phase Dance’, inspired by the dynamics of the song of the same name by guitarist Pat Metheny.

>Since you’re here, why not read about the top bathroom products that launched in 2021?

Duravit is one of our Recommended Suppliers and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our Recommended Suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

Main image credit: Phase Dance/Koichi Torimura

Radisson guestroom with dramatic black and red decor at Radisson RED Rosebank south Africa

Radisson looks back on 2021 as it steps optimistically into 2022

730 565 Pauline Brettell
Radisson looks back on 2021 as it steps optimistically into 2022

Following its successful expansion and growth over the past year, Radisson Group is on track to reach its goal of 150 hotels by 2025. To understand more, Hotel Designs hears from senior figures at the Group about how it plans to develop…

Radisson guestroom with dramatic black and red decor at Radisson RED Rosebank south Africa

As Radisson Hotel Group looks towards and sets goals for 2022, it has reviewed the numerous milestones it has achieved in Africa over the past 12 months. These include new hotels and conversions, along with apartments, and places the group in a strong position to move forward. Having set a record on the continent this year with 14 signings to date, adding more than 2,500 rooms to its African portfolio, the Group continues with its plans to grow its footprint in the region.

“In Africa this year, we opened five stunning hotels in bucket-list destinations and in 2022, we’re on track to open at least 11 hotels, starting with the portfolio of three hotels in Madagascar within the first two weeks of the year,” said Tim Cordon, Senior Area Vice President, Middle East & Africa at Radisson Hotel Group. “Continuing the unpredictability of 2020, this year has been a rollercoaster with restrictions easing and tightening and borders opening and closing. Africa in general has commercially performed well, given the situation and in comparison to other international markets, proving its resilience and ever-present dynamism. Our commitment to the continent not only remains but we are looking at deploying further resources as our Group reaches new heights and where our ambitions for growth are only representative of the region’s potential.”

exterior of guestroom at Radisson Blu Resort, Taghazout Bay Surf Village

Image credit: Radisson Hotel Group

10 additional hotels in one of the key African focus countries, Morocco, have been included in the portfolio. These includes the entry into new territories within the country such as Al Hoceima, Taghazout and Saidia. Two new brands have also been introduced to the country with the signing of Radisson Hotel Casablanca Gauthier La Citadelle and Lincoln Casablanca, a Radisson Collection, which has elevated the brands offering in Africa.

swimming pool at Radisson Blu Resort, Al Hoceima

Image credit: Radisson Hotel Group

Numerous new market entries have also contributed to the brands growth. These include the Group’s debut in Djibouti with Radisson Hotel Djibouti, the introduction of the Radisson Individuals brand in Africa with the Earl Heights Suite Hotel, a member of Radisson Individuals in Accra, Ghana as well as the entry into Victoria Falls with Radisson Blu Resort Mosi-Oa-Tunya Livingstone.

“2021 has been a record year of numerous milestones for us in our expansion across Africa, from market entries to further establishing critical scale in key focus markets,” said Ramsay Rankoussi, Vice President, Development, Africa & Turkey at Radisson Hotel Group. “We have led the market share this year in terms of new signings across the industry and those achievements demonstrate our continued focus and the clear execution of our established strategy. In 2022 we aim to leverage this momentum with the same priorities within our identified key markets such as Egypt and Morocco in North Africa; various countries such as Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast and Senegal within West and Central Africa but also reinforcing our presence in South Africa and its neighbouring countries. Our strategy over the next twelve months includes the expansion of our African resort offering and continuing the trend in conversions, while we remain supportive and responsive within our owners community as we look towards the recovery of our industry.”

Hotel conversions have accounted for more than 70 per cent of these signings which provide the Group with a solid pipeline but also highlights the success of the Radisson Hotel Group in providing tailored solutions for existing hotels seeking operational improvement. Five hotels were opened during the year, including Africa’s second Radisson RED in South Africa and the brand’s debut in Johannesburg as well as four Radisson Blu resort offerings in Morocco further demonstrating the growth in leisure demand and the ability for the Group to respond to that trend.

Serviced apartments have continued to show resilience during the pandemic and Radisson Hotel Group has equally grown this segment with two stand alone serviced apartments being added to the portfolio across Africa.

Building on the success of the Group’s five-year expansion and transformation plan, Radisson Hotel Group is clearly ready for the rebound of travel with its positive plan for progress clearly mapped out.

Main image credit: Radisson Hotel Group

Render of lady in nest-like space in front of an outdoor pool and modern villa

7 hotel trends shaping hospitality in 2022

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
7 hotel trends shaping hospitality in 2022

As we start look past the crisis period of Covid-19, and start to settle into a ‘new normal’, the definition of hospitality has a new meaning – one of comfort, security and escape. International architecture firm SB Architects has identified which key hotel trends are shaping hospitality design in 2022 and beyond…

Render of lady in nest-like space in front of an outdoor pool and modern villa

SB Architects has released insights into the most significant influences that informed design in 2021, and what trends will pick up even more momentum this year.

“During 2021, when the concept of ‘home’ became synonymous with home office, gym, entertainment centre, and space to retreat and relax, we saw the growing importance of incorporating flexibility in residential design,” explained Scott Lee, President and Principal of SB Architects. “Flexibility also became paramount for hotels and creating a less-defined program – such as multi-purpose public space and reimagined spaces for F&B, lounge, and lobby – will continue to be advantageous in the future. Overarchingly, creating opportunities for people to decompress in urban environments, enhancing physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and social wellness, and quenching a thirst for the outdoors will be key drivers for architects and designers in 2022.”

Here are seven solid trends that are steering hospitality and hotel design, globally, on a new path:

‘Home officing’ 2.0

A hotel lobby/lounge area with armchairs and independent co-working spaces

Image credit: Telegraph Arts/SB Architects

The pandemic and ensuing work-from-home phenomenon sparked new desires for residential design. Dens are no longer to be relegated to the back of units with little or no access to natural light. Instead, residents want these spaces connected to living rooms and acting as integrated offices or flex spaces. Working from home is also changing multifamily design, where a new kind of amenity is taking shape in the form of reservable rooms for work and study, connected to communal meeting spaces where residents can both host team meetings and socialise. The ‘business centre’ model of multifamily residential projects is evolving and will be more marketable if versatile and engaging.

Here to stay: ‘Bleisure’ travel

Render of busy hotel F&B space with block of residential flats next to it

Image credit: Grand Hyatt Limassol/SB Architects

With more employees working remotely, hotels need to cater to a new segment of ‘bleisure’ travellers who are taking advantage of their newfound workplace flexibility by extending vacations that blend work, exploration, and leisure. With guests looking to spend more time in destinations, design that is experiential and deepens connections to the location and its underlying character will be key. Developers and operators will be searching for ways to differentiate their offerings from the many repositioning’s or new openings that are coming online in 2022, and hyper-local environments where guests can immerse themselves authentically into the surrounding locale and have experiences creatively tailored to a specific ethos and set of interests will be the most competitive.

Integrating experiential programming for children and configurations such as two-bedroom suites with kitchens will also help hotels cater to guests booking longer stays and traveling with their families.

Alternative stays/glamping woven into resort destinations

Image caption: A render of a resort in the Middle East, in the desert.

Image caption: A render of a resort in the Middle East. | Image credit: SB Architects

The alternative holiday/travel experience – via treehouse stays, yurts, and glamping – is becoming more and more ingrained into hospitality, and resorts are embracing glamping as an experiential element that can be integrated into the overall offering. Adding these unconventional components to a traditional resort development can deliver the connection to nature that gives guests a sense of emotional and mental well-being, while creating the kind of authentic experience and immersive atmosphere that today’s discerning travellers are craving.

Getting outside

With pandemic-era concerns about indoor air quality and social distancing deeply embedded in our psyches, the outdoors represents an escape and safe haven, and is a key element to mental health. Travellers will seek uninterrupted sightlines to the outdoors, access to fresh air and open space in 2022. Integrating outdoor spaces in urban environments, such as rooftop amenities, will be a big driver for both hotels and residential developments in the future. Rooftop amenities create a sense of escapism in which residents or guests are nestled in an outdoor environment, perhaps with natural elements, but views to a city skyline are within reach.

The rise of the urban resort

Render of busy dining space at Innovation Station

Image credit: Rivana at Innovation Station/SB Architects

Prior to the pandemic, the urban resort concept was on the rise, with brands like Aman Hotels and Six Senses Hotels and Resorts embracing the model as part of their growth strategy, and the trend will continue to grow in 2022, as lines between work and leisure continue to blur and more guests want to experience the decompression and escapism of a resort even when in an urban environment.

By tapping into sensibilities that one might leverage in a horizontal resort environment, and applying them to an urban context, designers can create spaces where people can ‘get away from it all’ while remaining in the middle of it.  Urban resorts deliver immersive experiences through rooftop experiences and iconic, place-defining food and beverage, and although in urban settings, they prioritise connections to nature, seamless transitions between indoor and outdoor spaces, natural light, and, of course, guests’ health and wellness. Special landscaped zones sprinkled throughout sites as places to host events and celebrations, and enhanced wellness experiences where spa and fitness components are sized after those of a destination resort are among the design features trending for urban resorts.

Rethinking the all-day dining concept

The pandemic pushed many (if not all) hotels to adapt their F&B offerings, as under-utilised space in an all-day dining outlet became more apparent during periods of low occupancy. Many new hotels have been breaking down the all-day dining restaurant into multiple ‘micro’ restaurants that can be sectioned or closed off depending on the time of day, to prevent the all-day dining space from being underutilised or only used during breakfast. The traditional buffet style dining that is standard in all-day dining outlets became prohibited due to Covid-19 regulations in many areas, giving rise to alternative strategies such as customised room service for breakfast. Many hotels are leveraging the specialty restaurant or lobby lounge for those seeking a more traditional hotel breakfast experience.

In the future, instead of just serving as a convenient dining outlet for internal guests, more hotel dining outlets will be regarded as valuable revenue-generating spaces independent of the hotel, with unique concepts, menus, and designs that will entice both hotel guests and locals in the community.

Capturing the baby boomer audience 

The Baby Boomer generation is mindful of how precious meaningful life experiences are and have a pent-up desire to reconnect with loved ones since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. Hotels should take note of this affluent, educated, and active audience in 2022. With so many people aged 65 and over fully vaccinated, this group is ready for reunions with family and friends, and they have the time and resources to truly immerse in experiential travel. Boomers are more likely to travel for a week or longer, and their excitement for educational, interactive, and locally inspired experiences as well as activities with multi-generational appeal should not be overlooked.

So, it seems that the pandemic has left its coffee-mug stain on this year’s trends. However, unlike in recent years, it seems as if the industry’s robust strength is ensuring that all trends we are seeing emerge are less about recovery and more about growth, evolution and sustaining unmatched travel experiences.

> Since you’re here, why not check out our editorial series on the hottest hotels to open in 2022?

Main image credit: SB Architects

Atlantis, The Royal in Dubai on The Palm

Hottest hotel openings anticipated for 2022 (Q1 & Q2)

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hottest hotel openings anticipated for 2022 (Q1 & Q2)

Back with a bang, Hotel Designs starts 2022 with optimism and curiosity; shining the spotlight on the hotel openings and re-openings that will once again shift hospitality and hotel design into a new era. Editor Hamish Kilburn kicks things off with his edit of the hottest hotel openings to bookmark for Q1 and Q2…

Atlantis, The Royal in Dubai on The Palm

Each year, adhering to tradition, Hotel Designs starts January on a unique mission: to pinpoint the hottest hotel openings; the game-altering properties that will flex their muscles, challenge conventional approaches to hotel design and effortlessly take hospitality, on an international scale, forward.

If last year was about recovery, then 2022 will be defined by the designers, architects and hoteliers who are willing to put it all on the line for the sake of innovation and creativity – it’s time to show-off as we gather around the crystal ball once more to see which hotel openings of 2022 will make the biggest impact. And we start the two-part series by taking a glance at the hotels that are expected to arrive in Q1 and Q2.

xenodocheio Milos in Athens – opening in January, 2022

Within the thriving boutique hotel scene in Athens, xenodocheio Milos will be a place where ‘philoxenia’, the sacred art of making a stranger feel like home, derives from unparalleled taste and world class hospitality. The hotel is located in downtown Athens opposite Old Parliament, an area bursting with history and celebrates the best of Greek heritage, art and cuisine. Elegant and refined, this authentic culinary hotel experience is the very first luxury boutique hotel of the world-renowned Greek restaurant estiatorio Milos, carrying the inspiring story of Milos to its next chapter.

Inhabit Queen’s Gardens, London – opening in February 2022 

Lounge area at Inhabit queens park london with natural light filled interior and wooden crafted furniture

Image credit: Inhabit Hotel / Tim Evan Cook

Set across a crescent of mid-19th Century townhouses on a tree-lined square near Lancaster Gate (in London), Inhabit Queen’s Gardens, which we teased late last year, will be an intimate boutique hotel comprised of 159 uplifting guestrooms, along with carefully considered social spaces. Just like its sister hotel, which shares the same city as its home, Inhabit Queen’s Gardens has been created with a passion for wellbeing and living in a way that supports a healthy mind and body, as well as modelling responsible hospitality practices.

Four Seasons Resort Tamarindo – opening in Spring, 2022

Render of the exterior of Four Seasons Tamarindo, nestled within greenery

Image credit: Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts

Located on a private peninsula along the Pacific Ocean in the state of Jalisco, between the towns of La Manzanilla and Barra de Navidad, Four Seasons Resort Tamarindo has been designed by visionaries and experts, who envisioned a resort that blends seamlessly into the peninsula’s unique topography, supports ‘rewilding’ practices, and creates a perfect balance between the comforts of the indoors with the exceptional outdoor opportunities offered on the 3,000+ acres of private natural reserve.

The resort will offer four dining and beverage venues, including an ocean view bar and restaurant, beach bar and grill and golf club restaurant. The grounds will also feature three pools, a full-service spa set amidst a tropical forest and a fitness centre, young adults centre and lounge, water sports centre, tennis courts and more than 370 square-metres of meeting space.

The LaSalle Chicago – opening in March, 2022

Presidential Suite Bedroom inside The LaSalle in Chicago, which includes a modern design scheme with colours of rish blue and brushed gold.

Image credit: The LaSalle Chicago

Expect 1920s glamour, and dramatic interiors, from inside Chicago’s hotly anticipated The LaSalle Hotel, which opens this spring. Located in the heart of downtown Chicago’s Financial District, the hotel is a modern club-like escape that sits on the top five floors of a historically iconic landmark from architect Daniel Burnham. Rich in symbolism encapsulating the essence of time, the hotel pays tribute to The Hour Glass Lounge from the old LaSalle Hotel. The hotel will sensitively honour the building’s history by incorporating the hourglass icon brought to life through guest’s experiences delivering the hotel’s service culture and promise that ‘time at The LaSalle Chicago is time well spent.’

ROOST Apartment Hotel, at Asher, Florida – opening in March, 2022

A rendering of apartment-style hotel with urban, laid-back interior design scheme

Image credit: CG Rendering

Tampa-based real estate development firm Strategic Property Partners, LLC (SPP) has announced the imminent arrival of Asher, a dynamic, highly amenitised new apartment tower at 1050 Water Street in Water Street Tampa. The 56-acre neighbourhood is expected to ‘transform downtown Tampa’ into a walkable urban experience. In addition to offering a collection of rental residences, SPP has partnered with Method Co., to bring Tampa the first Florida location of its high-design extended-stay concept, ROOST Apartment Hotel, at Asher. Pre-leasing at Asher will begin in January with move-ins slated for March, and ROOST Tampa will open in the building in Spring 2022.

Designed inside and out by celebrated architecture firm Morris Adjmi Architects, the building offers a nod to Tampa’s industrial history with oversized divided-light windows that maximise natural light. Asher’s luxury rental residences will be located on the top 15 floors of the building, while ROOST Tampa will occupy the first six residential floors. Asher will offer 490 thoughtfully designed rental residences ranging from studio to two-bedroom homes.

Virgin Hotels Edinburgh and Glasgow – opening in April, 2022

Making headway this year, the Virgin Hotels brand is hopping over the pond to make its mark in the cultural hub of Edinburgh, closely followed by another hotel opening in the neighbouring city of Glasgow. Virgin Hotels Edinburgh will be located in the landmark India Buildings in Edinburgh’s Old Town near The Royal Mile. The new hotel will feature 225 Chambers and Grand Chamber Suites: multiple dining and drinking outlets, including Commons Club, Virgin hotel’s iconic cultural hub. In re-envisioning the building, the design team will work to preserve its notable elements while adding a sense of style and sophistication. The property promises a stunning mix of old and new to fully capture the uniqueness of the iconic city of Edinburgh. 

Just a few miles away, Virgin Hotels Glasgow will be the brand’s second Scottish hotel. The property will be located at 236-246 Clyde Street, a prime City Centre position. The panoramic river views will be a highlight of this location, as it overlooks the River Clyde in the heart of Glasgow’s shopping area, making it an ideal base to explore the city. The hotel will feature 242 Chambers and Grand Chamber Suites; meeting and event space; and multiple dining and drinking outlets, including the brand’s signature culinary experience Commons Club, a restaurant, bar and modern social club where guests can both work and play during their time at the hotel. The Funny Library Coffee Shop will also be a feature that guests can wind down and socialise. Here, an assortment of whimsical and funny books and games will surely keep guests entertained during their stay.

Atlantis, The Royal, Dubai – opening in April, 2022

Render of Atlantis The Royal The Palm

Image credit: Atlantis, The Royal, Dubai

It’s been a long time coming, but we are finally receiving the signal that Atlantis, The Royal, Dubai – arguably the most anticipated hotel opening in the Middle East this year – is almost ready to open its majestic doors. The hospitality and entertainment destination will span around 63 hectres, and will shelter 795 rooms and suites inside an iconic structure that rises above The Palm.

Lesante Cape – opening in May, 2022

The ebullient family behind the Lesante Collection are continuing in their mission to shine a luxurious spotlight on the isle of Zakynthos with the arrival of Lesante Cape.

Located within the historic Akrotiri village, yet uniquely with access to a private beach, the village-style resort will comprise 55 suites and 10 villas inspired by the traditional architecture of yesteryear, whilst neutral colours, natural fibres and local art will be at the heart of the soothing interiors.

Epicureans will, quite literally, get a true taste of traditional fare in one of three restaurants headed by Greek culinary marvel Aggelos Bakopoulos. For those who are seeking complete tranquillity during their holiday, Armonia wellness centre will provide a relaxing refuge for treatments and therapies harking back to ancient Mediterranean healing practices, whilst a dedicated Agora is the heart of the village with its artisanal shops, taverna and cultural museum.

WunderLocke – Sendling, Munich – opening in May, 2022

Opening with the aim to disrupt the Bavarian capital with a hospitality concept unlike any other in the city – and is the first Locke of its kind – WunderLocke will take will feature 360 spacious studio apartments, a large co-working area, meeting and event spaces, workout studio and outdoor heated swimming pool.

In addition, the hotel will shelter four food and drink destinations conceived by the founders of revered local Michelin-starred restaurant, Mural. The new concept – Mural Farmhouse – will include an urban farm that will supply fresh herbs and vegetables to a farm-to-table concept, and rooftop cocktail bar with panoramic views of the Bavarian Alps. WunderLocke is also home to several suites, which include roof terraces and large dining areas that can host dinner parties and business meetings.

WunderLocke will be a destination for locals, holidaymakers, and business travellers alike, providing a new creative hub in South-West Munich for the city’s burgeoning undercurrent of artists, creatives, and tech entrepreneurs. WunderLocke has been designed by acclaimed studio Holloway Li, which also completed Bermonds Locke in London, in September 2020. The property’s design-led apartments are peaceful, spacious and leafy, and all feature kitchens and seating areas – a hallmark of Locke design.

Hilton Bahrain – opening in June, 2022

We have been kept largely in the dark about Hilton’s development in Bahrain, but what we do know is that Hilton Bahrain is expected to open its doors this Summer. Located along Al Fateh Highway, the 348-key hotel will feature studios, one- and two-bedroom apartments with what the brand is describing as ‘all the comforts of home’ and a stunning view of the sea from each unit’s balcony. In addition, the hotel will shelter six distinct restaurants and lounges, nine meeting rooms and a luxurious spa.

Main image credit: Atlantis, The Royal, Dubai

exterior rendering of proposed Dream Hotel Miami

Dream Hotel Group unveils plans for Miami flagship in 2025

730 565 Pauline Brettell
Dream Hotel Group unveils plans for Miami flagship in 2025

A new 165-key Dream Hotel has been planned as a centrepiece to the world-class Riverside Wharf hospitality and entertainment development in the heart of Downtown Miami. Here’s what we know…

exterior rendering of proposed Dream Hotel Miami

Dream Hotel Group has announced plans to open a 165-key, 10-story hotel as part of a hospitality driven entertainment complex situated along the historic Miami River in the heart of Downtown Miami, Florida. Slated to break ground in 2022, and to open in 2025, Dream Miami will be the hospitality and entertainment centrepiece of Riverside Wharf, an 18 000 square metre, dual-tower development set to enliven the skyline in Miami’s developing residential, commercial, retail and tourist destination. The project is being led by Miami-based developer MV Real Estate Holdings in conjunction with Driftwood Capital and designed by Jon Cardello of Miami-based CUBE3 architects, with landscape design by Savino-Miller Design Studios.

“There is a natural synergy between Dream Hotel Group and the city of Miami,” said Jay Stein, Dream Hotel Group CEO. “Our leading lifestyle brand Dream Hotels continues to expand quickly, just like Miami, offering international hospitality, vibrant entertainment and one-of-a-kind experiences sought by local residents, as well as business travellers and pleasure seekers from across the globe. We are thrilled to take part in this extraordinary project and can’t wait to open our doors in 2025.”

Located on almost 200 linear metres of water frontage at North River Drive, Dream Miami will feature 165 beautifully designed guestrooms and suites and six dynamic dining and nightlife venues, topped off by an expansive 3 000-square-metre rooftop pool deck and nightclub with sweeping skyline views, creating what will be one of the largest, most impressive rooftop venues in all of Miami. The property will also offer an event hall, state-of-the-art health and wellness facilities, and a private marina capable of accommodating mega yachts for VIP guests. Currently operating on the site is also the famous Wharf Miami restaurant managed and revitalized by Breakwater Hospitality Group.

The design and landscaping of Riverside Wharf reinterprets the Miami River into a vertical composition of flowing concrete forms that are carved by the river’s natural paths and movement of its water. Visitors and guests traverse up through the levels providing unique vantage points of both Downtown Miami and the River, drawing the urban entertainment out to the river’s edge. Along the street edge, a Corten steel façade and other curated materials are detailed throughout the building, paying homage to the working river’s history of rustic fishing vessels and lobster cages. The architecture is designed to envelop visitors in a unique experience that brings new life to the river.

“Miami is a top international destination for world-class hospitality and entertainment and continues to set the bar with exciting new experiences for travellers unlike anything else in the world,” said Mayor of Miami Francis Suarez. “Dream Miami at Riverside Wharf will be an unparalleled development in the heart of Miami for visitors and locals alike, and I couldn’t be more excited to see it become a reality.”

When complete, the mixed-use development will anchor the developing Miami River District, one of Miami’s fastest growing downtown neighbourhoods with direct Intracoastal access to the ocean. Its proximity to Miami’s business district will establish the complex as an amenity-rich local hub and destination, attracting Miamians and travellers alike to experience this city’s emerging area.

The Dream Hotel Group has a design ethos that is all about creating individually curated properties, that together comprise a unique narrative. The brand is underwritten by a design philosophy that is both surreal and contemporarily chic, and Dream Hotel Miami would appear to fit this brief perfectly.

Main image credit: Dream Hotel Group

natural tones and textures in guestroom at hyatt doha

A look at Hyatt’s pipeline from now through to 2023

730 565 Pauline Brettell
A look at Hyatt’s pipeline from now through to 2023

In addition to the 24 previously announced luxury hotels within Hyatt’s luxury portfolio globally that are slated to open by 2023, Hyatt has unveiled plans for seven new luxury hotels and resorts throughout Europe and the Middle East. Here’s what we know…

natural tones and textures in guestroom at hyatt doha

Hyatt continues to grow its brands in locations that matter most to guests, members, and owners. As leisure travel continues to drive recovery in many parts of the world, today’s announcement signals a continued commitment to catering to high-end travellers through a strong pipeline of diverse brands in some of world’s most desirable locations. The hotels and resorts set to join the Alila, Andaz, Destination by Hyatt, Grand Hyatt, Park Hyatt, The Unbound Collection by Hyatt, and Thompson Hotels brands, are expected to exceed the expectations of the luxury traveller, delivering personalized and engaged service, story-worthy experiences and world-class offerings.

minimalist and modern white interior at Alila hotel by Hyatt

Image credit: Hyatt Hotels, Alila Lanzarote

“Today, more than ever, our members and guests are looking for unforgettable travel moments – moments that are truly meaningful and leave an indelible mark, connecting them to experiences that change and inspire them,” said Amy Weinberg, Senior Vice President, loyalty, brand marketing and consumer insights, Hyatt. “The addition of these new hotels and resorts across Hyatt’s luxury portfolio will reinforce Hyatt’s position as a leader in the luxury hospitality space.”

All grounded in premium, cultural and desirable destinations known for their cuisine, architecture, immersive cultures, and history, these newly announced projects are located throughout Europe and the Middle East and have been carefully selected to complement Hyatt’s elevated, luxury portfolio:

Magma Resort Santorini, part of The Unbound Collection by Hyatt brand: Expected to open in mid-2022

Magma Resort Santorini, the first resort in the Greek islands in a Hyatt brand, will offer one-of-a-kind luxury stays. The 59 key resort will be nestled among traditional old vineyards and located on the lava-made slopes of Vourvoulos, where guests will be able to enjoy stunning Santorini sunsets.

7Pines Resort Sardinia, part of the Destination by Hyatt brand: Expected to open in mid-2022

Following the brand’s successful arrival in Ibiza a few years ago, 7Pines will open a resort Sardinia in 2022, which will mark the second Destination by Hyatt hotel in Europe. Ideally located overlooking the archipelago of La Maddalena and surrounded by untouched coastline and a nature reserve, guests will enjoy laid-back luxury and a deep sense of place in this unique setting.

Thompson Madrid: Expected to open in mid-2022

Representing an exciting milestone for Hyatt, following the brand’s arrival in Los Angeles in 2021, Thompson Madrid will mark the brand’s debut in Spain and reintroduction to Europe. The dynamic, thoughtfully curated hotel will be located in the centre of the new Golden Mile of Madrid, steps away from the most visited icons of the city. Striking design and spaces, including a rooftop terrace and pool, are sure to make the hotel a cultural hub showcasing the individuality of the locale.

Andaz Doha: Expected to open in late 2022

The Andaz brand is expected to debut in Qatar with the 318 guestroom Andaz Doha, which will offer stunning sea views and will be located in the prestigious West Bay area of Doha. Providing elevated sensory experiences and unscripted service, Andaz Doha will invite today’s luxury traveller to immerse themselves into Qatar’s culture and capture the true essence of the surrounding destination.

Alila Lanzarote: Expected to open in 2025

Alila Lanzarote will offer a rare kind of luxury, integrating the respect and understanding of the local environment. Known for its diverse marine life, volcanic landscape and protected beaches, Lanzarote represents a spectacular location for the brand’s premier in Europe. Offering a combination of innovative design and an unprecedented level of personalized hospitality, guests will experience bespoke journeys.

Grand Hyatt Lanzarote: Expected to open in 2025

Grand Hyatt Lanzarote will be located in the premium tourist region on the island of Lanzarote and will provide stunning coastal views. Guests can look forward to spectacular design, iconic experiences in breathtaking settings and superior service and amenities to match.

Park Hyatt Riyadh Diriyah Gate: Expected to open in 2025

Park Hyatt Riyadh Diriyah Gate in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will be part of the much-anticipated Diriyah Gate Development overlooking Al-Turaif’s UNESCO world heritage site. Over seven square kilometers of Diriyah will be transformed into one of the world’s foremost historic tourism destinations offering guests a refined home-away-from home and new ways to experience the history of Saudi Arabia.

colourful canopy in reception area of Hyatt Hotels Andaz Doha

Image credit: Hyatt Hotels

In addition, the following previously announced hotels within Hyatt’s luxury brand portfolio are expected to open in the next two years in the following key destinations around the world.

• La Zambra, part of The Unbound Collection by Hyatt brand, in Mijas, Spain (formerly the Byblos Hotel)
• Fuji Speedway Hotel, part of The Unbound Collection by Hyatt brand, in Oyama, Japan
• Grand Resort Qingchengshan, a Destination by Hyatt hotel, in Greater China
• Andaz Prague in the Czech Republic
• Andaz Hexi Nanjing in Greater China
• Andaz Pattaya Jomtien Beach in Thailand
• Grand Hyatt Kuwait
• Grand Hyatt Gurgaon in India
• Grand Hyatt Shenzhou Peninsula in Greater China
• Park Hyatt Marrakech in Morocco
• Park Hyatt Jakarta in Indonesia
• Alila Villas Maldives in the Maldives
• Alila Taihu Suzhou in Greater China
• Thompson Austin in the U.S.
• Thompson Denver in the U.S.
• Hotel La Compañía, part of The Unbound Collection by Hyatt brand, in Panama City, Panama
• Numu in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

• Park Hyatt Los Cabos Hotel & Residences in Mexico
• Hotel Rhodania, Crans Montana, part of The Unbound Collection by Hyatt brand, in Switzerland
• Grand Hansa Hotel Helsinki, part of The Unbound Collection by Hyatt brand, in Finland
• Grand Hyatt Colombo in Sri Lanka
• Thompson Houston in the U.S.
• Thompson Monterrey in Mexico
• Thompson South Beach in the U.S.

With all these plans in the pipeline, it is going to be interesting to follow the Hyatt brand as it rolls out these exciting additions to what it has identified as being key portfolios and destinations. Hotel Designs will be following with interest and keep you updated!


Main image credit: Hyatt Hotels

white and blue guestroom decor at HOMA hotel Phuket

HOMA Phuket Town announces its opening

730 565 Pauline Brettell
HOMA Phuket Town announces its opening

HOMA, the pioneering new co-living concept, has announced the opening of its inaugural property in Thailand, HOMA Phuket Town, marking the start of an exciting new era of affordable, flexible and eco-friendly residential accommodation in Asia Pacific…

white and blue guestroom decor at HOMA hotel Phuket

Responding to current trends in both travel and work environments, HOMA Phuket Town is a 505-unit community that blends the benefits of a serviced apartment with the facilities of a four-star hotel. Guests will be immersed in a community atmosphere with a friendly neighbourhood vibe and plenty of space for families and pets. Meanwhile, high-speed Wi-Fi and a co-working space allow executives and entrepreneurs to stay connected – ideal for the new generation of digital nomads who do not need to be tied to the office.

This intuitive fusion of homeliness and high-spec hospitality will make HOMA Phuket Town an outstanding new option for short and long-term visitors alike. Irrespective of how many days, weeks or months they choose to stay, every guest will enjoy first-class facilities including a fitness centre, café and restaurant. Crowning the property is a spectacular rooftop deck and 80 metre infinity pool overlooking Phuket Town, which includes a 50-metre Olympic-size lap pool.

The fully furnished studios, duplexes, one, two and three bedroom residences are all spacious and finished with a fully equipped kitchen, along with high-end fixtures and fittings. Residents will be able to enjoy a great night’s sleep on beds featuring a dream mattress and high-quality cotton linen, while staying connected with complimentary Wi-Fi and a large flat-screen TV with phone screen mirroring function. Fully-equipped kitchens will enable everyone to make themselves at home, while housekeeping, laundry, “HOMA Host” concierge services and a 24-hour reception ensure complete convenience.

“I am delighted to announce the official opening of HOMA Phuket Town, our inaugural project, which introduces an innovative new style of living to Thailand’s hospitality scene,” said Luca Dotti, founder and managing director at HOMA. “By combining affordable, eco-friendly apartments with upscale amenities, we can successfully bridge the gap between home comforts and hotel facilities, while also creating a sense of community living. This pioneering concept will be ideally suited to Asia Pacific, and Thailand especially, where travellers are increasingly demanding spaces to work, rest and relax for extended periods. We look forward to welcoming our first residents and allowing local and international guests to ‘Live A Better Life’ at HOMA Phuket Town.”

turquoise and white design of restaurant in HOMA phuket

Image credit: HOMA

HOMA Phuket Town, in partnership with Bangkok Dusit Medical Services (BDMS), one of Asia’s most prestigious hospital networks, is also on track to become the perfect choice for medical tourists. HOMA Phuket Town will work together with Bangkok Hospital Phuket, Bangkok Hospital Siriroj and Dibuk Hospital to offer personalised packages for patients. Professional medical services and consultations can be combined with specially adapted units, with elements such as handrails and wearable devices connected directly with the hospital,to aid rest and recuperation. This collaboration is set to enhance Phuket’s already strong reputation as a regional hub for medical tourism.

Every guest can also rest assured that their stay is not having a negative impact on the environment. This innovative property embraces sustainable solutions such as rooftop solar panels, water recycling, energy-efficient appliances, LED lighting and air quality monitoring systems. These practices will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 325 tonnes each year – the equivalent of planting almost 5,400 new trees or removing more than 70 cars from the road! As a result, HOMA Phuket Town is pursuing the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) certification, making it the first purpose-built residential project for rent in Thailand to achieve this important accolade.

Main image credit: HOMA

The Brit List Hoteliers of 2021

Unveiled: The Brit List Hoteliers of 2021

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Unveiled: The Brit List Hoteliers of 2021

Sticking to tradition, each year Hotel Designs publishes The Brit List, which, following a nationwide campaign, profiles the top 25 designers, the top 25 architects and the top 25 hoteliers. Following the unveilings of both the designers and architects earlier this month, please meet The Brit List Hoteliers of 2021…

The Brit List Hoteliers of 2021

Each year, The Brit List Awards 2021 climaxes in November with an energy-filled awards ceremony. Traditionally, though, the campaign does not end until all 75 designers, architects and hoteliers have been profiled on the Hotel Designs website. For 2021, that time is now. We have referenced the interior designers, given nod to the architects, and it is now time to conclude our annual search, with (in alphabetical order) The Brit List Hoteliers of 2021.

Charles Oak, Hotel Director, The Londoner

Following much anticipation, The Londoner, the 350-key luxury hotel that has the power to change the social status of Leicester Square, has opened. Designed in collaboration with Yabu Pushelberg (design) and Woods Bagot (architecture), the hotel is part Edwardian Hotels London – and has a particularly noteworthy eco design narrative that is being told by Charles Oak.

The 16-storey hotel, which opened in September, 2021, includes six varying F&B outlets, including a destination rooftop bar, and shelters ‘unparalleled level of genuine hospitality’.

With a career within the hospitality arena that spans three decades, prior to joining Edwardian Hotels’ new flagship property, Oak held several senior management positions in numerous hotels within the group’s portfolio, including its five-star flagship The May Fair Hotel. A highly established professional within the industry, Oak has an exemplary background in luxury hotel management and fine dining, which includes positions at The Gleneagles Hotel in Scotland, Hôtel de Crillon in Paris, The Savoy Hotel in London, and more recently the country haven of Heckfield Place in Hampshire.

Conor O’Leary, Managing Director, Gleneagles

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

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

Now under new ownership with Ennismore, Gleneagles has enlisted the skills and expertise of some of the UK’s most acclaimed designers including David Collins Studio, Timorous Beasties, Macaulay Sinclair, Goddard Littlefair and Ennismore’s own in-house design studio – with the aim to create designs and spaces that celebrate the rich, glamorous heritage and beautiful architecture for which the hotel is famed.

Its latest venture that O’Leary is leading is opening the 33-key Gleneagles Townhouse. Designed by Ennismore’s in-house team of experts, the intimate hotel will shelter timeless charm that blends with today’s modern needs, while uniting Edinburgh’s ‘social souls’ – the people who make the city tick.

David Connell, General Manager, South Lodge

David Connell’s outstanding focus during 2019 was implementing and managing a brand-new spa and wellness facility to the already established and respected South Lodge.

Managing the spa build whilst also leading his hotel team, Connell expertly fronted the project despite delays and challenges, keeping the team motivated and on course to deliver. A huge amount of time and effort went into the £14.5 million build project over the last seven years to create The Spa at South Lodge and develop a different brand under the South Lodge name.

Outside of his main role, Connell is a very active member within the wider industry. A Master Innholder, St Julian Scholar and mentor, he never loses sight that hospitality is a ‘people business’ and loves to get out into the industry, meeting future leaders as part of the Master Innholders Aspiring Leaders Programme selection committee and acting as a St Julian Scholar ambassador.

Edward Workman, CEO, The Newt in Somerset

With a hotelier such as Edward Workman who ‘likes to have a narrative for everything’ he does, The Newt in Somerset, is a never-ending tale of hearty hospitality and thoughtful design. With magnificent gardens, indulgent guestrooms and a spa experience to match, the hotel experience is somewhat elevated by the fact that it is sheltered within a stunning set of Georgian limestone buildings.

The hotel’s ability to collaborate has allowed it to be an ever-evolving landscape that is always exiting. The gardens at The Newt, for example, have been shaped over the last 200 years by successive enthusiasts, including Margaret Hobhouse who elevated the gardens to a Victorian ideal, introducing colour, a greenhouse and many trees of beech, oak, pine, walnut and cedar. Renowned garden designer Penelope Hobhouse gave Margaret’s vision a new lease of life in the 1970s, followed by Nori and Sandra Pope, whose experiments with colour delighted and inspired thousands of visitors in the mid-1980s. The latest incarnation has been created by Italo-French architect Patrice Taravella, who believes a garden should be both beautiful and useful.

Elli Jafari, General Manager, The Standard London

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

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

Setting new standards, Elli Jafari was announced as the hotel’s General Manager, months before it opened. Two years on, Jafari continues to ensure that the hotel is the epicentre of energy and just the right kind of vibes – with star-studded events – to ensure the hotel is always in the spotlight.

Federico Ciampi, General Manager, The Mayfair Townhouse

Born in Italy, Federico Ciampi is a seasoned traveller having lived in Dubai, Scotland and the British Virgin Islands. He now calls London home, with his family of colleagues inside The Mayfair Townhouse, a new luxury hotel that emerged onto the scene last year.

The 172-key hotel, which joined the Iconic Luxury Hotels portfolio last year when it opened, shelters a design narrative unlike any other. Inspired by the whimsical characters of our past and present, it is is flamboyantly dressed, yet carefully understated when it comes to service.

Curious, engaging, witty and effortlessly intuitive, the hotel is part of a new generation of lifestyle hotels that deliver the unexpected in the heart of Mayfair. A stylish, imaginative home for the modern traveller, The Mayfair Townhouse redefines what it means to be a London hotel.

 Frank Arnold, Managing Director, The Savoy

 In 2020, Frank Arnold was revealed as the new Managing Director of The Savoy, one of London’s most iconic luxury hotels.

During a career in hospitality spanning more than 30 years, Arnold has also worked with IHG, Four Seasons, Rocco Forte, Ritz-Carlton and independent hotels across Europe and North America.

Having arrived from the Ritz-Carlton in Toronto, Arnold stepped into the shoes of Philip Barnes at a time when hospitality was on its knees. Despite this, he was not afraid to bring down barriers in order to make the hotel relevant for the modern, post-pandemic traveller. For example, the hotel transformed its iconic forecourt into a trendy, seasonal F&B experience. Named Solas, the pop-up married colourful floral bursts to the Art Deco elegance of the hotel in order to create this summer’s must-visit dining destination.

Gareth Banner, Managing Director, The Ned

Gareth Banner has led a team of nearly 900 members of staff to launch and establish the most ambitious hotel opening in recent decades. By repurposing an iconic 1920s grade I listed building into a multi-faceted hospitality business, this architectural landmark in the City of London has been made relevant once again under Gareth’s leadership.

Over the past year, Gareth has used the lockdown to continue refining The Ned offering, with changes to an under-utilized members’ area on the lower ground floor into The Parlour – an intimate jazz and cabaret club boasting a weekly line up of highly regarded acts from both sides of the Atlantic.

Quickly recognising that the pandemic was set to change the way in which The Ned interacted with its members, Banner worked with parent company Soho House on a digital transformation of the business. This included the launch of an app that could be used to provide virtual experiences, digital content and contactless payments for members who showed unwavering support through the payment of their annual subscription during closure.

Working to support the charity Centrepoint, Banner was very keen for The Ned to work with Fare Share and The Bike Shed Motorcycle Club to provide meals to some of London’s most vulnerable individuals throughout the lockdown. A team of 42 members of staff from The Ned volunteered to prepare the meals in the hotel’s production kitchen. Motorcyclists from The Bike Shed’s 1,000-strong nationwide community of volunteer riders delivered over 100 meals a day to homeless young people living in Centrepoint hostels across town.

Grace Leo, Managing Director, The Relais Henley

Grace Leo is an award-winning and internationally recognised hotelier who specialises in the development of luxury hotels and resorts.

Most recently, Leo’s meticulous research over the last two years for the right opportunity led to acquiring several hotels for herself and her partners in upscale market-towns in the greater London region. She has identified the former Red Lion in Henley-on-Thames as the initial asset that has the combination of criteria and potential she has deemed essential for the redevelopment of the property into a successful business venture as well as the introduction of her ‘Relais’ branding.

The Relais Henley was launched as part of the Royal Regatta in August 2021, and has already received critical acclaim both locally and nationally. Henley was followed within months by the acquisition of The Cooden Beach Hotel near Bexhill-on- Sea, which is due to start its refurbishment towards the end of 2021.

The Relais brand underpins Leo’s key strengths, which are strong leadership skills, strategic and financial oversight, creative market positioning and branding and enabling workflows in different cultures whilst energising teams for deliverables and deadlines.

Guillaume Marly, Managing Director, Hotel Café Royal

Since 2017, Guillaume Marly has been the Managing Director of Hotel Café Royal. Constantly referred to as ‘London’s modern grand hotel’, the property straddles the elegance of Mayfair and the vibrant energy of Soho – and Marly ensures that his hospitality experience amplifies the best of both neighbourhoods.

Complete with stylish and contemporary rooms and suites, the design of the hotel answers the demands of modern travellers. Meanwhile, the grand F&B areas, with a unique Afternoon Tea experience, allows the hotel to stand out with its own personality.

The Set Collection, the parent group of the hotel, has recently celebrated a ‘soft’ re-brand as it sets its sights on growing the meaningful portfolio of properties. Despite the pressures of the pandemic, Hotel Café Royal continues to be one of London’s leading hotels.

Hector Ross, Managing Partner & COO, The Mitre Hampton Court

Despite all the turmoil since 2020, Hector Ross not only set up a brand-new hospitality business, The Signet Collection, but he then raised the funds to buy and completely revamp a historic building in need of rescuing called The Mitre Hotel in Hampton Court.

Ross based himself at the hotel alongside 30-plus builders during the first lockdown to conduct an extensive, multimillion pound refurbishment. The resulting new, although over 400-year-old, hotel is astonishing and has been phenomenally received well across both media and guests. The hotel consists of two restaurants, 36 individually designed bedrooms, two outside dining terraces, the world’s first ‘whispering angel bar’, new pamper suite spa and an events spaces, all envisioned by interior designer Nicola Harding.

Ross has preserved the authenticity of the buildings, while delivering unparalleled food, drink and service, alongside unrivalled experiences for guests such as boat trips and picnics. His home-grown and hands-on approach combines stunning designs within historically significant properties. The Mitre, the first hotel from The Signet Collection, was a bold, brave and risky move during the pandemic, but it has set the tone for additional hotels yet to come.

James Clarke, General Manager, Hilton Bankside London

James Clarke’s aims, as a leading General Manager, to challenge conventional hospitality led him and his team on many routes that include sustainable approaches to hospitality while sheltering a sensory design experience unlike any other.

The hotel is, with Clarke in the driving seat, anything but a conventional hospitality experience. In 2018, the hotel partnered with Bombas & Parr to create a unique multi-sensory meeting room inside its hotel, under the name The Agora.

From flooding the room with scented air at the push of a button to specially curated objects designed to increase productivity, mood-improving lighting installations and refreshments designed to recharge physiologically, every detail is based on the science and psychology of fruitful human interactions and innovation. The room takes inspiration from its location on Bankside, with a central table featuring inlaid ley lines pointing to important sites of creativity nearby, such as The Globe, The Tate and Royal Festival Hall.

John Scanlon, General Manager, 45 Park Lane

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

Following a year of uncertainty – during which time Dorchester Collection donated £25,000 to Hosptiality Action – the hotel recently opened a new luxury wellness space, The Spa at 45 Park Lane, which takes it firmly out of the shadow of its sister hotel, and neighbour, The Dorchester. The spa has been designed by world-leading design agency Jouin Manku. The wellness space has been specifically created to bring a sense of the outside in, referencing artistic flora using traditional Roman style mosaics from Venetian artisans. Natural timbers and light coloured stone bring a sense of calm and tranquillity; while timber slatted ceilings have been integrated to create better acoustics within the pool, gym and relaxation lounge. The entire space has been generously arranged to maximise the sense of spaciousness – not an easy in a neighbourhood where space comes at a premium, but one that has been executed with style.

Julian Hudson, General Manager, Fellows House Cambridge –  Curio by Hilton Collection

 Julian Hudson is a devoted and experienced hotelier with almost 25 years’ hospitality management experience in the UK. As a personable manager, his passion comes from building and developing a passionate, well-trained, and close-knit team.

Most recently, he was appointed the General Manager of Fellows House Cambridge –  Curio by Hilton Collection, a new hotel that has opened with a deep design narrative and an unavoidable connection with creative art, which meaningfully hangs in celebration of its local history.

The 131-key hotel features unique pieces of artwork and sculptures, inspired by the fellows and historic city. The room types are all named after people associated with the city and notable Cambridge fellows such as Kipling, Newton, Gormley and Attenborough.

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

 Marie-Paule Nowlis, who brings with her 30 years’ experience with the Sofitel brand, and a career shaped by international roles, joined Sofitel London St James as General Manager in April 2019. Nowlis led an extensive multi-million-pound transformation in 2019, which extended throughout the hotel’s 183 rooms and suites, restaurant and bar. The property is a flagship hotel for the Sofitel brand and a cornerstone of London’s luxury hotel scene, with the transformation and refurbishment overseen by Pierre-Yves Rochon ensuring it remains one of the most sought-after destinations in the city.

This year, Nowlis introduced a host of new partnerships in order to propel the hotel forward and make sure that it provides the very best for all guests. One partnership was with cycling brand Pinarello, allowing guests to book a tailored two-hour bike ride, enjoy a Tour de France inspired menu at Wild Honey St James and view the Pinarello bike and jerseys displayed in the hotel lobby.

In addition, Nowlis also aimed to promote ‘Culture in the City’, which lead to a partnership between Sofitel London St James and the Design Museum. The collaboration celebrated the launch of the acclaimed exhibition, Charlotte Perriand: The Modern Life and included a suite takeover allowing guests to truly immerse themselves in the Perriand culture.

Michael Bonsor, Managing Director, Rosewood London

Michael Bonsor has more than 18 years’ experience in luxury hotel management, working for brands such as Four Seasons and Claridge’s.

Throughout the pandemic, Bonsor worked tirelessly alongside his team to successfully re-open the doors of the award-winning luxury hotel, while also spearheading a number of key initiatives and campaigns.

Once restrictions lifted, alongside his team, Bonsor transformed the iconic courtyard into an outdoor oasis bringing the Scarfes Bar terrace for Summer 2021 on one side and a partnership with Macallan to create the Macallan Manor House on the other side where guests can enjoy an immersive alfresco dining experience inspired by the beautiful Scottish Highlands.

Additionally, to show Rosewood London’s appreciation for the NHS and all their hard work during the pandemic, Bonsor led the hotel to launch a competition, giving one NHS working couple the chance to win their dream wedding held at the hotel in 2021. He also included the hotel in the Hospitalitry4Heroes Social Challenge helping to raise more than £10,000 to support the NHS Charities Together Covid-19 Appeal and organised Holborn Dining Room pies and meals for the NHS staff at Great Ormond Street Hospital who the hotel has supported for many years.

Murray Ward, General Manager, Soho Farmhouse

Set against untouched English countryside – after becoming the postcard for hospitality in the Cotswolds – Soho Farmhouse is where members go to escape the hustle and bustle of city life, to instead check in to enjoy a slower pace. Combining authentic British design with warm, non-fussy hospitality, the 40-key hotel on the farm is able to provide the perfect rural scene, complete with luxurious cabins, restored houses and shack-like ‘piglet’ rooms.

Murray Ward and his exceptional team work tirelessly in order to maintain every corner guests’ turn within the 100 acres of Oxfordshire countryside, lives up to the property’s esteemed reputation. Even the ‘check-in’ experience is a personable moment that has been carefully considered. After driving through the main gates, members leave their car with the staff to check in at the ‘Gate House’ before boarding a milk float, which takes them into the village-like setting.

The heart of the ‘house’ is in the Farm Yard – the ‘public areas’, if we were being conventional. Around this space, the hotel features an expansive spa, complete with an indoor-outdoor swimming pool, a lake, a plethora of dining outlets and even a state-of-the-art cinema – all of which makes the modern, British hospitality experience totally unmatched.

Olivia Richli, General Manager, Heckfield Place

Following a loyal career with Aman Hotels, in 2017, Olivia Richli was plucked from semi-retirement at her beachfront home in Sri Lanka by Boston’s Gerald Chan, who had bought Heckfield Place almost twenty years before. Richli’s youth spent amongst the farms and gardens of the British countryside, combined with her unique career in developing and operating eclectic luxury hotels within historic precincts, stood her in perfect stead to guide Heckfield Place into a grand new era.

The Georgian family home was lovingly restored from its classic origins and rewoven into a luxury hotel, which now stands in 400 acres of secluded Hampshire landscape.

The hotel’s sense of responsibility has inspired Richli onto the next level of stewardship, one that quietly leads by example and endeavors to establish an estate that will thrive and guide all those who visit. And thrive it did, with the hotel winning The Eco Award at The Brit List Awards 2019.

Paul Bayliss, General Manager, Hotel Brooklyn, Manachester

Awarded an MBE for services to hospitality in 2006 as well as being named Independent Hotelier of the Year in 2017/18, General Manager Paul Bayliss’ wealth of experience allowed him to navigate the Hotel Brooklyn’s opening successfully during the challenges of a global pandemic to critical acclaim, reflected through the host of national awards the hotel has received so far.

The hotel stands out as a beacon of excellence worldwide, as the only UK luxury property that is truly accessible for all and has been named the most accessible hotel in Europe. The hotel’s unique design is leading the Gold Standard in accessible design, with 18 of the 189 rooms fully accessible offering both wheelchair access and ambulant accessibility and the first hotel in Manchester to offer ceiling track hoists for guests. The hotel is an industry game-changer as the first to make a step change in whole society inclusivity within luxury hospitality. Notwithstanding its remarkable recruitment process and CSR credentials.

The inspiration behind accessibility for all came from the hotel’s President Robin Sheppard, whose own disabilities helped him identify a need for positive change in the hospitality industry. Bayliss has carried out Sheppard’s wishes tremendously, leading the hotel to win three Blue Badge Style Ticks for accessibility, as well as winning the BeFactor Awards 2020 Accessibility Award.

With many more Hotel Brooklyn properties in the pipeline, Bayliss continued work with the brand will ensure ‘accessibility for all’ to luxury full scale hotels finally becomes the norm.

Paul Skinner, General Manager, DUKES LONDON

Tucked away in a private courtyard in the heart of London’s West End, the 87-key DUKES LONDON has become a British hospitality landmark, celebrated for its famous martinis and exceptional service as well as its prime location overlooking Green Park and St James’s Park.

Following Covid-19 and the various lockdowns implemented in the UK over the past year, the tourism and hospitality industry has taken a huge hit. DUKES LONDON’s management team, led by General Manager Paul Skinner, had to manage expectations of owners and investors, whilst leading and supporting its team through disruption and uncertainty.

While keeping a close eye on his staff’s mental and physical wellbeing, Skinner also ensured that DUKES remained rooted in its community during this difficult time – offering beds to key workers via the Small Luxury Hotel initiative to reach out to those in need and to help ease the strain on the NHS during the crisis. The team also participated in the “Golden Friend Scheme” designed by Hospitality Action which was created to support elderly people in the community with hourly phone calls each week to keep them entertained during the stricter parts of lockdown. Additionally, the team took part in the 5km for £5 social media campaign, where all proceeds went to the NHS.

Robin Hutson, Founder, THE PIG Hotels

There is arguably no one who has done as much as Robin Hutson in highlighting the plight of the hospitality industry in the UK during the Covid-19 pandemic, through his ‘Seat at the Table’ campaign.

With 45 years’ experience, Hutson has led some of the world’s most famous hotels, including, but not limited to, Claridge’s, The Berkeley, Hotel de Crillon and Hotel de Vin, and between 1995 and 2008, he was Chairman of Soho House Group, assisting Nick Jones shape the ambitious expansion of the game-changing brand into Europe and the US.

Hutson is now Chairman and CEO of the much-applauded Lime Wood Group and Founder of another ground-breaking and some would say, ‘Britain’s best loved collection of country hotels, THE PIG.

The much-loved leader has tirelessly championed for more help for hoteliers, railed against government ineptitude, and brought together those in the hospitality industry to try and create a voice for a formally unrepresented industry – which delivers so much to the coffers of the Treasury, and so many jobs to the people of the UK. While doing that, he kept on all of his 1,000 or so staff – without making anyone redundant – and then opened a new PIG in Cornwall (in the summer of 2020), and another one year later in the West Sussex countryside.

Sérgio Leandro, Regional General Manager, Lore Group

 A passionate and experienced hotelier, Sérgio Leandro currently manages the London Region of the Lore Group portfolio. In his role, Leandro is responsible for overseeing Sea Containers London and the soon-to-launch One Hundred Shoreditch (the former Ace Hotel London).

Leandro has extensive experience within the hotel industry, having worked with the likes of Marriott (Starwood) and sbe and holding the role of General Manager of Sea Containers London since its launch as Mondrian London (the first Mondrian in Europe) in 2014. Leandro was instrumental in ensuring a successful transition, not only for the brand, but also for his team – all of whom remained in place as the hotel entered a new era and the next step in its story.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, Leandro was determined to show support towards the NHS, so he spearheaded the Sea Containers London ‘NHS Nominate Your Hero’ campaign and gave away 545 overnight stays to NHS staff from around the country, as well as lighting up the building in a rainbow to show support and appreciation. This is an ongoing initiative and as the hotel has re-opened its doors, Leandro and his team continue to invite NHS staff into the hotel for their stays and other activities such as NHS movie nights.

Stuart Geddes, Managing Director, The Lanesborough

In 2019, Stuart Geddes left his position as General Manager of The Goring Hotel to join The Lanesborough as Hotel Manager, with the aim to help the Oetker Collection property ‘reinforce its position as a market leader’ on the luxury hospitality scene in London.

Two years later, Geddes has recently been promoted to Managing Director of the quintessentially British hotel (some might even say landmark). Following the most challenging 18 months the industry has perhaps ever experienced, the promotion came a time when the industry as a whole was recovering in the wake of the pandemic. The hotelier’s ‘respect for heritage’, while ‘constantly pushing for creativity and innovation’, puts him in good stead to navigate the unavoidable challenges that lie ahead.

Geddes responded the promotion by calling it ‘both a pleasure and an honour’ and is full committed as well as passionate to lead the 93-key hotel into a new chapter of hospitality.

Thomas Agius Ferrante, Hotel Director, The Grove of Narberth

Following his appointment as General Manager in early 2019, Thomas Agius Ferrante was promoted in August 2020 to become Hotel Director of The Grove of Narberth, the five-star hotel nestled in the Pembrokeshire countryside in South West Wales.

The hotel forms part of the Seren Collection which includes the one Michelin starred Beach House Restaurant on the Gower Peninsular, and the highly regarded Coast Restaurant in Saundersfoot.

Ferrante started his career as a kitchen chef before moving into senior management roles first at One Aldwych and then at The Berkeley where he spent seven years latterly as the Food & Beverage Operations Manager. Prior to joining The Grove of Narberth, the hotelier was the Hotel Manager of The Phoenicia in Malta, an iconic five-star, historic hotel that flanks the main gates of the capital Valletta and is a member of ‘The Leading Hotels of the World’ consortium.

Will Ashworth, CEO, Watergate Bay Hotel

Will Ashworth, who is no stranger to The Brit List first came onto Hotel Designs’ radar in 2004 when he became the CEO of Watergate Bay Hotel, which he took over from his parents.

Since then, the young yet established hotelier has been able to flex his design muscles to ensure that the hotel stands out as an exceptional luxury experience.

The latest design narrative at Watergate Bay Hotel is told when checking in to one of the seven new beach-front suites, designed to take the accommodation at the hotel to a ‘new level’ with a quirky interior scheme that oozes sense of place and personality, while framing some of the most spectacular coastal views. Ashworth worked with Cornish design studio Dynargh Design to create the rooms that shelter barefoot luxury with a distinct local charm.

Despite creating a new room category that will ‘pave the way’ for future projects within the Watergate Bay Hotel portfolio, Ashworth’s pioneering stance in the hospitality arena is unequivocally highlighting how independent hotels can indeed shelter innovative, eco-friendly design that doesn’t intrude on the guest experience. For example, all electricity that the now 69-key boutique hotel uses comes from 100 per cent renewable suppliers.

The application process (free of charge) for The Brit List Awards 2022 will open in Q2 of 2022. 

Main image credit: The Brit List Awards 2021

deluxe room at Hyatt Centric Jumeirah Dubai

From Zurich to Dubai: A look at the latest two openings from Hyatt

730 565 Pauline Brettell
From Zurich to Dubai: A look at the latest two openings from Hyatt

Not content with doing things in moderation, Hyatt celebrates the opening of two incredible new properties. Travellers can feel the ‘Zurich-ness’ at Hyatt Place Zurich Airport The Circle – the first Hyatt Place branded hotel in Switzerland, or experience Hyatt Centric’s debut property in the Middle East, Hyatt Centric Jumeirah Dubai…

deluxe room at Hyatt Centric Jumeirah Dubai

Hyatt has announced the opening of two new hotels to join the brand, and they couldn’t be more different, with one sitting at the foot of the Swiss Alps, and the other on the edge of the desert with panoramic sea views. The hotels also represent two different brands within the Hyatt family. The Hyatt Place brand, as showcased by Hyatt Place Zurich Airport The Circle, is all about designing for flexibility, making it easier for guests to maintain their work and personal routines while travelling. Hyatt Centric and Hyatt Centric Jumeirah Dubai, on the other hand is all about the destination and providing an upscale, cosmopolitan and boutique guest experience.

So, two hotels, two very different design stories, but both sharing the trademark Hyatt attention to detail and understanding of they dynamic requirements of guests and travellers.

Hyatt Place Zurich Airport The Circle is the third Hyatt branded hotel and the first Hyatt Place branded hotel in Switzerland, as the brand continues to expand its footprint globally in markets that matter most to its guests and World of Hyatt members. The new hotel features the Hyatt Place brand’s intuitive design, combined with its trademark combination of casual atmosphere with practical amenities.

The 300 key Hyatt Place hotel combines style, innovation and 24/7 conveniences to create an easy-to-navigate experience for today’s multi-tasking traveller. The guestrooms have been designed with separate spaces to sleep, work and play. Understanding the need for flexible space, convenient and communal workspaces have been created. Hyatt Place Zurich Airport The Circle is situated in The Circle destination and directly linked to Zurich Airport, representing one of the most central locations in Switzerland. Guests can conveniently enjoy the business and lifestyle offerings of The Circle, which includes shops, restaurants, a park, airport facilities and The Circle Convention Centre. After a productive day, guests can unwind in the park or take advantage of the great outdoors, as the Swiss Alps and Lake Zurich are nearby.

“As the Zurich Airport and the Circle district continue to be a dynamic destination, we are excited to add to the momentum by welcoming the first Hyatt Place hotel to Switzerland,” said hotel manager at Hyatt Place Zurich Airport The Circle Ines Bruenn. “With our smartly designed social spaces and guestrooms with separate work and sleep areas, our multitasking, international and local guests can easily accomplish what they need to do while on the road, while both working and relaxing with nature right at their doorstep.”

contemporary seating design in the bar corner at hyatt place zurich airport

Image credit: Hyatt

A few thousand kilometres away – 4,773 to be precise if you are working in air miles – and marking the lifestyle brand’s debut in the Middle East, saw the opening of the Hyatt Centric Jumeirah Dubai. The seven-storey property is set to become a social hub in the La Mer district, featuring 173 sophisticated guestrooms, including 27 spacious deluxe rooms and suites, designed to reflect the city through the playful juxtaposition of colours, textures and curated curiosities.

Set in the heart of Dubai and bringing in a fresh take on the modern hospitality sector, Hyatt Centric Jumeirah Dubai serves as an ideal launchpad for exploration for those looking to discover the city’s local hot spots and hidden gems. Conveniently located between old and new Dubai, guests have the opportunity to experience nearby attractions including Laguna Waterpark, the La Mer beachfront shopping and dining district, Burj Khalifa, and Dubai Mall. For those seeking authentic, historical experiences, the nearby neighbourhoods of Satwa, Bur Dubai and Al Fahidi are home to traditional souks, and the Etihad Museum.

“Surrounded by the ocean with year-round sunshine and a stunning aesthetic, we are proud to introduce the 10th Hyatt branded hotel in Dubai and to bring the first Hyatt Centric hotel into the UAE,” said Britta Leick-Milde, hotel manager of Hyatt Centric Jumeirah Dubai. “With stunning views of the entire Dubai skyline, Hyatt Centric Jumeirah Dubai offers adventure-seeking travellers a window to the destination through a playful interpretation of local culture, art, and points of interest.”

The hotel includes thoughtfully designed and casual, relaxing spaces that boast an abundance of food and beverage experiences celebrating the region’s dynamic flavours. Hyatt Centric Jumeirah Dubai’s all-day restaurant is certain to become a hot spot for locals and visitors alike, serving continental favourites for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The hotel also features multiple spaces for meetings, events and social gatherings with a boardroom that fits up to eight guests, large terraces ideal for social gatherings for up to 85 guests, and the exclusive rooftop bar that can be used for small group celebrations. The terrace suite is also the perfect venue for a New Year’s party, where guests can take in the spectacular views of the Burj Khalifa’s firework show.

Whether fireworks, souks, or the private beach area at La Mer North beach for guests to relax and unwind, this 173-key lifestyle hotel provides, true to brand, a culturally immersive stay for travellers searching to uncover shareworthy experiences and local culture.

Since you’re here, why not check out The Hyatt House debut in Africa?

Main image credit: Hyatt 

pool area at accor mantis masai mara

Accor signs first Mantis in Masai Mara, Kenya

730 565 Pauline Brettell
Accor signs first Mantis in Masai Mara, Kenya

Hotel group Accor is going on safari, and expanding its footprint in Eastern Africa with the opening of the Mantis Masai Mara Eco-Lodge set for 2024…

pool area at accor mantis masai mara

The Mantis Masai Mara Eco-Lodge will be located in the Enonkishu Conservancy, and is set to become a highlight property for the brand and the group, offering guests direct access to the Mara-Seregenti game reserve and providing the ideal location for unique safari experiences.

Mantis, founded in 2000 by entrepreneur and conservationist Adrian Gardiner, features a diverse collection of extraordinary destinations around the globe. Since joining forces in 2018, Accor and Mantis have worked together to take on new opportunities to welcome guests in authentic curated hotels, eco-lodges and waterways, while prioritizing the cause of sustainability and to promote further appreciation of the natural environment across every unique destination.

The group is partnering with Rakam Investment Ltd, a limited company engaged in investment, focusing on real estate since its inception in 2016, and which has developed commercial and residential properties in the Greater Nairobi Metropolitan Area.

“We are pleased to bring Accor’s brand, Mantis, to one of the most distinct and exclusive locations in Masai Mara,” said Ann Rutere, CEO Rakam Investment Ltd. “In addition to the brand’s uniqueness and awareness in the market, our confidence in this project comes from the high focus to sustainability and preservation of natural heritage offered by the Enonkishu Conservancy and Mantis expertise in the industry. We are excited to open our doors in 2024 and look forward to offering a combination of authentic, unique, and curated experiences to our guests visiting from all parts of the world.’’

entrance to mantis masai mara eco lodge

Image credit: Accor

Mantis Masai Mara Eco-Lodge will be strategically located in the Enonkishu Conservancy, on the Northern boundary of the Mara-Serengeti game reserve, and will feature 20 tented suites, a restaurant and bar, events space, a sauna and a wellness facility. As with every Mantis across the world, guests staying at Mantis Masai Mara Eco-Lodge will be immersed in an environment celebrating conservation, locality, and sustainability, with activities varying from educational talks about the Masai people and the history of the land, or evening ‘story-telling’ around the boma.

“The Masai Mara is one of the most renowned wildlife conservation and wilderness areas in Africa, and we are excited to offer guests sustainable adventures which celebrate the region’s culture and stay true to the roots of safari,” said Paul Gardiner, CEO of the Mantis Collection. “We will provide fresh experiences which enable guests to make authentic connections with both nature and the people, all whilst supporting sustainability, conservation and community empowerment and upliftment – the founding core pillars of Mantis.”

natural materials used in the dining area of the accor mantis masai mara

Image credit: Accor

Once open, the lodge will be ready to welcome safari enthusiasts, offering them the opportunity to discover wildlife in their environment, as well as nature lovers who enjoy stargazing at night, birding or photographic tours, all of which will be available at the property. The spectacular new Eco-Lodge will continue to promote the cause of sustainability as part of the collaboration between Accor and Mantis.

> Since you’re here, why not read about more Accor developments in the pipeline?

Main image credit: Accor

Hamish Kilburn, Editor, Hotel Designs

Editor checks in: A sense of change in hotel design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Editor checks in: A sense of change in hotel design

Making the best out of a disruptive situation – day eight of 10 into quarantine after testing positive for Covid-19 – Editor Hamish Kilburn finds the time (and the words) to explore in his final editor’s letter of 2021 how sensory design and togetherness could help fuel hotel design and hospitality into a new yet-to-be-written chapter…

Hamish Kilburn, Editor, Hotel Designs

Can you feel, smell, hear, touch or taste it? Don’t worry, this isn’t a new variant symptoms check. There’s a transformation happening. It’s affecting the way we work. The way we communicate. Even my tone seems dissimilar (perhaps more honest) as I write this, uncomfortably pessimistic, in day eight of a 10-day quarantine after testing positive for Covid-19 the day I landed back from reviewing a recent cluster of hotel design projects in Spain.

Whether we like it or not, we have no choice but to embrace new ways of living and working. As frustrating as this ‘new world’ may feel at times, we cannot always alter our surroundings. What we can adjust, however, is how we react. In great depression comes new prospects. When we accept a remodelled status quo, we can move past the practical hurdles and start to see how a change in landscape creates a transformation in behaviour, which in turn can lead to new breakthroughs in design, architecture and hospitality.

If you are struggling to see it, look no further than The Brit List 2021, which was unveiled in November at a spectacular, glitter-filled awards ceremony. The publication includes 75 individual examples of people at the forefront of our industry who are utilising this situation, which is becoming to feel more long-term as the months draw on. Take Robin Hutson, the Founder of The PIG Hotels, for instance, who won Hotelier of the Year at The Brit List Awards 2021. During a time when hospitality was forced to be on hold, Hutson started A Seat At The Table campaign in order to give the industry – formally under-represented – an unapologetic voice.

Another example is Tina Norden, Partner at Conran and Partners, who recently completed projects include the new five-star Park Hyatt hotel in Auckland; FEAST within Hong Kong’s iconic EAST hotel and the Peninsula Boutique and Café in Hong Kong. Norden was crowned Interior Designer of Year because of these projects as well as her selfless efforts to support the industry through lockdown, saying ‘yes’ to any opportunity to help raise the profile of British and global hospitality and design at its best. And instead of wallowing in self-isolation despair, I’ve just realised that I am interviewing both leaders in just a few days (note to self: use this time locked away from the world wisely in order to work on thought-provoking questions).

Logically, design and creativity during this period should have suffered, when human interaction and supplies chains have been damaged. Okay, it’s taken longer, and designers have been forced to, at times, sacrifice global FF&E, but it has allowed our community to do what it does best; find solutions to problems. Interior designer Álvaro Sans was tasked to steer one of Seville’s most iconic hotels, Meliá Gran Hotel Colón, into a modern era at a time when it was illegal for citizens to leave their houses. The delivery times of materials was a great task to manage,” he told me. “We had to change some furniture items because they did not arrive after five months of delay.” Sans recently unveiled this project, and it is, in my opinion, genuinely one of the most impressive public area renovations in recent history.

So, you see, change on this kind of scale can be a pivotal part of the overall narrative – we are turning the page of a gripping novel. Well, I have a confession to make. I read ahead and skipped a few chapter, and – spoiler alert – I have to tell you what I found before I read backwards. Waiting for us on the other side is an industry, scarred and not broken, which sets a holistic and more meaningful setting. The textured scene is layered with colour for personality, sound to create atmosphere, touch to make it personal and the smell of fresh bread from the bakery. It’s a sensory fusion of all the things we lost during dark times – a coming together of new skillsets we learned when restrained to the parameters of our homes. I’m not the only one who is reading ahead. At a recent panel discussion I moderated at Independent Hotel Show, Mark Bruce, Main Board Director at EPR Architects; Sound Designer Tom Middleton and Marie Soliman, Co-Founder of Bergman Design House discussed all the possible senses that will take hospitality forward – and no area, even the often forgotten hotel corridors, were off limit. “The gaps between the experiences are just as important as the experiences themselves,” said Bruce. “Those few metres can be thoughtful in themselves.”

The answer to many (if not all) of our problems comes in the form of collaboration, which has long been a fuel for the sector. I’m not talking about interior designers working with lighting designers or architects forming partnerships with sound architects. Instead, I’m suggesting two (or more) interior designers – AKA competitors – actually working together on a brief.

We saw this recently at HIX, in a wonderful display by the three design studios worked together to create Hotel Tomorrow. In this space, Conran and Partners injected the energy of community. Meanwhlile, Areen Design created an art installation-style safe cocoon nest that brought down the heart rate. stroop design, very much inspired by its own situation of launching recently with no physical base, was inspired by nature – and unveiled its co-working pod as a walk-in-the-park experience. Outside these three pods, the studios worked together, using visuals and sounds as tools for transformation from one area of the show to another – and as a result, intentional or not, they helped redefine the traditional trade show into an insightful experience.

Elsewhere in the show, a new revolution came to the surface in the wellness ‘living moodboards’ that were created by Sieger Design, Studio Carter, and Studio Corkinho – think hemp walls, spa-like suites and silent architecture. These concepts that were inspired with the 12 principles of design by Nestwell proved that the world is truthfully our oyster, and there is little we cannot achieve through constructive research and development (R&D).

“Yes, close the laptop lid and prepare to round-off another year on the international hotel design scene with a sense of pride from what we have created in a difficult year.” – Hamish Kilburn, Editor, Hotel Designs.

Render of organic guestroom designed by Studio Carter

Image credit: Studio Carter’s concept explored organic materials as well as soft architecture to create an authentic sense of wellbeing. | Image credit: Studio Carter

I would like to evolve R&D to add a new ‘R’: ‘rest’, which is unreservedly an integral element with innovation in design and hospitality. It’s the same with writing. Leaving an idea or an article to mature is all part of the process, which cannot sometimes be rushed, nor forced. Resetting the scales allows you time to exhale. When the writer returns, the space they’ve created allows the opportunity to add value to whatever was created previously.

And with that, several drafts later of attempting this column, it’s time to ‘switch off’ and turn on our Out of Office automatic replies. Yes, close the laptop lid and prepare to round-off another year on the international hotel design scene with a sense of pride from what we have achieved in a difficult year. I hope that when we return in 2022, we will find it in our hearts to embrace togetherness; to take on, in harmony, new opportunities and challenges.

To spur on this sense of change, I pledge to amplify on these pages bold, genius and non-conforming concepts next year and beyond. Revise the recipe – we’re craving spice and flavour here on the editorial desk – and please help us take hotel design and hospitality forward in beautiful, authentic, and disruptive ways. So, who will feature in the next chapter, I wonder?

Stay tuned…

Editor, Hotel Designs

Main image credit: Dish Creative/James Munson

the main stage at Independent Hotel Show 2021

Panel discussion: Exploring sensory design in hospitality at IHS 2021

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Panel discussion: Exploring sensory design in hospitality at IHS 2021

At the Independent Hotel Show 2021, Editor Hamish Kilburn sat down with Mark Bruce, Main Board Director at EPR Architects; Sound Designer Tom Middleton and Marie Soliman, Co-Founder of Bergman Design House, to discuss the latest developments in the world of sensory design. Nicola Macdonald writes…

the main stage at Independent Hotel Show 2021

Creating an appealing hotel design is no longer just about making a space easy on the eye. Sensory design has grown rapidly as a movement in recent years, incorporating smell, taste, sound and touch from the initial design, not as an afterthought, and interlinking closely with trends such as wellness and curated, personalised customer experiences. A prestigious panel of industry experts gathered at the Independent Hotel Show 2021 to discuss some of the innovations at the forefront of sensory design.

Hamish Kilburn, Editor of Hotel Designs, kicked off the discussion by commenting that, while all hotels are different, all hospitality projects can benefit, regardless of budget, from looking at their designs from a 3D perspective.

“Sound can be used congruently with other senses to help support the journeys we’re on every day,” added sound architect Tom Middleton. “It can reduce anxiety, help with peak performance and productivity, help you become les anxious and overwhelmed and, vitally, help you get a better night’s sleep.”

Mark Bruce, EPR Architects’ Board Director, who following this panel was crowned Architect of the Year at The Brit List Awards 2021, agreed. He said: “What has changed recently is that we value all of the senses more. Acoustics was a form of design and sadly often it was a plug-in or an add-on, an afterthought. We’ve now found ourselves in a really interesting place in terms of our experiences in hotels.

“As all of our lives get busier and more frantic, hotels are a little moment of luxury and when we start looking at all the senses holistically we can understand the value of that. It’s not just about having a great soundtrack in a bar, it’s about influencing the customer experience and making people enjoy themselves more by understanding the science and embedding that in the design.”

Marie Soliman, Co-Founder of Bergman Design House, added: “I get asked ‘what makes you loyal to a specific brand?’ and the answer is that I care how I felt in that hotel. People forget how the room looks, but they don’t forget how they felt. The room needs to be about them, with the right light and the right sound.”

Marie Soliman on the main stage at Independent Hotel Show 2021

Image caption: Hamish Kilburn was joined by Marie Soliman, Tom Middleton and Mark Bruce to discuss a sense of design in hospitality. | Image credit: Independent Hotel Show 2021

Bruce commented that even corridors were becoming a sensory experience, in addition to being a functional route from A to B: “The gaps between the experiences are just as important as the experiences themselves. Those few metres can be thoughtful in themselves.

“With Six Senses [the luxury hotel brand’s debut London property, opening in 2023], we looked at how we can use sound, light and smell to help people with their moods, and to get them ready for their experience.

“First thing in the morning people don’t want to walk into a dark corridor, so we worked with some very talented light engineers to mimic certain types of light across the year, with calming music and smells. Not plug-ins, but very subtle undertones to help with your heart rate and your mood. What we’re talking here about isn’t hugely expensive; we all have LED lights and speaker systems.”

Image caption: Standing room only on the main stage at Independent Hotel Show 2021. | Image credit: Independent Hotel Show 2021

Image caption: Standing room only on the Innovation Stage at Independent Hotel Show 2021. | Image credit: Independent Hotel Show 2021

“Having a sense of where the customer might be emotionally and mentally is key to adapting sensory design to fit the occasion,” added Middleton. “There is a social responsibility. Every hospitality brand right now needs to be considering the anxiety that guests will be experiencing getting out there, travelling and flying again.

“We need to understand that, as human beings, we’ve had our nervous systems decimated over the past year and half. Anxiety is going through the roof, as is mental health generally, so wellness is a key word right now: emotional and mental wellbeing. We should be supportive and kind.

“We’re handing over trust to brands as we’re going to go into this environment.” – Sound architect Tom Middleton.

“I design with empathy, and we all need to be more empathetic in the way that we approach design so that the whole journey isn’t too hyper-stimulating. The reason I use that word is that we’ve been hyper-stimulated for nearly a year and a half by fear, uncertainty and overwhelm.

“We’re handing over trust to brands as we’re going to go into this environment: trust that it’s going to be safe and we’re going to enjoy ourselves. Trust that it’s even going to help us feel more relaxed and less anxious. That’s my responsibility now: work with all these sensory inputs and the ecosystem of senses within designing and make sure that the guest does feel supported. I think that’s our responsibility within the industry.”

Since you’re here, why not read our show review of the Independent Hotel Show 2021? Also, check out the full discussion on-demand on Independent Hotel Show London’s new digital platform IH Connects.

Main image credit: Independent Hotel Show London

aerial view of marriot ritz-carlton eleuthera bahamas

Marriott to debut Ritz-Carlton Reserve brand Bahamas

730 565 Pauline Brettell
Marriott to debut Ritz-Carlton Reserve brand Bahamas

Marriott International has announced its plans to introduce a Ritz-Carlton Reserve to the island of Eleuthera, Bahamas, making it one of only five properties in this exclusive collection around the world. Here’s what we know…

aerial view of marriot ritz-carlton eleuthera bahamas

Marriott International has announced it has signed an agreement with Cotton Bay Holdings to introduce a Ritz-Carlton Reserve on the island of Eleuthera in the Bahamas. The proposed resort will be a highly personalized leisure experience, blending the signature Ritz-Carlton intuitive service with local design and stunning natural landscapes. Located on the southern end of the island, the Ritz-Carlton Reserve in Eleuthera is expected to feature an open-air resort with 90 intimate guestrooms forming part of the community once known as the iconic Cotton Bay Club. A range of select luxury amenities and exceptional services are slated to include an 18-hole golf course, a lavish spa and swimming pools, and restaurants all surrounded by pristine beaches, azure waters and tropical flora and fauna.

“We are thrilled to bring the Ritz-Carlton Reserve brand and service to this pristine island in the Great Bahama Bank,” said Laurent de Kousemaeker, Chief Development Officer, Caribbean and Latin America, Marriott International. “We are excited to partner with Cotton Bay Holdings in developing this luxury resort, where the original Cotton Bay Club was built in 1959.”

there are also plans for 60 Ritz-Carlton Reserve branded residences, which are expected to include a mix of two to five-bedroom villas. Designed in the same unique architectural style of the resort, each privately owned residence will offer refined design, and a one-of-a-kind luxury experience for owners.

“We are pleased to work with Marriott International to bring the Ritz-Carlton Reserve brand and experience to one of the most exotic and secluded destinations in the Caribbean,” said Daniel Zuleta, Manager for Cotton Bay Holdings. “We are excited to make this project a prime example of business, environmental and social excellence. Our plan for the project takes into strong consideration the role of the local communities and their active participation for its success.”

Ritz-Carlton Reserve is a complete escape to the unexpected – a private and transformative travel experience that is centred around human connection and brings together unique elements of the local culture, history, heritage and environment. For the most discerning travellers seeking a personalized and luxurious escape, Reserve properties are tucked away in the rarest corners of the world, featuring chic, relaxed and intimate settings that weave native flavours with highly responsive and individualized service. The Eleuthera development is set to join the five properties currently under the Reserve brand by Marriott International, located across Thailand, Japan, Indonesia, Puerto Rico and Mexico.

> Since you’re here, why not read about The Ritz-Carlton Nikko?

Main image credit: Ritz Carlton / Marriott Hotels

The check-in desk at Hotel Colon, surrounding by Spanish memorabilia

‘First in’ to review the newly renovated Hotel Colón Gran Meliá

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
‘First in’ to review the newly renovated Hotel Colón Gran Meliá

In the heart of Seville, the iconic Hotel Colón Gran Meliá re-emerges from lockdown showcasing a sophisticated first impression that’s timeless design effortlessly takes it into a new era. Editor Hamish Kilburn is among those ‘first in’ to explore the newly renovated hotel – and while there, he manages to secure an interview with the interior designer behind the project…

The check-in desk at Hotel Colon, surrounding by Spanish memorabilia

With its grandeur monuments, orange tree-lined cobbled streets and a vibrant gastronomy scene, Seville is a city that will leave a lasting impression on even the most seasoned of travellers. At the epicentre of this cultural hub – just a 10-minute stroll from the The río Guadalquivir, the Torre del Oro and the Real Maestranza Bull Ring – is Hotel Colón Gran Meliá; a hotel that has been an inherent part of Seville since its iconic architecture by José Miguel de la Cuadra was first unveiled in 1929.

Some 92 years later, and the building is now a listed pillar, having majestically maintained its original neoclassical façade. Don’t let its grand structure fool you, though. It shelters a contemporary hotel that fluidly forms around a modernist central dome, made up of thousands of coloured crystals. It, as Rosana Gonzáles, General Manager of the hotel says: “Shines over the hotel bringing a new light over Seville’s history.” And it was this central part of the hotel that became the core inspiration for interior designer Álvaro Sans when he was asked to steer to the its public areas through a sensitive renovation that could meet the demands of today’s travellers.

“Seville is a unique city, the ‘Spanish Florence’, if you like.” – Álvaro Sans, interior designer.

Lobby inside Gran Melia Hotel Colón in Seville

Image caption: The central dome inside Gran Melia Hotel Colón, which is the heart of the hotel and was a significant source of inspiration for the design team. | Image credit: Meliá Hotels International

“We wanted to differentiate Hotel Colón Gran Meliá from the rest of the hotels in the city,” said Sans. “To do this, we decided to inject a healthy dose of Sevillian culture, art and feeling into the building. The strong sense of place transports guests to the destination where they can really experience the true essence of the location. Seville is a unique city, the ‘Spanish Florence’, if you like. The ‘Sevillano’ is felt in the streets and by visitors who live who live within it. There is a contagious joy of living here.”


Hamish Kilburn: How long did the project take from concept to completion?
Álvaro Sans: Two years, due to delays with Covid-19

HK:  Describe the newly renovated hotel in two words?
AS: Sevillian and timeless

HK: What’s next for the hotel?
AS: Two wonderful suites, but you didn’t hear that from me!

There is no doubt about it: the hotel’s rejuvenation has been influenced by the past. However, its hospitality offering on the other hand has been created with a worldly traveller in mind, while looking ahead towards the future. By opening up the space in the lobby, the opportunity emerged for Sans to create a new F&B proposal – a new destination bar – that is now the focal point of all first impressions, which sits under the magnificent dome. The interiors of the bar are decorated with pieces that have been curated by young local artisans. Together, they form a magical atmosphere.

Making such a drastic transformation in an iconic hotel is challenging enough, but add to this the fact that Sans was working on this project during a pandemic creates a whole new layer of uncertainty. “The delivery times of materials was a great task to manage,” Sans explains. “We had to change some furniture items because they did not arrive after five months of delay.”

Originally known as Hotel Majestic, the property was, in its hay day, one of the most luxurious hotels in Spain, built primarily to welcome international visitors of the world’s fair, Exposición Iberoamericana, hosted in Seville in 1929. Following this, world renowned figures such as Ava Gardner, Picasso and Dalí also walked its floors and fell in love with the historical building. The hotel was where famous matadors (bull fighters) used to stay ahead of crowd-drawing Corridas (bull fighting events), which arguably helped put Seville on the tourism – domestic and international – map. In fact, traje de luces (the various costumes) of the famous El Cordobes have become part of the interior design decoration, displayed behind the check-in desk, along with original flamenco dancer costumes, to add a unique sense of place for guests who are beginning or ending their stay.

Check-in desk inside Gran Melia Hotel Colòn in Seville

Image caption: The check-in desk inside the hotel features a display of memorabilia, which gives a sensitive nod to Sevillian culture. | Image credit: Melia Hotels International

As guests arrive, what was a dated red and white design scheme has been transformed into a space that feels light, elegant and welcoming. “Pure red is a colour only used in the bullfighter’s cape in Seville – it is not an emblematic colour of the city,” explains the designer. The lobby now features hues of green, ochra, gold – reminiscent of the Andalusian countryside. Wood alongside luxurious and elegant materials such as velvet, silk, leather and walnut add meaningful texture. Amongst the new services, guests can enjoy a completely new Red Level on the ground floor, the new Bar del Colón and the restaurant Abacería del Colón.

“Seville is olive green,” adds Sans. “It is a city with many cultures that have merged in a magnificent way. The hotel, therefore, had to have something that amplified this authentically.” To achieve this, Sans introduced natural materials – Andalusian Macael white marble, solid walnut wood, hydraulic concrete floors – designed and built for the hotel, in a format larger than the traditional one. “We chose olive green [throughout the lobby and public areas downstairs], to mimic hotel’s wonderful skylight,” says Sans. “Ceramics were handcrafted specially for the hotel by Isabel Parente’s workshop in Seville, in an oxidised olive-green tone and an original Mudejar design, with details of the plasterwork from the Alhambra in Granada.”

One of the gastronomy venues at the hotel, Burladero restaurant offers a wide range of Andalucian tapas that attract locals as well as international visitors. The new Abacería del Colón is a place where guests can indulge in typical Sevillan produce such as jamón, cold meats, jams and chicharrones, as well as purchasing them to bring that iconic Sevillian flavour back home.

The hotel is also part of the Virtuoso y Fine Hotels and Resorts de Amex (FHR), as well as The Leading Hotels Of The World (LHW). It comprises of 188 rooms including 24 suites, adorned with classic paintings of the Spanish Golden Age from artists such as Goya, Murillo, Velazquez y and El Greco – the giants of 16th and 17th century Spanish painting.

Suite inside Hotel Colòn Gran Melia

Image caption: If rumours are to be believed, the next chapter for the hotel will be the renovation of two suites. | Image credit: Meliá International

The newly renovated Hotel Colón Gran Meliá is a tribute to Seville’s history and culture; a space where old and new meet with incredible results. Everything is curated to the smallest detail and recalls original elements from the 1929 Exposition to make every guest walk back in the past and discover the beauty of the city. And with whispers all but confirmed from Meliá International that the hotel will unveil two new renovated suites soon, it’s clear that the Gran Melia Hotel Colón’s narrative is far from ending.

Main image credit: Meliá International

beachdeck at penina hotel and golf resort part of IHG vignette collection

IHG Hotels & Resorts announces European debut of new luxury brand Vignette

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IHG Hotels & Resorts announces European debut of new luxury brand Vignette

In a landmark property deal bringing together exclusive properties in sought after urban and resort locations, with signings in Austria and Portugal, IHG’s latest brand, Vignette Collection, is set to make its mark…

beachdeck at penina hotel and golf resort part of IHG vignette collection

In August 2021, Vignette Collection became the sixth brand added to IHG’s portfolio in the past four years, taking it to an impressive 17 brands across more than 6,000 hotels in more than 100 countries. Its first two signings set the tone of the unique and distinctive nature of the collection, with The Aquatique Hotel in Pattaya, Thailand, and Hotel X Brisbane Fortitude Valley in Australia. The driving force behind the Vignette collection is the commitment to welcoming world-class independent hotels to the company’s Luxury & Lifestyle collection in a style that combines the distinctive identity of each property with the power of IHG’s global scale and expertise.

The addition of Vignette Collection further enriches IHG’s Luxury & Lifestyle offer for leisure and business travellers alike, and IHG expects to attract more than 100 Vignette Collection hotels in 10 years, with the brand key to delivering its ambition of industry-leading net rooms growth.

decorative ceiling at the bar in the Dona Filipa hotel

Image credit: IHG Vignette Collection

The agreement between IHG Hotels & Resorts, and JJW Hotels & Resorts includes a new property for IHG’s voco hotels brand overlooking the Atlantic Ocean in Portugal’s Algarve. Other hotels included in the European launch are ; Grand Hotel Wien, Vienna Austria, Penina Resort and Golf, Algarve Portugal, Dona Filipa Hotel, Algarve Portugal.

“We are delighted to announce our first European Vignette Collection signings through our partnership with JJW Hotels & Resorts. Complementing our existing Luxury & Lifestyle portfolio in Europe, these unique properties will meet the needs of travellers seeking a luxury stay experience, whilst maintaining each hotel’s authentic charm and individuality,” said Karin Sheppard, Senior Vice President and Managing Director Europe.” The introduction of Vignette Collection follows the successful launch of voco hotels – another of our many conversion-friendly brands – so it’s fitting that we are also working with JJW to build voco’s presence in the popular Algarve region.”

Going above and beyond the remit of hotel development, Vignette Collection embraces IHG’s ethos of responsible commitments to care for our people, communities and planet. Hotels in the collection will have the opportunity to work with IHG on a range of initiatives that are part of the shared vision to not only build hotels, but to build brighter futures for the communities in which they operate.

> Since you’re here, why not read about IHG’s landmark dual-branded hotel in Nottingham?

Main image credit: IHG Vignette Collection

The Lake Spa Resort Vista Aerea

Domes Resorts announces plans to expand globally

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Domes Resorts announces plans to expand globally

Domes Resorts, which is one of the fastest growing luxury hotel brands in the Mediterranean, continues its rapid expansion taking over The Lake Spa Resort in Portugal owned by HIP (Hotel Investment Partners), the largest owner of resort hotels in Southern Europe backed by funds managed by Blackstone. Here’s what we know…

The Lake Spa Resort Vista Aerea

After what Domes Resorts has stated has been a “very successful 2021”, which saw the repositioning and opening of a completely renovated Domes of Corfu, Autograph Collection, Domes Resorts will once again partner with Hotel Investment Partners (HIP) to strengthen its presence in Europe with the much-anticipated early 2022 opening of The Lake Spa Resort in Algarve.

The project, which has been backed by a €7 million investment, will see the upgrade and transformation of the property through a complete refurbishment of all rooms and public spaces – including the creation of a new adults-only pool and pool bar. In addition, the existing F&B outlets will be replaced with signature Domes dining concepts.

Domes Resorts is amongst the fastest growing luxury hospitality groups in Greece, with a number of new projects in its pipeline. Owned by Ledra Hotels and Villas, the group is comprised of the legendary Domes of Elounda, Autograph Collection, the cosmopolitan Domes Noruz Chania, Autograph Collection, Domes Miramare, a Luxury Collection Resort on Corfu, Domes Zeen Chania, a Luxury Collection Resort, Crete and the newest addition Domes of Corfu, Autograph Collection. With a love for the destinations and driven by the thrill of sharing them with the world, Domes Resorts offer transformative experiences for cosmopolitan explorers, combined with authentic Greek hospitality and the highest international luxury accommodation standards.

Domes Resorts are developed on handpicked locations at iconic destinations and embrace their environments in every possible aspect, from local cultural experiences, to design, architecture, and community engagement. All properties are unique, award winning and known for their sophisticated design, opulent accommodation offering and fine-tuned services.

Main image credit: Domes Resorts

Bvlgari Hotel Paris collage Hotel Designs

In pictures: Inside Bvlgari Hotel Paris

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In pictures: Inside Bvlgari Hotel Paris

Three years since the concept of the luxury hotel appeared on our radar, Bvlgari Hotel Paris has opened. The new hotel, designed by Italian architecture firm Antonio Patricia Viel, alongside the renowned Parisian architects Valode & Pistre, promises an experience that mingles Italian excellence with the magnificent culture of the City of Lights…

Bvlgari Hotel Paris collage Hotel Designs

In the heart of the world-renowned Golden Triangle of Paris, Bvlgari Hotel Paris has opened. Breaking with the traditional codes of the Parisian architecture, the elegant building that shelters the new luxury hotel enriches the eighth arrondissement with its contemporary style. For Bvlgari Hotels & Resorts, the opening marks a harmony between two cultures in design as well as hospitality. “We are particularly proud to add a French jewel to the Bvlgari Hotels & Resorts collection, the opening of the new Bvlgari Hotel Paris,” said Jean-Christophe Babin, CEO of Bvlgari. “Following the recent opening of the Bvlgari flagship store in Place Vendome, it is an honour for us to bring, once again, the best of the Italian design, lifestyle, culture and luxury hospitality to Paris.”

BH Paris Lounge, fireplace

Image credit: Bvlgari Hotels & Resorts

As with all of the Bvlgari Hotels & Resorts, the Bvlgari Hotel Paris has been designed by the Italian architecture studio Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel. Both the interior and exterior have been created with the same attention to details and precision of a Bvlgari jewel, enhancing all the characteristic codes of the establishments developed by the Rome-based jewellery house. The Bvlgari Hotel Paris offers 76 rooms, of which 75 per cent are suites, featuring terraces and loggias. Each one is designed as a private apartment and is exquisitely furnished with the highest quality luxury furniture brands. In addition, the artwork and photographs of celebrities closely linked to the Maison add that touch of personality characteristic of the Bvlgari Hotels & Resorts.

Perched atop the building, the Bvlgari Penthouse illustrates the pinnacle of this approach. Across more than a total of 1,000 sqm of which 400 sqm interiors and 600 sqm exteriors and on two levels, the Bvlgari Penthouse features a fully landscaped hanging garden, filled with Mediterranean plants and fruit trees, and offers a panoramic view over the emblematic buildings of the French capital.

Bvlgari Hotel Paris penthouse suite at night

Image credit: Bvlgari Hotels & Resorts

The highlight of the hotel’s culinary offering is “Il Ristorante – Niko Romito”, curated by the three Michelin star Chef, Niko Romito. Romito has created this concept for all the Bvlgari Hotels & Resorts with a blend of modern and classical Italian dishes using ingredients that are the essential characteristics of the culture, elegance and vitality of the ‘Made in Italy’ ethos.

Adjacent to the restaurant and facing the hotel garden, the Bvlgari Bar expresses the full generosity, elegance and spirit of the House and is set to become one of the most sought-after gathering places in western Paris. Located just next door, the Lounge – with its plush armchairs, massive fireplace, and ceiling inspired by a Bvlgari minaudière – is a desirable place to gather. Spanning 1,300 sqm on two levels, the Bvlgari Spa at Bvlgari Hotel Paris offers a unique experience, with its 25-metre swimming pool, one of the longest in any Paris luxury hotel. The fitness space, featuring state-of-the-art technology and entrusted to Workshop Gymnasium, has been exclusively created for Bvlgari by Lee Mullins, and includes a private studio.

Luxury pool inside Bvlgari Hotel Paris

Image credit: Bvlgari Hotels & Resorts

What’s next? Well, Bvlgari Hotel Paris is the latest creation in the Bvlgari Hotels & Resorts collection, which includes properties in Milan, Bali, London, Beijing, Dubai, and Shanghai, as well as upcoming openings in Rome (2022), Moscow (2022), Tokyo (2023),Miami (2024) and Los Angeles (2025).

Main image credit: Bvlgari Hotels & Resorts

In Conversation With: Kalia Konstantinidou on hotel development in Greece

730 565 Pauline Brettell
In Conversation With: Kalia Konstantinidou on hotel development in Greece

After creating three unique properties in Santorini, each reflecting the spirit of its location, it was only a matter of time before KANAVA Hotels & Resorts explored wider hotel development in Greece. Pauline Brettell speaks to co-owner Kalia Konstantinidou about the group’s island-hopping development plans…

KAVANA Hotels & Resorts is meaningfully making a dent in hotel development pipeline in Greece with its collection of unique hotels, resorts and villas that are all designed and curated by owners Kalia Konstantinidou and her husband, and business partner, Antonis Eliopoulos. For the pair, it is all about creating beautiful spaces as well as memorable experiences, while introducing guests to their beloved Cycladic way of life.

The brand’s hospitality vision first emerged on the whitewashed island of Santorini, where Eliopoulos turned a rustic vineyard on his family estate into the first five-star hotel of the island in 1993, which is now the renowned Vedema, a Luxury Collection Resort.

Since then, the couple’s combined passion for hospitality motivated them to expand in 2007 towards the north of the island, with the opening of Mystique, a boutique jewel carved into the rugged Caldera cliffs. Taking a different approach in 2018, the decision was made to transform an abandoned mansion of a legendary socialite on the famous black-sand beach of Perivolos into the peaceful Istoria, a Member of Design Hotels that offers a unique residential accommodation experience.

white interior and blue sea at Kanava hotels greek island resort

Image caption: Mystique was the second hotel to open in KAVANA Hotels & Resorts’ portfolio. Image credit: KAVANA Hotels & Resorts

After making its mark on Santorini, KANAVA Hotels & Resorts stylishly island hopped to Paros, where it opened the brand’s fourth hotel, Parīlio, a Member of Design Hotels, which is a statement hotel, envisioned as a gateway to the real Cyclades. The following year, the group introduced Acron Villas, a unique collection of 24 villas, all with a minimal Cycladic aesthetic.

The visionary brand is fast establishing its position on the island, and is launching its third property on Paros in 2022, Cosme Hotel, a project that is conceived to be a celebration of the authentic Mediterranean village. The hotel aims to “carry its guests away in time”, and filling them with a sense of serenity.

Before then – and with the aim to establish where the next hotel development hotspot is in Greece – I caught up with Konstantinidou for a coffee in London’s west end. I wanted to get an idea of both the brand in general, as well as the more specific plans for the new project on Paros – and I was told that no question was off limit!

A rock on the edge of a luxury swimming pool in Paros

Image caption: Parīlio was KAVANA Hotels & Resorts’ debut hotel in Paros. | Image credit: KAVANA Hotels & Resorts

Pauline Brettell: You first opened in Santorini in 1993 with Vedema, which was the first Five Star hotel on the island. Has the vision changed over the years – is luxury in 1993 the same as luxury in 2023?

Kalia Konstantinidou: Luxury has completely changed in the last three decades, in the sense that back in the 1990’s it was solely based on material goods and offerings, while in 2020’s, especially in the post-Covid era, the meaning of ‘high-end’ or ‘jet set’ travel is not defined by the material and lifestyle, rather by the experiential and intellectual.

The world has changed enormously, and as such our vision has been blended with creating unique hotels that define a destination, with the need to connect, to engage with communities, to be mindful and to travel for a purpose. And as travel reminds us of all the things that we share, most notably our humanity and our planet, the new luxury that we embrace is also connected with sustainable travel and a more mindful approach to travel: fewer trips, longer trips, more meaningful trips. While the planet has been incredibly resilient for billions of years, it is uncanny how vulnerable we are on this earth that has a vastly growing population, and one that is so interconnected.

PB: How does KANAVA Hotels & Resorts stand out from the crowd? 

KK: The most substantial thing that makes KANAVA Hotels & Resorts unique is that we are looking into the essence of things. We strive to create a better world for tourism, one that listens to its communities better than any other industry in the world. We create projects with the essence of being sustainable, sincere, and purposeful places for us and global travellers to live in, and we insist on creating awareness for a better kind of travel!

PB: Your choice of locations seems quite personal, what made you decide to move from Santorini to Paros?

KK: Santorini is our first and eternal love. It will always have a special place in our heart as it is the island where our journey started and made our passion for hospitality evolve.

After creating three unique properties in Santorini, each with their own distinctive character, yet tied with the common elements that always inspire us, we felt that we have managed to successfully leave our footprint on the island’s hospitality scene, showcasing all angles of it, it just felt natural for us to seek a new challenge for our fourth property, and we found it almost instinctively in Paros. In 2019 we launched Parīlio, while in 2020 we introduced Acron Villas, a unique collection of twenty-four villas.

Wishing to establish our position on the island, we will be launching in May 2022, Cosme, a project that we hope will further enhance the island’s luxury hospitality scene, located right on the waterfront of Naoussa.

Secrecy Villa Interior: KAVANA Hotels & Resorts

Image caption: A paired back, whitewashed interior design scheme inside Mystique. | Image credit: KAVANA Hotels & Resorts

PB: Of all the islands in all of Greece, why were you drawn to Paros?

KK: Paros is the island where we used to spend our holidays as teenagers, but also later as a couple, and in the course of time, as a family. It is a relatively unexplored island with compelling potential, exquisite natural beauty, rich culture, and gastronomy. The younger crowds come looking for a laidback holiday among its pristine sandy beaches and lively nightlife. Surfers come for its inviting waves, while families enjoy its many sheltered bays. Visitors love the picturesque villages and bougainvillea-lined alleyways. And nature lovers come to explore the island’s wildlife and stunning geological formations.

PB: And having decided on Paros, what specifically do you look for in a new hotel location?

KK: Having decided on Paros, we were initially looking into a location that would feel welcoming and have a positive energy for us, so that we can multiply this energy through the filter of locale and make it into a magnet that would attract travellers from all around the world, into a mainly unknown location, making them want to explore it, and immerse in it.

PB: Acron villas in particular seems to be embedded in the landscape – is there a theme emerging? 

KK: For Acron Villas, we were looking into absorbing the wild landscape that embraces the project and that is strongly dominated by the Mycenean Acropolis which lies just next to it. We used a lot of local stone that comes from the cliff and followed a typical Parian architecture that is characterised by the traditional classic elements of the Cycladic architecture, like the austere landscape, the weather conditions (mainly the winds) and the need for protection from the invaders-conquerors in the old times.

All of the projects in Paros showcase some aspect of local design, from the sunlight, to traditional village dwellings, simpler monastic spaces, or the rough-hewn rocks of the surrounding cliffs.

 PB: How is this new project, Cosme Hotel, going to differ from the other properties in Paros?

KK: The new project, coming also in the post pandemic era, is a ‘celebration of life’, a unique hotel design that is a mix of experiences and rituals from all around the Mediterranean, anchoring in Paros and inviting travellers to appreciate the gifts of life, in a Greek summer setup that makes you feel carefree, happy, and full of positive energy.

Located on a sublime seafront stretch, the hotel’s private beach club overlooks the translucent Aegean Sea and in line with KAVANA Hotels & Resorts’ engagement to offer our guests holistic wellness and mindful experiences, it will have a unique outdoor wellness and fitness centre, including a stargazing area. It is a project that is predominantly anthropocentric and that aims for a sense of holistic wellbeing originating from happiness and a conscious connection with both people and also place.

Mystery Villa Bedroom: KAVANA Hotels & Resorts

Image credit: KAVANA Hotels & Resorts

PB: Sustainability is mentioned as part of your vision. How do you translate that into KAVANA Hotels  & Resorts across the board – and has working in Paros thrown up any particular issues when it comes to questions of sustainability in the local environment and community?

KK: Sustainability has always been embedded as a core value of our company’s growth and development. We consider that the sole way for our company to grow is through sustainable practices, to ensure not only that the environmental impact of our hotels is minimised, but also that we contribute to the community by supporting organisations and charities with a sustainability focus. As a result, we have planned and implemented a dedicated environmental management plan (EMP) that prioritises green self-efficacy across our operations. We deem that this plan, along with our company’s commitment to protect the environment and contribute to the societal well-being, are our fundamental duties when striving to success. We were thrilled to discover that in Paros, sustainability has been in a more mature stage than in Santorini and have already started working with local and international organisations that support the local environment and community, and we are partnering in several initiatives including water and energy usage.

PB: And finally, for visitors to Paros, what is the one ‘must-do’ thing you would recommend to see/experience?

KK: A difficult question, as Paros is a conclave of unique experiences all of them seeking to elevate the local experience, but if I need to streamline to one, then this would be strolling in the streets of Naoussa right after sunset and heading towards one of the romantic restaurants in the little port, tasting some authentic Greek food that celebrates the Greek summer. This is an experience that certainly makes you feel in place!

> Since you’re here, why not read our latest hotel review from Greece?

Main image credit: KAVANA Hotels & Resorts

pink couch and natural finishes in bright suite at The Standard

What to expect from Standard International in 2022

730 565 Pauline Brettell
What to expect from Standard International in 2022

Standard International, the luxury/lifestyle brand that likes to do things differently, is looking ahead towards 2022 with optimism – think glitterballs in bathrooms kind of positivity. Here’s a sneak peak of the brand’s 2022 opening pipeline… 

pink couch and natural finishes in bright suite at The Standard

Having just opened the latest addition to the company’s growing portfolio, and its first resort in Thailand, The Standard, Hua Hin, Standard International has announced that 2022 will also see the opening of The Standard, Bangkok Mahanakhon, the brand’s highly anticipated Asia flagship. In addition to this, The Standard, Ibiza, is slated to also arrive in 2022. These three new properties will kick off a series of 10 additional landmark projects in highly coveted markets around the world, including: Singapore, Melbourne, Lisbon, Dublin, Brussels and Las Vegas.

glitter ball in the bathroom of a standard hotel guestroom

Image credit: Standard International

“We are incredibly proud to announce the openings of The Standard, Hua Hin, our incredible Asia flagship, The Standard, Bangkok Mahanakhon, which will open next year, as well as our second property in Europe, The Standard, Ibiza,” said Standard International CEO, Amar Lalvani. “This has been a time of unprecedented crisis for the hospitality industry, and the millions of people around the world who work in the sector. Amidst such challenges, we are incredibly grateful that we continue to be able to delight our guests, serve our communities and create new opportunities for our team members by building landmark hotels around the world.”

yellow interiors with natural surfaces in the standard hotel in hua hin

Image credit: Standard International

The Standard, Hua Hin, The Standard’s first hotel in Thailand, has opened with 178 guestrooms, and 21 pool villas with beachfront access, and will be a timeless destination for the Thai creative set and The Standard’s global network of loyal clientele. A beloved getaway dating back to 1911, Hua Hin emerged as a destination when the construction of the railroad that connects Bangkok with the South first arrived at the pristine little beach town. By the mid-1920s, it became the chosen holiday retreat for the nobility. With time, the sleepy fishing village has transformed into a popular seaside destination without losing its old-world charm. Today, Hua Hin is a favourite weekend escape for residents of Bangkok who have been waiting for exactly what The Standard promises to offer: a stylish and vibrant beachfront resort. One that respects Hua Hin’s understated Thai elegance, has appreciation of the history and local setting, and combines it with a global sensibility and a bit of fun.

lighting on facade of the standard hotel hua hin

Image credit: Standard International

The Standard, Bangkok Mahankhon will be the Asia flagship for The Standard brand. Opening in 2022, the hotel is already a landmark, housed in the King Power Mahanakhon Building, a 78-story mixed-use building that is one of the tallest in Thailand. Centrally located in the CBD between Sathorn and Silom, the hotel will reflect the dynamic energy of the Thai capital. With 155 guestrooms, penthouse, a terrace pool, fitness centre, meeting rooms and a dynamic variety of food, drink and nightlife venues, from The Parlor to the Tea Room and renowned Standard Grill, as well as Thailand’s first outpost of the acclaimed Mott 32 restaurant. The property is designed by Spanish artist-designer Jaime Hayon’s Hayon Studio, in collaboration with The Standard’s award-winning in-house design team. This breathtaking new addition to the Standard portfolio will sit proudly alongside the brand’s award-winning vibrant US and European urban flagships, The Standard, High Line and The Standard, London, and in perfect counterpoint to our waterside retreats The Standard, Maldives, The Standard, Miami, and the forthcoming The Standard, Hua Hin and The Standard, Ibiza.

Main image credit: Standard International

Render of Rosewood Riyadh

Rosewood to open second hotel in Saudi Arabia in 2025

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Rosewood to open second hotel in Saudi Arabia in 2025

Rosewood Hotels & Resorts accelerates its strategic global growth with the announcement of Rosewood Riyadh, a new-build luxury hotel, which will open in 2025 within a progressive mixed-use development project…

Render of Rosewood Riyadh

Situated adjacent to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of At-Turaif, Rosewood Riyadh, slated to open in 2025, will be located within Diriyah Gate, a mixed-use development project poised to become the country’s leading cultural and lifestyle destination. The 250-key hotel is destined to bring a new level of luxury to the local and regional hospitality landscape and present an exceptional opportunity for both business and leisure travellers to immerse themselves in one of the Middle East’s most important cities. 

Rosewood Riyadh is the latest expression of Rosewood’s ambitious global expansion strategy, which currently includes 25 properties in the pipeline in areas such as Mexico City, LondonMadrid and Japan. The hotel will mark the brand’s second property in Saudi Arabia, joining Rosewood Jeddah, and fourth in the region, including Rosewood Abu Dhabi and Rosewood Doha opening in 2022.

“We are thrilled to further our presence in the Middle East with an opening in Riyadh, a historic trade hub and exemplar of 21st century vision, that is now a major destination for international business and cultural exploration,” said Sonia Cheng, Chief Executive Officer of Rosewood Hotel Group. “The Diriyah Gate development is bringing the destination to an expanded international audience of discerning travellers and we’re excited to be a part of the city’s continued evolution and commitment to redeveloping heritage areas for future generations.” 

Rosewood will bring a level of refinement to Diriyah, mirroring the past whilst providing guests with the excitement of the future, in the same way Diriyah will lead travellers from Saudi’s historical past to the present,” said Jerry Inzerillo, Group CEO of DGDA. “The exclusive nature of the Rosewood experience will bring excitement to Diriyah through the development of their renowned wellness offerings, famed Explorers Club and F&B talent. Guests will be immersed in a cultural journey spanning the centuries through the joint efforts of Diriyah and the Rosewood team; we are excited to unveil more in the coming months.”

The largest city on the Arabian Peninsula and the political and administrative centre of Saudi Arabia, Riyadh is a dynamic destination rich with history. Boasting myriad cultural institutions from forts and palaces to museums and marketplaces, the metropolis attracts a wide range of nearly five million visitors each year. Nestled around the city’s UNESCO World Heritage Site of At-Turaif, Diriyah Gate is set to underscore Riyadh’s status as a Middle East magnet for travellers.  It also provides a perfect canvas for the Rosewood brand to express its A Sense of Place concept and celebrate its unique location. 

In addition to Rosewood, the inspired set of heritage, hospitality, education, retail and dining experiences at Diriyah Gate will include a culinary centre, cinema, art academy and more, with all buildings showcasing their own interpretations of the destination’s iconic Najdi style. By honouring this traditional architectural typology while incorporating modern principles of New Urbanism, the development aims to revitalise the area for locals and tourists alike while protecting its history. 

The hotel itself will occupy a standalone building boasting 250 ultra-luxury accommodations, including 202 guestrooms and suites and 48 Wadi Suites ranging from one to three bedrooms. The property will further feature four restaurants and bars; Asaya, Rosewood’s integrative well-being concept; and Rosewood Explorers, the brand’s culturally inspired children’s club. Additional recreation will span a state-of-the-art fitness center and expansive meetings and events spaces including a ballroom. Visitors will enjoy exceptional access to many of the city’s key landmarks, lifestyle activities, and corporate destinations via Rosewood Riyadh’s prime positioning within the development. 

Rosewood Riyadh adds to Rosewood Hotels & Resorts’ impressive global growth plan and is the eighth property opening announced by the brand in 2021, a testament to the hospitality group’s vitality and vision. Additional projects that have recently been added to the pipeline include Rosewood properties in Rome, Miyakojima, Hangzhou, Chongqing, Mexico City, and San Francisco.

Main image credit: Rosewood Hotels & Resorts

Collage from AHC in Manchester 2021

Show review: What you missed at The AHC in Manchester

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Show review: What you missed at The AHC in Manchester

Out with the old (venue) and in the with the new. On November 22 – 24, The Annual Hotel Conference (AHC) took shelter under a new roof, Manchester Central Convention Complex, where it welcomed more than 800 senior delegates to learn, network and party. Editor Hamish Kilburn was there to soak it all in…

Collage from AHC in Manchester 2021

For years, The Annual Hotel Conference (AHC) has been a major calendar event that has attracted leading investors, developers and operators from across the UK hospitality sector. In fact, the event has become so popular now, with more than 800 delegates to shelter safely that it required a venue change, from the familiar territory of Hilton Manchester Deansgate to where it is now held in the Manchester Central Convention Complex.

At the epicentre of the new venue was the auditorium, where more than 100 industry-expert speakers took to the stage over the two-day event, including senior leaders from global hotel brands. These included: Adela Cristea, Vice President, Head of Business Development UK & Ireland, Radisson Hotel Group; Satya Anand, President, EMEA, Marriott International; Stephen Cassidy, Senior Vice President & Managing Director UK, Ireland & Israel, Hilton; Philip Lassman, Vice President Development Northern Europe (UK&I, Benelux & Nordics), Accor; Dimitris Manikis, President & MD EMEA, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts; Karin Sheppard, Senior Vice President & Managing Director Europe, IHG and Camil Yazbeck, Senior Vice President, Head of Development Northern Europe, Accor.

Speakers took turns to deliver their views, strategies and visions for the future across four stages: vision, collaboration, innovation and transformation that represented the four pillars that underpinned this year’s theme ‘Change for Good.’ Amnd it was clear that there was a real sense of collective excitement and energy, and a renewed optimism for not only the recovery but also the opportunity to reset and reconsider the hospitality industry as a whole. People’s passions have seemingly been reignited. The conversation around ‘responsible recovery’ was discussed throughout the event, and seemed to spill into the discussions at the number of after parties around the city.

The hospitality industry is emerging from the pandemic with a long list of changed priorities. Values – in contrast to value for money – are creating new challenges for the hospitality industry. Sustainability and ESG (Environmental, Social Governance) are becoming ever-more important priorities for customers, operators, employees and owners.

Three inspiring leaders, Satya Anand, President EMEA, Marriott International; Dimitris Manikis, President & MD EMEA, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts and Karin Sheppard, SVP and MD Europe, IHG, discussed the characteristics of a ‘good brand,’ how people are increasingly conscious of ESG and that travel has become more purposeful. “ESG brings a unique opportunity to bring back young people into this sector,” said Manikis. “The future leaders of our industry — doing the right thing for humanity will bring the right people back.”

Karin Sheppard followed this up with the strong statement: “The best we can do today, is not the best we can do tomorrow. Be humble that we are all here to learn and we don’t have all the answers but without steep ambitions nothing will ever change.”

ESG came into sharp focus during the ‘Serviced Living — Capturing the New Demand’ session when Robert Godwin, Managing Director, Lamington Group made clear his strong feelings “with passion and intent there are ways to deliver truly sustainable buildings” and shared his company’s mission to deliver fully net zero carbon hotels in its portfolio.

Image caption: Robert Godwin, Managing Director, Lamington Group speaking passionately about truly sustainable buildings. | Image credit: Simon Callaghan Photography

Image caption: Robert Godwin, Managing Director, Lamington Group speaking passionately about truly sustainable buildings. | Image credit: Simon Callaghan Photography

Lamington Group recently launched Room2 Chiswick, it’s first net zero carbon offering which is 89 per cent more energy efficient than other hotels in the UK. It’s 100 per cent electric, has a blue roof that can hold 50,000 litres of rainwater that filters down for use in the hotel and is covered with 200 tonnes of soil to grow a green roof to encourage biodiversity and insulate the building. Occupancy sensors inside the building manage heating lighting and cooling to provide energy efficiency savings.

Labour shortages are affecting the industry in a huge way and fixing the reputation of the hospitality industry is vital if staffing shortages are to be alleviated. The industry has an unfortunate association with long hours and low pay, something which was highlighted by keynote speaker Gary Neville, who owns GG Hospitality and runs the Stock Exchange Hotel and Hotel Football: “Hospitality staff have been treated poorly for far too long and the pandemic has highlighted that for me. People come first and they need trust and flexibility, empathy and compassion.”

Image caption: Gary Neville, owner of GG Hospitality, said that 'hospitality staff ghave been treated poorly for far too long.' Image credit: Simon Callaghan Photography

Image caption: Gary Neville, owner of GG Hospitality, said that ‘hospitality staff ghave been treated poorly for far too long.’ Image credit: Simon Callaghan Photography

In the ‘Power to the People’ session, Chris Mumford, Founder, Cervus Leadership Consulting, David Orr, CEO, Resident Hotels, Thomas Greenall, CEO, Bespoke Hotels and Harry Cragoe, Owner of The Galivant / Costel Hotels joined forces to address the supply of labour that has resulted in an awareness amongst hotel managers of the wellbeing of their staff.

Harry Cragoe said his business “is all about creating happiness” and he wants happy employees because it means guests are likely to be happy. “At The Gallivant, mini-bonuses of £10 are handed out each time a staff member is name checked by guests giving end-of-stay feedback. Monthly totals can be as much as £300-£400,” he added.

Nicholas Northam, who leads Interstate’s white-label operations at more than 120 hotels in the UK, Ireland, Continental Europe, Russia and CIS, said the labour shortage was less about the number of people available for work and more about the skills of potential employees. “We are looking at many different ways to find the talent we need,” Northam said. Among the programmes that may have previously fallen foul of a company’s behavioural sensibilities, Interstate has set up what he called “academies” in some UK prisons. Thanks to Interstate, Northam said, inmates were receiving instruction on kitchen and housekeeping roles.

Chris Dexter, CEO of Kew Green, in a directly political appeal to the UK Government about relieving pressure in the labour market said: “Open up the visa channels.” Pay rates were rising, he said, but jobs remained unfilled because there were insufficient numbers of people available for work.

Whilst the audience enjoyed hearing the anecdotal insights from the industry’s leading minds and the opportunity to learn from how they re-strategised following such a difficult period, cold hard numbers always win the day.

Thomas Emanuel, Director of STR hosted ‘Decoding the Revenue Data’ in which he gave comprehensive industry analysis — including how the UK has consistently outperformed Europe as a whole, and that Q3 UK occupancy had returned to pre-Covid levels: however, London and other large cities lag behind due to decreased international travel.

Meanwhile, in ‘Profits & Pricing’ Michel Grove, Chief Operating Officer at HotStats and Joe Stather Director, OPRE, Hotels, CBRE Hotels, asked do hotels still appeal to the investor community? Their discussion drew the conclusion that investor demands actually outstrip supply, which is supporting relatively buoyant pricing and in turn an increased number of deals is expected in 2022. They identified that profitability is weakest in London and the gateway cities, however these markets are seeing the strongest investor demand. The growing interest in alternative real estate is also being fuelled by increased investor demand.

Looking ahead, The AHC 2022 will take place on October 3 – 4 at The Manchester Central Convention Complex.

Main image credit: Simon Callaghan Photography

Roundtable - Franklite

Virtual roundtable: Innovation in hotel lighting design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Virtual roundtable: Innovation in hotel lighting design

With the aim to identify how hotel lighting is evolving in the international hotel design arena, Hotel Designs, in association with Franklite, invites leading interior designers and lighting experts to partake in its next virtual roundtable. From savvy product design to advanced technology – and even the idea of vitamin D lighting solutions – how is lighting in hotels taking centre stage? Editor Hamish Kilburn writes…

Roundtable - Franklite

Lighting, especially in the parameters of hotel design, is not a tool. Instead it is an art form, which requires sensitive approach. Often an extension of the interior design scheme – and sometimes the thread that brings the whole scheme together – the lighting design in many hotels that are emerging on the scene in 2021 is breaking boundaries by adding theatre into areas of hospitality that otherwise would be look and feel cold.

When identifying when and how lighting in hotels evolved from practical to experimental, the answer seems to be collaboration; when it became the norm on large projects for interior designers to appoint a lighting designer, not only to elevate the ambiance but also to be the vital source of knowledge when it comes to concept turning into reality.

To understand innovation in lighting in today’s arena, myself and the team at Franklite pulled together some industry experts for our next virtual roundtable.

Meet the panel:

Hamish Kilburn: What are the major innovations that you have seen emerge recently?

Michael Curry: LED technology is a huge innovation that we are dealing with. I have been with DPA now for 22 years, and I am of an age that I believe is quite fortunate; I recall older technology and understood at the time why we used those. Things were clunky, functional but not slick. I think the pre-consumption with lighting design is that it is subjective. Actually, a lot of the time, there is a right and wrong way of doing things.

I’ll be honest, we were really sceptical of LED when it first emerged on our radar. It wasn’t until five years ago when we really started to find good products that were almost the same as halogen in terms of warmth and intelligence. In addition, there’s warm, dim and tuneable whites to consider, which allows the user to personalise the lighting scheme. As a result of this, lighting controls have become almost essential in hotels. However, now there’s a large conversation around lighting automation – not only to benefit the usability of the space but also to save energy – that is very exciting and so important not waste power.

We are also looking at retrofit LED, in terms of decorative lighting but also to converse power while also adding quality to lighting schemes.

decorative neon lighting in manchester YOTEL

Image credit: YOTEL

Sam Hall: We are actually currently working on a refurbishment in London that was originally completed 15 years ago, and one of the main comments that came back was that the lighting level was just too cold. Now, we can go back in and create far more atmosphere. What’s great about the lighting scheme inside this project is that you don’t notice it – this, to me, is a sign that the lighting has been really considered; it enhances the space and becomes the unsung hero.

At the moment, we are putting a lot of emphasis on sustainability, which to me too often feels like a buzzword. For me, it needs to now also be about longevity.

Ariane Steinbeck: Having a lighting designer on board at the beginning of a project is awesome, but internationally that is usually lagging behind, because people don’t understand the painstaking research that the lighting designer has done and you fall into the risk of a contractor coming in and wanting to just get on with the project, substitute things and really damage all that work in early concept stages. There needs to be a wider and greater understanding of the role of the lighting designer.

Gary Marshall: Clients are now asking about lighting a lot more than they used to, because they are beginning to see the value of good lighting. I think three or four years ago there was more expectation on the interior designer to be able to design the lighting. Innovation comes into it because thanks to technology advancing there is a lot more choice on the market, and with the interior designer and lighting consultant working in harmony the results can be extraordinary. For me, that’s really positive because it’s understanding the value of lighting, which we have always known but I don’t think that was the case from clients. I think that there has been a real mood change.

HK: Why has it taken this long, do you think, for clients to understand these roles?

GM: My view is that clients are given more choice. Take a hotel corridor for example, you can create completely different effects, using lighting, with what a designer specifies.

MC: Gary, you’re right. It’s exposure and experience. We work on a lot of residential projects as well as hotels. I have noticed in the last 10 years that the managers and head of operations are actually from the design industry and appreciate good design. Quite a lot of the operators, these days, now ask for a lighting consultant to be part of the team.

SH: Technology has become more affordable, and picked up by consumer brands. Good lighting is now more accessible in everyday life. When that happens, it puts pressure on the industry to keep up and stay ahead.

Image caption: Junior suite inside Belmond Cadogan Hotel, designed by GA Group. | Image credit: Belmond

Image caption: Junior suite inside Belmond Cadogan Hotel, designed by GA Group. | Image credit: Belmond

HK: How important is lighting when defining some of these lifestyle brands that are emerging on the international hotel design scene?

MC: Sam mentioned ‘unsung heroes’ and I completely agree. A lot of time, the lighting product itself is out of sight but we make the interior look spectacular. In terms of branding and signage, you can make the lighting and the products look appropriate for that brand.  We as lighting consultants, tend to interfere when needed in order to ensure all areas of the lighting looks exceptional, which I think really amplifies brands’ look and feel as a quality hospitality establishment.

AS: Lighting is such an integral part of the overall design. In my 30 year career in the industry, even ‘lower end’ brands will insist on a lighting designer, not only for looks but also for the economy that good lighting can bring to a company’s bottom line. I see a much greater integration between interior design and lighting disciplines. And I think some of the more sophisticated clients insists on doing things that are intuitive yet simple to operate. With everything, the more simple and more stripped away the experience is, the harder you have to work to ensure that it works behind the scenes.

GM: From a brand point of view, brands across all sectors are battling to get closer to their customer. If you take away the functionality of a brand, it becomes all about emotions, values and that in itself becomes more sensory. Some would argue that there is nothing more sensory than lighting.

HK: Are travel trends dictating the way in which you light a space?

MC: I suppose they are. Take the Instagram moment for example, and having to change moods within spaces. We are working on a project at the moment in Moscow where this is a big draw for the client, in order to, as Gary was saying, reinforce the brand. It comes down to comfort.

SH: I think it depends on the brand, to be honest. On a younger brand, the lighting has more presence. A few years ago we did the W in Shang-hi and the lighting is the artwork. Whereas if we were working on a hotel in a heritage building, then it becomes more subtle. Equally there are hotels that use lighting to enhance wellness and the consumer journey – so yes, lighting is absolutely changing as a result of travel trends and modern traveller demands.

HK: Gary, I wanted to highlight one of your projects, Middle Eight, where you created an immersive, modern suite that had no windows, therefore lacking natural lighting. Talk us through how you designed these areas to become the hotel’s premium suites… 

GM: We broke all the rules with that location. More often than not the most expensive suites are located at the top of the hotel in order to create privacy but also to utilise views. We were repositioning the hotel from a run-of-the mill hotel in London into a luxury/lifestyle hotel. We decided to take what were the meeting rooms on the first floor, which had a light-well on the ceilings in the centre of the room. We were able to punch roof lights in and we wrapped the living spaces around this interior courtyard, if you like.

To ensure we achieved a premium lighting scheme in these premium suites, we ensured that guests could change the lighting setting through the means of very simple controls.

HK: What would you say at the major pitfalls to avoid when creating lighting schemes?

SH: When you are working internationally, it’s very difficult to ensure everyone has the same intent, and that’s where good communication and strong relationships come in.

AS: For me, one manufacturer’s lighting element is not the same as another manufacturer’s lighting elements. They may look the same in image, but unless you touch the elements you really can’t tell whether it’s a quality product. Because everyone is so connected now, you can’t tell if a product element is ‘equivalent’ to another product without touching it.

Mark Lissauer: That’s a great point. We have lots of distributers around the world, and a year and a half ago we decided to open our own office in the Middle East. Whilst all the designs are specified in the UK, our connection to our distributers were losing when it came to going to site. Now, with this investment, we are able to streamline the process.

HK: Another area Franklite has invested in is its research and development with its own testing equipment on site. Perhaps you can tell us more about that…

ML: Michael was saying earlier reducing from 40 watts per square metre to 20 watts per square metre. With the photometer, we can give all the circuit wattages for that. Hopefully, this enables us to prove how our USPs in products are benefiting the overall look and feel of design schemes. We have just invested in this marvellous machine that looks at flicker, the flickers that are subliminal that could be impacting the quality of guests’ wellbeing.

HK: Let’s end by talking about Brexit. Has this resulted in designers being more aware of British manufacturers?

SH: Unfortunately not! There is a change from the project team. We are working on a number of projects in mainland Europe where they are wanting us to specify products from mainland Europe, which is great from an eco-perspective, but it does mean that we have to be more knowledgeable when it comes down to what certain brands can do and what their strengths are – and not trying to do something that’s not natural for that area. It is causing issues, and the general speed of sampling is also very difficult.

Equally, we have UK projects that are really championing only looking at manufacturers in the UK, which has been really refreshing to find even artisan manufacturers. That, for us, has been a game changer because it impacts every project.

GM: The gestation period of a hotel project is so long, we are just getting to the point now where it becomes more of an issue. I envision it becoming more of an issue and I am anticipation that situation.

RPW Design designed The Capital Suite

Image caption: The Capital Suite inside InterContinental London Park Lane, designed by RPW Design (Ariane Steinbeck). | Image credit: Will Pryce

HK: What else in lighting has inspired you recently?

AS: I want to know why we can’t incorporate that healthy spectrum of vitamin D to counter the deficit of natural light we don’t get during the winter,

I want know, especially in northern hemisphere where there is a deficit of sunlight in the winter months, why can’t we, with our sophisticated tech, launch a product that incorporates a healthy spectrum of what we need for our skin to produce vitamin D during these months.

MC: We have heard about this. It was a little while back a bit of a buzzword and idea, but it is just how we get that design into a scheme. The whole conversation around circadian rhythm is very interesting and we should always be thinking about it.

ML: We have just launched our L11 Tuneable White Light engine, which gives the user much more control – and we are absolutely now looking at replicating the health qualities of natural light.

Franklite, which won Best in British Product Design at The Brit List Awards 2021,  is one of our Recommended Suppliers and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

Main image credit: Unsplash

green tiled floor and ceiling in restaurant in hotel galei kinneret

Inspired by ancient ruins: Hotel Galei Kinneret unveils renovation

730 565 Pauline Brettell
Inspired by ancient ruins: Hotel Galei Kinneret unveils renovation

London-based design studio Saar Zafrir Design, unveils its latest project, a complete redesign of the previously abandoned Galei Kinneret Hotel, one of Israel’s first luxury hotels…

green tiled floor and ceiling in restaurant in hotel galei kinneret

Initially built in 1946, the original Galei Kinneret was one of Israel’s first luxury hotels founded by entrepreneur Lotte Eisenberg, and was inspired by a trip to the magnificent Villa d’Este Hotel in Lake Como.

When Saar Zafrir Design was appointed to fully redesign the uninhabited hotel, the design studio drew inspiration from the ancient ruins discovered onsite and reworked the charm of Eisenberg’s vision into a seamless design concept that blends the hotel into the natural landscape. The result is one of the most highly anticipated new openings on Israel’s hospitality scene.

outdoor restaurant with natural wicker lampshades on the edge of the sea of galilee

Image credit: Galei Kinneret / Amit Geron

Designer Saar Zafrir has drawn on these historical references to determine the narrative of the hotel, which celebrates the property’s long-standing history. Presenting a clean, white structure, the hotel’s façade has been kept very much the same. Meanwhile, the interior of the hotel has been transformed into a calm oasis that directs guests seamlessly towards the still waters and spectacular views across the Sea of Galilee. Emanating a sophisticated and serene atmosphere, the remodelled hotel features a neutral colour palette and the use of natural materials that complement the hotel’s natural surroundings.

“The area has been lacking in attention for some while, but with the relaunch of this iconic hotel, we believe Tiberias will once again become a leading destination for both domestic and international tourists to Israel having set a new standard of hospitality in Northern Israel.” – Designer Saar Zafrir.

The hotel shelters 123 spectacular guestrooms and suites with outdoor jacuzzis, and each with either a view of the vast mountainous landscape or the Sea of Galilee. Guestrooms feature parquet wood flooring and off-white panelled walls, with a soothing palette of natural and organic tones. The rooms, which have been designed to connect guests with the surrounding landscape, champion the use of natural materials with ample light flooding through large windows, and bathrooms finished in pale, veined marble and gold accents.

Further facilities include an indoor and outdoor bar, swimming pool, outdoor yoga deck, restaurant, spa, fully equipped gym, private beach and boat, and a synagogue for guest use.

natural tones and textures in room with seaview at hotel galei kinneret

Image credit: Galei Kinneret / Amit Geron

Upon entering the hotel, guests are greeted by a minimal, open space, which is characterised by three-dimensional graphic stone cladded walls, glossy marble flooring and elegant reception desks finished with marble and wood. The foyer of the hotel was kept intentionally clean and quiet, with the intention of the space to draw guests straight through the property, as a corridor to the Sea of Galilee. The hotel lobby offers a comfortable lounge area with wood panelled walls, parquet flooring and soft linen upholstered sofas with wooden accents.

sculptural monochromatic reception area in galei kinneret hotel

Image credit: Galei Kinneret / Amit Geron

Managing the hotel’s restoration from concept to completion, 90 per cent of the hotel’s fixtures and furnishings have been designed and custom made in-house by Saar Zafrir Design, to perfectly compliment the creative vision.

“I have such fond memories growing up and spending my summers on the Kinneret that despite not generally working in Israel, I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to work on a project that carried so much sentimental value to me,” said Zafrir. “The area has been lacking in attention for some while, but with the relaunch of this iconic hotel, we believe Tiberias will once again become a leading destination for both domestic and international tourists to Israel having set a new standard of hospitality in Northern Israel.”

understated entrance from hotel into restaurant at galei kinneret

Image credit: Galei Kinneret / Amit Geron

Through a smooth, cohesive wooden walkway, guests are led from the hotel lobby into the restaurant “Lotte”, named after Eisenberg herself. Presenting a menu honouring Lotte’s European roots merged with the flavours of Jerusalem, Michelin star awarded chef Asaf Granit (of Shabour and Balagan in Paris, Machne Yehuda in Jerusalem and The Palomar and Coal Office in London) is the mastermind behind this new culinary concept that captures the spirit of the original founder. Committed to working only with local farmers and suppliers, Lotte restaurant is a celebration of Israel’s delicious, fresh, and abundant produce grown between the Galilee Mountains and Golan Heights, with a menu offering dishes of fish, meat and fresh garden flavours. An interpretation of what Zafrir saw in the chef’s work, the space is vibrantly refined, with organic tones and the use of natural materials featuring parquet wood flooring, wood and rattan fixtures and floral upholstered accents that decorate the space. The main design features are the large archways covered in ceramic tiles in different shades of green, that climb up the walls and across the ceiling like leaves that gently disperse towards the glass wall leading out to the hotel’s private beach.

Overlooking the hotel’s private beach is an outdoor restaurant, sun lounger-lined swimming pool and cosy outdoor bar for guests to unwind at the water’s edge. Grounding the hotel to its historic roots, works by Israeli sculptor Yuval Lufen that manifest the archaeological remains found on the site have been implanted beneath the glass-bottomed swimming pool, with the original ruins currently preserved by the Antiquities Authority in Israel. At the foot of the pool, guests are invited to enjoy a drink and shelter from the sun beneath a huge tree-like structure by artist Gilad Keinan. The inspiration for creating this aluminium tree came from Zafrir’s experience at the Burning Man Festival in Nevada, resulting in an exceptional monument that combines both design with practicality – the sprawling leaves that overstretch the circular bar offer much needed shade from the blazing heat during the summer months.

Main image credit: Galei Kinneret / Amit Geron

Beach and pool at koh samui resort SAii Koh Samui Bophut

S Hotels & Resorts opens new resort on Koh Samui

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
S Hotels & Resorts opens new resort on Koh Samui

Just opened: SAii Koh Samui Bophut is an elegant low-rise, upscale resort planning to cater for those travellers wanting to stay in style, while soaking up the authentic essence of island of Koh Samui…

Beach and pool at koh samui resort SAii Koh Samui Bophut

S Hotels & Resorts is embarking on a new era of free-spirited hospitality on Thailand’s ‘Coconut Island’ of Koh Samui with the opening of SAii Koh Samui Bophut. The stylish low-rise sanctuary is nestled on Hanuman Bay, a secluded 300-metre long stretch of sand on Samui’s pristine northeast shore. Surrounded by lush foliage and coconut palms, with spectacular granite headlands that jut out into the sparkling sea, the elegant, eco-sensitive resort allows guests to unwind and escape the outside world.

SAii, from the Thai word for ‘sand’ or ‘pathway’, is an upscale lifestyle concept that plans to attract a new generation of experience-seeking guests. With private pools in every suite or villa and an array of engaging guest experiences, the resort was designed with couples and families in mind.

“SAii has captured our customers’ imaginations since it was first unveiled,” said Dirk De Cuyper, CEO, S Hotels & Resorts. “This fun and free-spirited lifestyle brand intuitively caters to a new generation of travellers who are curious and want to explore their destination, but on their own terms. With its spectacular seafront setting, stunning pool suites and villas, fantastic facilities, exceptional activities and deep environmental ethos, SAii Koh Samui Bophut will be an outstanding addition to our lifestyle collection.”

Hotel suite on koh samui featuring natural materials all with sea view

Image credit: S Hotels and Resorts

The resort is made up of a collection of spacious, standalone Plunge Pool Suites, One Bedroom Pool Villas and Beachfront Plunge Pool Suites. All showcase garden or sea views and come fully equipped with plenty of indoor and outdoor space, separate living areas and bedrooms, spa-inspired bathrooms, premium amenities and fast connectivity and Wi-Fi. Exclusive to the SAii brand are ‘creature comfort’ pillows, as well as personalised organic bathroom amenities from the unique M.I.Y Aroma Lab. The SAii App allows visitors to personalise every aspect of their vacation, with the ability to make requests, chat with resort’s team, book excursions, order room service and more, straight from their smartphone.

SAii Koh Samui Bophut is the fourth member of the SAii portfolio worldwide, joining SAii Lagoon Maldives, SAii Laguna Phuket and SAii Phi Phi Island Village. SAii Resorts will be the driving forces behind S Hotels & Resorts’ future expansion, as a forward-thinking Thai company strives to create a collection of hotels and resorts that reflect the vibrant spirit of their destination.

> Since you’re here, why not read about the eco gem, The Tongsai, on Soh Samui?

Main image credit: S Hotels & Resorts

Hamish Kilburn, Tina Norden, Balkaran Bassan and Vince Stroop on stage at HIX

HIX panel discussion: Designing hospitality for the ‘WFHotel’ generation

730 565 Pauline Brettell
HIX panel discussion: Designing hospitality for the ‘WFHotel’ generation

One of the stand-out moments from HIX 2021 was undoubtedly the installations that were displayed in the Hotel Tomorrow gallery. Designed collaboratively by Conran and Partner, Areen Design and stroop design, the aim was to reflect the coming together of co-working spaces and hotels. Editor Hamish Kilburn, who spent six months following the designers, moderated the panel discussion on the HIX Talks stage that explored every corner of the concept in detail. Pauline Brettell writes…

Hamish Kilburn, Tina Norden, Balkaran Bassan and Vince Stroop on stage at HIX

HIX 2021 has been two years in the making – like the entire hospitality industry, the event was subjected to Covid-19 cancellations and delays – but finally, last week saw the experiential trade show in the spotlight at London’s Business Design Centre. True to its manifesto and guiding principles, HIX presented us with not only new products and practical design solutions to marvel over, but it also opened discussion and debate around issues of direction, design and, of course, sustainability.

The spaces in which this spirit of debate and conversation were most visible, were the two installations, along with the discussions that were taken to the HIX Talks stage as a result.

The first of these immersive settings was the WFHotel installation, which presented designers with the challenge of re-looking at the hotel as a “new productive, fluid and well workplace”, and all that that means. It was a collaborative installation by the design studios of Areen Design, Conran & Partners, and stroop design. The three hand-selected studios worked together to present us with emerging possibilities. The designers representing the studios,  Balkaran Bassan, Tina Norden and Vince Stoop joined forces with editor Hamish Kilburn on the HIX Talks stage to explain the process and discuss the thoughts and ideas that resulted in the set, and just how the conversation developed into one that hopefully initiated debate and discussion rather than coming up with a formulaic answer or response. “The access we had into these studios was unprecedented,” said Kilburn. “It allowed us to follow the process from concept through to completion, to understand how each area of the installation evolved and mutate over time. “For me, though, the most inspiring element of this project was how it changed from being a competition between three studios to a purposeful collaboration, which really helped enforce this year’s theme of HIX: ‘all together now’.”

Although the project was a collaborate effort, each designer was able to create their own section within the overall installation. While there is clearly a need to overlap and integrate, the installations and the conversation that followed could be broadly divided into community and function, comfort and cocooning and wellness and nature. “It was inspiring to see how each design studio approached the brief differently,” Kilburn explained. “Conran and Partners injected the energy of community when they decided to launch workshops on their pod on the hour so that the space would transform in time. Meanwhlile, Areen Design created an art installation-style safe cocoon nest that brought down the heart rate. stroop design, very much inspired by its own situation of launching recently with no physical base, was inspired by nature – and unveiled its co-working pod as a walk-in-the-park experience. Outside these three areas, the studios worked together to help set the scene, using visuals and sound as tools for transformation from one area of the show to another.”

Discussing the question of community and function, Conran & Partners developed an interactive and community based focus to the design question. As explained by Tina Norden, while hotels have clearly always had to design for people, this concept took it a step further, encouraging the people using the space to define it and refine it, according to function and needs. Rather than over designing a space, the circular workspace was stripped back to allow for flexibility – flexibility of space and design being a key them throughout the discussion – to allow the people using the space to use it according to their needs in that moment.

The theme of wellness was explored by stroop design. Identifying the ‘work from wherever’ fluidity that has emerged out of the pandemic, and combining it with the importance of nature, especially in the urban built environment, was the focus. Stroop spoke about the need to maximise the ‘pockets of nature’ presented to us, along with the importance of nature in our wellbeing and therefore the importance of integrating that into the workplace and in so doing, ensuring a work, wellness balance.

Becoming a lot more introspective, and really championing the ‘circle of life’ motif that ran through all three installations, Areen Design created a soft and fluid quiet space, a space to cocoon. It was a place for thought, which provided an important counterbalance to the busy communality of the other spaces. Heightened by soft surfaces and lack of colour interference, this space gave a heightened sense of calm, and was a design devoid of unnecessary distraction.

“Not long after being presented with the brief and exploring initial ideas, the conversation soon developed from one of competition into one of collaboration – and this ethos was a positive note that sounded throughout the discussion.”

Having identified the differences, it was soon clear in discussion that the overall installation was all about collaboration and commonality. It was a process that, as mentioned by Kilburn, started out as a competition; a call to arms for three design studios to compete and establish who could come up with the best workplace solution. However, not long after being presented with the brief and exploring initial ideas, the conversation soon developed from one of competition into one of teamwork – and this ethos was a positive note that sounded throughout the discussion.

There was, as already mentioned, a clear theme or key word which emerged out of this discussion; flexibility. The need for flexible spaces and flexible design, to accommodate flexible purpose and mood. Coming out of the pandemic, lines and boundaries have been blurred as our personal spaces have had to be more multi-functional. We are now projecting those experiences onto what we want from public and hospitality spaces, specifically when it comes to design requirements around our co-working space. All three designers discussed at length the need for the need for that concept of flexibility to be applied to the design process as much as to the design itself. People have had to find the ‘space’ at home for work, play and wellness, and now expect hotels to deliver the same. A successful co-working space is about more than providing a socket to charge your phone, people are demanding a place that allows them to be creative, to work, to be responsive.

Tina Norden, Balkaran Bassan and Vince Stroop on stage at HIX

Image caption: Balkaran Bassan, Tina Norden and Vince Stroop were on the HIX Talks stage last week, explaining how their WFHotel concepts developed. Image credit: HIX

Another key theme of this discussion was that, along with the spirit of partnership, there developed an understanding of what we have in common rather than differences, so while on the surface the studios offered three very different design solutions, there was, as discussed by Tina Norden, Conran and Partners, “the red thread that ran through the designs”. The points the installations had in common were as important as their differences, and in fact ideally, aspects of all were required for a successful WFHotel space. The singularity of purpose, that red thread, strengthened the individual designs as they all presented us with different aspects of that flexible new space.

All three designs brought something different into the mix and highlighted the different elements that are required when we are looking critically at hotel design for tomorrow, a tomorrow which is rapidly becoming today. As with a lot of subjects, the questions around co-working spaces and design requirements where already happening before society got locked down, but Covid-19 and the ensuing shifts in society have accelerated this discussion. The WFHotels installation can therefore be seen as a starting point, and possibly even a challenge to start thinking more critically. As Bassan, succinctly put it, these installations should be seen as “conceptual thought bubbles,” that float into other conversations rather than a prescriptive solution.

The entire installation was described by stroop design as a “palette cleanser” from the main exhibition hall – it was a place to decompress after the hard sell of the main event where people where visually vying for space. In this space it was palpably quieter, and a lot calmer. There was a sense of community and common purpose, yet within that there remained space for so many different threads to be followed and discussions to be had.

If it was about creating an experience, then the circle of life swathed in fabric by Areen Design certainly did that, and as you walked into and quietly took time to explore the folds of fabric, you were confronted with the words of Haruki Murakami; “you won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm is all about”

The storm isn’t over, and the world is certainly not the same, but the conversation about what that means for the industry is certainly taking place as we try and work out exactly what the storm is all about. Hopefully, we are able to take back the narrative, and ensure that with some conscious and considered design we can somehow  charge the conversation with an increased positivity and energy.

And the suppliers…

The designers have expressed their sincere gratitude to the companies that and people who helped them throughout this process (and in some instances at very last minute) to achieve each their visual goals. Below is a nod to those brands; the often forgotten or at the very least, under-amplified, manufacturers that are vital part of the puzzle.

Conran and Partners: Alt Collective, Table Place Chairs, Matter of Stuff, Foresso, Fredericia, Carl Hansen & Son, Double Decker, Tomoko Kakita, Muuto
Areen Design: Alt Collective, Table Place Chairs, The Romo Group, Villa Nova, Latham Timber
stroop design: Technogym London, Elite Wallcovering by Article, Leaflike, Gubi, Ligne Roset, Astro Lighting, Romo Fabrics, Solid Surfaces, The Alt Collective, The Sunbeam Group

Main image credit: HIX

Exterior of Amada Colossos Resort

Amada Colossos Resort – large in size, made personal by design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Amada Colossos Resort – large in size, made personal by design

To understand whether or not a hotel on a ‘colossos’ scale can still create a boutique look and feel, editor Hamish Kilburn travelled to the Greek island of Rhodes – known as the Island of Sun – to check in to the 699-key Amada Colossos Resort

Exterior of Amada Colossos Resort

The most eastern Greek island – just 12 miles from Turkey, which can be seen vividly from the Old Town – Rhodes has become famous among tourists for its medieval city, which is twice the size of Dubrovnik; fascinating architecture; stone-paved alleys and beautiful, untouched natural landscape.

In recent years, due to its easy accessibility from the UK and wider Europe, the island has become somewhat of a tourism hotspot. In 2018, it was reported by Statista that Rhodes had 49,451 hotel rooms, the second largest reported figure among the Greek islands that year.

Among them is the beachfront Amada Colossos Resort, where, on the eastern coast, early risers during the small hours of the morning can capture the moment the Mediterranean Sea meets a bubble-gum pink sky as the sun starts to emerge on the edge of the horizon – a much welcome change of scenery from the craggy, grey autumn I left behind in England.

Since 1980, when the hotel first emerged as a 408-key hotel, it has evolved into several new chapters thanks to a series of renovations. Nothing, though, was quite as impressive or dramatic as than the €50m reconstruction and redevelopment project in 2017, which was implemented by architecture studio F. & K. KYDONIATIS & PARTNERS and completed in 2018.

Exterior image of Amada Colossos Resort

Image credit: Amada Colossos Resort

Aris Soulounias, Colossos SA CEO, a veteran and experienced hotelier, had the vision to create a resort that would offer, through a spectrum of locally inspired and meticulously selected details, a ‘modern philosophy of luxurious seafront holiday’; an irresistible combination of five-star living and authentic Greek hospitality.

Landscaped to blend into its natural setting, the hotel now shelters no less than 699 guestrooms (varying from 17 styles), all decorated in natural materials with a contemporary twist. To cater for the number of guests, the hotel features 16 bars and restaurants that are dotted throughout the resort, a 140-metre outdoor pool and even its own water park. The challenge, therefore, for the wide team at F. & K. KYDONIATIS & PARTNERS was to maintain a cohesive design narrative throughout – and this required a sensitive yet personal approach.

Inside one of the 32 sea-view suites, guests enter to a sense of calm, which, in one of the 12 Sea-View Executive Suites, is enhanced by the floor-to-ceiling balcony doors that frame an enchanted vista of endless sea, which is complimented by the colour scheme that includes punches of turquoise and blue.

Guestroom with handmade headboard inside Amada Colossos Resort - Sea View Executive Suite_2

Image credit: Amada Colossos Resort

Clever use of cove lighting aptly elevates the space, while also blurring any potential hard boundaries. Blended together with natural materials, such as a handcrafted wooden headboard from Bali and walls that have been painted with a modern lime wash effect to create a natural tone and texture, the suite feels earthy yet spacious, complete with a contemporary walk-in wardrobe, framed with LED strip lighting, a large living area, a luxurious bedroom and a balcony that stretches the entire width of the suite.

The bathroom, meanwhile, complete with Ideal Standard taps and shower fittings, is beyond simply a practical space. A large window, with panel-controlled blinds, allows natural light and a cohesive design style to flood into the space, as well as opening up yet another opportunity for guests to soak in the unmatched view of the sea below. “The first question was how to bring water into the building,” architect Konstantinos Kydoniatis tells Hotel Designs. “We opened up the bathrooms to give a feeling of more space and tried to orientate everything towards the sea. When visitors arrive, they will understand that they have come very close to the sea. That you can see the sea from many parts of the resort. That you can touch it.”

Bathroom inside Amada Colossos Resort Sea View Family Room (With sliding doors)

Image credit: Amada Colossos Resort

It would be easy with a hotel as large as Amada Colossos Resort for its design language to be muted or overshadowed by its size. However, like many answers in design, the solution came in the form of art. Throughout the hotel, guests will notice abstract sculptures and art pieces that reflect the property’s sense of location. Taking the art narrative deeper, I am told that in fact all the art sheltered within the building had been commissioned by Ms. Roula Soulounia, who was instrumental in the interior design process and the selection of the artworks adorning Elite Collections Suites and Villas as well as resort’s premises.

Sustainability fit to scale

Don’t let the hotel’s size fool you Despite its scale, the Amada Colossos’ commitment to sustainability is refreshing. Going much further than simply banning plastic straws – although the hotel has taken the liberty to introduce 450,000 pasta straws – decisions such as installing energy-efficient windowpanes, heat-recovery chillers to reduce energy costs of air conditioning units, prove that the hotel is, from its foundations, a non-greenwashing, sustainable core.

In addition, the outside walls have been fitted with an external thermal insulation composite system and all interior walls have been painted with European Eco-Label paints. The hotel also used 40,000 metres of energy-saving LED tape around the premises (just another 295 metres and it would have completed a marathon). Around the resort, a total of 14,000 low-energy LED bulbs have been fitted, and by introducing reverse osmosis and nanofiltration technology, not only is the tap water in rooms and common areas drinkable, but guests save 450g of CO2 emissions (equivalent to six km of driving) by consuming their three-litre daily water quota.

Outside, the landscaping has been done with local Mediterranean plants, minimising irrigation needs.

Sunrise image of pool at Amada Colossus in Rhodes

Image credit: Amada Colossos Resort

As an added touch, screens in the lifts reference these sustainable milestones, which ensure the message around conscious hospitality is being heard loud and clearly, without it feeling too forced.

The real power of F&B 

And now we come to the real answer on how a large hotel can indeed still shelter an apt boutique look and feel. The power of F&B has long been explored in the arena of hospitality, but nowhere can it set different scenes than in a large resort, and often it is the make or break moment of whether a hotel will cater for modern demand travellers. In charge of the main restaurant as well as three á-la-carte restaurants (Greek, Italian and Asian) is Executive Chef Konstantinos Vasileious, who along with his committed team ensure that the hotel’s extensive menus hit the notes, which they do precisely in every dish.

The three á-la-carte restaurants are positioned next to each other, but could not be more different in their design. The Greek restaurant appropriately feels more like a Greek house than a hospitality establishment, with authentic artwork and ceilings made from used crates. The Italian restaurant, meanwhile, features a beautiful tiled floor and orb-like lighting with matt black and wooden furniture to reflect a contemporary image. Lastly, the Asian restaurant has been designed with a sharp eye to feature Asian-inspired lighting that plays on different textures.

Asian-inspired F&B outlet in hotel in Rhodes

Image credit: Amada Colossos Resort

If trends are to be believed, with travellers expected to journey deeper and for longer in the future, hotels such as Amada Colossos Resort have the ability, flexibility and space to offer something for almost everyone. As I check out – turning over my shoulder to capture the postcard-perfect view one last time – I feel confident to conclude that the owners and management team behind this hotel work tirelessly and effectively, through design as well as service, to ensure that each guest’s experience is unique, comfortable and memorable – you don’t get much more boutique than that.

Main image credit: Amada Colossos Resort


The Luxury Collection makes debut in Rocky Mountains

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The Luxury Collection makes debut in Rocky Mountains

The Luxury Collection Heralds a new beacon of sophistication and vibrancy in the Rocky Mountains with the Debut of The Hythe, a Luxury Collection Resort, Vail…


The Luxury Collection Hotels & Resorts, part of Marriott Bonvoy’s portfolio of 30 extraordinary hotel brands, today announced the opening of The Hythe, a Luxury Collection Resort, Vail. Owned by DiamondRock Hospitality Company, the brand-new luxury resort concept in the heart of the Rocky Mountains debuts after undergoing a $40 million transformation, including an entirely revamped arrival and lobby experience, reinvigorated outdoor spaces and four brand-new culinary concepts. The resort marks Marriott International’s only Luxury Collection alpine resort in North America.

“With over 5,200 acres of world-renowned terrain, Vail, Colorado has become one of the most popular mountain resort communities in North America,” said Philipp Weghmann, Vice President and Global Brand Leader for The Luxury Collection. “The addition of The Hythe, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Vail to this legendary destination is an extension of the unique experiences available in the region. We are proud to announce the opening of the resort as the only Luxury Collection alpine resort in this iconic destination.”

Boasting 344 rooms, inclusive of 22 suites and 16 spacious residences, guests are situated just steps from the base of Vail Mountain where they can explore a plethora of outdoor experiences designed for every season or take in the charming and bustling cobblestone streets of Lionshead Village, which offers countless shops and art galleries. The Hythe serves as a gateway to Vail’s most exciting and desirable experiences, whether guests are looking to partake in exclusive alpine excursions or rejuvenate at the on-site recovery-focused spa. Inspired by the legendary founders of Vail Ski Resort, Pete Seibert and Earl Eaton, The Hythe reimagines the revelry, camaraderie, and hospitality of après ski, infusing the ‘good-time-was-had-by-all’ spirit into all aspects of the guest experience, no matter the time of day or season.

Helmed by Wilson Ishihara Design, the interiors of The Hythe are inspired by the origins of Vail, those who built it in the 1960s, and the beautiful surrounding nature that drove people to the destination. A pioneering spirit, hospitality, and a mutual love of skiing can be felt in each elevated design element. Adorned with elegant custom furniture and art pieces, entering the lobby brings guests into a majestic and serene Rocky Mountain design scheme. Punctuated with glamorous 60’s touches and historic ski references, the space brings guests a sense of unparalleled authenticity. Visitors will be pulled in by thoughtful, clean design details such as local Colorado calacatta marble quarried from the Rocky Mountain, carved wood feature art inspired by the local shepherding tradition of Arborglyphs, marble flooring textured to evoke snow fall on the landscape, carved black stone walls, and Douglas fir siding wood panels inspired by an alpine chalet.

The Hythe’s namesake, ‘haven’, is fully realised in the resort’s 344 guestrooms, which offer elegant and opulent spaces, creating a true respite. With a focus on design elements that invite relaxation and recovery from a day spent on-mountain, picture windows boast the same views of Vail Mountain that inspired the passion of Pete Siebert and Earl Eaton many years ago. Wood, stone, leather, and faux fur bring a welcoming sanctuary to lay one’s head or simply spend the whole day.

> Since you’re here, why not read about W Dubai, which has been signed?

Main image credit: The Hythe, a Luxury Collection Resort, Vail

Warner Bros. Hotel - Hotel Designs

World’s first Warner Bros. hotel opens on Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
World’s first Warner Bros. hotel opens on Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island

The world’s first WB hotel is situated on Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island, steps away from the Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi Theme Park. The 257-key hotel invites guests on a ‘journey through the world of Warner Bros.’ most iconic films and television series…

Warner Bros. Hotel - Hotel Designs

Miral, Abu Dhabi’s leading curator of magnetic experiences in collaboration with Warner Bros., home to one of the most well-known and successful collections of brands and characters in the world, has announced The WB Abu Dhabi, located on Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island, the first ever Warner Bros. themed hotel, part of Curio Collection by Hilton, has officially opened its doors to guests. The hotel allows guests to see their favourite stories and characters brought to life through unique hospitality experiences that only the rich history and storied legacy of Warner Bros. could offer. 

“This is yet another great moment for us, with The WB Abu Dhabi hotel opening on Yas Island, further positioning it as a top global destination for leisure, entertainment and business,” said HE Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of Miral. “We are very proud of our long-standing partnership with both Warner Bros. Themed Entertainment and Hilton, bringing world firsts and global hospitality offerings and experiences to Abu Dhabi.”

Featuring more than 400 curated images and film and TV props, guests at the world’s first Warner Bros. hotel will be treated to a journey of discovery through film and television, enjoying Warner Bros.’ rich history and library of timeless productions at every touchpoint from arrival to check-out. While dining in one of five restaurants on the property, you can listen as the piano from “Westworld,” the hit HBO science fiction TV show, plays a familiar tune. Visitors can stroll through the lobby or admire 360-degree city and sea views alongside their favorite props and costumes from Warner Bros. films and TV shows.  Kids and families can ring up one of their favourite Looney Tunes characters for a room service treat brought to them by the Wascally Wabbit, Bugs Bunny himself.

“Our dream has come true with the grand opening to the first ever Warner Bros. branded hotel. Our incredible partners at Miral and Hilton, have helped us make this vision a reality for our fans around the world,” explained Pam Lifford, President of WarnerMedia Global Brands and Experiences. “We always strive to be fan focused and have developed an exceptional hospitality experience for them to further connect with the iconic Warner Bros. brands, franchises, and characters they know and love. Guests visiting Warner Bros. World right next door will have the ultimate encore to their park experience by relaxing and treating themselves to a stay at The WB Abu Dhabi.”

Lobby area inside Warner Bros Hotel in Abu DhabiJochem-Jan Sleiffer, President, Hilton, Middle East, Africa & Turkey, added: “With the opening of The WB Abu Dhabi hotel as part of Curio Collection by Hilton, we continue our successful partnership with Miral on Yas Island.  This is the second of three hotels we are opening together, following on from the opening of Hilton Abu Dhabi Yas Island earlier this year, with DoubleTree by Hilton Abu Dhabi Yas Island Residences soon to come.  This property is a perfect representation of what Curio Collection by Hilton is all about, unique locations and experiences that carry their own distinct identity as a concept underpinned by the same upscale Hilton service.”

Guests of The WB Abu Dhabi hotel begin their story as they pull up to the hotel and are greeted by digital screens that span the height of the building, playing over 35 different pieces of original content created for the hotel. Before entering the hotel, visitors won’t want to miss the iconic “Friends” fountain, or snaping a pic with the all-new Batmobile from the upcoming highly anticipated film, The Batman. Guests will then enter the lobby and be drawn to the hotel’s uniquely designed lobby columns. A spectacular Living Archive (spiral staircase) also resides in the lobby and will house an evolving collection of items dedicated to the vast depth and history of WB’s role in entertainment. It will showcase original films and a number of Warner Bros. props such as Cowboy boots from the 1956 film Giant, worn by James Dean, Michael Keaton’s cowl from 1989 film, Batman, original drawing from The Great Gatsby and so much more. As guests continue their journey, the storytelling experience is further enriched with guest room corridors displaying a curated gallery of artwork.

Furnishing with nods to Warner Bros. legacy of rich story telling make up each of the hotel’s 257 rooms. Three themes have inspired the guestroom artwork. The first theme, “From Script to Screen,” highlights standout moments from Warner Bros.’ movies and shows and documents the journey from the written page to the final shot. The second theme, “Artist Confidential,” celebrates a variety of talent in front of and behind the camera in some of Warner Bros.’ favourite productions. The third theme, “The Vault” features rarely seen images from Warner Bros.’ most memorable archives.

Accompanying the hotel’s unique design is a broad range of world class food and beverage offerings featuring five dining options catering to both adults and children. Craft Services, located in the lobby lounge, offers a relaxing coffee break after a busy day, while Sidekicks is the perfect family friendly place for socialising and interacting while enjoying a flavorful international menu. For those lounging by the pool, The Matinee provides a casual dining option for guest of all ages, complete with a dive-in pool theatre and Mediterranean menu. Additionally, guests looking to indulge in an elegant dining experience, can visit The Director’s Club offering a sophisticated meatery where charcoal ovens, perfectly aged cuts, and a menu selection of dishes inspired to reflect the movie scene setting and supporting the whole cast, serve the mature palate, or enjoy an experience at The Overlook, a fabulous lounge with a relaxing infinity pool and beautiful 360-degree city, theme park and sea views.

The hotel is home to a host of leisure amenities for guests to enjoy, whether that’s lounging by the family pool area, working out in the fitness centre, relaxing in the spa, exploring the artwork and props or shopping in the Warner Bros. store, the Prop Shop. For younger guests, the Kid’s Club will offer a vibrant and playful space designed to bring Warner Bros.’ characters to life. Some of WB’s world-renowned characters such as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and others will participate in entertaining activities throughout the hotel providing guest memories that will last a lifetime. The hotel also caters for business meetings and events with a large 394 square-metre multi-function ballroom and expansive meeting room facilities perfect for events.

> Since you’re here, why not read about W Hotels arrival on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi?

Main image credit: Hilton Hotels

dubai skyline with new marriott w hotel

Marriott signs agreement to open W Dubai

730 565 Pauline Brettell
Marriott signs agreement to open W Dubai

Marriott has signed an agreement with wasl Hospitality & Leisure LLC to bring the W Hotels brand to Dubai’s sought-after Jumeriah Beach coastline. Set to become an ‘iconic addition’ to the Dubai skyline, the 318-key W Dubai will combine the culture of the W brand with the boundless energy of the city. Here’s what we know…

dubai skyline with new marriott w hotel

Marriott International, Inc. has just announced it has signed an agreement with wasl Hospitality & Leisure LLC, to bring the W Hotels Worldwide brand to Dubai’s Jumeirah Beach coastline. Slated to open in 2022, W Dubai – Mina Seyahi is set to become an urban escape that will bring the eclectic design, unconventional luxury, and innovative programming that travellers have come to expect from the W Hotels brand.

“We are seeing increasing demand for luxury lifestyle brands in Dubai, and with its mix of culture and high-energy lifestyle, the emirate is the perfect destination for the trend-setting W Hotels brand,” said Candice D’Cruz, Vice President – Luxury Brands, Europe, Middle East & Africa, Marriott International. “With its unexpected design and iconic, socially driven Whatever/Whenever® service, W Dubai – Mina Seyahi will become a destination within a destination.”

Located close to Dubai’s thriving leisure destinations, such as Dubai Marina and JBR Walk, W Dubai – Mina Seyahi is well-situated to offer guests a vibrant and playful escape. The 31-storey hotel is expected to feature 318 guestrooms, including 26 suites and an Extreme WOW Suite (W’s take on a Presidential Suite). The W Lounge (the brand’s signature take on the hotel lobby) is anticipated to draw inspiration from a Middle Eastern gathering place and will be a dynamic and lively space, where guests can mix and mingle over crafted cocktails and light bites. Anticipated plans include a new sunset destination experience by the pool overlooking the stunning Mina Seyahi bay, as well as a signature outlet on the 31st floor, with unsurpassed views of Dubai’s world-famous Palm Jumeirah Island.

FUEL, the W brand’s high-energy, social take on wellness that allows guests to focus on mind and body, will be at the heart of the BAR-B spa, which is expected to feature three treatment rooms and a beauty bar. The FIT Fitness Centre will see UK brand 1Rebel, the ultimate sport-luxe fitness experience, make its debut in the UAE, with a 2500-square-metre, dual-storey studio in the hotel.

“We are thrilled to strengthen our relationship with wasl Group to open W Dubai – Mina Seyahi in such an important leisure destination in Dubai,” said Sandeep Walia, Chief Operating Officer, Middle East, Marriott International. “This new hotel underscores our commitment to growing our luxury portfolio in the Middle East, while signifying the demand for the W Hotels brand in the region.”

Marriott International currently operates six properties and residences under the W Hotels brand across the Middle East. W Dubai – Mina Seyahi is anticipated to be the brand’s second property in Dubai.

Since you are here why don’t you read about W Hotel in Changsha


Main image credit: Marriott International

hotel lounge with eclectic lighting and natural finishes

Crowne Plaza Hotels and Resorts opens its first hotel in Hungary

730 565 Pauline Brettell
Crowne Plaza Hotels and Resorts opens its first hotel in Hungary

Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts has announced the opening of Crowne Plaza Budapest. Located in the heart of the Hungarian capital, the hotel is in a prime position for both locals, and those travelling to Budapest for business, leisure or a combination of the two…

hotel lounge with eclectic lighting and natural finishes

Designed to meet the needs of the modern business traveller, Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts intrinsically understands the work/life balance, and this is brought to life across the brand, through a modern, distinct and purposeful design, featuring multi-functional zones, great food and drinks, and a warm and engaging approach to guest service. Crowne Plaza Budapest continues this tradition through both its design and its location.

Historically two separate cities, Buda and Pest, that joined in the 19th century, there are two unique characteristics that can been seen when exploring the city. Whether it’s the historic architecture and rolling hills of the west (Buda) or the business hub and trendy bars of the east (Pest) – there is something for everyone. Crowne Plaza Budapest is situated in the Pest (east) side of the city, alongside the iconic Nyugati train station, known for its design and construction by the renowned Eiffel Company. As the main travel hub for much of the international train travel coming in and out of the Hungarian capital, the building itself has recently undergone an extensive restoration project to return the late-19th Century structure to its former glory.  Adjacent to the hotel is the newly built Westend shopping centre, accessible directly through the hotel. Guests can visit the shopping centre’s three-hectares of roof garden on the top of the building, as well as all the stores and services available within.

contemporary hotel lobby design at crowne plaza budapest

Image credit: Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts

All 230 guestrooms and suites at the hotel have a distinctive modern design and layout to help encourage productivity, restoration, and to inspire guests. Guests will enjoy a noticeable sense of space with a layout that includes a desk area for work, a sofa for relaxation and a comfortable bed with high-quality bedding to promote a good night’s sleep – keeping that work/life balance high on the agenda.

hotel bedroom design with work space and desk

Image credit: Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts

Guests can also take full advantage of the hotel’s Plaza Workspace, a flexible space offering visitors and guests the opportunity to collaborate, meet colleagues, or work solo. The combination of flexible working and relaxation spaces, with food and drink options, enable guests to move seamlessly between work and downtime. Crowne Plaza Budapest also has an additional 13 meeting rooms and event spaces available to hire, and a Club Lounge with exclusive views from the private terrace overlooking the skyline of both Buda and Pest.

Roof terrace overlooking the Budapest skyline

Image credit: Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts

The onsite restaurant focusses on locally sourced, sustainable and healthy produce, helping guests refuel during their stay. Whether it’s the speciality coffee sourced from Hungarian-born coffee connoisseur Laszlo Banyai living in Costa Rica, or something sweet prepared by the award-winning Hungarian chain of confectionaries, Hiszteria, everything about the Axis Café and Lounge is aimed at introducing both international visitors and locals to the growing success of Hungarian gastronomy. In early 2022, the hotel will open a new rooftop restaurant called Cult, with a large terrace and panoramic views of the city.

“During 2020, we had time to reflect on the things that we take for granted and what has been missed through the lack of travel: the importance of human connection,” says Maurice Janssen, General Manager, Crowne Plaza Budapest. “There has been a distinctive shift in people’s mindset when it comes to business travel. No longer do hotel guests need to feel isolated in their rooms or confined to a business centre to feel productive, and no longer do locals need to be hesitant to walk into a hotel lobby to have a coffee and do some emails for fear of being asked for their room number – the spaces within our hotel are open to all, and we are very much looking forward to hosting our future guests and locals alike.”

Also in Europe, the brand recently opened its Crowne Plaza Nice – Grand Arenas, located on the stunning French Riviera as it continues to grow around the world with 409 Crowne Plaza hotels now open and a further 101 in the pipeline.

> Since you are here, why not read more about what’s happening in Budapest?

Main image credit: Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts

Rooftop render of hotel in Covent Garden

Berlin comes to London: AMANO to open new hotel in 2022

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Berlin comes to London: AMANO to open new hotel in 2022

The German boutique lifestyle hotel brand, The AMANO Group, announced it will open its debut hotel in London in 2022. Hotel AMANO Covent Garden promises to bring the cool and vibrant energy of Berlin to the heart of London. Here’s what else we know…

Rooftop render of hotel in Covent Garden

Located on Covent Garden’s Drury Lane, a luxury hotel will emerge next year marking the first international destination from Berlin-based hotel brand, The AMANO Group, which currently has eight hotels in Berlin, one in Munich, and one in Düsseldorf.

Render of exterior of AMANO Covent GardenAMANO hotels offer sophisticated urban living in a central location at a fair price, and are carefully integrated into the cultural life of a city. Extrovert by nature and unafraid to be different, the hotels are renowned for their distinctive design and immersive drinks and dining experiences.

Formerly a 1980s office building known as Drury House, this 141-room property is the first of multiple AMANO hotels set to open in London. Hotel AMANO Covent Garden will offer a new destination for Londoners to socialise in, as well as visitors coming to the city. Here you’ll find a basement bar, restaurant, sky bar and rooftop terrace with impressive city views and DJs spinning music on weekends.

Throughout the property, we are being told to expect dark moody tones and unique design features, which have been imagined by London-based design studio, Woods Bagot, the lead architect and interior designer behind the new opening.

Render of luxury lobby in AMANO's first hotel in the UK

Image credit: The AMANO Group

“As a Berlin-based company, opening our first international property in London was always a natural step for us,” said Ariel Schiff, Co-founder of The AMANO Group. “Like Berlin, London is a dynamic city known for its thriving nightlife and multicultural community. We felt the spirit of the AMANO brand would blend in well here. We’re excited to offer guests a unique hotel and leisure experience, bringing a taste of Berlin to London.”

With a wealth of tourist hotspots on its doorstep, like the recently renovated Theatre Royal Drury Lane, Hotel AMANO Covent Garden will make a great base for solo and business travellers, couples, and families wanting to explore the capital. Guests can choose from three room categories (cosy, comfy and roomy) to suit a range of budgets.

Watch this space.

Main image credit: The AMANO Group

colourful parasols and canopies at hyatt island resort

Unveiled: The latest brands to join the Red Sea development

730 565 Pauline Brettell
Unveiled: The latest brands to join the Red Sea development

With the highly anticipated Red Sea Project getting underway, we thought we would take a look at the nine leading hotel brands who are now on board and set to join the Red Sea party…

colourful parasols and canopies at hyatt island resort

The Red Sea Development Company, the developer behind the world’s most ambitious regenerative tourism project, has announced the signing of nine hotel management agreements with international hotel brands to operate resorts in the first phase of development at The Red Sea Project. With the first phase of development on track for completion by the end of 2023, and with a total of 16 hotels set to offer 3,000 hotel rooms across five islands and two inland sites, we thought we would take a look at some of the latest developments.

The list of the hotels who have signed up reads like a who’s who of the international hotel world, and includes: EDITION Hotels and St Regis Hotels & Resorts, part of Marriott International; Fairmont Hotel & Resorts, Raffles Hotels & Resorts and SLS Hotels & Residences, all part of global hospitality group Accor; Grand Hyatt, part of Hyatt Hotels Corporation; Intercontinental Hotels & Resorts and Six Senses, part of IHG Hotels & Resorts; and Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts, a global luxury hospitality company.

Each brand at The Red Sea Project has embraced the vision of the project and have agreed to work together to collaborate in making the destination a success. The partners have welcomed the industry-pioneering sustainability standards of TRSDC and the broader commitment towards regenerative tourism development.

High on this list is Marriott International , who have plans to develop two of its flagship brands as part of the project, with both St Regis and EDITIONS set to enhance their footprint across the Kingdom.

“We are excited to be working with The Red Sea Development Company to introduce St. Regis Hotels & Resorts and EDITION to one of Saudi Arabia’s most-anticipated projects,” said Jerome Briet, Chief Development Officer, Europe, Middle East & Africa, Marriott International. “These milestone signings illustrate Marriott International’s commitment to the growth of the tourism sector in the Kingdom and highlight increased demand for lifestyle and luxury accommodations and experiences.”

crystal clear water at island resort of st regis in the red sea

Image credit: Marriott Hotels

The St. Regis Red Sea Resort marks the brand’s introduction in Saudi Arabia, and the continued growth of its portfolio in the Middle East. Situated on a private island, the resort is expected to feature 90 villas, two signature restaurants, an outdoor pool, fitness centre, and spa, in addition to a Children’s Club. Expected to open in 2023, the exclusive resort will offer the brand’s visionary spirit, avant-garde style and bespoke service.

contemporary architectural design of timber clad EDITION red sea hotel

Image credit: Marriott International

The proposed EDITION Hotel will be located on the Red Sea Project’s main island of Shaura. The Red Sea EDITION is slated to open in 2023 with 240 guestrooms, including one-, two- and three-bedroom suites. The property is set to reflect the best of its location’s cultural and social milieu and of the time. The hotel plans to offer two signature restaurants, a destination bar, beach bar, fitness centre, a swimming pool, and spa.

“It is with great pleasure that we welcome Marriott International to The Red Sea Development Company family,” commented John Pagano, CEO at The Red Sea Development Company. “Securing globally esteemed and recognized brands such as St. Regis Hotels & Resorts and EDITION operating our luxury resorts is a significant and positive step forward for our flagship destination. We are very much looking forward to working hand in hand with Marriott International to deliver unique and immersive guest experiences underpinned by a commitment to enhancing the environment and uplifting local communities as we endeavour to stay true to our regenerative promise.”

The Red Sea Project, one of the first ‘giga’ projects announced by Saudi Arabia’s government, is an ambitious regenerative landmark project, covering 28,000 square kilometres on the west coast of the country. The destination is expected to offer a new type of barefoot luxury experience and is being developed with the highest standards of sustainability. With an archipelago of more than 90 untouched natural islands, as well as dormant volcanoes, desert, mountains and cultural sites, the project is expected to deliver new levels of service excellence, using technology to enable a seamless personalized experience that aims to position Saudi Arabia on the global tourism map.

Main image credit: Grand Hyatt

Orange couch and indoor plants at Beckett Locke hotel

Lifestyle brand Locke opens second hotel in Dublin

730 565 Pauline Brettell
Lifestyle brand Locke opens second hotel in Dublin

Set to become a new hub for culture and entertainment in the city Beckett Locke brings its home-meets-hotel concept to the centre of Dublin’s thriving docklands area…

Orange couch and indoor plants at Beckett Locke hotel

As a brand that isn’t prepared to waste time procrastinating, Locke is seriously catching up to – dare we say ‘taking over from’ – the conventional lifestyle brands that have for decades dominated the international hotel design scene. Following the launch of Zanzibar Locke, which was hotel brand’s first property to emerge outside of the UK, the stylish brand has now opened its second hotel in Dublin.

Tucked behind the 3Arena, Beckett Locke is a 241-studio aparthotel, which aims to inspire and connect travellers through mindful design, activated social spaces, a locally led cultural programme and disruptive food and drink concepts that celebrate the character and social fabric of its locality.

Set around a naturally lit atrium, Beckett Locke features a neighbourhood co-working space, artisan coffee shop, restaurant and intimate cocktail bar in addition to meeting and event space for up to 100 people. Beckett Locke’s beautifully designed apartments (which range from 23sqm to 53sqm) each feature fully-fitted kitchens, as well as living and dining space, making them suitable for short, medium, and long stays.