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Hotel Groups

Apurva Kempinski Bali unveils new design-led villas

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Apurva Kempinski Bali unveils new design-led villas

Newly launched villa collection, designed by Trivium Design Group, marks the competition of The Apurva Kempinski Bali…

Nestled in tropical gardens on the clifftops of Nusa Dua, The Apurva Kempinski Bali has completed its design renovation, which results in the launch of 43 new villas. 

Named after the mighty kingdoms that once ruled over Indonesia, the one-, two- and three-bedroom pool villas designed by Trivium Design Group evoke the tropical characteristics of southern Bali, offering discerning visitors complete privacy, spacious indoor-outdoor living and a delectable flavour of Balinese life.

“We have made tremendous efforts to showcase Indonesian heritage in the eyes of the world by incorporating the best local craftsmanship, philosophy and materials into the interior design,” said Rudy Dodo, founder of Jakarta-based Trivium Design Group, which is responsible for interiors throughout the resort.”

Image credit: Kempinski Hotels

Hidden away among tropical gardens, each of the two-storey villas affords complete privacy. Self-contained plunge pools and outdoor terraces are surrounded by lush foliage and clever architectural features created by architect Budiman Hendropurnomo, who founded the Indonesia office of Denton Corker Marshal.

“The debut of our new villa collection means The Apurva Kempinski Bali is ready to welcome families or groups of any size, for any occasion; from intimate family escapes and show-stopping weddings, to board-level meetings and incentives,” said General Manager Vincent Guironnet. “The completion of the villas marks the final stage in our development, just in time for our grand opening. With 475 rooms, suites and villas, six dining outlets, an outstanding spa and a collection of versatile meetings and events spaces, The Apurva Kempinski Bali is one of the most dynamic, dramatic and breath-taking resorts on the Island of the Gods.”

All of the villas offer private plunge pools and spacious outdoor terraces, while the larger options also feature kitchens and rooftop dining areas. Wood and stone-clad interiors are meticulously finished with rattan bamboo furniture, woven Sumba textiles and handmade woodcarvings from Bali and Java, giving guests a flavour of Bali’s rich history of design and creativity.

Main image credit: Kempinski Hotels

Property group JAHAMA unveils plans for debut hotel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Property group JAHAMA unveils plans for debut hotel

JAHAMA Group has received pre-planning consent from South Lanarkshire Council for a full-service 100-bedroom facility in Clydebridge on the outskirts of East Glasgow…

International property and investment business JAHAMA Group has announced plans to develop its first hotel.

Investment in hospitality facilities is part of JAHAMA’s wider strategy to develop surplus land around existing and former industrial sites for a range of property uses, which enhance local communities while also bringing employment and tourism to the area.

South Lanarkshire Council’s support follows a pre-application enquiry submitted by JAHAMA last September. The scheme is for redundant land to the east of sister company Liberty and its iconic Clydebridge Steelworks, situated to the north of Cambuslang.

Once built, Clydebridge Hotel will deliver 50 permanent jobs and help create further indirect jobs in the wider community. UK property and development expert Strutt & Parker (part of the BNP Paribas Real Estate Group) has been appointed to advise JAHAMA on this project and secure planning permission for the development.

The 10-acre site benefits from a strategic road network including easy access to the M74, proximity to the River Clyde and a substantial area of woodland, providing opportunities for future guest amenities.

The plans for a full-service hotel are designed to offer a wide variety of activities to both leisure and business travellers as well as amenities to the local community. When developed, the site will include a restaurant, café, bar and state-of-the-art fitness club.

The east of Glasgow has undergone considerable regeneration over the last decade with the construction of buildings for the Commonwealth games such as the Athletes Village at Dalmarnock, Emirates Arena and The Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome.  The wider Clyde Gateway regeneration project is also attracting plenty of property investment and additional businesses into the area, which the hotel will be serving.

JAHAMA’S CEO Dilip Awtani said: “We are delighted to be contributing to the huge regeneration activity that is currently taking place in East Glasgow. The recent investment in the infrastructure and recreational facilities will drive tourism and business activity to the city, create jobs and other benefits for the local community. This is why we believe that Cambuslang is an ideal location for a modern enhanced-services hotel and leisure facility.

“Our team has a wealth of property development and finance experience that can bring these plans to fruition and advance further commercial property developments, utilising the extensive land within JAHAMA’s portfolio.

“For this project, we would also be keen to partner with branded operators in the area or new to the city that can work with us to turn the hotel in Clydebridge into a popular destination.”

JAHAMA is part of a collection of industrial companies that form the GFG Alliance, which also includes the owner of neighbouring Clydebridge and Dalzell steelworks, Liberty Steel Group.

Sanjeev Gupta, Founder and Executive Chairman of the GFG Alliance said: “We are focussed on Scotland as a key area of investment, already deploying funds of £500m as recently set out in our Scottish Investment Report.  The Clydebridge site was part of our first Scottish investment and I am pleased that the initial investment in the steel business is also bringing further local opportunities.

“We have recently received permission to build a zipwire leisure facility in the Highlands at Kinlochleven so the tourism industry is becoming an increasingly important part of GFG’s Scottish portfolio.”

Main image credit: Google Maps

EARLY RELEASE tickets open for Hotel Designs’ premium networking events

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
EARLY RELEASE tickets open for Hotel Designs’ premium networking events

For limited time only, Hotel Designs has opened discounted EARLY RELEASE tickets to Meet Up London (May 13) and Meet Up North (July 6)…

After hosting a hat-trick of successful and meaningful premium networking events up and down the country last year, Hotel Designs is offering designers, architects, hoteliers, developers and suppliers to purchase discounted EARLY RELEASE tickets to Meet Up London and Meet Up North.

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

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

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

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

Sponsors for Meet Up London (so far): 

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

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

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

Sponsors for Meet Up North (so far):

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

Early Release offer strictly ends January 31, 2020.

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

close up of wall partition in the restaurant

How twenty2degrees redesigned Budapest Marriott Hotel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
How twenty2degrees redesigned Budapest Marriott Hotel

Hotel Designs follows twenty2degrees, which has just completed a two-phase refurbishment of Budapest Marriott Hotel…

Whenever a project completes from The Brit List 2019 accredited design firm twenty2desgrees, you know that its design is going to do three things: 1) stand out from the crowd, 2) be full of personality and 3) have meaning. The team’s latest project, Budapest Marriott Hotel, is no exception of that unwritten, yet widely known, rule.

close up of wall partition in the restaurant

Phase one of the renovation began with the brand’s signature ‘greatroom’ concept, which harmonises reception, lobby lounge, bar and restaurant in a single open space, followed by the hotel’s function and meeting rooms. The result not only aligns with brand expectations but, thanks to the designers’ introduction of local context and artistic provenance, feels absolutely at home in this historic and creative city.

Large contemporary partition in lobby/f&B area

Image credit: Marriott International/twenty2degrees

Tucked along the banks of the Danube River, the hotel overlooks some of the capital’s most iconic landmarks including the Chain Bridge and Buda Castle. The 50-year old building belongs to the Brutalist mid-twentieth style of architecture, and the designers pay homage to the concrete façade with a new stone sculptural relief in the lobby. Beyond this, however, the interiors are now modern and tactile with numerous residential-style details to ensure guests feel at their ease from the moment they arrive. The firm, headed up by Nicolas Stoupas and Joseph Stella, has also introduced Marriott’s first ‘disruptive bar’ – a free-standing island bar in the lounge designed to evolve through the day, from morning coffee and pastry service, to cocktails and snacks in the evening.

Large and comfortable lobby/lounge area

Image credit: Marriott International/twenty2degrees

“While addressing all the ‘Marriott Modern’ touchpoints, we felt it was important to also capture the rich essence of Budapest, a vibrant European city with a tremendous amount of history and a vast number of creative individuals, both past and present, from whom to draw inspiration,” explained Stella, Creative Director of twenty2degrees. “Whenever we begin a new project, we first look to the brief in order to form the bare bones of the design. Then we explore the locality in order to added layered design elements”.

The work of Hungary’s renowned Bauhaus designer, Marcel Breuer, and artist, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, was the inspiration for the specially designed carpets and the refined-yet-elaborate decorative screens throughout the Greatroom. Integrated as an artistic and architectural element, they also serve to zone the space without shutting off any areas. These areas include: The Individual Zone for guests to relax, read, work and enjoy a coffee or a light snack, The Social Zone that is centred on the Liz and Chain Bar, and The Guest Service Zone where customers check in. Zones are defined by varying colour palettes as well as by different seating, tables and lighting options. The multi-functional, open plan scheme is designed to reflect our modern lifestyle where the opposing demands for privacy and human connection, work and socialising need to be met within a flexible space.

large island in the middle of modern F&B area

Image credit: Marriott International/twenty2degrees

Together with cubist shapes and Bauhaus curves, twenty2degrees’ celebration of the local is continued through a collaboration with contemporary local artists, Janos Huszti, Petyka, and Stefan Osnowski. Their pieces, as well as a collection of traditional paintings and prints and integrated artworks compliment the colour scheme and provide an impressive gallery feel to some of the areas.

The meeting and banqueting spaces boast stunning views of the city. Together they represent 17,000 square feet of versatile space that includes Grand Budapest Ballroom, Ballroom Terrace, and a number of flexible meeting rooms. The redesigned spaces display similar aesthetic values to the Greatroom, echoing Bauhaus principles, favouring functionality over ornamentation and asymmetry over symmetry. They too are modern and tactile, combining cubist inspired forms with a contemporary design style.

Main image credit: Marriott International/twenty2degrees

colourful, modern guest room

Room Mate Hotels to launch beach resort brand

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Room Mate Hotels to launch beach resort brand

Room Mate Hotels, the Spanish hotel chain founded and led by Kike Sarasola, will launch its beach resort brand next year with the opening of Room Mate Olivia

Having established its position in the hospitality market, the Spanish urban chain, Room Mate Group has created a new beach resort brand that will launch next summer.

colourful, modern guest room

Owned by HIP in Calviá, Mallorca, the 391-key Room Mate Olivia’s opening will mark the brand’s arrival. Envisioned by interior designer Jaimie Beriestain, who drew inspiration from the island’s unique charm, the hotel will feature a total of four outdoor swimming pools, a sun deck with Balinese beds, a wellness centre complete with gym, gardens and a children’s play area.

Room Mate Olivia will also have a range of dining options, including an à la carte and buffet restaurant – where guests will be able to enjoy a variety of dishes from around the world – and a healthy corner offering a selection of nutritious snacks.

The new hotel and brand is part of Room Mate Group’s ambitious plan to rediscover the experience and concept of the beachfront hotel. The entrance into beachfront hotels is part of a larger expansion plan to open 14 hotels and 13 apartment buildings over the next 24 months, doubling their portfolio from 1,900 rooms to more than 3,600 rooms.

Main image credit: Room Mate Hotels

Render of high-rise among low level buildings

Radisson Red to open hotel in Reykjavik in 2021

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Radisson Red to open hotel in Reykjavik in 2021

Radisson Hotel Group has revealed the design concept and renderings for the brand new Radisson RED Reykjavik…

It is said to be a new urban hub for travellers and locals alike, the first ever Radisson RED in Iceland is slated to open its doors in 2021 and will take shelter in a 17-storey sea-facing building in the heart of the city.

Render of high-rise among low level buildings

“Radisson RED is Radisson Hotel Group’s upscale, select service hotel brand that presents a playful twist on the conventional,” said Tom Flanagan Karttunen, Area Senior Vice President of Radisson Hotel Group in Northern Europe. “Radisson RED hotels inject new life into hospitality through informal services, a social scene that’s waiting to be shared and bold design that kick-starts the fun. It is the perfect match for Reykjavik and the entire Radisson Hotel Group team and owners are thrilled to introduce this landmark Reykjavik.”

“It is inspired by the history of the architecture and geology of the land, with its colorful buildings painted red, black and white and dramatic natural phenomena of basalt columns and red and black lava flows.” – Architect Tony Kettle.

The 203-room Radisson RED Reykjavik will be a newly built property that provides travelers with an ideal base from which to explore the city and beyond. Located in the city centre, the hotel will be an ocean front property offering guests panoramic views of the ocean, city and the surrounding mountain ridge. The design is comprehensive, welcoming, accessible and connects locals and travelers with the restaurant and bar on the ground floor, street plaza, Red Sky bar and a Terrace viewpoint.

“The idea for this new landmark hotel is to create a special building which will reinforce the sense of the city of Rekyjavik and the landscape of Iceland to create a new and exciting destination for the city,” added the architect Tony Kettle. “It is inspired by the history of the architecture and geology of the land, with its colorful buildings painted red, black and white and dramatic natural phenomena of basalt columns and red and black lava flows.”

The roof of the hotel is activated with a two-level roof bar and viewing terrace accessed from a glazed panoramic lift with spectacular views to and from the spectacular city.

Sigurborg Osk Haraldsdottir, the chairman of the planning and transport committee says the planning and transport committee emphasized that special attention was paid to the local environment, that the building would be accessible to the public and that the building would be of the highest quality.

“I, myself would say that it has been successful and that this building will be a great part of the city’s skyline for the future. The building, its surroundings and all the finishing work, in my opinion, create a comprehensive design that leads to higher quality in the urban environment and it matters when condensing settlements”, says Sigurborg Osk Haraldsdotti and adds: “I also emphasise that the redesign of Vitastigur and the square in front of the Skúlagata building will be safe and very accessible for the public. In the site plan, there is a requirement for access from Skúlagata through the entrance to the site, so that the public will have access to the entire site. The ground floor will also be open with dining facilities along with the top floor with, a terrace viewpoint for guests and walking.”

Main image credit: Radisson Red

Streets of vienna at night

Hotel market in Austria to expand by 12,000 rooms

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel market in Austria to expand by 12,000 rooms

Could Austria be the new hospitality hotspot in Europe? The Latest findings by TOPHOTELCONSTRUCTION could suggest so…

With more than 12,000 rooms due to be added to Austria’s hotel market in the coming years, according to TOPHOTELCONSTRUCTION, the Alpine nation of Austria is adapting to growing demand.

Streets of vienna at night

According to the online database, 90 hotel projects are currently in the development pipeline in Austria, 62 per cent of which will open as either ‘first class’ or ‘luxury’ properties.

For 2020 specifically, the region is expected to welcome 29 hotels, which will add a further 4,125 rooms to the Austrian hospitality scene, which compared to 21 openings in 2021 and just nine openings in 2022, suggests that the next 12 months will see the market peak in Austria with a flurry of new design-led hotels entering the market place.

Austria’s capital, Vienna, will be the backdrop of 27 of these openings, adding 5, 488 new rooms in the city. This follows the demand for more urban, midscale four-star developments in Vienna, as the tourism board recorded an increase of almost 12 per cent in room revenue between the months of January to November.

Brands jumping on the hotel development bandwagon in Austria include Hilton, Accor, Six Senses and Radisson Red.

Main image credit: Pixabay

nhow London opens and Hotel Designs is first in

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
nhow London opens and Hotel Designs is first in

Sensitively designed by The Brit List 2019 accredited firm Project Orange, nhow London has opened in Shoreditch to become a brave and bold accent on the capital’s booming hotel scene. Editor Hamish Kilburn is first in…

NH Hotel Group has arrived in the UK hospitality arena with the opening of nhow London. The 190-key hotel shelters many contemporary and quirky design statements to frame the interior design theme of ‘London Reloaded’, which was imagined and created by Shoreditch-based design firm Project Orange.

With six properties in Europe, the nhow brand aims to evolve the lifestyle hotel market by surprising and inspiring its guests through unconventional experience and design, which is unique to each hotel’s location. nhow London is part of the exciting new development 250 City Road.

Project Orange has been responsible for the interior design of the project from concept through to completion, and has specified British manufacturers as much as possible throughout the entire project. The ‘London Reloaded’ theme is prominent throughout the hotel with bold and fresh design that takes inspiration from traditional British icons, such as the Royal Family, London landmarks and the underground.

All areas of the have an eccentric and contemporary take, with stand-out features including a Big Ben rocket sculpture in the lobby, tables in the ground-floor restaurant Bells and Whistles featuring cockney rhyming slang and oversized gold bell lights, a reminder of the city’s famous church bells.

Render of the ground-floor restaurant with green banquet seating

Image caption/credit: Render of Bells and Whistles restaurant | nhow London/Project Orange

Upstairs, the corridors have been designed to reference a walk in a typical London park. Featuring eye-catching designed HD carpets by Brintons, as well as colourful ‘townhouse front door’ style doors, this area of the hotel, which can all too often feel stale and unforgotten, has been brought to life with humour. Each floor, facing the lifts, features a stencil of a bike chained to a fence. As guests move up each levels of the hotel, another part of the bike is removed, which is a playful nod to the reality of most, if not all, for cyclists in the city.

Colourful textures confront contemporary art in the rooms, creating a dynamic version of London – think punk meets high-tech style, while graffiti appears alongside unconventional images of past monarchs.

As with all NH Hotels, everything in a nhow London is pleasingly unexpected. The nhow experience has arrived in London as the brand continues to make its mark on the European hotel scene.

Main image credit: nhow London

Electric red led lights in modern and quirky lounge

Most anticipated hotel openings in 2020 (Q3 & Q4)

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Most anticipated hotel openings in 2020 (Q3 & Q4)

Hotel Designs continues to glance at some of the most significant hotel projects that are expected to complete in the next 12 months (edited by Hamish Kilburn)…

According to the latest findings by Top Hotel Projects, a whopping 50,000 new rooms are expected to open in January alone of this year.

Electric red led lights in modern and quirky lounge

Following on from part one of this series, where we put hotel openings in 2020 under the spotlight, here’s a closer look at some of the more significant hotels that are slated to open in Q3 and Q4 of this year.

Pendry West Hollywood (Q3)

Render of modern building

Image credit: Penury Hotels

Located on the iconic Sunset Strip, Pendry West Hollywood is one of the most anticipated developments in the creative heart of Los Angeles. The ‘new luxury’ hotel – set in an eye-catching glass fronted building with interiors designed by the acclaimed Martin Brudnizki Design Studio to evoke Californian glamour – comprises 149 guestrooms, including 37 suites and 40 additional residences. For the property’s signature restaurant and food and beverage outlets, Wolfgang Puck has created an unparalleled culinary experience inspired by the artistic energy of the surrounding area. Other stand-out features include a spectacular rooftop pool and bar adorned with chic cabanas; Spa Pendry a tranquil sanctuary offering personalised wellness treatments; curated public art collections showcasing local talent; bowling alley; and screening room.

Hilton Garden Inn Silverstone (Q3)

Render of modern building overlooking racetrack

Image credit: Hilton Hotels

Racing fans will have a new hotel to call their home away from home from 2020. Hilton Garden Inn Silverstone is the first hotel to open at the premier motor racing venue and will provide guests with extensive views over the track. Enjoy the breakneck speeds and gripping circuit side action from the comfort of the guestroom balconies or the hotel’s gorgeous rooftop terrace.

The hotel will also offer race-day experiences for all major sporting events held at the venue.

The Reykjavik EDITION (Q3)

Render of the exterior of The EDITION Reykjavik

Image caption/credit: Render of The EDITION Reykjavik | EDITION Hotels/Marriott International

Opening in a prime location within the downtown area of the city, The Reykjavik EDITION is set to launch in late 2020. Adjacent to the prominent Harpa Concert Hall, the hotel is situated in both a vibrant and scenic part of Iceland’s historical capital.

Ian Schrager Company has collaborated with architects T.arch and designers Roman & Williams to introduce EDITION Hotels to Iceland. Poised to offer 250 rooms and suites, The Reykjavik EDITION is poised to house a private rooftop, nightlife space and ballroom. In addition, the hotel is expected to offer guests and locals a diverse culinary offering with three restaurants and a café.

Crowne Plaza & Holiday Inn Express, Warsaw Hub (Q3)

Render of hotel

Image credit: IHG

A phoenix arisen from the ashes, Poland’s capital is a modern and dynamic metropolis that radiates contemporary style and sheer joie de vivre. The city boasts diverse architecture, beautiful outdoor spaces, cultural treasures, and a superb selection of dining spots, as well as over 100 cultural events taking place on a monthly basis. This new dual-branded hotel is part of The Warsaw HUB – a new business concept that will offer 430 rooms and suites from Holiday Inn Express and Crowne Plaza, conveniently located in the heart of the city’s Silicon Valley – Rondo Daszyńskiego in the Wola district.

Rosewood Hong Kong – Asaya (Q4)

Two sun loungers overlooking bay

Image credit: Rosewood Hotels

November 2019 marks the launch of the ultimate urban wellness destination, ASAYA, at Rosewood Hong – offering progressive, comprehensive integrative wellness in a destination setting. This is the first urban outpost of Asaya, following its resort debut in Phuket in December 2017. Asaya will occupy a vast indoor and outdoor space at Rosewood Hong Kong, making it the largest lifestyle and wellness facility of the city.

Ambiente, A Landscape Hotel, Arizona, USA (Q4)

Render of hotel under rocks of Arizona

Image credit: Ambiente

Described as North America’s first landscape hotel, Ambiente is designed to blend in with the mystical red rocks of Sedona, Arizona.

Developed, owned and managed by Two Sister Bosses, a Sedona family-owned and operated company, Ambiente is being built with a deep respect for the environment with a focus on sustainable methods and organic, modern architecture that complements the surrounding topography and minimises the impact on the land. Designed by award-winning, Scottsdale-based ASUL Architects, the hotel will be constructed around the natural vegetation and topography, requiring less cut and fill, which better meets today’s expectations of being responsible land stewards.

Main image credit: Hilton Hotels

EDITION to open three new hotels in 2020

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
EDITION to open three new hotels in 2020

The luxury hotel brand EDITION Hotels has announced that it will open properties in Japan, Iceland and Dubai this year… 

Following the announcement of Marriott International’s strategy to open 30 new luxury hotels in 2020, EDITION Hotels has shared that it will open three new properties across three continents this year.

With the completion of new EDITION properties in Japan, Iceland and Dubai, the brand is expected to reach 13 properties worldwide. In addition, Marriott International has a further 15 hotels in EDITION’s signed development pipeline which, upon opening in coming years, should more than double the brand’s footprint.

“All of the EDITION hotels are unique, original and one of a kind, embedded with a sense of time and place,” Ian Schrager.

The brainchild of famed designer and hotel visionary Ian Schrager, EDTION Hotels continues to expand its home-from-home luxury interior scheme in major travel hotspots around the world. “All of the EDITION hotels are unique, original and one of a kind, embedded with a sense of time and place,” Schrager commented.

With two existing properties in the Asia Pacific region, the brand expects to open its first property in Japan – The Tokyo EDITION Toranomon. EDITION expects to expand its footprint in the Middle East with the opening of The Dubai EDITION, the second hotel in the UAE following last year’s launch of The Abu Dhabi EDITION. Europe is also expected to see its fourth EDITION property with the launch of The Reykjavik EDITION in Iceland.

Render of the exterior of The EDITION Reykjavik

Image caption/credit: Render of The EDITION Reykjavik | EDITION Hotels/Marriott International

Each new opening will further entrench EDITION Hotels’ position as a global leader in the luxury lifestyle hotel market. Working with eminent global designers to create distinctive properties, each EDITION Hotel is uniquely tailored to its destination. Displaying the best of dining and entertainment, services and amenities “all under one roof,” each EDITION property is completely unique, reflecting the best of the cultural and social milieu of its location and of the time.

EDITION Hotels’ commitment to uncompromising quality, true originality and impeccable modern service continues to define the luxury boutique hotel category. The brand’s rapid international expansion is set to continue with further openings slated throughout 2021 across multiple continents.

Main image credit: EDITION Hotels/Marriott International 

Render of the building, featuring the outside f&b areas and the exterior of the rooms

Concept to completion: Journey to design Conrad Punta de Mita

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Concept to completion: Journey to design Conrad Punta de Mita

In the first article of the first concept-to-completion series of the year, Hotel Designs exclusively invites SB Architects explain the unique design concept of Conrad Punta de Mita, which is slated to open later this year…

Situated within what is being called ‘Mexico’s next major ‘it’ destination’, Riviera Nayarit, Conrad Hotels & Resorts is months away from opening.

Render of the building, featuring the outside f&b areas and the exterior of the rooms

Co-developers HRV Hotel Partners and Contact Development Company envisioned a modern design and destination that highlights and enhances the natural beauty of the surrounding area.

In 2016, architecture firm SB Architects was commissioned to transform the former La Tranquila Resortin Punta de Mita, Mexico to redesign and refresh the existing buildings to become Conrad Punta de Mita. The brief included repositioning the lobby and lobby bar, as well as the addition of new low-rise guest room buildings. In answer to the ever-evolving food and wellness travel market, the firm was asked to also design a three-meal restaurant, specialty restaurant, pool bar and grill, beach grill, sunset bar, adult pool bar, spa, and conference centre.

render of ground-level f&b area, open to nature

Image caption/credit: Render of Speciality Restaurant | SB Architects/Conrad Hotels & Resorts

Riviera Nayarit boasts more than 200 miles of sun-kissed beaches, provides a backdrop of the majestic Sierra Madre mountains, and is one of the only places in the world where you can find all four groups of mangroves; White, Red, Black and Buttonwood.

“People and place were the primary sources of inspiration, drawing from the rich, multi-cultural identity of Riviera Nayarit.”

One of SB Architects earliest and clearest project goals was to create a rejuvenating resort that places people at the centre of the design and harnesses the ambiance of the site. Weaving Conrad Hilton’s key brand attributes into the design, people and place were the primary sources of inspiration, drawing from the rich, multi-cultural identity of Riviera Nayarit.

People thrive best in environments that allow them to connect authentically to nature and the sophisticated, the contemporary architectural design, with seamless transitions between interior and exterior spaces, provides a fluid, natural and relaxed guest experience. Dovetailing with the dramatic scenery, resort bungalows, pavilions, and cabanas are nestled in coastal vegetation, overlooking ponds or the Pacific Ocean beaches and Litibu Bay coves. Influenced by Mexico’s rich history and unique culture, indigenous artwork integrates with luxurious amenities to create a sense of barefoot resort elegance. In each motif lies a story, a statement and a valued part of the local Mexican identity.

Image caption/credit: Render of exterior spa | SB Architects/Conrad Hotels & Resorts

A tranquil respite from Mexico City’s energetic pace, the 324-key hotel boasts serene natural landscapes, aquamarine waters, and uninhabited isles. Facilities include three dining venues, three pools; adult, family, activity; spa and 45,000 square feet of combined function space; including 30,000 square feet outdoor event space, 10,000 square-foot ballroom, and 3,000 square feet of breakout rooms, each with ample pre-function terraces.

Hotel Designs continues to follow the project, through concept to completion, as it heads towards its official opening later this year.

Main image credit: SB Architects/Conrad Hotels & Resorts

Guest room with modern interiors

Hyatt Regency brand debuts in Greater Bay area of Southern China

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hyatt Regency brand debuts in Greater Bay area of Southern China

Hyatt Hotels has announced the opening of the 493-key Hyatt Regency Hengqin in Zhuhai, Guangdong Province, China, designed in response to the rise in bleisure travellers visiting the area…

Situated in the heart of the dynamic and fast-growing Greater Bay Area of southern China, Hyatt Regency Hengqin is part of the vibrant Novotown complex, which features an impressive array of attractions including Lionsgate Entertainment World, Natinoal Geographic Explorer and more.

Guest room with modern interiors

The hotel has a total of 493 guestrooms, including 55 suites, ranging from and from 430 to 2,583 square feet (40 to 240 square meters). Subtle design touches include soft warm timber blinds, giving an overall feeling of natural comfort. Regency Club guests enjoy exclusive access to our club lounge offering a range of complimentary amenities including concierge service, private check-in and check-out, delicious bites served daily, and a dedicated meeting room.

Boasting six restaurants and bars, the hotel offers a wide range of global cuisine. Market Café is a self-service, market-style restaurant where diners can watch their food being prepared by expert chefs at live cooking stations. La Cucina is an extension of Market Café, bringing the delicious flavors of Italy to Hengqin, with a variety of popular European dishes.

Exterior shot of the hotel

Image credit: Hyatt Hotels

In early spring of 2020, the hotel will open three additional food and beverage outlets. The open-kitchen Xiang Yue Chinese restaurant will specialise in the delicate flavors of Cantonese cuisine. Pool Pavilion will be a relaxing, al fresco dining venue delivering sumptuous barbecue and craft cocktails. Meanwhile, the 180-degree rooftop bar, will be located on the 23rd floor.

Modern design in restaurant with open kitchen

Image caption/credit: Market Place/Hyatt Hotels

The modern 24-hour fitness centre features a wide variety of state-of-the-art workout equipment in a bright and airy space. In addition, the hotel shelters a 1,076 square foot (100 square meter) members’ lounge, as well as an indoor and outdoor swimming pool.

Main image credit: Hyatt Hotels

render of open-planned lobby/lounge area in hotel overlooking the pool and the sea

Most anticipated hotel openings in 2020 (Q1 & Q2)

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Most anticipated hotel openings in 2020 (Q1 & Q2)

Kickstarting 2020, Hotel Designs takes a glance at some of the most significant hotel projects that are expected to complete in the next 12 months (edited by Hamish Kilburn)…

If 2019 was anything to go by, then the next 12 months on the international hotel design and hospitality scene is going to be a jam-packed series of hotel openings in all corners of the globe. But with the industry churning out all kinds of hotels, it can be a challenge identifying the projects that will make the biggest impact.

render of open-planned lobby/lounge area in hotel overlooking the pool and the sea

In order to cut through the noise, the editorial team has sifted through the lists of projects on the boards in order to determine which among them are the most significant hotel projects that are slated to complete and open in 2020.

We start our series by putting the spotlight on the hotels forecasted to opening in Q1 and Q2.

Fusion Suites Vung Tau (Q1)

Render of rooftop pool and dynamic angular roof

Fusion’s latest hotel, Fusion Suites Vung Tau, is set to open in January in southern Vietnam’s popular coastal playground. The new 21-storey property features 171 well-appointed suites and apartments, a multitude of dining options, a spa, yoga studio, and a rooftop infinity pool. The property offers views of the ocean, and complements the setting with playful interiors dressed in sea green, ocean blue, and a wide range of ocean-inspired hues in between. The same sense of whimsy informs the building’s complex facade with pastel-coloured glass panels that zig-zag upwards. For dining options the hotel has the Fresh restaurant (open all-day), a rooftop bar, and market stalls in the lobby. The property’s 12 treatment room spa is inspired by the sea and features signature therapies based around salt. Conveniently located in the heart of Vung Tau, the hotel is just a short trip by boat or road from Ho Chi Minh City.

Mama Shelter Paris West (Q1)

Light room with living coral coloured decor

Image credit: Mama Shelter

Following a successful soft opening, Mama Shelter’s second hotel in Paris, located in the eclectic 15th arrondissement, will officially open in January 2020. With cutting-edge design elements by up and coming French designer Dion & Arles, featuring the playful design and vibrant colour palettes – guests can unwind in front of the open fire in the all-day restaurant or dine al fresco on the terrace, complete with its very own half-size basketball court. This will be Mama Shelter’s 12th property.

Hotel Brooklyn, Manchester (Q1)

Designed by Squid Inc – the team behind renowned Hotel Gotham – the long-awaited Hotel Brooklyn is scheduled to open in February 2020. The 189-key hotel is inspired by the New York Borough and chosen for its resonating similarities to Manchester, in terms of its buzzing industrial growth, as well as its strength of identity and culture.

Riggs Washington D.C.

Image credit: Lore Group/Riggs Washington DC

The long-awaited brainchild of The Brit List 2019 judge Jacu Strauss, Riggs Washington D.C. is expected to open its illustrious doors in February 2020. The famed designer has invoked the spirit of the building’s former bank while preserving and restoring much of the property’s original design features to reimagine the storied building for the modern traveller. The 181-room property features playful nods to the building’s rich past, drawing on the parallels between the activities that take place in banks and at hotels to offer something personal and serendipitous around every corner.

Atocha Hotel Madrid – Tapestry Collection by Hilton (Q1)

Render of gold and modern guest room with gold headboard and light grey bedding

Image credit: Tapestry Collection/Hilton Hotels

Tapestry Collection by Hilton is making its debut in EMEA and will soon land in two of the most iconic European cities.

Atocha Hotel Madrid will be the first hotel to join Hilton’s Tapestry Collection in Europe. It is located in the buzzing heart of Madrid, within walking distance from popular tourist attractions such as the Museo Reina Sofia and the El Reitro Park.

Crowne Plaza Sydney Darling Harbour (Q1)

Render of infinity pool over the edge of the building, overlooking the skyline of Sydney

Image credit: IHG/Crowne Plaza

The new build hotel features 152 modern guest rooms and suites suspended in a prime position just a short stroll to the CBD’s commercial & transport hub, the lively Darling Harbour precinct and the International Convention Centre. The new hotel will feature a heated outdoor plunge pool with vista across Sydney’s skyscraper as well as three restaurants & bars.

W Ibiza (Q2)

Render of a colourful exterior of the hotel

Image credit: W Ibiza/Baranowitz + Kronenberg

Conceived and designed by BARANOWITZ + KRONENBERGW Ibiza is slated to open in April ahead of the 2020 Summer season. Located off the beaten track, the 167-key hotel will strike a pose on the palm-fringed beachfront of Santa Eulalia. As the only global brand on the island, the design brief was to marry the parallel realities of Ibiza with a magnetic pull that turns up the sass.

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

The hotel will open as part of Marriott International’s goal to add more than 30 new luxury hotels to its extensive worldwide portfolio in 2020.

The Emerald House Lisbon, Curio Collection by Hilton (Q2)

Render of 70s inspired furniture in bar and restaurant with modern touches

Image credit: Hilton Hotels

One of the world’s most historic cities, known for its one-of-a-kind beauty and unique dining, will soon welcome The Emerald House Lisbon, Curio Collection by Hilton. The hotel will be located a few streets away from the historical districts of Chiado and Baixa, famous for their impressive plazas, vibrant restaurants and boutique shops, making it ideal for curious travellers seeking unexpected and authentic experiences.

Rosewood São Paulo (Q2)

Render of building that is blended into trees

Image credit: Rosewood Hotels

Rosewood Hotels & Resorts will launch its first South American property situated in the centre of São Paulo, featuring 151 guestrooms and 114 owners’ suites, two restaurants, including one located on a veranda overlooking hotel gardens and complemented by a bar and a caviar lounge. Recreational facilities will include two swimming pools with one rooftop pool and the other set amongst the landscaped grounds and a large spa and a fitness area. Hotel guests will also be able to access an adjoining music studio, screening room and luxury retail stores within the development. Rosewood Hotels and Resorts are collaborating on this project with leading international figures such as the Pritzker Prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel and designer Philippe Starck, to create a one-of-a-kind building.

The Tokyo EDITION, Toranomon (Q2)

Render of rooftop garden in restaurant area in hotel

Image credit: EDITION Hotels

Set to be the first EDITION Hotel in Japan, the Tokyo EDITION Toranomon is slated to rise as part of the redevelopment of the former Pastoral Building, a mixed-use project comprising offices, residences and a medical centre. The 205-key hotel has been created in partnership with the globally renowned architect and designer Kengo Kuma, who designed the Tokyo 2020 National Olympic Stadium. It is expected to offer easy access to some of Tokyo’s most iconic sites, including the Tokyo Tower and Tsukiji fish market. Within walking distance to the buzzing nightlife and restaurants of Roppongi, The Tokyo EDITION Toranomon will further raise the bar in entertainment and gastronomy for the area.

voco Edinburgh (Q2)

Not only a capital city, Edinburgh is also the leading festival city in the world, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. With a plethora of world-class attractions, sightseeing in Edinburgh is effortless, with visitors able to experience different centuries of history from street to street. IHG’s new voco brand is to open in Edinburgh on Torphichen Street, close to Edinburgh International Conference Centre. The hotel will feature all the usual comforts afforded by voco® properties, such as an indoor pool, eco-friendly bedding, a health club, and on-site bar.

The Pig at Harlyn Bay, Cornwall (Q2)

Establishing shot of the heritage property

Image credit: THE PIG

The Pig brand is going from strength to strength. Following its latest opening in Bridge, Kent, The Pig brand is heading west coast of cornwall. Inside a stunning Grade II-listed building, Harlan House, THE PIG-at Harlyn Bay is positioned near Padstow in Cornwall. Expected to open in June 2020, the hotel is just a short stroll from Harlyn beach, Constantine Bay beaches, Trevose Golf Club, and is also only a 10-minute drive to the sea-side honeypot of Padstow.

Ikos Andalusia (Q2)

Render of lobby area

Image credit: Ikos Resorts

Marking the brand’s arrival into Spain – and the first property outside Greece – Ikos Andalusia is slated to open in May 2020. The stylish resort is set amongst olive trees and has both modern features and local touches, such as traditional Moorish windcatchers perched atop its seven buildings. Individually commissioned pieces of art and colourful hand-painted tiles will be on display throughout the restaurants and guest rooms. A Cherry Blossom tree at Anaya restaurant, encircled by seating for guests to enjoy Asian dishes in an al-fresco setting, will be a particularly stand-out feature.

Six bars will be located around the resort’s lush gardens and pools serving cocktails prepared by award-winning Ikos mixologists, using branded international and local spirits.

The resort will boast eight outdoor and indoor pools, including kids’ pools, spa pools and adults-only pools, plus a number of private pools. Each of the outdoor pools will feature a cascading design overlooking the beach and Mediterranean Sea.

Banyan Tree Krabi (Q2)

Render of restaurant under roof on stilts overlooking lush jungle

Image credit: Banyan Tree Holdings

Singapore-based Banyan Tree Holdings Ltd, one of Asia’s foremost luxury hotel groups, has announced plans to open a new resort in Krabi in the second quarter of 2020. Currently under development in a serene location on Tubkaek Beach, Banyan Tree Krabi fronts powdery white sands and the shallow-shelved coast of the Andaman Sea. The new Thai resort will offer 72 pool suites and villas, among them seven two-bedroom options and one three-bedroom villa. Facilities include all-day dining, a ballroom, a wedding chapel, a beach club, a kids’ club, and a fitness center. In keeping with Banyan Tree’s holistic branding, the resort will also host a rainforest-themed spa.

Main image credit: W Ibiza

Chalet style guest room overlooking mountains

Five-star Le Coucou opens in Méribel, France

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Five-star Le Coucou opens in Méribel, France

Renowned architect Pierre Yovanovitch completes Hotel Le Coucou, which is located on the slopes within the premium ski destination of Meribel in the French Alps… 

Maisons Pariente, a new luxury collection of boutique, five-star hotels across France, has announced the official opening of its third property in 2019. Le Coucou in Muriel is a 55-suite luxury hotel, created by architect Pierre Yovanovitch, designed to be quirky twist on a classic Alpine design.

Chalet style guest room overlooking mountains

The ski-in/ski-out hotel shelters two restaurants, a Tata Harper Spa, two swimming pools (one indoor and one outdoor) and two kid’s clubs. The latest addition to the Maisons Pariente portfolio boasts a fantastic location, which is perched on the heights of Belvedere, close to Le Rond-Point des Pistes, offering panoramic views across the slopes of Méribel.

The 39 suites and 16 rooms include bespoke furniture designed by Yavanovitch. Warm colours and contemporary artwork scattered throughout the hotel encourages guests to relax and recharge in exceptional settings.

image of contemporary red sofa with polkadot carpet and orange walls.

Image credit: Jerome Galland

In addition, the property also features two, four-bedroom luxury chalets that claim to be the “perfect home away from home”, while reaping the benefits of all the five-star services Le Coucou has on offer. Fully equipped with four en-suite bedrooms, spacious living area and a games area, each chalet offers the ideal cosy and comfortable retreat for a mountain holiday. Each chalet’s private ski room, pool and spa will welcome skiers each evening to ensure they are fully rested for another memorable day on piste.

marble bathroom reflecting the chalet window in the oval mirror

Image credit: Jerome Galland

Setting a new standard of wellness on the slopes, Hotel Le Coucou is delighted to offer guests a series of pampering and revitalising organic treatments at the new Tata Harper Spa, which has six treatment cabins including a spacious spa suite. In addition to a new spa, Le Coucou’s two new heated indoor and outdoor pools are separated by a glass window, while the fitness area offers panoramic views across the peaks with state-of-the-art fitness equipment.

Pool overlooking snowy slopes

Image credit: Hotel Le Coucou/Maisons Pariente

Le Coucou is set to bring a fresh taste to Méribel’s gourmet scene as the hotel’s two restaurants cater to relaxed lunches for couples and families, drinks at the bar après ski or a romantic dinner for two. An innovative concept created by Riccardo Giraudi for Le Coucou, restaurant Bianca Neve is entirely dedicated to Italian cuisine.

The Beefbar restaurant is also on offer to tantalise guest’s taste buds boasting the rarest meats with the most prestigious origins, from Black Angus Beef from Argentina and the Milk fed Veal to Australian Wagyu and Japanese Kobe. A nod to the hotels name, translated to the cuckoo, can be found in the Beefbar where a feature wall is adorned with an entire collection of old cuckoo clocks. Following a delicious meal, guests will have the chance to relive the day’s most memorable runs, over a night cap in the Cigar Lounge.

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

Main image credit: Jerome Galland

ME Dubai within the Opus to open in February 2020

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
ME Dubai within the Opus to open in February 2020

The iconic contemporary structure in Dubai, the Opus, has been designed by the masters at Zaha Hadid Architects. The architectural marvel will shelter ME Dubai, which is slated to open in February 2020…

Following the opening of The Morpheus last year, and Hotel Designs’ interview with one of the lead architects behind the project , Zaha Hadid Architects is preparing to celebrate yet another groundbreaking moment in architecture. The London-based firm’s latest project, the Opus, is months away from entering onto the international hotel design landscape with arrival of ME Dubai.

Located within Burj Khalifa district of Dubai, ME Dubai will open in February 2020, taking residence in the 95 metre-high building, which is managed by leading Middle East real estate developer, Omniyat.

“We are incredibly excited to open ME Dubai, our first ME property in the Middle East,” said Gabriel Escarrer, Vice Chairman and CEO, at Meliá Hotels International. “Dubai is a fascinating, exciting city, known for its progressive feats of design; all of which are characteristics that resonate with ME by Meliá hotels and the high standards we offer our guests.”

“The two towers are linked by a four-storey atrium at ground level and also connected by an asymmetric 38-metre-wide, three-storey bridge that is positioned 71 metres above the ground.”

ME Dubai will consist of 93 rooms and suites, the ultra-luxurious ‘Suite ME’, as well as 96 serviced apartments. The property will feature dramatic, signature furniture in the lobby, lounges and reception area, which were either designed or personally selected by the late Zaha Hadid.

The Opus is designed as two separate towers that coalesce into a singular whole – taking the form of a cube. The structure is then ‘carved’ to create a central void that becomes an important volume within the building in its own right, providing views to the exterior from the centre of the building. The two towers are linked by a four-storey atrium at ground level and also connected by an asymmetric 38-metre-wide, three-storey bridge that is positioned 71 metres above the ground.

Render of launch lobby with modern touches such as large chandelier

Image credit: Zaha Hadid Architects

“The design conveys the remarkably inventive quality of Zaha Hadid Architects’ work,” explained Mahdi Amjad, Ececutive Chairman and CEO Emniyat, “It expresses sculptural sensibility that reinvents the balance between solid and void, opaque and transparent, interior and exterior.”

Very contemporary black bathroom with contemporary mirror and shirts handing up

Image credit: Zaha Hadid Architects

The legacy hotel will offer three owned F&B outlets, including all-day dining concept Central, the Refuel & Relax pool bar and The Opus Studio. The Opus building will offer 15 F&B outlets including ROKA, the contemporary Japanese robatayaki restaurant, as well as The Maine Oyster Bar and Grill.

Main image credit: Laurian Ghinitoiu.

render of open and large lobby with accents of green and gold

Andaz debuts in Dubai with new hotel on The Palm

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Andaz debuts in Dubai with new hotel on The Palm

The newly opened Andaz Dubai The Palm marks the brand’s second hotel in the UAE…

Hyatt Hotels Corporation has announced the official opening of Andaz Dubai The Palm. Joining Andaz hotels in top destinations around the world, such as Amsterdam, London, New York, Tokyo, Seoul and Shanghai, the opening marks the first Andaz-branded hotel in Dubai and the second in the United Arab Emirates, following the opening of Andaz Capital Gate, Abu Dhabi in 2018.

render of open and large lobby with accents of green and gold

“The bustling Palm Jumeirah island serves as the ideal location for guests to immerse themselves in the sights and sounds of Dubai,” said Kifah Bin Hussein, general manager, Andaz Dubai The Palm. “The hotel is created for the inquisitive traveler. Set in a vicinity known for luxury and exclusivity, Andaz Dubai The Palm reflects the city’s eclectic style, showcased through local artist exhibitions and unique culinary offerings.”

Render of welcoming entrance to the hotel.

Image credit: Hyatt/Andaz

The hotel is home to local art, embellished on the walls of the hotel in pop-up style exhibitions. The property breaks the mold with its unscripted check-in and check-out experience, without the barriers of a front desk or a queue.

“The property incorporates the sights, scents and textures of Dubai into every aspect of the room design.”

Encompassing 217 guestrooms, including 34 suites, and 116 residences, the property incorporates the sights, scents and textures of Dubai into every aspect of the room design. The ideal space to relax, unwind and entertain, the guestrooms are inspired by the Emirati culture with bespoke artwork and luxury amenities.

The hotel features 31 Andaz Suites, one Terrace Suite, one Prince Suite and one Royal Suite, each made with modern, minimalistic interiors and fitted with premium amenities, including separate living and dining areas, a terrace, a rain shower and a deep soaking tub.

Sheltering five distinct dining venues that offer an abundance of local flavors and sensory experiences, Andaz Dubai The Palm creates a vibrant social scene through a medley of global and traditional Middle Eastern influences.

Render of buildings either side of a pool

Image credit: Hyatt/Andaz

Meanwhile, nestled on the 14th floor is the hotel’s spa. Ora a tranquil haven of relaxation with a carefully curated menu of facial and body treatments. On the same floor, guests will discover the adults-only Cabana pool area and state-of-the-art fitness center that completes the wellness experience.

The opening of Andaz Dubai The Palm follows the news that the Andaz brand will debut in the Czech Republic in 2022, while the Hyatt Regency brand is preparing to arrive in Portugal next year.

Main image credit: Hyatt/Andaz

 

make-shift picnic with red cushions on the beach overlook undisturbed ocean

The Luxury Collection arrives in the Seychelles

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The Luxury Collection arrives in the Seychelles

North Island in the Seychelles joins The Luxury Collection as the portfolio’s first private island destination…

Following Marriott International’s ambitious plans to unveil more than 30 new luxury hotels in 2019, The Luxury Collection has announced the arrival of North Island, Seychelles into its portfolio of world-renowned hotels and resorts. With just 11 villas, Africa’s most exclusive private island is located 30 kilometres from the mainland and is accessible by a scenic helicopter flight or an hour boat ride, giving guests an immediate sense of escapism.

make-shift picnic with red cushions on the beach overlook undisturbed ocean

Following its history as a coconut plantation, the granitic island is now a sanctuary for endangered species; luminous beaches and clear blue seas welcome nesting sea turtles, and the Palm forests are home to giant Aldabra tortoises and rare Seychelles white-eye birds.

The island has been expertly designed and with pioneering conservation programs, offers the highest standards of hospitality, earning them status as an award-winning sustainable travel destination. With a mission to demonstrate that luxury with a conscience can co-exist, sustainability lies at the heart of North Island’s philosophy and will be further embraced and supported with The Luxury Collection. The operational responsibility of the resort will remain with ASMALLWORLD, the world’s leading travel & lifestyle community.

“North Island has always skilfully combined a sustainable and environmentally conscious management philosophy with the ambition to provide a truly immersive, barefoot-luxury experience,” said CEO of ASMALLWORLD, Jan Luescher. “Whilst maintaining our identity and ethos, our work with The Luxury Collection will allow us to maximise our awareness in our continued efforts in pioneering sustainable luxury travel.”

Eleven private guest and family villas line the island; each villa has been created using local materials harvested during the island’s rehabilitation process, expertly balancing luxury and simplicity. An haute-couture Robinson Crusoe aesthetic has been applied through interiors celebrating the sheer indulgence of volume and space.

“We’re delighted to be expanding our footprint of captivating destinations with storied pasts and protected futures.” – Global Brand Leader at The Luxury Collection, Anthony Ingham.

“North Island is one of the most rare and luxurious destinations in the world, making it a natural fit for The Luxury Collection and our global explorers who seek authentic experiences and connections to both pristine nature and elevated personalisation,” added Global Brand Leader at The Luxury Collection, Anthony Ingham. “This is the first private island within The Luxury Collection portfolio, and we’re delighted to be expanding our footprint of captivating destinations with storied pasts and protected futures.”

The island not only offers a calming refuge from the modern world, but also an invigorating, refreshing getaway connected to the island’s natural beauty. Aquatic explorers can take part in snorkeling, diving, fishing, sunset cruises, kayaking, paddle boarding and surfing. Bespoke guided excursions for those looking to explore the granite peaks or coral reefs are also available. Whilst on land, forest trails can be explored by foot, bicycle or private buggy, or guests can simply relax on one of the island’s four pristine beaches located at each end of the compass. The island is also the ultimate playground for families and children, with a Beach Buddy program tailormade to interests and hobbies. Parents are invited to take part, or can find their own relaxation whilst children remain supervised.

The North Island Spa is dwarfed by giant granite peaks, enjoys an open sea breeze and overlooks turquoise waters. Guests are invited to the spa on arrival where they are immediately immersed in ‘island life’ with each tailor-made treatment starting with a ‘barefoot ritual’. A private consultation to create a bespoke spa experience is then formulated as part of a holistic journey of visual and textural contrasts, arousing the senses and rejuvenating mind, body and soul.

Main image credit: Marriott International/The Luxury Collection

Industry insight: How smart tech is reshaping hotels

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Industry insight: How smart tech is reshaping hotels

With technology being a catalyst in the competitive arena of hospitality, hoteliers are focusing on offering guests a unique experience that attracts them toward their services. The hotel industry has changed over the years, explains STAAH

Smart technology is changing everything from the homes we live in to how our cities are managed. The hospitality industry is no exception. In many ways, the hospitality industry is leading the charge in the adoption of smart business technology.

From operations to guest experience to marketing, smart hotel technology offers a variety of cost savings and revenue opportunities, and it is enabling hotel owners to reach new levels of profitability. Here are some ways in which smart technology is reshaping how hoteliers operate.

Self check-in

Today, the guest does not want to wait at the reception desk, and they are expecting everything digital in your hotel. However, self-check-in service by a mobile app is the best solution for customers as well as hotel management staff.

Also, with this, the guests can easily find out whether their room is ready, can make requests for amenities and many more.

Mobile room keys

A smartphone app that provides guest room access, eliminates the problem of attendees losing their key card or the environmental impact of countless plastic cards. This could help your corporate social responsibility image. It’s a win-win!

3) Reserved Parking

Smart sensors and hotel apps will allow guests to not only reserve parking spots ahead of their visits, but to also have their spot assigned at their arrival. This will give your guests an effortless experience from the minute they pull up.

4) Online Reputation Management

A hotel’s online ratings can not only help predict future bookings, but they offer owners valuable insight into how well a property delivered on guest expectations. Therefore, operators will continue to invest in platforms such as STAAH’s review minder, that help them monitor online reviews, manage their online reputation and use that feedback to improve both their operational and guest experience standards.

5) Room service

Hotels will be able to push menu notifications to guests’ smartphones when they are in their rooms using smart occupancy sensors. They can also schedule texts tailored to fit their preferred ordering times, including personalised menu suggestions based on previous orders.

Other smart technologies such as customer surveys, smart loyalty-program management and smart hotel management will play a bigger role in how hotels operate in 2020 and beyond. The key to smarter hotel operations is implementing the right technologies that meet guests’ expectations and hoteliers’ needs to get to know these travelers better.

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

Main image credit: Pixabay

Kimpton Hotels to make its Spanish debut in early 2020

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Kimpton Hotels to make its Spanish debut in early 2020

Kimpton Vividora in Barcelona will shelter bold Barcelona-inspired design and the brand’s signature heartfelt hospitality, along with creative Mediterranean dining and a rooftop pool…

Located in Barcelona’s famous Gothic Quarter, with 156 beautifully appointed guest rooms and three distinct restaurants and bars, Kimpton Vividora Hotel is poised to be the most exciting hotel opening in Barcelona in 2020.

Kimpton Vividora Hotel’s design has been overseen, in part, by Henry Reeve, Head of Interior Design at IHG and who won Highly Commended in the Interior Designer of the Year category at The Brit List Awards last week. The interiors in the hotel are inspired by the textures, colours and historic details of the city. Kimpton’s Creative Director and Global SVP of Design, Ave Bradley, collaborated with local design agency El Equipo Creativo to infuse all spaces with an authentic Barcelona feel, contemporary details and local artwork.

Perched one floor above the lively streets, Fauna restaurant will welcome guests into a warm space reminiscent of an elegant Barcelonian home. Chef Ferran López’s menu is rooted in Mediterranean flavours and family recipes with a creative, Kimpton twist.

On the hotel’s ground floor, floor to ceiling windows offer a look at Cafè Got which will offer locally-roasted artisan coffee and light bites by day, and natural wines, artisanal vermouth and cocktails by night.

The rooftop bar, Terraza de Vivi, will feature a beautiful pool with sun loungers, elegant lighting, pergolas and lush greenery. The rooftop bar offers clever cocktails paired with creative small plates and expansive views of the city centre.

Mike Robinson, a native of Washington, D.C. has been appointed General Manager of the first Kimpton property in Spain. Mike will oversee the opening of the 156-room hotel, including three restaurant and bar outlets.

“We are very excited to bring Kimpton to Spain for the first time. From the thriving diversity and inclusiveness, to the passion for gastronomy and the arts, we couldn’t think of a more fitting first city than Barcelona. We are honoured to be Gothic Quarter’s new neighbour and member of the community, as well as becoming Barcelona’s best loved hotel,” said Mike Robinson, General Manager, Kimpton Vividora Hotel.

Kimpton spaces and experiences centre on its guests, offering inspiring design that evokes curiosity, to forward-thinking flavours that feed the soul. Every detail is thoughtfully curated and artfully delivered, so that guest experiences remain meaningful, unscripted and luxurious without the fuss.

Main image credit: IHG/Kimpton

Manchester’s Hotel Brooklyn to open in February 2020

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Manchester’s Hotel Brooklyn to open in February 2020

The doors to Manchester’s highly anticipated Hotel Brooklyn will open in February 2020…

Designed by Squid Inc – the team behind renowned Hotel Gotham – the long-awaited Hotel Brooklyn is scheduled to open in February 2020. The 189-key hotel is inspired by the New York Borough and chosen for its resonating similarities to Manchester, in terms of its buzzing industrial growth, as well as its strength of identity and culture.

The hotel will pay homage to Brooklyn’s history from early 20th century to the present day, with the inclusive design of the hotel being overseen by Motionspot, the UK’s leading accessible design company. Positioning itself as Manchester’s most accessible hotel, Hotel Brooklyn will be a trailblazer in championing accessible, sexy and modern design for all.

“We believe Hotel Brooklyn is a perfect fit for Manchester” – Robin Sheppard, Chairman of Bespoke Hotels

Squid Inc’s starting point was to create a distinctly Mancunian destination that resonated with the characteristics of its counterpart, Brooklyn: the sense of neighbourhood, the grittiness of its culture and edginess of its people. Brooklyn residents, from Mel Brooks to the Beastie Boys, have helped inspire this vibe.

“It was an honour to work with Bespoke Hotels again on creating another iconic Manchester hotel with a strong identity and character,” said Olly Redfern, Lead Interior Designer of Squid Inc. “Weaving the lines between Manchester and Brooklyn is a bold and inspirational project that draws many parallels and it was incredibly fun to do, partnering with some of the best local suppliers to create the finished look.”

Beautiful Victorian brownstone buildings have become icons of both Brooklyn and Manchester and Squid Inc have been driven by the ambition that the architects of Brooklyn showed when repurposing an area which had fallen out of favour, transforming it into one of the most exciting parts of town.

The brownstone idea is explored from the moment guests enter the hotel, with the industrial feel of the architecture softened by the lobby interior and designed to recreate the sense of journeying down a Brooklyn avenue, with brick stone and trees lining the walls.

Image credit: Bespoke Hotels/Hotel Brooklyn

Beyond the lobby is a flight of wide-paced steps, designed to provide a communal space to hang-out – paying homage to the iconic stoops of Brooklyn, and the sense of community these have inspired in film and art.  

The Snug is designed to be a playful, contemporary twist on the traditional.

Harking back to historic Victorian brownstone buildings and their expansive drawing rooms, The Snug is designed to be a playful, contemporary twist on the traditional.  This space is cosy and intimate – a sanctuary from the hubbub – with an open fireplace and a record player spinning vintage records from the Manchester music scene.

“Bathrooms have been cleverly-angled to allow their back walls and semi opaque windows to look out across the guestroom.”

The aesthetic of the 189 guestrooms has been inspired by Brooklyn’s loft spaces, peppered with immaculate features that favour quality and high-spec finishes. Beds have brass adornments, while Turkish rugs have been designed to contrast with the concrete floors. Bathrooms have been cleverly-angled to allow their back walls and semi opaque windows to look out across the guestroom, while street art wall features finish off the bold design direction.

Image credit: Bespoke Hotels/Hotel Brooklyn

Bathroom amenities include organic bamboo toothbrushes and ethically sourced toothpaste, green soap and lotion dispensers with minimum waste.

In addition, the hotel features 18 dynamically designed accessible bedrooms, each of which has been stylishly designed to complement the aesthetics of the hotel. “Accessible accommodation at Hotel Brooklyn features subtle details like basins with integrated hand grips, removable matt black grab rails, accessible bedroom storage and a hidden ceiling track hoist”, said Ed Warner, Founder & CEO of Motionspot. “We hope this high level of attention paid to inclusivity will make Hotel Brooklyn one of the most sought-after venues for guests of all abilities.”

Hotel Brooklyn’s bar and restaurant, named Runyon’s after Damon Runyon, an American writer renowned for his depictions of Brooklyn characters, will present a diverse menu showcasing European and American influences. Paying respect to the remarkable industrial craftsmanship of the Brooklyn Bridge (immortalised in many iconic images), Squid Inc have taken the bridge’s tension lines as inspiration, giving Runyon’s a flavour of downtown Brooklyn – a mix of gangster and quality, purposeful engineering – adding a desirable irregularity to proceedings.

On the top floor of the hotel, Salvation is the hotel’s dedicated events bar, featuring exposed brick work, pop art and neon lights to create a lively destination bar for the UK’s preeminent Northern city.

“We are thrilled to have secured this fantastic site in the heart of Manchester’s historic industrial thoroughfare of Portland Street”, commented Robin Sheppard, Chairman of Bespoke Hotels. “We believe Hotel Brooklyn is a perfect fit for Manchester, not solely in terms of the architectural grandeur and convenience of its location, but the abundant character and feistiness of the city. Portland Street is experiencing a regeneration as the hotel strip of the city”.

Image credit: Bespoke Hotels/Hotel Brooklyn

Throughout the hotel, regional suppliers have been selected wherever possible. Deanhouse Interiorswere commissioned to fabricate the entire fit-out package, including cased goods from wardrobe and bedroom fittings, to the reception pods and 9th floor bar counter. Alongside this, PS Interiors sourced several key furniture pieces throughout, including the retro styled bedroom chairs, while sourcing New York street art was overseen by Elegant Clutter Artwork. In addition, Manchester-based The Knot Collective were commissioned to design two bespoke rugs for the hotel’s public spaces.

Main image credit: Bespoke Hotels/Hotel Brooklyn

FIRST LOOK: Inside Riggs Washington D.C., a new level of unrivalled luxury

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
FIRST LOOK: Inside Riggs Washington D.C., a new level of unrivalled luxury

Ahead of the highly anticipated opening of the 181-key luxury hotel in Washington D.C., Hotel Designs takes a closer look inside…

Lore Group, the international hospitality company behind renowned hotels, such as Sea Containers London and Pulitzer Amsterdam, has released model images of Riggs Washington D.C.. The new luxury hotel is the latest hotel development to hit the headlines, and is the brainchild of The Brit List 2019 judge Jacu Strauss, designer, architect and Lore Group’s creative director.

In concepting and designing the property, Strauss, invoked the spirit of the former bank while preserving and restoring much of the property’s original design features to reimagine the storied building for the modern traveller. The 181-room property features playful nods to the building’s rich past, drawing on the parallels between the activities that take place in banks and at hotels to offer something personal and serendipitous around every corner.

The hotel’s development, which was first explored by Hotel Designs in a exclusive interview Strauss when he described the Washington D.C. as: “a city with a particularly strong and quirky evolving hotel and F&B market.” As such, the design of Riggs has paid particular attention to the public areas of the hotel, with the aim to add sensitive statement on the hotel design scene in the US capital. In the original barrel-valuted lobby and cafe, restored expansive ceilings, corinthian columns, classic stonework and custom furniture set the scene for an eye-catching arrival experience. A medallion of Juno Moneta, the Goddess of Money, presides over the room, while original features have been given a new lease of life and the grandeur of the building embraced to create a welcoming and inspired hotel that is deeply rooted in D.C. and its impressive history.

Image credit: Lore Group/Riggs Washington DC

Upstairs, the 181 guestrooms – including 15 bespoke-designed suites – are full with flair and personality. While all the stylish lighting in the hotel was provided by Chelsom, the marble-patterned headboards and wall coverings by Vousta blend together to create a thoughtful motif in each room. The interiors, balanced to create a romantic, sophisticated and calming oasis, have been inspired no doubt by Strauss’ love for travel.

Image credit: Lore Group/Riggs Washington DC

Catering to Washington DC’s ever-evolving social scene, the hotel’s 2,500 soft rooftop will offer panoramic views over the capital, and also feature a number of meeting, dining and events space.

“Lore Group continues to explore ways to deliver inspired and approachable hospitality concepts to interesting places around the world,” said Billy Skelli-Cohen, group CEO. “With Riggs Washington D.C., we have created a hotel and F&B concepts that celebrate both the legacy of the building – and the history of the city – through unexpected details and a thoughtful approach to guest experience.”

The arrival of Riggs comes an interesting time for Penn Quarter, which has been rejuvenated over the last two years. The new hotel is expected to further raise the level of luxury, creativity and innovative hospitality in the area – and Hotel Designs is keen to follow its progress.

Main image credit: Lore Group/Riggs Washington DC

Swissotel aquires Hotel Allegro in Bern, to reopen property in Autumn 2020

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Swissotel aquires Hotel Allegro in Bern, to reopen property in Autumn 2020

As part of this exciting next chapter for the property, Kongress + Kursaal Bern AG will invest approximately 16 million Swiss Francs on remodeling the property’s 171 guestrooms and public areas. 

More than 20 years after opening, the Kursaal Bern enters a new chapter in its history. Kongress + Kursaal Bern AG entered into an agreement with Swissôtel Hotels & Resorts whereby, effective in autumn 2020, Hotel Allegro will then be operated as Swissôtel Kursaal Bern.

Renovations inside the 171-key hotel will commence next January and are due to be completed by autumn 2020, and the hotel will remain open during the refurbishment process. Once complete, guests can look forward to clever design solutions, high-quality furnishings and a carefully thought-out sustainability concept, but also to traditional Swiss hospitality in the midst of one of the country’s most historic cities.

“Our search for a strong international brand partner led us to Swissôtel. It combines genuine Swiss hospitality with intelligent design and a stimulating atmosphere. This makes us a perfect match,” said Kevin Kunz, CEO Kongress + Kursaal Bern AG. “Regardless of the change in brand, we will of course keep the proven management team in place and will continue offering traditional Bernese hospitality.”

modern and contemporary guest room in a hotel

Image credit: Swissotel

Operating more than 30 hotels in 18 countries, Swissôtel, which will celebrate its 40th anniversary in 2020, has been part of the Accor group since 2016.

The partnership agreement between the brand and Kursaal Bern is a landmark moment for the tourism sector in the city. Both Kursaal and the hotel will benefit from Accor’s global reservations system, the company’s worldwide sales teams, direct booking channels, and access to new, innovative technologies. Guests at Swissôtel Kursaal Bern will also have the opportunity to become a member in the ALL loyalty program that puts all Accor brands and businesses worldwide under one umbrella.

“We offer a genuine expression of Swiss values and a steadfast commitment which is deeply rooted in quality, efficiency and reliability,” said Lilian Roten, Vice President Swissôtel Hotels & Resorts. “We are excited to add a third property in the brand’s birthplace. Our contemporary Swiss style combined with local characteristics creates a balanced environment for guests to relax and feel at home.”

The renovation is led by architects Marazzi + Paul together with interior designer Nina Mair. “She uses high-quality, natural materials and has managed to win us over with well-conceived and confidently stylish functionality,” added Kunz.

Roten adds: “Our alpine heritage has its roots in craftsmanship, sustainable design and a conscious, active way of life. This is exactly what Nina Mair’s design brings to the new Swissôtel Kursaal Bern. It’s through these approaches that we offer our guests a sense of well-being, energy and joy of life, which is perfectly in-tune with our brand promise ‘Life is a journey. Live it well.’”

Main image credit: Swissotel

Viceroy Residences at Ombria Resort wins prestigious sustainability award

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Viceroy Residences at Ombria Resort wins prestigious sustainability award

Continuing our theme this month to put sustainability under the spotlight, Viceroy Residences at Ombria Resort has been recognised for its commitment to the environment, winning Best Sustainable Residential Development, Portugal at the European Property Awards… 

Luxury real estate development Ombria Resort in the heart of the Algarve, which is slated to open in 2021, has been honoured at the 2019-2020 European Property Awards.

Announced at the awards ceremony in London, the destination won the coveted new category recognising excellence in sustainability, the Best Sustainable Residential Development, Portugal, with the Viceroy Residences at Ombria Resort project.

“We have definitely seen a shift across the last decade in the requirements of prospective buyers – they are much more focused on sustainability.” – Julio Delgado, CEO, Ombria Resort.

The European Property Awards is considered one of the most prestigious and recognised programme celebrating the highest levels of achievement across the real estate industry. The Sustainable Residential Development category, introduced this year for the first time to reflect the importance of sustainability in real estate, judged developments on their economic, environmental and social responsibility with Ombria Resort demonstrating strong practices in each area.

Reflecting the resort’s overall ethos Carved by Nature, Ombria Resort has a deep commitment to pioneering sustainable tourism; incorporating environmental, economic and socio-cultural values into innovative, everyday actions that will ensure the natural and cultural surroundings live on for future generations.

“We are thrilled to win this prestigious achievement and be leading the way in sustainable residential developments,” said Julio Delgado, CEO, Ombria Resort. “We have definitely seen a shift across the last decade in the requirements of prospective buyers – they are much more focused on sustainability, the natural environment and supporting local ecosystems. Our commitment to sustainability and a respect for nature is at the heart of everything we do, so to have such an accolade to recognise our efforts is truly an honour.”

The Viceroy Residences at Ombria Resort is a collection of 65 one- and two-bedroom freehold apartments serviced by Viceroy Hotels & Resorts, set within the Viceroy at Ombria Resort 5-star hotel, located in the heart of the development which spreads over 150 hectares in the inner Algarve. Ranging in size from 70 to 173 sq.m of gross internal area, the apartments are fully furnished and equipped to exacting five-star standards.

Designed as an elegant Portuguese village with all the charm and character of a long-established settlement and blending seamlessly into the hills, the resort eature a unique, sustainable vision of NZEBs (Nearly Zero Energy Buildings), which will lead the way for the Portuguese market – including creating a national case study for the use of geothermal energy.

Its pioneering shallow geothermal system will use water to transfer heat energy found just below the ground surface for climate control, hot water supply and swimming pool heating. Reverse heat pumps utilize the stable temperature of the ground as the main source of energy to produce heating in the winter, cooling in the summer and hot water throughout the year, safely and responsibly. The strategy for a sustainable, efficient Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system is based upon achieving high levels of user-friendly comfort while ensuring low energy consumption and maintenance costs.

Bioclimatic architecture, both innovative and traditional, allows for energy to be conserved wherever possible, with heat gained or lost through materials with low heat transference coefficients and age-old design tricks to protect from the sun.

Other innovative sustainable programmes at Ombria Resort include a comprehensive recycling programme, electric vehicle charging points and the conservation and cultivation of the local flora and fauna.

Adopting and implementing sustainable trade practices and supporting local suppliers with many building materials such as stones, tiles, plasters and insulation materials sourced regionally and nationally, vastly reduces Ombria Resort’s carbon footprint. The overall aim is to become a member of the community and actively contribute to the preservation of local traditions, generating new jobs and business opportunities. Activities at Ombria Resort will include an area for organic farming, honey harvesting facilities, astronomical observatory, paths for nature walks, mountain biking, and other sports facilities.

Main image credit: Ombria Resort

The Brit List Awards 2019 becomes sold-out event

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The Brit List Awards 2019 becomes sold-out event

With less than three weeks to go until Hotel Designs’ premium annual award ceremony, The Brit List Awards 2019 becomes a sold-out event… 

Following unprecedented demand, The Brit List Awards 2019, which takes place on November 21 at Patch East London, is now sold out. The event, which is Hotel Designs’ annual award ceremony, will be attended by the industry’s leading designers, architects, hoteliers, developers and suppliers.

The only way now to attend The Brit List Awards 2019 is to become the event’s last remaining partner, which can be secured by contacting Katy Phillips by email or by calling +44(0)1992 374050.

“The overwhelming demand to attend The Brit List Awards 2019 is a clear indication that Britain remains a strong creative capital on the international design and hospitality scene,” commented editor Hamish Kilburn. “We very much see the event as the after party of show season, and the whole team at Hotel Designs is looking forward to welcoming and celebrating the creative genius’ who are keeping Britain’s design hub an innovative and exciting place to operate – and write about!”

The event, which is sponsored by Crosswater, Hamilton Litestat, the British Institute of Interior Design and SYS Visual, will be attended by more than 300 of the industry’s finest. These include individuals from the likes of David Collins Studio, Goddard Littlefair, Dexter Moran Associates, Jack Irving Design, Jestico + Whiles, 3D Reid, EPR Architects, Richmond International, ReardonSmith Architects, IHG, Eccleston Square Hotel, Great Scotland Yard Hotel, Inhabit Hotels and Rosewood London, among many others.

 

The nationwide search to find the most influential designers, architects and hoteliers operating in Britain began months ago when Hotel Designs opened up nominations and applications to readers.

Since then, an independent panel of expert judges have gathered to select this year’s individual award winners and also to confirm the 75 individuals who have made it into The Brit List 2019.

Individual award categories:

  • Interior Designer of the Year
  • Architect of the Year
  • Hotelier of the Year
  • Best in Tech
  • The Eco Award 
  • Best in British Product Design – NEW CATEGORY FOR 2019
  • Outstanding Contribution to the Hospitality Industry

The Shortlist for The Brit List 2019 can be viewed here.

#TheBritListAwards2019

Headline Partner: Crosswater

Event Partner: Hamilton Litestat

2019 Industry Partner: BIID

Videography Partner: SYS Visual

MEININGER Hotels signs for second hotel in the UK

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
MEININGER Hotels signs for second hotel in the UK

The hotel group, MEININGER Hotels, will open 87-key hotel in Liverpool in 2021…

MEININGER Hotels, which currently operates 29 hybrid hotels in Europe, has signed a contract for a new hotel in Liverpool, reinforcing its aim for further growth in the UK. “Our new hotel property in Liverpool is an existing building that will be converted into a typical MEININGER Hotel according by spring 2021,” says Thomas Hagemann, COO of MEININGER Hotels.

“On a gross floor area of 36,049 sq ft (3,349 sq m), the result will be a state-of-the-art accommodation with 87 rooms and 277 beds spread over six floors, a lobby, reception, guest kitchen, bar, lounge, game zone as well as a breakfast area and luggage room.

“Our guests can also look forward to sufficient social spaces for shared community experiences as well as to our flexible room concept, which is unique in the industry. The MEININGER Hotel Liverpool will appeal to individual, group and business travellers with its room structure consisting of two, three and four-bed rooms.”

The MEININGER Hotel Liverpool will be located on Union Court, right in the heart of the city. Most of the main cultural, architectural and gastronomic attractions of the city are within walking distance of the hotel: from the UNESCO world heritage buildings around the Royal Albert Dock, Liverpool One, the Tate Gallery or the Cavern Club. Thanks to the excellent public transport links via the nearby train and bus stations, both Anfield and Goodison Park are also within easy reach for football fans.

This will be the MEININGER Group’s second hotel in the UK after the opening of the MEININGER Hotel London Hyde Park in 2006. A MEININGER Hotel Manchester is also underway and expected to open at the end of 2021.

Hannes Spanring, CEO of MEININGER Hotels commented: “Together with openings planned for this year in Paris and Lyon as well as next year in Washington D.C., which will mark the respective market entries in France and the U.S., Liverpool is an important milestone in MEININGER Hotels’ goal to operate approximately 34,000 beds internationally by 2024.”

“There is no doubt that the UK capital is very popular with visitors, and we had a 94% occupancy rate last year at our Hyde Park hotel,” he added. “But the UK is very rich in attractive destinations with enormous development potential elsewhere too. We are therefore delighted to have signed the contract for a new MEININGER Hotel in Liverpool.

“In Liverpool, the figures for overnight stays and hotel offerings have shown a sustained upward trend in recent years, and the forecasts are also very positive,” Spanring continues. “The current range of rooms consists mainly of four-star and budget hotels, hostels account for only one percent of all accommodation in Liverpool to date. Our goal is to become the UK market leader in this segment with our unique hybrid hotel concept, which combines the service and comfort of international budget hotels with the exceptional amenities and flexible room structure of hostels.”

Main image credit: Xtravagant

Kempinski opens second luxury hotel in the Americas

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Kempinski opens second luxury hotel in the Americas

Cabrits Resort & Spa Kempinski has opened, marking the brand’s debut in Dominica ahead of global expansion… 

Nestled in Douglas Bay on the northwest side of the island of Dominica, the unparalleled luxury destination which now features Cabrits Resort & Spa Kempinski blends harmoniously the Caribbean hospitality with timeless European elegance of Kempinski.

“Cabrits Resort & Spa Kempinski Dominica is an important addition to Kempinski fast-growing portfolio of iconic and luxurious hotels in the Caribbean, and further emphasizes our development strategy in the region,” said Martin R. Smura, Chairman of the Management Board and Chief Executive Officer of Kempinski Hotels S.A. “The beachfront hideaway is the perfect destination for luxury travellers looking for a different kind of resort experience in deep connection with nature, and combines the best of Kempinski European service with a keen respect for Dominica culture and traditions.”

Commenting on the opening, Michael Schoonewagen, General Manager, Cabrits Resort & Spa Kempinski Dominica says: “We are excited to bring Kempinski rich heritage of impeccable personal service and incomparable hospitality to Dominica. Cabrits Resort & Spa Kempinski Dominica is the celebration of the destination’s pristine, untouched landscape and Kempinski European refinement. We look forward to welcoming all guests to experience this new pinnacle of luxury in the Caribbean.”

“Dominica is the land of a variety of flora and fauna, including many rare plants, animals and bird species.”

Found between Guadeloupe and Martinique, the lush, unspoiled island of Dominica is the Caribbean’s hidden gem. Unexposed to mass tourism, the island attracts both eco-adventurers and those simply wishing to disconnect from everyday life. Surrounded by Cabrits National Park, Cabrits Resort & Spa Kempinski Dominica has been designed to preserve the natural balance between land and the sea, whilst ensuring a modern contemporary guest experience.

Dominica is the land of a variety of flora and fauna, including many rare plants, animals and bird species. The island is protected by an extensive natural park system that encompasses three national parks, two forest reserves and the Syndicate Parrot Reserve. Adventure seekers can enjoy eco-trekking on countless hiking trails, bird watching or simply observing wildlife in their natural surroundings.

All of the resort’s 151 luxuriously appointed guestrooms and suites are generously proportioned and guarantee exceptional mountain or ocean views. From deluxe and superior rooms to spacious suites and two-bedroom duplexes, as well as villas, each is inspired by the island’s natural beauty and features a soothing palette of coastal colours, detailed wood accents and ample natural lighting, bringing the beauty of the outdoors in.

Rooms are equipped with every modern convenience that a guest might need including flat-screen televisions and complimentary WiFi service to in-room espresso machines and luxurious bath amenities.

For the ultimate Cabrits experience, the 426 sq m Presidential Villa features stunning ocean views, dedicated butler service, a private lobby entrance, two bedrooms, two and a half bathrooms, a dining room, a private spa room with sauna and a large, oversized terrace for outdoor dining, complete with a grill and private pool. A private chef is also available upon request.

The selection of culinary treasures at Cabrits Resort & Spa Kempinski has been carefully thought out to give all the senses a feast. The resort is a culinary destination featuring both local and international cuisine as well as “farm-to-table” and “sea-to-table” dining.

The hotel group currently operates 79 five-star hotels and residences in 34 countries, and has plans to add new properties in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and the Americas.

Main image credit: Kempinski Hotels

Aparthotel growth outpacing UK hotel market

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Aparthotel growth outpacing UK hotel market

Serviced apartments and aparthotels are the fastest growing segment of the UK’s hospitality accommodation market, according to new research by commercial property consultancy Lambert Smith Hampton (LSH)…

LSH’s latest hotel market research Va Va Vroom! reports that the serviced apartment sector, which includes aparthotels, currently represents just 3% of the total hospitality accommodation in the UK, a significantly lower level than in many international markets.

In the US, the sector takes a 9% market share, the report says, suggesting that there is considerable room for growth in the UK.  Reflecting this potential, the sector is now expanding at an accelerated rate, with approximately 6,000 new units scheduled to open over the next two years – making up around 13% of the UK’s total active pipeline.

While serviced apartments have historically been targeted at single travellers on long stays, Va Va Vroom! highlights that the sector is now appealing to a much broader customer base, with aparthotels increasingly popular for short-term stays.  Newer aparthotel concepts are tapping into the changing consumer demands of the Airbnb era, it says, by providing flexible accommodation that offers more of a ‘home-from-home’ experience.

Innovative formats are also blurring the distinctions between serviced apartments, aparthotels and traditional hotels, it reports, with operators such as Native, Locke and Roomzzz developing increasingly stylish, design-led products.  Ideas from the co-working sector are also being introduced to create home-office hybrids.  While London has historically been the main focus for operators, key target markets for aparthotel operators now include regional centres such as Manchester, Glasgow and Liverpool.

“The aparthotel sector is currently one of the most exciting parts of the market,” said Simon Stevens, LSH Hotels Director. “While the rise of the Airbnb sector is sometimes viewed as a threat to more traditional types of accommodation, it is actually benefiting aparthotels by making consumers more receptive to alternatives to conventional hotels.

“With new brands being launched and established operators reinventing their products, serviced apartments and aparthotels will continue to innovate and grow. The sector will remain a melting pot for new ideas; borrowing from alternative concepts such as co-living and co-working to create inventive new hybrids.”

Main image credit: Accor/Adagio

In Conversation With: Britain’s design legend Martin Brudnizki

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In Conversation With: Britain’s design legend Martin Brudnizki

Last year’s crowned Interior Designer of The Year at The Brit List Awards, Martin Brudnizki, invites editor Hamish Kilburn to his Chelsea London studio to explain some of the major milestones in his career as well as how he logistically manages his time in a truly international market…

Design gems are not hard to come by on the British hotel design scene. You have only to open the pages of last year’s edition of The Brit List – and this year’s shortlist for that matter – to find the top 75 influential designers, architects and hoteliers.

However, design legends are less common. It’s not a question of talent or ability, but more a reflection of style, class, personality and being about to really set oneself aside from others in the heavily congested international hotel design market.

There is only – and will only ever be – one Martin Brudnizki, for example. Last year, Hotel Designs’ The Brit List crowned the acclaimed visionary as its Interior Designer of the Year – and for good reason. “Brudnizki is an international leader, standing as an icon as well as inspiration to so many young aspiring designers,” commented last year’s expert judging panel. “His recent work in University Arms Cambridge is a credit to his studio’s ability to give a building a new lease of life in the most sensitive and creative way.”

Image caption/credit: The Library designed by MBDS/University Arms Cambridge

Almost one year later, while the editorial team at Hotel Designs are gearing up for yet another spectacular awards ceremony, I aptly caught up with the Brudnizki in his Chelsea studio in London to find out more about our ‘poster boy’s’ journey to become one of the world’s most celebrated interior designers of the moment.

“I grew up in Stockholm; my mother was a stylist and my father an engineer and I think this blend of approaches to living and design, in particular, rubbed off on me,” Brudnizki explains. “My mother is incredibly stylish and filled our home with beautiful colours, patterns and objet. My father on the other hand, worked in a very precise and thought-through way. Both aspects of their personality has certainly informed the way I work today.”

Brudnizki’s early career in design saw him working at the likes of David Gill Gallery and David Collins Studio before branching off and putting his own practice in 2000, Martin Brudnizki Design Studio (MBDS) in 2000. “I learned a lot during my time in other places,” he adds, “which has served me well when establishing my own studio.”

“We have a number of up-coming projects that I also hope shape our studio’s story. It’s an exciting time.” – Martin Brudnizki

Since then, MBDS has become one of the leading international design studios, with bases in London and New York and projects including The Beekman, University Arms and Four Seasons Athens. But, like all designers, Brudnizki remembers the milestone moments; the hotels and buildings that captured his and his team’s incredible imagination, usually sheltered in iconic shells. “All the projects we work on are exciting and help shape the future of the studio however, there are a few that really stick out as being pivotal,” the designer explains. “Scott’s in Mayfair presented us with the opportunity to design our first fine dining restaurant, it also cemented our relationship with Caprice Holdings, who have since become important clients of ours. Working with Nick Jones on Soho Beach House Miami was exciting as this saw us introduce the successful Soho House brand to a new region. The Beekman in New York opened in 2016 and helped stamp our mark on New York. It’s located in a beautiful building and we were lucky to garner a lot of attention from it. Finally, Annabel’s in London has proved incredibly popular for us. It’s such an iconic club so we felt very honoured to be asked to redesign its incarnation. We have a number of up-coming projects that I also hope shape our studio’s story. It’s an exciting time.”

Dividing his time between both London and New York has given Brudnizki the unique freedom to position himself in two of the world’s most respected design hubs. “Both cities have very unique identities,” Brudnizki explains. “They are both are melting pots of culture and excitement and whilst very different, they both present wonderful opportunities to mark your mark.”

“Luxury travel to me is being able to combine a sense of curated experience with spontaneity; finding new places but also the having the flexibility to be adventurous and go off piste.” – Martin Brudnizki

From the outside looking in, the luxury market in hotel design may look like a desirable place to start when setting out to build a reputation as being a leading designer, but it also comes with risk to cater to the ever-changing demand of the modern luxury traveller. For Brudniki, the true art of luxury travel is a reflection of his own experience and personality. “Luxury travel to me is being able to combine a sense of curated experience with spontaneity; finding new places but also the having the flexibility to be adventurous and go off piste,” he defines.

Since winning at The Brit List 2018, Brudnizki’s vision on a new hotel brand has come to life in the shape of Mr C Hotels, which opened in Miami earlier this year – and has, as a result, put him in the running for the second consecutive year for this year’s awards. “Mr C is situated in a modern new build in the green surroundings of Coconut Grove,” he explains. “New builds have many benefits, including up-to-date technology and no listed statuses to content with however, new builds often lack the characterful details of older properties. With this in mind, we often have to dig deeper to find a strong narrative to wrap the hotel’s design in. For Mr. C we looked to the landscape of the region and the glamorous boating heritage and incorporated elements of this into our scheme.”

As well as technology, another area that has peaked recently in popularity among developers as well as designers and architects is the value of sustainability and designing consciously. “I think it depends on the project and the client, Brudnizki admits. “We are working with Six Senses on their new hotel and resort in Kitzbuehel Alps and the whole design is focused on sustainability and using organic and local materials. This is to mirror the brand’s values so we’ve had an interesting time researching new materiality and local artisans who can help reduce the hotel’s carbon footprint and up their sustainability accreditation.”

Quick-fire round

Hamish Kilburn: Where is next on your travel bucket list?
Martin Brudnizki: Portugal.

HK: What is the number one item you simply cannot travel without?
MB: A silk eye mask.

HK: What is the last item that will show up on your bank statement?
MB: Probably food from Bayley & Sage.

HK: What is your favourite place to unwind in London?
MB: My home in Parsons Green. As a travel so much, it’s nice to just come home and relax in the peace and quiet.

HK: What trend do you hope will never return?
MB: International Beige.

HK: Where are you travelling to next?
MB: My New York Studio next week.

Before I leave the designer in peace to create with his team the hotel interiors of the future, which include hotels in London, Austria, LA and Cape Town (among others), I am interested to explore, on the surface at least, new materials that have emerged on the designer’s radar. “I am really interested in straw marquetry at the moment; it’s such a beautiful natural fibre that can be used in the most unusual of places, such as walls and furniture,” Brudnizki says.

MBDS itself is incubating a strong network of talented designers that will further position Britain as a globally regarded leading design hotspot. With his name on the door of two dynamic studios – and also in the minds of I would argue all aspiring interior designers – Brudnizki is leading the ever-evolving industry into new territory.

The shortlisted finalists this year’s The Brit List have been invited to The Brit List Awards 2019, which takes on November 21 at Patch East London (Aldgate). To purchase limited tickets, click here

Main image credit: Luca Marziale

ACE Hotels to arrive in Australia

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
ACE Hotels to arrive in Australia

ACE Hotel Sydney is slated to open in 2021 and will become the brand’s debut property in Australia… 

Ace Hotel announces their first Australian property with Ace Hotel Sydney, slated to open in 2021. Marking its 20th anniversary this year, Ace Hotel celebrates a double decade with 10 hotels spanning North America, Europe and soon Asia, including hotels in New York City, Los Angeles, London and Kyoto, Japan (Spring 2020).

Atelier Ace, the agency and operator behind Ace Hotel, also launched two new hotel brands this year: Maison de la Luz, a luxury guest house in New Orleans, and Sister City, a thoughtfully designed hotel in NYC inspired by simplicity and beauty.

“Opening an Ace Hotel in Sydney, and on our fourth continent, is a project that aligns with our Pacific roots and love of food, art, architecture, design and cultural creatives — things that are in rich abundance in our new Surry Hills neighbourhood ” said Kelly Sawdon, Ace Hotel Group Partner and Chief Brand Officer. “We’re excited to partner with Golden Age, whose vision and sense of collaboration is in kinship with Ace, to build a central gathering place for locals and travelers alike.”

Jeff Xu, Golden Age Founder and Managing Director commented: “Ace Hotel is one of the best and draws inspiration from the characteristics of the city they operate in. Surry Hills is known for being a culinary hub with a stylish culture and acts as a great canvas to design a hotel from. We’re excited to be bringing the first Ace to Australia and the brand’s fresh approach to the hotel industry is one that has been missing from the local hotel market.”

Holding space in the global imagination as a singular destination, Sydney balances a relaxed spirit with renowned architecture, design and food, embodying kindness, culture and community in kinship with Ace.

Opening in the Surry Hills neighbourhood in a part historic, part new build structure built around Tyne House, one of Sydney’s original brick structures. Ace Hotel Sydney will feature 264 rooms, a ground floor lobby bar, restaurant and cafe, as well as a rooftop bar and restaurant. Inspired by the abundance of natural flora, the city’s rich history as a welcoming hub and its generous quality of life, the hotel stands as a unique intersection of culture, commerce, art and community gathering.

Main image credit: ACE Hotels

The Annual Hotel Conference kicks off in spectacular fashion

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The Annual Hotel Conference kicks off in spectacular fashion

As proud media partners, Hotel Designs was on location in Manchester to witness the engaging opening sessions of The Annual Hotel Conference 2019…

Hosted by Questex Hospitality Group,the 16thAnnual Hotel Conference (AHC) opened yesterday at the Hilton Manchester Deansgate with 28 per cent more speakers than last year, following popular demand.  In addition, the outstanding conference programme features 65 per cent of speakers new to The AHC stage and one third of these are female.

New sessions to the programme, covering the most topical conversations include:

Claire King, Event Director of The AHC said: “Never has there been a more pressing time to come together as a community. The AHC is proud to provide a unique, nurturing and fun platform for the industry to gather and collectively, look to the future. This year’s event features more content, more networking and more speakers to deliver the highest quality conference to the gathered audience. We’ve always stayed fiercely true to our “Learn. Network. Be Inspired.” maxim and we’re looking forward to welcoming the industry to The AHC next week”.

The AHC is for UK hoteliers, owners, operators and managers as well as investors, developers, designers, architects, consultants, tourism leaders and regional tourist boards.

Day two of The AHC continues…

Image credit: Twitter/The AHC

In Conversation With: Outstanding Property Award London’s Jesper Thomsen

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In Conversation With: Outstanding Property Award London’s Jesper Thomsen

Making its debut on the international design stage, Outstanding Property Award London (OPAL) has begun its global search to identify the most innovative design and architecture projects. As the exclusive media partner of the awards, Hotel Designs speaks to OPAL’s  co-founder to understand what sets the initiative aside from others. Editor Hamish Kilburn writes…

“What makes a building, a project, a person and/or a hotel’s design outstanding,” I ask myself as I weave between some of London’s architectural skyline statements while running embarrassingly late to meet with Jesper Thomsen. It feels like only yesterday we were both sitting down over coffee for the first time discussing the bones of what has now become the Outstanding Property Award London (OPAL).

Fast-forward to today, and I am on the jury –  as well as at the helm of a very special media partnership -imminently about to be asked to identify the ‘outstanding’ from the ‘extraordinary’ and ‘unique’ – all of which are buzzwords that are overused and I struggle at the best of times to define. Considering the vast amount of innovative architectural gems that have appeared in cityscapes around the world in recent years, I would be lying if I said I didn’t feel the entire weight of the industry’s judgement pressing down on my shoulders. It’s an interesting concept becoming a judge, and ironic that what follows is then the feeling – or apprehension at least – of judgement. But it’s reassuring to know that I’m not alone when casting my opinion, as the awards now has significant number of jury members, all of which have been hand-selected to offer different perspectives from all corners of the industry.

By the time I make it to meet Thomsen, I have decided that, for me, something unconventional will be my winner, which is a word that I feel would best describe Thompson’s ambitions for OPAL, along with ‘bold’, ‘courageous’ and ‘about time.’

Hamish Kilburn: What was the aim when setting up OPAL? 

Jesper Thomsen: The aim was created out of a passion for creativity in the property industry. We aim to highlight and celebrate the most exceptional design projects in the world, raising their awareness and honoring its creators. Buildings last for decades, sometimes centuries, they tell our history and legacy, where we come from and where we are now. They are fundamental to our existence, so it’s essential that they are well designed and serves humanity in the best way possible.

We seek to reveal projects that are not only highly creative but show useful function, provide better living experiences for its users, and meeting the clients’ expectation. Class-leading projects that demonstrate innovation and embracing new technologies, setting new trends, respecting and protecting the environment, and pushing boundaries of human ingenuity.

OPAL was established with my friend and business partner Hossein Farmani, founder of the Farmani Group of companies, who has vast experience in the design awards industry since 1985. Having worked together in the past, the award feels like a natural progression of our combined experiences.

HK: Can you tell more about your experience in the industry? What’s your story? 

JT: I always wanted to become an Architect. Since a young age, I’ve been fascinated by design, and for me, architecture was the ultimate expression of human creativity and design evolution. However, my father was the third-generation owner of a printing and design practice in my native Denmark and got me interested in graphic design. At the time of A-level graduation in Denmark, I wanted to apply for the School of Architecture, but the ministry of education regulating the free admissions had almost no openings for new students due to a slump in that industry.

Instead, after one year as an apprentice in an architectural firm in Paris, I moved to London and began a Masters degree at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, which related more to graphic design, I also supplemented my studies with photography. Following graduation, I was a creative director, designing websites for major companies during the dot com boom era. Here I gained considerable experience in digital marketing and branding. After a seven-year itch, I became tired of commercial design, and my love for the arts was calling.

I launched a private art gallery in Londons’ Knightsbridge, including spending one year developing and designing the gallery space. In this process, it felt like all creative aspects came together, and after completion, I would subsequently spend another seven years running the gallery exhibiting artworks by artists such as Damian Hirst and Bill Brandt.

I decided to move on from the gallery business, and fate got me involved in developing a few properties in Londons Knightsbridge, I spent nearly 3 years responsible for all operations, learning hands-on all the disciplines from interiors to architecture, planning, research, 3D modeling, materials, procuring and team management. It was a very creative period but also learning the hard way how complex the creation of properties really is. So my past really covers hugely varied types of creative practices. I’ve learned that creativity, in all its forms, is about ‘seeing’, sensing, letting your imagination unfold, and this can be applied to all its disciplines.

HK: Why is London such a significant destination to base these awards? 

JT: London has always been incredibly important for creativity and design in the built environment, spanning from historical landmarks up to today’s groundbreaking contemporary designs. Some of the most famous developers, architectural firms, and interior designers, have a base here and continue to inspire and influence the global property industry. The OPAL Award is open to entries from around the world, and we want to bring outstanding projects to London and celebrate them in our fantastic capital we are so proud of.

“OPAL offers a three-way synergy between our three main entry categories; Property Development, Architecture and Interior Design.” – Jesper Thomsen

HK: What sets OPAL aside from other design awards? 

JT: Many awards are confined to a single industry within the property sector; An Architecture Award, is for Architects, by Architects. An interior design award, is for interior designers, by interior designers and so on. OPAL reaches fully across the property sector. It offers a three-way synergy between our three main entry categories; Property Development, Architecture and Interior Design. These industries continuously collaborate to create exciting projects, each bringing their expertise, and combined, they deliver outstanding designs. We are also very proud of our talented jury panel who will evaluate the global entries, they are our backbone and aspiration to those who enter our award.

HK: What other destinations around the globe would you are design hotspots? 

JT: It’s incredible how major cities in Asia have become design hotspots. Shanghai for example, really pushes boundaries fuelled by a concentration of industrial partners and strong government support. As the countdown to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games draws closer, the Japanese capital is in the middle of a hotel gold rush. Anything from boutique design hotels to glittering skyscrapers, a raft of new establishments are opening or are in the pipeline. Mexico City is also one to watch after being nominated for World Design Capital last year. I love their particular design language, elegantly fusing original colonial architecture with contemporary.

HK: What’s the number one thing you cannot travel without?

JT: This is an obvious one; my laptop. It’s glued to my fingertips at all times. I travel extensively, and this enables me to run operations and be connected at all times. Oh, and an online back-up of it too.

HK: What is your favourite hotel you have ever stayed in and why?

JT: There are so many. I recently visited Extremadura, a remote and less traveled part of Spain. Here, in the historic town of Cáceres, inside its UNSECO walled city and housed in a beautifully restored 16th-century palace is the stunning hotel Atrio. Striking white minimalist architectural features blends lovingly with the old stone walls and shiny black wooden floors. The surrounding streets have no tourist shops, nor huge crowds with selfie sticks you’d typically find in places of such beauty, just quaint, peaceful alleys defined by sandstone and ivy leaf clad palaces. The rooms and amenities are styled in a fashionable 60s Scandinavian design, Miles Davies’ Blue Note years playing softly in the background, a pleasing opposition to the striking view onto the empty medieval square below. Atrio is also home to a fabulous two-starred Michelin restaurant boasting one of the finest wine cellars in the world. I thoroughly recommend a visit here.

HK: What do you look for in an outstanding property?

JT: What really excites me about a great project is when the original vision of a completed building shines like a star, its purpose is evident to the eyes and the senses. Those projects are likely to be those who have seen mostly green lights during the creation process.

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

JT: My sights are on Mongolia, away from civilisation and buildings. When I take time off, I grab my camera bag and go shooting landscapes, happy to be off-grid. No place is better for me to clear my mind than to connect with solitary, vast open expanses or wild roaring oceans.

HK: What is your favourite restaurant/bar in London at the moment?

JT: I like Aquavit in St. James. Maybe I’m a bit impartial due to my Scandinavian roots, here you can eat classic dishes such as gravid lax in a beautiful, sumptuous setting. I also like the buzz of The Ned, the physical scale of it is bars, and restaurants area is incredible. I just had a sneak peek of the yet to be launched upstairs bar and restaurant of the Standard Hotel, a funky design offering fantastic views over Londons’ city to one side and the clock tower of St. Pancras to the other, so close it feels glued onto their windows.

HK: What trend do you hope never returns?

JT: Brutalist 60s’ architecture. Its primitive obsession with concrete made an austere generation of buildings where function superseded design, creating discouraging living conditions for its users. I don’t think architects and developers of that time really understood or considered the human factor as part of a design concept, that a building serves to improve peoples lives and its environment, not just a structure to keep you dry from the rain. They are genuine eyesores and should be demolished, and only the best examples should be preserved for the record. I doubt this trend will return anytime soon due to a much better understanding of peoples needs along with technological advancements in the building industry, 3D printing, new materials and simulation methods give designers today far more freedom, flexibility, and individuality to create exciting designs.

Main image credit: OPAL

Six Senses to open first hotel in the Galápagos Islands

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Six Senses to open first hotel in the Galápagos Islands

Opening 2021, Six Senses’ first hotel in the Galápagos Islands will be designed by world-renowned bamboo architect Simon Velez… 

Following a rise in demand for hotels to open in far-flung destinations around the world, Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas has announced that its first resort in the Galápagos Islands will open in 2021. Six Senses Galapagos will be located on San Cristobal Island, in the town of Cerro Verde on the Northeastern coast. This is the quietest of the main islands with a relaxed and tranquil vibe.

The Galápagos Islands were named by 16th century Spanish sailors after the saddle-shaped shells (“galápago”) of their most famous resident, the giant tortoise. The 19 islands are home to some of the world’s most amazing wildlife and ecology systems. Guests at the upcoming Six Senses Galapagos will therefore experience a one-of-a-kind natural environment.

UNESCO recognised the Galápagos Islands as a World Heritage Site in 1978 and a Biosphere Reserve in 1985, development is only permitted on three percent of the total area. Permission has been granted to develop the resort on a verdant hill with unspoiled views of the ocean and other topographical landmarks. All building work is in accordance with local laws and with strong involvement from the local community.  The development of this project is being led by Hitesh Mehta of HM Design and will focus on a distinctive planning philosophy which balances economic, environmental, and social impact.

Chief Executive Officer Neil Jacobs of Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas said: “Sustainability is at the core of our brand, influencing everything from ongoing community engagement and conservation efforts to the local, repurposed materials used in the development. We are excited and delighted to work with the Orgal Group on this extraordinary project in such a special and environmentally sensitive place, staying true to our joint purpose of ecosystem restoration, scientific research of marine species and low-impact tourism.”

Plans are underway for an Earth Lab and Experience Center. The first will showcase the project’s sustainability efforts and the second will host research and educational activities by well-respected academics and NGOs already working in the Galápagos. There will be a particular focus on restoring the original endemic Miconia ecosystem, eradicating invasive species and maintaining a native plant nursery on site. The almost zero light pollution ensures night skies are some of the most spectacular on earth, and an Observation Post will offer guests stargazing and fine dining experiences. All three facilities have been designed by world-renowned bamboo architect Simon Velez.

The Six Senses Spa will have a functional fitness centre, yoga studio and Alchemy Bar and will offer comprehensive wellness programmes incorporating  local healing and herbalist treatments. Following the guiding principles of Eat With Six Senses, the food and beverage program will minimise the need to import any produce. The ultimate aim is self-sufficiency, with an organic vegetable garden complementing produce grown by local farmers or caught by local fishermen. There will also be a Fermentation Room where guests can learn about the joys of pickling and preserving.

The hotel brand currently manages 18 hotels and resorts and 30 spas in 21 countries under the brand names Six Senses, Evason and Six Senses Spas, and has signed a further 19 properties into the development pipeline.

Main image credit: IHG/Six Senses

INTERACTIVE HOTEL REVIEW: Monkey Island Estate, Bray-on-Thames

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INTERACTIVE HOTEL REVIEW: Monkey Island Estate, Bray-on-Thames

Unearthing eight centuries of history, editor Hamish Kilburn checks in to Bray-on-Thames’ Monkey Island Estate to interactively review a new kind of private countryside luxury…

Travel upstream from London and you eventually arrive in the quintessentially British surroundings of Bray-on-Thames, a quiet suburban village that is arguably most for harbouring two of the UK’s five restaurants that hold three Michelin stars.

But before the existence of award-winning gourmet F&B establishment, some 800 years prior, there quietly sat an empty island, which went on to soak up interesting eras. It was firstly an ideal setting for monks seeking peace on the banks of the river. It is said that after the Great Fire of London in 1666, materials from Oxfordshire, such as stone and brick, were transported down the river for rebuilding the city. On the vessels’ return, rubble would be spread around some of the Thames islands, which greatly reduced erosion and helped to strengthen the foundations.

A few decades later, in 1738, the land was purchased by Charles Spencer, 3rdDuke of Marlborough, who was rumoured to have paid palladian architect Robert Morris £2,277 to erect the first two buildings on the island in order to indulge his hobby of fishing. It took Morri three years to complete, but his work marks an important milestone in the property and island’s history – and it is arguably here where the narrative of what is now known as Monkey Island Estate really begins. But it was only recently when the story took on a new narrative, complete with the introduction of new characters, to become a completely unique boutique hotel.

In 2016, YTL Hotels acquired the land, and work began to restore the property into a modern and relaxed countryside abode. Inspired by the haunts of monks, monarchs, aristocrats and writers alike, New York-based Champalimaud Design was responsible to sensitively orchestrate the interior design of the hotel. Having completed the interior design of YTL’s debut UK property, The Gainsborough Bath and Spa, and more recently The Academy in London, the studio, while also sensitively restoring Raffles Singapore, was well-poised to develop the relationship further.

Unlike any hotel project that lead designer Jon Kastl has faced before, the geography of Monkey Island Estate presented its own unique set of challenges. “You have no idea how difficult it is to work on a island that has no direct car access,” he explains. “Everything had to be carried over the footbridge onto the island. And then, the other challenge was the age of the buildings, and dealing with the neglect of the building. They were in pretty rough shape, almost falling into disrepair.”

Guests’ first impression of the hotel is an understated – almost camouflaged – lobby area in a cosy ‘boathouse’ – the feeling of being taken away from the daily grind does not get much stronger than this so close to the centre of London. “The hotel is relatively small,” adds “

The short walk over the footbridge from the unassuming lobby to the public areas is one of wonder. Architectural landscape designer AV Design has created a majestic garden that compliments the various buildings.

Framing what should be in my opinion the postcard picturesque views of the River Thames, the pavilion building, which shelters the majority of the public areas, sets a relaxing setting – and echoes, on a balmy summer afternoon at least, the same peaceful scene that I imagine was once enjoyed by monks centuries ago.

Caption: The Restaurant | Image credit: ACT Studios

Although the bar and restaurant is, on the surface, seemingly conventional, the building has a few hidden gems. The Monkey Room, for example, stands true to its original form and structure – and even design. “The only thing we changed was the purple paint colours on the ceiling and add the furnishings,” says Kastl. The eye-catching murals on the panelling is all original which has been there from since when the building was first built.

Caption: The Monkey Room | Image credit: ACT Studios

Up the spiral staircase, The Whiskey Room is the latest area that has opened. Designed with the winter months in mind, the cosy and home-from-home atmosphere, complete with tactile wallcoverings, is an expected treat.

It is because of the fact that the 41 guestrooms and one originally restored suite are sheltered in a grade I-listed building that makes the design story even more fascinating. The design of each and every one of the guestrooms utilises the entire space, with some stretching out onto terraces which look over the river, while carefully blending in a modern style that becomes timeless.  “We just had to accept the smallness of the rooms when designing them,” Kastl explains. “We did things like designing miniature shelves and additional service space. We designed rails that lined the rolls for guests to hang items from. Because there is such a limited closet space, we had to rely on these rails.” The furniture is scaled appropriately so that it fits in the limited space neatly. Meanwhile, the blinds and curtains, supplied by Concept Contract Furnishings are deliberately not heavy, and instead naturally flood the rooms with light to make them look and feel more expansive.

INTERACTIVE tour of The Wedgwood Suite | Image credit: ACT Studios

Despite the guestrooms being impressive – and adding to the overall interior design story (and challenges) – the masterpiece of the hotel is perhaps sheltered upstairs in the Wedgewood Suite. “The room, from the panelling to the ceiling, was very much intact,” explains Kastl. “One of the challenges was that it has windows on three sides, so from a layout point of view it created a few headaches.” The ensuite bathroom has been re-gutted and given a fresh and modern look. “ The suite is the coming together of old heritage design and the new.

Moored on the river bank, the hotel’s spa is unlike any other in or around London. The facilities have been curated by Melissa Mettler who took inspiration from its riverine surrounds, past inhabitants in the form of royalty, liturgy and literary stars, as well as elegant architecture. The floating spa, which features two treatment rooms that are uniquely sheltered within a renovated barge, is a celebration of the power of water blended together with natural wellbeing and wellness.

Image credit: ACT Studios

I’m sure, for the designers as much as the operators, that the thought of completing Monkey Island Estate and opening again to the public was a distant day dream. But, considering the drastic rise in demand for wellbeing as well as wellness, the timing of YTL hotel’s countryside retreat could not have been more perfect. Checking out of Monkey Island feeling fully restored in mind, body and spirit myself, following a short by sweet trip to the floating spa before departure, the hotel locks in so many unique and thoughtful moments – and exceeds expectations to become one of the UK’s premium countryside retreats.

Main image credit: ACT Studios

The Standard Hotels brand arrives in the Maldives

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The Standard Hotels brand arrives in the Maldives

The Standard, Huruvalhi Maldives opens as the brand’s second hotel outside America and its debut hotel in Asia… 

Following the brand’s first venture outside The States to open in London, The Standard brand has spilled into Asia with the arrival of The Standard, Huruvalhi Maldives. With 115 stunning private pool villas, The Standard, Huruvalhi Maldives is a short sea plane ride away from Male, nestled between the Raa and Baa Atolls, on a naturally protected island.

The goal of every Standard project — be it a hotel, a rooftop discothèque, or a magazine — is to defy conventions, up the aesthetic stakes, and deliver an experience that can only be had at The Standard. While the Maldives has traditionally been seen as a ‘couple’s destination’, the famed hotel brand has approached the development with a fresh set of eyes. The resort offers an unmatched combination of relaxation, dynamic social life and vibrant cultural programming that also welcomes groups of friends or singles looking to meet others or just reset and recharge in Paradise.

Each of the 115 villas features its own private lounge deck and plunge pool, and guests can choose from one of six unique culinary offerings. The Standard, Huruvalhi Maldives presents culinary options that are inspired by the bounty and beauty of the Indian Ocean and guided by the brand’s commitment to authenticity. Both local and global cuisines are offered, and special, local ingredients – some grown on its very own island farm – are woven throughout the menu.

The Standard Spa is a haven for recovery or reboot, offering a communal hammam, aroma cypress steam room, chromotherapy and contrast shower, and ten private treatment rooms. Guests are able to drop in to a daily yoga or personal training session, or chill out at the Spa Deck and Tonic Bar plunge pool.

Of course, no Standard experience would be complete without nightlife, from tribal beats at a beach bonfire to a glass bottom nightclub. And a disco ball above your bath tub, for guests to enjoy their own private party.

The hotel brand, which was created in 1999, now has six hotels within its portfolio, which includes properties in New York, Los Angeles, Miami, London and now the Maldives.

Main image credit: The Standard Hotels

The Standard London, Camden’s new kid on the block

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The Standard London, Camden’s new kid on the block

In search of a new standard in design, creativity and urban hotels, editor Hamish Kilburn checks in to London’s most talked-about hotels this year to explore another world. The Standard London has opened, making a bold statement on the capital’s new hospitality scene… 

Something significant is happening in London’s King’s Cross area. It’s been brewing for some time now, but it has only recently erupted.

During London Design Festival and London Fashion Week, the area was the backdrop of a scene of celebrities, models and the odd design editor or two falling out of parties and onto pavements. Soho and Shoreditch were desolate deserts in comparison. It’s the power of real estate like you have never seen before. Selecting its opening date carefully, The Standard has disrupted everything – and it’s about time too!

Although, for years, the district has evolved with the time, it was the expansions to King’s Cross and the new St Pancras International stations adjacent to each other that started the catalyst for change. Strangely enough, my father worked on the construction of both. I remember the odd non-official ‘bring your son to work’ day, the oversized hard hat specifically, as we meandered around the expansive building site unable to imagine the finished picture. “Soon, you will be able to travel from London to Paris in just two hours, imagine that” I remember my father saying overexcitedly. “Right here, where you are standing, is going to become London’s major international train station!”

Whether or not my pops really was one of the first to envision the area’s potential is irrelevant. The station opened and almost instantly the cool, quirky neighbourhood of Camden became even more of a hotspot for the mainstream, without much – if any – loss of its bold and bohemian personality. As a result, the capital’s hotel scene – quick to follow major travel trends – moved outward to put a roof over the raw and rustic scenes that its locals had created.

And here we are, welcoming the city’s new arrival, The Standard, which has been patiently waiting in the wings for some time now. And while all hotels have a story (some more worth sharing than others), The Standards’ narrative is as unique as the interior design scheme locked within; a perfect meeting of American soul and London’s ostentatious quirk.

Housed in the former Camden Town Hall Annex in London’s thriving King’s Cross neighbourhood, the 1974 Brutalist building has been meticulously restored by the legendary ORMS Architects in collaboration, in part, with Archer Humphryes Architects.

The 266-key hotel, which shelters 42 suites, sets the perfect stage for the brand’s first arrival outside America. Uniquely overlooking the iconic St Pancras Station, from street level it’s juxtaposition of architecture that shouldn’t but does work. On the north side is the traditional 19th-century iconic neo-gothic architecture, which has stood the test of time, and two world wars for that matter, unscathed. On the south side is the ultra-modern non-conventional structure, symbolising loudly that times are changing.

“Three new storeys have been added to the top of the building,” explains Simon Whitaker from ORMS Architects. “The form of which has been derived from the host building below, and clad in new stainless steel and glass panels. Two of these floors provide hotel bedrooms, whilst the top floor is dedicated to the new restaurant and bar, with a roof terrace above.”

Image credit: The Standard Hotels

Upon entering, the lobby lounge sets the scene, with a carefully curated library that pays homage to the building’s original use. Further in, sound studio booths host weekly live music and talks. Executive Chef Adam Rawson’s street facing bar, Double Standard, designed by Shawn Hausman, the neighbourhood’s street-facing anchor for lunch, casual drinking and dining throughout the evening.

Although the colour scheme in the guestrooms and suites may not be to everyone’s taste, it is very much so mine. Not so much because of the tones used, but more so because they have been intertwined together with purpose – and unapologetically so for that matter. Complete with bespoke curved sofas and the King’s rooms featuring outdoor terrace bathtubs, the idiosyncratic charm of the hotel is certainly not limited to the public areas.

Image credit: The Standard Hotels

Before it opened, the hotel’s street level, red exterior lift was the ultimate teaser campaign. Now fully open, it shoots guests up directly to the 10th-floor where Chef Peter Sanchez-Iglesias’ restaurant showcases his live-fire cooking and where guests and visitors alike can enjoy the building’s 360-degree views of the city below all-year round thanks to the retractable awning.

No longer do party-hard followers of the brand have to travel stateside to experience The Standard’s retro maximalism. First launched in the late 90s with its debut hotel in Hollywood, which for the record remains to this day a go-to destination on the Sunset Strip, the hotel’s urban cool influence is London’s answer to keeping the Camden’s hospitality scene fresh, authentic and designed with purpose.

It’s next stop? The Maldives, next month in fact, which will be an interesting page to turn in what is an unmistakably climatic chapter for the now international hotel brand.

Main image credit: The Standard Hotels

PRODUCT WATCH: Versa Designed Surfaces’ CABA

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
PRODUCT WATCH: Versa Designed Surfaces’ CABA

Versa Designed Surfaces’s Caba is a reflection and an adaptation of the times… 

The versatile design of Versa Designed Surfaces’ Caba changes appearance depending on color selection. Designers can choose the look of pleated fabric in neutral color treatments, flowing water in blues, windswept meadows in golds and greens, and wood bark in deep rich tones. 16 colorways provide endless options and a stream of design possibilities.

The designers at Versa experimented with the interplay of light and color to create this deep, three-dimensional embossing that projects luxury while withstanding the heavy traffic of corridors, public spaces, and retail and restaurant environments.

24 oz. Type II low-VOC vinyl on Osnaburg backing, Caba is 52”/54” wide and certified to NSF 342.

To read our In Conversation With with Versa’s Paul Gibson on sustainable wallcoverings in EMEA hotels, click here

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

Main image credit: Versa Designed Surfaces

Disneyland Paris hotel portfolio sold for €240m

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Disneyland Paris hotel portfolio sold for €240m

Benson Elliot and Schroders have acquired the three hotels that sit within the €240m Disneyland Paris hotel portfolio…

A joint-venture led by UK-based private equity real estate fund manager Benson Elliot Real Estate Partners V, LP (“Benson Elliot”) and Schroder Real Estate Hotels (“SREH”, formerly Algonquin) has acquired three hotels (the “Portfolio”) totalling 1,183 rooms in Disneyland, Paris. The themed hotels, which are adjacent to one another, were acquired off-market in two separate transactions for a total investment of circa €240 million.

Dream Castle and Magic Circus, both four star hotels, were purchased from Austrian real estate developers Warimpex / UBM, while Explorers was purchased from a JV managed by SREH. The investment is structured as a 50/50 JV between Benson Elliot and a consortium of private investors advised by SREH.

“The Portfolio represents a collection of high-quality, cash-flowing assets being acquired at a substantial discount to replacement cost,” said Marc-Olivier Assouline from Benson Elliot Principal. “The hotels present opportunities to optimise value and grow income through targeted refurbishment programmes. Benson Elliot has built a strong track record in the hotel sector,with over €1 bn in hotel investments and dispositions in just the last five years. This transaction marks another partnership with the former Algonquin team, with whom we have worked successfully in the past.”

“The Disney market has experienced almost uninterrupted growth for the last 15 years.”

Disneyland Paris is Walt Disney’s only European theme park and Europe’s most popular tourist destination. The Disney market has experienced almost uninterrupted growth for the last 15 years, set to be driven further by Disney’s €2 billion expansion plan, which will be rolled out from 2021 and is the most ambitious project undertaken since the park opened in 1992.

Developed between 2003 and 2007, the Portfolio has a profitable trading profile and generates strong cash flow. Whilst the assets have benefitted from substantial investment, significant opportunities remain for the JV to create further value through the implementation of targeted asset management initiatives.

Main image credit: Disneyland Paris

Leading designers, architects and hoteliers to attend The Brit List Awards 2019

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Leading designers, architects and hoteliers to attend The Brit List Awards 2019

Here are some of the leading names that have confirmed to attend Hotel Designs annual award ceremony, The Brit List Awards 2019…

It’s been just seven days since Hotel Designs officially unveiled the shortlisted finalists for The Brit List 2019, and already design directors, principals and hoteliers from the UK’s leading firms and hotels have confirmed to attend the exclusive award ceremony, which will take place at Patch East London on November 21.

Among the leading designers who have already confirmed are design directors and principals from Richmond International, Project Orange, Harriet Forde Design, Harris + Harris, RPW Design, Scott Brownrigg and IHG.

In regards to architects attending The Brit List Awards 2019, Hotel Designs will welcome associates and directors from the likes of Zaha Hadid Architects, WATG, Jestico + Whiles and Dexter Moren Associates.

Hoteliers confirmed to attend the annual awards ceremony include, among others, Good Hotel London, Limewood Group and Homegrown Hotels, Rosewood London, Cliveden House, The Athenaeum Hotel & Residences London, The Dixon, Bespoke Hotels, Eccleston Square, Inhabit London and Hotel Gotham.

The nationwide search to find the most influential designers, architects and hoteliers operating in Britain began months ago when Hotel Designs opened up nominations and applications to readers.

Since then, an independent panel of expert judges have gathered to select this year’s individual award winners and also to confirm the 75 individuals who have made it into The Brit List 2019.

Head of Interior Design at IHG, Emma King, attended last year’s event and was one of the 75 names in The Brit List 2018. “The Brit List recognises the UK’s best hotel design talent,” she said at the time. “We at IHG are proud to be recognised for the hard work we have done to the interior design of our brands in recent years.”

The shortlist is available to read here.

“The Brit List is an unparalleled networking opportunity for all,” said editor Hamish Kilburn. “Bridging the gap between designers, architects, suppliers, hoteliers, developers, owners and operators has always been – and continues to be – the aim of every decision made by the team at Hotel Designs.”

How to attend

Suppliers: Click here if you are a supplier to the industry to secure your ticket for £150 + VAT.
Designers, architects, hoteliers and developers: Click here if you are either a designer, hotelier, developer or architect to secure your ticket for £20 + VAT.

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

#TheBritListAwards2019

Headline Partner: Crosswater

Event Partner: Hamilton Litestat

2019 Industry Partner: BIID

Ritz-Carlton to debut in Montenegro

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Ritz-Carlton to debut in Montenegro

Marriott International has signed an agreement to introduce the Ritz-Carlton brand to Montenegro, with the aim to usher in a “new era of elegance” to the chic LuÅ¡tica Peninsula…

Hotel giant Marriott International has signed a “milestone agreement” with Northstar D.O.O. to bring The Ritz-Carlton brand to Montenegro. Under the plan funded by Al Yasra, The Ritz-Carlton, Montenegro and The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Montenegro are scheduled to bring the brand’s unrivalled elegance and legendary service to the country in 2023.

“With its striking views of the Adriatic coast, Montenegro has quickly become a favourite Mediterranean destination for global travellers,” said Carlton Ervin, Chief Development Officer – Europe, Marriott International. “The signing of The Ritz-Carlton, Montenegro highlights the demand for our luxury brands in this exciting region. Combining the country’s serene, natural beauty together with the brand’s legendary service makes Montenegro the perfect destination for The Ritz-Carlton guest.”

Slated to rise in a prime position on the Western tip of the chic Luštica Peninsula, the hotel and residences are expected to boast panoramic views over the glittering Adriatic Sea. Planned to be accessible by car in 30 minutes from Tivat International Airport or two hours from Dubrovnik International Airport, the coastal property is expected to allow guests and residents to make an unforgettable entrance via the sea at a planned private jetty.

Design plans for the hotel’s 120 elegantly appointed guestrooms and suites envision relaxing sanctuaries for guests, with simple local design planned to merge discreetly with contemporary technology, all with the aim of enhancing the natural beauty of the location. The project’s plans call for low-rise buildings that would blend into the terrain while maximizing sea and sunset views for guests, residents and visitors alike.

Plans call for expansive outdoor event spaces with unobstructed views to create ideal settings for hosting memorable gatherings, alongside creative pop-up activations offering seasonal bar and restaurant options. Adventurous activities, such as mountain biking and nature trail hikes, are also being planned for guests to enjoy. Ambassadors of the Environment, a hands-on, educational program developed by Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ocean Futures Society in collaboration with The Ritz Carlton, is expected to offer programming that highlights the extraordinary natural reserves surrounding the property, striving to encourage guests of all ages to understand how their actions can help preserve natural resources for future generations.

“The success achieved on this project, bringing the legendary Ritz-Carlton brand to Montenegro, is a result of dedicated work by all parties involved, both from our company, Marriott International, and the Government of Montenegro,” said Mohamed Al Sager, Chairman, Al Yasra. “This is not only a business success, but a personal accomplishment as well. When I first visited Montenegro on holiday, I fell in love with the natural beauty of the country and knew I wanted to be a part of its future development. What began as just a dream has today become a great project on a clear path of execution.”

The hotel and residences are planned as part of a mixed-use development that is poised to include sprawling villas, manicured gardens, a yacht club and a sparkling beach cove. The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Montenegro is expected to offer 180 apartments and 48 villas and is scheduled to complete the first phase of construction in 2023, with the final phase scheduled for completion by 2028. Residential sales are slated to begin in 2020.

Main image credit: Marriott International

Moxy Hotels opens third property in New York City

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Moxy Hotels opens third property in New York City

Moxy NYC East Village shelters stylish and affordable design-driven guestrooms, co-working spaces, and four new dynamic F&B areas…

Marriott International’s quirky lifestyle brand, Moxy, which currently has 44 hotels in America, Europe and Asia, makes it a hatrick in New York City, with the unveiling of its third property in the city that never sleeps. Moxy NYC East Village has opened in the heart of East Village, where rock ‘n’ roll, renegade art, LGBTQ+ activism, and generations of immigrants all merged to give birth to American counterculture.

Located on East 11th Street between Third and Fourth Avenues, directly across from the legendary concert venue Webster Hall, the hotel features 286 design-driven guestrooms, co-working spaces, and tech-savvy amenities, as well as lively restaurants, bars, and cultural programming – all at an affordable price. Part of Marriott International’s experiential Moxy Hotels brand, Moxy East Village marks the third Moxy property developed by Lightstone, following the successful openings of Moxy Times Square and Moxy Chelsea.

“Moxy East Village is conceived as a vertical timeline, drawing inspiration from various eras in East Village history.”

With interior design by Rockwell Group and architecture by Stonehill Taylor, Moxy East Village is conceived as a vertical timeline, drawing inspiration from various eras in East Village history, from the earliest settlers to the punk era to today. Interior design is inspired by urban archaeology, with the hotel’s 13 floors loosely conceived as homages to different eras in the East Village’s past and present, as well as its future. Three check-in kiosks just inside the entrance are assemblages by local artist Michael Sanzone, made from found objects and materials. Behind the kiosks, striped tapestries hang on the walls and bleed onto the floors. Their alternating bands of graffiti and graphics recall shredded layers of wheat-pasted posters—the kind you might see peeling off a downtown building façade.

The guestrooms are, like all Moxy properties, smartly designed featuring the brand’s iconic peg wall. The rooms are completee with trendy hotel bathrooms, which include walk-in rain showers, glazed lava stone sinks and MUK amenities.

Image credit: Moxy Hotels

Lightstone has once again teamed up with Tao Group Hospitality who oversees the four brand-new dining and drinking areas at Moxy East Village that offer a multitude of scenes all under one roof: Alphabet Bar & Café, Cathedral, Little Sister and a rooftop bar which will launch in Spring 2020. “I don’t think there are any places in New York where you can get an outdoor café vibe, a coffeehouse vibe, a dimly lit bar, a backyard rooftop party, and a grand dining room all in one,” said Noah Tepperberg, Co-Founder of Tao Group Hospitality.

Alphabet Bar & Café, situated in the lobby, serves as the social heart of Moxy East Village, comprising a bar, terrace, co-working lounge, and meeting studios that seamlessly transition from day to night. The seating includes plush sofas and swinging chairs; a Skee-Ball game provides a hit of nostalgia for the arcade era.  An interactive real-time graffiti installation lets guests use a tablet to draw their own tag or sketch a bit of street art, like a latter-day Basquiat or Haring, and see it projected on the wall. The iconic Strand Bookstore will have a cart in Alphabet Bar offering free books, and nearby Academy Records will offer free vinyl LPs and curated collections so guests can listen to the sounds of the East Village’s past, present, and future—to play on a retro turntable, provided in-room on request.  Alphabet Café serves an all-day menu of custom artisanal brews by Intelligentsia Coffee, freshly baked goods, composed salads, and seasonal panini and tartines.

The centrepiece of Moxy East Village is Cathédrale, a French-Mediterranean restaurant conceived by Tao Group Hospitality Chef/Partner Ralph Scamardella, in collaboration with Executive Chef Jason Hall. As diners descend from the lobby—via a staircase that resembles a fire escape between two East Village buildings—they’ll feel like they’re discovering an abandoned architectural treasure. That’s thanks to the show-stopping Rockwell Group-designed main dining room, a triple-height space covered by Italian artist Edoardo Tresoldi’s dramatic wire mesh sculpture that looks like the apparition of a grand domed ceiling. Named by Forbes as one of the 30 most influential European artists under 30, Tresoldi is revered for his installations in public spaces, including Etherea at the 2018 Coachella Music Festival. His ethereal sculpture for the ceiling of Cathédrale pays homage to the interior of the Fillmore East, once known as the “Church of Rock ‘n’ Roll.” The delicate yet monumental sculpture, called Fillmore, is made from Tresoldi’s signature wire mesh and floats above the main dining room, creating a dramatic dialogue with the restaurant’s architecture. Tresoldi describes Fillmore as an “architectural precious wreck” and a “tribute to the legendary cultural background that influenced not only New York’s culture, but several generations worldwide.”

Under Cathedrale’s soaring, 26-foot ceilings, the space includes a blue-tiled, open-hearth kitchen hung with copper pots and equipped with a rotisserie grill. An outdoor dining terrace, with a retractable roof, also feels like a hidden surprise: channelling the improvised backyard gardens tucked behind many East Village restaurants. The Poster Room, a private dining space that seats up to 26, immerses guests in the psychedelic rock era, its walls and ceiling lined with backlit screen prints of vintage concert posters from the Fillmore East.  Cathédrale brings elemental cooking and a poised French-Mediterranean sense of hospitality to its striking setting. The menu is focused on well-prepared but simply arranged dishes that pay quiet deference to the cuisine of Southern France with traces of Italy, Spain, and Greece.

Located on the lower level, adjacent to Moxy East Village, Little Sister is an intimate, seductive, sophisticated lounge – an update from the underground clubs that defined East Village nightlife in the 1990s. Its clandestine, cavern-like feel is enriched by jewel-toned velvet sofas and plush banquettes, embossed leather accents, a glowing copper DJ stand, and a mirrored-copper bar illuminated by an overhead bank of backlit whiskey bottles. Wood-clad, barrel-vaulted ceilings evoke a hidden underground chamber where whiskey might have been stored in the bootlegger era. Legendary doorman Wass Stevens, will conspire to create an exclusive, in-the-know vibe at the ropes.

Opening in Spring 2020, the rooftop bar is designed to resemble a coveted New York City backyard garden, with strung garden lights, abundant foliage, and colorful patio furniture. A retractable roof allows the bar to be used in all seasons. Behind the bar, liquor bottles will be displayed in stacked plastic milk crates—not unlike those you’d spot on an East Village sidewalk. On one wall, interlaced with crawling ivy, will be a mural that overlays a map of the area with images from the neighbourhood’s musical and artistic history. The venue will be available for private events and hotel programming before its official debut.

Authentic, local, and experiential have all become buzzwords in the hotel business,” said Hochberg. “With Moxy Times Square and Moxy Chelsea, we’ve seen how putting visitors and New Yorkers in the same space can foster a sense of community. The East Village’s breadth of experiences and layers of history allow us to take that concept to a whole new level. Moxy East Village is multidimensional—a thrilling mashup that lets people honour the past, experience the present, and dream about the future. We’re embracing it all to create a true sense of magic.”

“Moxy is a brand that has always boldly broken the rules of a conventional hotel experience, and we’re excited to be able to bring our fun and spirited brand to New York’s iconic East Village to help evolve the hospitality scene in the neighborhood,” said Toni Stoeckl, Global Brand Leader, Moxy Hotels, and Vice President, Distinctive Select Brands, Marriott International.

There are 96 Moxy Hotels in the pipeline opening in North America, Asia, The Caribbean & Latin America, and Europe.

Main image credit: Moxy Hotels

The Brit List 2019: Shortlist unveiled

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The Brit List 2019: Shortlist unveiled

The shortlisted finalists for The Brit List 2019, who are considered to be the leading interior designers, architects and hoteliers operating in Britain today, have been announced. The annual award ceremony will take place on November 21 at Patch East London (tickets available here)…

The wait is over. Hotel Designs has exclusively published the shortlist for The Brit List 2019. The finalists listed below will be invited to the annual award ceremony at Patch East London on November 21 where the The Brit List 2019 and the individual awards will be announced.

It is here where 2019 edition of The List, which is made up of the top 25 interior designers, top 25 hoteliers and the top 25 architects in Britain today, will be unveiled as well as the individual winners crowned.

The nationwide search to find the most influential designers, architects and hoteliers operating in Britain began months ago when Hotel Designs opened up nominations and applications to readers.

Since then, an independent panel of expert judges have gathered to select this year’s individual award winners and also to confirm the 75 individuals who have made it into The Brit List 2019. “Yet again, I am overwhelmed by the number and quality of this year’s candidates who have either applied or have been nominated for The Brit List 2019,” said Hamish Kilburn, editor of Hotel Designs. “Despite Britain sailing into some of what I can only describe as ‘uncharted waters’ with Brexit dominating the headlines and conversations, the creative industry – and hotel development in general – continues to be booming in the UK.

The Brit List was launched three years ago and continues to celebrate the leading figures operating in Britain today. This year’s chosen venue, Patch East London, is the perfect stage for the occasion. Adding an extra layer to the evening will be the currently confirmed 2019 sponsors: Crosswater (headline partner), Hamilton Litestat (event partner) and the British Institute of Interior Design (BIID – industry partner). “I am excited that Hotel Designs will once again provide an unparalleled networking opportunity,” added Kilburn, “further bridging the gap between designers, architects, hoteliers, owners, developers and key-industry suppliers.”

Britlist_28-800x602

The shortlisted finalists for The Brit List 2019 are: 

Interior Designers

Studio Designer
Wimberly Interiors Rachel Johnson
GA Group Edward Davies
Scott Brownrigg David Mason
Dexter Moren Associates Neil Andrew
RPW Design Ariane Steinbeck
DesignLSM Lisa Robertson
Cocovara Rebecca Blow
Nicky Dobree Design Nicky Dobree
Bright Space Design Sarah Antoniou
Philip Watts Philip Watts
Ana Engelhorn Interior Design Ana Engelhorn
IHG Henry Reeve
Sibley Grove Jeremy Grove
WISH London Caroline Smith
Scott Brownrigg Kate Jarrett
David Collins Studio Simon Rawlings
Russell Sage Studio Russell Sage
GA Group Terry McGinnity
Ennismore Charlie North
MBDS Martin Brudnizki
HBA London Constantina Tsoutikou
1508 London Akram Fahmi
MKV Design Maria Vafiadis
Rocco Forte Olga Polizzi
Amanda Rosa Amanda Rosa
Harris & Harris Alex Harris
Space Invader Katie Edgar
Twenty2 Degrees Joe Stella
Twenty2 Degrees Nick Stoupas
Goddard Littlefair Jo Littlefair
Project Orange Christopher Ash
Project Orange James Soane
Shawn Hausman Design Shawn Hausman
Muza Lab Inge Moore
Richmond International Terry McGillicuddy
Soho House Design Marcus Barwell
Soho House Design Scarlett Supple
B3 Designers Stephanie Riedl
Jack Irving Studio Jack Irving
studioisle Ilse Crawford

Architects

Studio Architect
Emil Eve Architects Ross Perkin
Falconer Chester Hall Architects Adam Hall
East Architecture Julian Lewis
Ben Adams Architects Ben Adams
EPR Architects Geoff Hull
Orms Architects Simon Whittaker
Jestico + Whiles James Dilley
WATG Gina Langridge
Foster + Partners Luke Fox
Zaha Hadid Architects Michele Salvi
Gensler Tom Lindblom
Conran + Partners Simon Kincaid
Hawkins/Brown Darryl Chen
Yasmine Mahmoudieh Yasmine Mahmoudieh
jmarchitects Laura Turner
Holland Harvey Architects Richard Holland
RPP Architects Simon Robinson
Tate Harmer Laurence Pinn
Moxon Architects Scott Gibb
EPR Architects Mark Bruce
Goddard Littlefair David Lee-Hood
LDS Architects Catarina Pina-Bartrum
Simpson Haugh Sarah Matheou
Jane Duncan Architects + Interiors Jane Duncan
3D Reid Gordon Ferrier
Consarc Architects Liz Pickard
Dexter Moren Associates John Harding
Aukett Swanke Nicholas De Klerk
Divercity Architects Dimitris Travasaros
Allison Pike Partnership Paul Dunlop
HOK London Femi Oresanya
ReardonSmith Architects Jonny Sin
ITOLab Barbara Bochnak

Hoteliers

Hotel Hotelier
The Grand Robert Richardson
Cliveden House Francisco Macedo
Bespoke Hotels Robin Sheppard
Hotel Gotham Mario Ovsenjek
Hard Rock Hotel London Ian Fletcher
The Lanesborough Marco Novella
Rosewood London Michael Bonsor
Nadler Hotels Robert Alam
Cuckooz Charlie Rosier
Cuckooz Fabienne O’Neill
Doyle Collection Pat King
Carbis Bay Hotel & Estate Stephen Baker
Carbis Bay Hotel & Estate Jose Baker
Starwood Capital Group Barry Sternlicht
The Standard Bruce Robertson
Wyndham Hotels & Resorts Dimitris Manikis
Café Royal Guillaume Marly
Corinthia London Thomas Kochs
Eccleston Square Hotel Olivia Byrne
Gleneagles Conor O’Leary
The Connaught Sandeep Bhalla
LaLiT Keshav Suri
Great Scotland Yard Hotel Sholto Smith
The Dixon Hasham Soliman
Heckfield Place Olivia Richli
Whatley Manor Sue Williams
Inhabit Nadira Lalji
Ham Yard Hotel London Laura Sharpe
Cottage In The Wood Nick Davies
The London Bridge Hotel Julio Marques
Limewood Group & Home Grown Hotels (The Pig) Robin Hutson
Milsom Hotels Paul Milsom
Sway Manor Tim Holloway
Watergate Bay Hotel Will Ashworth
Exclusive Hotels danny Pecorelli
The Gallivant Harry Cragoe
The Good Hotel Group Marten Dresen
The Athenaeum Joanne Taylor-Stagg
Hotel: Georgian House Hotel Serena von der Heyde
Hotel Indigo Stratford Upon Avon Carl Davies Phillips

The Eco Award

Carole Collet
Harris & Harris
Heckfield Place
Inhabit London
Naturalmat
Sibley Grove
Zuri Zanzibar

Best In Tech

Criton
Eccleston Square
Electric Mirror
FUTURE Designs
Hamilton Litestat
Laufen
Ruark
STAAH

Best in British Product Design

Anthology
Bisque
Chelsom
FUTURE Designs
Harlequin
Knightsbridge
Panaz
The Monkey Puzzletree
Vaughan
Naturalmat

 

There is no shortlist for the award for Outstanding Contribution to the Hospitality Industry, which will be the final award presented at the exclusive ceremony.

To purchase tickets to The Brit List 2019 Awards, click here. If you would like to discuss various sponsorship packages available, please contact Katy Phillips via email, or call 01992 374050.

#TheBritListAwards2019

Headline Partner: Crosswater

Event Partner: Hamilton Litestat

2019 Industry Partner: BIID

SNEAK PEEK: Kimpton Hotel Palomar South Beach

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
SNEAK PEEK: Kimpton Hotel Palomar South Beach

The new chic boutique hotel, which is located in the heart of Miami’s South Beach, is slated to open later this year – and will be Kimpton’s Fifth Property in Florida…

Kimpton Hotel Palomar South Beach is waiting in the wings to open as the boutique hotel company’s fifth in the Sunshine State, complementing its existing hotels in Miami Beach, Downtown Miami and Vero Beach. Featuring striking design by legendary Miami architect and designer Kobi Karp, the 96-key hotel is set to become an iconic addition to the South Beach scene.

Karp’s design takes its cues from the waterfront. Spanning over five stories, the hotel’s guestrooms surround a spacious central atrium. Meant to resemble the hull of a private luxury yacht lilted on its side, the lobby excites the senses with its custom-built light installations and is peppered with art displays, including light panels, abstracted shapes, and large format fabrics meant to resemble the ripples of the Atlantic Ocean. Guestrooms feature private balconies available for nearly every guest and design that is inspired by the oceanic environs.

Sitting atop of the sixth floor, the rooftop pool and two-tier roof deck features stylish décor and lounge area seating, utilising panoramic views of the ocean.

“In addition to what the Altamarea Group will bring in terms of an elevated culinary experience, we are excited to assemble a stellar on-property team for this project,” said Ronny Finvarb, Principal of Finvarb Group,  the property’s developer and owner. “We’re confident that through Kimpton’s collaboration with the Osteria Morini team and our collective expertise in the South Florida market, we’ll be able to create an amazing experience for our hotel guests and Miami locals alike.”

Osteria Morini, from Chef Michael White, will debut shortly following the opening of the hotel. Right off the lobby of the hotel, the restaurant will feature rustic Northern Italian fare in a light and breezy space, drawing inspiration from the area in which it is located off the canal, with both indoor and outdoor seating. It will be open all day, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Main image credit: Kimpton Hotels

Aman announces its debut in Bangkok

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Aman announces its debut in Bangkok

Slated to open in 2022, the luxury hotel will be Aman’s debut hotel in Bangkok, and second property in Thailand, further proving that the region is a design and hotel development hotspot… 

Luxury hotel brand Aman, which has grown to encompass 38 hotels in 22 destinations around the world, has signed a long-term partnership with Nai Lert Group to manage a hotel and branded residences offered under a long-term leasehold ownership, which will mark the brand’s entrance in Bangkok.

Under the terms of the agreement, Aman and Nai Lert Group will develop a luxury hotel and residences project, with construction works scheduled to commence in the coming months. The project is expected to welcome its first hotel guests and residents in 2022.

“Aman Nai Lert Bangkok will offer a unique connection to the rich heritage and history of Bangkok” – Vladislav Doronin, Chairman and CEO of Aman

“Thailand holds a special place in our hearts ever since the conception of Amanpuri, and our brand, in Phuket over 30 years ago,” said Vladislav Doronin, Chairman and CEO of Aman. “Aman Nai Lert Bangkok will be situated in its namesake iconic central city parkland and will further cement our vision to bring the Aman ethos to global cities. Nestled in the century-old tropical gardens of Nai Lert Park, Aman Nai Lert Bangkok will offer a unique connection to the rich heritage and history of Bangkok enhanced by the gracious traditions of Thailand.”

Pursuing its long-lasting legacy in real estate and hospitality, Nai Lert Group is making its entry into the ultra- luxury segment with the upcoming mixed-use project, Aman Nai Lert Bangkok. Nai Lert Group Managing Director Naphaporn Bodiratnangkura commented: “We are very pleased to be working with world renowned hotel and resort brand Aman, which shares our values of delivering exquisite customer experiences.”

Aman is the latest group to announce hotel openings in Bangkok. According to the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), in 2016 more than 32.59 million tourists visited Thailand, which was an almost 20 per cent increase over the year before, and a record number for the country. With recent openings from Rosewood and Avani Hotels, the region is proving to be a hotel development hotspot in the making.

Main image credit: Amanpuri (Aman’s current hotel offering in Thailand)

Hotel Summit shortlisted for the EN Indy Awards

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel Summit shortlisted for the EN Indy Awards

Hotel Summit, the original and leading meet-the-buyer networking event for hotel operators and key-industry suppliers, has been announced as a shortlisted finalists for the EN Indy Awards 2019 under the category of Best Brand Expansion…

As the result of more than 20 years’ serving the industry with its highly targeted and successful meet-the-buyer concept, Forum Events’ Hotel Summit has been shortlisted among just seven other applications in the Best Brand Expansion category for the 2019 edition of the EN Indy Awards 2019.

The announcement follows this year’s successful two-day event taking place in Heythrop Park in June, which included live on-stage interviews, moderated by editor Hamish Kilburn, with Marco Novella (Managing Director of The Lanesborough) and Pedro Colaco (CEO of Great Hotels Of The World), among others.

More than 60 procurement professionals from leading hotels around the UK such as The Beaumont Hotel, The Gainsborough Bath Spa and Cliveden House and 30 supplier partners attended The Summit that was sheltered within the 18thcentury hotel, which combines both elegant heritage design with contemporary areas.

“The event was amazing. I met some really great people and it’s always good to network and discover hidden secrets of the industries, and you only find them through events such as this. So, thank you for the invite and I am already looking forward to the next one!” – The Beaumont.

“Hotel Summit is an interesting event, delivering a mix of supplier meetings, seminars and networking opportunities in various areas of hospitality.” – Great Hotels of the World

“All staff were incredibly polite, friendly and helpful. The hotel was comfortable and very welcoming and I would be delighted to attend again” – Grasmere House

For more than 20 years, Hotel Summit has delivered tailor-made, unique events to meet both supplier and delegates’ individual requirements. Complete with carefully planned out itineraries for all attendees, The Summit is designed to bridge together relevant business relationships and opportunities between hotel operators/procurement managers and key-industry suppliers.

The next Hotel Summit takes place on April 27 – 28, 2020, at Five Lakes Resort, Colchester. If you are a supplier and are interested in exhibiting at next year’s event, please contact Jennie Lane by calling 01992 374098 or by emailing j.lane@forumevents.co.uk. If you are hotel operator or procurement manager and are interested in attending next year’s event, please contact Kerry Naumburger by calling 01992 374099 or by emailing k.naumburger@forumevents.co.uk.

Goa is about to welcome a 17-key luxury hotel designed to shelter holistic wellbeing

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Goa is about to welcome a 17-key luxury hotel designed to shelter holistic wellbeing

Slated to open in early 2020, Kings Mansion, Goa will combine heritage, architecture, design, Ayurvedic philosophies, state-of-the-art medical aesthetics and a global approach to holistic wellbeing…

Located in northern Goa, an area rich in tropical forests, historic Portuguese architecture, avenues of Banyan Trees, and vast, unpopulated sandy beaches, King’s Mansion will open early next year.

Recognising that today, wellness refers to a holistic state of being, where one’s mental, physical, spiritual and emotional health are in balance, the defining experience of King’s Mansion will be one of mindfulness, transformation, recovery and wellbeing.

Modern yet sympathetic architecture and interior design are key elements at the boutique hotel that not only honour Goa’s legacy and culture, but also serve as a welcoming nod to the growing international interest in India as an exciting and evolving luxury and wellness destination.

Image credit: Red Architects

The Indian entrepreneur and Bollywood star, Sachiin Joshi, bought the property in 2017. He is also the Chairman of corporate company, Viiking Ventures, a multi-faceted business working across various industries including film production, fin-tech and charter aviation; Moss Wellness, a leading spa consultancy with experience developing international five-star brands including Aman resorts and Four Seasons. Responsible for the overall design is Indian film producer and interior designer Gauri Khan and Rajiv Parekh, founder of Red Architects, who is bringing a new energy to a modern day India with his past and future projects on the boards.

The 17 luxury suites, which are set over 2,800m2, are being designed as private retreats. Each room will utilise the natural light with floor to ceiling windows, which will stretch out to views of private lush gardens. The large ensuite bathrooms will continue to balance a timeless and luxurious look and feel with the renderings showing a strong use of marble as well as statement matt-black fittings.

Covered pavilions and thickets of Frangipani Trees create pockets of rest and shade in the landscaped gardens, which are set against 50 metres of unspoiled golden coastline and the Arabian Sea.

Five dining and social areas offer guests the chance to explore India’s Ayurvedic culinary culture and international fusions. The hotel’s chefs will create daily menu plans for internal health and harmony, but with an understanding that food and satisfaction are not mutually exclusive. Continuing the theme, food will be cooked using fresh, locally sourced produce.

At the heart of the wellbeing experience will be the spa, which will open as a hidden oasis within the property. With five luxury spa suites, a large hydrotherapy pool, and indoor and outdoor relaxation areas, guests will discover a safe space to surrender, gain awareness and achieve conscious rest and peace.

Image credit: King’s Mansion

Designed to offer personalised, results-focused wellness programmes, the hotel will aim to further help travellers rejuvenate, reset and recover.

Main image credit: King’s Mansion

The Luxury Collection announces opening of eighth hotel in China

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The Luxury Collection announces opening of eighth hotel in China

With a design narrative that celebrates Chinese culture, the 290-key Na Lotus Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel, has opened… 

Following Marriott International’s plans to open more than 30 luxury hotels in 2019, the hotel group, which has recently debuted the W Hotels brand in Oman, has announced the opening of Na Lotus Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Nanning. Strategically located in the business district of the Guangxi Province, the opening marks the global brand’s eighth property in China.

The contemporary setting merges the rich heritage of the Zhuang Minority Group and showcases their history through beautiful décor, evocative catering and magnificent surroundings.

“The hotel’s interiors echo strong elements of the Zhuang culture.”

“We are excited to introduce Nanning to our Global Explorers, allowing them to discover the destination, also known as the Green City and it’s abundance of lush foliage,” said Anthony Ingham, Global Brand Leader, The Luxury Collection. “As a culturally rich ethnic minority area in Guangxi Province, the destination is a perfect gateway for travellers to experience through the lens of The Luxury Collection.”

Each of the 290 guestrooms, including 26 suites, takes inspiration from the lotus flower, and feature floor-to-ceiling windows offering panoramic views of the city as well as the Yong River and Qingxiu mountain. The hotel’s interiors echo strong elements of the Zhuang culture such as farmlands, symbolizing happiness and prosperity. Na Lotus Hotel also features a 1,100 square metre Ballroom, state-of-the-art fitness centre, and an indoor pool overlooking the skyline.

Indigenous and international cuisines are celebrated at Na Lotus Hotel’s four signature dining venues, including Na Lian, a Chinese restaurant offering a journey of flavors with an emphasis on fresh Guangxi and Cantonese cuisines. Sky Lounge is a popular social hub serves exclusive cocktails, wines and spirits accompanied by distinctive sweet treats. Elsewhere, The Clouds features an all-day dining experience showcasing international delights, while Yun Yue, a Thai and Vietnamese fusion restaurant,  focuses on signature seafood and meat dishes prepared with local and seasonal produce.

Image credit: Marriott International

“As the first Marriott International luxury hotel in Guangxi Province Na Lotus hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel invites the guests to explore the charm of Nanning,” said Henry Lee, Chief Operations Officer and Managing Director, Greater China, Marriott International. “Na Lotus Hotel is a rare gem of the Zhuang Minority, and we are thrilled to uncover this hidden treasure for our global travelers who are sure to develop a deep connection with this fascinating destination.”

The opening of the hotel follows the hotel group unveiling its three year plan in March of this year. The strategy included adding 1,700 hotels, which would result in between 275,000 and 295,000 more rooms by 2021, supported by the strength of its record 478,000-room pipeline, including roughly 214,000 rooms that were already under construction when the press release was published.

Main image credit: Marriott International

Orchard Hotel Singapore opens 360-degree experience in 1950s shell

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Orchard Hotel Singapore opens 360-degree experience in 1950s shell

Following a multimillion-dollar nine-month refurbishment across the hotel, Orchard Hotel Singapore has unveiled an enhanced 360-degree guest experience with reimagined dining, events and accommodation offerings…

Orchard Hotel Singapore has reopened with upgraded areas include the hotel’s 260 grand deluxe rooms, a grand ballroom, conference centre, lobby and F&B areas.

The history of Orchard Hotel Singapore dates back to late 1950s, where it began as a humble four-storey, 34-key hotel, complete with The Golden Venus home to popular tea dances and emerging musicians of the 1960s. Redeveloped in the 1970s to cater to the tourist boom, the original building was demolished in 1978, and the first inkling of the 656-key, twin-tower Orchard Hotel Singapore as it exists today, took its shape.

Guests are greeted with a new experience from the moment they step through the door and into the bright and enlivened lobby. The hotel’s iconic clock tower has been updated for the modern age with a contemporary chandelier-inspired art sculpture, bordered by two upgraded dining and drinking destinations. The Orchard Cafe renews itslegacy as a local dining icon with a vibrant new style and Signature Class buffet showcasing heritage-inspiredcreations and chef-curated classics. Bar Intermezzo has an air of sophistication with new and inviting interiors andcontemporary botanical-influenced cocktails that toast to Orchard Road’s past. Overlooking the lobby from thesecond floor is Cantonese restaurant Hua Ting Restaurant, which was also given its own extensive makeover in 2018. 

Modern cafe in the lobby

Image caption/credit: The Orchard Cafe | Millennium Hotels/Orchard Hotel Singapore

The 260 Grand Deluxe guestrooms in the hotel’s Orchard Wing have also been updated. Each well- appointed roomhas been elegantly designed to provide maximum comfort and easy living. With today’s sophisticated traveller in mind, the newly refurbished rooms are equipped with upgraded amenities including; six USB ports, both wired andwireless high-speed internet to ensure 24/7 connectivity and a Smart TV loaded with a variety of channels to keepthem plugged into current affairs. Unwind after a long day of shopping along the famed Orchard Road with a relaxingbath in the luxurious Japanese soaking tub (select room configurations) or call for one of 12 signature spice-based cocktails from Bar Intermezzo to be delivered right to the room.

Trends and technology favoured by the modern hotelier are now also included in the enhanced Orchard Hotel Singapore. Step into the future of hospitality with AURA and AUSCA – the hotel’s resident room service and chefassociate robots. While AURA (front-of-house Autonomous Service Delivery Robot) are in charge of delivering roomamenities, as well as the occasional mingling with guests in the lobby, AUSCA (the world’s first Autonomous ServiceChef Associate) is responsible for whipping up perfect eggs during breakfast service at The Orchard Cafe. Responding to the needs of today’s connected travellers, Bar Intermezzo transforms into a coffee bar during the day,providing a tropical co-working oasis for those seeking new connections, fresh ideas or simply a great cup of coffee.

New and improved event spaces for every occasion – the 11 refurbished conference and function rooms andspaces are now more versatile than ever. A key highlight includes one of Singapore’s largest pillar-free grandballrooms, occupying more than 10,000 square feet and six metres high, refitted with a luxurious fresh new look, two floor-to-ceiling LED walls (a first in Singapore), statement lighting, state-of-the-art audio-visual capabilities, an impressive foyer lined with floating orchid-inspired chandeliers and exclusive spaces divided for various uses. The conference centre has also been redesigned with five intimate meeting rooms and upgraded meeting facilities.Event planners will now have the luxury of choice with creative catering options from the hotel’s four award-winningculinary concepts – Hua Ting Restaurant, The Orchard Cafe, Mon Bijou and Bar Intermezzoas well as a Halal-certified kitchen, ensuring that all tastes and diets are catered for.

Main image credit: Millenium Hotels/Orchard Hotel Singapore

Curio Collection by Hilton debuts in South East Asia with hotel in the Maldives

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Curio Collection by Hilton debuts in South East Asia with hotel in the Maldives

The new 198-key property will form part of the first integrated resort in the Maldives…

Hilton has announced the opening of SAii Lagoon Maldives, Curio Collection by Hilton, a free-spirited tropical escape that offers sun, sea, style and sustainability, creating a playful getaway for groups of fun-seeking friends, couples and families. Nestled within the idyllic Emboodhoo Lagoon, SAii Lagoon Maldives forms part of CROSSROADS Maldives, the country’s first and only integrated resort and game-changing retreat.

The opening of SAii Lagoon Maldives also marks the debut of Curio Collection by Hilton in South East Asia, and the fifth Curio Collection by Hilton property in Asia Pacific. With a total of 198 guestrooms and villas, the resort will be Hilton’s third property in the Maldives, making the global hospitality company the largest and longest-running international hotel operator in the Maldives. Hilton opened the country’s first internationally branded resort in 1997, and today, it operates Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, which features 151 villas, suites and THE MURAKA Residence, as well as the 122-villa Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi, which was recently unveiled in July 2019.

“For more than 20 years, through the many firsts that Hilton has introduced in the Maldives, we have been sparking travellers’ imagination of waking up right above the Indian Ocean, or dining and even sleeping beneath the crystal-blue sea,” said Alan Watts, president, Asia Pacific, Hilton. “In addition to putting the Maldives on the global map, we have brought meaningful opportunities for employment and we continue to make positive contributions to the livelihood and well-being of local communities. With the launch of SAii Lagoon Maldives, Curio Collection by Hilton, we are looking to further deepen ‘The Hilton Effect’ in the Maldives and continue to set new benchmarks for hospitality through innovation.”

“We are excited to welcome the world to SAii Lagoon Maldives,” said Martin van der Reijden, General Manager of SAii Lagoon Maldives and Vice President of Operations of CROSSROADS Maldives. “Guests will be able to experience the exquisite beauty of this destination, with plenty of places to stay and play. The architecture is quirky, and the interiors are daring. And yet, the resort also has a wonderfully inspiring ambience. We want everyone to walk into the resort and instantly feel a sense of excitement and exploration.”

“Every room at SAii Lagoon Maldives is adorned with a bright, contemporarily eclectic design that reflects the archipelago’s maritime heritage.”

“The Maldives is a dream destination for global travelers and we are thrilled to pair its tropical charm with Curio Collection’s spirit of discovery,” said Mark Nogal, global head, Curio Collection by Hilton. “SAii Lagoon Maldives is a breathtaking resort with distinct character and direct access to the fantastic facilities at CROSSROADS Maldives. Supported by Hilton’s 100 years of hospitality, guests of this resort are guaranteed memorable experiences in one of the most beautiful destinations in the world.”

Every room at SAii Lagoon Maldives is adorned with a bright, contemporarily eclectic design that reflects the archipelago’s maritime heritage, complete with natural textures, driftwood décor and marine-inspired hues and views. Guests can choose from a series of rooms and villas, including overwater pool villas.

The resort’s innovation is also showcased at its restaurants and bars. Miss Olive Oyl is a vibrant poolside Mediterranean seafood grill and bar, while Mr. Tomyam is an exciting Thai fusion eatery with an open kitchen and alfresco dining areas.

The resort’s ocean-view infinity pool and fitness centre will allow guests to refresh and recharge in paradise. A wide range of water sports and recreational facilities will also be available at The Marina @ CROSSROADS, a 30-berth marina and vibrant lifestyle district.

Main image credit: Hilton Hotels

Boom in UK hotel sector drives supply growth

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Boom in UK hotel sector drives supply growth

Recent data shows that Edinburgh, London, Brighton, York and Birmingham are the five most attractive cities for hotel investment and development…

The UK hotel industry saw the opening of 15,500 new hotel rooms in 2018, representing a 2.4 per cent increase in UK hotel supply, with 2019 expected to continue this uplift in development, with 19,300 new rooms forecast to open, an increase of 2.9 per cent, according to the latest research by global property adviser Knight Frank.

The annual UK Hotel Development Opportunities 2019 report, which was published after it was reported that the UK had the third most hotels in the pipeline in Europe, reveals that the composition of new supply is altering. Whilst the development of new build hotel rooms constitutes the greatest proportion of new supply, during 2018 there was a significant rise in hotel conversion, with a 42 per cent year-on-year uplift.

Hotel conversion constituted 34 per cent of new bedroom stock, as developers capitalised on increased vacancy rates from other asset classes, resulting in the greater availability of assets deemed suitable for hotel conversion. Nevertheless, for the full year 2019, hotel conversions are set to constitute only 20 per cent of new supply, whilst programmes of asset management, in the form of hotel extensions and refurbishments, will constitute a further 17 per cent of the UK’s new hotel supply, and new build hotel rooms expected to continue to form the majority of construction projects, making up 63 per cent of the new supply.

The budget hotel sector continues to dominate the market, with 7,500 new rooms expected to open by the end of 2019, which equates to a five per cent increase on the previous year. However, the continued rise of both branded and independent mid and upscale hotels, partially as a result of the growing trend for lifestyle hotels, has led to a continued decline in the market share of new budget hotel rooms. As such, the market share for new hotel rooms opening in the budget sector accounted for 49 per cent of total new supply in 2016, which is set to decline to 39 per cent for the full year forecast 2019.

There was over £1.1 billion of investment in hotel development projects in 2018 owing to increased investor confidence and the desire for long-term secure income. London attracted 60 per cent of investment volumes, which is fuelling its future pipeline, with supply set to increase by 4.2 per cent in 2019, constituting 38 per cent of the total UK pipeline.

“The hotel sector is undergoing robust levels of development activity, despite the continued uncertainty that Brexit brings,” said Shaun Roy, Head of Hotels at Knight Frank. “This is occurring both in London and the UK more generally and is particularly evident in those markets which have a diverse business mix, with a thriving leisure market such as Edinburgh, Birmingham and Brighton.

“There are clear opportunities for investors in the hotel sector nationwide at the development stage, which presents a long-term strategy providing a guaranteed stream of secure income.”

The Knight Frank UK Hotel Development Index identifies which major UK towns and cities pose the best prospects for hotel investment and development and has named Edinburgh, London, Brighton, York and Birmingham as the UK’s top five most attractive cities.

Unsurprisingly, Edinburgh topped the rankings whilst London leapfrogged the index, climbing ten places up the rankings to second, owing to its solid fundamentals and long-term market strength. Brighton retained its place in the top three whilst York represents this year’s rising star, jumping up 15 positions to enter the top five, as a result of its growth of supply and high occupancy rates of 80 per cent, followed by Birmingham, ranked in fifth place, which is set to host the Commonwealth Games in 2022.

Main image credit: Pixabay

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: The changing colour of hotel bathrooms – going greener

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INDUSTRY INSIGHT: The changing colour of hotel bathrooms – going greener

In the second part of our colour series (click here for part one), Recommended Supplier UKBathrooms explain how and why designers should opt for greener designs in bathrooms…

Bathrooms make up a huge proportion of a hotel’s water and energy usage, which on average is 84 to 173 gallons per room per day, far higher than the average daily household usage of 66 gallons per day.

This explains why they’ve become the focus for many hoteliers looking not only to save money, but also to minimise their impact on the environment.

However, any environmental worries have to be balanced with the needs of guests. The seamless blend of sustainability and luxury, with little compromise to guest experience is the aim for hotel owners and trends show that this will be the case in the years to come. And ‘green’ considerations go way beyond the bathroom space, with materials used in bathroom products, transportation, waste produced during manufacture and subsequent biodegradable components all being important.

UK Bathrooms, is the leading, independent supplier of designer bathroom products and as such is seeing a change in trends of sales to hoteliers in the UK and internationally. “We’re seeing a trend to natural materials, as well as reclaimed and recycled, such as timber from sustainable forests and stone,” said Graeme Borchard, director of UKBathrooms. “We’re a leading supplier of premium brands. As a company they are ‘a champion of the value of water’, pioneers in environmentally friendly, luxury, bathroom products. Their ongoing research, and development in technology and design, means that hansgrohe produces superb products which are beautifully designed, highly efficient and sustainable.”

A great example of this is EcoSmart. Hansgrohe showers and taps equipped with EcoSmart technology use up to 60 per cent less water than traditional products, not only using less water, but also needing less energy to heat the water.  The Hansgrohe Raindance EcoSmart overhead shower provides guests with a relaxing and therapeutic experience whilst being eco-friendly.

By implementing greener practices, and ensuring guests are aware of these, hotels can make being eco-friendly even more attractive. Hotel bathrooms have a certain ‘luxury’ which people then like to emulate in their own homes, the choices that hotels make end up being reflected in homes around the world.

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

HOTEL DEVELOPMENT: Palm Springs is heating up for 2020

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
HOTEL DEVELOPMENT: Palm Springs is heating up for 2020

The desert oasis of Palm Springs is slated to welcome a series of exciting openings in 2020, including two new hotels and a cultural plaza, alongside celebrating the 15th anniversary of its iconic Modernism Week event, offering even more to see for visitors to the sun-soaked city and further boosting the destination as a hotel development hotspot…

Agua Caliente Cultural Plaza – Set to open in 2020
Set to open in 2020, the Agua Caliente Cultural Plaza in downtown Palm Springs will feature a cultural museum, art gallery, gathering plaza, landscaped gardens and a walkable outdoor Oasis Trail complete with meditation labyrinth. The site will also be home to the Agua Caliente Spa and Bathhouse, which will offer treatment rooms, outdoor mineral pools, men’s and women’s bathhouses, a tranquillity garden, fitness centre and salon.

Encompassing a wide-range of experiences and learning opportunities, which will convey the values and legacy ofthe Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, the new cultural plaza will build on the traditions of the Agua Caliente people, as well as the renowned natural features of the ancestral lands.

For more information about the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, visit www.aguacaliente-nsn.gov.

Modernism Week – 15-year anniversary
2020 marks the 15th anniversary of the city’s world-renowned Modernism Week festival, which showcases Palm Springs’ design heritage and modernist culture with a series of impressive events. Highlights of the festival, which will run from February 13 – 23, 2020, are expected to include the Premier Double Decker Architectural Bus Tour, the Frey House II Tour, Frank Sinatra’s “Twin Palms” Estate Tour and The Best of Mod with a Twist series.

The full schedule for February’s 11-day festival will be announced on the 25th October 2019, with tickets available from the 1st November 2019.

Those looking to get a taste of what the 2020 Modernism Week event has in store, can attend the annual four-day Modernism Week Fall Preview, this October (17-20). Tickets for Modernism Week Fall Preview are on sale now.

For more information on Modernism Week, visit www.modernismweek.com.

Andaz Palm Springs – 2020 hotel opening
Expected to open in early 2020 the Andaz Palm Springs, which will boast panoramic views of the city and the San Jacinto Mountains, will be located in the heart of the city’s downtown. On the doorstep of the Palm Springs’ vibrant uptown design district, the hotel will serve as a perfect option for those wanting to explore the city’s trendy boutiques, award-winning restaurants and renowned galleries.

The 150-key, 13-suite hotel will be built as a collection of small buildings and guestroom bungalows featuring two outdoor pools, garden areas on an elevated patio terrace, full-service spa and signature restaurant.
For more information, visit https://palmsprings.andaz.hyatt.com/en/hotel/home.html.

Welwood Hotel – 2020 hotel opening
Paying homage to the city’s first hotelier, Dr Welwood Murray, the Welwood Hotel in Palm Springs is set to open its doors to guests in 2020. Previously known as the Ivy Palm Resort, the hotel is currently undergoing a full renovation under the new ownership of Oxygen Hospitality.

Inspired by the mid-twentieth century modernist architecture that Palm Springs is renowned for, the hotel’s redesign is described as angular and artistic, featuring colourful motifs. Renovations of the 100-room, three-acre property will include new guest rooms and suites, featuring clean palettes of neutral and aqua shades, complemented with sleek, rich, modern furnishings. Completing the property’s enhanced offering will be a new restaurant / bar concept and two remodelled pools with cabanas.
For more information on the Welwood Hotel, visit welwoodhotel.com.

Main image credit: Agua Caliente Cultural Centre (Image Credit – Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians)

Super 8 by Wyndham Continues announces six new hotels in Germany

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Super 8 by Wyndham Continues announces six new hotels in Germany

Wyndham’s stylish economy brand has announced to further expand its German footprint by 2021…

In the wake of latest statistics showing that Germany is leading the hotel development race in Europe, with 382 projects in the pipeline, Wyndham Hotels has announced that it, too, will to expand its footprint in the region, with the opening of new Super 8 by Wyndham hotels in Hamburg, Berlin, Mainz, Koblenz and Augsburg by the end of 2021.

Super 8 by Wyndham, which has recently launched Super 8 by Wyndham in Dresden, is one of the world’s largest economy hotel brands with nearly 2,900 hotels around the world. The brand is designed to elevate the economy hotel experience for the new generation of travellers with contemporary design, modern facilities, friendly service, and convenient locations.

Wyndham Hotels & Resorts introduced Super 8 by Wyndham in Germany in 2016, in partnership with leading hotel management company Gorgeous Smiling Hotels GmbH, Grünwald. From two initial hotels in Munich, the two companies have continued to expand the brand in Freiburg, Oberhausen and recently in Dresden, with plans to reach 10 hotels and over 1,800 rooms by the end of 2021.

“We are extremely proud of the strong momentum of Super 8 by Wyndham in Germany,” said Christian Michel, Vice President Development Europe for Wyndham Hotels & Resorts. “With a growing demand for more affordable accommodation, the brand’s expansion perfectly fits our ambition to make hotel travel possible for all. Gorgeous Smiling Hotels GmbH is a trusted and like-minded partner, and we are delighted to continue to grow Super 8 by Wyndham together in this important market.”

A recent opening for Super 8 by Wyndham included Super 8 by Wyndham Dresden. Opened in June 2019, the 176-key hotel is centrally located near the old and new Green Vault and close to major sights. Its stylish rooms feature modern design and amenities such as flat-screen TVs, safes, free high-speed Wi-Fi and heated bathroom floors. The hotel also features an on-site breakfast restaurant with a live cooking area, a Dallmayr coffee shop, as well as a 24/7 reception desk.

Anticipated Super 8 by Wyndham hotels openings in Germany include:

  • Super 8 by Wyndham Hamburg City: Less than a five-minute ride from the city centre, the hotel boasts 274 bright rooms with comfortable box-spring beds, walk-in showers, smart TVs and safes. Each room comes with a SmartKey, which enables guests to easily check in and check out with their phones. The hotel is expected to open at the end of September 2019.
  •  Super 8 by Wyndham Mainz: The 216-room hotel will be located in the newly-developed urban area of Zollhafen with easy access to the famous old town with its half-timbered houses and medieval market squares. The hotel is set to open in early 2020.
  •  Super 8 by Wyndham Augsburg: Set in the medieval streets of one of the oldest cities in Germany, the new hotel will offer 154 well-appointed rooms with plenty of comfortable space to feel at home. The hotel is estimated to open by the end of 2020.
  •  Super 8 by Wyndham Berlin-Spandau: Set in in the bustling capital of Berlin, the hotel is expected to open in 2021, and will feature 200 rooms with stylish amenities, an on-site breakfast restaurant with a live cooking station, a Dallmayr coffee shop as well as a 24/7 reception desk.
  •  Super 8 by Wyndham Koblenz: Situated on the rivers Moselle and Rhine, Koblenz is the perfect gateway to the Upper Middle Rhine Valley with its terraced vineyards and old castle ruins. The new property, set to open its doors in 2021, will features 112 stylish rooms and a partially green facade.

Heiko Grote, CEO of Gorgeous Smiling Hotels GmbH, added: “Whether it’s for a business trip or a weekend break, we know that today’s travellers look for a quality experience, but at an affordable price point – which is exactly what Super 8 by Wyndham stands for. We are delighted to further leverage the potential of this outstanding brand together with our partner Wyndham Hotels & Resorts and further expand the portfolio in the country.”

Wyndham Hotels & Resorts’ presence in Germany, Austria and Switzerland includes more than 100 hotels and 10 hotel brands, ranging from upper-upscale to economy, to suit any traveller’s needs.

Main image credit: Wyndham Hotels/Marcelo Barbosa

Hard Rock Hotels arrives in the Maldives

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hard Rock Hotels arrives in the Maldives

The iconic music and lifestyle brand hits the high note with Hard Rock Hotel Maldives, which marks the brand’s 30th property… 

Following the opening of its first London hotel, Hard Rock International has announced its arrival in the Maldives, which marks the brand’s 30th property worldwide. Opening as part of CROSSROADS Maldives, the 178-key hotel is the country’s first and only integrated resort and is situated across the Emboodhoo lagoon.

“Hard Rock Hotel Maldives offers the beauty and serenity of the destination perfectly paired with the lifestyle and energy that only the Hard Rock brand can deliver,” said Dale Hipsh, senior vice president of Hard Rock Hotels. “We’re excited to showcase the property’s unique experience and signature brand amenities to locals and visitors from around the world.”

Image credit: Hard Rock Hotels

Offering a variety of dining options, Hard Rock Hotel Maldives appeals to all appetites with a variety of food and beverage offerings, including the brand signature Sessions, where diners are treated to a world of contemporary flavors with indoor and outdoor seating, while The Elephant and The Butterfly presents Latin American-inspired cuisine in a picturesque oceanfront setting. Just steps away, the Hard Rock Cafe at the Marina CROSSROADS offers world-famous, all-American cuisine, live music, events and music memorabilia.

“Beginning with an Eric Clapton guitar, Hard Rock owns the world’s most valuable collection of music memorabilia.”

Inspired by local Maldivian culture, Hard Rock Hotel Maldives infuses contemporary design features with tropical architecture throughout the property, alongside regionally-inspired, authentic music memorabilia, including items from regional sensations Chun Xioa and Khun Asanee Chotikul, as well as international superstars like Shakira and Justin Timberlake. Unique to this hotel, the two-bedroom Silver Family Suite allows parents and kids to stay together in style with bunk beds and direct beach access, while the 4,950 square foot Rock Star Villa features spacious outdoor living areas, an infinity pool, a tuk-tuk bar on the terrace, panoramic ocean views and even a private boat jetty.

Image credit: Hard Rock Hotels

With venues in 75 countries, including 188 Hard Rock Cafes, 241 Rock Shops, 30 hotels and 11 casinos, Hard Rock International (HRI) is one of the most globally recognised companies. Beginning with an Eric Clapton guitar, Hard Rock owns the world’s most valuable collection of music memorabilia, which is displayed at its locations around the globe.

Four Seasons opens in Philadelphia’s tallest building

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Four Seasons opens in Philadelphia’s tallest building

Foster + Partners’ Norman Foster is responsible for the architecture and interior design of Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia at Comcast Centre, which is sheltered in the 48th and 60th floors of the city’s tallest building…

The newly opened Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia at Comcast Center is located on the uppermost floors of what is now the city’s tallest building and 10th highest in the United States.

The entire building and the interiors and furnishings of the hotel have been designed by world-renowned architect Norman Foster of Foster + Partners, while artistic director Jeff Leatham has created stunning floral art in his signature style. His designs are found throughout the property from the ground floor entry to the 60th floor hotel lobby. In addition, Tokyo-based teamLab has envisioned a giant digital floral experience as a modern expression of traditional Japanese painting techniques in the hotel’s arrival lobby.

Image credit: Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts

“This exceptional new property represents the very best of Four Seasons,” said Christian Clerc, President, Worldwide Hotel Operations, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. “From architecture to design, artistry and innovation, culinary mastery and wellness expertise, we have worked closely with our visionary partners at Comcast and Liberty Property Trust to assemble an all-star team of virtuosos who are elevating Four Seasons service, quality and artistry to new heights.”

Framing what are arguably the best vistas over the city, the 180 guestrooms and 39 suites have been designed to reflect a timeless and relaxed style, while also to adding thoughtful and hidden technology throughout. For example, in partnership with Comcast, all guestrooms and suites also offer the award winning X1 Video Experience.

The hotel’s dining scene is on the 59th floor inside the Jean-Georges Philadelphia restaurant and the 60th floor inside JG SkyHigh cocktail bar. Norman Foster’s soaring space showcases the internationally acclaimed French-American chef’s signature cuisine within an atrium featuring 40 foot (12 metre) glass walls and a cleverly mirrored ceiling that reflects both diners and the city below.

Taking wellness and wellbeing to new height, the hotel’s 57th floor is a haven of health and wellness that includes an enormous indoor pool that “spills” into the sky; a state-of-the-art fitness centre.

Main image credit: Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts

Chelsom creates bespoke lighting scheme for chic Miami hotel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Chelsom creates bespoke lighting scheme for chic Miami hotel

Chelsom worked with Martin Brudnizki Design Studio (MBDS) to create a bespoke lighting scheme for the guestrooms and public areas of one of Miami’s coolest hotels, Mr.C Coconut Grove

The overall design scheme of Mr. C Coconut Grove was completely individual in its entirety as to be expected from MBDS and the lighting pieces designed for the project were no exception.

A selection of Art Deco inspired fittings were created for the public areas including the reception and lobby and Bellini’s, the main restaurant and bar area. Channelling Miami chic at its finest, fittings for the restaurant include delicate glass wall lights with Brass detailing, decorative Art Deco table lamps with domed glass shades and Brass metalwork adorn the banquet seating teamed with classic Brass picture lights to frame the artwork. Toadstool shaped Art Deco lights with perforated Brass shades adorn the main bar area with a statement pendant above the bar making a dramatic visual impact. The custom designed fitting is an oversized shade style pendant in cream with Brass trim detail suspended from a Brass canopy. Oversized floor lamps adorn the lobby area with Brushed Brass and walnut table lamps with delicately concaved domed shades specified for the reception desk.

Key pieces for the guestrooms and suites includestatement bespoke ceiling pendants in Antique Brass with six opalglass globes branching from a central stem with larger double tiered versions specified for the suites. Bespoke floor lamps in Brushed Brass with a curved arm and decorative locking key joint are teamed with tapered cylindrical shades in cream linen supplemented by Art Decotable lampsand wall lights perfectly in-keeping with both the flawless interior scheme created by the team at MBDS and the historic building itself.

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

Main image credit: Mr C Coconut Grove/James McDonald

1 Hotels to debut in Canada

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
1 Hotels to debut in Canada

1 Hotel Toronto, which is being designed using reclaimed materials, will be unveiled next year as a design-led, sustainable urban retreat…

Barry Sternlicht, 1 Hotels Founder and CEO & Chairman of Starwood Capital Group, who earlier this year announced a new lifestyle hotel brand, has confirmed plans for 1 Hotel Toronto. The hotel, which is slated to open next year, is inspired by Canada’s natural beauty, the vibrant character of King Street West and the Toronto marketplace.

The hotel is being developed in partnership with Mohari Hospitality, a global real estate investment company and owner of the building which is currently operated as the Thompson Toronto. The downtown property will undergo an extensive transformation into a relaxing luxury sustainable 1 retreat.

“The hotel group purposefully reuses existing structural and reclaimed materials gathered from the local community, including timber, driftwood and local limestone.”

1 Hotels brings its sustainable vision to life by incorporating nature in its design and culinary collaborations, connecting with the local community to make a meaningful impact in the way people travel, eat, live and work. The hotel group purposefully reuses existing structural and reclaimed materials gathered from the local community, including timber, driftwood and local limestone. The hotel’s design balances refined elements with a comfortably curated atmosphere, inspired by the creativity and craftsmanship of local artists, builders, chefs, and others. Its operating philosophy reflects our commitment to sustainability. 1 Toronto is not just a place to stay; it’s a place to get inspired, focus, grow, connect and recharge.

“1 Hotel Toronto will introduce the city to a new standard for an eco-conscious luxury experience, and is the first of its kind in Canada,” said Sternlicht. We look forward to sharing our mission to inspire conscious consumption with guests from across the globe as well as the local community. Our partnership with Mohari is key to the re-development of the project, and we are pleased to be collaborating with them.”

“1 Toronto is not just a place to stay; it’s a place to get inspired, focus, grow, connect and recharge.”

Mark Scheinberg, founder of Mohari Hospitality, said: “We’re excited to be partnering with 1 Hotels to open this luxury hotel and brand in the heart of Toronto. At Mohari, we look for innovative projects that are changing the hospitality market and 1 Hotel Toronto perfectly fits that mould.”

1 Toronto will be enhanced by a level of luxury and personalisation that puts guests in an urban oasis. It’s expected to become a place to unwind, connect, eat well, and discover warmth and community in an environment which embraces nature, making it a luxurious and welcome respite for business travellers and world wanderers alike.

Main image credit: 1 Hotels

Germany, France and the UK lead European hotel project development

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Germany, France and the UK lead European hotel project development

Latest hotel development statistics from the TOPHOTELCONSTRUCTION database show the three nations account for 50 per cent of the 1,514 projects that are currently in the pipeline for the region…

Germany, the UK, and France are currently dominating a “booming European hospitality market”, as stated in a report by TOPHOTELCONSTRUCTION. The latest data to be published indicates that the three nations account for 50 per cent of the 1,514 projects currently in the pipeline in Europe.

Germany currently has 382 projects in its own pipeline, which means that it alone is accounting for around one quarter of the upcoming hotels in Europe. The UK, meanwhile, is hot on its heels, with 287 projects in its own pipeline. Meanwhile, there is a significant dropoff between the U.K. and third place France, which has 91 projects in its own pipeline.

Other destinations in the top 10 include Spain (72 projects in the pipeline) and Russia, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Poland, and Ireland, all of which have less than 70 hotels each in their project pipeline.

The report concludes that Europe’s strong performance is due to Germany being a significant driving force in the hospitality space, as well as globally dominant tourist destinations such as France, Spain, and the UK.

According to TOPHOTELCONSTRUCTION, the 1,541 hotels currently in the pipeline for Europe will ultimately yield as many as 251,730 new guestrooms.

Main image credit: Pixabay

MINIVIEW: Zafiro Palace Alcudia

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
MINIVIEW: Zafiro Palace Alcudia

Zafiro Palace Alcudia is a family friendly hotel with a luxury edge. Chantal Borciani checks in to review…

Framed by the majestic landscape of mountains in northern Mallorca, Zafiro Palace Hotel Alcudia occupies an enviable position just five minutes’ walk from the pretty harbour of Alcudia and just 15 minutes from the Medieval Old Town. Surrounded by sea and rolling countryside, it’s easy to see why nature plays a key role in Zafiro’s aesthetic.

From the stylish marble lobby, the eye is immediately drawn outside to the vast gardens that form the focal point of the property. The immaculate tiered lawns are sown with native Mallorcan plants and flowers and feature 11 glittering pools. Despite the impressive aquatic offering, Zafiro Palace Alcudia retains the intimacy of a much smaller hotel with a boutique vibe that sets it apart from other family hotels on the island.

“Antonia Plomer personally selects everything every material and piece of artwork used in the hotel.”

Mature gardens are dotted with shaded hideaways and quiet corners while alongside some of the larger pools, billowing white draped cabana beds are available for all guests to use on a complimentary basis. Raised up a level above the swim-up pool bar and trendy poolside restaurant, the adult-only pool area is another cabana-lined oasis.

Designed with small footprints in mind, kids are well catered for as well, of course with a fantastic pirate ship pool, slides and play area occupying a quadrant of the gardens. ‘Run for families, by families’ is the spirit behind the Zafiro brand, which was set up by father Tomeu Plomer and still rings true today. The hotel has recently had a refresh under daughters Antonia and Maria Plomer who now run the business and have deftly anticipated new trends.

“Lines are clean, minimalist and chic; the white angular buildings emphasising the contemporary feel of the property.”

Antonia Plomer personally selects every material and piece of artwork used in the hotel, sourcing the majority of elements from Mallorcan and Spanish suppliers to great effect. Décor is sophisticated and the neutral palette is calming and light, save small dashes of colour from soft furnishings and modern lighting and framed prints.

While being resolutely family friendly, the all-suite hotel retains a luxury edge in design and feel. Lines are clean, minimalist and chic; the white angular buildings emphasising the contemporary feel of the property. Suites are spacious, elegant and flooded with light thanks to large balconies. Each suite features an open-plan bathroom, while sliding doors in the family rooms mean parents can easily ‘zone off’ sleeping areas for kids.

All 369 suites can be configured to accommodate children while bespoke family suites feature two bedrooms. Handy touches such as microwaves in all rooms, high-end coffee machines and ample storage and wardrobe space add to the thoughtful design.

Image credit: Zafiro Palace Hotels

On the ground level, the aforementioned swim-up suites boast a private garden and direct pool access ideal for families who love to be in and out of the water all day. On the top floor, the penthouse suites are blessed with a rooftop terrace complete with Jacuzzi and Bali beds. With mesmeric views out across the Mallorcan mountains and coast, these sumptuous suites should be top pick for those looking for luxury escapism.

The Presidential Owner’s Suite, usually the reserve of Mallorcan elite and celebrities, occupies 180 square metres and features a vast terrace with Jacuzzi, shower and Bali bed. The decadent interior is accented by design-led furniture and contemporary chandeliers selected from Barcelona-based procurer Santa e Cole, while alongside the master bed sits a decadent marble emerado and white makael bathtub.

In the public areas, Antonia Plomer’s astute eye for design makes great impact. The four á la carterestaurants reflect a different aesthetic and cuisine without becoming overly thematic and each dining area is blessed with stunning views of the gardens and pools thanks to terraces and floor to ceiling windows.

Image credit: Zafiro Palace Hotels

Off season, the hotel is a magnet for cyclists and active travellers keen to make the most of Mallorca’s long season and enviable hiking and cycling routes. In fact, the hotel hosts many of the participants in Alcudia’s annual Ironman and is a fantastic base from which to explore the island. The Old Town of Alcudia is steeped in history and sprinkled with lovely wine bars, while at the harbour guests can hire a classic Mallorcan launch and cruise along the magical coastline.

It’s no mean feat to cater to children while also affording the adults a slice of luxury and relaxation yet Zafiro Palace Hotel Alcudia has done so with ease. Small touches, so often only found in owner-run hotels such as this, make all the difference here alongside the sophisticated family accommodation which feels a world away from the large carbon copy, faceless all inclusives of old.

Main image credit: Zafiro Palace Hotels

InterContinental Hotels debuts first luxury hotel in renowned hot spring destination

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
InterContinental Hotels debuts first luxury hotel in renowned hot spring destination

InterContinental Hotels & Resorts continues to pioneer new luxury destinations with the opening of ANA InterContinental Beppu Resort & Spa, which is injected with local design and architecture references throughout… 

Located in the Oita Prefecture in Southwestern Japan, ANA InterContinental Beppu Resort & Spa has opened as the region’s first international luxury resort.

The opening strengthens the long-term venture with ANA and IHG in Japan and joins more than 200 InterContinental Hotels & Resorts worldwide. Leading the way in luxury, the resort isone of four immersive resorts to open in 2019, with InterContinental Hayman Island Resort opened on 1 July and InterContinental Maldives Maamunagau Resort and InterContinental Phuket Resort opening in September.

“On behalf of IHG and IHG/ANA Japan, we are extremely proud to open the first international luxury hot spring resort and spa in Beppu,” said Hans Heijligers, Head of Japan, IHG, and IHG ANA Hotels Group Japan. “InterContinental has been pioneers in luxury travel for more than 70 years, delivering the allure of the InterContinental Life in all corners of the world. We are delighted to continue bringing the brand’s iconic hospitality, combining international know-how and local wisdom to new destinations as IHG continues to grow its luxury presence across the globe and in Japan.”

Image credit: IHG

Renowned for its rich culture and distinguished local craftsmanship, Beppu lends itself to offering guests rare access into authentic Japanese experiences. As the world’s second largest volume of hot spring water, the onsen tradition is a synonymous part of the guest experience in Beppu. The resort offers two large outdoor onsens, each meticulously designed with the selection and arrangement of Beppu stones selected by skilled masons, and placed to create a waterfall effect as if the hot spring water is overflowing from the mountain.

The private onsen rooms offer a modern onsen experience within an exclusive space complete with a luxurious day bed, bathroom and minimalist design. The heart of the resort is the iconic infinity pool, designed to unite the sky with the view overlooking Beppu’s hot springs below.

“Featured across the resort is work from local artists and craftsmen.”

Elevating the cleansing and healing powers of myobanwater is the resort spa. In partnership with luxury Thai spa brand HARNN, the spa offers a selection of tailor-made treatments and therapies using materials derived from nature, along with rich aroma scent to rejuvenate the mind and body. The spa offers five treatment rooms with private en suites and outdoor garden, and two double massage rooms featuring a jacuzzi made from Japanese cypress.

Imagined by the in-house design team at IHG, the resort shelters a distinct design philosophy, steeped in tradition and inspired by the elements. Featured across the resort is work from local artists and craftsmen, using traditional materials from various parts of Kyushu and local Oita prefecture. Beginning in the resort’s lobby, the soaring space is reminiscent of an art gallery with its high-quality bamboo art work, ancient pottery and wooden furniture with bold designs.

Traditionally designed Japanese guest room, with low-level bed

Image credit: IHG

Elsewhere, the 89 guestrooms, including 10 suites, range from a luxurious 62-212 square meters, including large onsen or hot baths, spacious design and an abundance of natural materials for a sense of relaxation. All Suites and Club InterContinental rooms feature private open-air baths on the terrace with views sweeping the Beppu Bay.

Continuing the philosophy of harmonious nature and design, the resort features five restaurants and bars inspired by Japan’s five elements: earth, water, fire, wind and void.

The latest addition to the IHG portfolio proves further its continues its legacy of pioneering luxury travel in emerging destinations. 

Main image credit: IHG

Seven-figure refurb begins at City Quay Hotel, Dundee

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Seven-figure refurb begins at City Quay Hotel, Dundee

Work has commenced on a £1.4 million refurbishment programme at Apex City Quay Hotel & Spa in the heart of Dundee…

Over the coming months the Apex City Quay Hotel & Spa‘s public spaces – including the reception and conference areas, as well as the hotel’s Metro Bar & Brasserie and Yu Spa – will be transformed, bringing a spectacular new look and feel to the hotel. The significant investment comes less than one year after the completion of a £2.4 million bedroom refurbishment.

The full programme of improvements is set to be completed in the New Year, with the hotel operating business as usual throughout the period.

“We’re absolutely thrilled to see work starting on the latest round of refurbishment work at the hotel,” said Ronnie MacKay, the general manager at Apex City Quay Hotel & Spa. “The feedback from guests following the bedroom refurbishment has been exceptionally positive and, given that the plans in place for the public areas look absolutely fantastic, we’re confident our guests will be impressed with the finished result.

“The significant investment in the hotel over the past twelve months or so really underlines Apex’s commitment to constantly raising the bar and ensuring first-class standards for guests across the board. We’ll keep our guests informed of our plans every step of the way, but as the works continue over the coming months, we fully intend to operate business as usual until we unveil the finished product.”

Since late 2017, Apex Hotels has invested approximately £12 million in refurbishment works across its 10 UK hotels.

Main image credit: Apex Hotels

Modern, fresh and vibrant interiors of a guest room

W Hotels Debuts in Oman

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
W Hotels Debuts in Oman

The “lavish playground” of W Muscat is set to shake up the coastal haven with bold design, eclectic programming and Oman’s First Siddharta Lounge By Buddha-Bar…

W Hotels Worldwide, part of Marriott International Inc., has announced the opening of W Muscat, the brand’s newest beachfront W Escape and the second to open in the Middle East this year. Set against the backdrop of the rugged Al Hajar Mountains, which form a stark contrast to the historic capital city’s lively waterfront, W Muscat sits at the intersection of the bustling Shatti Al Qurum area.

Modern, fresh and vibrant interiors of a guest room

The hotel opens as part of Marriott International’s plans add more than 30 luxury hotels to its portfolio this year, furthering the company’s global perspective on luxury travel with its ensemble of eight distinct luxury brands.

“Muscat is a fascinating and exciting city. Its cultural DNA honors millennia of tradition while looking to what’s new and next – an ideal match for the W brand,” said Anthony Ingham, Global Brand Leader, W Hotels Worldwide. “The arrival of W in Muscat marks a new chapter for both the brand and this buzzing metropolis. The hotel reinterprets Omani design and cultural traditions to create a modern, energetic and stylish Escape unlike anything the sultanate has seen before.”

“Its striking design is inspired by the diverse and vibrant natural locale – from the rugged mountain range to the vast Omani desert, the sparkling bay to the azure waters of the Arabian Sea.”

The architectural narrative of W Muscat immerses guests in the concept of exploration and the illustrious storytelling tradition of the nomadic Bedouin traveller. Its striking design is inspired by the diverse and vibrant natural locale – from the rugged mountain range to the vast Omani desert, the sparkling bay to the azure waters of the Arabian Sea. Colorful hints of Muscat’s vibrant culture are interspersed throughout the spaces to evoke the mystery and adventure of the city’s rich heritage and storied past. W Muscat is a bold remix of traditional charm, natural beauty and the disruptive W DNA.

Bold design with Arabian themed interiors in the lobby lounge

Image credit: W Hotels

Welcoming guests upon arrival is a striking, nine-ton frankincense tree sculpture designed by renowned artist Pongsatat Uaiklang that pays tribute to Omani culture. Standing at an impressive 10 meters tall, the piece is made of solid stainless steel, welded from 28 winding pieces. In traditional Omani culture, frankincense was used to bless and welcome weary travelers after their long journeys. In that same tradition, guests are then ushered into the inviting Living Room (W’s signature take on the lobby) where they can relax and unwind in an Arabic Majlis, beneath an oversized installation of the Omani Kummas, chic headgears that are unmistakable marks of the Omani attire. Whether looking for a re-energizing iced tea or a cocktail, The Living Room is the perfect venue to see and be seen.

“Asymmetrical corridors across the floors depict an artistic theme of ‘every girl has a story’ through locally commissioned holographic artworks.”

All of the 279 guestrooms and suites at W Muscat provide uninterrupted views of the glistening blue water, with their design drawing inspiration from the ocean as well as the asymmetrical lines of the nearby mountains, caves and desert. These are contrasted with art deco detailing, reminiscent of traditional Omani charm. Asymmetrical corridors across the floors depict an artistic theme of ‘every girl has a story’ through locally commissioned holographic artworks depicting a female perspective of power, love, peace and beauty. Designed for an extra spacious and edgy stay is the EWOW suite (the brand’s take on the traditional Presidential Suite) which features subtle Arabic characteristics with a distinctive W edge. The corner Majlis seating showcases a Zanzibar-inspired print, a nod to the Omani Kumma or headgear, set against an inviting coffee table in celebration of Arabic coffee or Qahwa. The ceiling features tilted white paneling, evoking the intimacy of relaxing inside a tent. A saddle-like leather chair, bold mustard yellow stool, and faux fur wall are inspired by horse or camelback travel. Stacked luggage trunks comprise the MIXBAR (the W spin on the minibar) while a trunk closet lined with exotic silk links back to the narrative of the nomad.

An 1800 sqm beachfront pool offers unparalleled views of the Gulf of Oman and forms part of the W brand’s iconic WET experience. Here, guests can swim, soak up the sun and enjoy signature beverages while listening to live DJ performances. WET is the hottest place to cool off, take a dip, make a splash, and get your glow on. W Muscat will be hosting a FUEL Weekend in October – the W brand’s signature fitness and wellness retreat – where WET will take center stage. FUEL guests can expect next level, energy-soaked celebrity workouts, killer parties and delicious beverage and food offerings all celebrating the brand’s DETOX. RETOX. REPEAT. philosophy.

Elsewhere, the Escape’s AWAY® Spa offers 10 treatment rooms, a steam room, a hammam and a couples’ treatment room. The design is inspired by the ancient ritual of stargazing where guests are enveloped under a bejeweled night sky with the intimacy of cave-like comfort.

The highly anticipated Siddharta Lounge By Buddha-Bar makes an Oman debut at W Muscat, bringing its signature flair for culinary prowess and inventive mixology to the rooftop restaurant and lounge. Overlooking the sweeping coastline of Shatti Al Qurum, the space interlocks both indoor and outdoor venues and celebrates the story of Bedouin travellers through innovative design and artistic representation. Ocean vistas are framed by an extraordinary rooftop infinity pool that invites guests to literally dive into the action and order a cocktail at the swim up bar. Siddharta Lounge By Buddha-Bar transforms from a daytime respite for lounging and relaxing amongst gorgeous views to a scene-setting hotspot when the sun goes down and the music turns up.

Trailblazing its way around the globe, with more than 50 hotels, W is defying expectations and breaking the norms of traditional luxury wherever the iconic W sign lands. With a mission to fuel guests’ lust for life, W ignites an obsessive desire to soak it in, live it up and hit repeat. The brand’s provocative design, iconic Whatever/Whenever service and buzzing Living Rooms create an experience that is often copied but never matched.

Main image credit: W Hotels

Hilton Munich City completes $50 million renovation

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hilton Munich City completes $50 million renovation

Hilton Munich City is placing the finishing touches on a $50 million hotel transformation project, which includes a full refurbishment of the hotel, including all public areas, guestrooms, fitness centre and F&B areas…

Hilton Munich City, which opened a new F&B area called Juliet Rose earlier this year, has now been completed a full $50 million renovation. “We are thrilled to present this amazing, refreshed hotel to all our guests and clients,” said Dagmar Muhle, the general manager of Hilton Munich City.

“This way we are able to continue to innovate in the way we deliver our signature hospitality and provide our guests with an enhanced experience here at Hilton Munich City. We are also very excited to have been recognized as ‘Germany’s Leading City Hotel 2019’ at the World Travel Awards Europe 2019, a great achievement and confirmation of the services our team delivers on a daily basis.”

Juliet Rose is made up of four different seating zones, each with different stand-out features, plus two bars. The main ‘ceremony bar’ is a stunning, monolithic U-shaped design that guests coming from the hotel entrance see as soon as they enter the space, at the far end of a central approach. A second, smaller-scale coffee bar is made of the same dramatic moss-green and highly-polished granite, with the choice of material referencing the earthiness of botanical ingredients. The granite for the main bar has been book-matched to ensure dramatic textural veining from the front. Above and behind the main bar, the gantry structure is made up of brass sections, with an industrial/lab feel, underscored by an apothecary-style bottle display. The barman prepares cocktails at its centre, making full use of dry ice, bell jars and a sense of reveal.

Image credit: Hilton Hotels

“The overall design approach for the space was based on form and order, with drama, freedom and an opposing sense of randomness created by the furniture and accessorising’, architect David Lee Hood, Associate at Goddard Littlefair, explained. ‘When it came to structure, we added a number of new elements to the space to give a feeling of overall order and symmetry, whilst also ensuring playful visibility between zones via glazed screens offering varying privacy levels.”

The hotel provides a complement of services and brand amenities, including 483 guestrooms, nine meeting rooms, MONA restaurant, Juliet Rose Bar and a fitness centre.

Main image credit: Hilton Hotels

Meet the design team behind Monkey Island Estate and Raffles Singapore

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Meet the design team behind Monkey Island Estate and Raffles Singapore

Following the opening of both Monkey Island Estate (review coming soon) and Raffles Singapore, Hotel Designs spends time to get to know the world-renowned design team who led both visions into reality…

Based in New York City, Champalimaud Design is an award-winning multi-disciplinary firm recognised for its visionary concepts, which span both hospitality and residential projects.

Founded almost 30 years ago by Lisbon-born Alexandra Champalimaud, the studio is now run by five Partners who are all specialists in their respective fields. In addition to Alexandra Champalimaud, Partners include CEO Ed Bakos, Jon Kastl, Winston Kong, and most recently, Anna Beeber.

Celebrated for creating luxury environments for a global client list which includes the likes of The Plaza New York, the legendary Troutbeck hotel in Upstate New York and The Gainsborough Bath Spa, Champalimaud Design was approached in 2013 by Raffles Singapore and tasked with the monumental goal of a complete redesign of Singapore’s oldest and most iconic hotel. The studio was presented with a unique challenge of maintaining an ambience intrinsically tied to the hotel’s unique 130 year long history, whilst at the same time taking the hotel in a renewed design direction through a meticulous update and refresh.

The newly restored property offers a reinvigorated and charming environment familiar to the original Raffles Singapore hotel, but which now introduces renovated dining options, updated accommodations, and a new suite category. By incorporating local influences throughout and remaining true to its heritage, Champalimaud Design thoughtfully layers a memory of old Singapore with a contemporary and artful approach.

As a national monument, special attention was paid to the preservation of the original colonial architecture throughout the renovation. All of the public areas are re-planned to increase social engagement and create an ease of flow between spaces. With a sensibility that is much more contemporary than its previous design iterations, there’s an emphasis on maximising scale through the careful curation of custom furniture in sumptuous shapes, ornate screens, locally sourced heritage antiques, and impactful lighting. The new reception and lobby lounge – once iconic places frequently visited by dignitaries and diplomats – is transformed into an elegant reception with a curated dining menu and now serves as the gateway to the hotel’s alluring spaces for dining and imbibing: Tiffin Room, Writer’s Bar, La Dame de Pic, Long Bar, and Butcher’s Block. The palate is composed of the original black and white contrasts juxtaposed with caramel, shades of green, and creamy neutrals. Light floral references and gilded trimming along with a bejewelled chandelier add a layer of refinement to the overall vision.

The coming year will see Champalimaud Design take on a number of high profile openings. In addition to Raffles Singapore, the studio has recently unveiled its highly-anticipated design for Halekulani in Okinawa, Japan; a hotel that fuses luxury with the island’s energy, as well as the Monkey Island, a picturesque retreat with a charming history in Bray-On-Thames, England. Other projects include One Waterline Square, a luxury high-rise development on the Hudson River in Manhattan which represents an unprecedented approach to urban living, as well as Su Casa, a private retreat nestled in Puerto Rico’s most exclusive resort which has undergone a complete renovation by Champalimaud Design following Hurricane Maria which ravaged the island in 2017.

Main image credit: Champalimaud Design

Hyatt Zilara Cap Cana to open in the ‘Beverly Hills’ of Dominican Republic

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hyatt Zilara Cap Cana to open in the ‘Beverly Hills’ of Dominican Republic

Architect Ken Shannon has completed the project the design Hyatt Ziva/Zilara’s latest flagship, which will open this November in what is commonly referred to as the ‘Beverly Hills’ of the Dominican Republic…

Nestled in Punta Cana’s sought-after, exclusive gated community of Cap Cana in the Dominican Republic, the twin Hyatt Ziva Cap Cana and Hyatt Zilara Cap Cana will be the sixth addition to Hyatt’s Ziva and Zilara all-inclusive portfolio.

While Hyatt Ziva Cap Cana features an immersive thematic atmosphere that includes suites with local flora motifs, a tailor shop inspired Italian restaurant, and a waterpark for guests of all ages, the neighbouring Hyatt Zilara Cap Cana will feature refined ocean view rooms, condo-inspired swim-up suites with fully furnished living and dining spaces, exclusive access to quiet infinity pools, and an original concept martini bar and coffee shop.

The distinct double U-Shaped Infrastructure, designed by Ken Shannon, optimises ocean views in suites across the resort, maximizing ocean-facing offerings and a sense of arrival that is unparalleled.

Harnessing dual design, the hotels interiors infuse unique personalities into the twin resorts, Zilara’s design has been described as “sexier and more sophisticated with a bold and edgy design for adults”, while Ziva is meandering and playful with softer lines and vibrant colors making it a family-friendly oasis. Shared design features include moveable wall elements, swim up suites, and a connecting, elevated vista lobby overlooking the pools and ocean below.

“The Caribbean’s most popular tourism destination had a total of 6,200 rooms in construction in April of this year.”

In more than a nod to the rise in wellness and wellbeing, a cenote-inspired underground spa will feature a larimar stone infused sky-lit lagoon and the DR’s first Himalayan Salt Lounge. In addition, an elevated Fitness Centre, modeled to look like an old rum distillery, to add further sense-of-place, is set to be Playa’s most extravagant to date, donning a brick warehouse vibe and outfitted with hanging punching bags to pay homage to the DR’s love of boxing.

The hotel opens as the Dominican Republic is continuing a full-fledged hotel development boom, according to new data from hotel analytics firm STR. The Caribbean’s most popular tourism destination had a total of 6,200 rooms in construction in April of this year.

Main image credit: Hyatt Hotels

Hyatt Regency arrives in East Shenzhen

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hyatt Regency arrives in East Shenzhen

The 298-room hotel, Hyatt Regency Shenzhen Yantian, aims to bring the Hyatt Regency brand’s signature intuitive service and energizing experiences to business and leisure guests alike…

Hyatt Regency Shenzhen Yantian in the east Guangdong Province, China. The new hotel aims to bring the Hyatt Regency brand’s signature intuitive service and energising experiences to business and leisure guests alike.

As part of a newly concepted Recreational Business District, the property is located in the heart of Yantian District, neighboring Dameisha Beach and Overseas Chinese Town East along a 12 mile (19.5 kilometer) golden coast.

“We sincerely appreciate the support from our owner Shenzhen Vanke Binhai Real Estate Ltd. and are excited to see the Hyatt Regency brand footprint grow in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA),” said Stephen Ho, president, Greater China, global operations at Hyatt. “We look forward to welcoming our guests to Hyatt Regency Shenzhen Yantian with confidence for a world-class hospitality experience.”

Hyatt Regency Shenzhen Yantian was designed by the renowned HEITZ PARSONS SADEK and features 298 contemporary guestrooms with varied dimensions ranging from 462 square feet to more than 2,300 square feet (43 square meters to 215 square meters). There are 20 suites, four Regency Executive Suites and one Presidential Suite, all of which are spacious and located on the 41st to the 50th floor. Select rooms offer gorgeous ocean views and all rooms feature high-quality amenities and panoramic French windows. Guests staying in Club Access Rooms and Suites can enjoy the exclusive Regency Club benefits on the 49th floor.

Modern and clean hotel guest room

Image credit: Hyatt Hotels

The hotel offers several fine dining restaurants that cater to varying tastes and group sizes, including XIANGYUE, a comfortable experience that is said to feel like dining in a country village and Market Café is a stylish all-day dining restaurant.

The hotel offers nearly 25,000 square feet (2,321 square meters) of meeting and event space in total, including a 12,916 square foot (1,200-square meter) pillar-free grand ballroom and five salons equipped with high-tech audio and video systems. Additionally, the ballroom foyer provides more than 6,500 square feet (612 square meters) of flexible pre-functional space to perfectly showcase the creativity of any event.

Guests can relax in the hotel’s refreshing outdoor pool or work out anytime at the hotel’s fully equipped fitness center featuring state-of-the-art equipment.

“Inspired by the hotel’s surroundings, the hotel was built with the concept of bringing the forest into the city, offering guests a place to take a deep breath of fresh air and bask in the beautiful scenery,” said Mary Liu, general manager of Hyatt Regency Shenzhen Yantian. “As a bridge between GBA and the Pearl River Delta area, Shenzhen is at the core of this booming region. We are delighted to deliver Hyatt’s well-known expertise in food and beverage and full range of services and amenities for a productive stay.”

More than 190 conveniently located Hyatt Regency urban and resort locations in more than 30 countries around the world serve as the go-to gathering space for every occasion – from efficient personalised, high-touch business meetings to energizing family vacations.

Main image: Hyatt Hotels

INSIDE THE FACTORY WITH: Hamilton Litestat

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INSIDE THE FACTORY WITH: Hamilton Litestat

Celebrating half a century of being the trusted, reliable and high-quality brand for switch plates and sockets, Hamilton Litestat’s is, without a doubt, an industry leader. The company’s Head of Marketing, Gavin Williams, invites editor Hamish Kilburn along to its headquarters in Bristol to share some of the tools behind its esteemed reputation and ongoing legacy… 

For more than 50 years, Hamilton Litestat, one of the first companies in the world to produce dimmable products and USB charging sockets, has been leading an innovative path.

Following large investment in both equipment and people – from the factory floor right through to the sales and marketing teams, the company remains one of the leading manufacturers for switch plates and sockets.

As a result of its ability to be ahead of the curve when it comes to product innovation without diluting the quality of its products, Hamilton has attracted and retained the attention of large chains such as IHG, Marriott, Millennium Hotels and Radisson among many others, as well as leading independent hotels.

Situated on the fringes of Bristol, the company’s headquarters, and workplace for over 100 employees, stands as an ever-evolving hub of innovation, technology and shelters a driving force that ships out roughly 200,000 products per month most of which are dispatched within 24 hours.

As the majority of hotels on the boards continue to strive to create more personal interiors, it is now more important than ever before for suppliers to offer a variety of products, all of which are stamped with the same quality – and no brand understands the value of this than Hamilton. “The interior designer is one of the key cogs in the chain,” said Gavin Williams, Head of Marketing at Hamilton Litestat. “Therefore, that has created a demand for adding a statement within fixtures and fittings.”

The factory itself is a well-operating formula balancing both practical facilities and creative break-out areas. The space on the ground floor has been designed to create a swift, seamless and free-flowing manufacturing process. The raw materials – metal and plastic sheets – are pressed on one side of the building using state-of-the-art technology. By laser cutting, one sheet takes an average of 30 minutes to cut, producing roughly 150 plates, which are then ready to be wired. This process, as well as the stringent quality control that follows, still to this day is carried out by a dedicated workforce.

“Quality is our number-one priority.” – Gavin Williams, Head of Marketing at Hamilton Litestat

If the lower level of the factory is where the components are cut and fitted together, then the upstairs is then reserved for innovation and fresh ideas. Housed inside a standalone chamber is the result one of Hamilton Litestat’s latest investments. Following popular demand and feedback gathered at international trade shows and from talking to loyal customers, the company has introduced its Paintable Range. With a new high-tech machine and colour expert to operate it, the company can now colour-match the products in the collection to replicate any tone or shade that an interior designer is working with. “Quality is our number-one priority,” says Williams. “So despite innovating, we will always over check the quality before releasing any product to the market. We have fantastic test facilities here in Bristol, which allows us to test the product continuously to and above the British standards.”

With lifestyle and people’s behaviour being a large factor and driver behind the launch of the company’s latest products, Hamilton Litestat’s headquarters also stages an area that assembles together new concepts. Inspired largely by trends – and in an effort to create a conversation with its customers – the product development team often share their vision on the company’s growing Instagram channel. “Having a full-time focus [on social media] allows us to follow trends, key words and connect with new clients from the many shows we attend,” adds Williams. “It also allows us to circulate in the wider world, engaging with perspective clients who would have otherwise never heard of us.”

With a reputation that spans across more than half a century for delivering quality products and a reliable service, Hamilton Litestat is equipped to handle almost any interior design brief. The company’s friendly team will be showcasing its breadth of products at upcoming trade shows, such as 100% Design, The Independent Hotel Show and Decorex International.

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

Main image credit: Hamilton Litestat

Checking In: Wyndham Grand Athens

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Checking In: Wyndham Grand Athens

With unparalleled views casting over the ancient city below, Wyndham Grand Athens opened in 2017 to capture the city from a unique perspective. Editor Hamish Kilburn checks in two years later to explore just how timeless the interiors really are…

It seems to me that Greece – and Athens in particular – is a magnet this year for influencers – my Instagram feed for starters is bursting at the seams with the hashtag #VisitGreece. And so, like all consumers, slaves to the travel trends, I felt obliged to check in on the action to discover hotel design Greek style.

Despite the destination’s pockets of derelict and forgotten-in-time in places, Athens’ authentic charm amplifies through the streets and outwards towards the barefoot-luxury islands. And with a recent report published by GBR Consulting revealing that at least 40 new accommodation units (hotels and room-to-let properties) arrived in the city in the first half of this year, it seems as if my social media is, after all, an accurate tool for measuring travel hotspots.

With the vast number of archaeological sites dotted around – and the 5th Century BC landmarks – I would argue that a good place to start is up high, soaking in the establishing shot from a rooftop bar, which features panoramic views stretching from the ancient acropolis right through to the port of Piraeus. Luckily for me, and after the recommendation from the hotel group’s President and Managing Director, Wyndham Grand Athens offers all of this and more.

The hotel, which is the hotel group’s first property in Greece, is situated on Karaiskaki Place, an area that was once seen as an area to avoid for tourists. However, following a stream of newly opened art galleries, modern coffee shops and restaurants, it became one of the destination’s most up-and-coming neighborhoods – a reputation that Wyndham Hotels only strengthened when it arrived in 2017.

Zeus International transformed the building owned by VIOHALCO, which formerly housed the Hotel Athens Imperial. The now 276-key hotel shelters timeless and dynamic interiors, balancing a healthy mix of warm and sharp public spaces combined with calming guestrooms and suites.

Upon entering, guests are welcomed into a neutral yet inviting lobby, which leads up to FOS Restaurant on the ground floor. The interiors inside FOS, which is the Greek for ‘light’, create an appropriate scene. The contemporary F&B scene sits under a large chandelier that is suspended from an expansive floor-to-ceiling atrium.

From one unforgettable public area to another, located on the rooftop of the hotel is the Above Bar and Restaurant. Complete with unobstructed views over the acropolis, making it one of the best roof-top restaurants in the city, this area is quirky and relaxed. Blue, mustard, grey and black contemporary Enka furniture confidently contrast the geometric flooring, creating a strong mise en scéne for any scenario.

Adjacent to the subdued design-led restaurant and bar is a modest pool, which also captures the same Insta-worthy panoramic views over the city.

The majority of the 249 guestrooms and 27 suites include views over the city and the Acropolis or Lycabettus Hill. The interiors feature soft silvery-toned wallpaper with accents of colour in the furniture and soft furnishings and some include windows that wrap around the room, adding further natural light in.

Image credit: Marcelo Barbosa

The stripped-back modern décor of the guestrooms and suites continues in the marble bathrooms. The yellow glow in the suites’ furniture becomes a motif as it is also echoed on the soft reflective surface behind the wide bathroom mirror, creating an ambiance of subtle contemporary luxury.

Although Wyndham Grand Athens is not the latest hotel to emerge on the hotel design scene recently, it is certainly a strong example of how a design-led hotel can significantly lift a destination to become a major go-to travel hotspot.

Main image credit: Marcelo Barbosa

Independent Hotel Show 2019 announces this year’s talks

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Independent Hotel Show 2019 announces this year’s talks

Editor Hamish Kilburn will host The Conscious Bedroom Report on the Innovation Stage at Independent Hotel Show 2019, which takes place October 15 – 16… 

As proud a long-standing media partner, Hotel Designs, which recently lifted the lid on which trends will emerge during the event, shares this year’s major topics and sessions that will be explored during the Independent Hotel Show 2019, which takes place October 15 – 16 at Olympia London.

October 15

Innovation Stage

Title: The No Commission Mission, presented by eviivo
Time: 10:30am – 11:15am
Host: eviio
Description: Web tools have levelled the playing field for independent hoteliers when it comes to competing for bookings online, enabling savvy businesses to get more of their bookings direct and save on commission. However, with so many options available, how do you know which are the most effective and how can you ensure that your website is working as efficiently as possible? Ideal for: Owner-operators, Marketing Directors, Business Development

Title: The Conscious Bedroom Report 
Time: 11:30am – 12:10pm
Host: Hamish Kilburn (Hotel Designs)
Speakers Alex Harris (Harris & Harris), Olivia Richli (Heckfield Place), Sue Williams (Whatley Manor), Xenia zu Hohenlohe (Considerate Group)
Description: In line with the emerging trends of modern, environmentally savvy hotel guests, we’re introducing a futuristic and boundary pushing hotel room – The Conscious Bedroom. Here our panel will review the feasibility of this statement room and discuss the accompanying research piece to provide insight on capitalising on the thoughtful guest. Ideal for: Guest Relation Managers, Design Directors, Owner-operators

Three men on the Hotel Vision stage

Image caption: Editor Hamish Kilburn leading panel discussion entitled ‘Designing for Bleisure’ at Independent Hotel Show Amsterdam 2019

Title: Social Media 2020
Time: 12:40pm – 1:20pm
Host: Alison Battisby (Acocado Social)
Description: We all know the world of communication evolves rapidly, so join our session to explore what you need to know to make your social media impactful and economical in 2020. With plenty of best practice examples, we’ll delve in to chatbots, stories and the latest advice on influencers! Ideal for: Marketing Directors, Owner-operators, Sales Managers

Title: Unpacking the Wellness Traveller 
Time: 1:50pm – 2:30pm
Speakers: David Connell (South Lodge), Harry Cragoe (The Gallivant), Nadira Lalji (Inhabit Hotels), Rohaise Rose-Bristow (The Torridon)
Description: As travellers show an increasing desire to maintain a healthy lifestyle whether they’re at home, on a holiday, or on the road for business, catering for guest well-being can also lead to a healthier bottom line for you. Discover how to make wellness a revenue stream without having to open a spa, and learn how guest well-being and customer engagement are intrinsically linked.

Title: Discussing Design with SPACE 
Time: 3:00pm – 3:40pm
Speakers: Can Faik (SPACE Magazine), Russell Sage (Russell Sage Studio)

Hotel Vision Stage 

Title: Mental Health: Breaking the Taboo
Time: 11:00am – 11:40am
Speakers: TBC
Description: Long hours, high-pressure working environments and increasingly worrying statistics, and yet mental health continues to be a largely silent issue across the hospitality industry. Thankfully, people are starting to talk about their experiences. Join us as Mitch Collier recounts his own battle and recovery under the employment of Raymond Blanc OBE. Ideal for: HR Directors, General Managers, Owners-operators

Title: Hotel Dynasties 
Time: 12:00pm – 12:40pm
Speakers: Will Ashworth (Watergate Bay Hotel), Peter Hancock (Pride of Britain Hotels), Paul Milsom, (The Milsom Hotels)
Description: There’s no denying that family businesses carry with them a special essence, unique and distinct from competitors. So, whether you own a family-run hotel or not, make sure to be a part of the discussion, to get access to vital intel on how to create a family culture, gain trust and loyalty from your employees and build a strong company ethos. Ideal for: General Managers, Owners-operators, Front of House, Customer Service Staff

Title: Collaboration is Key: Building Successful Partnerships
Time: 1:00pm – 1:40pm
Speakers: Petra Clayton (Custard Communications), Laura Sharpe (Ham Yard Hotel), Chris Ward (Hotel Makers UK)
Description: Brand partnerships, that’s clever collabs with other like-minded businesses, are a valuable way to accelerate the growth of your brand and uncover lucrative new revenue streams. But how do you find the ‘best fit’ and work together to create value? Our panel will discuss the opportunities, so you’re pre-armed with strategies for your own hotel business. Ideal for: Marketing Directors, Owners-operators, Guest Relations Managers, General Managers

October 16

Innovation Stage

Title: How to Drive Direct Bookings, from those winning on the web
Time: 11:30 – 12:10pm
Speakers: TBC
Description: Our panel of industry experts will provide practical tips on exactly how to present yourself online to maximise your direct bookings, and pioneering hoteliers highlight how taking the theory and putting it in to practice really works. No jargon, nothing too techy, just stuff you can go back and do straight away!’ Ideal for: Owner-operators, Marketing Directors, Business Development

Title: The Dark Art of Digital
Time: 12:40 – 1:20pm
Speakers: Olivia Byrne (Eccleston Square Hotel), Julie Grieve (Criton), Steve Lowy (The Hotel Marketing Association)
Description: Hospitality has long been one of the most underserved industries in terms of digital transformation, but now is the time for change. Join our expert panel to unpick how the hotel industry is embracing new digital products and technologies; from AI and automation, to biometics and virtual concierges, this A-Z of opportunity is sure to leave you inspired. Best for: Marketing Directors, IT Directors, General Managers

Title: The Main Ingredients: Digesting the latest trends in F&B
Time: 1.50pm – 2.30pm
Speaker: Juan Diego
Description: With the dining sector facing its own struggles, it’s harder than ever for hotel restaurants to rustle up the winning formula. We’ll be exploring the top trends in food and drink for 2020, as well as the management styles and mindsets that can help hotel restaurants thrive in the modern age. Best for: F&B Directors, Restaurant Managers, Bar Managers, Marketing Directors

Hotel Vision Stage

Title: Community Business 
Time: 11:00 – 11:40am
Speakers: Nick Davies (Cottage in the Woods), Tim Holloway (The Manor at Sway), Julio Marques (The London Bridge Hotel)
Description: Owners and executives share how supporting and working with your local community can help you be an employer of choice, source talent nearby and support the local economy – and what to do when it backfires! Ideal for: Owners, General Managers, Heads of Operations, HR Professionals

Title: Company Culture
Time: 1:00pm – 1:40pm
Speakers: Liz McGivern (Red Carnation Hotels), Julia Murrell (Firmdale Hotels), Adam Rowledge (Rowledge Associates)
Description: New research by jobs website Glassdoor suggests most people believe a strong company culture will make them happier at work than earning a high salary. But if the solutions to the staffing crisis is as simple as having an engaged company culture, how do you actually creat and maintain one that works for your hotel? Ideal for: General Managers, HR Professionals, Heads of Department

Main image credit: Independent Hotel Show 2018

Hotel Indigo arrives in Italy’s fashion capital – Milan

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel Indigo arrives in Italy’s fashion capital – Milan

Hotel Indigo Milan – Corso Monforte becomes the hotel brand’s third hotel in Italy… 

Milan, known as the birthplace of some of the world’s most recognised high-end fashion designers including Prada, Armani and Dolce & Gabbana, has welcomed Hotel Indigo Milan – Corso Monforte to the mix of hotels in the area. The new design-led hotel is centrally located close to the notable fashion district – the perfect location for those looking to explore one of the world’s fashion capitals.

Hotel Indigo properties offer a gateway to discover some of the world’s most inspiring neighbourhoodsand locations. Each hotel brings the outside in; drawing from the local area to inspire every aspect of each hotel, from intriguing design to locally inspired menus.

Hotel Indigo® Milan – Corso Monforte takes inspiration from the surrounding neighbourhood, mixing elements from 1950’s Italian vintage fashion with contemporary cues intrinsically weaved into one seamless interior design theme of fashion through the ages. Throughout the hotel’s 75 rooms, bold prints and colour splash the walls and feature artwork and sketches from Biki, one of the most notable names of the Milan fashion scene in the 30s, 40s and 50s. Opening her first atelier (studio) in 1934 in Milan, Biki paved the way in the development of prét-a-porte fashion (ready-to wear). Her style wastypically classic Italian, specially made for the Milanese ‘vita’ – the high life. Throughout the hotel you can see nods to this through elements such as the large vintage leather-bound classic trunks embossed with the hotel’s initials.

“The hotel boasts unique design features that are recognisable to the fashion connoisseur.”

From ‘hat box’ bedside tables, bowler hat lamps and sewing machines desks, the hotel boasts unique design features that are recognisable to the fashion connoisseur whilst ensuring they blend with thebuilding’s original architecture. Throughout the historic palace, intricately detailed classically coffered ceilings and panelled walls can be seen, lending to the classical era of the hotel. Large arches dominate throughout and surround the interior courtyard, making it the perfect place for an afternoon coffee or drink.

“Set to double its portfolio over the next three to five years, Hotel Indigo continues its strong growth as one of the largest boutique brands in this fast-growing segment,” said Eric Viale, Managing Director Southern Europe, IHG. “The brand is now at home in over 100 different and vibrant neighbourhoods globally, which is an incredibly exciting milestone. We provide guests with the best of both worlds – the promise of a design-led hotel and the reassurance of a consistently upscale experience with the IHG name behind it.” 

There are more than 109 Hotel Indigo properties open globally with more than 103 in the hotel pipeline, including Japan’s first Hotel Indigo, Hotel Indigo® Hakone Gora due to open later this year. In Europe alone, there are 32 hotels open in key neighbourhoods with a further 19 due to open in the next three – five years, depending on forecasts.

Recently, IHG opened the highly anticipated Hotel Indigo® Venice – Saint’Elena, the first IHG branded property on the island of Venice and Hotel Indigo® Stratford upon Avon, in the heart of Shakespeare’s home town. 

Main image credit: IHG

Singita Kwitonda Lodge and Kataza House opens in Rwanda

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Singita Kwitonda Lodge and Kataza House opens in Rwanda

The new hotel in Rwanda, designed by GAPP Architects in collaboration with the interior design teams Cécile & Boyd and Hesse Kleinloog (HK) Studio, opens to uniquely provide sanctuary for 320 endangered mountain gorillas on 178 acres of land… 

Multi-award winning conservation brand Singita has officially opened its doors to Singita Kwitonda Lodge and Kataza House in Rwanda.

Set on 178 acres of lush land on the edge of Volcanoes National Park, Singita Kwitonda Lodge is home to eight luxurious suites and resides alongside Kataza House – an exclusive use four-bedroom villa.

For the past 26 years, Singita has operated iconic ecotourism lodges and camps across three regions in Africa. The brand’s expansion into Rwanda supports the company’s 100-year purpose to preserve and protect large areas of African wilderness for future generations. To this end, Singita has committed to extensive reforestation initiatives in Rwanda, helping to increase the range and numbers of endangered mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park. The presence of Singita Kwitonda Lodge on the park border will help to create a natural space between agricultural plots and the habitat of the estimated 320 mountain gorillas that find sanctuary here. The property itself has been named after named after a legendary silverback gorilla known for his humility and gentle nature – Kwitonda.

Singita has been inspired by the warm and welcoming spirit of the people of Rwanda which embodies a sense of goodwill and encapsulates their remarkable recovery from a painful past – this energy has driven them forward in their country’s rebirth. For this reason, Singita feels enormously privileged to open just ten minutes from Singita Volcanoes National Park and will contribute significantly to conservation, community partnerships and ecotourism. The lodge’s on-site nursery, Akarabo has to date provided approximately 250,000 indigenous forest shrubs, bamboo shoots and trees for an extensive reforestation initiative.

The design of Singita Kwitonda Lodge was conceptualised by GAPP Architects in collaboration with the interior design teams Cécile & Boyd and Hesse Kleinloog (HK) Studio. The design takes its cue from Rwanda’s cultural heritage and the enormous responsibility of protecting the strong, yet vulnerable gorillas. Bold, striking interiors, which are simultaneously nurturing, reflect the duality of the gorillas’ nature; and this is also seen in the interplay of surprisingly strong art and furniture with pared-back modernity.

“It’s an absolute dream to expand our conservation footprint in Rwanda – a beautiful country with a remarkable conservation success story,” said Singita Founder and Executive Chairman, Luke Bailes. “Contributing to the Government’s enormous efforts to protect the country’s wildlife is both a privilege and a serious responsibility. We’re thrilled with the elegant, exceptionally sustainable lodges we’ve created here. They allow guests to connect deeply with nature in the heart of Africa, after a humbling encounter with the gorillas.

Image credit: Singita

Guest suites are made up of cosy living spaces, indoor and outdoor fireplaces and heated plunge pools, with breath-taking views of the Sabyinyo, Gahinga and Muhabura volcanoes. Travellers are encouraged to enjoy soothing massages on return from their adventurous excursions. Natural elements like earth, mist, rain and lava are cleverly integrated into furniture pieces and linear artwork. Meanwhile the vivid colour palette of lava black, khaki green, ‘greige’ and fiery orange echo the surrounding landscape which flows in through large windows throughout the lodge. It’s an inherently African sophistication that is long-lasting, polished and earthy.

The property itself is made up of a collection of small buildings laid which follow the natural contours of the ground. Each element of the design and construction of the lodge and villa follow Singita’s which informed every detail from site design and materials used to energy and water systems as well as overall interior design. The team worked closely with the local community to locally source most building materials from the immediate Musanze district – a majority of the elements that make up the property have been made in Africa and handpicked by the interior designers.

More than 500 local artisans and builders were involved in the project crafting volcanic walls, impressive woven ceilings and hand-fired terracotta brickwork, ensuring an authentic translation of local culture into key elements, adding a significant boost to local employment and businesses.  The overall effect is strong and captivating, yet soothing, enhancing the serious, soul-centering experience of encountering gorilla families in their natural habitat.

The food and beverage offering at the lodge takes a farm-to-table-approach featuring largely vegetable-based dishes and local Rwandan favourites, the on-site herb and fruit garden supplies the lodge kitchens with an array of fresh ingredients. Other highlights of the food journey include tailor-made trekking lunchboxes, flexible mealtimes and a signature “bar-deli” which offers fresh fruit and small snacks, enabling guests to help themselves throughout the day.

Main image credit: Singita

Lennox Hotels arrives on Miami Beach

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Lennox Hotels arrives on Miami Beach

Sheltered within an original 1930s Art Deco shell sits the newly opened 119-key Lennox Hotel Miami Beach. Hotel Designs takes a closer look at the new hotel on the block, imagined by acclaimed Argentinian interior designer Juan Ciavarella…

A striking new modern hotel, combining contemporary design with original Art Deco design, has opened its doors in South Florida hotspot, Miami Beach. Lennox Hotel Miami Beach is a bold luxury boutique property offering stylish accommodation and an authentic Miami experience.

The hotel – located on Miami’s iconic Collins Avenue – offers 119 contemporary guestrooms, 13 of these complemented by a balcony offering sweeping views of the buzzing streets of Miami Beach.  At the centre of the property’s four interconnected buildings, a Mediterranean-style courtyard features a 12ft swimming pool and poolside bar offering al fresco dining and serving innovative cocktails.

Located in what was once the Peter Miller Hotel, the property is a protected building in the heart of the area’s Historic District. Lennox Hotels purchased the building for $14.7 million in 2010 and has invested more than $100 million on an extensive transformation of the building.  The renovation has been focused on maintaining the property’s legacy by retaining its original Art Deco and Mediterranean Revival architectural style exterior and transforming it into a living landmark.

Exterior render of the hotel

Image credit: Lennox Hotels

“One of the most special features of Lennox Hotel Miami Beach is that not one guestroom is the same as the other.”

The guestrooms are enhanced by handcrafted furnishings from Patagonia, natural elements and eco-friendly and upcycled materials meticulously curated by acclaimed Argentinian interior designer Juan Ciavarella. Soft neutral tones and unique textiles combine in rooms that will range in categories from Terrace Poolside with direct pool access, to Balcony King with private balcony overlooking the colourful streets of Miami Beach. One of the most special features of Lennox Hotel Miami Beach is that not one guestroom is the same as the other.

“We are thrilled to be expanding the Lennox Hotel brand to the U.S. with the opening of Lennox Hotel Miami Beach,” said CEO of Lennox Hotels, Diego Agnelli. “Our reasons for choosing this area were as much because of the area’s vibrancy and liveliness as it was because of the welcoming spirit of its people and the friendliness they express toward travellers.  Our vision for Lennox Hotel Miami Beach is to provide a sophisticated and inviting setting for travellers to live an authentic Miami experience, one that not only provides a place to mingle with the locals, but also allows them to feel like locals and enjoy the area, its culture and vivacity through the lens of a local.”

The historic structure was designed by architect Russell Pancoast in 1934.  Pancoast is known for much of Miami Beach’s most celebrated buildings, including the Surf Club, the Church by the Sea and the Miami Beach Auditorium.

The property has the notable distinction of being among the 300 Miami Beach buildings that were leased by the U.S. Army for the Air Forces Technical Training Command during World War II. The buildings returned to civilian use in 1943 and remained a military property until 1944. The structure is now part of the Historic District.

The transformation of the hotel’s original structure into Lennox Hotel Miami Beach is the work of veteran Miami architect Beilison Gomez. 

Image of courtyard and long narrow pool

Image credit: Lennox Hotels

Stepping through the hotel’s front doors, guests will be welcomed by bartenders at the hotel bar, the ultimate lounge area to mingle with locals or relax after a day of travel and exploration. To the right, guests will find the lobby and to the left, a walkway will lead them to the hotel’s upscale restaurant.

The seamless service from the hotel’s staff will make guests feel welcomed in an atmosphere that exudes unpretentious sophistication.  Unparalleled signature service will include concierge services, room service, laundry and more.  Each guestroom will be complete with amenities such as a Nespresso Vertuoline with complimentary Nespresso capsules, 47-inch LG TVs, a stocked mini-bar and local artisan stacks (extra cost), in-room safe and complimentary Wi-Fi.

The team is also announcing a partnership with William Roamto provide the luxury bathroom products featured in each guestroom. From the brand’s SENSE collection, these products feature vegan, nature made beauty care. With Minnesota Tamarack Larch tree bark as the main ingredient and a blend of 21 aromatic extracts, the collection promotes lush and hydrated skin and hair. William Roam is a partner of American Forrest, a non-profit conservation dedicated to protecting and restoring healthy forest ecosystems. Thanks to this partnership, American Forest has committed to planting one tree for every hotel room at Lennox Hotel Miami Beach.

Additional amenities for guests include complimentary shuttle service within a one-mile radius, including to the hotel’s private area on the beach that offers lounge chairs, umbrellas and towels.

The property is located just one block away from the Miami Beach Convention Centre.  The hotel will provide an ideal setting for intimate meetings of up to 12 people in its Patagonia Boardroom, a multi-use space equipped with the latest technology.

Main image credit: Lennox Hotels

London to welcome ‘private members’ club’ hotel in 2020

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
London to welcome ‘private members’ club’ hotel in 2020

Slated to open in Q1 of 2020, The Guardsman is a purpose-built luxury London boutique hotel that is expected to offer the atmosphere, discretion and personal service usually associated with a private members’ club…

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

The hotel will be sheltered in an intimate property said to cut the same style and atmosphere as that of a private members’ club. The top three floors will encompass six exclusive residences. Designed as the perfect London pied-a-terre, they comprise a selection of one, two and three bedrooms, along with sumptuous living spaces, dining areas and fully fitted kitchens. The Penthouse has a wraparound terrace, whilst two other residences feature a more expansive outdoor space with planting and seating.

The hotel is set amongst some of London’s most historic and prestigiouslandmarks. The Houses of Parliament and Buckingham Palace are both a short walk away, while the neighbourhood has been the seat of government for a thousand years. The hotel extends down the quieter, more hidden, Vandon Street, giving the impression of a sanctuary.

Image credit: Shiva Hotels

From the moment guests arrive, they will instantly be made to feel at home by the discrete yet attentive service. Along with their choice of rooms or residences, they can request their preferred brand of drinks, menu items or bathroom products, all of which will be prepared ready for their arrival. The hotel has an unmistakably British feel that befits such a prestigious address. Interiors are contemporary and relaxed, complemented by a few carefully chosen, classic and sometimes quirky embellishments.

Meanwhile, bespoke furniture will fill the intimate public spaces and curated art adorns the walls. The individually styled bedrooms are exceptionally comfortable. Meticulously considered interior design and clever use of space ensure each room feels spacious, whilst flourishes such as custom-made furnishings and free-standing baths combine with more classic features like herringbone parquet flooring to continue the unmistakably British feel. State-of-the-art integrated televisions and speakers with Chromecast ensure all travellers’ technological needs are met.

Plush snug area

Image credit: Shiva Hotels

The spaces for dining and socialising are set over two levels, perfect for relaxing, reading, small gatherings or enjoying the carefully selected whiskeys and spirits as well as a sommelier curated wine list.

At the core of the hotel’s personality is the exquisite restaurant, open to residents and their guests only. Although a few select dishes will always be available, menus are developed daily from seasonal produce sourced from carefully selected purveyors, London markets and organic farms. The kitchen will be open all day, and room service will be available around the clock.

The Guardsman is owned and operated by Shiva Hotels and represents a new direction in this market for the group. “The Guardsman is designed for those who want the tailored, personal experience offered by a club, the flexibility and luxury of a hotel and the comfort and familiarity of a home,” said Rishi Sachdev, Managing Director, Shiva Hotels. “It will also have a conscience, wherever possible putting both its people and the environment at the centre of its decisions.”

Main image credit: Shiva Hotels

 

A legend reborn: Raffles Singapore reopens

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
A legend reborn: Raffles Singapore reopens

Raffles Singapore has announced its highly anticipated reopening. With interiors by the acclaimed Alexandra Champalimaud, the hotel’s sensitive design heralds an exciting new chapter in the iconic property’s rich history and heritage…

The infamous Raffles Singapore is now open, following the iconic hotel’s careful and sensitive three-phased restoration, which first began in February 2017. The meticulous restoration project, led by acclaimed interior designer Alexandra Champalimaud, was also supported by Aedas.

“There are few hotels in the world whose names have become virtually synonymous with the cities in which they are located – and none more so than the Raffles Hotel in Singapore. The newly restored Raffles will provide an experience like no other,” said Christian Westbeld, General Manager, Raffles Singapore. “It is our wish and desire that our guests will continue to create treasured memories at the hotel, while rediscovering what makes it so special – the distinctive architecture, heritage and legendary service.”

Discerning travellers can expect new levels of unrivalled comfort and inimitable service with enhanced suite experience, brought to life by the fabled Raffles Butlers, while enjoying the new and reimagined spaces at Raffles Singapore.

“Raffles Singapore reinvents emotional luxury.” – Jeannette Ho, Vice President, Raffles Brand and Strategic Relationships, Raffles Hotels and Resorts

Striking chandeliers hang down in modern nd contemporary restaurant

Image caption: La Dame de Pic. Credit: Raffles Singapore

“We are very pleased to be part of the reopening of the iconic Raffles Singapore officially returning to the city, refreshed, reimagined and revitalised,” commented Jeannette Ho, Vice President, Raffles Brand and Strategic Relationships, Raffles Hotels and Resorts. “This is where it all started and faithful to its roots, Raffles Singapore reinvents emotional luxury. As the hotel concludes its restoration and embarks on the next chapter, the return of this flagship property to Raffles Hotels & Resorts paves the way for the expansion of the brand as we deliver this same level of unparalleled service and sublime experiences to new destinations in cities such as Udaipur, London and Boston.”

The revitalised hotel offers luxurious all-suite accommodations, across nine distinct suite categories: State Room Suites, Courtyard Suites, Palm Court Suites, Personality Suites, Residence Suites, Promenade Suites, Studio Suites, Grand Hotel Suites and Presidential Suites. Residence, Promenade and Studio suites, are the three latest additions to the hotel’s existing line-up. The total suite count increases from 103 suites to 115 suites.

The Raffles Arcade has been newly outfitted with a charming Raffles Boutique and various bespoke retail brands. Guests and locals will also delight in exploring the worldly restaurants and bars at Raffles Singapore, including restaurant collaborations with Chef Anne-Sophie Pic, of the three-Michelin star Maison Pic in Valence, France; venerable French Master Chef Alain Ducasse; and Chef Jereme Leung, known for his innovative Chinese cooking. At the refreshed Long Bar, travellers will continue to enjoy the hotel’s most famous cocktail, the original Singapore Sling, along with the timeless tradition of tossing peanut shells on the floor.

Westbeld further added, “Raffles Singapore is one of the few remaining great 19th century hotels in the world and its restoration has been carefully designed to preserve its unique historic charm, while creating extraordinary experiences for our esteemed guests – a dedicated commitment from all of us at Raffles Singapore and also from our owner, Katara Hospitality.”

First opened in 1887, and declared a National Monument a century later by the Singapore Government in 1987, Raffles Singapore has through the years, gained both local and international recognition as an oasis for the well-travelled. It is a national treasure among Singaporeans who deeply value its historical significance and unique heritage. The last restoration was conducted from 1989 to 1991 where the hotel closed for two and a half years.

Main image credit: Accor/Raffles Singapore

SPOTLIGHT ON: 7 hotel concepts on the boards that will rock your world

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
SPOTLIGHT ON: 7 hotel concepts on the boards that will rock your world

During this month’s Spotlight On Hotel Concepts, editor Hamish Kilburn identifies the projects on the boards that are taking international hotel design to unseen heights…

The hotels that are currently opening around the globe are impressive, innovative and are a reaction to the ever-evolving demands of the luxury and modern traveller.

“As designers, one of the biggest drivers we have noticed is in the demand for areas that enhance individuality and social wellness,” explains Fiona Thompson, Principal at Richmond International. “As a result, hotel public areas in the properties that we are currently designing are having to respond to these changes and be more agile in adapting to these changes.” With these trends in mind, and to really understand the public architecture forecast of the future, here are some raw sketches of the hotels of our future that are currently on the boards.

Whether they are floating, in the sky, robot-operated, pledge to fully eliminate carbon footprints – or so innovative that they can’t physically be built yet –  the concepts below that we have identified are gamechangers on the international hotel design scene.

Seminole Hard Rock Hotel And Casino

Complete with swim-up suites and a 7,000- seat concert venue, a new hotel shaped like a guitar is emerging in Hollywood, Florida. The estimated US$1.5 billion hotel is all part of a US$2.2-billion expansion of the current Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino locations.

Hotel of 2119, imagined by Hilton Hotels

To celebrate the hotel group’s 100th anniversary, Hilton has just unveiled what it believes will be the hotel in 100 years from now…

Intergalactic getaways, fast-food nutrient pills, two to three hour working days and adaptable, personalised rooms that can transport guests everywhere from jungles to mountain ranges; in celebration of its 100thanniversaryHilton predicts the future trends set to dominate the travel and hospitality industry in the next 100 years.

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Mandarin Oriental Melbourne

Image credit: VA

Currently on the boards, Mandarin Oriental Melbourne, designed by Zaha Hadid Architects(ZHA), is a new signature hotel and branded residences that is slated to open in 2023. Soon to become the hotel group’s first property in Australia, the mixed-used 185-metre tower will be located in the heart of the city’s financial district.

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Cliff-hanging hotel in Norway

Image credit: Cover Images/Hayri Atak Architectural Design Studio

Istanbul-based Architecture firm Hayri Atak Architectural Design Studio. has released the first renders of a new project that shows a luxury hotel built into the side of a 2000-foor cliff in Norway. The concept would be constructed to blend into the natural surroundings with the exception of a statement pool that would extend over the edge of the cliff edge.

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Sofitel SO Los Cabos

render of ocean-side hotel

Image credit: SB Architects

Set on a prominent five-acre beachfront site in premier tourist destination, Los Cabos, this five-star luxury resort cascades gently down to the white sandy beaches below, providing unobstructed Pacific Ocean views throughout. Designed by SB Architects, and inspired by the vibrant history of Mexican haciendas and the central role of family gathering spaces, the resort embraces bold, contemporary architectural features with vivid interior hues, paying homage to the authentic Zócalo (community spaces) experience.

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JW Marriott Jeju

Image credit: WATG

Incorporating key aspects of Jeju’s culture, the design narrative laid out by WATG is an abstract representation of the island’s indigenous Chogo architecture. The traditional curved roof has been reversed, expressing the patterned lattice on the underside of the structure.

Floating city

Image credit: Oceanix

The floating city concept, imagined by architect Bjarke Ingels in collaboration with Oceanix, has been designed so that it can survive a category five hurricane. The concept, known as Oceanix City, is described as the world’s first sustainable floating city, which would essentially be groups of hexagonal platforms – anchored to the seabed – that could each house an estimated 300 people.

Main image credit: Oceanix

In Conversation With: Fashion designer Jack Irving

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In Conversation With: Fashion designer Jack Irving

Having previously designed statement outfits for many international music and fashion icons, Jack Irving’s alternative style has recently spilled out onto the hotel design scene. Editor Hamish Kilburn joins the fashion designer, in between photoshoots, to understand how two worlds have recently collided…

The brand ‘Jack Irving Studio’ and the creative man behind the logo are two very different things. One is bold, disobedient and you would expect – almost encourage – to cause an outrageous impression in almost any social scenario.

The other orders a lemonade on a hazy Thursday afternoon at a media interview as he catches his breath between work engagements. Opposites do attract, after all.

Made famous by creating outlandish outfits for the likes of Lady Gaga and The Spice Girls for their come-back tour, the talented story-telling designer, Jack Irving, made his mark on the fashion industry by producing items that infused glamour and engineered technology.

His innovative work recently emerged on my radar when he unveiled the result of a collaboration with W London Leicester Square, which has been the designer’s first interior design project to date. “The idea of working with W Hotels was mentioned to us at Pride London last year,” says Irving. “But it wasn’t until November, following my first show at the V&A, when we met the team to really discuss what we could do together.”

Fashion shoot of models on bed with cushion

Image credit: Charlotte Rutherford

Presented by a loose brief to bring a flavour of ‘Jack Irving’ into the hotel, it became clear that that the W brand was willing to give the designer the creative reins in order to produce a statement piece for their newly designed guestrooms and suites. “They wanted a replacement for the current cushions and bed throw that met brand standards,” he explains. “The bed, for us, became the canvas.”

One month after the brief was given, Irving pitched what he explained at the time to the client as a ‘crazy tech idea’ for the concept of new cushions. He wanted the items to be inspired his signature sea urchin style, which became famous by his work with Lady Gaga. Irving then wanted to make the interiors more instagrammable. The spiked pillows’ fabric would appear muted to the naked eye until they are brought to life through the click of a camera flash. Through the lens, the smart fabric would transform into an iridescent masterpiece. “To be honest, we were hesitant as to whether or not the client would see our vision,” explains the designer. “What we pitched was as far away from convention as we could have gone.”

Irving and his partner (in life as well as well as in business), Rhys Beynon, received a call from the client while they were on a yoga retreat in Goa over Christmas 2018. “They wanted to see prototypes the first week of January,” Irving explains. “At this point, the pressure for us was on to meet the deadline.”

QUICK-FIRE ROUND

Hamish Kilburn: What would a Jack Irving guestroom look like if you were to design it?
Jack Irving: It would be ridiculous – think sea urchin chairs and UFO beds. I also have the idea to design a Chesterfield sofa in the rainbow smart material.

HK: What’s been the most challenging part going from fashion to interiors?
JI: It hasn’t actually been that challenging because W Hotels were so on board with our idea.

HK: Where’s next on your travel bucket list?
JI: New Zealand and LA!

HK: How do you switch off from work?
JI: Both Rhys and I are really into techno. Oddly, it’s become our sanctuary.

HK: What’s your biggest bugbear when checking in to a conventional hotel?
JI: When hotels don’t stay in their lane.

HK: What materials are really inspiring you at the moment?
JI: For me, smart fabrics and metallic fabrics are really fun to play around with. I want to experiment more with the manufacturing of the material we have been using. That being said, you can’t rely on the fabric. The shape and structure is just as important.

Models on bed with cushion

Image credit: Charlotte Rutherford

With time depleting by the day, and with fabric supplies on order to be delivered when they returned home from India, the next challenge was to secure a manufacturer. “The word ‘impossible’ landed in our inbox a few times,” explains Irving. “We did receive a lot of kickback at this stage from manufacturers, mainly because of the demand and the order size.” Undeterred, Irving and Beynon’s ‘when there’s a will there’s a way’ approach led them both to source the materials themselves to prove that it could be done. “I remember sitting on the beach with Rhys making a cardboard model of the cushion,” says Irving. “It’s one thing drawing the design, but it becomes very real when designing a 3D model.”

As well as the shape of the accessory being unconventional, so too was the material that designer decided to work with. “We call it rainbow smart fabric,” he explains. “We were worried that it would look to synthentic when not lit up, but in reality it was the perfect material to use for creating that contrast.”

As with all creative projects at pitch stage, there is an air of uncertainty, especially when it comes to unveiling to clients a prototype as futuristic as this one. “I was terrified when it came to pitching because you just don’t know how it’s going to go,” admits Irving. “We hadn’t seen the new rooms that our statement accessories would sit in, so it could have gone either way, as these things often do. But they loved it, and the second prototype we made on the beach in Goa over Christmas became the product that’s in the W London today.”

Irving’s interior design work for W Hotels may be just a dip in the ocean for now, but the designer’s ability to disrupt convention through the use of innovative materials and shapes unquestionably makes him a true innovator on the international hotel design scene.

Main image credit: Jack Irving Studio

Render of the Melbourne skyline including the new ZHA designed hotel

SNEAK PEEK: Inside Mandarin Oriental Melbourne designed by Zaha Hadid Architects

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
SNEAK PEEK: Inside Mandarin Oriental Melbourne designed by Zaha Hadid Architects

Following an insight into Zaha Hadid Architects’ Michele Salvi on The Morpheus, Hotel Designs heads backstage on another groundbreaking project the architecture firm is currently working to complete. Editor Hamish Kilburn writes… 

Currently on the boards, Mandarin Oriental Melbourne, designed by Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA), is a new signature hotel and branded residences that is slated to open in 2023.

Render of the Melbourne skyline including the new ZHA designed hotel

Soon to become the hotel group’s first property in Australia, the mixed-used 185-metre tower will be located in the heart of the city’s financial district.

The 196 spacious guestrooms and suites have been designed to reflect local culture together with features inspired by Mandarin Oriental’s heritage. The Group will also manage 148 residences at Mandarin Oriental, located on the tower’s upper floors, which will provide some of the most well-appointed private homes in the city. Owners will have access to the hotel experience, as well as their own bespoke amenities including a private residents’ lounge.

“The tower’s design conveys the wide variety of interior spaces within; dividing the building’s overall volume into a series of smaller stacked vases.” – ZHA’s project director Michele Pasca di Magliano

The hotel’s design vision was first realised in 2016. When completed, it will feature an all-day dining restaurant and a bar with a landscaped roof terrace. There will also be avariety of meeting spaces and an executive club lounge. A Spa at Mandarin Oriental will offer the Group’s renowned wellness,relaxation and beauty facilities, while further leisure options include a comprehensive fitness centre and an indoor swimming pool.

“The hotel’s façade reinterprets this historical detailing in a contemporary solution, introducing a delicate litre that gently envelops the building,” said ZHA’s project director Michele Pasca di Magliano.“The tower’s design conveys the wide variety of interior spaces within; dividing the building’s overall volume into a series of smaller stacked vases, with each different vase housing the bespoke guestrooms, suites, residences or amenities of Mandarin Oriental’s renowned service and standards.”

The project, which is being developed by Melbourne-based property developer, Landream, is said to have taken its inspiration from the finest examples of historic architecture within the Central Business District. “Mandarin Oriental, Melbourne will set anew standard for bespoke service in the city and will offer a preferred choice to travellers and potential homeowners who desire thenest accommodation,” said Kevin Li, Managing Director of Landream.

Disrupting not only design boundaries, but also the hotel development landscape, Mandarin Oriental Melbourne will open following predictions from experts that the hotel development market in Australia is expected to slow down in the coming years as a result of the regulation-driven curbs on development lending and the increasing construction and land costs, especially in Sydney and Melbourne.

Main image credit: VA

16th century shell transforms to open modern boutique design hotel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
16th century shell transforms to open modern boutique design hotel

The in-house design team at IHG, construction firm Stepnell and architecture practice Hitchman Stone Partnership have together completed a £13.2 million restoration projects on a Grade II listed building, which now sheltered the boutique 93-key Hotel Indigo Stratford-Upon-Avon

Located in the heart of Shakespeare’s birthplace, a three-storey Grade II listed building, which dates back to the 16th century, now shelters Hotel Indigo Stratford-Upon-Avon.

“It is a truly unique site, our first Hotel Indigo in a town, and what a town,” says Henry Reeve, Director of Interior Design at IHG. “We could not have picked a better site.”

Hotel Indigo Stratford-upon-Avon, formerly known as The Falcon Hotel, has upgraded its internal facilities whilst preserving the heritage of its historic exterior during a comprehensive refurbishment. “It’s been amazing to work on such an interesting project, helping to preserve a piece of history that can be enjoyed by the public,” adds Paul Fish, operations manager at Stepnell. “The work was incredibly specialist from a refurbishment perspective, so we had a real sense of achievement upon completion.”

Exterior shot of hotel

Image credit: IHG

Plans were originally laid out to refurbish the roof, but the job quickly grew in size when it was found to be beyond repair and had to be removed entirely, along with the internal plastering which was reinstated by a specialist company. Measures were also taken to preserve and replace the external beams and timber flooring in a bid to protect to the hotel’s defining features.

“We used bold contemporary botanics to reflect the surrounding flora and add a punch of drama.” – Henry Reeve, Director of Interior Design at IHG

Fish added: “We faced a few challenges during the build regarding conservation and access to the site due to the historic nature of the hotel, but the team managed to push forward with the works and the outcome is truly stunning.”