Posts Tagged :

Hotel Groups

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 Reidl
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 Lawrence 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.

Continue reading.

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.

Continue reading.

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.

Continue reading.

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.

Continue reading.

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.”

The traditional timber build is now complemented by a contemporary interior and lavish decor to give guests a unique boutique hotel experience, with three style of rooms to choose from, including the Tudor room, Georgian townhouse and contemporary rooms. The hotel features 65 custom axminster rugs and 10 luxurious hand tufted rugs supplied by Brintons that are showcased in guest rooms and public areas.”Pattern and colour is reflective of the English countryside, deep rich greens and autumnal browns work together to create a space that feels instantly comfortable, familiar and welcoming,” explains Reeve. “We used bold contemporary botanics to reflect the surrounding flora and add a punch of drama and of course as it’s Hotel Indigo we have some perhaps surprising detailing hidden across the site.”

Beautiful bar area with aimless interiors

Image credit: IHG

Newly equipped with a state-of-the-art gym, a private dining room, snug lounge, cocktail bar and modern meeting rooms, the hotel also offers a luxury dining experience for its guests. The Woodsman Restaurant has been created by restaurateur and chef Mike Robinson who has the only Michelin star pub in London. The Woodsman’s focus is on sustainable, wild British food, cooked over charcoal and wood. Customers can sit and eat delicious local produce while watching the chefs work their magic.

With the aim to bring a building back to life, and to create a hotel that in Reeve’s words: “Felt truely English and reflective of the stunning surrounding Midland countryside,” Hotel Indigo Stratford-upon-Avon is showcases the tradition of a 16th century building through a timeless contemporary lens.

Main image credit: IHG

citizenM Amstel Amsterdam hotel opens in 1920s shell

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
citizenM Amstel Amsterdam hotel opens in 1920s shell

citizenM’s third hotel in Amsterdam – 17th property worldwide – moves into a sensational location in a stylish 1920s building as location remains everything…

Returning to its humble roots, citizenM has opened its third hotel in Amsterdam, which becomes the Dutch brand’s 17th property globally. Staying true to the quest for triple-A urban locations, citizenM Amstel Amsterdam is tucked into Amsterdam’s historical canal ring, between the areas of Weesperbuurt-en-Plantage and Oude Pijp.

Designed by Amsterdam-based partner Concrete, the hotel is described as “a beauty to behold from the outside”. The property is a conversion of an existing structure dating back to 1928, built in the Amsterdam School style of architecture. The decorative red brick exterior with its multitude of elegantly slender windows stands out among the neighbouring buildings on Sarphatistraat. At street level, the hotel will distinguish itself even more with a bespoke art installation across the eight main windows. The artistic photographer duo – and our previous Schiphol collaborators – Freudenthal Verhagen have created a series of water-themed pieces inspired by Amsterdam’s centuries-long reliance on rivers and canals. It will undoubtedly become a notable photo-op in the neighbourhood.

Guests enter the hotel through existing doors, restored to keep the historical character of the building. Inside, they’ll reach a split-level check-in area and the famous citizenM living room with a 24/7 bar, canteenM kitchen, designated work areas, designer furniture by Vitra, and tall bookcases filled with interesting objects, art and browsable books. Amsterdam-based artist Pablo Lucker has created a special artwork for the entrance, as well as unique black-and-white wallpaper for the hotel corridors. The artist duo Pinar & Viola have painted the living room ceiling, and created four additional loose pieces for display. At the rear of the living room, double doors lead to a real hidden treasure – an enclosed courtyard with greenery and garden furniture, ideal for relaxing after a long day of business or sightseeing in the city.

Image credit: Richard Powers

Upstairs, 88 guestrooms have been designed especially to fit the existing structure. The sleek furniture is by Vitra, and the famous XL king-size beds are topped with luxury mattresses, duvets, and fluffier-than-snow pillows. Powerful rain showers wash away all travel fatigue, and large flatscreen TVs make for enjoyable viewing of the huge free movie libraries, international TV channels, or own-content streaming using the superfast free Wi-Fi. Room ambiance is controlled by a MoodPad – an iPad that manages everything from entertainment to blinds and temperature. There are also pre-programmed moods for relaxation, party, romance and movies. Art – an essential part of the citizenM in-room experience – is curated by the world-renowned Foam Editions, the gallery of FOAM Photography Museum in Amsterdam. The contributing artists are Isabelle Wenzel, Sanja Marusic and Lisette Appeldorn.

As always, citizenM sticks to its philosophy of ‘affordable luxury for the people’ by giving the guests everything they want, and nothing they don’t. There are never queues to reception, because there is no reception desk – instead, self check-in kiosks put a key in every guest’s hand in just one minute. In a prominent place nearby, guests will find collectionM – the carefully curated retail selection for the modern traveller, where essential travel items and stylishly amusing gifts make it easy to take a little bit of citizenM home. At canteenM, food and drinks are within an arm’s reach 24 hours a day, to satisfy thirst, hunger, and snack attacks of travellers from all time zones. In the living room, ultra-comfortable Vitra couches, tables and desks encourage the guests to leave the bedroom and relax, watch TV, enjoy a freshly shaken cocktail, and even meet up with friends.

Business travellers seeking a professional yet inspiring place to meet don’t need to leave the hotel. citizenM Amstel Amsterdam includes two societyM creative meeting rooms for up to 14 participants. The rooms are available for AM, PM and all-day sessions, and come with all tech essentials like AV equipment and cables for a multitude of devices; unlimited coffee, tea and water; stationery, designer furniture, and blackboard or whiteboard walls to draw on. societyM is bookable anytime online in just five simple steps, and catering is available on request.

citizenM Amstel Amsterdam – the 17th citizenM hotel in 11 years – is poised to become a favourite location in the Netherlands’ capital for leisure and business travellers seeking an affordable luxury alternative to traditional hotels.

Main image credit: Richard Powers

luxe marble bathroom

CONCEPT TO COMPLETION: Designing the bathrooms inside Stock Exchange Hotel, Manchester

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
CONCEPT TO COMPLETION: Designing the bathrooms inside Stock Exchange Hotel, Manchester

With the hotel months away from opening, the bathroom design specialists at Utopia Projects explain how they have worked with interior design firm Space Invader Design to create timeless, luxury bathrooms inside Stock Exchange Hotel Manchester… 

Due to open this November, Stock Exchange Hotel Manchester is located in the heart of the city centre, sheltered within the shell of the former Stock Exchange building.

luxe marble bathroom

As the opening date draws closer, anticipation builds around how the hotel’s luxe interiors will look and feel inside the Grade II listed building. Here we take a look into finer details of the guest rooms and suites, focussing on the bathrooms which have been designed by Space Invader Design, using products supplied by us at Utopia Projects.

Manchester’s newest addition its hotel scene is co-owned by former football stars Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs, with this being their second hotel venture as partners. They have spent the past six years restoring and renovating the Grade II listed building to maintain the Edwardian heritage and baroque style. Interior design companies Autoban and Space Invader Design have done a fantastic job at capturing this history whilst adding luxury and contemporary twists to every space.

“All the products we supply are of top quality have been specifically chosen as they evoke the classic/contemporary twist Space Invader Design have captured in their designs.” – Utopia Projects

We have worked together with Space Invader on a previous project, providing sanitaryware to Oddfellows On The Park, another fabulous hotel in the Manchester area. All the products we supply are of top quality have been specifically chosen as they evoke the classic/contemporary twist Space Invader Design have captured in their designs. We source products from the most stylish and innovative manufacturer’s currently on offer, such as Villeroy & Boch, Kudos and Axor because bathrooms should be at the height of luxury, just as the bedrooms are.

Render of luxury bathroom with marble surfaces and overlooking Manchester

Image credit: Space Invader Design/Utopia Projects/Stock Exchange Hotel Manchester

Delving into the details, Kaldewei was the first choice for shower trays, with Kudos and Crystal Tech being the brands chosen for the panels and doors. To suit the overall design of the hotel, Victoria & Albert were the obvious choice for their opulent freestanding baths. There really is something special about finding a bath like that in your hotel room; a very luxe element. Space Invader Design chose Axor as the brassware provider for the bathrooms which complement the sanitaryware perfectly, with other accessories being provided by Emco. The last piece of white ware chosen were Villeroy & Boch WC’s, which are a popular choice for many other hotels we have also supplied.

“Each piece is minimal yet stunning and all evoke the overall design of the hotel.” – Utopia Projects

All the products used help perfectly capture interior design firm’s luxurious bathroom designs. Each piece is minimal yet stunning and all evoke the overall design of the hotel. Keeping a bathroom simple helps to stimulate a calm and serene atmosphere, helping guests relax and unwind in a tranquil environment. Bathrooms can feel somewhat, overlooked as far as hotel design goes, however Space Invader Design always do a fantastic job as making it just as important as the bedroom itself.

Here at Utopia Projects we feel honoured to have worked alongside Space Invader Design again and we hope to work with them in the future. The Stock Exchange, Manchester, promises to be a fantastic asset to the city offering not only fabulous accommodation, but a quality dining experience too. The grand opening is set to be on November 15, which cannot come soon enough!

Utopia Projects 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: Space Invader Design/Utopia Projects/Stock Exchange Hotel Manchester

The Brit List 2019 Awards: Meet the judges

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The Brit List 2019 Awards: Meet the judges

Now that nominations have opened for The Brit List 2019 Awards, we would like you to meet our fabulous judges, handpicked in order to make this year’s process to find the most influential British designers, hoteliers, architects and suppliers the biggest and best yet… 

The Brit List 2019 is back, once again launching its nationwide search to find Britain’s leading interior designers, hoteliers and architects. Nominations are now open (until August 9) and, what’s more, the process in which to apply remains completely free.

This year’s judges, who have all individually been hand-selected, each come from a different sectors of design, architecture and hospitality in order to keep the process fair, creative and open to all.

The judges for The Brit List 2019 Awards are:

Harriet Forde, British Institute of Interior Design President (Industry Partner)

Harriet Forde, BIID President

Harriet Forde, who was recently interviewed by Hotel Designs,  is the founder and director of Harriet Forde Design, which provides a comprehensive range of interior design services predominantly based in the commercial property and hotel industries, as well as the high-end residential housing market. “The BIID are the UK’s leading professional body for interior designers and we are delighted to partner with the Brit List for 2019,” said Forde. “Our past president Gilly Craft had only good things to say about the process of judging the event and I am excited to participate this year.”

Hamish Kilburn, editor of Hotel Designs

Hamish Kilburn, who will also be hosting The Brit List 2019 Awards on November 21, is the editor of Hotel Designs, which is the leading international hotel design website.

In 2014, Kilburn started his career in the industry when, as features editor, he helped launch a new international hotel design publication into the market.

Since then, he has traveled the globe and has reviewed some of the world’s most impressive hotels. In his day-to-day role, Kilburn is responsible for curating the content for Hotel Designs, bringing his readers the latest happenings, reviews, and features in the world of international hotel design.

Jacu Strauss, founder and creative director of LORE Studio

Jacu Strauss, Founder of Lore Studio | Image credit: Emily Andrews

Jacu Strauss, who was recently interviewed by Hotel Designs, is the creative director at LORE group and founder of LORE studio.

A qualified architect with a demonstrated history of working in the design industry, Strauss’ portfolio of projects includes The Pulitzer Amsterdam and Sea Containers London among many others. The architect and designer is now dipping his toe into the world of hospitality and will soon be opening his first hotel in Washington D.C.

Florence Rolfe, Former Deputy Decoration Editor, House & Garden

Florence Rolfe, Former Deputy Decoration Editor, House & Garden

Florence Rolfe, who is a regular contributor to Hotel Designs, is an interior stylist and art director based in London. Her career began with Condé Nast on House & Garden Magazine where she spent several years producing their monthly features, leaving after seven years as Deputy Decoration Editor. Since then she has worked with some of the most renowned interior photographers, producing & directing imagery for some of the biggest luxury brands including The One & Only Resorts, Nobu Restaurants, Heal’s, Habitat, Marks & Spencer, And So To Bed, Ballymore Homes, TH2 amongst others, and has had her work published in various national magazines including Vogue, GQ & Brides. With a background in publishing, Florence knows exactly how to style an image to make it appealing to editors and consumers alike.

Edward Webb, Director of Development Management, Nuveen Real Estate

Edward Webb, Director of Development Management, Nuveen Real Estate

Edward Webb is the director of development management at Nuveen Real Estate, which is a premier global investment manager that has been helping clients meet their goals for more than 100 years, making the world a better place along the way.

Mel Yates, Photographer 

Mel Yates, Photographer

Starting out as a portrait photographer working with a long list of subjects such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Javier Bardem, Jude Law, Keira Knightley, Tom Hanks, Mel Yates began to change direction and reconnect with his design background (originally trained as a product designer at Central St Martins) and now works internationally both as a stills photographer and video maker for numerous design related clients. In addition to photographing or filming designers such as Sir David Adjaye, Philip Treacy, Philippe Starck, Ron Arad, Tom Dixon, Yates shoots environments, people and objects for advertising, books, brochures, editorial and hotel clients, as well as interior and architectural projects. Hotel clients include The Four Seasons, ME and One & Only Resorts.

The judges will select the final 75 most inspirational and influential people in British design, hotels and architecture, as well as selecting this year’s individual winners of the following awards:

  • 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

On November 21, the shortlisted finalists of designers, hoteliers, architects as well as key suppliers to the industry will gather at Patch East, London where The Brit List 2019 will be unveiled along with the individual winners.

Early-bird tickets for the award ceremony are now available to purchase: 

Suppliers: £99 + VAT (£150 + VAT after early bird offer expires after August 4)
Designers, hoteliers, developers and architects: £10 + VAT (£20 + VAT after early bird offer expires after August 4)

Please click here if you are a supplier to the industry to secure your ticket NOW!

Please click here if you are either a designer, hotelier, developer or architect and secure your ticket NOW!

Headline Partner: Crosswater

Event Partner: Hamilton Litestat:

Industry Partner: BIID:

Madrid welcomes new tech-driven, Rockwell-designed Aloft Hotels property

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Madrid welcomes new tech-driven, Rockwell-designed Aloft Hotels property

Aloft Madrid Gran Via embraces the brand’s new future-proofed design formula, complete with a rooftop pool featuring 360-degree views of Madrid’s skyline…

Aloft Hotels, Marriott International’s hotel brand for music fans and tech-savvy travellers, brings a new beat to Spain with the opening of Aloft Madrid Gran Vía. Located in the vibrant heart of the capital, the new 139-key hotel is a stone’s throw from some of the city’s most popular hotspots.

Designed by world-class architecture firm the Rockwell Group, the property’s tech-forward, future-proofed design is aimed at the next generation of travelers, juxtaposed against the rich history of Gran Vía.

“Madrid has long topped destination wish-lists for travellers in Europe, thanks to its spirited culture, ” said John Licence, Vice President Premium and Select Brands, Europe at Marriott International. “Aloft Hotels is set to put its own unique spin on the capital’s social scene with live music programming, the hottest emerging artists, and great signature cocktails.”

Image credit: Marriott International/Aloft Hotels

Staying true to its roots as an innovative incubator brand, Aloft Hotels, in partnership with the Rockwell Group, developed a cohesive design strategy for Aloft Madrid Gran Via that draws on the sense of humor and the vivid color story the brand is known for. In a nod to the brand’s focus on tech and bold use of color, the property’s free-flowing design embraces the “glitch” design trend to aestheticise digital or analog errors, materialising in design details from distorted city art throughout the public spaces and guestrooms. The always-on, buzzing communal areas reflect the eclectic spirit of the city and respond to the needs of the modern traveller, allowing guests to seamlessly transition between work and play.

“Rockwell Group’s design concept celebrates Madrid’s vibrancy and energy,” said Elisa Rodriguez, Studio Leader, Rockwell Group Madrid. “We were inspired by the idea of seeing the city and its people through a kaleidoscope, rendering the resulting images as pixelated, blended, and multifaceted, to create dynamic moments throughout the hotel.”

Each of its 139 spacious guestrooms feature Aloft’s ultra-comfortable beds in the brand’s signature artful, clutter-free and innovative loft layout, 49-inch televisions with Plug & Play connectivity, fast and free Wi-Fi. Additional amenities include the Re:chargeSM fitness centre and Splash pool; Tactic, an interactive private creative meeting space with natural light equipped with modern audio-visual hardware; and Re:fuelSM by Aloft, a convenient 24-hour cafe for a quick bite on the go. Marriott brands were the first in the industry to introduce Mobile Key, the industry’s first keyless entry system. Marriott Bonvoy members can use the Marriott Bonvoy app on their smartphone or Apple Watch as their room key wherever available.

The brand’s signature Re:mix Lounge and W XYZ bar provide vibrant hubs for locals and travellers alike to socialise and enjoy live music performances as part of the Live At Aloft Hotels music series. The hotel programming will range from cultural, design and tech events, offering a new perspective in this vibrant city.

There are currently 161 Aloft Hotels in 25 countries and territories around the world. In Europe specifically, Aloft Hotels is present in key city-break destinations such as Dublin, London and Liverpool with expected openings in The Hague, Munich and more.

Main image credit: Marriott International/Aloft Hotels

Hilton is on track to open most luxury hotels in company’s history, says CEO

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hilton is on track to open most luxury hotels in company’s history, says CEO

Hilton’s CEO has announced that this year will go down in history for the hotel giant as it will open more luxury properties than ever before… 

Hilton’s President and CEO, Chris Nassetta, has announced that the company is on track to open more luxury properties in 2019 than in any previous year of its 100-year history. The hotel group expects to open seven hotels by the end of the year, in addition to the four hotels that opened in Q1 and Q2, across its luxury brands.

Hilton’s current and projected luxury openings in 2019, which join the 65 existing luxury properties, include:

  • Waldorf Astoria: Waldorf Astoria Dubai International Financial Centre, Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregaland, Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi
  • LXR: The Biltmore, Mayfair in London and Zemi Beach House Resort & Spa in Anguilla
  • Conrad: Conrad Hangzhou, Conrad Hangzhou Tonglu, Conrad New York Midtown, Conrad Shenyang, Conrad Tianjin and Conrad Washington, DC

The record-breaking year marks the beginning of impressive momentum for Hilton’s luxury category and stems from more than a decade of strategic investments and planning. Following this year’s openings, Hilton’s luxury pipeline includes more than 30 properties, approximately 25 of which are expected to open through 2025.

“After more than a decade of honing Hilton’s distinct luxury offerings and investing in key markets around the globe, we are embarking upon a very exciting phase for the category,” said Martin Rinck, executive vice president and global head, Luxury & Lifestyle Group, Hilton. “Over the next five years, starting with this year’s openings, we will start to see the positive impact of our efforts, and we are confident that our amazing portfolio of properties will reinvent luxury travel for Hilton – and for the entire industry.”

Luxury became a top priority for Hilton when Nassetta took over as President and CEO in 2007 and re-focused the company’s business strategy around organic growth. Hilton leadership mapped out a luxury growth strategy that centered on two priorities: refining the two core luxury brands at the time, Waldorf Astoria and Conrad, to resonate with specific customer needs; and bringing the brands to diversified markets. Last year, Hilton identified a gap among independent luxury hotels and launched LXR, its third luxury brand, to provide customers with a portfolio of distinctive, iconic hotels and resorts – full of character and individuality – that are backed by a world-class commercial engine.

“Hilton was among the first to predict that luxury travel was poised to take off across generations and markets in the years to come – and we wanted to be at the forefront of its reinvention,” said Ian Carter, president, global development, architecture, design and construction, Hilton. “Development in the luxury space requires time and resources to do it properly. Our thoughtful and targeted approach has enabled us to grow Hilton’s luxury presence globally – in many cases from the ground up – from new properties to spectacular conversions.”

As part of the enterprise’s organic growth strategy, Hilton’s luxury development team works with strong ownership groups to select markets and tailor the respective brand’s presence. Over the past decade, Hilton and its partners expanded the luxury category’s global presence from 15 to 29 countries and territories, and they are continuing to grow the portfolio with a finely curated pipeline of more than 30 signings that are diverse in regions and market-types.

Waldorf Astoria is growing to include more resort destinations, such as Los Cabos, Mexico and the Maldives, and is building a presence in more key urban markets like London (expected to open in 2021), San Francisco (expected to open in 2022) and Miami (expected to open in 2024). The Conrad brand, which has been concentrated in the Asia Pacific region, is gaining traction in other parts of the world, including the U.S. where it recently signed deals in Nashville (expected to open in 2021) and Orlando (expected to open in 2022) and opened a flagship property in Washington, D.C. LXR is gaining speed in a variety of markets with the additions of Anguilla’s world-class Zemi Beach resort and London’s sophisticated Biltmore Mayfair.

Hilton and its ownership partners continue to elevate and expand the company’s luxury offerings. The Waldorf Astoria hotels in New York and Las Vegas, as well as the Conrad in Miami, are among Hilton luxury properties undergoing substantial renovations to upgrade design and enhance the on-property experience. In addition, Hilton has increasingly invested in its luxury residential portfolio, which now includes more than 2,800 units across 22 properties.

The hotel group currently has a portfolio of 17 world-class brands, which comprises of more than 5,700 properties with more than 923,000 rooms, in 113 countries and territories around the world.

Main image credit: Hilton Hotels

MINIVIEW: COMO Metropolitan London

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
MINIVIEW: COMO Metropolitan London

COMO Metropolitan London has announced the opening of ten luxury Residences, which all offer private apartment-style accommodation adjacent to the main 144-key luxury hotel… 

Located in one of London’s trendiest neighbourhoods that is surrounded by discreet private members’ clubs, cult restaurants and a number of high-end boutiques. COMO Metropolitan London, like all luxury hotels in the area, has to work hard in order to stand out from the crowd and remain relevant to well-travelled guests.

Since opening in in 1997, ‘the Met‘, as it became known has seen many minor renovations and redesigns – the most significant of which was in 2015 – in order to keep ahead of demand and trends. The mood has changed from the late-night antics once centred around the Met Bar to a more holistic experience that balances work, play and wellbeing while still underpinned by COMO’s commitment to passionate service.

Most recently, the hotel has completed and opened of ten luxury Residences. Designed by Linzi Coppick of Forme UK, the Residences offer private apartment-style accommodation adjacent to the hotel on Brick Street, in Mayfair’s historic heart and opposite leafy Hyde Park.

The two-bedroom Residences provide an ideal base for long or short stays in London, reflecting all the comforts of home living at its finest.

Discretion is a significant draw, with the Residences benefitting from a separate entrance on Brick Street, as well as access to a courtyard designed by landscape architect Peter Curzon, shared only with the other Residences. The central feature of the courtyard is a strikingly crafted pergola, fitted with heaters for the cooler months and contemporary furniture from iSiMAR. Residences on the ground floor benefit from additional outdoor space, with private patios offering an unusual oasis in the heart of London.

Inside the Residences, Coppick has prioritised a sense of home. Natural daylight floods the spacious apartments, augmented by contemporary design with subtle warmth and bespoke artwork by Marta Suarez. In the open-plan living and dining area, natural wood floors and furniture from BO Concept create a sleek entertainment area adapted to the modern traveller, whether guests are staying as a family or visiting for business. A fully equipped Lauren Nicholas kitchen blends a refreshing white palette with marble countertops, incorporating breakfast-bar seating for more laidback meals. For formal dining, a dark wood BO Concept table can extend to seat eight people, while a large corner sofa and a reading chair in warm grey leather ensures plenty of space for relaxation.

Main image credit: COMO Hotels & Resorts

Ruby Hotels opens second hotel in Dusseldorf

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Ruby Hotels opens second hotel in Dusseldorf

Last night, Hotel Designs was invited to Dusseldorf for the official opening party of Ruby Leni, the disruptive brand’s seventh property. Ahead of the theatrical opening scene, editor Hamish Kilburn lifts the curtain to get a closer look backstage…

Following the hotel group unveiling its aggressive expansion plans last year, Ruby Hotels has officially opened its seventh hotel. Ruby Leni, the group’s second property in Dusseldorf’s central district for the disruptive Munich-based brand.

Shelted within a former 19th century hotel which later housed the iconic Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus theatre, the 170-key Ruby Leni enjoys a prime position not far from Dusseldorf’s famous Königsallee shopping boulevard and canal.

An expansive bar and rooftop terrace offers a stylish watering hole for guests and locals alike, while an on-property work space and library provide ample space for both work and relaxation. All guest rooms, which range in size from cosy ‘Nest’ rooms (13-15m²) to expansive ‘Loft’ rooms (23-38m²), showcase Ruby Hotels’ sleep-scientist-approved formula for an ideal night’s sleep, with full soundproofing, blackout curtains, high-quality linen and extra-long and wide custom mattresses.

Dressing room style design

Image credit: Ruby Hotels

For guests in search of a longer stay, Ruby Leni offers RESIDENT rooms, which are more spacious and are equipped with a larger wardrobe, a small fridge and a coffee machine. Residents also get access to the residents’ kitchen and lounge. For longer visits, the hotel offers a special extended-stay rate, with significant price discounts for bookings of seven nights or more.

Drawing on both the surrounding area and the building’s creative past life, the design of the hotel is themed around the theatre world of the early 1950s, with antique furniture and artefacts providing a sense of place and history. Ruby Leni is in fact named after Helena from Goethe’s Faust; Gustav Gründgens’ groundbreaking production of the play premiered at the Schauspielhaus in the 1950s before it became a film classic.

As with all Ruby Hotels, a musical theme runs throughout the property with quirky touches such as the inclusion of a Marshall guitar amp in each room, which guests can use both with their own guitar or one borrowed from reception. By night, regular live music events at the bar provide a stage for local musical talent, while by day the space serves as a relaxed space for guests to enjoy an organic breakfast as they listen to the sound of the hotel’s very own ‘Ruby Radio’.

Cutting-edge technology is displayed throughout the property; in each room guests can find a personal tablet PC and smartphone pre-loaded with Ruby Hotels’ carefully-curated Dusseldorf city guide, social media apps and unlimited data and calls to use throughout their stay. A state-of-the-art self-check-in system makes use of tablet computers to reduce check-in time to under one minute, leaving guests free to make the most of their time in Dusseldorf.

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

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

Ruby Hotels first unveiled its unique concept with Vienna hotel Ruby Sofie in 2014, before opening two further hotels in Vienna, Ruby Marie and Ruby Lissi, as well as Ruby Lilly in Munich, Ruby Coco in Dusseldorf and most recently Ruby Lotti in Hamburg.  In response to the success of these properties, the brand plans further openings including Ruby Lucy in London’s bustling Southbank in early 2020, as well as hotels in Zurich, Cologne, Frankfurt and Shanghai before the end of 2020.

Main image credit: Ruby Hotels

Agreement signed between Hotel Investment Partners and Room Mate Hotels

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Agreement signed between Hotel Investment Partners and Room Mate Hotels

Hotel Investment Partners (HIP) to invest EUR23 million in fully refurbishing the first hotel resort to be run by Room Mate Hotels…

Hotel Investment Partners (HIP), the largest owner of hotel resorts in Spain, has signed an agreement with Room Mate Hotels, the chain owned by Kike Sarasola, to manage the new Pax Barracuda hotel in Palma de Mallorca.

The agreement involves two hotels (Calviá Dreams and Barracuda), which HIP will convert into one by investing EUR23 million in a full-scale refurbishment and repositioning project. The opening of this new hotel will mark the renowned Spanish chain, Room Mate Hotels’ debut in the world of hotel resort management.

HIP’s strategy for assets such as these – large-scale properties with prized locations – is to create value via an investment and management plan designed to reposition the hotel on the market. “After investing EUR23 million in completely transforming the hotels, it was paramount to select the right management firm to operate them. We are in no doubt that Room Mate Hotels will bring the hotel management expertise needed to fully complete the repositioning process”, said Alejandro Hernández Puértolas, Founder and CEO of HIP.

“Entering the resort sector with HIP in a place like Mallorca is a surefire recipe for success for our first beach hotel,”  said Kike Sarasola, CEO and Founder of the Room Mate Group. “With this investment we are making a bold commitment to the Magaluf area, as so many other great chains have done, including the Escarrer de Meliá family. Our guests wanted Room Mate to open a beach hotel, so we’re going to take them by surprise once again.”

The brand new Pax Barracuda will open in April 2020 following 18 months of renovation works. It will boast a new and updated look and feel, and offer a range of guest experiences that will make it one of the most unique and appealing hotels in the area. The new hotel will have a four-star rating (the former Calviá Dreams had three stars and the Barracuda four) and 391 rooms. This is slightly fewer than before given the number of junior suites and suites has been considerably increased – a new premium 22-room building will be added, while the main building will also offer an additional 18 premium rooms. The new Room Mate Hotels beach complex – with a built area of 39,481 sqm and situated on a plot comprising over 19,665 sqm – is set to create more than 240 direct jobs.

The rooms and communal areas have been designed by the highly-esteemed Barcelona interior designer Jaime Beriestain. The new design will also feature complementary services including beauty treatments, a gym, children’s club and activities in the swimming pool areas. To further enhance the experience, guests will be able to choose from a range of new dining options, from an all-you-can-eat buffet to à la carte restaurants, and will also be able to enjoy show-cooking that will be held in open spaces and feature a wide variety of culinary options.
This is a unique project designed to completely transform both the hotel’s concept and range of services, and target guests with a medium-high purchasing power, including families. It also aims to upgrade the service to bring it into line with the Room Mate’s exacting standards and create additional value as part of the hotel’s repositioning process – a process that also affects the marketing strategy, which aims to reduce the number of guests who come via tour operators.

Room Mate Hotels, which was founded in Spain in 2005, boasts 26 hotels – equating to close to 1,800 available rooms – and has a further 11 hotel openings in the pipeline. Its philosophy is based on the idea that the best way of travelling is by visiting friends in different cities, friends with similar lifestyles who can show us what they have learnt and experienced in the city by giving us a guided tour.

Design plays a defining role at Room Mate Hotels. Renowned designers such as Patricia Urquiola, Lázaro Rosa Violán, Tomás Alía, Lorenzo Castillo, Pascua Ortega and Teresa Sapey, amongst others, have all showcased their design prowess on the company’s hotels throughout the world.

Main image credit: Room Mate Hotels

Hotel Summit 2019 bridges the gap between hotel buyers and suppliers

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel Summit 2019 bridges the gap between hotel buyers and suppliers

Forum Events’ premium meet-the-buyers event, Hotel Summit, put on yet another spectacular event with guest speakers including representatives from The Lanesborough, Great Hotels Of The World and Areen Design, among many others…

Settling in a new home, located in the quintessentially British surroundings in the Oxfordshire countryside, Heythrop Park welcomed hoteliers, designers and suppliers alike for this year’s hotly anticipated Hotel Summit.

More than 60 procurement professionals from leading hotels around the UK such as The Lanesborough, The Beaumont Hotel and The Gainsborough Bath Spa and 30 supplier partners attended The Summit that was sheltered within the 18thcentury hotel, which combines both elegant heritage design with contemporary areas, making it the perfect venue for one of Forum Events’ leading meet-the-buyers concept for the hotel industry.

The two-day kicked off with an opening presentation with Rita Alves Machado, VP of sales and marketing for Great Hotels Of The World who joined editor Hamish Kilburn for a live interview on the topic of blesiure. “There should be more focus on public, intelligent areas when it comes to designing for bleisure guests,” Machado said. “For me, it’s about personalization, we look for that in our members, what they can do that will differentiate from others in an authentic way.”

Andrew Linwood, Head of Hospitality Design at Areen Design, aptly followed with a presentation entitled: How Design Adds Value To A Hospitality Brand. “Branding is not only the name above the door,” he said to the audience. “It’s about good design and good service working together.”

Meanwhile, Francisco Macedo, Operations Director for Clivedon House stood up in front of the audience to explain how to create a winning team, using personal anecdotes to explain how he has curated his army of staff in order to offer a seamless service within the hotel.

After a morning of face-to-face meetings with suppliers, delegates joined to attend a speaker session with Marco Novella, Managing Director of The Lanesborough, followed by a short live interview where Kilburn delved into what it takes to be at the helm of one of London’s most prestigious luxury hotels. “It’s been important to react to the right trends,” explained Novella. “Wellness, for example, is a very important factor for The Lanesborough, and our aim with the club and spa was very much to lead wellness and wellbeing.”

Following a lavish gala dinner and entertainment, delegates and suppliers gathered for a second day of pre-scheduled face-to-face meetings.

Partners:

ADI Trading Ltd, Airwave Europe, Alchemy House of Design, Birchall Team, Brushbox, Castrads, Discover Kangen Water, Elavon, Fortune Brands, Gallant, Good Energy, HCI, Hotel Champ, iBal Designs, Landmark Specialist Solutions, Ligne Roset Contract, Matrix Fitness, Mitre Linen, Out of Edan, Parkside, Phillip Jeffries, Portable Floormaker & Barlock Bars, Project Blinds, Riskmonitor Limited, Samsung Electronics, Tevalis Ltd, Timage, Toothbuckle, Virdor, Zennio

Next year’s Hotel Summit will take place in April 27 – 28 at Five Lakes Resort, Colechester. If you are interested in exhibiting at the 2020 event, please contact Jennie Lane on 01992 374098 or j.lane@forumevents.co.uk.

Hyatt Place arrives in Japan

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hyatt Place arrives in Japan

The 363-key select service hotel offers a resort-like atmosphere and marks the first Hyatt Place hotel to open in Japan…

Hyatt Hotels Corporation has announced the opening of Hyatt Place Tokyo Bay, marking the debut of the Hyatt Place brand in Japan. Hyatt Place Tokyo Bay features the Hyatt Place brand’s intuitive design, cozy atmosphere and practical amenities such as free Wi-Fi and 24-hour food offerings.

“We are especially excited about this hotel opening as it marks the debut of the Hyatt Place brand in Japan, as well as the twenty-fourth Hyatt Place hotel in Asia,” said Sam Sakamura, vice president – Japan and Micronesia. “Japan welcomed its first Hyatt-branded property in 1980 and Hyatt has since grown its brand presence to thirteen hotels across seven Hyatt brands in Japan, now including Hyatt Place Tokyo Bay.”

The Hyatt Place brand is founded on extensive consumer insights indicating that guests seek stylish, comfortable and seamless experiences that accommodate their lifestyles and routines. Hyatt Place Tokyo Bay offers the brand’s distinctive casual hospitality and purposeful service in a smartly designed, high-tech and contemporary environment.

Located in Urayasu City in Chiba Prefecture, Hyatt Place Tokyo Bay is just 30 minutes by train or car from central Tokyo, offering a resort-like atmosphere with breathtaking views of Tokyo Bay. The hotel is also conveniently located between both of Tokyo’s airports, 21 miles (34 kilometers) from Haneda Airport and 34 miles (55 kilometers) from Narita Airport. The property is also less than 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) from Tokyo Disney Resort®, one of Tokyo’s premier destinations.

With rooms overlooking Tokyo Bay, the 10-story hotel offers 363 spacious guestrooms, including three suites, 2,110 square feet (196 square meters) of meeting space, an all-day dining facility, and a 24-hour gym. World-renowned Japanese fashion designer, Junko Koshino, designed the colleague uniforms and produced key art for the interior of the hotel.

There are now more than 335 Hyatt Place locations in Armenia, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Costa Rica, Germany, Honduras, India, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, Nicaragua, Panama, Puerto Rico, Thailand, The Netherlands, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and the United States.

Main image credit: Hyatt Hotels

In Conversation With: Simon Naudi, CEO of Corinthia Hotels

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In Conversation With: Simon Naudi, CEO of Corinthia Hotels

With a Dubai debut around the corner, Corinthia Hotels is strategically expanding its luxury arm one region – and one hotel opening – at a time. Editor Hamish Kilburn caught up with the CEO of Corinthia Hotels, Simon Naudi, to understand the trials and triumphs of evolving one of the world’s most luxurious hotel brands…

Given its esteemed reputation among the design community, luxury enthusiast and of course its loyal returning guests, the news that Corinthia Hotels will open a property in the Middle East comes with little surprise.

The 55-storey hotel, which will add to the ever-expanding city skyline of Dubai, is slated to open in 2020. Considering that the destination’s hotel room supply is set to reach 132,000 by the end of 2019, according to a study by the emirate’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism) – and occupancy levels are forecast to remain at 76-78 per cent despite growth in capacity – the question is not why, but rather more ‘why now’. “Real Estate is expensive,” says Simon Naudi, CEO of Corinthia Hotels. “We are looking to expand sensitively. Our plan is to grow the portfolio sensibly and steadily, prioritising on looking for the right building or site in the right location.”

According to STR, the UAE as a whole gained approximately 8,000 new branded hotel rooms last year. As of June 2018, the Middle East had 358 projects/113,830 rooms under construction, up 13 per cent by projects YOY. “We’ve had several opportunities in the past, but we are happy to have waited for this project to come along,” explains Naudi. “We have the right partners, Meydan Group, and the right location, prime seafront on JBR, and a top-notch project being built to make the very best in the city. From the design of the building itself to the interior elements, the aesthetics of Corinthia Meyden Beach with be synonymous with the Corinthia brand: confident, exquisite and elegant.”

Image caption: Interior render of a suite bedroom inside Corinthia Meydan Beach Dubai

While all eyes and ears focus on the brand’s Middle Eastern arrival, further west there’s also much happening between now and then. “Our main focus remains on Europe and the Mediterranean,” Naudi says. “We are currently working on projects in Bucharest, Brussels, Moscow and several other projects are under consideration. We’re also focused on the USA, Manhattan in particular.”

Having recently featured in a two-part documentary with Corinthia London’s Managing Director Thomas Kochs, who also appeared on Hotel Designs’ Brit List last year, Corinthia London is arguably the brand’s most iconic building, and for good reason. With its headline-grabbing extravagant suites, innovative public areas and an out-of-this-world four-floor spa, the hotel has been a timeless gem for almost a decade since it was redesigned. But while the 283-key majestic hotel has stood the test of time, its interior design has had to evolve along with the brand in order to cater to the shifting demands of modern travellers. “Larger bathrooms, the less decreased demand for fixed TVs, connectivity and interactivity are all trends that have required guestroom designs to be functionally different today than they were previously,” explains Naudi. “In our case, we also continue to explore multiple uses of the foyer and lobby space, to double up as a space for meetings, social interactions and evening dining to a degree.”

With esteemed regular guests including a long list of celebrities as well as world leaders, Corinthia Hotels seems to have mastered the formula for offering seamless luxury. “It is tantamount to making an effort,” explains Naudi. “It is an effort in terms of investment on all levels, in the product, in the generosity of space, the quality of materials, the beauty of finishes and in the architecture. It is investment in technology, upkeep, maintenance. It is also effort in terms of choice of colleagues, investment in their training and wellbeing, and above all giving time to the pursuit of happiness. Uplifting lives is our company philosophy, and that is what we aim to do, both with our guests and our colleagues. If all of the above is in place, luxury follows.”

“Our single most effective weapon is indeed our size,” – Simon Naudi, CEO, Corinthia Hotels

QUICK-FIRE ROUND

Hamish Kilburn: What is the number one item you cannot travel without?
Simon Naudi: My passport!

HK: What has been the highlight of your career to date?
SN: Developing and launching Corinthia London

HK: What is the next destination on your travel bucket list?
SN: The regions of Spain

HK: What would you say is the number-one tool for success?
SN: Hard work, and more hard work

HK: What book are you reading at the moment?
SN: The Wise Men by Walter Isaacson

With so many lifestyle brands emerging in the market under the umbrella of large hotel groups, it’s refreshing to see an independent hotel group, like Corinthia Hotels, expanding and evolving without taking away its own core values as a brand known and loved by so many around the world. “Our single most effective weapon is indeed our size,” Naudi explains. “Being independent, and relatively small, means we can be, and are more open to be, true to who we are, and crucially nimble. We can also stay closer to our colleagues in all our hotels, the people who matter most to our guests and ensure we are all part of the spirit driving the company towards our aim of uplifting lives.”

“In most of our hotels, the spa is a key, central component, with large physical spaces allocated to this activity wherever we could.” – Simon Naudi, CEO, Corinthia Hotels

One of the major trends that seems to be dictating international hotel design, with the aim no doubt to ‘uplift lives’, is wellness and wellbeing, which is one topic that the brand identified early, if its London hotel is anything to go by. “We have always taken wellness seriously,” says Naudi. “In most of our hotels, the spa is a key, central component, with large physical spaces allocated to this activity wherever we could. Our guest profile has evolved over the years, and we are now more geared towards leisure guests, than corporate visitors, although all segments engage with our spas.”

Corinthia London ESPA spa

Image caption: Corinthia London ESPA spa

Hotels, especially ones operating in the luxury sector, seem to be adding value to their properties with the openings and renovations of in-house spas. And with Corinthia Hotels arguably leading the way for other hotels to follow suit, the challenge for brand is more around how to build on its already successful products. “We have had several highly successful partnerships with spa brands and products, but we are evaluating all options for our future in 2019,” says Naudi. “We have beautiful spas being built to add to our portfolio and wish to use this as a basis for a spa strategy that is relevant to our guests.”

Now that the hotel brand has pin-pointed its next destinations and is signing on dotted lines to secure them, calling the shots may be stressful and high-pressure at times, but it also carries with it unparalleled rewards. “I would count two main sources of satisfaction,” adds Naudi. “The first is to see old, abandoned properties, many of which may be heritage sites, rebuilt and launched as luxury hotels, with a legacy to span decades. Corinthia London was a case in point, but also our current projects in Moscow, Brussels and Bucharest too. Secondly, is seeing younger colleagues grow into more senior roles and take on leadership and entrepreneurial positions.” And with that, Corinthia Hotels continues to inspire generations by designing a healthy and strong family of hotels worldwide with a luxury metaphorical thread of impeccable service and innovative design connecting them all together.

EDITOR CHECKS IN: Making debuts in international hotel design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
EDITOR CHECKS IN: Making debuts in international hotel design

Editor Hamish Kilburn has noticed an influx in hotel groups debuting lifestyle brands in far-flung destinations around the world…  

Whenever I disembark a long-haul flight I appreciate further just how small the world really is; it’s tiny in fact. The realisation that you can travel from one side of the planet to the other in less than 24 hours is remarkble, and it seems I am not alone.

Today, more and more travellers – young and old and of all abilities – are willing to go further in their search for adventure to learn and master the true art of luxury travel, which is in my opinion to capture one-off experiences that are totally unmatched.

This month the floodgates on the editorial were kept deliberately open so that we can share with our readers the sheer scale of hotel development that is happening worldwide, in real time. We’ve therefore made it our mission to cover as much news from Hotel Groups as possible. Hotel Indigo has made its debut in Qatar, Canopy by Hilton has made the leap into Africa, Hard Rock Hotels has made an aptly loud entrance on London’s stage and most recently, AC by Marriott has arrived in Jamaica. Our industry has proved this month alone, if nothing else, that it has anything but peaked, as our On The Boards page with no-doubt confirm.

Instead of another long-haul flight, I’ve taken five days out of the office , ahead of both Meet Up North and Hotel Summit and I have used my time wisely to travel to the quaint and colourful Greek island of Spetses. Arriving on an island where cars are forbidden – and with no ‘just opened’ luxury hotel in sight –  simply the sound of naturally breaking waves has inspired me to put pen to paper, after deliberately leaving my laptop at home. Sat on a rock that’s overhanging the water’s edge, I am slowly but surely reconnecting with nature, all the time reminding myself the human importance of using natural and sustainable materials within design and architecture. One company that has predicted a rise in human touch as a trend to watch evolve over the next 100 years is Hilton, which released a report this month stating that: “In a world filled with Artificial Intelligence, human contact and the personal touch will be more critical and sought after than ever.”

With hotel groups and lifestyle brands debuting in new destinations, all the while reacting to trends and forecasts in the process to provide the right experiences for their target audience, it’s an exciting time to be at the helm of the editorial content for Hotel Designs.

During July, Hotel Designs will be putting Soft Furnishings and Fabrics under the spotlight. If you would like to contribute to these topics, please do not hesitate to email me.

Editor, Hotel Designs

UK predicts 130,000 new hotel rooms by 2025

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
UK predicts 130,000 new hotel rooms by 2025

Prime Minister announces a new tourism sector deal that will prepare the UK for an extra 9 million visits per year, with commitment to build 130,000 new hotel rooms by 2025…

The Prime Minister has announced the UK’s first ever tourism sector deal today (Friday 28 June), reaffirming the UK’s global role as a key player in the industry. The new deal is said to revolutionise the way data is used by the sector, through the creation of new Tourism Data Hub.

The hub will collate regularly updated data showing  the latest trends and spends, allowing businesses to better target overseas visitors.

“By 2025 experts predict that there will be an additional 9 million visitors to the UK.”

The deal will also support the creation of an additional 10,000 apprenticeships for people building their careers in the tourism and hospitality sectors.

Last year around 38 million people visited the UK, contributing £23 billion to the local economy. By 2025 experts predict that there will be an additional 9 million visitors to the UK. The new deal commits to building an additional 130,000 hotel rooms to respond to the increased demand for infrastructure.

The deal also outlines the government’s ambitions for the UK to become the most accessible destination for disabled visitors, through improvement of disabled facilities and access to destinations across the country.

“This deal recognises the important role tourism plays, and will continue to play, in showcasing what our great country has to offer.” – Prime Minister Theresa May

Prime Minister Theresa May said:“As one of the most visited countries in the world, the UK is a world leader in international tourism and it is crucial that we remain globally competitive to meet growing demands.

“That’s why today I am pleased to announce the UK’s first ever tourism sector deal, ensuring that we continue to innovate, boost connectivity and economic productivity, expand career pathways and breakdown barriers for visitors with disabilities.

“This deal recognises the important role tourism plays, and will continue to play, in showcasing what our great country has to offer.”

Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright said: “Today we have set out our vision for the future of UK tourism – a commitment to an industry that is vital for the prosperity of our communities, our businesses and our economy.

“The UK is one of the world’s greatest destinations and this deal recognises the importance of maximising our natural assets. We are dedicated to supporting life-long careers for those that work in tourism, offering insightful data to help grow businesses and ultimately creating a better visitor experience throughout the UK.”

Business Secretary Greg Clark said: “Tourism is one of our most valuable industries and it plays a vital role in our economy, with nearly two million people employed in the communities across the country and £23 billion pounds spent by visitors in the UK last year.”

“As part of today’s ground-breaking Deal, new Tourism Zones will deliver a direct boost to holiday destinations across the country, helping create new jobs as well as supporting improvements in transport connections.

“This is one of the many ways in which the Deal will be key in building a world-class experience economy, helping us deliver on the ambition we set out in our modern Industrial Strategy; Government and industry working hand-in-hand to build on our exceptional strengths in this sector, boosting productivity and further increasing the UK’s attractiveness as a holiday destination.”

Other commitments in the Tourism Sector Deal include:

  • More than 130,000 new hotel rooms are set to be built across the UK, with 75% being built outside of London.
  • £250,000 to improve broadband connectivity in conferences centres across the UK for business visitors.
  • Pilot of up to five new Tourism Zones to drive visitor numbers across the country. Zones will receive Government support for growing their local visitor economy, through initiatives like targeted support for product and promotion development, mentoring support to businesses and digital skills training.
  • 10,000 employees in the sector to benefit from new mentorship schemes.
  • A new government strategy to grow the number of Business Events and Conferences, helping to drive off-season visitors.

Developed in partnership with the British Tourist Authority and Industry, the sector deal forms part of the UK Government’s Modern Industrial Strategy supporting the continued growth of the tourism sector, ensuring the UK remains globally competitive as a top tourist destination.

British Tourist Authority Chair Steve Ridgway CBE said: “This sector deal is a game-changer for tourism, one of the UK’s most valuable export industries, spelling a step-change in how we underpin the success of tourism for a generation, moving it to the top table as a leading industry for the UK Government’s future economic planning.

“And it is a game-changer for the economy, growing the value of the industry and employment in tourism, fixing issues from skills and productivity to extending the season year-round, building stronger tourism destinations up and down the country and developing world-class experiences for domestic and international visitors.

“Tourism is one of the most fiercely competitive global industries and this deal ensures we can continue to compete internationally as a top destination for visitors, driving major economic growth across the whole of the UK.”

Main image credit: Corinthia Hotel London

Signbox wins FESPA award for third consecutive year

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Signbox wins FESPA award for third consecutive year

Recommended Supplier Signbox has won an award for the third year in a row at FESPA Awards 2019…

Signbox, a leading signage manufacturer that works closely with architects and contractors to design and install the right architectural signs and signage, has won an FESPA award for the third consecutive year. The company received Silver for the outstanding and remarkable signage solutions we manufactured for IAG Cargo as part of rebranding its workspaces at London Heathrow and hubs in Dublin and Madrid.

Signbox received the Silver Award at FESPA’s annual Gala Dinner, which took place on Wednesday May 15 at Löwenbräukeller in Munich, Germany, during FESPA Global Print Expo 2019.

This refit for this winning project included an extensive list of signage solutions for the company’s buildings in the UK, Spain and Ireland. Our solution was devised to transform tired, lacklustre meeting rooms and spaces into calm, professional settings and to restyle exterior areas while rationalising an intelligent new brand and giving a fresh impetus to IAG Cargo’s high-traffic, 24/7 environments.

“In 2018, IAG Cargo undertook a significant global rebrand across over 200 stations worldwide,” said Adam Chaudhri, Head of Marketing and External Communications at IAG Cargo. “Part of that rebrand involved substantial signage and office changes at our stations. It also required significant team work, collaboration and a creative edge. Signbox, working with our in-house team, managed to execute a complete revamp of our business in just a seven week window. Incredible planning and flexibility meant that we maximised our impact and delivered a substantial project whilst being cost conscious throughout. The Signbox team were a major contributor to the success of our brand launch.”

IAG Cargo’s external signage comprised direct-to-surface printed ACM trays manufactured using our Durst P10 with HP latex-printed and laminated vinyl graphics completing the external cladding elements. Internal signs were printed using our HP Latex 3650 on Metamark high-tack with a scratch resistant over-laminate for easy maintenance within high traffic areas.

The result is a cohesive and impactful implementation of a large-scale rebrand that has significantly enhanced both IAG Cargo’s corporate identity and its workspace.

Main image credit: Signbox

Rockwell Group to unveil Barcelona’s ‘hippest hotel’ this September

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Rockwell Group to unveil Barcelona’s ‘hippest hotel’ this September

Nobu Hotel Barcelona, a member of the prestigious Preferred Hotels & Resorts Collection, will open its doors this September with the aim of being a place where the vibrant energy of the Catalan capital meets the iconic spirit of Nobu Hotels…

Home to 259 sleek rooms and stylish suites, a 150sqm Nobu Suite, an elegant spa and gym as well as tailor made meeting and event spaces, Nobu Hotel Barcelona, slated to open in September of this year, will house the city’s first Nobu Restaurant along with the Japanese inspired tapas bar; Kozara.

Capturing the unique essence of this famous European city, Nobu Hotel Barcelona will reflect the core values that have become synonymous with Nobu Hotels; passionate service, distinctive design and unpretentious luxury.

“Nobu Hotel Barcelona is the fourth European and third Spanish property from the internationally renowned hospitality brand.”

The interiors, conceptualised by award-winning architecture and design firm, Rockwell Group, seamlessly blend Japanese minimalism with the colourful character of Barcelona to create an integrated mix of luxurious hotel and energised living spaces. Recognisably Catalan-inspired designs, such as the works of Gaudi, are mingled with the traditional Japanese craft of Kintsugi; the art of repairing broken pottery with either gold, silver or platinum, to create collages of materials, textures and spaces throughout the hotel.

Located on the top floor of the 23-storey property, guests can dine at Nobu’s world-famous namesake while taking in unrivalled views of the Barcelona city line and the Mediterranean. The menu will reflect Nobu’s philosophy of locality; paying homage to local ingredients and classic Catalan cuisine, while staying true to the brand’s Japanese DNA.

Located in the charmingly Catalan neighbourhood of Eixample, the hotel is just a five minute stroll from Plaza de España, a mere 15 minutes from Barcelona’s buzzy La Rambla or a short walk to the main railway station for high speed links to Madrid, Paris, Lyon and Marseille making it ideal for laid-back luxury explorers and business travellers alike.

Nobu Hotel Barcelona is the fourth European and third Spanish property from the internationally renowned hospitality brand founded by Robert De Niro, Nobu Matsuhisa and Meir Teper. Working together with the Spanish hospitality group owned by Jordi Mestre, Selenta, Nobu Hotel Barcelona offers guests and locals a luxury lifestyle experience with a genuine Catalan feel.

Main image credit: Rockwell Group

Hotel Indigo opens two new hotels in Germany

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel Indigo opens two new hotels in Germany

Boutique hotel brand, Hotel Indigo, has unveiled two new hotels in Germany, both of which are inspired by local architecture and culture, and are situated in two of the country’s culture capitals… 

Hotel group IHG has announced the opening of Hotel Indigo Dresden – Wettiner Platz and Hotel Indigo Berlin – East Side Gallery as part of the group’s large expansion plans in Europe. Both hotels have been strategically placed to enhance the brand’s ethos that no two Hotel Indigo locations are either.

Hotel Indigo Dresden – Wettiner Platz is the brand’s first hotel in Saxony, next door to striking baroque architecture and a host of outdoor activities, providing the perfect location for guests looking to discover a culture rich part of Germany. Meanwhile, Hotel Indigo Berlin – East Side Gallery overlooks the world’s largest open air gallery, complete with 1.3 kilometres of original art pieces.

The 132-key Hotel Indigo Dresden – Wettiner Platz is within walking distance to the historic centre of the city. The hotel is close to one of the city’s most famous sites, Brühl’s Terrace, nicknamed the “The Balcony of Europe”, which stretches along the shore of the river Elbe. Just steps from the hotel, Kraftwerk Mitte is a former electricity plant, which has found a new life as an arts centre and regularly play host to some of the biggest DJs in Europe. Within the same neighbourhood, the Academy Of Fine Arts in Dresden, HfBK Dresden, occupies a glorious neo-Renaissance building featuring a beautiful glass dome.

Hotel Indigo Dresden – Wettiner Platz is fully immersed in its neighbourhood, taking its design cues from Dresden’s contrasting architecture styles, from modern, industrial buildings to historical Baroque architecture. In the public areas, a modern industrial feel comes through in the use of filament bulbs, scaffold table legs, and features slabs of solid wood and use of copper and brass. Guest rooms are a contemporary take on the baroque architecture of Dresden, with wood-panelled walls and colours taking inspiration from the copper verdigris (the blue-green patina that metals take on when weathered) of the grand buildings of the city.

Hotel Indigo Berlin – East Side Gallery takes its design inspiration from the creative energy of the East Side neighbourhood, marrying raw industrial architecture with retro elements such as graffiti blocks and a bright colour scheme, inspired by the famous Trabi car. All guest rooms are fully equipped with USB outlets, a 43” inch Smart TV and complementary WiFi throughout.

The onsite restaurant and bar, Gallery Restaurant, gives both guests and locals a place to enjoy traditional German cuisine served in a tapas style, made from locally sourced fresh produce. The Gallery Rooftop Bar, offers panoramic views of the river Spree and is the perfect location to gather for a few drinks.

Whether strolling alongside the East Side Gallery or visiting local boutique shops and street markets, Hotel Indigo® Berlin – East Side Gallery is in a prime location for guests to explore the local neighbourhood. Nearby attractions include Oberbaumbrücke, the former checkpoint between East and West Berlin and Wrangelkiez, an area that forms part of Kreuzberg, with an array with unique shops, cafes and bars. Wrangelkiez, is also famed for its flamboyant street art, curated by some internationally renowned street artists.

The hotel brand, which is vastly expanding in tier two cities across Europe now that more than 105 properties worldwide, with Hotel Indigo Chester waiting in the wings for its unveiling later this month.

Main image credit: IHG/Hotel Indigo

DESIGN CONCEPT: Hotel of 2119 imagined by Hilton

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
DESIGN CONCEPT: Hotel of 2119 imagined by Hilton

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 100th anniversaryHilton predicts the future trends set to dominate the travel and hospitality industry in the next 100 years.

In a report supported by expert insight from the fields of sustainability, innovation, design, human relations and nutrition, findings reveal how the growing sophistication of technology and climate change will impact the hotel industry in the future.

Key predictions for the hotel of the future include:

Personalisation is King

  • Technology will allow every space, fitting and furnishing to continuously update to respond to an individual’s real-time needs – the Lobby will conjure up anything from a tranquil spa to a buzzy bar, giving every guest the perfect, personal welcome
  • From temperature and lighting, to entertainment and beyond, microchips under the skin will enable us to wirelessly control the setting around us based on what we need, whenever we need it

The Human Touch

  • In a world filled with Artificial Intelligence, human contact and the personal touch will be more critical and sought after than ever
  • Technology will free up time for hotel staff to focus on what matters most: helping guests to connect with one another and building memorable moments

‘Sustainable Everything’ – The Role of Responsibility

  • Only businesses that are inherently responsible will survive the next century
  • Sustainability will be baked into everything about a hotel’s design – from weather-proofed domes, to buildings made from ocean-dredged plastic
  • Hotels will act as the Town Hall of any community, managing local resources and contributing to the areas they serve with community-tended insect farms and vertical hydroponic crop gardens

Menu Surprises and Personalisation

  • Our diets will include more plant-based recipes and some suprising sources of protein – Beetle Bolognese, Plankton Pies and Seaweed Green Velvet Cake will be menu staples!
  • Decadent 3D-printed dinners and room service will provide unrivalled plate personalisation
  • Chefs will be provided with biometric data for each guest, automatically creating meals based on preferences and nutritional requirements

Futuristic Fitness and Digital Detoxes

  • Outswim a virtual sea turtle in the pool, or challenge yourself to climb the digital face of Mount Everest, your exercise routine will be as unique as you are. What’s more, exercise energy generated from workouts will be used to power the hotel, providing a zero-impact, circular system. Guests could even earn rewards based on reaching workout targets
  • Pick up where you left off with trackable workouts and holographic personal trainers
  • Offline will be the new luxury as we seek to find moments of tech-free time

“100 years from now hotels will have to create opportunities to converse, collaborate and connect, delivering moments that matter, individually, to each and every guest.” – Gerd Leonhard.

“Since its inception in 1919, Hilton has pioneered the hospitality industry, introducing first-to-market concepts such as air-conditioning and in-room televisions. Last year, Hilton also became the first hospitality company to set science-based targets to reduce its environmental impact,” commented Simon Vincent, EVP and President, EMEA, Hilton. “We enter our second century with the same commitment to innovation, harnessing the power of our people and technology to respond to guest demands. Our research paints an exciting future for the hospitality industry, highlighting the growing importance of human interaction in an increasingly tech-centric world.”

Futurologist Gerd Leonhard said: “In 2119 we will still be searching for unique experiences, but they will be more personalised than ever. As technology shapes our lives we will seek out moments of offline connection with others, including hotel team members who will help us truly get what we need from our stays. 100 years from now hotels will have to create opportunities to converse, collaborate and connect, delivering moments that matter, individually, to each and every guest.”

The report launches following major announcements regarding Hilton’s growth plans, including debuts among its lifestyle brands in destinations such as Africa, the Caribbean, Asia Pacific and France.

Main image credit: Hilton Hotels

SPOTLIGHT ON: Laura Ashley, from homes to hotels

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
SPOTLIGHT ON: Laura Ashley, from homes to hotels

One strategic acquisition at a time, Laura Ashley Hotels is injecting quintessentially British charm into the hospitality industry. As Hotel Designs continues to put Hotel Groups under the spotlight, editor Hamish Kilburn speaks to commercial designer Kay Cullen and head of brand Nimo Abdi about the company’s growing hotel portfolio…

The year was 1953 and celebration was in the air. Queen Elizabeth II was crowned in Westminster Abbey while Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tensing became the first climbers confirmed to have reached the summit of Mount Everest.

In the same year, one lady and her husband launched a design and textiles company, Laura Ashley, in the Pimlico area of London. Using silk screens, the pair started printing placemats and scarves on their kitchen table. By 1984, the company that we all know and love today’s sales grossed $130 million.

In 2013, the company followed in the footsteps of many residential designers, by entering the commercial market. The British textiles company opened its first hotel and today, 66 years after the company was founded and having won the hearts of more than 300 million hearts around the world all searching for authentic quintessentially British designs, the brand has its sights on expanding its presence within the hospitality industry with a unique platform. “The fact that we already have a brand has been a significant advantage,” explains brand manager Nimo Abdi. “Our customers are brand loyal and that has encouraged us to invest further by acquiring hotels as well as launching the Laura Ashley Tearooms.”

As guests check in to a Laura Ashley Hotel, they are welcomed in a true-to-the-brand home-from-home setting – and location seems to be at the heart of every strategic acquisition. “Obviously we do want to create that ‘wow’ factor,” explains commercial designer Kay Cullen. “But our main ethos is in the heritage. I take a lot of inspiration from the original building and try to take that from an initial concept right into where you end up.”

Image credit: Laura Ashley Hotels

The Belsfield Hotel in The Lake District is an example of blending new with old. “It’s an amazing Victorian building,” says Cullen. “It’s set right out there on the lake, and while a lot of inspiration was taken from that, it also had beautiful Italian ornate architecture that we wanted to enhance throughout.”

The hotel’s timeless architecture has been accentuated with the addition of a conservatory-like structure adding natural light and making the public areas look and feel bright, open and modern. “When we got there, everything was faced inwards, which was ridiculous,” explains Cullen. “We used Laura Ashley products that felt authentic and replicated how the building’s interiors would have looked but with a touch of modernity.”

Due to the often-hefty demands of modern-day operators and developers, most guestrooms and suites within international hotel design are imagined with the aim for them to be timeless – or as timeless as possible. Upstairs in Laura Ashley Hotels, however the guestrooms and suites are decorated with the season’s latest products, creating a ‘living showroom’ concept. “We have a design department that comes up with the main six-monthly seasons of products that we have,” explains Cullen. “I then work with that palate to understand and decide what goes into the hotels.”

The most recently completed hotel within the Laura Ashley Hotel portfolio is the conversion of the 66-key The Chace Hotel in Coventry. “It’s a building that’s hard not to fall in love with,” adds Cullen. “It’s got amazing William windows, original fireplaces. For us, it’s about bringing it back to life, which is part of my job that I love.”

Image credit: Laura Ashley Hotels

Laura Ashley’s love of creating beautiful spaces within the home has been well and truly extended to the hotel environment. Its current portfolio includes just one hote, The Belsfield Hotel in the Lake District. The Chace in Coventry and Burnham Beeches are currently on the boards, slated to open this year, with more hotels yet to be announced.

The future for the group’s footprint in the hotel design scene is now very much secure in looking for new unique buildings that with the help of its design team, they can turn into truly unmatched, British-themed hotels.

Four Seasons Hotels arrive at the Comcast Centre, Philadelphia

730 565 Katy Phillips
Four Seasons Hotels arrive at the Comcast Centre, Philadelphia

Positioned 1,121 feet high, the hotel will offer unobstructed views from its 48th floor right up to its 60th floor, the location of the buildings summit.

 

Not only will the hotel boast 219 bedrooms, it will also offer guests new restaurant concepts courtesy of Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Greg Vernick, an entire floor dedicated to spa and wellness plus vast spaces for meetings.

Last week Hotel Designs reported on the final stages of renovations at sister site, Four Seasons Resort Nevis. This week, we head 1,745 miles across the North Atlantic Ocean to the city of Philadelphia, a place described by Christian Clerc, President, Worldwide Hotel Operations, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts as one steeped in culture and history.

On the choice of location for this hotel he comments, “The history and culture of Philadelphia are so often expressed in the characteristic storytelling of its art and architecture. Now, thanks to the vision of our partners at Comcast and a world-class team of designers, architects and artists, the Comcast Technology Center stands tall as a new Philadelphia landmark – reshaping the city’s skyline and signifying a new, exciting chapter in its storied history.”

The new Comcast Technology Center, designed by Norman Foster of Foster + Partners has redefined the skyline of the city and guests will be able to experience this in all its glory the moment they grace its doors, opening for the first time on August 12 this year. “Guests will be in awe from the moment they step into the glass elevators on their swift journey to the 60th floor sky lobby, as they look out over the unobstructed cityscape from their dinner table at Jean-Georges Philadelphia, or swim up to the edge of the 57th floor infinity pool. We quite literally upend the traditional idea of a hotel and provide visitors with breath-taking experiences as they move through venues in our spectacular building,” adds Ben Shank, the Hotel’s General Manager, whose Four Seasons career began in the city 20 years ago.

Sleeping;

Hotel goers will quickly see the relationship between innovation and nature as they are greeted by beautifully curated installations from celebrity floral designer Jeff Leatham, who is the Artistic Director of the hotel. Post check in, guests enter one of 180 rooms and 39 suites to find yet another expression of art and technology in Philadelphia Dorian, a composition of on-screen video and sound created exclusively for Four Seasons by musician, record producer and visual artist Brian Eno.

And, in partnership with Comcast, all guest rooms and suites will offer the award winning X1 Video Experience, including approximately 300 channel options and a complimentary library of more than 50,000 movies and shows on demand, all searchable with the X1 voice remote.

Dining;

On the 59th floor, the city of Philadelphia spreads out toward the horizon on all sides of Jean-Georges Philadelphia, a new restaurant by Michelin starred Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. Forty foot (12 metre) high glass walls afford panoramic city views, while a cleverly mirrored ceiling reflects both the diners below and the city that surrounds them.

Back down to ground level, Chef Greg Vernick highlights his unique approach to modern American dining at Vernick Fish, which spills into the street in an easy indoor-outdoor environment created by Tihany Design, their first project in the city.

Rest and relaxation;

Spanning the 57th floor is the spa which includes a lifestyle boutique and fitness center created in consultation with celebrity fitness guru Harley Pasternak, and a spectacular 30,000-gallon (136,000 litre) indoor infinity pool.

Meetings;

The hotel offers more than 15,000 square feet (1,400 square metres) of flexible function spaces – including two ballrooms easily accessed on the fifth floor.

In summary…

The lobby of the Comcast Technology Center is an artistic passage between city and skyscrapers, with distinct and custom art installations continuing Philadelphia’s longstanding reputation as a hub of art and ideas. Across the ceiling and up the stairs, artist Jenny Holzer has created For Philadelphia, a moving installation of nine electronic displays designed specifically for this site. The writings of poets, architects, visionaries and children echo the spirit of the city flowing colourfully throughout the space. Also within the vast atrium is the largest public art commission by British artist Conrad Shawcross, titled Exploded Paradigm, which sees the artist continuing to explore the tetrahedron and exploit its possibilities, a fitting concept for both Comcast and Four Seasons.

 

Image credits – Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts

Four Seasons Resort Nevis enters final phase of sustainable renovations

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Four Seasons Resort Nevis enters final phase of sustainable renovations

TAL Design Studios’ two-year reimagining of Caribbean luxury sheltered within Four Seasons Resort Nevis is slated to complete by Q4 of this year.. 

Situated on the undisturbed shores of a Caribbean island like no other, where regulations state that no building should be taller than a palm tree, Four Seasons Resort Nevis has officially commenced the final chapter of its multi-phase enhancement project.

The two-year enhancement plan, which has already seen the launch of re-envisioned guestrooms and suites, an updated look for the Great House lobby and the opening of new food and beverage outlets, EsQuilina and crowned monkey RUM BAR, is expected to be completed this autumn.

“We are excited to bring the entire resort enhancement full circle to fulfill our vision of a luxury Caribbean playground” – Gonzalo Güelman Ros, General Manager.

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

Raw luxurious dining experience in shack-like structure

Image credit: Four Seasons Resorts

“These new areas will continue to evoke the fresh take on a timeless Caribbean experience that we began rolling out in 2018,” says Gonzalo Güelman Ros, the Resort’s General Manager. “We are excited to bring the entire resort enhancement full circle to fulfill our vision of a luxury Caribbean playground, offering infinite perfect places in one perfect paradise.”

The resort’s signature pool will be completely reconstructed and raised to create one long sight line from the Great House lobby straight out to the Caribbean Sea horizon. Surrounded by lush new landscaping, the 3,300 square foot infinity edge pool will be the centerpiece of the resort, featuring 86 new loungers and four luxury pool cabanas fully-equipped with comfortable seating and furnishings, wi-fi connectivity and power. The pool’s 5,350 square foot hardwood deck will be made from fully-sustainable US grown resources, highlighted by a new feature fire pit that will be installed to the west of the pool, towards the beach.

Render of beach and pool

Image credit: Four Seasons Resorts

“The traditional Caribbean-style structure will utilise many natural materials”

Replacing the existing Cabana restaurant, On the Dune will be a 7,300 square-foot outdoor restaurant with 138 covers and additional capacity at the bar. The traditional Caribbean-style structure will utilise many natural materials, including heavy timber construction and, as much possible, sustainably-sourced resources.

The final stages of the redesign will sensitively enhance the island’s luxury offerings, while further rooting the destination as a place where love, harmony and its soulful spirit is ever-present. With 189 spacious rooms and suites and more than 50 luxurious villas, the resort has been delivering authentic Caribbean hospitality for more than 28 years.

The design chapter continues…

Main image credit: Four Seasons Resorts

IHG debuts Hotel Indigo brand in Qatar

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
IHG debuts Hotel Indigo brand in Qatar

The signing of the 200-key Hotel Indigo Doha Lugsail marks the brand’s debut in Qatar…

Intercontinental Hotel Group (IHG) has signed a management agreement with Qatari holding company Al Sraiya Hotels & Hospitality Group, which is under Al Sraiya Holding Group, to debut the Hotel Indigo brand in Qatar. The hotel will be strategically located in Lusail Marina, Qatar’s newest urban centre, just 30km from the airport and will feature marinas, residential areas, commercial districts, luxury shopping and leisure facilities, as well as an entertainment district.

Commenting on the partnership, Pascal Gauvin, Managing Director, India, Middle East & Africa, IHG, said: “After the success of the recently opened Staybridge Suites Hotel in Lusail, we are delighted to once again partner with Al Sraiya Hotels & Hospitality Group to open another hotel in Qatar, especially in a visionary development such as Lusail Marina. As the guest profile visiting the country diversifies, the hospitality sector in Qatar continues to evolve. The introduction of the Hotel Indigo brand in Lusail will respond to the growing demand for upscale lifestyle hotels in the market and also demonstrates our commitment to Qatar National Vision 2030. We look forward to offering a unique, locally inspired boutique hotel experience to our guests with the reassurance of a global brand, when we open our doors in 2023.”

Slated to open in 2023, the hotel will feature an array of leisure facilities such as a spa, a gymnasium and a swimming pool. Featuring a three-meal restaurant, a neighbourhood café, a lobby lounge and an executive lounge, Hotel Indigo Doha Lusail will offer a variety of dining options and exclusive F&B concepts. The hotel will also feature meeting and banqueting facilities.

Established in 2004, Hotel Indigo now has a presence in more than 15 countries with over 100 hotels, and nearly another 100 hotels in the pipeline. Just as no two neighbourhoods are alike, no two Hotel Indigo properties are the same, taking inspiration from the area around each hotel to touch all aspects of the guest experience, from the boutique design to locally-inspired restaurants and cafes.

We are pleased to partner with IHG for the second time to develop Hotel Indigo Doha Lusail and introduce their popular boutique brand, Hotel Indigo to the capital city of Doha, Qatar,” said Mr. Rashid Al Kaabi, Vice Chairman of Al Sraiya Holding Group. “We are confident that this design-led hotel inspired by the neighbourhood story, that differentiates itself form the traditional offerings will be a popular choice amongst the travellers visiting the city.

“Through our partnership with IHG for Staybridge Suites Hotel in Lusail, we are benefiting greatly from their global distribution system and best in class revenue management tools. We look forward achieving the same success with Hotel Indigo Doha Lusail, and together with IHG, offer a strong portfolio of different accommodation options to varied guest profiles.”

IHG currently operates 92  hotels across seven brands in the Middle East, including: InterContinental,Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Staybridge Suites, voco and Six Senses with a further 38 in the development pipeline due to open within the next three to five years. In Qatar, IHG currently operates seven hotels across four brands : InterContinental, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn and Staybridge Suites . **

**Numbers as of March, 31 2019

Main image credit/caption: IHG/Signing Ceremony Hotel Indigo Doha Lusail

Grecotel Group embarks on 42 million euro expansion plan

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Grecotel Group embarks on 42 million euro expansion plan

Grecotel Group’s expansion plans begin with the opening of  Casa Marron in the Peloponnese, and will include the renovation and expansion of five other luxury hotel complexes…

Greece’s largest luxury hotel chain, Grecotel Group, has implemented a 42 million euro business plan that begins with the unveiling of Casa Marron, which has been transformed into the ultimate destination, changing the game for summer holidays.

Grecotel’s renovated “third generation” hotel complex, combines modernity with the classic Mediterranean style, and takes inspiration from local architecture, both traditional and contemporary with exquisite exotic embellishment. The design displays the high aesthetics of the complex, whilst highlighting the beauty of Greek nature. Casa Marron borrows its name from the colour of the fertile Peloponnesian land contrasted against the blue waters of the Ionian Sea.

“We have invested in creating a special resort in one of the most enchanting places and favourite destinations throughout the Peloponnese,” said Mr. Vasilis Minadakis, Grecotel’s General Manager. “The radical renovation of the well-known Lakopetra Beach, brings together bohemian ambience and magical scenery.”

Image credit: Grecotel Hotels

On the golden beach of Lakopetra, in an area of ​​80,000 sq.m, set against a unique landscape surrounded by exotic palm trees, olive trees and colourful gardens complete with impressive swimming pools, Casa Marron is upgraded to a top tier choice for your summer holiday, harmoniously combining safety and freedom for the whole family.

The 172 guestrooms and suites in the main building and the 92 spacious bungalows with two bedrooms, terraces and private gardens with outdoor shower allow Grecotel guests to connect with nature and take in unobstructed views of the vibrant gardens. Here, indoors becomes one with the outdoors, creating a distinct zen aura.

After 45 years of dynamic presence in the country, Grecotel has grown to support 12 tourist destinations in Greece. Each of Grecotel’s 32 luxury hotels and resorts is a unique architectural experience and a paradise of opulent amenities, gourmet restaurants and elegant details embodying the essence of Greek hospitality.

Main image credit: Grecotel Hotels

Curio Collection by Hilton heats up the Costa del Sol

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Curio Collection by Hilton heats up the Costa del Sol

Higueron Hotel Malaga, Curio Collection by Hilton opens on the Costa del Sol following a €22 million extensive renovation…

Hotel Group Hilton has unveiled its latest Spanish property – Higueron Hotel Malaga, Curio Collection by Hilton. From the city that gave the world Picasso, the 177-key new hotel shelters Malaga’s only sustainable Michelin-starred restaurant and jaw-dropping views of the Mediterranean Sea.

Nestled behind the Montes de Malaga, the hotel is conveniently located near Malaga’s vibrant city centre. Famously known as the heart of the Costa del Sol, the city offers something for guests of all ages, with its unique art districts, pristine sandy beaches and lively nightlife.

“Malaga is one of Europe’s most popular destinations, with 12.5 million tourists flocking to its sunny shores last year,” said Simon Vincent, President, EMEA, Hilton. “With €1 in every €7 generated from travel and tourism in Spain, we are excited to expand our portfolio by 50 per cent in the next three to five years.”

Each of the hotel’s elegant guestrooms feature distinct Spanish touches, such as original lithography made with local materials. It features 24 panoramic suites which boast glass panel balconies and terraces overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, offering 360-degree views.

Boasting the largest conference centre in the region, spanning 2255m² with six intimate meeting rooms and holding up to 1,000 attendees, the hotel is the ideal backdrop for any event, from cocktail receptions to conferences and weddings.

To reflect the vibrant art scene of Malaga, the hotel features two art exhibits showcasing the best of local and international artists, including paintings from Lita Cabellut and sculptures from Francisco Leiro.

“Higueron Hotel Malaga is the latest hotspot in the beautiful Costa del Sol, offering a truly unique experience to wind down and explore everything this remarkable location has to offer,” said Mark Nogal, global head, Curio Collection by Hilton. “As we continue to expand our one-of-a-kind collection of hotels to new and exciting destinations, we are thrilled to have opened in the charming city of Malaga, offering guests and locals alike unrivalled dining, spa and meetings experiences.”

The hotel is set to add an additional 113 premium suites in 2020, bringing the total number of rooms available up to 290.

Main image credit: Curio Collection by Hilton

Canopy by Hilton to debut in Africa

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Canopy by Hilton to debut in Africa

Hilton’s Lifestyle brand is expected to debut in Africa with an opening in Cape Town’s vibrant Longkloof precinct in 2021…

Hotel Group Hilton has announced the signing of a management agreement with Growthpoint Properties, South Africa’s largest REIT, to open a hotel under its lifestyle Canopy by Hilton brand. The 150-key Canopy by Hilton Cape Town Longkloof is expected to begin welcoming guests in 2021 and will be the brand’s debut property in Africa.

Canopy by Hilton launched in 2014 to appeal to travelers seeking locally inspired stays and wishing to immerse themselves in the culture and history of local neighbourhoods. It currently operates in nine destinations around the world with more than 35 properties in the pipeline, aiming to guarantee travelers unique and authentic experiences.

“Cape Town is one of the world’s most sought-after destinations, offering an array of attractions to suit every travel occasion,” said Patrick Fitzgibbon, Senior Vice President, Development, EMEA at Hilton. “Canopy by Hilton becomes our third brand to gain a presence in the city and we are eyeing further expansion. The decision to locate Africa’s first Canopy by Hilton here, is testament to not only the strength of the destination, but the quality of partners at Growthpoint as we seek to create a showcase interpretation of the brand to introduce to the African continent.”

Located a stone’s throw away from the city’s historical epicenter, the Company’s Garden, and will bring to life the heritage of a 112-year-old site, Longkloof Studios. The project forms part of a precinct redevelopment by Growthpoint, representing a R550m investment in the city. DHK architects will redevelop a building which began life as the premises of what was then the United Tobacco Company and subsequently served as the home of Cape Town’s Women’s Institute.

“Growthpoint is thrilled to partner with Canopy by Hilton to launch this phenomenal brand in Africa,” said Rudolf Pienaar, Chief Development and Investment Officer of Growthpoint Properties. “Our prime Longkloof redevelopment project is in a magnificent multi-faceted historic urban quarter of Cape Town and is the perfect setting for the first Canopy by Hilton branded property on the continent. Our investment in this property reflects our confidence in Cape Town as well as Hilton’s exceptional upscale lifestyle hotel brand. We believe Canopy by Hilton Cape Town Longkloof will become a South African landmark and will be supported by travellers from all over the country and the world.”

In keeping with its traditional place within the social fabric of the city, guests will be welcomed by friendly ‘Enthusiasts’ selected for their expert local knowledge and will be invited to partake in local food and drink tastings alongside the local community.

“Canopy by Hilton was created to redefine the lifestyle hotel space for travelers who want an upscale hotel to help introduce them to desirable neighborhoods around the world,” said Gary Steffen, Global Head at Canopy by Hilton. “Every detail in the design and facilities of these hotels is created with that ethos in mind and our Longkloof property will be no exception, capturing the dynamic vibe of the precinct and its reputation as a trendy hangout for Cape Town urbanites.”

Canopy by Hilton Cape Town Longkloof will be located at Long Kloof Studios, c/o Park Road and Kloof Street, Cape Town. The property will participate in the award-winning guest-loyalty program for Hilton’s 17 world-class brands. Hilton Honors members who book directly through preferred Hilton channels have access to instant benefits, including a flexible payment slider that allows members to choose nearly any combination of Points and money to book a stay, an exclusive member discount that can’t be found anywhere else, and free standard Wi-Fi.

Main image credit: Cape Town Tourism

Six Senses to arrive in Costa Rica and Iceland

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Six Senses to arrive in Costa Rica and Iceland

The hotel brand, Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas, that recently joined IHG has announced two significant opens in both Costa Rica (2021) and Iceland (2022)…

Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas has announce two of the latest projects in the group’s expanding portfolio with Six Senses Papagayo in Costa Rica – opening 2021 – and Six Senses Össurá Valley in Iceland – which will open in 2022.

Six Senses Papagayo, Costa Rica

Commonly referred to as the Switzerland of Latin America, Costa Rica boasts miles of exotic beaches, some of the most extensive rainforests in the world, majestic mountains, volcanoes, lakes and meandering topography. The Six Senses Papagayo, located on the stunning 2,300-acre Papayago Peninsula, will be a private and eco-conscious destination, offering a new adventure for discerning travellers. The hotel brand is working in partnership with the California based Canyon Group – which acquires and develops boutique ultra-luxury resorts in exciting destinations – and the Garnier Group, one of Costa Rica’s best known and most reputable development companies.

Overseeing the design of the resort is award-winning London based architect John Heah. The site stretches from the highest point on Papagayo down to the forested beachfront which will be home to 41 secluded pool villas. There will also be 31 residences available to buy, with owners benefitting from full access to the resort’s amenities

Six Senses Össurá Valley, Iceland

Surrounded by mountain range the vast Össurá Valley and Vatnajökull National Park, the 70-key Six Senses Össurá Valley is owned and is being developed by the Álfaland Hotel ehf alongside its partners; architect John Brevard, fashion entrepreneur, Áslaug Magnúsdóttir and cultural entrepreneur, Jakob Frímann Magnússon.

Built using renewable and locally-sourced materials, the hotel will adhere to high standards of energy and water efficiency the region is known for. The welcome lodge will be integrated into the surrounding environment and include a library, a cinema room, a water bar and an Earth Lab showcasing the project’s sustainability efforts.

Main image credit: IHG/Six Senses

InterContinental opens sixth hotel in France

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
InterContinental opens sixth hotel in France

The highly-anticipated opening of InterContinental Lyon – Hotel Dieu marks the luxury brand’s sixth property in France…

Following an extensive four-year restoration, InterContinental Lyon – Hotel Dieu has opened in one of the city’s most iconic buildings. The renovation of the Grand Hôtel-Dieu complex is, to date, the largest private transformation of a historic monument carried out in France.

Calling out for a visionary who could sensitively restore the building while blending in a sense of modernity, interior designer Jean-Philippe Nuel, who recently unveiled the design of Sofitel Rome Villa Borghese, was tasked to bring the property timelessly to life. Nuel focused on maintaining the original beauty and architecture of the building whilst offering a contemporary, understated luxury design which is rooted in the history of Lyon and the building itself.

Lyon was once the capital of the European silk industry, playing a central role in the Silk Road trade between east and west. This led to a booming local silk industry which is still an important part of the city’s culture today. The city is also famed for its floral art which was an early source of inspiration for the local silk industry – a key design theme of the hotel. Prestigious Lyonnais silk creator Verel de Belval, a subsidiary of the Hermès group, has designed custom silk prints which can be seen throughout the rooms and public areas in silk screen panels, cushions and soft furnishings.

Epona Restaurant full of gold

Image credit: InterContinental/Eric Cuvillier

These rich fabrics perfectly contrast with the original architectural features of the building, such as stone floors, plastered walls and timber ceilings. This ‘monastic yet sophisticated’ design was inspired by the historical use of the building – as the city’s hospital for more than 800 years – combined with the desire to create a destination for global travellers.

 

“InterContinental is known for transforming heritage buildings into stunning properties whilst maintaining their historic spirit, and InterContinental Lyon – Hotel Dieu is a perfect example of that,” said Tom Rowntree, Vice President, Global Luxury Brands at IHG. “This new opening marks the sixth in the remarkable InterContinental portfolio in France which includes the likes of Carlton Cannes, Marseille – Hotel Dieu and Paris – Le Grand. Lyon is full of sophistication, culture and a rich history, making it a perfect fit for InterContinental as we pioneer in new luxury destinations worldwide.”

Executive Room River View

Image credit: InterContinental/Eric Cuviller

Le Dôme Bar is nestled in the heart of the hotel within the grand dome, one of the most breath-taking features of InterContinental Lyon – Hotel Dieu. Originally housing a chapel, today the dome is a space where hotel guests and locals can come together under its 32m high ceiling. Originally designed by Jacques-Germain Soufflot, architect of the Pantheon in Paris, Soufflot was called away during the project and he never saw the dome finished. The dome has since been named in his honour as the ‘Soufflot Dome’.

Le Dôme bar is open for all-day drinks and light bites. Traditional, local products are a key focus for the signature cocktails and Le Dôme offers a fresh twist on the famous pink praline, a traditional Lyon confectionery, combining it with vodka, pink champagne and lemon for a unique cocktail. Club InterContinental guests will be able to enjoy views of the grand dome from the first-floor balcony of the private Club InterContinental Lounge above.

High ceilings in the authentic dining area

Image credit: InterContinental/Eric Cuviller

The hotel’s restaurant, Epona, extends along the hotel’s front façade and opens on to an interior courtyard and garden. Head Chef Mathieu Charrois will offer world-class Lyonnaise dishes with a modern twist. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the hotel’s main restaurant will be a destination in itself.

Of the 34 suites at the hotel, the 150 sqm Presidential suite is the largest suite in Lyon. It follows a similar modern luxury design, decorated in powder pink tones and elegant floral motifs. From the living room of the Presidential suite, guests can enjoy a unique view in to the grand dome, overlooking the stunning space from the suite’s own private balconies.

The most emblematic of the 144 guestrooms at the hotel are the 28 Duplex suites, which feature huge vertical windows with views on to the Rhône river, maintaining the grandeur and façade of the original building. What makes the Duplex suites unique is that guests enter from the mezzanine floor to take in the river view at first glance before heading down the stairs to the bathroom and bedroom.

InterContinental Lyon – Hotel Dieu also boasts 1,500 m2 of flexible convention and reception halls; L’Académie. This is one of the largest conference centres in the Presqu’île (Peninsula) quarter and in Lyon city centre, offering 12 meeting rooms on four different levels, all with natural daylight.

For guests looking for relaxation, the Grand Hôtel Dieu complex is home to Le Tigre Spa, which includes a Hammam, 24-hour gym, sauna and steam room.

The opening joins the French family of InterContinental Paris – Le Grand, InterContinental Paris – Avenue Marceau, InterContinental Carlton Cannes, InterContinental Marseille – Hotel Dieu and InterContinental Bordeaux Le Grand Hotel.

InterContinental Hotels & Resorts is the largest luxury hotel brand in the world with more than 204 InterContinental hotels open worldwide and 60 new hotels in the pipeline, set to expand the brand’s portfolio in the most sought-after destinations around the world. This year will see InterContinental Hotels & Resorts open stunning resorts in the Maldives, Hayman Island, Phuket and Beppu as well as the brand’s return to Edinburgh in the historic George Street.

Main image credit: InterContinental/Eric Cuviller

Tapestry Collection by Hilton to debut in the Caribbean

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Tapestry Collection by Hilton to debut in the Caribbean

Hilton’s latest signing of a 168-key hotel in Jamaica marks Tapestry Collection by Hilton’s debut in the Caribbean…

Hilton has announced the signing of ROK Hotel, Kingston, Tapestry Collection by Hilton, representing the brand’s debut in the Caribbean. Slated to open in 2020, the 168-key property, owned by PanJam Investment Limited, sits in a multi-purpose complex on the Kingston Waterfront and will include retail, on-site entertainment and commercial office spaces.

“Strategically focused on our expansion across the Caribbean and Latin America, we value the opportunity presented with Tapestry Collection by Hilton,” said Juan Corvinos, Vice President, development, Caribbean and Latin America, Hilton. “With Tapestry Collection, we open the door to owners with unique, upscale hotels, who seek to maintain their property’s distinctive character, but also seek the benefits of the Hilton engine and our award-winning Hilton Honors program.”

Under redevelopment to further revitalise the Kingston Waterfront, the 12-storey building originally opened in 1977 as the Oceana Hotel. Now, it is being transformed into ROK, Kingston, a contemporary hotel in Downtown Kingston, offering guests convenient access to the National Gallery of Jamaica and the historic landmark, Port Royal.

“Following a year of impressive growth since the brand’s launch, including the signing of our first two properties in Peru, we are energised by our expansion in the Caribbean and Latin America,” said Jenna Hackett, global head, Tapestry Collection by Hilton. “With its deep roots in the community, the ROK Hotel, Kingston will offer guests an authentically local experience coupled with the warm and welcoming hospitality of Jamaica.”

Enviably located on Ocean Boulevard overlooking the Kingston Harbour, the seventh largest natural harbour in the world, the property will feature an expansive pool deck on its first floor, as well as a fitness center, lounge area, restaurant, cafe and bar. ROK, Kingston will offer flexible space for meetings and events, and will also serve as an accommodation option for guests attending events at the Jamaica Conference Centre just across the street.

“The company continues to pursue additional growth opportunities in the region and currently has a robust pipeline of nearly 90 hotels throughout the Caribbean and Latin America.”

“As Hilton continues to expand its presence throughout the Caribbean, we are excited to have the opportunity to support their growth and debut the Tapestry Collection brand in the region,” said Stephen Facey, chairman and chief executive officer of PanJam. “We recognise the value in collaborating with a well-respected global hospitality company such as Hilton, particularly as we work together to introduce travelers to authentic Kingston experiences, while offering them the brand’s upscale accommodations.”

Hilton currently has a portfolio of nearly 150 hotels and resorts open to welcome travellers in the Caribbean and Latin America, including more than 20 hotels across the Caribbean. In its 100th year, the company continues to pursue additional growth opportunities in the region and currently has a robust pipeline of nearly 90 hotels throughout the Caribbean and Latin America, including two Tapestry Collection properties in Peru – Hotel Bel’Arte Lima and Hotel Museo de Osma slated to open in 2021.

Main image credit: Hilton Hotels

Canopy by Hilton arrives in Asia Pacific region

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Canopy by Hilton arrives in Asia Pacific region

Interior design firm CCD has completed the first Canopy by Hilton in Asia Pacific Region, which opens in Chengdu…

Following recent reports of there to be 500 new hotels to arrive in China by 2020, Canopy by Hilton has just debuted in Asia Pacific by opening Canopy by Hilton Chengdu City Centre, with dynamic interiors by Cheng Chung Design (CCD). The first Canopy hotel in Asia Pacific – the property is located in the city that emphasises on the experience of ‘body’, ‘heart’, ‘senses’ and ‘enlightenment’.