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Virtual roundtable - bathroom specification

Virtual roundtable: Concept vs reality in bathroom specification

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Virtual roundtable: Concept vs reality in bathroom specification

With new demands from modern travellers asking for heightened wellness and wellbeing experiences sheltered inside hotels, designing a timeless bathroom has become even more of a challenge in recent years. Hotel Designs’ latest roundtable, in association with Utopia Projects, welcomes leading interior designers to help us separate concept over reality when it comes to specifying bathroom elements…

Virtual roundtable - bathroom specification

There’s a lot more to bathroom specification than simply selecting products, on budget, that will create the exact look and feel you were trying to achieve. In 2020, Ideal Standard undertook some research to establish exactly what interior designers’ thoughts were regarding bathroom design. The results showed that 73 per cent of designers agreed that washrooms are the most difficult rooms to design and plan in commercial projects. Some would argue, with new consumer demands around wellness and wellbeing, if the same survey was taken today then that number would be much higher.

In order to understand the challenges – and more importantly the solutions – when it comes to specifying bathrooms in 2021, we launched a roundtable with the help of Utopia Projects, which offers a unique service, working with designers to specify the appropriate products for their projects at the best prices, after the layout of a bathroom has been established. To cut through the noise, and to really understand the industry’s top tips when it comes to designing the bathroom, we were joined by industry-leading interior designers.

On the panel: 

Hamish Kilburn: How much of the design is driven by function and how much is driven by the form of the design? 

Craig McCkie: As hospitality designers, I believe we like to get the foundations right first – and a great shower experience is a great place to start.

When working with hotel chains, there are certain bathroom brands that we naturally gravitate towards because they meet brand standards. What is encouraging to see is that those brands give us the luxury to explore different finishes, colours and other qualities. I think the industry has really benefited, aesthetically, from the drive for suppliers to bring down the cost of these additional services.

Vince Stroop: For seven years or more, hotel bathroom design has been following certain trends taken from the residential sector. In order for that to happen, brands that supplied to the hospitality industry had to keep up. As a result, there are now more options out there that, importantly, also function really well. Generically speaking, there are two things any guest is after when checking in to a hotel: a comfortable bed and a decent shower. If you don’t get those elements right then you will lose out on getting repeat business. To be competitive, brands and independents have had to step up.

Nick Hickson: In addition to budget, it’s also important to consider the amount of space allocated to bathrooms – I have seen bathroom space allocated in hotels grow over the years, as it [the bathroom] has become a more of a feature within the overall aesthetic. In some ways, we are now trying to open the bathroom up or have a visible window from this area into the bedroom in order to pinch some of the space back. Ultimately, this comes down to designing the bathroom intelligently so that there is a cohesive language in both areas.

HK: How much of the overall budget is typically allocated towards the bathrooms in hotel design?

Joey Goei-Jones: With the clients we’ve been working with, they are all starting to realise the importance of the bathroom within the offering of the guest experience. If there is a complaint, more likely than not, it will come from the bathroom. In cities such as London, there are a lot of older properties so bathrooms tend to be outdated. What we try to do is encourage clients to considering things as a whole when making budget decisions.

A lot of the time, we see clients allocating about 20 – 25 per cent of the per-room budget on the bathrooms. I always say that realistically they are not going to be refurbish the bathroom regularly so we would much prefer to throw everything at the bathroom in order to future-proof it, which is such an important element.

Also, as consumer demands evolve we have had to consider other things, such as shower or WASHLET toilets. Traditionally, we would never intentionally put electric products too close to water for obvious reasons. Therefore, making sure the infrastructure is up to a quality standard is vital.

Stuart Adamson: One of our driving factors when working with designers is that we look at those elements, and when considering future-proofing the reliability factor creeps in because aesthetics is one thing. Most manufacturers will tell you that they can meet the water pressure requirements and the flow requirements that you need to reduce flow but without sacrificing performance. What we have realised is that some manufacturers are better than others when it comes to producing really good spares availability for a long time after the product has been discontinued. We are constantly searching for the brands that really shine in this area to ensure that the products we specify really are future-proofed.

HK: Why aren’t more brands that are well known in the residential market more popular among hotel designers?

CM: We can be very limited because certain hotel groups already have their list of preferred suppliers.

NH: Reliability is key and many of the German brands have really proven themselves in this area. From our brand, being more Italian, we just like to look at collections that (I have to say) are just so much better looking.

We are working on a project at the moment where we are working closely with a supplier to modify and adapt a particular range they already have on the market so that it is more relevant for a spa environment. Yes, there’s a longer lead time – in fact, it takes more time for everyone involved – but there is a uniqueness about that project.

DH: I think it’s true, in the last five or six years, clients have been wanting everything to feel more bespoke and they are wanting to have something unique in their design. We are finding this more and more, which is very closely linked to the rise in lifestyle brands and hotels. Everyone is seeing that movement influence design and considering the interface guests have with these products. Therefore, bespoke design is finding a larger role.

Luxury bathroom in the Maldives

Image credit: Kuda Villingili

HK: In an industry that is full of collaboration, what is holding designers back when it comes to working with a bathroom consultant?

JGJ: Certain suppliers will be a bit louder about their brands ­– and therefore we only really here from the suppliers and not the bathroom consultants who are able to give us all the ranges. We view Utopia Projects as experts and they are able to give us immediate information.

VS: We have a similar situation. Also, we are working with a lot of consultants already on a project, but it would be great to work with a bathroom consultant just so that we can then flex our design muscle a bit stronger. Also, it’s really helpful to be able to have that impartial, non-biased voice when it comes to advice.

HK: In a previous roundtable, we focused the spotlight on ethical design – and it was pretty shocking to realise that major brands are unknowingly partnering with factories that have terrible ethical values in the race to label their products with competitive prices. With this in mind, how much research do you, as designers, put in to finding out the methods of manufacturing and the materials used in the production stages?

JGJ: In the bathroom area, especially, a lot of brands have always been very open and have invited us to the factories. For me, that’s always been really valuable because you can meet the people who are making the products and see where the waste goes. In general, it just gives us peace of mind.

SA: We only work with brands who will release an ethical statement for the business. We will not work with brands where there is no traceability.

NH: I tend to look at bathroom design like architecture design because you are looking at so many different elements and materials that have to fit together and meet solutions. These are things that any designer, looking at that aspect, has to be very aware. When things go wrong, they go wrong badly. When you understand the architectural conjunction, you prevent where possible running into those issues. Following on from that, understanding the ethical decisions, we somewhat take it for granted that these brands are doing everything they can to ensure we are operating in an ethical arena.

Bathroom inside Six Senses Ibiza

Image credit: Six Senses Ibiza

HK: How far can we push the boundaries of bathroom design, which as you mention, has to be very technically accurate? 

NH: It’s a juggling act, and what we try to is break down these established rules. It’s not always easy and it can take up a little more space but that develops new solutions within those spaces. For us, it’s just a creative process that we really enjoying working in. As a result, it enlivens the guests experience and allows for a more enriching experience.

CM: Going back to budget, the vanity space can be as important in a room than any of the FF&E. A nice piece is a nice piece. It blurs the line where you are spending the money. If you bring the bathroom into the guestroom then, then you are creating multi-purpose spaces. In terms of longevity, a vanity piece is going to be made of more robust material – so that makes a lot of sense.

HK: What would say is the biggest challenge that modern designers face when creating bathroom spaces?

JGJ: A lot of the time it will come down to budget, but brands are developing so quickly to launch new products. It can be difficult to be up to date on the latest products, and that’s where a consultant can really help. Clients are starting to gauge on the technical side and we are all learning – and that naturally lends itself well to working with experts.

NH: Some of the challenges are unavoidable. The bathroom is probably the area within the hotel that changes the most from concept to completion. This is because of all the connections with all the services within the building. Especially on new-builds where space is a premium, you spend a good amount of time just formatting the rises that are coming into the building.

VS: And the layout of the bathroom is actually one of the biggest aspects – and it is a huge challenge for designers, to ensure, from an operational perspective, that these areas are accessible to get to. On top of that, you have to design a unique experience for your guests. If designers go too trendy in their design then they are potentially lowering that space’s longevity. I approach bathroom design like a puzzle and try to find the right parts that fit.

HK: When you’re pitching, how many of those boxes when it comes to bathroom design are ticked?

DH: I think it’s really key, when you are pitching, that you put forward something that is forward-thinking and that is different. It is important to push yourselves and your perspective clients to think differently. Of course, budget is a consideration, but if you sell the big idea of a particular part of a bathroom that becomes an integral part of the design, you can manage the budget in different ways to ensure that it happens.

NH: As designers, we are presenting good ideas but sometimes a client can run away with your idea. Therefore, I think it’s wise to be suggestive. There is a very fine line there, and we tend to be a bit more conceptual in our pitches.

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

Main image credit: Utopia Projects/Hotel Designs/University Arms Cambridge

Raffles Udaipur - aerial view

Now open: Inside the first Raffles hotel in India

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Now open: Inside the first Raffles hotel in India

Set to bring a ‘legendary hospitality’ experience to the romantic city of Udaipur, Raffles has unveiled its first hotel in India, which shelters 101 rooms inside an architectural marvel…

Following the brand’s announcement earlier this year to more than double its portfolio of hotels by 2023, Raffles Hotels & Resorts has opened its first hotel in India. Raffles Udaipur, a flagship hotel in the group’s portfolio, offers a fresh perspective on the city of Udaipur and region of Rajasthan, from a 21-acre private island set in the middle of the serene Udai Sagar Lake.

Raffles Udaipur - aerial view

Removed from the hustle and bustle of the city, the expansive property is reminiscent of a magnificent country estate, with beautifully manicured, ornamental gardens and panoramic views of the surrounding hills, tranquil lake and a 400-year-old temple.

Luxury lobby, Raffles Udaipur, wiht high ceilings and palatial decor

Image credit: Raffles Hotels & Resorts

The influence of the island’s flora and fauna can be seen in the intricate details of the country estate, ‘greater flamingo’ being the most prominent one. The hotel is meticulously adorned with a variety of flora, ranging from the fragrant white frangipani and the night-blooming jasmine to stunning spider lilies and the peepal tree that holds great religious significance.

The hotel itself is an architectural masterpiece of 101 luxurious rooms, suites and signature suites that elegantly interweave western cultural references with Rajasthan’s royal heritage and elements of Mughal architecture. Guestrooms have uninterrupted lake views, private gardens, balconies, plunge pools and an east-west design aesthetic with murals, handcrafted furniture and other crafts by local artisans.

“I am proud and delighted to see how Raffles Udaipur has opened to such acclaim and established itself as a market leader in such a short space of time,” said Stephen Alden, CEO Raffles & Orient Express. “As a member of Raffles’ close-knit global portfolio, it is bringing to life our shared vision of true hotelcraft.”

Under Culinary Director Prasad Metrani, Raffles Udaipur is a culinary aficionado’s paradise with fresh, new flavours to relish every day. At Sawai Kitchen, the Indian speciality restaurant, guests can expect to be graciously served the lost recipes from the region’s royal households, reinvented for modern tastes. Harvest, set to open before the end of the year, offers an interactive farm-to-table dining experience with produce foraged from the estate farm, spotlighting the region’s food traditions; while culinary enthusiasts can enjoy a co-cooking experience at Rasoi, the cookery school. The Raffles Patisserie offers freshly baked breads, classic French desserts, signature Raffles pastries and more. Guests can dine under the crystal clear sky, overlooking the breathtaking views of the lake at the Belvedere Point. Mindfully crafted alfresco dining experiences, framed by the picturesque hills that surround the lake, draw inspiration from the five elements: earth, fire, water, air and space.

Long Bar, Raffles Udaipur

Image credit: Raffles Hotels & Resorts

For a sophisticated and discreet experience, guests can linger over intimate conversations or take a book to read at The Writers Bar, while indulging in bespoke artisanal and classic cocktails, as well as a champagne & caviar menu. For the elegant Afternoon High Tea experience, guests can anticipate exquisite savouries and desserts, along with specially curated teas from the Kangra hills in Himachal Pradesh and the best coffees from Southern India, introduced by the Tea Sommelier. In contrast, the iconic Long Bar, a hallmark of the Raffles brand designed with European wood and leather, with engravings by local artisans, is a perfect place to socialise. It offers fine Indian spirits, single malts, local brews from across Rajasthan and the signature Udaipur Sling – the Singapore classic remade with fresh produce from the island and home-made syrups.

The Raffles Spa, a space full of natural light with an embroidered canopy to encourage a sense of nurturing, offers a private escape, with authentic treatments and personalised programmes that prioritise both emotional and physical well-being. The fitness centre is well-equipped for an invigorating work-out and the swimming pool invites guests to take a languorous dip, while enjoying a beautiful sunset.

Raffles Udaipur, as with every Raffles hotel around the world, reflects the cultural and natural heritage and mood of its location, offering unforgettable experiences, from a celestial cruise under the moon, to guided farm tours, astronomy, yoga and meditation. Raffles’ legendary service is delivered by private butlers and thoughtfully tailored to individual travellers’ needs.

“Whether you are looking for a rare place of extraordinary discovery or a romantic getaway with captivating sunsets, Raffles Udaipur is the ideal choice,” said Abhishek Sharma, General Manager. “With breath-taking views of the lake from every room, the chance for long, leisurely, romantic walks around our magnificent gardens, and experiences like star gazing and full moon rituals, we are a sanctuary for travellers on a quest for peace and rejuvenation.”

Guests can also choose this island location as a memorable setting for special events and celebrations. The Grand Ballroom of 9,000 square feet, including pre-function area, multiple outdoor gathering areas and an on-site temple, is set to make landmark moments simply unforgettable.

Speaking about the opening, Puneet Dhawan, ‎Senior Vice President of Operations – India & South Asia, Accor, said: “India is a strategic focus with long-term growth potential for Accor and it’s an exciting time for us as we present the iconic Raffles brand to the market. The rich cultural heritage, the regal past, and the grand architecture that gives the city its splendour all contribute to the Raffles Udaipur experience. Discerning travellers will now be able to experience the bespoke and immersive hospitality that is quintessentially Raffles. We look forward to warmly welcoming our guests and allowing them to discover what we have created, a confluence of Raffles’ global ethos and local Indian sensitivities.”

Main image credit: Raffles Hotels & Resorts

Hotel design | luxury pool in Langham Jakarta

A capital move: Langham arrives in Southeast Asia

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
A capital move: Langham arrives in Southeast Asia

The Langham, Jakarta has opened its doors inside a stylish and contemporary 65-storey building in the heart of the city, marking the brand’s bold debut property in Southeast Asia…

After years of anticipation, The Langham, Jakarta has officially opened in Indonesia’s capital city. The slick 65-storey hotel is strategically located within the new prestigious complex of District 8 at SCBD (Sudirman Central Business District) in close proximity to the city’s most important financial, cultural and entertainment centres. 

Hotel design | luxury pool in Langham Jakarta

“The opening of this beautiful hotel in Jakarta is the culmination of many years of hard work and dedication to delivering the very best product, facilities and service in this international gateway city,” said Brett Butcher, Chief Executive Officer of Langham Hospitality Group. “Partnering with Indonesia’s premier developer Agung Sedayu Group, we have been able to create something truly remarkable to welcome our guests to one of the very best hotels in the world. We are taking luxury to new heights and I couldn’t be prouder to include The Langham, Jakarta to our collection.”

Designed by the Singapore-based Smallwood Reynolds Stewart Stewart (SRSS), The Langham, Jakarta embodies classical design elements, effortlessly fusing glamour with urban sophistication.

Upon entering the arrival lobby on the ground floor, all eyes are drawn towards the magnificent chandelier depicting 3,000 fluttering crystal butterflies, some of which are suspended by intricate wire work. Titled ‘Haven’ by Lasvit, the renowned designers of dazzling bespoke light installations from the Czech Republic, the chandelier takes its inspiration from the Indonesian rainforests where butterflies fly freely thereby creating an ethereal aesthetic in the remarkable space.

Image credit: Langham Hotels & Resorts

The elaborate construct of Haven is evident in the beautiful champagne-coloured lattice that is reminiscent of a Monarch butterfly’s wings. On the 62nd floor at the Sky Lobby, a second but no less dramatic 10-metre high chandelier, also by Lasvit, commands the attention and admiration of the guests. All other senses will be mesmerised by the curated collection of art throughout the hotel showcasing the finest works from Indonesian artists, painters and photographers which include John Martono, Hanafi, Jumaldi Alfi, Jay Subyakto, and Chaerul Umam.

The Langham, Jakarta shelters 223 guestrooms with majestic floor-to-ceiling windows offering spectacular views of the city, state of the art in-room entertainment complemented by smart technology, opulent marble bathrooms featuring rain showers and free standing soaking bathtubs.

Poised to be highly sought after by luxury aficionados, the elegantly appointed 336-square metre Presidential Suite features a spacious living room and dining area ornamented with contemporary furnishings. The dominant use of the highest-quality materials and craftsmanship is evident from the intricate wall panels, sculptures, paintings and timeless artefacts that tastefully adorn each room.

Other highlights of the impressive suite include an Italian-marble bathroom with an oversized bathtub, twin vanities and separate spa bath, bespoke amenities, an outdoor terrace with panoramic views of the city. Fitness enthusiasts, meanwhile, can take full advantage of the in-suite gym with a trainer on demand for private sessions; attending to the guests’ every whim with personalised yet discreet service is a dedicated 24-hour on-call butler service.

The Langham Club lounge at the hotel’s 59th floor is designed as a sanctuary for guests who prefer a discerning level of comfort with panoramic and unobstructed views of Jakarta. The Club lounge will offer complimentary food and beverage presentations and will feature a writer’s corner, a reading library and private arrival and departure facilities with dedicated butlers for personalised service.

The Langham, Jakarta - Club Lounge

Image credit: Langham Hotels & Resorts

The Langham, Jakarta features exceptional celebrity restaurant partnerships that include Tom’s by Tom Aikens, the culinary maestro who has guided his restaurants to accolades by the Michelin Guide. T’ang Court, inspired by its Three Michelin starred Cantonese restaurant namesake at The Langham, Hong Kong, will make its debut in Southeast Asia and world-renowned Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto from New York City will satiate gourmands with haute Japanese cuisine at Morimoto.

LANGHAM JAKARTA, Toms restaurant

Image credit: Langham Hotels & Resorts

The Langham, London was the first hotel that served afternoon tea in 1865 and since then, guests continue to cherish this afternoon indulgence at all The Langham hotels around the world. In Jakarta, The Langham’s afternoon tea legacy continues at Alice where guests may bask in the beautiful environs at the grand dining emporium. And for those familiar with the Artesian at The Langham, London – recognized as the World’s Best Bar for several years – will be delighted to know that its latest outpost will be at the dazzling rooftop of The Langham, Jakarta.

For those seeking a respite and needing a recharge of the body and mind, Chuan Spa will provide treatments inspired by Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) philosophies in a serene, meditative setting. The 670 square metre (7,211 square foot) spa will offer private treatment rooms as well as a fully-equipped fitness centre and Jakarta’s highest indoor infinity pool with spectacular views of the city.

The Langham, Jakarta will be the new iconic venue for social events, weddings, high-level conferences and luxury product launches. Showcasing more than 2,100 square meters of flexible space, including a magnificent 688 square meter ballroom and a beautiful outdoor garden, there are an additional 11 meeting rooms that may be configured for events requiring different capacities.

> Since you’re here, why not read about the new design scheme inside The Langham, Boston?

The hotel opening is just the beginning of an exciting journey for Langham Hospitality Group, the umbrella company of The Langham Hotels and Resorts and Cordis Hotels brands. The group currently has more than 30 projects currently either confirmed or in a developed stage of negotiation from Asia, Europe and North America to the Middle East.

Main image credit: Langham Hotels & Resorts

Public areas inside Graduate hotel in Cambridge

Making an entrance: Can Graduate Hotels’ debut in the UK settle a legendary rivalry?

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Making an entrance: Can Graduate Hotels’ debut in the UK settle a legendary rivalry?

Graduate Hotels has made a bold entrance in the UK with the opening of two hotels in Cambridge and Oxford. Editor Hamish Kilburn explores the tension, the design details and what this means for the two locations that have been at war since 1209…

Public areas inside Graduate hotel in Cambridge

Having just returned from Cambridge, I find it difficult to include ‘Cambridge’ and ‘Oxford’ within the same sentence. I say this because in one of the city’s, Oxford is referred to as ‘the O word’ – I can only imagine what Cambridge is known as in Oxford… That’s right, the two universities – both of which pride themselves to be the most prestigious academic institutions in the world – share one thing in common, aside from their ability to churn out Nobel Prize winners; they both share their mutual (un)healthy rivalry towards one another. Since 1209, when the the University of Cambridge was founded, the history books have painted the two establishments as enemies, which has in the past – many, many years ago – even resulted in murder.

Making what I am comfortable to describe as the boldest debuts in 2021 (so far), Graduate Hotels, a collection of handcrafted properties in university-anchored cities across America, has opened its first set of hotels in Europe in… yes, you guessed it… Cambridge and Oxford. Graduate Cambridge and The Randolph Hotel by Graduate Hotels have officially opened their doors for overnight stays with food and beverage outlets to follow later this month.

Inspired by the world-famous academic reputation and unique traditions of the cities and universities, both Graduate Hotels properties offer design rooted in storytelling, distinct food and beverage experiences and a range of programming and events with local partners hosted year round. Crafted for local neighbours and students, regional alums and weekenders and international travellers alike, the hotels both seek to celebrate the dynamic communities they are positioned within.

“Our team is humbled to be launching the Graduate Hotels brand in two of the most historic and prestigious university communities in the world,” said Ben Weprin, Graduate Hotels founder and CEO. “The legacies that these iconic destinations represent drive the ethos of what inspires us to create memorable spaces to be enjoyed for generations to come. We look forward to welcoming global travellers for a uniquely Graduate experience in these centuries old, one-of-a-kind cities.”

Graduate Hotels has partnered with restaurant developer, White Rabbit Projects to launch all food and beverage outlets at Graduate Cambridge and The Randolph Hotel by Graduate Hotels. White Rabbit Projects is behind some of the most exciting hospitality concepts in the U.K. including Kricket, Lina Stores and Island Poké. With input from local suppliers throughout the regions, the range of culinary offerings will encompass restaurant, bar and café concepts.

Inside Graduate Cambridge

Positioned along the idyllic banks of the River Cam, the 148-key Graduate Cambridge is surrounded by the University of Cambridge, within walking distance of several colleges, and a stone’s throw from the city’s best restaurants, bars and shops. The hotel has undergone a complete interior renovation that includes all rooms, common spaces, fitness club and pool. A ground floor conversion has seen the addition of a café and bar, as well as the renovation of the full-service restaurant, which opened on September 10.

Public areas inside Graduate Cambridge

Image credit: Graduate Hotels

Led by Graduate Hotels’ in-house interior design studio, the hotel’s design incorporates the history of the city, making the river the focal point with various accessible views, especially in the lobby bar. Colour palettes, patterns and textures in the public areas reflect the green surroundings of fields and the pastoral English countryside. With the punting boat rentals located just outside, the design brings local inspiration into the hotel, with life-size punting boats incorporated in the bookshelves in the lobby, a statement installation by local craftsmen.

The lobby is also home to a hanging DNA installation to celebrate Rosalind Franklin, a pioneer in the development of DNA at the University of Cambridge. The guest rooms see splashes of “Cambridge Blue.” Key design details include wallpaper depicting school gates, bedside built-ins reimagined as punting boats, whimsical lamps in the shape of a penny coin, as well as striking wood and leather desks to give the rooms a studious feel. Bathrooms feature scenic pastoral wallpaper and mirrors in the shape of the university crest.

The Randolph Hotel by Graduate Hotels

Located in the city’s cultural epicentre, The Randolph Hotel by Graduate Hotels is within close walking distance to the University of Oxford and its iconic colleges, including Trinity and St. John’s. The hotel is also close to St. Giles Street, as well as the world-famous Radcliffe Camera and Ashmolean Museum. The design of the 151-key hotel takes inspiration from the university’s history, paying homage to its storied innovators and alumni. The hotel has undergone a complete renovation across all of the common spaces, the lobby and guest rooms, which includes a spa featuring treatment rooms, a sauna, steam room and jacuzzi, all of which will open in autumn 2021.

The hotel has relaunched with comprehensive interior renovations throughout all of the guest rooms, the lobby and common spaces. Led by Graduate Hotels’ in-house interior design studio, the design details at The Randolph Hotel by Graduate Hotels include bold hues and architectural elements inspired by the hotel’s heritage and locally inspired art which tells the narratives of Oxford’s past. In-room art includes paintings of Oxford alumni and well-known author and playwright, Oscar Wilde, and a painting of the famous ‘Steamboat Ladies’ (1904-1097), tells the story of a group of more than 700 women who travelled by a steamboat ferry to obtain degrees at a time when their own universities withheld graduation from female students.

Founded by CEO Ben Weprin in 2014, Graduate Hotels currently has 30 U.S. locations in addition to the two new U.K. properties. Owned by Adventurous Journeys (AJ) Capital Partners, Graduate Hotels’ properties in Oxford and Camdbridge join AJ Capital’s growing portfolio of hotels throughout the U.K. AJ Capital additionally owns and operates Marine & Lawn, a collection of bespoke hotels in the world’s most distinguished golfing destinations. The inaugural properties recently launched with Rusacks Hotel in St Andrews, Scotland and Marine North Berwick in North Berwick, Scotland, and will be followed by Marine Troon in Troon, Scotland.

Main image credit: Graduate Hotels

Virtual roundtable - ethical lighting solutions

Virtual roundtable: Ethical lighting solutions

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Virtual roundtable: Ethical lighting solutions

With the aim to put ethical lighting – and not just sustainability – under the spotlight, Hotel Designs’ latest virtual roundtable welcomes Chris Stimson, Founder of lighting brand Well-Lit, and a handful of leading designers and lighting experts to explore ethical product design. Editor Hamish Kilburn writes…

Virtual roundtable - ethical lighting solutions

For years now, the buzzword that is ‘sustainability’ has been a constant tone; a consistent and unavoidable noise ringing in the ears of every designer, architect and hospitality professional – like tinnitus. Despite the topic remaining important and in its infancy regarding us seeing real change, in order to really clean up our act when it comes to designing consciously, it is not the only subject we need to consider and, if needs be, expose.

To really one day achieve a totally ethical arena for designers, architects and hotel professionals – we live in hope here on the editorial desk – we must also place product design under the spotlight. To do this, designers must not be afraid to question how raw materials are sourced as well as how each element of the product they are specifying is made. But how do we, as an industry, realistically achieve this when deadlines become tighter, briefs become narrower and so many other details need to be addressed on a project?

In addition to advising designers to specify responsibly, after moderating the below roundtable discussion, I no longer believe it is acceptable for brands to be ignorant on how their products are being made. The reason why I say this is because the consequences of such naivety, which emerge thousands of miles away from the first-world problems we face in the western world, can be (and are) unequivocally devastating.

Image caption: Susan Lake's lighting design, sheltered inside Yotel Edinburgh. | Image credit: Yotel Hotels

Image caption: Susan Lake’s lighting design, sheltered inside Yotel Edinburgh. | Image credit: Yotel Hotels

Many brands, both large and small, that currently manufacture their products in Asia are (knowingly or not) fuelling modern slavery. One man who has seen the human cost of unethical manufacturing is Chris Stimson, Founder of lighting brand Well-Lit, who inspired the topic of our Hotel Designs next roundtable.

To panoramically explore ethical lighting solutions with might and purpose, we invited Stimson, along with a handful of designers and lighting experts, to discuss just how bad the problem currently is.

On the panel:

Hamish Kilburn: Chris, why is ethical lighting so high up on your agenda? 

Chris Stimson: It’s based on my own experience. Previously I was based in China, and worked as a sourcing agent for western brands that were looking for manufacturers. Before LED bulbs for domestic homes were known, I was watching the research, travelling to trade shows and meeting the people who were developing the technology. I successfully connected the manufacturers with brands – and that went well for about two years.

Then in 2010, there was a dramatic shift in the market as mass production entered, and the price of LEDs and what manufacturers could achieve fell. I was literally told over night to halve my prices or I would be out of a job. It was during that time when I witnessed things that rocked me to my core; I saw things that could not be unseen. Over the period of just six months I realised I facilitated it. I was part of the problem, so I decided that I was in a position to do better. And this is how we started the lighting brand Well-Lit.

Well-lit light bulbs

Image caption: Well-Lit are one of the few lighting brands that is actively ensuring that the manufacturing process to make its products and components is ethical.

HK: As lighting experts and designers, how aware are you all about non-ethical practices when it comes to manufacturing?

Charlotte Flynn: I’ll be honest, before we had an introduction with Well-lit, we were not aware of the unethical side of lighting manufacturing. It really was new to us. At least knowing that brands, such as Well-Lit, were willing to bring this forward was comforting, but it was also pretty unnerving to think that, despite working with brands who claim to be ethical and sustainable, we actually had no idea just how bad the situation was. The reality is that many designers are unknowingly specifying products that have been made in barbaric conditions.

Metehan Apak: As designers, I think we have all noticed prices of products come down as demand rises. What cannot be ignored are the demands among modern travellers for sustainable design and hospitality. As a result, our clients are getting on board with our thinking to source sustainable and ethical products.

Arianne Ghezzi: We do pay close attention to the suppliers we are working with. There are a few items that we really care about when specifying and that’s usually around what happens in the background. Clients start coming on board when they realise that these ethical decisions often end up saving money when it comes to running costs. More and more, I have seen, that clients are also asking about the lifecycle of products and the recycling qualities of each product.

I also think that manufacturing tours are very usable for designers to understand how components are made and put together.

Image caption: Ennismore recently set new standards to only work with brands that can prove their ethical value. | Image credit: The Hoxton Paris

Image caption: Ennismore recently set new standards to only work with brands that can prove their ethical value. | Image credit: The Hoxton Paris

HK: I can imagine, though, it is very difficult for designers who are working towards a brief for a space to be aesthetically pleasing while also remaining on budget and for the materials to be sourced ethically. Realistically, can all three demands be met?

Susan Lake: It’s a very difficult tightrope that as designers we have to walk. We have to think about the larger picture but we also have to consider the budget, time and aesthetics. It’s reassuring to see that there are brands out there that do source and manufacture responsibly. Equally, it is our responsibility to really demand these credentials when we are specifying products. When it comes to ethics, though, to produce in an ethical way will naturally result in the prices going up.

HK: How do you qualify what is ethical – and what is the human and social cost of unethically made lighting?

CS: The situation around fast fashion really brought awareness to other industries. Even Apple – one of the world’s most recognised brands in the world – has huge problems with their manufacturing in Asia. For example, the brand launched a huge campaign about ethics and manufacturing. Well, on the day they released their press statement, a video emerged showing footage from inside a Chinese factory where the manager was throwing workers’ name badges on the floor for them to pick up at the start of their shifts. It’s incredibly difficult and if a brand like Apple is struggling then you can imagine how challenging it is for everyone else.

“It’s almost like ‘made in China’ is a dirty phrase. And it usually is, but it doesn’t have to be. – Chris Stimson, Founder, Well-Lit.

Image caption: Public areas inside Hotel Zeppelin, designed by Dawson Design Associates. | Image credit: Viceroy Hotels

Image caption: Public areas inside Hotel Zeppelin, designed by Dawson Design Associates. | Image credit: Viceroy Hotels

In terms of my own experience and what I have witnessed, the social and human cost of manufacturing [unethically] in my industry is devastating. I am seeing migrants working hundreds of miles away from their families for very low pay – sometimes even refused pay. The working and living conditions in and around these factories can be disgusting and dangerous. They are being made to work inhumane hours and their jobs are threatened on a daily basis because they can be easily replaced. I have seen what that can do so someone’s physical and mental health and it is disturbing. It destroys people, and yet it still doesn’t get spoken about.

For a lot of brands, it’s almost like ‘made in China’ is a dirty phrase. And it usually is, but it doesn’t have to be. My beliefs are that we all live on the same planet and we should be treated equally. It is as important to discuss ethical sourcing as it is to highlight sustainability and carbon emissions.

“Sustainability seems to be the key word in the briefs but trying to find out information on how the products are manufactured and the conditions of the factories is very difficult.” – Glenn Campion, Partner, LAPD

Image caption: LADP Lighting Design's simple yet dramatic lighting scheme inside The Loft Restaurant. | Image credit: The Loft Restaurant

Image caption: LADP Lighting Design’s simple yet dramatic lighting scheme inside The Loft Restaurant. | Image credit: The Loft Restaurant

HK: In your experiences, are you being told the truth when brands tell you about their ethical credentials?  

Glen Campion: Finding and measuring metrics and data on the ethical standards of manufacturers is nigh on impossible. It’s not something that is published. Sustainability seems to be the key word in the briefs but trying to find out information on how the products are manufactured and the conditions of the factories is very difficult. I think there is a lack of accreditations. The only one I am aware of is the Green Alliance but I know that doesn’t cover everything, so there is a long way to go.

CS: That’s really important because there are no accreditations out there that define exactly what an ethical brand is. I can set up a brand tomorrow and convince a lot of people that we are doing everything the right way and it would simply not be true. The only time in my career that an organisation has really challenged me on what we do was when The Observer  were considering us for ‘ethical product of the decade’ in their ethical awards. They asked deep questions and requested evidence.

For designers, it is almost impossible to know if you are purchasing sustainable or ethically made products, it really is!

“It is impossible to find out in certain regions. We have tried, for years, and we can source about 85 per cent of our raw materials and then there is just a hole. – Chris Stimson, Founder, Well-Lit.

HK: It seems that price is a pretty good indicator then. How much more expensive are ethically sourced lighting products?

CS: When we designed the business, we asked how we could create an ethical product. We had to be a profitable, sustainable and ethical enterprise. By truly doing this, it became clear that there was no way we could afford large-scale PR or a large offices and teams in London. In fact, in 12 years, we have spent about £12,000 on marketing because every penny we have has to go into the design of the product.

What’s more is that we need to present our products at competitive prices to our competitors otherwise we are out of the game. The challenges of running a business like ours is extraordinary when competing against the large brands with deep marketing pockets.

Two big bulbs in lighting scheme for a bar

Image credit: Well-Lit

Glen was talking about supply chains and where raw materials come from. The truth is that it is impossible to find out in certain regions. We have tried, for years, and we can source about 85 per cent of our raw materials and then there is just a hole. Therefore, we cannot promote ourselves as a completely sustainable business – but we try everything we can to be as ethical and sustainable as possible, while being ahead of the technology curve when it comes to lighting innovation.

I also don’t think you can be a sustainable business without being an ethical business. The real sustainability crime is the sheer amount of the low quality, often broken, bulbs that we shipped from China to the western world. If you think about the carbon footprint of these products that end up faulty and subsequently replaced with another bulb that has done the same journey, it’s not an ethical solution.

We make everything by hand, and that gives us such a low failure rate. Yes, we suffer on the cost of that but there really is no other way for us to produce those products ethically.

HK: Charlotte, how have your conversations changed with other brands since learning about what Well-Lit does?

CF: When it comes to the supply chain of products, we have an in-house sustainability focus group. We set up a schedule and there are questionnaires sent out to our recommended suppliers about their supply chain of materials. And yes, we have seen the same, we manage to trace back materials half way and then it descends into a black hole. With lighting, Chris was the first to put this on our radar. We actually only work with Well-Lit at the moment because of our shared ethos around ethical sourcing.

Obviously, we do have the benefit of being in-house so we are able to make those pledges and they are transparently communicated and understood among the whole team here. However, I believe we can set a tone for the industry to follow. It’s been really key to ensure that this, sustainability and conscious sourcing, is within our brand standards at Ennismore.

HK: Why is more lighting not manufactured in the UK?  

SL: It really does depend project by project. Some clients, depending on their clientele and demographic, are more focused on ethics and environment than others. Those clients are willing to pay more for the products. It is easier to trace back materials when the products have been made in the UK, but it is tough because all businesses need to think about their profitability.

HK: Please tell me that brands can ethically manufacturer products abroad as well…

CS: Yes, it can be done – our brand uses very good factories in China while also manufacturing in the UK. There are certain items that you simply cannot manufacture in the UK, such as bulbs, while also retaining a price point that anyone would touch. One of the things that gets missed out in topics like these is that there are brilliant crafts people in Asia who are doing brilliant things. In terms of both technology and the governmental support given to these creatives, they are some of the best people in the world and yet their reputation is being tainted by the result of greed and poor quality mass production of products.

In terms of being able to manufacture in China, there is a lot of trust that come into it. There are just two or three factories that I would use because of genuine shared values when it comes to the manufacturing process and human ethical standards. The most important element for us is that the workers are passionate and buy into the products they are producing. If they are benefiting from the products they are creating, then they will produce better quality products. This ultimately results in a product that has more longevity.

HK: How has this situation become so out of control?

CS: In my experience, most LED bulb brands do not know what is happening. It’s not always that these companies don’t want to know but it’s more that they just assume everything is happening the way they think it is. The sourcing process for most companies is to meet suppliers while travelling to trade shows, perhaps stay on to visit a factory where samples can be made and prices can be agreed. They might do a factory inspection but a lot can be hidden and this process, in my experience, can be highly manipulated and deceptive.

HK: What can designers do to make the industry more ethical?

CS: Ask difficult questions and demand hard evidence. For suppliers, these questions should be directed towards the factories they are working with. Suppliers should know about the living and working conditions of the workers who are in these factories.

GC: I’ll be honest, when it comes to specifying, over the last 10 years the decisions from clients have been driven by cost. The choices on the lighting projects I have been involved in are around supply costs. There are so many components in lighting schemes that need to be measured and presented, so weighing them up against another product that is ethically sourced is not often asked for. It would be great, however, to promote ethical sourcing and really help to educate the industry on the effects of unethical manufacturing.

HK: I think you’re right, the more companies that put forward good, solid evidence around ethical production of products, the more the industry will naturally demand this being an essential. Ultimately, if all suppliers looked deep into their supply chain and if all designers were more inquisitive about the products they are supplying then the healthier the industry will become on a global scale.

Main image credit: Hotel Designs

Lobby/lounge inside Pan Pacific London

Pan Pacific London – a new luxury wellness hotel is born

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Pan Pacific London – a new luxury wellness hotel is born

There is no doubt that Pan Pacific London was one of the most hotly anticipated hotel openings in London in 2021. With the hotel now open, following a spectacular opening party, it’s time to experience what luxury and wellness at new heights really feels like… 

Lobby/lounge inside Pan Pacific London

Following what has been a hard-hitting few years for the hospitality and tourism industry, it’s refreshing to finally see new hotels – properties we have been drawling over since their concept phases were unveiled – are starting to emerge in the ever-so-congested London hotel arena. Pan Pacific London was one of those hotels. In an interview with its architect, Mark Kelly from PLP Architecture, we learned the need for flexibility in today’s era of design and hospitality. “Architecture is an inherently flexible process – always evolving while constantly questioning and reinventing itself,” he said when discussing architecture’s role post-pandemic. “As such, it is well placed to respond to the current and seemingly ever-changing Covid crisis and, for that matter, other current and future global concerns such as the climate emergency.”

Pan Pacific London is a fine example of a new hotel that was, prior to the Covid-19 crisis, already planning to take wellness in luxury into a new era. However, after hospitality’s months and months of forced hibernation, this hotel opens with a greater meaning and purpose for the wider luxury hotel landscape. This haven in the heart of the city fuses together architecture, contemporary design, boundary-pushing wellbeing, and leading destination restaurants and bars, with sincere Singaporean hospitality to create a lifestyle destination in London.

Located in Liverpool Street, Pan Pacific London is on the doorstep of world-renowned locations yet also home to its own inner world. Sitting proudly in the landmark tower at One Bishopsgate Plaza, the hotel is situated near many of the city’s finest attractions including high-end shopping in Spitalfields, the Barbican cultural hub, and the stylish Shoreditch neighbourhood.

What to expect inside

Setting the tone immediately upon arrival, the lobby is minimalist with earthy and warm tones creating a modern and paired back home-from-home scene. Accents of colour and personality, however, come from carefully placed plants that were provided by biophilic design experts at Leaflike. “This is one of the most rewarding projects we have worked on because of the alignment between our businesses regarding sustainability,” Brandon Abernethie, Head of Design at Leaflike told Hotel Designs.We cannot wait to help more hoteliers achieve their goals.”

A minimalist lobby with plants

Image credit: Jack Hardy

The hotel has been created by esteemed design duo Yabu Pushelberg, who bring their signature style to the hotel sparked by the fusion of south-east Asian vibrancy and the refined elegance of traditional British design. A unique sanctuary in the middle of The City of London, modern lines and artistic flair run throughout the hotel’s public spaces whilst guest rooms offer a sense of peace and calm with curved walls and neutral colour palettes.

Led by a team of seasoned industry veterans, Pan Pacific Hotels Group’s acclaimed attention to detail and a proactive approach to environmental sustainability and wellness can be seen in the 237 guestrooms and suites which offer some of London’s finest accommodation. The signature Pan Pacific Suite, for example, perched on the 19th floor, is the essence of luxury with spectacular views of city landmark, The Gherkin. 

The guestrooms have been designed as retreats from the bustling city and feature a lighter colour palette offering peace and tranquillity to the private spaces while the omission of 90-degree angles in bedrooms and washrooms creates a gentle embrace where guests can seek rest and comfort.

Custom headboards act as personalised art pieces, adding a layer of calm through the depiction of oak, elder, elm and maple trees while accessories introduce small bursts of colour and organic forms to reinforce the tonal and tranquil nature of each guestroom. 

A guestroom with neutral tones

Image credit: Jack Hardy

For ultimate wellbeing, an innovative ChiliSleep™ Ooler Sleep Cooling System to aid better sleep via temperature regulation is available upon request, and rooms come complete with yoga mats and on demand virtual yoga sessions, as well as health-benefiting botanical planting.

Integrating fitness, nutrition, treatments and mindfulness, the hotel is one of the first in London to include an impressive 1,083m² floor dedicated to holistic wellness, featuring an 18.5m infinity pool and the latest equipment from TecnoBody®, including the D-Wall and conditioning gym, making it one of the most technologically advanced facilities showcased by any hotel gym in the UK.

In addition to high-performance training, aqua fitness in the hotel’s infinity pool is a unique addition to the wellbeing floor, along with mindful workshops and sustainable nutrition. Spa treatments infuse Western science and clinical research with South East Asian tradition of clean beauty focusing on result-driven relaxation techniques, pregnancy treatments, and personal grooming rituals.

The F&B offering at Pan Pacific London is unparalleled, with each of its five venues incorporating unique elements of the flavour, diversity and elegance of modern Singapore. Led by multi award-winning Executive Chef Lorraine Sinclair and renowned Executive Pastry Chef Cherish Finden, the hotel’s Straits Kitchen restaurant, Ginger Lily bar and The Orchid Lounge drawing room delights guests with new and innovative flavours. The team are working closely with British producers, Nurtured in Norfolk, to grow their own high quality Asian ingredients as well as sourcing local produce to help minimise the carbon footprint whilst bringing authentic flavours to the table.

Pan Pacific London offers a serene haven away from the hustle and bustle, with every element carefully crafted and tailored to offer one of London’s most complete contemporary and luxury hotel experiences. The panelled wood screens which wrap the ground floor reception have been carried up and throughout the wellbeing floor to create continuity. Tall ceilings lend an inviting feel to the space whilst the spectacular poolside fireplace and sofas create a homely feeling making guests want to relax and linger.

Located at the top of the lobby’s spiral staircase, Straits Kitchen is an ode to Southeast Asia both through design and cuisine. Embracing a respectful approach to cooking inspired by heritage recipes, the menu at Straits Kitchen has been carefully crafted by the hotel’s Executive Chef Lorraine Sinclair working alongside Singaporean Group Executive Chef Tony Khoo and showcases the melting pot of cuisines represented in multicultural Singapore. Quirky, bold and bright, Straits Kitchen stands as a gem of the hotel, featuring two private dining spaces, custom dining tables and a custom wine-cabinet-as-art. Custom murals have been brought to life by En Viu which further enforce the restaurant’s Eastern influence, depicting Asian botanicals mirroring the unique flavours on the menu. The floor-to-ceiling glass windows offer guests unparalleled views of The City.

Located on the first floor, The Orchid Lounge offers a uniquely sumptuous and serene Afternoon Tea from award-winning Executive Pastry Chef Cherish Finden. Cherish brings her unique flair for Asian flavours to the traditional British tea with the Singaporean-inspired Kopi Tiam, celebrating bao, dim sum and choux. 

In addition to superb dining and dynamically designed guestrooms and suites, Pan Pacific London includes the most technologically advanced and largest ballroom in the area, accommodating up to 400 guests. The hotel also features an Event Emporium alongside a further nine innovative and flexible meeting and events venues, with a dedicated in-house events management team plus state-of-the-art technology, superfast WiFi and 5G receivers.

The extensive 464sqm smart Pacific Ballroom has direct access from Bishopsgate Plaza via a glass escalator and elevator as well as direct access via the hotel. A custom Lasvit chandelier designed by Yabu Pushelberg hangs sumptuously above the expansive ballroom and is composed of floating crystal orbs creating a starry night’s sky under which any occasion may be celebrated.

Main image credit: Jack Hardy

25hours-hotel-firenze-paola-navone

25hours to arrive in Italy this September

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
25hours to arrive in Italy this September

The first 25hours hotel in Italy will open in Florence this September, with anything-but-subtle interiors by Milan-based designer Paola Navone…

The 25hours Hotel Piazza San Paolino occupies a central location in Florence, in the Santa Maria Novella district, which is among the most authentic and lesser-known neighbourhoods in the Italian city and a little off the beaten track.

25hours-hotel-firenze-paola-navone

The 171-key boutique hotel is situated in the former premises of Monte de ‘Pegni – the lending company of the Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze – and has its central core of 66 rooms in the original monastery next to the eponymous church of San Paolino. These hallowed halls are now imbued with fresh creative energy thanks to controlled demolitions, new building elements and restored areas. Enhancing the historic core is a new annexe boasting another 104 guest rooms with balconies, as well as the Casetta del Giardino, a small apartment with a private garden and pool. 

Created by Milan-based designer Paola Navone and her team, the hotel was inspired by Dante’s Divine Comedy and is brimming with light-hearted allusions to this legendary work: scenes from Hell and Paradise are playfully interspersed, offering an illuminating tour through Dante’s world of virtues and vices. Situated beneath the vast glass dome, the Restaurant San Paolino is the centrepiece of the hotel in the historical palazzo. Round about are a green courtyard garden, a classic Negroni bar and a typical alimentari – a grocery store for the neighbourhood and lively piazza that serves a small selection of food and drinks to suit the time of day.

The San Paolino restaurant epitomises Italian cuisine, offering the best produce from all regions of the country, although Tuscany occupies a special place on the menu. Changing with the seasons, there are also a few dishes from designer Paola Navone’s personal recipe collection. Guests perusing the wine list will find exclusively curated recommendations from choice wineries in Tuscany. Dining beneath the glass dome at the centre of the impressive palazzo is meant to be fun – and the imaginative design merely adds to this experience. San Paolino is a great place to meet at any time of day, and the hospitality space expands into the playful courtyard garden during the warmer months.

The Companion Bar at 25hours Hotel Piazza San Paolino appears both quintessentially Italian and strikingly international. Its signature products are bitter-sweet classics like Negroni, but include new interpretations that add a playfully seasonal touch to these flavours. The Companion Bar welcomes its guests from the aperitivo to the late-night drink and is establishing itself as a fixed star in the Florentine night life. The traditional ‘hole in the wall’, the buchetta del vino, allows guests to enjoy their glass of wine on the pavement in front of the establishment. Table bookings are not available, but personal advice from the bar crew certainly is.

Alimentari actually just means ‘food’ in Italian. But the word is also used to describe neighbourhood corner stores selling groceries and everyday items. The 25hours Hotel in Florence has its own alimentari on the small Piazza San Paolino. Besides paninis, sandwiches and salads, it also includes a traditional-style wine shop offering a selection of local products and specialities for gourmets – ideal for a culinary tour through the world of Italian delicacies. The range was curated by S. Forno, a legendary local bakery, and all of the freshly baked products come straight from their ovens, of course.

Main image credit: 25hours

The Other House Club Flat Kitchen in blue and mustard

Video exclusive: The making of The Other House (part 1)

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Video exclusive: The making of The Other House (part 1)

The first video in our exclusive concept-to-completion series with The Other House takes a tour inside what will soon be its first hotel – AKA, residents’ club. Editor Hamish Kilburn speaks to the brand’s CEO and the design team, which including Bergman Design House and architecture firm Falconer Chester Hall, to understand more about the design narrative that will be sheltered inside…

The Other House Club Flat Kitchen in blue and mustard

A new era of hospitality is on the horizon. The Other House is an innovative concept that we first explored earlier this year, which, right on cue, has raised some eyebrows recently. Since joining a panel discussion on ‘a new era of lifestyle’ at Hotel Designs LIVE in May, CEO & founder Naomi Heaton – a self-confessed newcomer into the hospitality arena who aims to disrupt conventional approaches to hotel design and development – has invited our cameras in to capture the concept-to-completion story behind brand’s first property. Sheltered inside Harrington Hall, a heritage property, The Other House South Kensington will offer 200 Club Flats – all of which will feature signature, fully fitted and contemporary design – for leisure travellers and corporate visitors alike. 

With less than one year until the first residents’ club opens, here’s what we discovered when we took a sneak peek inside the building. During our access-all-areas visit, we spoke to Heaton about the pillars of the brand. In addition, we caught up with the architect at Falconer Chester Hall, Alastair Shepherd, who is responsible for carving out the body of the hospitality experience. And, to make things really interesting, we even made a visit to Bergman Design House to speak to Marie Soliman, the interior designer tasked to bring her sketches and renders to life, while sourcing as much as she possibly can locally and sustainably.

Who’s who? 

Elevating the traditional long stay and serviced apartment models, the new brand will combine beautifully designed apartments – complete with fully fitted kitchens, living and sleeping areas – with a private club exclusively for residents and members to relax and enjoy, complete with two bars, spa and fitness studio. For a local vibe, the bold public spaces will include a destination bar and all-day dining bistro (renders of these areas will be available shortly).

While targetting an audience that is conscious and cares deeply about the environmental impact hotel development can have on the planet, sustainability was one of the first pillars for The Other House. “We take a sustainable approach to renovating existing buildings and is committed to making a positive impact on the community, our employees and the environment,” explained Heaton in an earlier interview with Hotel Designs. “Our residents will be a part of our environmental journey so they can make a measurable, personal difference. There will be a focus on health and wellbeing at all the guest touchpoints and we will be using, for example, recyclable packaging, healthy, sustainably produced food and British-made furniture.”

With eight categories of Club Flats – Club Town, Club Garden, Club Courtyard, Club Mezz, Club Class, Club Vault, Club Turret and Club Access – the units range from 258 sqft (24sqm) to 581 sqft (54sqm), as well as two-, three- and four-bedroom options. The intelligent use of space revolves around the living area (rather than the bedroom) just as it does in the home, which was key for the brand to create a real sense of place and comfort.

What’s more, despite all the noise around the new era of luxury suggesting a paired back, even removed, stance on technology is the way forward, central to The Other House will be a downloadable app that offers personalisation and control through on-demand access to hotel-style services. The software, which, if seamless, meaningful, discreet and easy to use, will become a revolutionary element of the hospitality experience at The Other House. It will enable residents to manage their entire stay andexperience; tailoring their hospitality journey to their own specific needs and requirements. As a result, the software will certainly answer to modern demands that are calling for more personalised experiences.

For long-stay guests, The Other House will provide a new alternative to renting, offering any length stays, around the clock security, access to hotel style services and the very best of city living. The first of this type of accommodation that the UK has seen, it will also offer flexibility for residents to book in and out. With stays bookable from a day to a year, The Other House offers a stylish solution for those looking for a city base. And services such as clothes and luggage storage between trips makes it perfect for guests looking for a regular London pied-à-terre a few days each week.

Establishing itself as a ‘one to watch’ on the glabal hospitality scene, with a forward-thinking concept and immersive design scheme, The Other House South Kensington is the first residents’ club to be launched. The brand is on track to open in other ‘villages’ throughout central London, including Covent Garden by 2023, before rolling out internationally. 

In the next video in our exclusive concept-to-completion editorial series with The Other House, produced by CUBE, we will rejoin the development and design team ahead of the opening of the brand’s first residents’ club. In this video, we will explore more about the technology behind-the-scenes, as well as understand how the drawings, sketches and renderings have been brought to life. By then, we may also have more news and exclusive design details about the interior scheme behind the heavy doors of the brand’s second property in Covent Garden. 

Main image credit: The Other House | Video credit: CUBE

The Brit List Awards 2021 shortlist

The Brit List Awards 2021: Shortlist announced

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The Brit List Awards 2021: Shortlist announced

The shortlist for The Brit List Awards 2021 has been announced, with more than 130 individuals and projects – the most finalists in the campaign’s history – selected across nine categories. The winners will be unveiled in spectacular style at the awards ceremony, which takes place on November 3 inside London’s famous cabaret venue, PROUD Embankment…

The Brit List Awards 2021 shortlist

Regarded and respected globally as the industry’s most widespread campaign to identify the leading interior designers, architects, hoteliers and brands, The Brit List Awards 2021 has unveiled this year’s shortlist, which includes more than 130 individuals and projects.

The finalists, listed below, have been invited to attend The Brit List Awards’ annual award ceremony, which, following last year’s virtual affair, will take place live in the extravagant cabaret venue, PROUD Embankment. At the event, as well as the individual winners being announced, The Brit List 2021, a publication that will profile the top 25 designers, architects and hoteliers, will also be unveiled.

The Brit List Awards is Hotel Designs’ the nationwide search to find the most influential interior designers, architects, hoteliers and brands operating in Britain.

Now in its fifth year, The Brit List Awards is Hotel Designs’ the nationwide search to find the most influential interior designers, architects, hoteliers and brands operating in Britain. This year’s meticulous process began months ago when Hotel Designs opened up nominations and applications to its loyal readers. Since then, the expert judging panel have taken over to whittle down the shortlist as well as decide upon the individual winners.

“As I cast my eyes down this year’s shortlist, I am reminded once more that Britain is, and will no-doubt remain, a major pin on the design, architecture and hospitality map.” – Hamish Kilburn, editor, Hotel Designs.

“One only has to look at this year’s entries to be able to see that Britain is a melting pot for creative design and authentic hospitality,” explains editor Hamish Kilburn who will take the microphone on November 3 to host this year’s awards. “It’s sensational to see, despite obvious adversities, that the design, architecture and hospitality industry has risen to the challenge, once more, to present forward-thinking solutions in the global arena. As I cast my eyes down this year’s shortlist, I am reminded once more that Britain is, and will no-doubt remain, a major pin on the design, architecture and hospitality map. Here, on this tiny speck of land, we incubate innovation, nurture talent and amplify meaningful initiatives that challenge conventional approached to hotel design and hospitality.”

Adding more sparkle to this year’s live awards ceremony will be the sponsors and partners. They are: Crosswater (Headline Partner)Hamilton Litestat (Event Partner)Duravit (Event Partner), Schlüter Systems (Showcase Partner), Leaflike (Decorative Partner), GROHE (Broadcasting Partner), NEWH (Industry Partner) British Institute of Interior Design (Industry Partner) and CUBE (Videography Partner).

The shortlisted finalists for The Brit List Awards 2021 are: 

Interior Designer of the Year

Name Studio
Alan McVitty M STUDIO LONDON
Alex Kravetz Alex Kravetz Design
Beverley Bayes Sparcstudio
Clare McDonald Design Command
Clara Mason Dexter Moren Associates
Craig McKie Bell & Swift Ltd
Dale Atkinson Rosendale Design
David Mason Scott Brownrigg
Dennis Irvine Dennis Irvine Studio
Ed Warner Motionspot
Fiona Thompson Richmond International
Geraldine Dohogne Beyond Design
Hamish Brown 1508 London
Hayley Roy Harp Design
Henry Chebaane Blue Sky Hospitality
Hilary Lancaster Fusion Interiors Group
Ilse Crawford StudioIlse
Jeremy Grove Sibley Grove
Jouin Manku Jouin Manku
Kirsty Vance I Am London
Marie Soliman Bergman Interiors
Mark Bithrey B3 Designers
Neil Andrew Perkins&Will
Nicholas J Hickson THDP
Ravi Lakhaney Bailey London
Robert Angell Robert Angell Design International
Sally Proctor Majik House
Samantha McCulloch ICA
Sara Browett Sara Copeland Interiors Ltd
Scott Torrance 3DReid
Simon Kincaid Conran and Partners
Simon Rawlings David Collins Studio
Solomija Bogusz Interior Designer
Suzanne Garuda Garuda Design
Tina Norden Conran and Partners

Architect of the Year

Name Studio
Adam Hall Falconer Chester Hall
Alastair Shepherd Falconer Chester Hall Architects
Alexandra Birmpili Kappa planning Ltd
Ali Alammar Alamar Architects
Amrit Naru ADP Architects
Ben Adams Ben Adams Architects
Catarina Pina-Bartrum LDS Architects
Cathryn Crisp Randell Design Group
Christos Passas Zaha Hadid Architects
Doug Pearson 3DReid
Ed Murray Dexter Moren Associates
Gordon Ferrier 3D Reid
Graham Barr jmarchitects
Herbert Lui Dexter Moren Associates
James Dilley Jestico + Whiles
Jen Samuel 3DReid
Jonny Sin ReardonSmith Architects
Julie Humphryes Archer Humphryes Architects
Luke Fox Foster + Partners
Mark Bruce EPR Architects
Mark Kelly PLP Architecture
Matthew Salter HGP Architects
Metehan Apak Dawson Design Associates
Nicholas de Klerk Translation Architecture
Richard Coutts BACA Architects
Richard Holland Holland Harvey Architects
Sarah Murphy Jestico + Whiles
Simon Whittaker Orms
Tom Lindblom Principal, Architect
Tony Kho Trehearne Architects
Yasmine Mahmoudieh Yasmine Mahmoudieh Studio

Hotelier of the Year 

Name Hotel
Andrew Hollett Kettering Park Hotel and Spa
Charles Oak The Londoner
Conor O’Leary Gleneagles
David Connell South Lodge Hotel & Spa
Dominic Sauls Qbic London City Hotel
Edward Workman The Newt
Elli Jafari The Standard London
Federico Ciampi Mayfair Townhouse
Franck Arnold Savoy, London
Gareth Banner The Ned
Grace Leo The Relais Henley
Guillaume Marly Hotel Café Royal
Hector Ross The Mitre, Hampton Court
James Clarke Hilton Bankside London
John Scanlon 45 Park Lane
Julian Hudson Fellows House Cambridge – Curio by Hilton Collection
Marie-Paule Nowlis Sofitel London St James
Michael Bonsor Rosewood London
Michael Mason-Shaw Hyatt Place London City East
Murray Ward Soho Farmhouse
Olivia Richli Heckfield Place
Paul Bayliss Hotel Brooklyn, Manchester
Paul Skinner DUKES LONDON
Robin Hutson THE PIG Hotels
Sergio Leandro Sea Containers London
Simon Mahon The Grand York
Stuart Geddes The Lanesborough, London
Thomas Agius Ferrante The Grove of Narberth
Will Ashworth Watergate Bay Hotel

Best in Tech

Brand Product/project
Lutron Athena
SONANCE Peninsula London
Majik House Absoluxe Suites
GROHE/LIXIL GROHE Plus
Franklite L11 Tuneable

The Eco Award 

Brand Product/project
Harrison Spinks The Sprint Collection
Hypnos Contract Beds Various products
Leaflike Pan Pacific London
GROHE/LIXIL Cradle to Cradle certified products
Video Tree Re Charge
CTD Architectural Tiles The Global Collection
Yasmine Mahmoudieh Flow
Clarke & Clarke Eco Sustainable Weaves
Ozone Clean OC Range
Well-Lit Various products
Barber Osgerby AXOR One
Siminetti Seasons Collection
Silentnight Group Hosptiality Various products

Best in British Product Design

Brand Product/project
Newmor Wallcoverings Healthcare Collection
Franklite Perry Range
Franklite L11 Tuneable
Hypnos Contract Beds Various products
SMD Textiles, ILIV Exotic Garden
Edelweiss Pianos The Solis
The Monkey Puzzle Tree Metamorphosis
The Collective Agency Swell
Ziad Alonaizy Eileen Cabinet
Dernier & Hamlyn Bespoke lighitng for Nobu London Portman Square
Wandsworth The Baton (and other) switches
Morgan Rakino
Morgan Kaya

The Rising Star Award (new for 2021)

Name Brand/Studio/University
Adam Wardale Middletons Hotel, York
Aleksandra Tredez The Lost Poet (Cubic Studios)
Matthew Maganga University of Kent
Sophie Piggot Concorde BGW Group
Sarah Yuma Dexter Moren Associates

The International Award (new for 2021)

Name Brand
Wilderness Safaris Wilderness Safaris
Bill Bensley BENSLEY
DLR Group Madinah Gate
noa* network of architecture noa* network of architecture
YES.design.architecture YES.design.architecture
Royal Mansour Marrakech Royal Mansour Marrakech

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.

How to attend The Brit List Awards 2021 – the awards ceremony 

All designers, architects and hoteliers that have been shortlisted will receive an email asking them to confirm their complimentary ticket to attend the awards ceremony on November 3 at PROUD Embankment. Outside of the shortlist, designers, architects, hoteliers and developers can purchase tickets here (£10 + VAT per ticket if purchased before September 10)*. Suppliers, and anyone else wishing to attend, can click here to purchase their tickets (£99 + VAT per ticket if purchased before September 10)*.

*After September 10, tickets for designers, architects and hoteliers will inflate to £20 + VAT per ticket. For suppliers, tickets will inflate to £150 +VAT per ticket. There are limited number of tickets on sale, which will be issued out on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Main image credit: The Brit List Awards 2021/Hotel Designs

A large suite in Lisbon that is airy and has breakfast on the side

Living like a local in Portugal – inside Lumiares, Lisbon

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Living like a local in Portugal – inside Lumiares, Lisbon

The Lumiares, Lisbon is a five-star boutique bombshell, where the style is personal, not “corporate”, relaxed not “stuffy”, gives an authentic nod to Lisbon’s colour, culture and patterns. Editor Hamish Kilburn falls in love with Portugal again when exploring the city’s latest destination hotel…

A large suite in Lisbon that is airy and has breakfast on the side

The fully renovated hotel, which is housed in a former XVII century Palace in the heart of the city, has all the key amenities and facilities for business and leisure travellers who want to feel at home when away from home.

The Lumiares’ philosophy is to highlight the authenticity and personality of Lisbon by collaborating with local Portuguese businesses to showcase ‘the best of Portugal’. Almost every item of furniture, artwork, textiles and room accessories has been conceived, designed and manufactured in Portugal, some within 500m from the hotel, which transcends a new take on ‘living like a local’.

Guestroom - Lumiares Lisbon

Image credit: Lumiares Lisbon

The starting place for design and artwork within the 47-key hotel was the location. Perched on the central edge of Bairro Alto, the hotel is situated in a Lisbon quarter home to a bohemian mish-mash of everyday residents, artists and merchants’ studios, restaurants, quirky shops, lively bars and cafes; a warren of asymmetrical buildings with mismatched facades of varying heights and hues, its narrow streets and pavements cobbled in Lisbon’s iconic square paving stones.

Rooftop of Lumiares Lisbon

Image credit: Lumiares Lisbon

Surveyed from above, the quarter forms a striking grid of patterns, light and dark; painted walls adorned with Lisbon’s beautiful hero colours – sky blue, rosy pink and warm ochre. These colours change and intensify throughout the day – creating yet more contrast as the unique, golden light of Lisbon turns to dusk. By day, the neighbourhood is sleepy and quiet, while at night it comes alive and becomes a place of contrasts. This is reflected in the bold black, white and brass-accented flooring in the lobby area, a bespoke collection of abstract and geometrical original artworks on display throughout the rooms, and a captivating sculptural brass chandelier dominating the building’s grand staircase.

A gold and black and white open lobby in Lisbon

Image credit: Lumieres Lisbon

In design terms, day-to-night, light-to-dark transformation was brought to life to capture Bairro Alto’s topography of pattern and grids – choosing boldly geometric prints in the materials, fabrics, artwork and flooring, accented with the colours and golden light we see all around us. From the lobby’s bold black and white and brass-accented flooring, the colourful abstract original artwork of Maser to designer Beau McClellan’s captivating sculptural and cubic brass lighting installation in the hotel’s central stairwell, the unique character of the Bairro Alto quarter was central to the design theme.

The hotel’s simple style, charm and character is described as a colourful love letter to Portugal – what a way to fall back in love with authentic travel again…

Main image credit: Lumiares Lisbon

A Tara Bernerd project: Thompson Hollywood makes its debut in Los Angeles

819 565 Hamish Kilburn
A Tara Bernerd project: Thompson Hollywood makes its debut in Los Angeles

The 190-key property, in the heart of Los Angeles, expands Thompson Hotels’ west coast footprint with interior design by British studio, Tara Bernerd & Partners. Let’s take a peek inside…

Hyatt Hotels has announced the debut of Thompson Hollywood, a luxury lifestyle hotel situated on Wilcox Avenue near Hollywood and Vine. A dynamic mix of global sophistication, hyper-local immersion and intuitive service, the prime location embodies the Thompson Hotels brand’s promise to provide guests with the ultimate “in-the-know” experience at the refined edge of travel.

Image credit: Hyatt Hotels

The new 11-story hotel features 190 mid-century-inspired guestrooms, including 16 suites, a sophisticated feature dining concept from acclaimed LA-based chef Lincoln Carson and Bar Lis, a destination rooftop lounge and pool with unparalleled city views. Sure to be a gathering spot for tasteful travellers and the eclectic Hollywood community alike, the much-anticipated project is owned by Relevant Group in collaboration with Steinberg Hart for architecture and interior design by Tara Bernerd & Partners, with Ten Five Hospitality overseeing food and beverage.

“Every touchpoint of the Thompson Hollywood experience has been concepted for the discerning traveler, particularly as pent-up travel demand has tourists and locals seeking memorable moments,” states Bruno Vergeynst, Managing Director of Thompson Hollywood. “Whether it’s the thoughtfully designed lobby and guestrooms by Tara Bernerd & Partners, chef Carson’s sophisticated dining concepts, the Bar Lis rooftop lounge or our intuitive guest programming, Thompson Hollywood invites guests to embrace a breezy Angeleno lifestyle.”

Render of luxury roomThe 11-storey hotel innovatively combines the hallmarks of timeless elegance with a raw industrial edge to create a unique atmosphere that is relaxing and inspiring, familiar and new.  The overall design is bold and confident, drawing upon the West Coast Modernist movement and a dash of Hollywood glamour as inspirations to seamlessly blend for a contemporary and elegant approach throughout.

Upon entry, a trellis-covered walkway beckons guests to a lobby adorned in mid-toned timber and teeming with verdant greenery, forming a tranquil and welcoming haven upon arrival. A spectacular custom terrazzo floor awaits guests underfoot, featuring an intricate metal inlay pattern that perfectly complements the elegant mid-century and contemporary furniture, bespoke Tara Bernerd & Partners rugs and inviting terrazzo reception desk. The convenient lobby bar – topped with a striking retro-green onyx – serves up coffee, cocktails or casual bites for those coming, going or staying to socialise, all with the laid-back hospitality and inclusive spirit emblematic of the Thompson Hotels brand’s desire to ensure everyone who walks through the doors feels more like a resident than a guest.    

Throughout the property and into the guestrooms, floor-to-ceiling windows flood rooms with natural sunlight, offering sweeping vantage points of the Hollywood Hills and beyond, and immersing guests directly in the city’s bustling energy. Guest bathrooms feature walls and vanities finished in rich terrazzo amidst contrasting pale-tiled floors, while exclusive D.S. & DURGA amenities add another touch of luxury to the experience. An honour bar containing various curated selections, lustrous Egyptian cotton linens, 55-inch smart televisions, and a state-of-the art 24-hour fitness studio round out the other exceptional amenities that elevate every stay. 

Through layers of inviting textures, timeless mid-century furniture and finishings, luxurious terrazzo details and a curated selection of modern art throughout, Thompson Hollywood redefines the notion of Hollywood glamour and is poised to become one of Los Angeles’ chicest destinations for culturally astute travellers and locals alike.

Thompson Hotels are known for featuring world-class culinary destinations on property. Thompson Hollywood features two exceptional food and beverage experiences created and operated by Ten Five Hospitality. They include the Martin Brudnizki-designed signature restaurant, Mes Amis, a modern French brasserie, and Bar Lis, a French Riviera-inspired rooftop lounge with spectacular wraparound views of Hollywood and Greater Los Angeles.

Helmed by celebrated chef Lincoln Carson, Mes Amis (French for “My Friends”) draws inspiration from bustling cafés and brasseries from Paris to Lyon while reflecting a decidedly Southern California sensibility. The menu reinterprets classic French dishes with an approachable bent, using the freshest produce and ingredients from local farms and markets, including the world-renowned Hollywood Farmers’ Market. Mes Amis is a new chapter for chef Carson following his nationally acclaimed Bon Temps, which received accolades from Food & Wine, Esquire and the Los Angeles Times. An industry leader and James Beard Foundation-nominated pastry chef, Carson’s background also includes stints at New York’s Le Bernardin, La Cote Basque, The Mina Group, Superba Food + Bread and more.

Designed by Bernadette Blanc, Bar Lis sits atop Thompson Hollywood, representing the crown jewel of the experience. Chic without pretention, the new rooftop lounge captures the iconic spirit and playfully sophisticated vibe of the Cote D’Azur. Serving inventive cocktails as well as fresh bites of locally sourced seafood, crudité and authentic bistro classics under the open sky, guests can enjoy Sunset Hour with unobstructed views of the Hollywood Hills, including the Hollywood sign. Bar Lis’ retractable roof ensures all-weather, all-year-round entertainment while a dedicated entrance with private elevator allows for more exclusive soirees. At night, Bar Lis comes alive with vintage and contemporary DJ sets, making it the perfect spot to top off the stay.     

“Introducing Thompson Hollywood in one of Los Angeles’ most sought-after real estate market is a groundbreaking move for the hospitality brand,” says Grant King, Managing Partner of Relevant Group. “This property not only perfectly sits at the storied intersection of the technology, media and entertainment realms, but will inevitably heighten Hollywood’s visibility as a coveted hospitality destination.”

 Located nearby to Sunset Strip, Runyon Canyon, the Hollywood Bowl, Griffith Observatory, Hollywood Boulevard, the Capitol Records Building and more, Thompson Hollywood sits at the very nexus of Los Angeles’ most appealing sites. The property joins other Thompson Hotels that are slated to debut in 2021, including Thompson Savannah, Thompson Denver, Thompson Buckhead and Thompson Austin.

Main image credit: Hyatt Hotels

Guestroom in qingdao overlooking ocean

St. Regis Hotels & Resorts makes debut at former Olympic venue

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
St. Regis Hotels & Resorts makes debut at former Olympic venue

St. Regis Hotels and Resorts has made its glamorous debut in China’s coastal city of Qingdao, which is the former Olympic sailing venue of the 2008 Games. Let’s take a look inside… 

The highly anticipated opening of St Regis Qingdao marks the first Marriott International luxury brand hotel in the northeastern Shandong region.

Guestroom in qingdao overlooking ocean

Strategically located in the landmark Haitian Center in the heart of historic Qingdao – overlooking Fushan Bay, the Olympic sailing venue for the 2008 Olympics – the hotel is set to delight the city’s luminaries and tastemakers with its elegant design, refined craftsmanship and time-honoured signature rituals.

“We are very excited to expand our luxury footprint to one of the most beautiful coastal cities in the region with the debut of the iconic St. Regis brand, bringing bespoke experiences curated for the most discerning travellers,” said Henry Lee, President, Greater China, Marriott International. “The opening of The St. Regis Qingdao ushers in a new benchmark of luxury hospitality in this dynamic city and underscores our commitment to continuously grow in Eastern China.”

Image credit: Marriott International

The arrival of St Regis in Qingdao follows a very public effort from Marriott International to expand its portfolio growth in Asia, following the group opening its 70th hotel property in Japan.

Occupying the 58th to 78th floors of the 369-meter-tall Haitian Center, The St. Regis Qingdao is the tallest hotel in the region, enthralling guests with panoramic vistas of the Yellow Sea and picturesque coastal scenes.

Drawing inspiration from the brand’s rich heritage, the renowned Singapore based interior design firm, LTW Designworks, subtly infused local Qingdao influences with St. Regis’ avant-garde aesthetic. This includes a crystal chandelier inspired by a legendary dress of golden thorns that Caroline Astor, mother of St. Regis founder John Jacob Astor IV and doyenne of New York high society in the Gilded Age, wore to one of her famed Midnight Suppers.

Lobby Chandelier inside St. Regis Qingdao

Image credit: Marriott International

A brilliantly-lit grand staircase offers the perfect venue for the celebrated St. Regis tradition of sabering a bottle of champagne to mark the transition from day to night. The backdrop of the grand staircase is a 74-metre-high atrium art wall that reflects the delicate traces left on the beach by the ebb and flow of the Yellow Sea.

The hotel features 233 guestrooms, including 30 luxury suites with spectacular ocean views. In each guest room, the bedside backplate features camellia motifs as an homage to the official flower of Qingdao, representing inspiration, integrity and romance. The bespoke amenities, design narratives and spectacular views combine to transport guests into a world of exquisite luxury and service. Guests will also enjoy the brand’s signature Butler Service, offering around-the-clock anticipatory service and ensuring that each guest’s stay is customised according to their tastes and preferences.

The St. Regis Qingdao also invites guests to embark on multi-sensory culinary journeys with exceptional presentations, memorable flavours and spectacular views at its five distinctive dining outlets. The Drawing Room, located on 59th floor, offers an indulgent Afternoon Tea along with panoramic seascapes. In spaces that combine contemporary chic with traditional charm, YAN TING serves authentic Cantonese cuisine featuring the freshest locally-sourced seafood. Social is an exciting all-day dining experience, featuring international delights at breakfast, along with fresh local seafood and western grill items on the lunch and dinner menus. The Carvery celebrates convivial dining in a classic New York steakhouse setting. In the evenings, guests are invited to The St. Regis Baroverlooking Qingdao city and its charming nightscapes to enjoy handcrafted cocktails. The signature St. Regis cocktail, the Bloody Mary, is given an intriguing new twist using essences of sparkling Qingdao beer, fresh local clams and fine sea-salt and aptly reintroduced as the “GáLa Mary”.

With a total of more than 2,000 square metres of dedicated event space, the hotel offers venues and facilities for iconic gatherings and meetings. The Astor Ballroom, covering an area of more than 900 square meters, is the perfect setting for celebrations, events, galas and talk-of-the-town wedding banquets. The St. Regis Qingdao also offers a bespoke wedding planner service to assist couples in planning their once-in-a-lifetime dream wedding.

The exclusive St. Regis Spa elevates the traditional spa visit into an enjoyable social occasion featuring five treatment rooms including the St. Regis Spa Suite, a private space for couples, families or small groups of friends to relax and enjoy bespoke treatment time together. The Celebration Bar is a joyous space of refined elegance serving the finest Champagne and effervescent cocktails. Fitness enthusiasts will enjoy the hotel’s well-equipped fitness centre and indoor infinity swimming pool offering stunning views of the surrounding sea and sky.

“We are thrilled to celebrate the debut of The St. Regis Qingdao. As one of the most important destinations for business and leisure travellers in China, Qingdao now has a most iconic luxury landmark,” said Jennie Toh, Vice President, Brand Marketing and Management, Asia Pacific, Marriott International. “We look forward to sharing Qingdao with guests through the lens of St. Regis’ signature glamorous spirit, sophistication and impeccable service when they visit the destination.”

Main image credit: Marriott International

The Brit List Awards 2021

The Brit List Awards 2021 – entries close on Friday!

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The Brit List Awards 2021 – entries close on Friday!

FINAL CALL for all designers, architects, hoteliers and brands to submit their free entries for The Brit List Awards 2021 (scroll down to read more about the categories and how to claim a complimentary ticket to the awards ceremony). Entries CLOSE on August 6 (this Friday)…

The Brit List Awards 2021

Following months of campaigning, designers, architects, hoteliers and brands have until Friday August 6 to submit their free entry for The Brit List Awards 2021.

The Brit List Awards, sponsored by Crosswater, is one of the most prestigious awards campaigns for designers, architects, hoteliers and brands in the UK to be associated with. Each year, Hotel Designs opens up the nominations and the nationwide campaign begins to find the best hotel designers, architects and hospitality professionals.

CLICK HERE to submit your free-of-charge application/nomination.

This year, following last year’s virtual event, The Brit List Awards will climax with a spectacular awards ceremony, which shortlisted designers, architects and hoteliers will be given a complimentary ticket to attend – but you have to be ‘in it to win it’. “For many reasons, The Brit List Awards has become an event that we at Hotel Designs are extremely proud of,” explained editor Hamish Kilburn who will lead this year’s judging panel. “Not only does it seriously help to raise the profiles of exceptional designers, architects and hoteliers, but it also credits the individuals – whatever their backgrounds – who are ensuring that Britain remains a creative hub of design, architecture and hospitality.”

Here’s a reminder of this year’s categories:

*In addition to the individual awards that are up for grabs, the top 25 entries in the interior design, architecture and hospitality categories will be profiled in the prestigious The Brit List, Hotel Designs’ annual publication that references the top 75 most influential individuals in British design, architecture and hospitality.

Click here to read about last year’s winners. Click here to read more about this year’s event and timeline. Click here to read our FAQs about The Brit List Awards.

You can now purchase your tickets to attend the live awards ceremony, which takes place on November 3 at PROUD Embankment (designers, architects, hoteliers & developers, click here. Suppliers, click here).

Main image credit: The Brit List Awards

Weekly digest: Ace moves into Brooklyn & a Royal welcome in Crete

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Weekly digest: Ace moves into Brooklyn & a Royal welcome in Crete

Editor Hamish Kilburn here rounding off your week (and month) with a digest of the hottest stories from the last few days. Before we start, first, a checklist: Have you applied yet for The Brit List Awards? Have you signed up to attend Hotel Designs LIVE. If not, hurry, as you only have a few days left to do so…

Quite frankly, July couldn’t have come soon enough! Following an unjust – and extended – sin bin, the hospitality industry is finally able to return to the arena in order to showcase the true value of an industry that is held together by people, relationships and boundary-defying innovation. Our celebration of these hero players comes in the form of The Brit List Awards, Hotel Designs’ annual awards ceremony – free to apply/nominate for – that’s aim is to credit the individuals who are taking design and hospitality to new heights. Therefore, I urge you (even if you are in doubt) to submit your free entry, before August 6, to this year’s awards – you literally have nothing to lose. Don’t forget, this year we have introduced two new awards: International Award and The Rising Star – even more reasons to get involved…

In the meantime, the editorial team are putting the finishing touches on preparations ahead of our next Hotel Designs LIVE event. If The Brit List Awards are about celebrating the heroes, then Hotel Designs LIVE’s role is to bring the industry’s finest together to keep the conversation flowing  by discussing key issues in global hotel design and hospitality. With limited spaces available, time is running out to attend in the audience.

Other than keeping these two vital dates and events front-of-mind, we have spent this week exploring some milestone projects, writing about new products and we even found time to publish our latest virtual roundtable, which explores the heavily discussed topic of injecting personality into the bathroom. Here are our top stories of the week…

In pictures: The Royal Senses Resort, Curio Collection by Hilton

Image credit: The Royal Senses Resort, Curio Collection by Hilton

Following the highly anticipated opening The Royal Senses Resort, Curio Collection by HiltonHotel Designs gets its hands on the official images, which highlight the design scheme that aimed to celebrate the “timelessness of the Cretan soul in a contemporary way”.

Read more.

Virtual roundtable: Colour & personality in the bathroom

Our latest virtual roundtable, in association with Bathroom Brands Group, comes following Hotel Designs LIVE in May where we hosted the panel discussion entitled: ‘Bathrooms beyond practical spaces’. Extending what we learned at the event, we invite a handful of designers to explore how to inject colour and personality into the bathroom…

Read more.

Now open: Inside Ace Hotel Brooklyn

Guestroom inside Ace Hotel Brooklyn

Image credit: Ace Hotel Brooklyn

From the brand who shook up conventional public areas and encouraged the rest of the hospitality industry to open their doors to the community as well as travellers, Ace Hotels has officially arrived in Brooklyn. Located in Downtown Brooklyn, the hotel stands on the cusp of Boerum Hill, above the ever-evolving intersection of everything: a geographical Venn diagram of intersecting energies, from the tree-lined streets and brownstones of Cobble Hill and Carroll Gardens to the art and culture clusters of Fort Greene, and all the way down to the restless East River.

Read more.

Design London to make its London Design Festival debut in September

Design London

Anticipation is building around the reopening of events and Design London is among the shows that are gearing up to showcase the best in design. The show will welcome the architecture and design community to the capital’s new favourite neighbourhood, North Greenwich, for its inaugural event.

Read more. 

Bathroom trends: Black accessories for a touch of luxury

Bathroom black accessories

When crafting a bathroom it’s the finishing touches that often bring everything together and complete the look; be it elegance and glamour or a sophisticated urban edge. The new Black Selection of accessories from KEUCO with its deep black silk matt finish brings a touch of luxury to every element in the collection.

Read more.

Since you’re here…

More than 40,000 readers per month enjoy the content we publish on Hotel Designs. Our mission is to define the point on international hotel design, and we are doing that by serving relevant news stories and engaging features. To keep up to date on the hottest stories that are emerging, you can sign up to the newsletter, which is completely free of charge. As well as receiving a weekly round-up of the top stories, you will also access our bi-monthly HD Edit –staying ahead of the curve has never been so easy!

Click here to sign up to our newsletter.

Collage of interior images of inside the Ace Hotel Brooklyn

Now open: Inside Ace Hotel Brooklyn

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Now open: Inside Ace Hotel Brooklyn

Following our cheeky sneak peek inside the hotel that was published earlier this year, Ace Hotel Brooklyn is open – with interior design by Roman and Williams , and architecture from Stonehill Taylor

From the brand who shook up conventional public areas and encouraged the rest of the hospitality industry to open their doors to the community as well as travellers, Ace Hotels has officially arrived in Brooklyn.

Collage of interior images of inside the Ace Hotel Brooklyn

Located in Downtown Brooklyn, the hotel stands on the cusp of Boerum Hill, above the ever-evolving intersection of everything: a geographical Venn diagram of intersecting energies, from the tree-lined streets and brownstones of Cobble Hill and Carroll Gardens to the art and culture clusters of Fort Greene, and all the way down to the restless East River. The property offers 287 guestrooms, an expansive in-room art programme, a public lobby with multiple bars and an art gallery, plus additional food and beverage outlets on the horizon. Designed by Roman and Williams, with architecture by Stonehill Taylor, Ace Brooklyn’s unique facade welds seamlessly with interiors inspired by the raw artist studio spaces of the European modernists — with soothing and stylish custom furnishings outfitting its every alcove.

> Since you’re here, why not read a roundtable on the new era of lifestyle hospitality, featuring Stonehill Taylor’s Sara Duffy?

“We see Brooklyn as it’s own city, filled with so much hope, possibility and excitement for the future,” said Brad Wilson, President, Ace Hotel Group. Ace Brooklyn has been a labour of love — a gorgeous building in many ways a reunion and a reinvention, and one we’re delighted to share with our guests and neighbours as the evolution of Ace Hotel. We’re proud to have filled its spaces with the talents of many collaborators across art, design and culture; it’s a testament and tribute to the irrepressible creative energy of the borough, and a firm investment in its future.”

Made up of metal, glass and precast concrete elements, the building’s rough-edged façade celebrates the natural beauty of its materials, along with the rugged handiwork of the builders who brought them together. The facade’s dramatic centrepiece is a custom ceramic mural crafted by iconic modernist Stan Bitters, coupled with a sculptural light installation designed by Roman and Williams in homage to the Hotel Okura in Tokyo — a beacon of modernist hospitality designed by Yoshiro Taniguchi, which was sadly demolished in 2015.

Inside, interiors marry exposed concrete with other naturally textural elements — surfaces of douglas fir, oak, plywoods and leathers — to form organic, open shapes throughout. The lobby features vintage and custom seating throughout, with half moon windows illuminating the lobby bar in natural light. The bar is finished with an original wall sculpture from RW Guild artist Verdan Jakšić, and a discreet, large scale drawing by Tara Geer.

“After seven years, we are proud to unveil one of our most comprehensive architectural and interior commissions to date for Ace Hotel Brooklyn, our third collaboration with Ace Hotel,” added Robin Standefer and Stephen Alesch, Founders and Principals, Roman and Williams. “We aimed to embrace a solid muscular design vocabulary, employing confident lasting construction methods and materials, ones with gravity and strength. A primitive modernist philosophy guided us, it is expressed in the tactile spirit of the design. From the building’s strong and unadorned facade, to the celebration of raw old growth timber in the public screens, to the honest plywood furniture collection in the bedrooms, we aspire to be as energetic and untamed as Brooklyn itself.” 

Drawing significant inspiration from Le Corbusier’s beloved workspace retreat Le Cabanon, the guest rooms at Ace Hotel Brooklyn were imagined as cabins of creative refuge: elegant and efficient, with the kind of breathing room that stirs up all sorts of possibilities. The furnishings are handcrafted from raw, understated materials — including custom sofas and chairs, classically-loomed cotton bedding and purpose-built, minimalist fixtures. Custom bed covers were crafted by Maine Heritage Weavers; bath products are from uka; in select rooms, acoustic guitars are provided by D’Angelico Guitars; turntables are made by Music Hall, with vinyl record selections courtesy of our friends at Rough Trade. Ace Brooklyn’s in-room art programme was curated by artist Niki Tsukamoto, and brings together a dream-woven assortment of original textile and fibre pieces from roughly two dozen artists, many based in the borough.

Guestroom inside Ace Hotel Brooklyn

Image credit: Ace Hotel Brooklyn

Throughout the rest of 2021, The Gallery at Ace Hotel Brooklyn will showcase works by artists featured in the guestrooms, starting with a show of textile works by Cynthia Alberto and Weaving Hand in July and August 2021. The hotel lobby’s Ace Shop will also be featuring custom home goods and jewellery from a number of the artists on an ongoing basis.

Main image credit: Ace Hotel Brooklyn

Two buildings owned by Union Investments

Union Investment acquires new operators for hotels in New York City and Portland

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Union Investment acquires new operators for hotels in New York City and Portland

Union Investment has acquired two new, big-name operators, Motel One and Curio by Hilton, for its hotels in New York City and Portland. Here’s what we know…

The developer Union Investment has signed two leading operators for hotels in New York and Portland, both of which are held by UniImmo: Global. Motel One has signed a 20-year lease for the hotel in New York City. In Portland, Oxford Capital Group, LLC will take over as tenant and manager of The Porter hotel. The hotel will continue to form part of the Curio Collection by Hilton. The hotel in New York City has already been handed over to Motel One, and the hotel in Portland is also due to be handed over this month.

Two buildings owned by Union Investments

“In this challenging market environment, we’re pleased to have found solutions that secure a viable future for these hotels. We have achieved this by teaming with strong hotel partners with whom we have worked closely for many years. The follow-on leases were agreed quickly, underlining just how attractive these two properties and their locations are,” said Martin Schaller, head of Asset Management Hospitality at Union Investment. The previous operators of the two hotels came under pressure as the pandemic unfolded and were no longer able to meet their lease obligations. The operator of The Porter had to pull out of the hotel for financial reasons.

“The toughest part of the journey is now behind us. The US hotel market is already staging a comeback and hoteliers are anticipating a surge in demand. With Motel One and Oxford as operators, our hotels in New York City and Portland are extremely well positioned to benefit from the expected turnaround,” said Martin Schaller.

Motel One’s lease with Union Investment in New York City marks the chain’s entry into the US market. The German hotel group is scheduled to take over the hotel on 21 July. The property is located in downtown Manhattan, close to the World Trade Center complex, and has been operated under the Courtyard by Marriott brand since 2016. Motel One will carry out extensive refurbishment and rebranding. The agreement with the previous operator was terminated prematurely by Union Investment. Motel One already operates lifestyle budget hotels in eight properties held by Union Investment across four funds. “As Motel One’s biggest landlord, we are delighted to have the opportunity to extend our longstanding strategic relationship outside Europe as well. We’re looking forward to jointly bringing this successful lifestyle concept to the local market and travellers from all over the world in the heart of New York very soon.”

Main image credit: Union Investments

Weekly digest: Maldives dip, the power of smart design & 3D printing at its best

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Weekly digest: Maldives dip, the power of smart design & 3D printing at its best

Well hello there! You’re just in time to catch this week’s rendition of the ‘weekly digest’, which is essentially the only article you need to read in order to keep up to date with all the latest happenings on the hotel design stage. I’m Hamish Kilburn, editor of Hotel Designs, and I’ve done all the hard work/research for you – so sit back and enjoy…

Where do we start? This week we’ve covered news from all angles, including innovative sustainable furniture solutions, not-t0-be-missed exhibitions coming up and we’ve even helped one brand mark its territory on continental European soil. As the summer intensifies – and more and more brands start loosening their lips about their development plans – the editorial team is preparing to go live with yet another Hotel Designs LIVE event (on August 10) and doing everything it can to ensure that no designer, hotelier, architect or brand is unfamiliar with how to apply (free-of-charge) to The Brit List Awards 2021 – entries close on August 6.

But for now, here’s your round-up of all the hottest stories that we have published this week (and why not read this week’s news while listening to our latest episode of DESIGN POD)?

Accor announces the signing of SO/ Maldives

S/O Maldives - accor

Image credit: Accor

Accor, no stranger the pages of Hotel Designs, has just announced the signing of a luxury resort in the Maldives that will boast 80 villas overlooking the emboodhoo lagoon at CROSSROADS Maldives.

Read more. 

How smart hotel design can support guests’ mental health & wellbeing

Abstract architectural concrete, wood and glass interior of a modern villa on the sea with swimming pool and neon lighting. 3D illustration and rendering.

With wellness and wellbeing now higher up on the agenda than it has ever been, Ari Peralta, Founder of Arigami, conducts some research of his own to understand and explore whether or not smart design can be utilised to enhance not only the consumer journey but also the mental health of guests checking in…

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3D-printed furniture – it’s a thing now!

Collection of 3D-printed chairs

Architect and designer Yasmine Mahmoudieh, following years of studying sustainable design and materials, has designed a piece of 3D-printed furniture with partner Nagami that has been created out of 100 per cent plastic waste…

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Locke opens first hotel in continental Europe

Image credit: Locke

It was only ever going to be a matter of time – and timing – before Locke, the pioneering lifestyle hospitality brand was to launch it’s first hotel in continental Europe. Well, following the brand’s arrival in Dublin, Locke has finally touched down in Europe with a hotel opening in Munich.

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5 minutes with: Interior designer Biagio Forino

Biagio Forino Hilton Venice

Following the recent unveil of Hilton Molino Stucky Venice’s new rooms and suites, editor Hamish Kilburn caught up with the designer who brought the iconic project to life within the heritage building. With sustainability and materiality key focuses of the design ethos and brief, Studio Forino’s Biagio Forino was in his element, staying true to his belief that “you cannot disregard the importance of using environmentally friendly building materials…”

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Trend alert: Scandi style in the bathroom

Modern scandi bathroom

Image credit: VitrA

Thanks to its unique perspective over the industry – not to mention access to bathroom brand’s premium products – UKBathrooms qualifies in our hearts to give us an accurate trends special on how designers can inject Scandi style in the bathroom…

Read more. 

Since you’re here…

More than 40,000 readers per month enjoy the content we publish on Hotel Designs. Our mission is to define the point on international hotel design, and we are doing that by serving relevant news stories and engaging features. To keep up to date on the hottest stories that are emerging, you can sign up to the newsletter, which is completely free of charge. As well as receiving a weekly round-up of the top stories, you will also access our bi-monthly HD Edit –staying ahead of the curve has never been so easy!

Click here to sign up to our newsletter.

Locke hotel in Munich

Locke opens first hotel in continental Europe

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Locke opens first hotel in continental Europe

Lifestyle aparthotel brand Locke unveils first property in continental Europe with the launch of Schwan Locke in the heart of Munich…

It was only ever going to be a matter of time – and timing – before Locke, the pioneering lifestyle hospitality brand was to launch it’s first hotel in continental Europe. Well, following the brand’s arrival in Dublin, Locke has finally touched down in Europe with a hotel opening in Munich.

Locke hotel in Munich

Situated just a few minutes’ walk from the Theresienwiese, the site of Oktoberfest, Schwan Locke features 151 spacious, design-led studio apartments, as well as a complimentary co-working space, gym, coffee shop, retail space, leafy courtyard and craft cocktail bar.

Locke’s innovative home-meets-hotel concept aims to put the guest at the centre of the experience, creating spaces that are designed to be lived in in, not just slept in. This makes each location attractive to a wide range of travellers from the leisure and business markets – for both long-, mid- and short-term stays.

Image credit: Locke

Each of Schwan Locke’s signature studio apartments offer more space than a typical hotel room – featuring fully equipped kitchens, living areas and dining space. Schwan Locke’s premium apartment, the Ludwig Suite, takes this concept a step further; with a six-person dining table and custom cocktail bar, plus an expansive terrace with views of over the city.

Designed by interior architecture firm Fettle, Schwan Locke’s design is inspired by the Deutscher Werkbund, which established itself in Munich in the early 20th century. The Werkbund sought to redefine aesthetic standards by combining traditional crafts and industrial mass production techniques, in the belief that high-quality applied art could improve the nation’s quality of life.

The spaces at Schwan Locke pay homage to these principals rather than a pastiche of this iconic style; housing custom-made furniture as well as a sophisticated, mid-century-inspired colour palette. All the upholstered furniture for Schwan Locke is bespoke and inspired by furniture from the early 20th century. A colourful yet relaxing palette features throughout the social spaces and apartments, including muted reds, greens, yellows and blues that echo the era of the early modernist movement, while maintaining a sense of fun.

Schwan Locke is home to a unique art collection, which draws inspiration from the pioneering women involved in the Werkbund movement – from photographer and sculptor Marianne Brandt to Lilly Reich who was on the board of directors. The collection also champions local talent, featuring vibrant artwork from designer and illustrator Veronika Grenzebach, graffiti artist Armin Kiss-Istok, and illustrator Tomomi Maezawa.

Image credit: Locke

“Schwan Locke marks the first of two Locke openings in Munich and it is a particularly exciting start for all of us. Like other Locke locations in the UK & Ireland, we have gone to great lengths to create a space that is deeply rooted in the neighbourhood – where both locals and visitors can feel at home,” said Eric Jafari, Chief Development Officer & Creative Director, Locke. “Achieving this was a significant creative challenge, but also a unique opportunity. Munich is steeped in a rich and diverse history, while also being home to a unique creative landscape. We wanted to celebrate this – paying homage to the city’s past, but working with disruptive, forward-thinking partners to bring our vision to life.” 

Main image credit: Locke

S/O Maldives - accor

Accor announces the signing of SO/ Maldives

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Accor announces the signing of SO/ Maldives

Accor, the leading international hotel operator in the Maldives, has signed a hotel management agreement with S Hotels, Resorts Public Company Limited and Wai Eco World Developer Pte. Ltd. (WEWD) to introduce SO/ Hotels & Resorts to this idyllic Indian Ocean archipelago in 2023. Here’s what we know…

S/O Maldives - accor

Accor, no stranger the pages of Hotel Designs, has just announced the signing of a luxury resort in the Maldives that will boast 80 villas overlooking the emboodhoo lagoon at CROSSROADS Maldives.

Nestled on its own exclusive island overlooking the azure Emboodhoo Lagoon, just 15 minutes by speedboat from Malé’s Velana International Airport, this eclectic resort will bring a fresh sense of avant-garde style and sophistication to the Maldives, while also reflecting the local spirit of this captivating country.

Scheduled to open in 2023, the new resort will take centre stage on the third island of CROSSROADS Maldives, the extraordinary integrated leisure destination in the exotic South Malé Atoll, connecting it to a wealth of world-class attractions and facilities. 

Vivid, vivacious and full of personality, SO/ Hotels & Resorts are only found in socially vibrant destinations such as Berlin, Bangkok, St Petersburg and Singapore. One of the fastest-growing brands in Accor’s lifestyle portfolio, it is designed for savvy travellers who have a passion for fashion and like to keep their finger on the pulse. Every stay is underpinned by the brand’s signature ‘Just Say SO’ service, to craft truly unforgettable experiences.

 This makes SO/ the perfect fit for CROSSROADS Maldives, which was recognised as the “Best Leisure Development Maldives (Five-Star)” in the Asia Pacific Property Awards 2021-2022. The presence of such a dynamic player on the global hotel scene will play a key role in helping CROSSROADS Maldives to expand and reach new markets worldwide, thanks to Accor’s global distribution and loyalty network.

Arrival at S/O Maldives

Image credit: Accor

Guests will be able to unwind on SO/ Maldives’ private island or take advantage of fantastic facilities at The Marina at CROSSROADS, an 800-metre lifestyle area and beach walk where visitors can discover cool cafés, refined restaurants, a chic beach club, upmarket boutiques, a spa, the Marine Discovery Centre and a 30-berth yacht marina. Unforgettable events can be hosted at the oceanfront wedding venue and meeting space.

“It gives me great pleasure to announce the arrival of SO/ Hotels & Resorts in the Maldives,” commented Garth Simmons, Chief Executive Officer – Accor Southeast Asia, Japan & South Korea. “This playful and distinctive lifestyle brand can only be found in the world’s most iconic destinations so it is the perfect fit for this renowned island paradise. The resort’s location within CROSSROADS Maldives will allow guests to experience a truly vibrant luxury lifestyle offering with plenty of options for both relaxation and adventure. SO/ Maldives will be a place to see and be seen for bold and stylish socialisers and we look forward to working with S Hotels & Resorts and WEWD to bring this project to life.” 

“We are so excited to unveil SO/ Maldives as the latest jewel in CROSSROADS Maldives’ crown, as we continue to transform the tourism landscape in this highly-desirable destination,” added Dirk De Cuyper, Chief Executive Officer, S Hotels & Resorts. “With its signature sense of style and commitment to creating unique guest journeys, SO/ is the ideal fit for our third island. It will stand out from the crowd, complement our two other industry-leading brands and complete our collection of luxury and lifestyle resorts, further raising the bar for hospitality in the Maldives.”

“The Maldives is a truly special place and we are delighted to enter the market with such a prestigious project,” said Zaw Win Maung, Managing Director, WEWD. “S Hotels & Resorts has a proven track record of developing exceptional lifestyle resorts, including CROSSROADS Maldives, and the edgy style of SO/ always strikes a chord with its trend-setting guests. With such strong partners, we are confident of creating a one-of-a-kind resort experience at SO/ Maldives.”

SO/ Maldives will join Accor’s collection of five resorts in the Maldives which include the midscale Mercure brand, premium Pullman and Mövenpick brands, and the luxury Raffles and Fairmont brands. Accor is a global industry leader in the lifestyle segment with 13 dedicated brands such as Mondrian, Mama Shelter, and 25hours.

Main image credit: Accor

Weekly digest: Seychelles arrival & a review of London’s latest spa

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Weekly digest: Seychelles arrival & a review of London’s latest spa

Editor Hamish Kilburn here, checking in with your weekly digest to give you the low-down of some of the hottest stories that we published over the last few days – we’ve had arrivals in the Seychelles and Zimbabwe while also exploring a rather swanky new spa on London’s Park Lane…

July is proving to be a busy month. Not only are there just a few weeks left to apply/nominate (free of charge) for The Brit List Awards 2021, but we are also counting down the days until we broadcast our next Hotel Designs LIVE event – designers, architects, hoteliers and developers can click here to purchase their complimentary tickets. And while we at Hotel Designs are slowly preparing ourselves to move away from virtual and instead start meeting the industry in person once more, there’s a lot happening on the hospitality scene.

Right on cue, here’s our digest of the top stories and features from this week:

REVIEW: Checking in to experience The Spa at 45 Park Lane

45 Park lane collage

I have always wondered how a hotel like 45 Park Lane can differentiate itself from not only its neighbouring sibling but also other luxury hotels in the neighbourhood. After a few years of making my way through the cocktail, wine and steak menu, I have no regret to admit that I had been looking in the complete wrong direction all this time. The answer to how 45 Park Lane can remove itself from the cold-morning shadow of its older sister is in fact situated in what was, until recently, a building being used as offices.

Located on the lower levels of the hotel, and reached via its very own lift (which I haste to add is completely accessible for people of all abilities), the hotel has recently opened a spa, designed by Joubin Manku and developed by Clivedale London, that will simply take your breath away – and transport you worlds away from the hustle and bustle of London.

Read more.

LXR Hotels & Resorts arrives in Seychelles

LXR-Mango-House-Seychelles-King-Premium-Deluxe-Room_HR

Image credit: Hilton Hotels

LXR Hotels & ResortsHilton’s collection of independent luxury properties, has the opening of Mango House Seychelles, a hotel we first teased our readers with in January. The intimate and exclusive island oasis promise “a captivating, yet refined Seychellois experience on southern Mahé’s unspoiled beachfront.”

Read more.

Registration is now open for Independent Hotel Show 2021

The innovation stage at Independent Hotel Show

Have you heard? Independent Hotel Show London, presented by James Hallam, will return to Olympia London on October 4 – 5 2021 – and visitor registration has just opened. The Independent Hotel Show will bring together professionals from across the independent, luxury and boutique hotel sector for the first major industry gathering of 2021.

Read more.

A winner’s Q&A: Fiona Thompson, Principal, Richmond International

Fiona Thompson Richmond International

Following Fiona Thompson spectacularly winning at The Brit List Awards 2020, where she virtually walked away with the Outstanding Contribution to the Hospitality Industry title, Hotel Designs is finally about to present the Principal at Richmond International with her trophy. We joined the designer for lunch and a catch up in their home county, Kent, commonly known as the Garden of England…

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Sneak peek: Inside Tembo Great Plains in Zimbabwe

Image credit: Great Plains (Tembo Plains Camp)

Great Plains, the iconic eco-tourism company led by wildlife filmmakers and conservationists Beverly and Dereck Joubert, is expected to open Tembo Plains Camp on August 1, 2021, which will become Relais & Châteaux’s debut property in Zimbabwe.

Read more. 

Since you’re here…

More than 40,000 readers per month enjoy the content we publish on Hotel Designs. Our mission is to define the point on international hotel design, and we are doing that by serving relevant news stories and engaging features. To keep up to date on the hottest stories that are emerging, you can sign up to the newsletter, which is completely free of charge. As well as receiving a weekly round-up of the top stories, you will also access our bi-monthly HD Edit –staying ahead of the curve has never been so easy!

Click here to sign up to our newsletter.

Main image credit: Hilton Hotels

45 Park lane collage

Checking in to experience The Spa at 45 Park Lane

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Checking in to experience The Spa at 45 Park Lane

“All this time, I had been looking in the completely wrong direction when trying to understand how 45 Park Lane can stand out from its older sibling – and neighbour – The Dorchester.” Editor Hamish Kilburn is among the first to explore the luxury hotel’s new spa, which shelters a clever biophilic design narrative as well as the largest pool on Park Lane, London…

45 Park lane collage

For any hotel operating in close proximity to a sibling property, the need to do something different is innate. In the case of 45 Park Lane, whose sister (and neighbour) is The Dorchester, which in style as well as service is one of London’s most iconic hotels, standing out is essential. Luckily for 45 Park Lane, though, its 1920s design scheme along with its effortless ability to serve up London’s finest pre-dinner negroni followed by an award-winning steak has kept the property on the map – and as such an integral member of The Dorchester Collection.

With arguably less weight on its shoulders than that of The Dorchester to preserve a deep-rooted legacy, the design scheme inside 45 Park Lane is given space to play. That’s not to say for one minute that it does not feel like a Dorchester Collection hotel, because it very much does with the same attentive service that threads together all properties within the collection. The smaller (in size, not personality) hotel stands up to The Dorchester as a younger, confident and slightly more masculine sibling. The General Manager, John Scanlon, who first joined the hotel in 2015 and who was profiled in The Brit List 2020 as one of Britain’s leading hoteliers, is totally committed to ensuring that guests have the best possible stay experience, immediately upon entry. Scanlon’s hospitable nature is undisputed – I caught him, on several occasions, warmly greeting and seating guests. Aside from his cordial style of leadership, it is his passion for art that is simply refreshing.

As I check in, what would be a conventional check-in experience becomes a conversation between myself and the front desk about who is responsible for the colourful art installation that is on show around the public areas. “The artist is called Nat Bowen,” I am told – and to my delight that Scanlon has just extended her artist residency. Perhaps it’s the times we are living in, or my admiration for hotels with traditional values creating scenes that juxtapose pre-conceptions – more than likely it’s a mixture of both – but as arrival experiences go, 45 Park Lane delivers the goods.

Image caption: The lobby lounge at 45 Park Lane sets the tone for an unparalleled luxury experience. | Image credit: The Dorchester Collection

Image caption: The lobby lounge at 45 Park Lane sets the tone for an unparalleled luxury experience. | Image credit: The Dorchester Collection

In just 10 years since it originally opened, the hotel has carved out its own niche, sheltering a members’ club-like interior design scheme that attracts those who want luxury served in more contemporary glassware.

“After a few years of making my way through the cocktail, wine and steak menu, I have no regret to admit that I had been looking in the complete wrong direction before.”

But, despite being a stunning hotel that naturally beats its own rhythm, I can’t help but feel, with just a decade of experience on the London hospitality scene, that it has been wrongly overlooked for more obvious and iconic properties nearby. Well, not anymore.

I have always wondered how a hotel like 45 Park Lane can differentiate itself from not only its neighbouring sibling but also other luxury hotels in the neighbourhood. After a few years of making my way through the cocktail, wine and steak menu, I have no regret to admit that I had been looking in the complete wrong direction all this time. The answer to how 45 Park Lane can remove itself from the cold-morning shadow of its older sister is in fact situated in what was, until recently, a building being used as offices.

Located on the lower levels of the hotel, and reached via its very own lift (which I haste to add is completely accessible for people of all abilities), the hotel has recently opened a spa, designed by Joubin Manku and developed by Clivedale London, that will simply take your breath away – and transport you worlds away from the hustle and bustle of London. “The major challenge was making the spa feel like it is not below ground and a separate destination to the Residences and 45 Park Lane,” explains Steven Blaess Head of Interior Design, Clivedale London.

The Spa at 45 Park Lane

Image caption: The Spa at 45 Park Lane is a botanical dream designed by Joubin Manku. | Image credit: The Dorchester Collection.

Its clever design utilises space while allowing guests the pleasure to meander through wellness and wellbeing heaven, where the walls are adorned with hand-placed mosaic tiles to inject a sensitive nod to biophic design and where the length of the pool is (almost) endless, by Park Lane’s standards at least.

But with any underground spa comes the challenge of light. “The intention for the spa spaces was to create a sense of calmness and tranquillity,” says Blaess. “The subtle glistening of light onto the glass mosaics is a reminder of water droplets on foliage. Dappled lighting was dispersed to help create the illusion of walking through a leafy canopy of light.”

I’m told that Manku, when taking on the project, conducted a brief study of other spas in central London and what was missing from all was a sense of nature and connectedness. “These other spas were usually designed with hard architectural materials and more formal in their layout and approach, adds Blaess. The important thing for the spa was to address both the 45 Park Lane guests link and the residences direct access, without making one or the other less important. It was about creating a unique yet somewhat separate experience for both.

“The Spa Lounge, for example, is the hub of the entire level, where people want to naturally either start their journey or end their spa experience, relaxing on over-sized sofas and armchairs set around a central feature fireplace. Visual glimpses onto the swimming pool provide a connection to water while also providing swimmers with privacy.”

The overriding theme and concept developed by Manku was a connection to Hyde Park and therefore bringing into the interiors natural references of leaves, native grasses and wild flowers. “The glass mosaics were conceptualised by Manku to reference a liberty-style, decorative design pattern, that were successfully mass manufactured as part of the Industrial Revolution,” adds Blaess. “The glass mosaics were made in Venice with one of the regions oldest family mosaics manufacturing companies.” Natural feeling timber was also used to reference woodland trees on wall and ceiling slatted panels with leaves, grasses and native wildflowers designed into the glass mosaics.”

Image caption: The hand-placed mosaic tiles are a unique theme throughout the spa areas that inject biophilic design into the space. | Image credit: The Dorchester Collection

Image caption: The hand-placed mosaic tiles are a unique theme throughout the spa areas that inject biophilic design into the space. | Image credit: The Dorchester Collection

The Spa at 45 Park Lane is undisputedly beautiful, but I would go one step further. The addition of the spa inside the hotel has actually elevated the entire hotel experience for guests checking in. Pre-spa era, the hotel’s rooms and suites were aptly stylish, timeless and complete with their own details (as you would expect from a hotel within the collection). While these areas continue to marry together a voguish collection of art with a distinct 1920s soul that comes through in the interiors, many modern travellers feel as if a luxury experience is not absolute without a destination spa to match. Interestingly, for me, the spa has put more of a focus on wellbeing. As such, even the bathrooms, which always have been beyond perfect – complete with walk-in showers, sumptuously deep baths and hidden TVs in the mirrors, now feel that much more special.

As with all good and meaningful renovations, there wasn’t anything particularly wrong with the hotel before. However, the addition of the spa has, I believe, helped keep 45 Park Lane on the radar of luxury travellers by offering an experience unmatched by any other hotel on Park Lane.

Today, as the hotel re-opens up to welcome a new chapter of hospitality – one where the demand for wellness is and will remain off the scale – the existing hotel that shelters timeless decor remains an invigorating blend of art and landmark architecture in the middle of classical London. The spa feeds the demand of luxury travellers, while also cleverly staying true to the Dorchester Collection’s undisputed hospitality style.

Main image credit: The Dorchester Collection

Weekly digest: Another launch for Virgin Hotels & a new London design studio

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Weekly digest: Another launch for Virgin Hotels & a new London design studio

Editor Hamish Kilburn here, tasked to serve up this week’s hotel design headlines – such a Virgin Hotels’ arrival in New Orleans, Hard Rock entering a new territory and a new design studio launching in London – in one juicy shot…

“In a marketing email we sent this week, the marketing team added their own spin on the saying: “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” We felt as though, unless you are driving or it’s a particularly hot day (and even then, gin is always an option), that the industry isn’t that keen on the idea of sipping lemonade in the corner of a room. Instead, and I say this following my attendance at a handful of events recently, we are all reaching for the limoncello after 18 months strictly no socialising.

Answering to the demand of the industry, therefore, we’re tempted to raise the shot glass at The Brit List Awards 2021, which takes place on November 3 at PROUD Embankment. You have until August 6 (less than one month) in order to submit your entries – shortlisted designers, architects and hoteliers will get a complimentary ticket to the awards ceremony.

Between now and then, we on the editorial desk are committed to serve you a variety of flavours of news, features and exclusive insights. Taking the metaphor perhaps too far, this weekly digest is, if you like, the limoncello shot needed to finish off your week.

Here are the top stories from the last few days…

Hard Rock Hotels arrives in Madrid

Render credit: Hard Rock Hotel Madrid

Sheltering all the ingredients to make an exceptional lifestyle hotel, Hard Rock Hotel Madrid marks the brand’s debut property in a Spanish city. Located at the Golden Triangle of Art in the Spanish capital, the hotel is the newest addition to an international portfolio and compliments the brand’s recent growth throughout Europe.

Read more.

Exclusive: Meet the designer behind London Design House

London Design House

Image credit: London Design House

You may already know – or know of – Akram Fahmi (former Design Director at 1508 London) and Gary Kellett (former architect at ReardonSmith), but did you know that the two have joined forces to set up and launch their very own studio. In an exclusive interview, we caught up with Fahmi and Kellett to understand more about London Design House…

Read more. 

Virgin Hotels to arrive in New Orleans this summer

Image credit: Virgin Hotels

For any hotel that is owned by a pioneering boss who, in just a few days time, will attempt to make the history books by flying to the edge of spaceto reach a major milestone in his campaign to introduce a commercial spaceflight service, the expectation for an unmatched hospitality experience is huge.

Luckily, the Virgin Hotels New Orleans, which is about to make its bold debut onto the hospitality scene as soon as this summer has been designed with both Virgin’s in-house team and locally based interior designers Logan Killen in order to ensure its interiors hit all the right notes for tomorrow’s modern travellers – think texture and colour, lots of colour! 

Read more. 

Richmond International unveils new interiors at The Langham, Boston

luxe suite inside Langham Boston

Image credit: Langham Hotels

With a range of dynamic spaces accommodating both guests and day visitors, The Langham, Boston, a landmark hotel, has reclaimed its position as one of the country’s most desirable destinations following the completion of a three-year renovation by design studio Richmond International.

Read more.

A new meaning of bathing: The Sky Pool at Embassy Gardens

Sky Pool London

Image credit: Ballymore and EcoWorld Ballymore.

The launch of the new headline-grabbing Sky Pool at Embassy Gardens has introduced a new twist to the concept of bathing – and whats more, our Recommended Supplier, bathroom brand Kaldewei, was involved in the development led by Ballymore and EcoWorld Ballymore.

Read more. 

And finally… The Brit List Awards 2021: FAQs (applications/nominations close soon)

The Brit List Awards 2021

Your chance to apply or nominate someone, free of charge, to enter The Brit List Awards 2021 is running out. Ahead of applications/nominations closing on August 6 – and to ensure that you are fully in-the-know about your opportunity to enter and join us at our largest networking event in this year’s calendar, here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions…

Read more.

Since you’re here…

More than 40,000 readers per month enjoy the content we publish on Hotel Designs. Our mission is to define the point on international hotel design, and we are doing that by serving relevant news stories and engaging features. To keep up to date on the hottest stories that are emerging, you can sign up to the newsletter, which is completely free of charge. As well as receiving a weekly round-up of the top stories, you will also access our bi-monthly HD Edit –staying ahead of the curve has never been so easy!

Click here to sign up to our newsletter.

Hard Rock Hotels arrives in Madrid

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hard Rock Hotels arrives in Madrid

Music, art and culture… turn up the volume as we welcome, Hard Rock Hotel Madrid, the brand’s first Spanish city hotel… 

Sheltering all the ingredients to make an exceptional lifestyle hotel, Hard Rock Hotel Madrid marks the brand’s debut property in a Spanish city. Located at the Golden Triangle of Art in the Spanish capital, the hotel is the newest addition to an international portfolio and compliments the brand’s recent growth throughout Europe.

The Hard Rock International brand is one of the most globally recognised companies with venues in 68 countries spanning 239 locations. The group’s hotel portfolio has properties in Asia, North America, South America, The Caribbean, the UK and Europe. Following the launch of Hard Rock Hotel London, – and ahead of an expected touch-down in Budapest – the brand’s latest arrival is in Spain’s capital, Madrid.

“Hard Rock Hotels has always felt very in tune with the vibrancy and spirit of Spain. It is one of the reasons we introduced the brand to Europe with Hard Rock Ibiza in 2014, followed by our Tenerife hotel shortly after” said Dale Hipsh, Senior Vice President of Hotels, Hard Rock International. “As our first Spanish city hotel, Hard Rock Hotel Madrid brings a distinctly different personality to our beach resorts. Our guests will discover art, music, history, culinary excellence and culture at their fingertips – all brought together through Hard Rock’s curated and entertainment-infused hospitality.”

Image credit: Hard Rock Hotel Madrid

The new hotel caters to both business and leisure travellers, with 161 contemporary rooms and suites (from 18 sq. metres) offering diverse views, so guests can take in the lights of Madrid, or retreat from the city with a room overlooking the lush garden. Additionally, over 2,000 sq. metres of event space including garden and rooftop venues set the stage for world-class immersive events.

At the heart of the property, guests will find a dramatic architectural hanging guitar sculpture above the welcoming, amber-hued sofas of the lobby. Vibrant artwork is featured throughout the hotel, including a life-size pink ‘Las Meninas’ adorned with Rosalía lyrics, inspired by Diego Velázquez’s masterpiece hanging in the Prado Museum and mural in GMT+1 bar inspired by the La Movida movement in Madrid.

The colourful artwork is complemented by a thoughtfully curated memorabilia collection that showcases Madrid style and culture, as well as international music legends. Hard Rock Hotel Madrid is now home to over 70 pieces of memorabilia, with notable pieces including an acoustic guitar from Madrid-native singer-songwriter, Antonio Vega; blue denim jeans outfit worn by Elvis Presley during an NBC TV special in 1968; and platform boots worn by David Bowie.

The property’s premier location in the Triángulo de Oro del Arte, is surrounded by the Reina Sofia National Museum, the Prado National Museum and the Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum. Within walking distance, guests can explore the historic art nouveau train station (Atocha), the Royal Botanical Garden, and the charming Lavapiés and Embajadores neighbourhoods.

The hotel will be a draw for travellers and locals alike as it is home to unique bars and restaurant concepts including the brand’s signature restaurant Sessions, with interiors by Rockwell Group, and RT60, a spectacular rooftop bar offering craft cocktails, a jamón carving station with cheese and unbeatable 360-degree views of the city to the beat of live DJ sets. Sessions, with its open and airy terrace, overlooks the hotel’s garden and serves a unique take on classic Spanish cuisine with unexpected culinary delicacies on the menu, whilst the GMT+1 lobby bar offers drinks and light fare throughout the day. The Green Room, a private chef’s table serving an exclusive menu to no more than six guests is set to open in September.

image credit: Hard Rock Hotel Madrid

image credit: Hard Rock Hotel Mimage credit: Hard Rock Hotel Madridadrid

Lifestyle consultant and international restaurateur, Maria Font Trabocchi, has played a crucial role in bringing the gastronomy at Hard Rock Hotel Madrid to life with her distinct Spanish spin. As the woman behind, Fiola, Fiola Mare, Sfoglina and Del Mar in Washington D.C. and across the United States, Maria has built a career’s worth of successful restaurants based on excellent quality and hospitality.

“I am honoured to be working with Hard Rock Hotels to bring my knowledge, experiences and personal take on restaurants to the capital of my home country,” said Trabocchi. “The hotel is incredibly well-located, and we are confident that it will soon become a social hub and meeting spot for residents in the city as well as visitors. The restaurants offer beautiful surroundings, the food is vibrant, and we look forward to the chef breathing his own emotion and energy into the restaurants now the hotel is officially open”.

The property also encompasses an outdoor swimming pool, Body Rock® fitness centre and Rock Om®, which fuses the ancient practice of yoga with the rhythm of a custom DJ-curated soundtrack for complimentary, in-room yoga sessions.

Main image credit: Hard Rock Hotel Madrid

Weekly digest: The struggling generation & the latest hotel openings

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Weekly digest: The struggling generation & the latest hotel openings

The struggle is real in this week’s round-up of our top stories, as we celebrate the launch of a campaign to help young designers and architects on their feet while networking events are brought back to IRL (in real life). Meanwhile, there seems to be a new hotel opening on the hour, at the moment. Editor Hamish Kilburn here – ‘struggling’ to keep up – but determined nonetheless to serve up your weekly digest…

For many reasons – catching up on my emails following a few frantic yet fantastic days out of the office being one of them – I am accosting this week’s round-up, or ‘digest’ as we have recently rebranded it,  around the theme of ‘struggle’. Taking my sprints between meetings, speaking events and much-welcomed hotel reviews to one side, the struggle young designers and architects are facing at the moment is immeasurable – and it’s time to address this situation head-on. Cue the launch of our new campaign, which will allow newcomers into the arena to interview established A&D professionals (with no question off limit) – thus bridging the gap between generations, allowing authentic mentorships to form and for all of us to start really understanding the challenges that young people face when leaving the safety reef of education.

Also in this week’s digest, we share with you our hottest hotel openings expected this month, unveil a case study that takes biophilic design to a whole new meaning and find out why fashion brand PrettyLittleThing is dipping its toe into UK hospitality.

Without further a due, here’s this week’s news in one article:

A young architect’s Q&A: Jestico + Whiles’ James Dilley

Gif James Dilley and James Ingram

If you read nothing else this week, please ensure you take the time to read young architect James Ingram’s interview with Jestico + Whiles’ James Dilley. This interview, which really left a personal impact on me (as I’m sure it will you, considering we have all had help at some stage in our careers), marks the launch of a wider campaign in order to help bridge the gap between generations within hotel design.

Read more.

VIP Arrivals: Hottest hotels opening in July

The Tawny Hotel is one of our most anticipated hotels opening in July

Image credit: The Tawny Hotel

As momentum and demand builds for the industry to reopen fully and for travellers to enjoy one-off travel experiences once more, it seems as if the hospitality landscape is updating its infrastructure with newly designed hotels, in both new and existing properties, standing to welcome the new era of modern travellers. Here, we take you through the hottest hotels opening in July…

Read more.

Marriott International opens 70th hotel in Japan

Aloft Osaka Dojima

Image credit: Marriott International

With the opening of Aloft Osaka Dojima, Marriott International now has 70 properties in Japan, which means that, with 18 brands in 21 prefectures, the hotel group leads with brand offerings in the country – and there are still more hotels in the pipeline.

Read more.

Wellness in design: tips from designer Shalini Misra

Shalini Misra

Ahead of her anticipated appearance at Hotel Designs LIVE, where she will join a panel of experts to discuss surface design, we caught up with interior designer Shalini Misra in order to understand how wellness and design are working together in this new era of lifestyle, luxury and wellness…

Read more.

And finally… Fashion brand PrettyLittleThing launches UK hotel

Pool inside PrettyLittleThing Hotel

Image credit: PrettyLittleThing

While staycation demand has increased 14,400 per cent, and as the boundaries between lifestyle and luxury continue to blur, it’s not a huge surprise to read that that global fashion brand PrettyLittleThing has entered the UK hotel market.

Read more.

Since you’re here…

More than 40,000 readers per month enjoy the content we publish on Hotel Designs. Our mission is to define the point on international hotel design, and we are doing that by serving relevant news stories and engaging features. To keep up to date on the hottest stories that are emerging, you can sign up to the newsletter, which is completely free of charge. As well as receiving a weekly round-up of the top stories, you will also access our bi-monthly HD Edit –staying ahead of the curve has never been so easy!

Click here to sign up to our newsletter.

Aloft Osaka Dojima

Marriott International opens 70th hotel in Japan

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Marriott International opens 70th hotel in Japan

With the opening of Aloft Osaka Dojima, Marriott International now has 70 properties in Japan, which means that, with 18 brands in 21 prefectures, the hotel group leads with brand offerings in the country – and there are still more hotels in the pipeline…

A few months ago, Marriott International opened its 800th hotel in the Asia Pacific region. A few months later, the hotel group announced that it would add 100 new hotels to that impressive portfolio between then and the end of the year.

Aloft Osaka Dojima

And now, the hotel group has reached yet another milestone by opening Aloft Osaka Dojima, which becomes the group’s 70th property in Japan. With this opening, Marriott International continues its solid growth in Japan as the hotel chain with the most brand offerings. The company has 70 properties across 18 brands in 21 prefectures including major cities such as Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto, as well as other lesser known gems like Tochigi, Gifu and Wakayama. With a pipeline of more than 30 additional hotels, including three hotels expected to open later this year, the portfolio is poised for continued growth in Japan.

“We remain confident in the future of travel.” – Rajeev Menon, President, Marriott International Asia-Pacific (excluding Greater China).

“Expanding our presence and bringing more brands and experiences to Japan has been a priority for us,” said Rajeev Menon, President, Marriott International Asia-Pacific (excluding Greater China). “We remain confident in the future of travel and look forward to welcoming both domestic and international guests with new and exciting travel choices when they are able to travel again.”

The opening of Aloft Osaka Dojima, Marriott International’s 70th property in Japan, is emblematic of its select-service brand category growth in the country, with the number of open hotels nearly tripling since 2019. The brands in the category such as Fairfield by Marriott, Courtyard, Aloft Hotels, and Moxy Hotels to name a few, offer distinct value for travellers with streamlined services and amenities, paired with casual, convenient dining options and warm hospitality — all at an approachable price point. The new Aloft property is centrally located at the crossroads of entertainment, shopping, dining and business in Osaka. In addition to vibrant urban centres, many of the select-service hotels are opening in Japan’s lesser known areas and are expected to offer easy and comfortable stays for travellers exploring less travelled, yet attractive locations.

The “Michi-no-eki” portfolio – which now comprises 13 Fairfield by Marriott hotels in prime locations near roadside rest stations in Japan – is a key driver of growth in the select service category in the country. Earlier in 2021, five Fairfield by Marriott hotels opened across picture-perfect destinations including Odai in Mie, Minamiyamashiro in Kyoto, Nikko in Tochigi, Kushimoto in Wakayama, and Susami in Wakayama. Later this year, an additional new Fairfield by Marriott hotel is slated to open with the arrival of Fairfield by Marriott Gifu Takayama Shokawa. The new hotels are situated close to national parks and UNESCO World Heritage Sites, providing guests a gateway to secluded destinations and local gems across the country.

This summer, the highly anticipated opening of Japan’s fourth Moxy Hotel, Moxy Kyoto Nijo, is expected to add a stylishly playful twist to Kyoto’s bar and social scene, celebrating youthful nonconformity, open-mindedness, and originality above all. Located in the Kyoto Nijo historic district near the World Heritage site of Nijo Castle, it is set to be a buzzing new location to play and explore.

Meanwhile, the recently opened Hiyori Chapter Kyoto, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel, is the Tribute Portfolio brand’s second property in the country, and welcomes guests from near and far to craft their own story and live like a local on a journey of exploration in picturesque Kyoto.

Earlier this year Marriott International celebrated the opening of Japan’s very first W hotel with the arrival of W Osaka, which, thanks to design influence from design and architecture studio concrete Amsterdam, brought the brand’s singularly bold attitude and a playground of new possibilities to the city’s already-vibrant hospitality scene.

The iconic lifestyle luxury brand EDITION will further expand with the expected opening of The Tokyo EDITION, Ginza later this year. The hotel is slated to be the second EDITION property in Japan following The Tokyo EDITION, Toranomon, which opened in 2020.

A sedated interior scheme inside the guestroom of the hotel

Image credit: Tokyo Edition/Marriott International

“We are gratified to see the strong growth of Marriott International in Japan, and appreciate the confidence of our owners and franchisees in our vision for the future of hospitality in the country,” said Karl Hudson, Area Vice President, Japan and Guam, Marriott International. “Like us, our owners believe that the future of travel lies in providing what travellers truly want, based on lifestyles, interests and preferences. Marriott’s strong and differentiated portfolio of brands cater to the individual requirements of travellers, and this is how our guests know they can count on us to provide what they want, wherever they may travel to.”

With today’s announcement, Marriott International is well-positioned in Japan with 70 hotels across 18 distinct brands, aimed at serving differentiated experiences across traveler segments. The brands currently operating in Japan include: JW Marriott, St. Regis Hotels & Resorts, The Ritz-Carlton and Ritz-Carlton Reserve, W Hotels, The Luxury Collection, and EDITION in the luxury segment; Marriott Hotels, Sheraton, Westin, Autograph Collection, Tribute Portfolio, and Renaissance in the premium segment; Courtyard by Marriott, Four Points by Sheraton, Fairfield by Marriott, Aloft Hotels, AC Hotels by Marriott, and Moxy Hotels in the select service segment.

Main image credit: Marriott International

Hospitality brand edyn to launch Cove

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hospitality brand edyn to launch Cove

Answering the demands of modern travellers with ‘soulful hospitality’, edyn has launched Cove, a ‘next generation’ serviced apartment brand that will embrace the new future of travel, providing fresh growth opportunities for the breakthrough hospitality brand…

From the brand that launched Locke, which recently opened its first property outside the UK, Cove launches to underscore both edyn’s resilience and optimism.

Cove embodies the notion of flexible living – combining considered design with seamless technology to enable life in all modes. The adaptability of Cove’s business model will also provide exciting new growth opportunities for edyn, which is rapidly expanding its presence throughout the UK and Europe. In the first half of 2021, the group built upon its resilient 2020 performance when it achieved an average occupancy exceeding 70 per cent – making edyn the ‘one to watch’ in the new future of travel where guests are increasingly planning to stay for longer and experience more, whatever the reason for their stay.

“Cove will embrace new ways of living, offering travellers security, comfort and sanctuary.” – Steven Haag, Managing Director of Cove.

“We have a tremendous opportunity to evolve and grow edyn at a time when flexible, thoughtfully designed accommodation has never been more in demand,” explained Stephen McCall, CEO of edyn. “Combined with the foresight of our investors behind us and a world class team leading the brand, the launch of Cove will allow us to transform the traditional serviced apartment model and bolster our portfolio.”

Cove’s thoughtfully designed apartments will continue to serve a base of corporate clients looking for extended stays, while refocusing on leisure travellers – including families – seeking self-contained, spacious, and flexible accommodation. Each versatile apartment will feature super-fast, private Wi-Fi; fully fitted kitchens and living rooms; as well as signature sofas and bespoke kitchen tables suitable for dining, working or hosting.

“Our mission is to create the next generation of serviced apartments, which cater to travellers seeking carefully designed spaces in central city locations across the UK and Europe; suitable for a business trip, city escape or family holiday,” said Steven Haag, Managing Director of Cove. “Cove will embrace new ways of living, offering travellers security, comfort and sanctuary, which is aligned with edyn’s ethos and vision.”

Image credit: Cove Paradise Street, Liverpool ONE

This month, edyn will transform eight of its existing Saco properties to Cove, with new fixtures and furnishings, branding and an innovative, digitally focused guest journey. The first full Cove opening will be a new acquisition in the Liverpool ONE development.

Cove Paradise Street will comprise 77 contemporary one- to three-bed apartments, boasting panoramic views of Liverpool city centre and a large communal courtyard. Located in the heart of the city, Cove Paradise Street is a stone’s throw from excellent transport links, as well as Liverpool ONE’s diverse retail, leisure, and dining offering.

Saco properties in Reading, Nottingham, London (Covent Garden, The Cannon, St. Martin’s Lane), Cardiff, Bristol (West India) and Manchester will all transform to Cove. Properties that are not part of the initial transformation will continue to operate under the Saco brand and be available to book alongside partner properties on the Saco website.

Main image credit: edyn

Pool inside PrettyLittleThing Hotel

Fashion brand PrettyLittleThing launches UK hotel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Fashion brand PrettyLittleThing launches UK hotel

While the boundaries between lifestyle and luxury continue to blur – and fashion, design and hospitality collide – it’s not a huge surprise to read that that global fashion brand PrettyLittleThing has entered the UK hotel market. Editor Hamish Kilburn explores more…

Pool inside PrettyLittleThing Hotel

According to a recent press release, demand for staycations this year is up an astonishing 14,400 per cent in the UK, which has led to staycation venues all over the country to sell out this summer. With great demand comes new supply – and PrettyLittleThing has just checked in, taking over a site in the Devon countryside with pink balloons and glamour.

Promising the ‘ultimate’ staycation experience as early as this summer, the brand’s new hotel, will be sheltered in a contemporary barn-like building – think Soho Farmhouse, but less chic and more pink! The hotel will open, we are told, with the aim to rival the ‘Love Island Villa’.

Candy-pink walls aside, in addition to offering something new on the market outside of major cities, the venture will also allow the brand, which is one of the largest fashion brands in the UK, to amplify its brand DNA to its target audience, as Nicki Capstick, Marketing Director at PrettyLittleThing, explains. “The PrettyLittleThing hotel is something we have been excited to launch for a long time, she said. “We’ve carefully curated the decor and homeware from our own range to create the ultimate staycation destination this summer. We’re looking forward to welcoming our first guests and ensure that they have the most incredible getaway after over a year of being unable to travel.”

This latest arrival to the hospitality scene is further evidence that the hospitality industry is heading towards a new era of lifestyle, which is being created to answer new demands from modern travellers. However, what makes this move even more interesting – whether or not it shelters an innovate design approach is irrelevant – is that the brand’s arrival in the UK hotel arena comes as a direct result of the current restrictions on travel, leading to a call for more accessible options on the current hospitality scene.

Only time will tell as to whether or not the hotel will become a permanent fixture once air travel resumes – or for that matter if the brand is preparing to open any other hotels. For now, at least, the fashion brand has thrown personality, colour and experience to hospitality in the UK. Welcome to the party, PrettyLittleThing.

Main image credit: PrettyLittleThing

VIP Arrivals - July

VIP arrivals: Hottest hotels opening in July 2021

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
VIP arrivals: Hottest hotels opening in July 2021

As momentum and demand builds for the industry to reopen fully and for travellers to enjoy one-off travel experiences once more, it seems as if the hospitality landscape is updating its infrastructure with newly designed hotels, in both new and existing properties, standing to welcome the new era of modern travellers. Editor Hamish Kilburn takes you through the hottest hotels opening in July…

VIP Arrivals - July

In this extended, unpredictable period, where countries continue to play chess with travellers’ freedom to travel, one thing is for certain: when the world finds its equilibrium following the pandemic, we will all need (and fully deserve) a holiday. While we are metaphorically stuck on the tarmac due to global travel restrictions, our research into the latest hotels opening (for the time being, at least) will have to come from behind our monitors on the editorial desk.

In order to make a bit more sense of the hotel development landscape – from London to Rome, Ibiza to Morroco – here the hottest hotels opening this July.

MAALOT Roma

Located in what was the residence of Gaetano Donizetti (1797 – 1848) famous Italian opera composer of Don Pasquale, Lucia di Lammermoor and Maria Stuarda, MAALOT Roma aims to attract a young and more seasoned clientele looking for a vibrant and cosy place for gathering and being in the know in the most central part of Rome. “My team and I are thrilled about this new opening and we can’t wait to open the doors to the first hotel of the MAALOT brand,” said Edoardo Officioso, the hotel’s general manager. “This first property, located just few steps from Trevi’s fountain, aims to become the new ‘lounge’ in Rome where [guests can] meet, share a drink or taste the gourmet experience. After these last months we hope to offer locals and travellers a special place to gather and find the pleasure to socialise again.”

Mondrian Shoreditch London 

Dubbed, by us, as on of ‘Shoreditch’s hottest hotels opening in 2021’, Mondrian Shoreditch London will open inside the existing Curtain hotel. With interior design by none other than the team at Goddard Littlefair, the 120-key lifestyle hotel will sit in the midst of Shoreditch, East London’s creative and cultural hub: an area that captivates the energy and playful DNA of the Mondrian brand. The hotel will collaborate with local personalities and brands to highlight their lifestyle approach to hospitality, via partnerships including artistic pop-ups and live performances in The Screening Room, a private room and bar. The property will also offer a premium co-working space, visionary dining and mixology concepts and boasts a rooftop pool and lounge by an award-winning team, just in time for the summer – a rarity for Londoners and always in high demand.

Mama Roma

Redner of restaurant in Mama Shelter in Rome

Image credit: Mama Roma

Scheduled to open in July 2021, Mama Roma, which we recently covered a sneak peek of, will be located in the elegant Prati district, on the right bank of the Tiber river. The 217-key hotel will welcome guests (local and travellers alike) to experience – in true Mama Shelter style – its eccentric, fun and accessible approach to hospitality. Spread over six floors, Mama Roma’s rooms have been conceived by the group’s in-house design team, Mama Design Studio. With other major hotels opening and hotel brands scheduled to debut in Rome over the next few years suggest that Rome is fast-becoming a hotel development hotspot – Mama, it seems, got in there first… 

The Tawny Hotel, Peak District

Located in the heart of rural Staffordshire, The Tawny Hotel is set within the 70-acre grounds of the restored wild garden of Consall Hall Estate – and is certainly one of the hottest hotels in England re-opening this summer. The hotel comprises of 55 immaculately designed Shepherds Huts, Treehouses, Boathouses, Retreats and the Lookout, each inspired by its surroundings and sympathetically designed by one of the owners, Sarah Reeves, with luxurious touches that intertwine with the natural environment.

With a rich history dating back to 1246, Consall Hall Estate and Gardens is considered a local treasure. Three years ago, locals Fran & William Scott-Moncrieff and Ben & Reeves embarked on a joint venture working with local conservation architects, ctd architects, to provide an economically viable and sustainable future for the gardens, ultimately creating The Tawny Hotel. Prior to their ownership, the site was the home of engineer, Mr William Podmore, who spent 50 years transforming the gardens, creating a space overflowing with life, a place to be discovered and enjoyed.

Today, considered design is present throughout the project; the cabins have been discretely and sensitively placed throughout the grounds in harmony with the rolling landscape and with care given to ensure the ecology of this very special estate continues to thrive. The project aims to be an exemplary showcase of responsible and sustainable tourism and this shines through all elements, be it the wood cladding used on the cabin exteriors, the foundations engineered to not harm the tree roots, the food waste utilised as fertiliser throughout the grounds and the outdoor bathtubs which require no chemicals, just fresh warm water.

Six Senses Ibiza 

Talk about timing, as the UK government decides to place Ibiza on the ‘green list’, Six Senses Hotels & Resorts is preparing to make its arrival on the island. But what is arguably more impressive is that the property, on the north shores of the island, will become Ibiza’s first sustainable resort – Six Senses Ibiza will be the first sustainable BREEAM certified resort and residential community in the Balearics. The resort will offer 116 guest accommodations, villas, suites and beachfront caves and a number of Village Residences with intimate terraces, lush gardens and pools – perfect for those looking for a permanent hideaway in the Mediterranean.

Hyatt Regency Koh Samui

Hyatt’s first hotel in Koh Samui will open in early July – but what’s really tickled our design senses is the collaborative architecture and design narrative. Three of Thailand’s top design names — architects The Office of Bangkok Architects (OBA), interiors specialist August Design Consultant and acclaimed landscaper PLandscape (PLA) —  were responsible for ensure that the resort is strong on both style and substance.

Architectural highlights include a showpiece lobby, the longest lobby arrival point in Koh Samui, where numerous skylights allow for natural illumination by the sun and the moon. Other standout features inside the 140-key hotel include plush accommodations that showcase terrific ocean views to the largest pool zone on the island, a collection of four pools, each cascading down from the main pool on the upper deck of the resort.

Airelles Saint-Tropez, Château de la Messardière

Acquired in May 2019, the property has joined Airelles’ prestigious hotel collection and has undergone extensive renovation work over the last two years, with highly acclaimed French architect and interior designer, Christopher Tollemer, overseeing the redesign.  Opening in July as Airelles Saint-Tropez, Château de la Messardière, the property, with its trademark domed cupolas and turrets, is Saint-Tropez’s largest hotel, occupying 25 acres of glorious grounds overlooking the Côte d’Azur and Provençal countryside.

Fairmont Taghazout Bay

Fairmont Taghazout Bay, designed by Wimberly Interiors, is the new property that is set to become the ‘new social nexus’ in Morocco for luxury travellers within the leisure sector. Its breath-taking coastline will introduce guests to a new and yet authentic destination. A wide range of distinctive features and activities designed to reflect the surrounding nature and local culture will cater to both the consumer and the corporate luxury hospitality industries. Located 17km north of Agadir, the property features 146 spacious accommodations featuring ocean view rooms, suites and villas, and a wellness facility that will shelter a wide range of treatments and experiences. 

Since you’re here…

More than 40,000 readers per month enjoy the content we publish on Hotel Designs. Our mission is to define the point on international hotel design, and we are doing that by serving relevant news stories and engaging features. To keep up to date on the hottest stories that are emerging, you can sign up to the newsletter, which is completely free of charge. As well as receiving a weekly round-up of the top stories, you will also access our bi-monthly HD Edit –staying ahead of the curve has never been so easy!

Click here to sign up to our newsletter.

Virtual roundtable: How F&B hospitality is evolving in 2021 & beyond

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Virtual roundtable: How F&B hospitality is evolving in 2021 & beyond

For all brands working in hospitality, shutting up shop due to Covid-19 was a hard pill to swallow. But could F&B hospitality emerge from this crisis evolved and better shaped for the new demand of modern travellers and locals alike? Editor Hamish Kilburn, in association with LUQEL, gathers some of the UK’s leading figures in the industry to find out…

After months of forced closure after Covid-19 brought the UK hospitality scene to its knees more than a year ago, F&B spaces recently took on a new role as the industry showed signs of recovery. With the aim to reconnect, following a brutal recharge, hotels up and down the country re-emerged with purpose, amplifying new trends and sheltering new concepts, to ultimately confront a new chapter in the industry.

Brands of all shapes and sizes did what was necessary in order to innovatively convert their outdoor spaces into exceptional dining experiences. In this exclusive and time-appropriate roundtable, in collaboration with LUQEL, which provides hospitality businesses with state-of-the-art water solutions, we have brought together a handful of the industry’s finest in order to explore how the challenges of today are forcing brand’s to bring to the chef’s table new F&B models, which will essentially help tomorrow’s thriving F&B hospitality landscape.

Meet the panel:

Hamish Kilburn: UK hospitality has been open now for a few weeks, what’s the mood been like in your establishments?

Mario Perera: For us at The Dorchester, we didn’t stop during the pandemic– we were running the hotel with residents living here and when were able to inviting certain people to come and stay. What made the pandemic particularly challenging was that we are currently celebrating our 90th anniversary, so we wanted to make a statement. We decided to open the roof terrace – we are following all the guidelines and doing everything we can to make each guests’ experience memorable – which is something completely new for The Dorchester.

The Dorchester rooftop terrace

During the easing of lockdown measures in the UK, The Dorchester utlised its outdoor space and opened its rooftop as an F&B outlet for the first time in its nine-decade history.

Marco Palazzo: The Kingston 1 and its Solo restaurant have just opened, and it’s been undoubtedly a slow start. While government’s restrictions still in place don’t help us, we’ve been getting a great response from our first guests, which is a reassuring signal for what’s to come that keeps us optimistic for the future.

Conor O’Leary: Touch wood, we have been fortunate with very high demand here at Gleneagles. People tend to come and stay with us in order to escape the city. Over half term, we were running at 95 per cent capacity and we are looking forward to a busy summer. There are restrictions, of course, which we are managing and people are booking less impulsively, but guests do, in general, understand.

Also, this situation has allowed our team to think more creatively. We have installed pop-up bars and ice-cream shacks, for example, in order to encourage guests to be outdoors, which has allowed us to also offer something different and unique for our locals too.

“I think Covid-19 has given more of a thirst for interesting experiences, and to be more mindful as to how and where they will spend their money.” – Josed Youssef, Founder, Kitchen Theory.

James Green: You mentioned the offering increase, have there been areas where the offiering has changed?

COL: We have had to change a few things. We were very well-known for our breakfast buffet before Covid-19 and for the time being that has had to stop. Instead, we are serving 400 a la carte breakfasts a day, which as you can imagine is a challenge in itself. Strathearn restaurant, a classical Franco-Scottish fine dining restaurant, is well known for its table work and trolleys which we have had to limit somewhat but we have compensated with other offerings. With large restaurants, however, we are able to adhere to those restrictions. I have also noticed that interior designers are not just designing F&B spaces that look good anymore, but they are really designing experience concepts and developing from the ground up.

Jozef Youssef: I’d say, now more than ever, we are in this experience economy – I think Covid-19 has given more of a thirst for interesting experiences, and to be more mindful as to how and where they will spend their money. We were moving in this direction anyway, but I see more experimental themes coming out of this. Of course, this is largely driven by social media. There are a lot of hotels and restaurants in London, but I do wonder how many of them are a great once-in-a-lifetime experience – and I think consumers will be demanding that in the near future.

Ivaylo Lefterov: SVART is very unique and F&B plays a massive role in our guest journey experience. We are trying to keep this as bespoke as possible. There are certain challenges that come with that aspiration– for example, we are looking to introduce individual menus for our guests in order to monitor their nutrition from check in to check out. The menu will be based on how their nutrition is changing from a day-to-day basis.

HK: Does everyone see personalised menus being a reality in the future? 

JY: From the research we carry out, I don’t think it’s a question of reality, I think it’s going to become a demand – and kitchens will have to adapt. You can see it happening already. Small personalisations, such a allergens and dietary requirements, that didn’t really come into conversation 15 or 20 years ago, are now an unavoidable reality. Also, back then, chefs were less sympathetic to it. Operations are going to have to adapt to be more flexible to this consumer behaviour.

“The reason why hotels have evolved from simply sheltering the steakhouse or Italian restaurant is that you don’t just have that option on the high street anymore.” – Conor O’Leary, Joint Managing Director, Gleneagles.

HK: So much effort and resources go into pairing food with the best compliment such as wine – it can really enhance your experience, is this still important? Do you see a market for a healthier alternative?

COL: When we re-opened the hotel, Scotland’s regulations prevented us from offering alcohol. The sale of non-alcoholic beverages, on top of water, was vast. Nearly every table ordered non-alcoholic beers, wines or the cocktails we had created. We therefore definitely feel as if there is a need for healthier alternatives to alcohol.

HK: Also, it’s important to remember, with a rise in hotel development outside the city, more customers will be driving to these venues and therefore will be restricted on how much alcohol they consume anyway.

Mario P: For those who want an experience and education in wine, we now offer a very exclusive package for guests. We allow a select few down to the dine in the wine vault and the chef’s table. We also do masterclasses – and this is something we introduced and has been very successful.

JY: Water is the healthiest drink that you can consume and surely there is a way to make that market more premium to those who are going out and experiencing a luxury meal. There should be more of a ritual around water and water choices.

The slick water station by LUQEL is particularly suitable for the hospitality industry and offers users 30 different recipes with individual mineralisation.

The slick water station by LUQEL is particularly suitable for the hospitality industry and offers users 30 different recipes with individual mineralisation.

HK: Conor, you obviously worked in a number of establishments in London before heading up to Gleneagles. What have been the major changes since then and now?  

COL: The overall answer is that the audience is more aware – they go out more than they did before and there’s a lot more understanding around food in general. The reason why hotels have evolved from simply sheltering the steakhouse or Italian restaurant is that you don’t just have that option on the high street anymore. The dining experiences are curated and easily available. Hotels slowly caught up to this. Good businesses are offering something unique – and the dining experiences are different from other areas, such as the lobby, of the hotel. Personalisation is a tricky space, because the best dining experiences are in the hands of the restauranteur – many guests don’t want to think in order to enjoy their dining experience. And that’s before even considering that your guests are international. We have to be relevant nowadays.

Our guests are also changing. We spent a lot of time softening our reputation, and the experience is on their terms.

“Being an architect myself, we tend to be quite arrogant to the usage of the spaces.” – Ivaylo Lefterov, Development Direcotr, Miris

HK: Do you think it’s important for chefs to have exposure of the design plans before their completed?

Marco P: A restaurant represents the personality and style of a chef; I am very lucky to have started at Solo restaurant before it opened as it gave me the opportunity to have a voice in contributing to the creation of the venue’s identity, based on what my vision was. Today, we have a relaxed yet elegant dining venue which is unique in its area, and offers locals a high-quality neighbourhood restaurant with a fine-dining touch.

JY: Traditionally, chefs would work in a private space away from the guests and all the theatre would be performed on the restaurant floor. But then something interesting happened. Restaurants started to open up the kitchens, which became part of the whole aesthetic. Now, for many businesses, chefs are integral to the overall brand and concept. So, moving forward, I do think that chefs should have exposure of the design – certainly the layout of the Kitchen – because it has to be operational. I predict that there will be more collaborations between chefs and designers and other experts in order to create new experiences.

COL: I think we all bring work and life experience into our roles. I think it’s only relevant to bring in chefs into the design stages if they have experience in that area.  It’s important that the design process matches the concept.

IL: Chefs are vital. Being an architect myself, we tend to be quite arrogant to the usage of the spaces. Genius architects in the past have completely ignored functional areas, especially the kitchen and back-of-house spaces. Therefore, you do require knowledge in that area and everyone has to thinking in the same language. For SVART, I chose to bring everyone to the table before the architect in order for us to discuss exactly what we want from a functional element.

Mario P: I agree. Designers are integral but if you can’t get the food right then you have a big problem. In a branded property, everyone is important and everyone should be working together.

“Five years ago, we had signs saying ‘keep off the grass’ and now we have 100 dining tables, chairs and seafood shack on the lawn.” – Conor O’Leary, Joint Managing Director, Gleneagles.

HK: In between lockdowns one and two in the UK, there were less covers in restaurants, due to social distancing, but many reported that average spend per table increased. Could this be a solution in the future?

Mario P: People are happy to pay if their experience is matched. I think a lot has changed, and we too have softened our image. For example, I am more than happy to be out on the floor to pour wine and interact with guests and I think people love that. There’s also more of a dialogue between the consumer and the waiter/waitress. People are asking questions about the menus and just enjoying being out again.

COL: The hardship we have been in has forced that creativity. Five years ago, we had signs saying ‘keep off the grass’ and now we have 100 dining tables, chairs and seafood shack on the lawn We have also seen an increase in average spend per table. I don’t think there is a link between space and spend – I think people are just desperate to enjoy hospitality again.

HK: We have seen a big shift when it comes to sustainability and reduction of carbon emissions, there have been many changes with government legislations around single use plastics, what are your plans to meet the ongoing legislations going forward?

COL: We were sourcing locally anyway, but [during Covid] we were able to really focus heavily in this area. We are opening a small townhouse in Edinburgh later this year and huge part of that concept will be around how we engage and source locally. Everything is looking inwardly and instead of price first, it is community first.

Mario P: I have been practicing this for a while and it something I am very passionate about. It’s really important for me for us to use local farmers where we can.

IL: As you know, the concept for SVART is to offer a personalised menu for our guests around their nutrition but everything we do will be limited to what we can source locally. Part of our concept is to produce a lot of the goods ourselves. We already have a fish farm and we will also have a green farm that will be powered by the waste and energy that we will produce. This is all part of the holistic process.

Also, as we design SVART, we are looking at the source of the material of each and every product that we specify in the hotel – that is very important for this meaningful development.

HK: In other areas of hotel design, the sensory experience is being explored as a meaningful way to shelter a deeper experience. Can you see this working in F&B hospitality?

JY: Undoubtedly. A lot of research we have done over the last few years, that we published recently, the sensory touchpoints are being explored far deeper than ever before on the influence they are having. Your senses are constantly ticking away, helping you to structure your surroundings or the experience you are in. What’s interesting from our research is that there are strong correlations with how sound effects the environment. If you are in a restaurant, for example, and the sound level is above 70 – 80 decibels, the noise level physiologically suppresses your ability to taste sweetness. What we are trying to understand is how colour, shape and sound can help to enhance the experience that guests are having.

IL: With our development, we are engaging with all these senses, subconsciously, to create a meaningful hospitality experience.

HK: Are there any F&B eras you hope don’t re-emerge as trends? 

IL: All-inclusive hotels, globally!

Marco P: Rediscovering simple ingredients and flavours that are good to the soul and bring people together, which is what we try to do at Solo.

JY: It comes back to personalisation. In august of last year public health England announced an obesity crisis. Over the next 10 – 20 years, the population will become even more health aware. I’m of a generation when James Bond smoked, but you wouldn’t think of that in movies released today. Maybe in the future, James Bond will have a lighter drink – or LUQEL water even – at the bar. I think, personally, there will be much more education on healthier alternatives in regards to ingredients.

COL: I think there’s going to be a slight move back towards sophisticated dining. We would have to pay a bit more but I think customers will accept that. And the dining experience would link in to a more meaningful and thoughtful journey.

IL: In comparison to Europe, hospitality brands operating in Bulgaria already offer a vast choice of waters and brands for guests to select from. I can see there being a demand for more interesting water flavours in the future, and I do see that becoming a demand from guests.

Since you’re here, why not read our feature on personalised water for all?

Clearly, this is just the start of the conversation around how F&B will evolve in 2021 & beyond. Hotel Designs will be putting particular emphasis on this topic over the next few months, and may even make a stage appearance at a show or two with hand-picked guests in order to explore the future of F&B in more delicious detail. Stay tuned…

W Rome - Guest Room (render)

New renders released of W Rome, months ahead of its opening

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
New renders released of W Rome, months ahead of its opening

Designed by Meyer Davis with the brand’s bold interpretation of luxury in mind, W Rome will bring innovation and local storytelling to life when it opens this Autumn, marking the brand’s Italian debut…

W Hotels Worldwide is preparing to make a bold arrival in Italy this autumn with the debut of W Rome. Located on Via Liguria, next to the Spanish Steps, the historic palazzo-turned-luxury-lifestyle-hotel will offer an unapologetically Italian experience, where guests can live in the moment and anticipate the future of the Eternal City.

W Rome - Guest Room (render)

The time has almost arrived for us to welcome W Hotels’ debut Italian property, which, if rumours are to be believed, will in true W style make no apology for its bold and loud references to the local vernacular. For the Marriott International brand, which shelters a mind-blowing portfolio of more than 7,600 properties under 30 leading brands spanning 133 countries and territories, the opening of W Rome will be a significant moment as the destination continues to be a popular hotel development landscape.

“The debut of W Hotels in Italy is almost here and we could not be more excited to unveil our playfully luxe spirit with this highly anticipated hotel,” said Candice D’Cruz, Vice President – Luxury Brands, Europe, Middle East & Africa, Marriott International. “The opening will introduce a thriving line-up of restaurants and bars to the city that will become a must-go destination for travellers and local tastemakers alike. After more than a year of missed moments, raising a glass together on Otto Rooftop Bar is just what we all need.”

W Rome - Wet Deck

Image credit: W Hotels

Designed by Meyer Davis with the brand’s bold interpretation of luxury in mind, W Rome brings innovation and local storytelling to life. In a city marked by an immense historical heritage, the hotel décor will layer an Italian colour palette with patterns that blur distinct eras of standout design. The property exudes 1970s glamour with traditional architecture blending into colour blocking and bold graphic patterns in hues of burnt orange, dramatic red and foliage greens. An eclectic mix of colourful furniture meets stone walls representative of the building’s past, while reflective surfaces bring a contemporary feel to the interior. The 147 stylish, open-plan guestrooms and 15 suites feature luxurious design details including wooden herringbone patterned floors effortlessly blurring into modern marble surfaces contrasted with dark, rich maroon curtains. Guestrooms boast iconic views, with some overlooking the Istituto Svizzero, and many offering private balconies and terraces.

“W Lounge, the hotel’s buzzing bar destination, will bring the pulse of the city to the hotel’s doorstep.”

The Extreme Wow Suite (the W brand’s modern interpretation of a traditional presidential suite) provides a spectacular stay with highly coveted indoor and outdoor living, endless views across the city, and an impressive outdoor terrace spanning 140 square metres, perfect for private happenings and events.

As one of the defining characteristics of Italian culture, W Rome takes food seriously. Foodies will rejoice as Ciccio Sultano, Sicily’s sensational chef, brings his southern passion to the hotel as the Culinary Lead. His signature restaurant in Rome will be Giano Restaurant, where diners can meet over their favourite cocktails and delicious dishes. W Lounge, the hotel’s buzzing bar destination, will bring the pulse of the city to the hotel’s doorstep with live music, DJ sets and cocktail culture, while the hidden Giardino Clandestino will be  an intimate alfresco setting for toasting with friends.

W Rome - Giardino Clandestino

Image credit: W Hotels

A rare treasure in the city, Otto Rooftop Bar will boast sweeping panoramas across Rome, complete with a WET Deck (rooftop pool) where stylish locals and guests can soak up the Roman sun and mix it up over cocktails, crudo, and pizza.

FUEL meanwhile is the W brand’s high-energy, social take on wellness that allows guests to focus on mind and body. FUEL-focused activities will be led by Italian athlete Pietro Boselli, with the first FUEL x Petra Studio Gym and personal training programme. From high-intensity sessions to boxing and yoga, Boselli will offer guests and locals alike energy-soaked workouts.

Trailblazing its way around the globe, with nearly 60 hotels, W is defying expectations and breaking the norms of traditional luxury wherever the iconic W sign lands. W Rome is no exception and is expected to add ‘super-charge energy’ to the city, while offering guests and locals alike a destination that shelters provocative design and iconic hospitality experiences. W does it again!

Main image credit: W Hotels

RPW Design: A look back on its iconic hotel design projects

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
RPW Design: A look back on its iconic hotel design projects

In case you haven’t heard, leading hospitality design firm RPW Design became the latest casualty of the pandemic recently after its Managing Director Ariane Steinbeck announced that she had put the company into administration. With Steinbeck’s blessing, editor Hamish Kilburn reflects (past and present) on some of the hospitality design studio’s most iconic projects…

Over the course of 31 years, RPW Design earned its title as one of the leading international interior design practices within the realm of hospitality. Having created unique interiors for luxury hotels, cruise ships and private members’ clubs around the world, the studio has helped steer hospitality, from many perspectives, into several new eras of luxury and lifestyle. With an impressive portfolio of projects and awards, the firm became renowned for its technical prowess and sensual alchemy. In short, each project RPW Design undertook become memorable for its coherence and elegance.

During the pandemic, the studio helped us narrate as much as navigate the ever-evolving hotel design and hospitality scene – Ariane Steinbeck herself joined us on several virtual roundtables, including discussions on hygiene, wellness and sleep.

“While we mourn the loss of RPW Design Ltd, our team will remain a [resourceful and] reliable force in our industry.” – Ariane Steinbeck, Managing Director, RPW Design.

Over the weekend, however, Steinbeck, who in 2015 was passed the reins by Jan Wilson to become Managing Director – I still remember the fabulous Octoberfest-style event she arranged to mark her arrival – took to social media to share that the company had gone into administration. “It is with great sadness and a heavy heart that I must announce the closure of RPW Design Ltd after three decades of serving the hospitality industry,” she wrote. “Try as we might, we could not overcome the compounding effects of Covid-19 on our business… While we mourn the loss of RPW Design Ltd, our team will remain a [resourceful and] reliable force in our industry – some of whom have already found new ‘homes’ elsewhere.”

Our heartfelt, respectful nod (more of a bow actually) to the studio’s legacy comes as we look back to some of RPW Design’s iconic projects that added colour, texture and deep meaning to the hospitality landscape worldwide. From one of my first features I wrote as a design journalist – the unveil of London Marriott Hotel County Hall – to its most recent projects that are still in development, including working on what will be Sofia’s tallest building and the much-loved Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire, here’s an edited selection of jewels that, thanks to considered interior design approaches, boldly put (and kept) RPW Design on our radar.

London Marriott Hotel County Hall
Design team: Elizabeth Lane, Heather McLellan and Alessandro Tessari

In 2014, RPW Design was tasked to take one of London’s most iconic riverside buildings, which first opened in 1933 opposite the Houses of Parliament, into its next chapter in hospitality. The studio steered the London Marriott Hotel County Hall through its multi-million pound renovation under the watchful eye of Elizabeth Lane, Heather McLellan and Alessandro Tessari.

Re-emerging and re-opening with crisp, new interiors – far removed from the maroon and green colour scheme that the hotel brand was once known for – while also appropriately making sensitive nods throughout to the building’s colourful past. In short, RPW Design helped the hotel take back its status as one of London’s finest hotels, while showcasing a modern and contemporary Marriott International brand.

Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire
Design team:
Elizabeth Lane, Poppy Lindley (now at Martin Brudnizki Design Studio), Richard Snow and Alessandro Tessari

Image credit: RPW Design/Four Seasons Hampshire

Last year, RPW Design unveiled the renovation of Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire’s conference and banqueting spaces. The refreshed interiors of the hotel’s meeting and event spaces seamlessly breathed fresh life into the historical Georgian property, adding a stylish sense of sophistication. In order to appeal to both the social and business clientele at the hotel, the design studio artistically designed different identities for each of the conference and banqueting rooms. To ensure the hotel remained quintessentially British, the team chose to specifically work with British manufacturers and suppliers.

The Capital Suite inside InterContinental London Park Lane
Design team: Ariane Steinbeck, Richard Snow and Poppy Lindley

RPW Design designed The Capital Suite

Image credit: Will Pryce

Designed to suit the needs of todays’ top executives and boasting state-of-the-art facilities, the inspiration for the design concept for The Capital Suite was drawn from the nature and history of Hyde Park, which surrounds the hotel and its storied location. Accompanying the use of natural materials, every detail has been individually designed to adhere to the leitmotif. Design touches contain tasteful homages to London’s greenery such as bespoke bronze handles evocative of tree branches for the cabinetry. Artwork and accessories draw on Hyde Park’s equine traditions and the historic location of the hotel. Bespoke stitching details of the Plane, the tree that populates and represents London’s Royal Parks, are incorporated into the headboard design. The green landscape of the park even inspired textures, patterns and themes within the carpet designs and artworks.

The suite, spanning 335sqm on the first floor, is the ultimate haven for the international business and leisure traveller a like – you feel taken away from the Capital, which is somewhat ironic considering its majestic name and non-cliché British design touchpoints and references.

Malta Marriott Hotel & Spa
Design team: Elizabeth Lane, Alessandro Tessari and Poppy Lindley

Earlier this year, RPW Design unveiled the new Presidential Suite of Malta Marriott Hotel & Spa, which, following an investment of more than €30M, epitomises the splendour and elegance of the recently renovated five-star St Julian’s property. Not only has RPW Design created a harmonious atmosphere but functionality was also at the forefront of the design process to form a space that is adaptable to modern travellers’ transition from daytime business meetings to leisurely evenings.

Situated on the 12th floor of the hotel, guests can enjoy unique panoramic views of Balluta Bay, which are visible from the entire 170 sqm suite. These vistas can be enjoyed on the expansive terrace, balconies and windows which run the whole length of the spacious room.

Sheraton Schiphol Airport (under construction)
Design team: Elizabeth Lane, Alessandro Tessari, Richard Snow and Heather McLellan

The project, which is still in motion, is a full refurbishment of the guestrooms and corridors in the airport hotel. It was integral to hit the right notes as this project is an early adopter of the new branding for Sheraton. The team were inspired by aerial views of the tulip fields and surrounding Land Art Park Buitenschot, built not only for recreations but also to reduce noise from the airfield. 

Sofia Marriott (under construction)
Design team: Ariane Steinbeck and Heather McLellan

Sofia Marriott will become the tallest tower in Sofia, Bulgaria. Unfortunately, we are unable to share much more than that at the moment – we don’t even have images to tease you with for the time being. All that we can confirm is that the talented individuals at RPW Design will be responsible for the contemporary interior design scheme that the building will eventually shelter.

Madrid Historic Apartment (expected to complete in 2022)
Design team: Ariane Steinbeck, Richard Snow and Alessandro Tessari

Image credit: RPW Design/Smallbone Kitchens

Image credit: RPW Design/Smallbone Kitchens

It may not be a hotel, but it does give you an idea of what the team are currently working on. The ‘piano nobile’ in a stately, Haussmannian-style building on one of Madrid’s most revered boulevards, is located steps from the Prado Museum and Retiro Park in the Salamanca neighbourhood. Built in 1919, and having had only a few owners in its history, the team at RPW Design are in the process of restoring and carefully re-shaping the “villa” into a spatial arrangement that makes sense for today’s lifestyles. The designed have put a large emphasis on the kitchen as a centrepiece as preparation of food and the joy of cooking and entertaining is paramount for this client. Assisted by Smallbone of Devizes, Steinbeck (who’s passion for cooking, I’m told, comes close to her love of design) and the former RPW Design team have come up with a solution that is adaptable to the family’s needs and unconventional in its approach.

Although this is a sad farewell to a company who has, for three decades, led with such poise, precision and passion, I can’t help but feel optimistic for Ariane Steinbeck, Heather McLellan, Alessandro Tessari,  Poppy Lindley, Richard Snow and Elizabeth Lane. As we close the door on this unforgettable chapter, I urge you to keep your eyes fixed on the corridor to see which other doors creep open. Behind them will no doubt be more masterpieces from the talented individuals – perhaps sheltered under different studios  – who together were RPW Design. Watch this space.

Main image credit: RPW Design

(in video) Hotel Designs LIVE: Workspace design trends in hospitality

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
(in video) Hotel Designs LIVE: Workspace design trends in hospitality

In the final session of Hotel Designs LIVE on May 11, 2021, we positioned the spotlight on workspace design trends and how they are impacting hotel design and hospitality. In an exclusive panel discussion, editor Hamish Kilburn welcomed leading figures in residential, workspace and hospitality design in order to confront the topic from three separate perspectives (full video below)… 

To aptly round off Hotel Designs LIVE, which took place on May 11, editor Hamish Kilburn returned to the screen to introduce the final topic of the day. Having already hosted panel discussions on the same day around the new era of lifestyle, unconventional bathrooms and celebrating art outside the frame, the fourth and final discussion amplified a topic that is ever-evolving, especially following recent cultural shifts. Closely linked to the conversations around lifestyle, workspace design trends are taking bold leaps forward. Therefore, it’s little surprise that major shows this year, such as HIX Event and Workplace Design Show, will explore the topic in detail later this year.

Since you’re here, there are limited spaces for the next Hotel Designs LIVE event (taking place virtually on August 10). It’s free for designers, architects, hoteliers and developers to attend – just click here to secure your place in the audience (booking form takes less than two minutes).

Ahead of those key events, which will include yet more panel discussions moderated by Hotel Designs, and as the dust is yet to settle on exactly how hospitality will incorporate today’s workspace trends in the future, Kilburn wanted to understand early on how the new era of lifestyle is leading towards public areas opening up to shelter co-working spaces. “Now that the world has adapted to news ways of working, and consuming information, the opportunities for hotels and hospitality establishments to design flexible spaces for business and leisure has never been greater,” he said. “But how do you sensitively design co-working spaces that are both functional, aesthetically pleasing and on brand? It’s a complicated topic that has many strands. Therefore, we decided that for this panel discussion we were going to hear perspectives from three corners of the arena; a residential designer, a workplace designer and a hospitality interior designer.”

On the panel:

Here’s the full video of the panel discussion (on demand), produced by CUBE, which includes Product Watch pitches from Session Sponsor Shure and lighting brand Well-Lit.

That concludes our editorial series around the topics explored at Hotel Designs LIVE. We have also published the full recordings of session one, session two and session three from Hotel Designs LIVE .

You can now book your place to attend our next Hotel Designs LIVE on August 10, 2021. The topics explored will include surfaces, sleep, senses and social – speakers have been announced! In the meantime, if you would like to discuss sponsorship opportunities, focused Product Watch pitches or the concept of Hotel Designs LIVE, please contact Katy Phillips or call +44 (0) 1992 374050.

Since you’re here…

More than 40,000 readers per month enjoy the content we publish on Hotel Designs. Our mission is to define the point on international hotel design, and we are doing that by serving relevant news stories and engaging features. To keep up to date on the hottest stories that are emerging, you can sign up to the newsletter, which is completely free of charge. As well as receiving a weekly round-up of the top stories, you will also access our bi-monthly HD Edit –staying ahead of the curve has never been so easy!

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Guestroom inside Viceroy Kopaonik Serbia

Inside Viceroy Kopaonik Serbia, the brand’s debut hotel in Europe

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Inside Viceroy Kopaonik Serbia, the brand’s debut hotel in Europe

Arriving on the European hospitality scene for the first time, Viceroy Hotels & Resorts has just opened the 119-key Viceroy Kopaonik Serbia, a luxe mountain resort rich in culture, natural beauty and boundless adventure. Let’s take a look inside…

Guestroom inside Viceroy Kopaonik Serbia

Kopaonik , which translates to “Mountain of the Sun”  is a biodiversity hotspot with close to 200 sunny days annually, ensuring beautiful year-round conditions and offering endless fuelled activities. For a hotel brand that is known for its sunny destinations – think Viceroy L’Ermitage Bevery Hills and Viceroy Los Cabos – it’s therefore not such a surprise why the hotel group chose this location to make its debut in Europe.

“We’re extraordinarily proud to open our first European resort in the beautiful, culturally rich destination of Kopaonik, Serbia,” said Bill Walshe, CEO at Viceroy Hotels & Resorts. “Through inspiring experiences, engaging service and genuine connections, we are bringing an elevated offering that will stand out from its competitors across Europe.”

Image credit: Viceroy Hotels & Resorts

Designed by world-renowned hospitality design firm, WATG and its interiors studio, Wimberly Interiors, the hotel reflects the local “Suvo Rudiste” contemporary mountain style and complements the beauty of its surrounding landscape. Showcasing the height of alpine living, the interiors celebrate local culture and craftsmanship with stone, glass, timber and textiles resulting in effortless elegance.

Suite inside Viceroy hotel in Serbia

Image credit: Viceroy Hotels & Resorts

Floor-to-ceiling glass walls and open-air spaces offer abundant natural light and a picture frame of stunning views. The generously-appointed guestrooms and suites, including a remarkable two-bedroom penthouse, offer a peaceful retreat to unwind with the thoughtful amenities guests come to expect at a five-star resort. Each stylish accommodation boasts a private balcony with breathtaking views of the mountain or ski village.

Helmed by celebrated Executive Chef Andrew Jones, guests can enjoy elevated dining rooted in international and Serbian cuisines and inspired by the local terrain and culinary scene. Pique Ski Bar, overlooking the ski centre, offers inventive light bites and drinks, live performances, and a jaw-dropping view of Pancic’s peak. The beating heart of Viceroy Kopaonik, The Mountain Kitchen, welcomes guests for breakfast, lunch and dinner featuring hearty yet healthy dishes that honour the region’s rich heritage.

Yellow bar inside the Viceroy hotel in Serbia

Image credit: Viceroy Hotels & Resorts

The Library, located in the lobby, serves as a quiet haven where guests can sip artisan coffee and teas or other specialty beverages while perusing a curated selection of books. And, coming soon, an intimate Asian-inspired restaurant highlighting specialities from duck to sushi. The Spa by Viceroy, the only full-service luxury spa in Kopaonik, boasts six-treatment rooms, a beauty lab, an indoor vitality pool, and a hammam/scrub room offering holistic wellness experiences using native mountain ingredients.

As the largest ski-in, ski-out resort in Serbia, Kopaonik is known for its pristine runs beloved by novice and highly skilled skiers alike. The resort offers 55km of runs for alpine skiing, 12km for cross country, and a specially-prepared Karaman Greben central course, lit for night skiers. Additionally, Kopaonik Village offers an abundance of excursions including bars, restaurants, museums and more.

With three dining venues, a luxurious full-service spa, indoor and outdoor pools and curated off-site guest experiences, Viceroy Kopaonik welcomes locals and guests alike to experience a new world of adventure and contemporary luxury.

While the brand has makes its first footprints on the European hospitality soil, elsewhere in the world, Viceroy Santa Monica is in the process of a sweeping $21 million renovation, which started in January last year that will include a complete design overhaul and Hotel Zena opened in October as a bold new cultural hub celebrating the accomplishments of women and recognising their enduring struggle for gender equality. To us, the brand is hitting all the right notes as it authentically expands into new territories. And Viceroy Kopaonik is no exception.

Main image credit: Viceroy Hotels & Resorts

Carlyle & Co in Hong Kong

Rosewood Hotel Group launches ‘new breed’ of private members’ clubs

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Rosewood Hotel Group launches ‘new breed’ of private members’ clubs

Rosewood Hotel Group, which has been loudly expanding its global portfolio during the pandemic period with hotel development in destinations such as Rome, Amsterdam, London and most recently Mexico City, has just changed the narrative once more by announcing the opening of Carlyle & Co., a landmark private members’ club in Hong Kong designed by British designer Ilse Crawford. Here’s what we know…

Carlyle & Co in Hong Kong

With the world of hospitality shaken up following more than a year of uncertainty, many would agree that now is the perfect time for a brand to evolve in order to cater for the new demands among modern travellers. Rosewood Hotel Group, which has been anything but quiet during its forced hibernation over the last year, has just unveiled a plot twist by introducing its first landmark social club onto the hospitality scene.

Cue the arrival of Carlyle & Co., which presents a new style of the private membership experience. Carlyle & Co. is expected to welcome a carefully curated community of members drawn together by personalities, passions, interests and stories, rather than status or profession, to experience exceptional dining and lifestyle moments, a rich cultural calendar and unrivalled entertainment. Grounded in what the brand has described as “the timeless spirit of its namesake, The Carlyle, A Rosewood Hotel in New York City”, Carlyle & Co.’s diverse and dynamic community is unlike any other, curated with unswerving integrity and meticulous focus, with each member connected by a shared attitude to living life to the fullest.

 The Reading Room

Image credit: Rosewood Hotel Group

Located above Rosewood Hong Kong, which opened in 2019, Carlyle & Co. offers a 25,000-square-foot social sanctuary with a lush outdoor terrace boasting sweeping views of Hong Kong. A selection of beautifully appointed spaces are designed for a carousel of day-to-night experiences – from the Music Room, Games Room, Barber and Tailor to the Wine Cellar, Brasserie and more – each offering the ultimate setting to connect, work, dine and celebrate. With this opening, Carlyle & Co. will launch the first chapter of the legendary Café Carlyle – which has been perfecting the quintessential supper club experience for 65 years – outside of New York. Here, members will be invited to enjoy live entertainment on the most intimate stage in town. Furthermore, a private floor with eight individually designed bedrooms are available for members and their guests who wish to stay overnight. 

“I am thrilled to bring the irrepressible spirit, inimitable style and intangible sense of magic that I fell in love with at The Carlyle in New York to Hong Kong with the inaugural Carlyle & Co.,” said Sonia Cheng, CEO of Rosewood Hotel Group and Founder of Carlyle & Co. “A progressive concept created for today, Carlyle & Co. will offer a unique experience in the private members’ club landscape while providing the community and connection that people are longing for.”

“The bedrooms themselves are named after legendary characters connected to the long history of The Carlyle, each one individually decorated for a more personal and unique overnight experience.”

Designed by British designer Ilse Crawford of Studioilse, who is arguably most known for her work on Babington House and for creating a cosy and personal hospitality experience inside Ett Hem, Carlyle & Co. establishes a distinct sense of its locale while simultaneously evoking the timeless glamour and playful whimsy of The Carlyle in New York. Murals by Jean-Philippe Delhomme and Christina Zimpel bring a whimsical spirit reminiscent of the legendary Bemelmans Bar at The Carlyle. The bedrooms themselves are named after legendary characters connected to the long history of The Carlyle, each one individually decorated for a more personal and unique overnight experience.    

At the soul of Carlyle & Co. is a rich and varied cultural program that is as wide-ranging in topics as its Members are diverse. From cutting-edge business insights and experimental wellness workshops, to connoisseur wine tastings and innovative panel discussions, the club’s one-of-a-kind experiences will ignite personal passions and spark debate. The Rosewood brand believes that Carlyle & Co. will inform, inspire and unite its members, empowering them to truly live life to the fullest at one single address. 

Main image credit: Rosewood Hotels & Resorts

The_Nobu_Penthouse_Bathroom featuring BetteStarlet Oval Silhouette bath (low res)

Case study: Supplying baths for Nobu Hotel London Portman Square

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Case study: Supplying baths for Nobu Hotel London Portman Square

Following our case study that explored how David Collins Studio designing the lighting scheme inside the new Nobu Hotel London Portman Square, we take look at why the designers selected Bette glazed titanium-steel baths for the hotel’s luxurious bathrooms…

Located in the heart of central London’s vibrant Marylebone area, the new luxury lifestyle hotel features 249 rooms, a signature Nobu Restaurant and Nobu Bar with an all-year-round terrace, plus a gym and wellness facilities.

The_Nobu_Penthouse_Bathroom featuring BetteStarlet Oval Silhouette bath (low res)

The common spaces in the hotel have been beautifully conceptualised by London based architecture and interior design firm, David Collins Studio, and the rooms and suites have been designed by Make Architects.

Bathroom brand Bette provided three different bath styles for the hotel: the freestanding BetteStarlet Oval Silhouette, the BetteOcean shower bath and the double-ended BetteStarlet fitted bath, all made from its luxurious, durable and hygienic glazed titanium-steel.

The BetteStarlet Oval Silhouette baths have been used in the hotel’s suites. The luxurious freestanding baths are comfortable for two to bathe together and come in five sizes from 1500 x 80mm to 1950 x 950mm.

Also, providing a relaxing, comfortable bath that is perfect for two, the fitted BetteStarlet baths have a contemporary, oval shape, come with a central waste and in 12 sizes from 1500 x 800mm to 1850 x 850mm.

The BetteOcean bath is perfect for use as a shower bath. It features steep sides at the foot end, for more standing room when showering, and a comfortable sloping back rest at the other end, for relaxed bathing. The bath has a central waste and comes in 12 sizes from 1500 x 700mm to 1800 x 800mm.

Image credit: Nobu Hotel London Portman Square

Bette baths, shower trays and basins come with a thirty year warranty, are easy to clean and available in more than 400 colours, including gloss and matt finishes. Made from natural raw materials, they are completely recyclable and verified to the Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) as per ISO 14025 and to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design).

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

Image credit: Bette

inside Hotel Indigo Warsaw

Designing Hotel Indigo Warsaw inside an antique tenement house

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Designing Hotel Indigo Warsaw inside an antique tenement house

Hotel Indigo Warsaw is sheltered under a spectacular architectural shell. We spoke to the team at Kulczyński Architekt Workshop to understand the challenges and triumphs of designing the city’s latest boutique hotel…

In the Warsaw City Centre, in the tenement house at Smolna 40 Street, there is Hotel Indigo Wasaw – a boutique hotel that HD has followed from concept to completion – which is now visited by guests from all of the world.

inside Hotel Indigo Warsaw

They are being enchanted not only by a perfect location but also by the building itself – its elements have been carefully restored and also improved by skilfully adding modern architectural solutions, which together appear uniquely attractive. Bogdan Kulczyński, from Kulczyński Architekt Workshop, was responsible for the revitalisation of the tenement house.

The history of the tenement house goes as far as the beginning of the 20th century when count Ksawery Branicki, owner of properties adjacent to Branicki Palace (at Nowy Świat 18/20 Street), decided to divide them into six parcels and build buildings on them, facing Smolna Street. Branicki entrusted a project of five tenement houses (the sixth parcel went to another owner) to Bronisław Brochwicz-Rogoyski. In the corner house, at the number 40, came into existence a summer residence of Branicki family – the construction was finished in 1903. More than 40 years later, during the Second World War, the tenement house was bombarded and plundered. In October 1945 Bolesław Bierut decided that the house was going to become a state property. The building was reconstructed again according to remaining plans and photographs. For a short time it was a main office of the First Secretary of Polish United Workers’ Party.

Up until the 1970s, when the building was regained by Branicki family, it was the headquarters of the Polish Socialist Youth Union. At the end of the 1980s, the tenement house was listed as a vintage building. In 2014 the building was bought by an investor who envisioned creating an elegant, boutique hotel in this place. The renovation project was entrusted to Bogdan Kulczyński who is an architect and has a lot of experience in this type of projects. Three years later Hotel Indigo opened its doors for guests.

Image credit: Hotel Indigo

In search of tracks

Eclectic and heavily adorned elevation of tenement house at Smolna 40 Street, which was supposed to inform about status of Branicki family, was in a poor state. The original roof also did not survive – the highest floor was destroyed by bombs and fire. “One can say that the tenement house was scalped and the roof, which was reconstructed in the middle of the last century, did not match at all with the whole building,” said architect Bogdan Kulczyński. “We knew that initially it must have looked differently. A conservator agreed to some little adjustments to the roof but did not agree to add an entire floor.”

The architect and his team were forced to look in libraries and other historical sources for some hints how the original construction looked like. “At first we found a layout on which the roof was present, next we saw a movie, which was recorded from a plane but unfortunately after Warsaw Uprising,” says Bogdan Kulczyński. “Luckily, the walls, with traces of fire, were still standing – and based on them, we managed to reproduce a real height of the roof. This gave us an opportunity to acquire an immediate approval of the conservator to bring back a historical character of this building.” In order to point out that the roof is new and restored, it has been completed with lucarnes made of glass. They are not the only one modern aspect of the front of the building, but also introduce more light into hotel rooms. A modern, completely glazed annexe was built at the back of the tenement house. Connecting an original style with modern materials and elements is one of hallmarks of Kulczyński Architekt Workshop.

Adjustment to modern functionality

At first, the building was suitable for habitation but after the war it transformed into an office and with the passing of time its condition continuously deteriorated. – Patio was dreadful, one could here make movies about the end of the world – mentions the architect. In the revitalisation project every wall, ceiling and staircase were preserved. Interior patio, which today serves as a hotel lobby, is finished with a glass roof on the last floor and there is also a restaurant on high floor. In the underground part of the building there are conference rooms, technical infrastructure and kitchen. 2KUL Interior Design Workshop provided the refreshed hotel with interior design. “From an apartment building it transformed into a hotel, so its function is the same, the only difference is the time period for which people stay in,” Bogdan Kulczyński sums up. Hotel Indigo is an outstanding example of how an idea by an architect living and working almost one hundred and twenty years ago can be effectively merged with modern elements and functions.

Main image credit: Hotel Indigo/IHG

Weekly briefing: Locke’s new home, ‘rugspiration’ & a Four Seasons journey

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Weekly briefing: Locke’s new home, ‘rugspiration’ & a Four Seasons journey

Roll up, roll up, read all about it – Hamish Kilburn here with your weekly briefing. In this week’s round-up we share some of our top stories from the week, including our feature on Tara Bernerd’s journey through Four Seasons, our exclusive on Modieus’ new rug collection and the latest on Omni Hotel & Resorts’ hotel development in Texas… 

For the first time in a long time, the team at Hotel Designs were let out of their homes this week in order to explore hospitality, in person, once more. The moment of euphoria was short-lived, though, after I confidently walked into Carlton Tower Jumeirah – a hotel that has recently completed a full renovation – only to find that it was not opening until July – and we were in fact (unknowingly I would like to add) trespassing. Awkward encounter with security aside, it make me realise that despite many hotels having now opened their doors, it will be a while until we can freely walk into a hotel lobby without having to show proof of reservation. What is reassuring is to see hotel developments that shelter designs that will enhance public areas, connect locals and travellers alike and ultimately share the beauty of interaction – something we will all need after this unpredictable storm passes.

With that in mind, let’s think positively when rounding off another week with our top and most-read stories from over the last few days.

Home-meets-hotel brand Locke opens first hotel outside the UK

Locke Zanzibar lobby

Image credit: Locke

Following what can only be regarded as dominating the home-meets-hotel market in lockdown with several openings of design-led properties in London, pioneering hospitality brand Locke, which joined Hotel Designs LIVE in October last year to explore adding personality in public areas, has opened its first hotel outside of the UK. Zanzibar Locke overlooks Ha’penny Bridge in Dublin…

Read more.

First look: Modieus launches Makers’ Mark rug collection

Spontaneous Mark – Modieus

Image credit: Modieus

Makers’ Mark is a collection by Modieus of unique rug designs inspired by the process of making art. The brand’s latest body of work began with the design team experimenting with a series of traditional artistic techniques – dedicating time to painting, creating collages and drawing. The team then took their original artist work and digitally manipulated the images to achieve an immersive and interactive art experience…

Read more.

Four Seasons through the eyes of designer Tara Bernerd

Image credit: Joe Thomas

From one iconic brand to another, to celebrate the upcoming arrival of Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences Fort Lauderdale, we take a look back at Tara Bernerd‘s design journey with the hotel group – from London to New York – in order to understand how the designer and her team created such interesting design narratives…

Read more.

Construction begins for Omni Hotel & Resorts’ new resort in Frisco, Texas

Guestroom inside the Omni hotel in Texas

Render credit: SB Architects

SB Architects is celebrating the official groundbreaking of the new Omni PGA Frisco Resort, mixed-use development in Frisco, Texas, which will include a 501-key hotel. Scheduled for completion in 2023, the design for the destination golf course, 501-key Omni PGA Frisco Resort and premier golf and retail experience, will usher in a new era for the sport. Let’s take a look as to what we can expect…

Read more.

Since you’re here…

More than 40,000 readers per month enjoy the content we publish on Hotel Designs. Our mission is to define the point on international hotel design, and we are doing that by serving relevant news stories and engaging features. To keep up to date on the hottest stories that are emerging, you can sign up to the newsletter, which is completely free of charge. As well as receiving a weekly round-up of the top stories, you will also access our bi-monthly HD Edit –staying ahead of the curve has never been so easy!

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Locke Zanzibar guestroom

Home-meets-hotel brand Locke opens first hotel outside the UK

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Home-meets-hotel brand Locke opens first hotel outside the UK

Following what can only be regarded as dominating the home-meets-hotel market in lockdown with several openings of design-led properties in London, pioneering hospitality brand Locke, which joined Hotel Designs LIVE in October last year to explore adding personality in public areas, has opened its first hotel outside of the UK. Zanzibar Locke overlooks Ha’penny Bridge in Dublin…

Locke Zanzibar guestroom

Zanzibar Locke, the latest property from home-meets-hotel brand Locke, is strategically positioned in Dublin’s city centre. Overlooking Ha’penny Bridge, Zanzibar Locke is the brand’s sixth property and first outside of the UK, featuring 160 studio apartments, an original food and beverage offering, gym, and a locally-led cultural programme. 

Brick wall in lobby in Zanzibar Locke

Image credit: Locke

Locke leads the way in a hybrid travel concept that combines the space and comfort of home with the experience and thoughtful design of a boutique hotel. Each of Zanzibar Locke’s studio apartments come equipped with fully fitted kitchens and living space. Generously-sized rooms create a sense of freedom unique to the Irish market, where guests can enjoy the option of a short stay in a City Studio (average 25sqm) or retreat to a larger premium River Suite (average 40sqm) for a long term stay. 

“We are very excited to finally be welcoming leisure travellers into our first property outside of the UK,” said Stephen McCall, CEO of edyn. “It has been a great experience familiarising ourselves with the local Dublin market – and early indications show that our unique aparthotel concept is something new and exciting that the city needs at this pivotal moment. With a second opening in Dublin later this year, we are delighted to be able to welcome all guests in time for summer.”

The aparthotel will house new food destination BARAZA, operated by Dublin foodie favourites NolaClan (House Dublin, 9 Below and Xico). Located on the mezzanine floor, BARAZA will serve coffee and light bites in the morning, before transitioning into a lively restaurant serving seasonal small plates and craft cocktails.

Situated on Ormond Quay, with views overlooking the River Liffey, Zanzibar Locke draws on its rich architectural heritage to inform its design. Formerly site of the infamous noughties’ hotspot Zanzibar Nightclub – which inspired the property’s name – the Georgian building has been sensitively restored and developed by Dublin-based interior design studio O’Donnell O’Neill Design and C+W O’Brien Architects. Working with local contractors, joiners and artists, O’Donnell O’Neill retained the original character of the building, while combining the stylish design, contemporary fittings and custom furniture synonymous with Locke.

From its interiors to music playlists, the brand has worked extensively with Irish partners and suppliers to create Zanzibar Locke, including O’Donnell O’Neill Design, sustainable fashion brand GROWN, and DJ and founder of creative collective Gxrl Code, Mona Lxsa. In doing so, the brand aims to build a unique, inclusive environment that is deeply embedded in the social fabric of its neighbourhood.

Locke Zanzibar lobby

Image credit: Locke

“Locke’s forward-thinking aparthotel concept has shown resilience throughout the pandemic,” added Osgur Ó Ciardha, Country General Manager. “In an exceptionally challenging year for Irish hospitality, we were able to remain open throughout the national lockdown to house essential stays largely enabled by the self-contained apartments. We are looking forward to welcoming back leisure travellers.” 

Alan Clancy, Founder, NolaClan, commented: “We’re excited to partner with Locke on its food and drink offering in Dublin, and bring our new restaurant and bar concept, BARAZA, to Zanzibar Locke. Our ambition is to create an all-day dining experience in a vibrant, beautiful environment that locals and travelers alike can enjoy.”

As the world continues to navigate travel over the coming months, Locke’s self-contained studio apartments provide safe, clean, and flexible accommodation for business and leisure travellers, as well as short-term residents. Zanzibar Locke’s opening to leisure travellers follows an extended soft launch period where the property housed guests for essential stays and those in need of an interim home during lockdown, which was possible due to the self-contained design of the apartments. As a result, Zanzibar Locke experienced an average of 27 days length of stay, with an average occupancy of 40 per cent occupancy – considerably outperforming the Dublin industry average of 10 per cent.

Main image credit: Locke

Lobby Arrival

Construction begins for Omni Hotel & Resorts’ new resort in Frisco, Texas

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Construction begins for Omni Hotel & Resorts’ new resort in Frisco, Texas

SB Architects is celebrating the official groundbreaking of the new Omni PGA Frisco Resort, mixed-use development in Frisco, Texas, which will include a 501-key hotel. Scheduled for completion in 2023, the design for the destination golf course, 501-key Omni PGA Frisco Resort and premier golf and retail experience, will usher in a new era for the sport. Let’s take a look as to what we can expect…

Lobby Arrival

Construction has official started to create Omni PGA Frisco Resort, setting the tone for the future of modern American golf with Texas modernist architecture. “We are thrilled to play a role in the repositioning and modernising of golf in America,” says SB Architects senior vice president and principal, Bruce Wright. “The design goal was to create a destination that could service the elitelevel golfers of the world, as well as make the sport fun and approachable for families, beginners and all levels of abilities. By coupling a hospitalitydriven design, inspired by Texas Modernism, with stateofthe-art golf courses and technology, we’ve created an inviting and accessible resort that will introduce the sport to a whole new generation of golfers and serve as an exciting benchmark for future development.”  

Render of Omni PGA Frisco Resort

Image credit: SB Architects

After PGA of America’s 56 years in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, the move to Frisco, Texas signals an exciting change. Frisco, one of the fastest growing cities in America, is the ideal place for this golf lover’s paradise. Named the “2018 Best Place to Live in America,” Frisco will be transformed with this development, bringing new vitality and economic growth to the local community. The inspiring architecture of the Omni PGA Frisco Resort complements the vision for this bold, state-of-the-art development, set to bring in a new chapter for the future of golf in America. 

Inspired by Texas Modernism, the architecture is timeless, contemporary but signature to the area, to reflect the future-thinking approach of the development. Arranged in a campus-style format, SB Architects, in collaboration with Robert Glazier Architects, has developed an amenity-driven site-plan that focuses on maximising views and capturing the ‘look and feel’ of a destination golf resort.  

To help create a human scale for the architecture, SB Architects created a direct connection to the outdoors, drew natural light and ventilation into each space and used grading, trees and the landscape to break down the scale and reflect an intimate ambience with all the perks of a larger, resort hotel. The landscape and use of local materials are indispensable within the design. The built environment is broken down into a series of courtyards, and an infrastructure of trails and networks respectfully lead guests through the development. A promenade connects the entire development; linking Omni’s resort lobby, all-day dining restaurant and spa and fitness facility; creating a pedestrian-orientated, walkable environment.  

Golf Villas_Ext

Elegant architectural forms and natural materials are utilised to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere. The use of stone, both horizontally and vertically, large overhangs, wood detailing and ironwork all work together to create a modern contemporary feel that is layered, textured and accessible. Every location feels cohesive with a distinct, iconic architectural element to distinguish. With golf as the focus of the design, the rooms at the Omni PGA Frisco Resort are positioned to prioritise views of the championship courses. In addition to the 501 guestrooms, golf foursomes, families and groups who are looking for a more personal, residential feel can stay in one of the resort’s private four-bedroom golf villas located along the promenade, with private putting facilities.  

Guestroom inside the Omni hotel in Texas

Render credit: SB Architects

 The signature development will feature two championship 18-hole golf courses designed by Beau Welling and Gil Hanse; a lighted 10-hole short course and nearly two-acre putting green and practice areas, totalling 46 holes; a clubhouse; coaching centre; a 501-key Omni Resort with seven 4-bedroom golf villas and 127,000-square-feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space; a technologically advanced retail village; parks and open space along with several miles of trails.  

Main render credit: SB Architects

Weekly briefing 4th june

Weekly briefing: Sleep masterclass, award winners & art outside the frame

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Weekly briefing: Sleep masterclass, award winners & art outside the frame

Allow me, Hamish Kilburn, to walk you through this week’s top design and hospitality stories. The weekly briefing was designed with busy on-the-go designers, architects, hoteliers and developers in mind – so kick back, relax and scroll down to read a snapshot of this week’s happenings…

It’s been a turbulent week – in fact year – for the travel industry, as the UK government continues to play chess with tourism boards that rely heavily on UK tourism.

Weekly briefing 4th june

With the latest ‘check’ against Portugal now being moved off the ‘green list’ it’s becoming more and more likely for the industry to lose yet another season due to new variants of Covid-19.

However, that hasn’t stopped or hindered plans for brands to re-open showing solidarity and strength – as can be seen in our latest VIP arrivals story, which takes a closer look at this month’s hottest hotel openings. It also hasn’t affected young designers’ creativity, as seen in this year’s shortlisted entries for the Accor Design Awards, which concluded this week.

To round off yet another week, while the sun is still shining the UK – good news for staycation businesses – here are what we believe are this week’s top stories…

Accor Design Awards – and the winners are…

Overall winner: Nomadish

Overall winner: Nomadish

Our most-read story of the week comes from Accor’s spectacular, global campaign to find the world’s most talented design students. First launched in in 2016, the Accor Design Awards aim to rethink the future of hospitality in collaboration with design students the world over. Their creativity blended with Accor’s know-how, provide unique solutions and new concepts for the hospitality industry. I had the privilege of sitting on this year’s judging panel – and what an experience it was… Finally, we can now announce the winners.

Read more.

VIP arrivals: Hottest hotels opening in June 2021

White room inside OMMA Santorini

Image credit: OMMA Santorini

A few weeks ago, restricted by green, amber and red lists – it’s as if we are at a junction and the traffic lights are broken – we on the editorial desk at Hotel Designs unveiled the best design hotels to visit in Portugal. But, as you know, we are a global platform and have over the last few months been publishing our VIP Arrivals series, which takes a closer look at the latest hotels opening on the hotel design scene.

For the June edition, things are hotting us as the summer season approaches. Although (for the time being, at least) many desirable destinations remain untouchable, we thrown down the metaphorical towels on the sun loungers for you at the new hotels we have recently added to our own travel bucket list. Here’s our editor’s pick of the must-visit hotels opening in June.

Read more.

Judges have been announced for The Brit List Awards 2021

The Brit List Awards judges 2021

Now that the free nominations/applications process is open for The Brit List Awards 2021, it’s time to meet this year’s judges. The 2021 panel consists of respected travel journalists and international experts in the design, architecture and hotel development arenas. The judges will gather to select the winners ahead of the awards ceremony on November 3 at PROUD Embankment, London.

Read more.

EXCLUSIVE // Virtual hotel design masterclass: The science of sleep

Image credit: YOTEL

In a recent article exclusively published on Hotel Designs, Hannah Shore, sleep expert at Silentnight Group, shared an ‘experts guide on the science of a good nights’ sleep’. In this article, she explored the optimum environment to enhance the best sleep performance, which included looking at temperature, lighting and comfort – or ‘TLC’ as she puts it.

Following this insightful piece, it felt natural for us to extend an invitation out to a cluster of designers and hospitality experts to explore with the professionals at Silentnight Group, the science of sleep.

Read more.

(in video) Hotel Designs LIVE: Art outside the frame

Following two engaging panel discussions looking at a new era of lifestyle and bathrooms beyond practical spaces, the third debate virtually sheltered under Hotel Designs LIVE was around challenging conventional portrayal of art in hotel design. Sponsored by Elegant Clutter, which prides itself on offering a professionally different approach to art consultancy, this chapter of the event addressed new demands from public areas and clever ways to inject branding and sense of place in hospitality establishments.

Read more.

M Social arrives in New York

M Social NY terrace night view

Image credit: M Social

Ever since checking in to M Social Singapore, designed by the one and only Philippe Starck, a few years ago, I was convinced that this brand would thrive in the concrete neighbourhood of Manhattan. With the opening of a 480-key hotel located at 226 West 52 Street  –literally in the heard of Times Square to you and I – it’s about time (and it’s better late than never).

Read more.

In Conversation With: Alex Tredez on designing The Lost Poet

Image credit: The Lost Poet

“We felt that there was a gap in the market for accommodation which offers high quality service, attention to detail and professionalism synonymous with the hotel experience – but also offering an authentic local experience which guests love about Airbnb-like residences,” Alex Tredez, lead designer of The Lost Poet, explains to me as we start to discuss one of West London’s most anticipated hotel openings this year.

Read more. 

Since you’re here…

More than 40,000 readers per month enjoy the content we publish on Hotel Designs. Our mission is to define the point on international hotel design, and we are doing that by serving relevant news stories and engaging features. To keep up to date on the hottest stories that are emerging, you can sign up to the newsletter, which is completely free of charge. As well as receiving a weekly round-up of the top stories, you will also access our bi-monthly HD Edit –staying ahead of the curve has never been so easy!

Click here to sign up to our newsletter.

Roundtable - sleep

Virtual hotel design masterclass: The science of sleep

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Virtual hotel design masterclass: The science of sleep

In late May, 2021, Hotel Designs invited a handful of designers and hotel experts to speak at a virtual roundtable on sleep performance, in association with Silentnight Group. Editor Hamish Kilburn, who moderated the session that naturally turned into a masterclass, writes…

Roundtable - sleep

In a recent article exclusively published on Hotel Designs, Hannah Shore, sleep expert at Silentnight Group, shared an ‘experts guide on the science of a good nights’ sleep’. In this article, she explored the optimum environment to enhance the best sleep performance, which included looking at temperature, lighting and comfort – or ‘TLC’ as she puts it.

Following this insightful piece, it felt natural for us to extend an invitation out to a cluster of designers and hospitality experts to explore with the professionals at Silentnight Group, the science of sleep.

Key panelists

Also on the panel:

  • Angela Moran, Product Strategy Director, Silentnight Group
  • David Lawrenson, Sales Director, Silentnight Group

Hamish Kilburn: Angela, could you just kick us off please with a bit more context on Silentnight Group and what the brand is currently working on from a product perspective…

 Angela Moran: Where do I start? Silentnight Group is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year. We’re the leading consumer brand in the UK and the largest bed manufacturer in the UK. We mainly operate out of our site in Barnoldswick in England and we also have a partnership with Comfy Bedding – and we can do a whole sleep package with them including air filtration systems within the bedroom.

Sustainability is one of our pillars at the brand, and one of my deep passions in my role. We are really pleased that we make all of our products in the UK and 70 per cent of our raw materials are also come from the UK and many are within two hours of our HQ.

In terms of product design, our key principles are:

  • Comfort – looking at how we can offer the best nights’ sleep
  • Cleanliness – everything from antiviral treatments
  • Durability – we want our products to stand the test of time without a decrease in comfort
  • Sustainability – we do a lot of work in this area. One area we are really focused on is recycling. We have a 97 per cent recycle rate.

In all the research that goes in during product development, we are always balancing those four areas.

HK: Jeremy, given your expertise in this area around sustainability – assembly to dissemble mind-set on all your projects – how difficult has it been in the past with beds at the end of their life cycle?

 Jeremy Grove: We think about that in relation to every product and beds were a problem. Over the last two or three years we have started to find solutions. I think it’s something like 13 million mattresses go to landfill every year. Currently, it’s very limited to what’s out there, but I do see that changing.

Joanna Knight: I think it’s very important. We are working on a large project at the moment where we are changing out 614 beds and mattresses and we are very keen not to send the old products to landfill – and we are working with Silentnight Group on how we best do this.

Emma King: Hygiene and materiality are both so important right now. And by that I mean the whole sleep experience, what is happening when it comes to recycling duvets etc. From a brand point of view, the first thing to be removed when Covid-19 hit was the soft furnishings and cushions because everyone, it seems, wants a clean, white bed right now. I believe the consumer will want to be more informed, from now on, about where materials have come from and what they are sleeping on.

Image credit: Kimpton DeWitt Amsterdam Hotel. Interior Design. Photography. Laure Joliet

Image credit: Kimpton DeWitt Amsterdam Hotel. Interior Design. Photography. Laure Joliet

HK: Does what bed and mattress you specify change depending on where the project is geographically?

Ariane Steinbeck: To a certain extent, yes. Interestingly, we find that the Asian market prefers to specify a firmer mattress. I remember travelling in mainland China not so long ago and wherever we stayed in a non-internationally branded hotel the mattress was rock solid!

Frank Esmeijer: At YOTEL, we call our rooms ‘cabins’ and we believe they are very unique. The bed in each of our cabins takes a leading role. Our model is very different, and our bed has to have the functionality to fold up.

Image credit: YOTEL

HK: So often when we future gaze to what the hospitality and hotel design landscape might look like in the future, the bed is often depicted as something out of a sci-fi movie. And yet we today are grounding the conversation around materials and sustainable methods. Where do you then draw the line between what’s a gimmick and what’s meaningful?

AS: I try to stick to the science and when I am travelling, I would like things to be simple and clean. If we are working with someone independently and we have more of a voice on what gets specified, all the information available is very helpful as decisions are easier to make when they are informed. Personally, I want to know whether or not sleeping on material that is ‘natural’ is better for you…

HS: We always have this argument over natural vs synthetic. Every material that goes into a mattress has its pros and its cons. Natural materials, for example, have really great thermal regulatory properties and are extremely breathable. However, the downsides to natural materials include that they might settle a bit more and generally be less durable. On the other side, synthetic material is probably more durable but does not offer as good breathability. So, as you can hear, it all just completely depends what the end consumer wants.

“The reason why polyester is such a valuable material is that it is arriving as someone else’s’ waste and is approved by the Global Recycled Standards (GRS).” – Angela Moran, Product Strategy Director, Silentnight Group.

Image credit: Silentnight Group

AS: Has it been proven that there is off-gassing by using non-natural materials?

AM: I recently had a call with leaders from the bed industry and we are looking at how to move the industry forward for the societal good. In terms of foam, I have completely changed my view. I initially thought that it may be durable but it is an oil-based product. However, I have now realised, due to the work that Hannah has done, that the mattress is a sustainable option because it just lasts so long. And, at end of life, synthetics are very easy to recycle over the natural materials that, while they are compostable, there is no infrastructure in place to recycle so they are unfortunately going into landfill. The reason why polyester is such a valuable material is that it is arriving as someone else’s’ waste and is approved by the Global Recycled Standards (GRS). In five years, I believe that every mattress material will be able to be recycled, at scale!

“We were finding that many mattresses were passing durability tests in the lab and yet failing in real life scenarios.” – Hannah Shore, Sleep Expert, Silentnight Group.

HK: How do Silentnight test their latest products?

HS: Let me introduce you to Robbie, he is our climate machine who was created as a result of a widespread research collaborations between ourselves, universities and institutions. He heats up to about 75 per cent humidity. We did a bit of research under the duvet, creating our own microclimate. Using Robbie, we can apply heat and moisture in different ways. We can manipulate the settings to match realistic climates in the bedroom. We were finding that many mattresses were passing durability tests in the lab and yet failing in real life scenarios. If you add heat and moisture, as you would have in a real setting, then the fibres were collapsing more. As a result, that can decrease the lifespan of a mattress by up to 30 per cent. So, although we test everything in the lab, we also use Robbie as an in-depth testing method. Another way we can use Robbie is to measure how quickly that heat and moisture goes through the different layers of the mattress. The key finding we found was that the heat and moisture management was in the top five centimeters of the mattress.

Daniel Englender: When it comes to sleep performance, I think everyone has been interested in the science over the last few years especially. What I am interested in understanding more about is the on-going maintenance of the mattress, as in how much they need to be turned etc?

AM: Our learning has been that in a hotel environment it has be easy care and there are a few things to consider. A lot of mattresses these days can come single-sided, so that you don’t have to think or worry about ‘turning’ the mattress continually – and again, that’s where foam really rates highly.

On the other side, the piece of kit that Hannah referred to has allowed us to completely reinvent our fibre specifications. Some of the innovation in the polyester front has been, instead of just horizontally laying fibres, we can now vertically lap them so that they mimic foam more. It ensures that fibres are more long-lasting. From all of this, my conclusion would be that single-sided mattresses are best suited for hotels because you can put more on the top.

Image credit: RPW Design/Marriott International

DE: What’s the magic formula for a zip and link bed to feel like a regular mattress?

David Lawrenson (Sales Director, Silentnight Group): It’s interesting because the zip on a zip-and-link product is a hugely contentious topic in the hospitality industry. Depending on where you have the zip, it can cause the materials to separate and if it is too high up then it becomes uncomfortable for the user. We are working on new technology and products that offer a solution.

“Interestingly for us to fall asleep, our core temperature needs to drop 1 degrees. A lot of people think that wrapping up warm and cosy is the answer, but science has exposed that to the be a myth.” – Hannah Shore, Sleep Expert, Silentnight Group.

HK: Hannah, in a recent article we published from you, you said that 75 per cent of Brits admit to not having good nights’ sleep. 30 per cent of those asked rated their sleep as ‘bad’ Why is this stat so high? 

HS: We live in a 24-hour world at the moment where we don’t shut off with our phones and a zoom call never too far away. These scenarios emit a blue light, which is not conducive for sleeping. It depresses melatonin, which is fundamental for us to fall asleep. Something that I do mention in the article is ‘TLC’, and by that I mean temperature, lighting and comfort. Interestingly for us to fall asleep, our core temperature needs to drop 1 degrees. A lot of people think that wrapping up warm and cosy is the answer, but science has exposed that to the be a myth. Lighting is fundamental, and comfort is a big factor. There are lots of people who are not sleeping on the right mattress. From a hotel perspective, all you have to do is go onto the TripAdviser website to see the amount of comments that reference bad nights’ sleep.

HK: What are your clients’ thoughts, and concerns, when it comes to specifying the bed?

JK: Most of our clients are focused on providing a good sleep experience and it is beneficial to get repeat business. We are led by brand standards, when working for brands such as Radisson Blu and Hyatt, and these standards are generally very high.

HK: When it comes to lighting when talking about sleep performance, there is a lot a talk on circadian rhythm. Are there affordable products out there that offer a quality solution?

JK: I think the price will come down as products become wider developed. To be honest, it [circadian rhythm technology] is not something a lot of the brands who we work with are looking at the moment, but I think it is a very interesting concept. In 20 years alone, there have been a lot of innovations that started being only accessible for luxury brands with deeper pockets that has filtered down into other sectors of the market. So much technology has become widespread now.

Cozy bedroom

Image credit: Silentnight Group

AS: What is the single most element for good sleep, is it the mattress or is the pillow?

HS: You need to get a good combination of both. Both the mattress and the pillow contribute to your spinal alignment. Comfort is subjective – what one person finds comfortable, another will not. So, when we measure comfort, we try where possible lead with objective science. An important factor I look at is spinal alignment. Your mattress provides a lot of support, but if you sleep with the wrong pillow, this can affect your alignment in your neck and down your mid spine.

And that brings me on to talk about Zoning. Working with our partners, we were able to test for optimum spinal alignment. We looked at soft, medium and firm and there were differences. What is more important when looking at a large group of people of all different shapes and sizes to cater to is the zoned part of the mattress. If the centre-third of the mattress is slightly firmer it supports our hips and our lower back. That part of the body needs that little extra element of support. So, a well-zoned mattress with the right pillow is key for sleep performance.

FE: I think there could be an opportunity there. We all remember the days of pillow menus. Ultimately, how do you. There are levels of comfort that you can customise, such as lighting and sound – and as a guest you can optimise your experience. But there are some elements in a room, like a mattress, you cannot customise.

EK: I think we need to bring the pillow menu back. If we are specifying an average mattress (depending on brand), then we can make the pillow the individual differentiator that I had not necessarily thought of.

JK: Does the base and having a sprung base have any baring?

AM: Yes, because it affects the softness. Whatever you are specifying you should always try it on the base that is also being specified.

HK: How do you create a cosy and calm setting in bedrooms that are awkwardly sized?  

JG: We’ve never been a company that really disrupts the conventional bed. It’s an element within the room that is generally based on comfort rather than appearance, depending on the hotel. In awkward spaces, it’s about trying to sprit back to the bare minimum so that you can have a bed that doubles up to be a bedside table. It’s about making these spaces easy to navigate. For mid-level brands, it’s about getting the basics right such as full black-out curtains. These are the annoying details that end up on trip advisor if not thoughtfully implemented.

FE: Space has become a premium these days and I think it’s important to draw out the important elements of the design and try to inject them in first. We are constantly trying to figure out new ways to utilise the space without compromising on comfort and experience.

Silentnight Group is one of Hotel Designs’ 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.

VIP arrivals: Hottest April hotel openings

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VIP arrivals: Hottest April hotel openings

The industry is gearing up for a summer of hospitality, is the feeling the editorial desk at Hotel Designs has as it selects the most exciting hotel openings expected in April 2021. Editor Hamish Kilburn writes…

Blink and you will miss it! With vaccine updates, hotel re-opening strategies being across social media and conversations moving towards re-engaging with the post-corona consumer, all signs on the editorial desk lead to a summer of hospitality – whether that be abroad or enjoyed domestically.

This prediction follows a flood of press releases, together referencing hope, optimism and prosperity for international hotel design and hospitality. Regardless on whether we will be allowed to travel ahead of the summer boom, hotels are being developed in preparation for the travel demand that is shortly inevitable as we reach the one-year anniversary since many nations closed their boarders in order to fight against the spread of Covid-19.

We have been sharing our VIP arrivals now for four months, but it seems as if many brands have waited until now when it comes to unveiling new arrivals. Following an in-depth look at the landscape, here are our VIP arrivals for April.

Iniala Harbour House & Residences

Image of bar in curved tunnel-like structure

Image credit: Iniala Harbour House & Residences

Spread across four exquisite Maltese townhouses and their ancient vaults, dating back to the 1600s, Iniala Harbour House & Residences has 22 uniquely designed rooms and suites, and will be the latest opening from philanthropist Mark Weingard. The hotel, which overlooks the famous Grand Harbour, will set new standards for eye-catching urban design.

Iniala Harbour House & Residences, which is slated to open its doors in April, mixes tradition with more contemporary touches offering an eclectic mix of design concepts that subtly reflect Valletta’s unique heritage and charm. Created by three world-class design studios – Autoban from Turkey, A-Cero from Spain, and Malta’s DAAA HAUS – the hotel’s historical details will be beautifully preserved, with each townhouse having a distinctive identity. Using three different designers offers a true variation of interiors for all guests’ tastes.

Kalesma Mykonos

An image of infinity pool in Mykonos hotel that is opening this April

Image credit: Kalesma Mykonos

Set to elevate the desirable island of Mykonos to new heights, Kalesma is a 25-suite and two-villa luxury hotel, which is expected to open in late April. ‘Kalesma’, meaning ‘inviting’ in Greek, is perfectly suited to the ethos of this boutique, privately-owned property. The whitewashed collection of houses have been created to resemble a charming Mykonian village, tumbling down a slope to Ornos Bay, just a short walk from the beach. The look and feel of a traditional village is deliberate, as Kalesma is all about making guests feel at home and encouraging a neighbourhood vibe, enhanced by laid-back weekly supper clubs. Inspired by Cycladic architecture, combining tradition with contemporary elements, Kalesma is a design aficionados dream – offering sleek and minimalist interiors using locally-sourced materials, evident at every turn.

Ca’ di Dio, Venice

Ca’ di Dio, which is expected to open in April, is located in a unparalleled position, at the entrance to the Arsenale area, known as the Contemporary Art District of Venice, a place linked to the prestigious Biennale. The fascinating history of the building dates back to 1272, and the project has been curated by the studio of the internationally renowned architect Patricia Urquiola, with the aim of creating an original and distinctive concept: a Venetian “house”, linked to the history of the city. 

Although contemporary in style, which is unusual for Venice, when strolling through the common areas, guests will be able to admire the bright travertine and perfectly preserved frescoes. The hotel features many places for guests to relax whilst staying in Venice; an ‘altana’ – covered roof-terrace, common in medieval Venice, which is the perfect place from which to admire the sights of the city, two internal courtyards, which will be home to one restaurant serving light and quick snacks throughout the day, and a spacious reading room. There will be a second, outdoor restaurant overlooking the lagoon, towards the island of San Giorgio Maggiore. 

Mandarin Oriental Ritz, Madrid

Sophisticated deluxe room inside Mandarin Oriental Madrid

Image credit: Mandarin Oriental Ritz, Madrid

Following the most ambitious and extensive renovation to take place in its 110-year history – it took three years for Spanish architect Rafael de La-Hoz and the French designer duo Gilles & Boissier to complete their collaborated masterpiece – Mandarin Oriental Ritz, Madrid is ready to serve its guests. The 153-key luxury hotel is expected to appeal to both local and international guests, while preserving the striking Belle Époque character of the original building in keeping with the original spirit conceived by Cesar Ritz.

In addition to the Spanish arrival, Mandarin Oriental will also be opening properties in Luzern, Switzerland and on the Bosphorus in Istanbul in 2021.

W Algarve – look out, Portugal!

Render of private pool overlooking Algarve in hotel that opens in April

Image credit: W Hotels

W Hotels is about to land in the Algarve, which marks the brand’s debut in Portugal. Located just outside of Albufeira and perched on the iconic cliffs overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, the hotel is a combination of urban glam meets beach life in a region famous for its beautiful, secluded coves, year-round sunshine and enticing cuisine. Guests can expect pulsating beats, vibrant flavours, and bright contemporary design.

The hotel will shelter 134 guestrooms and suites plus 83 residences, all ocean facing and boasting spacious balconies. Atlantic colours and asymmetrical forms that mimic the nearby cliffs define the design; it is the Algarve reinterpreted by W. 

Facilities will include a state-of-the-art fitness centre ‘FIT’ and an ‘Away’ Spa with seven treatment rooms, plus outdoor pools. To refuel and replenish there will be an authentic Portuguese Algarve-inspired dining restaurant, plus a classic and modern Italian restaurant.

Taking the luxury up an additional notch are the ‘Extreme WOW Suites’ with a rooftop terrace where luscious gardens surround an elevated lounge seating spot, DJ booth, dining and bar area, and an infinity pool from which guests can soak up the incredible sunset views over the Atlantic Ocean. The bedroom design is inspired by the beautiful Benagil cave and the picturesque Algarve fishing villages.

Berkeley Park Hotel, Miami 

On April 1, 2021, Berkeley Park Hotel will rise as the newest member of the MGallery Hotel Collection, and the first MGallery property in Florida. A highly anticipated four-star boutique hotel, the 80-key property sits along one of Miami Beach’s most coveted sectors known by locals as the Collins Park “Arts Corridor” for its direct access to world-renowned art institutions, and just steps from white sand beaches. With a timeless Mediterranean façade from 1936, the hotel pays homage to the city’s architectural roots with all the modern amenities that discerning travellers expect.

“We are thrilled to continue expanding our North American portfolio with the addition of the Berkeley Park Hotel – MGallery,” said Heather McCrory, CEO, Accor North & Central America. “With its ideal location, striking architecture, and vibrant spirit, the hotel is a tremendous addition to Accor’s Miami portfolio, which also includes Faena Hotel Miami Beach, SLS South Beach, SLS Brickell, SLS LUX Brickell, Hyde Midtown Miami, Mondrian South Beach, Novotel Miami Brickell, and Pullman Miami Airport.”

Main image credit: Iniala Harbour House & Residences

*Some dates as listed above may be subject to change due to travel restrictions following Covid-19 and national lockdown developments.

Since you’re here…

More than 40,000 readers per month enjoy the content we publish on Hotel Designs. Our mission is to define the point on international hotel design, and we are doing that by serving relevant news stories and engaging features. To keep up to date on the hottest stories that are emerging, you can sign up to the newsletter, which is completely free of charge. As well as receiving a weekly round-up of the top stories, you will also access our bi-monthly HD Edit –staying ahead of the curve has never been so easy!

Click here to sign up to our newsletter.

Image of luxury Marriott f&b arae

Marriott signs agreement to bring three new hotels to Saudi Arabia

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Marriott signs agreement to bring three new hotels to Saudi Arabia

Among the anticipated new hotels that Marriott International will be opening include the debut of Renaissance Hotels in the Kingdom, the world’s largest Aloft Hotel, and a Courtyard by Marriott in Makkah…

Image of luxury Marriott f&b arae

Marriott International, which recently celebrated the opening of one of its brand’s 100th property as well as opening its 800th hotel in the Asia Pacific region, has signed an agreement with leading real estate company Al Saedan Group, to open three hotels by 2025 across Saudi Arabia. The multi-project agreement includes the country and territory’s first Renaissance Hotel, the world’s largest Aloft Hotel and a Courtyard by Marriott in the Holy City of Makkah.

“We are pleased to build on our fantastic relationship with Al Saedan Group and further expand our portfolio across Saudi Arabia with these milestone signings,” said Satya Anand, President for Europe, Middle East & Africa, Marriott International. “These agreements underscore Marriott International’s commitment to supporting the growth of the Kingdom’s tourism sector and reinforces the continued demand we are seeing for our portfolio of brands across the country.”

“As a company, we are focused on developing projects that support the growth and development of the Kingdom,” said Sultan Al Khudair, CEO of Al Saedan Group. “We are excited to collaborate with Marriott International to open two new properties in the Holy City which will be ideal destinations for those visiting for Umrah and Haj, and to debut Renaissance Hotels in the country. These three new agreements were signed in line with our commitment to bring the highest standards of quality and design to our assets and to provide a premium experience to our guests.”

Marriott International is one of the largest hotel groups in the world, encompassing a portfolio of more than 7,600 properties under 30 leading brands spanning 133 countries and territories.

Main image credit: Marriott International (no images or renders of the three new properties have yet been released)

A render of an open air suite in Seychelles

Seychelles debut for Waldorf Astoria and Canopy by Hilton

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Seychelles debut for Waldorf Astoria and Canopy by Hilton

Hilton has announced to bring its iconic luxury brand, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, as well as lifestyle brand, Canopy by Hilton, to the Seychelles in 2023…

A render of an open air suite in Seychelles

Things are heating up in the development team at Hilton Hotels after the company has signed for two hotel brand debuts in the Seychelles. The properties – a Waldorf Astoria and a Canopy by Hilton – are scheduled to open in 2023 and will build upon an already impressive Hilton portfolio on the archipelago, in addition to the soon-to-be-opened Mango House Seychelles, LXR Hotels & Resorts.

Carlos Khneisser, Vice President, development, Middle East & Africa, Hilton believes that these properties mark a sigificant milestone in both brand’s expansion.“The Seychelles remains unquestionably one of the world’s most desirable destinations for the discerning traveller, ” he said. “We are proud of the role our teams have played in the sustainable development of the Seychelles, and these new additions, coupled with Mango House Seychelles, LXR Hotels & Resorts, will give our guests an unprecedented range of world-class experiential options to choose from when planning what is sure to be an unforgettable visit.”

Waldorf Astoria Platte Island

A truly exclusive luxury experience, the resort will offer a collection of 59 seafront villas all equipped with private pools. Guests will have access to six restaurants and bars, a spa, kids’ club, outdoor observatory, tennis courts and a marine conservation discovery center – all within the sanctuary of Platte Island. The island itself lies just more than 130 km south of Mahé and is renowned as a nature lover’s paradise, covered with palm forest and surrounded by a coral reef and lagoon. A small airstrip allows for access to the island from the main airport of Mahé. In an effort to create and use renewable energy as part of the resort’s operation, many buildings throughout the grounds will be equipped with solar-paneled roofing.

Canopy by Hilton Mahé

Located on Mahé’s Anse à la Mouche beach, famed for its calm and shallow waters, this resort is set to bring a new sense of vibrancy to the oceanfront community.  Significant investment is going into developing the facilities of the surrounding beach, including a boutique shopping village. The resort will offer 120 locally inspired guestrooms and space to accommodate more intimate meetings and events.

Hilton operates six brands in Africa and the Indian Ocean and recently reached the milestone of 100 hotels trading or in the pipeline across the continent. Hilton remains steadfastly committed to the sustainable development of travel and tourism across the region and has implemented several award-winning sustainability measures at its three operating Seychelles properties. These range from the removal of plastic straws and bottles to the use of locally sourced produce through to wildlife conservation and community engagement projects.

Since you’re here…

More than 40,000 readers per month enjoy the content we publish on Hotel Designs. Our mission is to define the point on international hotel design, and we are doing that by serving relevant news stories and engaging features. To keep up to date on the hottest stories that are emerging, you can sign up to the newsletter, which is completely free of charge. As well as receiving a weekly round-up of the top stories, you will also access our bi-monthly HD Edit –staying ahead of the curve has never been so easy!

Click here to sign up to our newsletter.

Main image credit: Hilton Hotels

Outside luxury pool and spa

Weekly briefing: Tech talk, art escapes & beyond the surface of trends

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Weekly briefing: Tech talk, art escapes & beyond the surface of trends

‘Ey-up’, Hamish Kilburn here to deliver your weekly briefing. Over the last couple of days, we have showered our readers with exclusives, the latest news and insightful features. For those of you on-the-go, here are this week’s hottest stories in one easy-to-consume story…

Outside luxury pool and spa

If you only read one of our stories this week, make sure it’s this one! This week’s stories that have dominated the Hotel Designs website include an exclusive sneak peek of a major hospitality project in Silverstone (UK), a feature that tackles how the pandemic will affect hotel development, an inspiring interview about a hotel in Italy that will simply take your breath away and two – yes two – trend forecasts around surfaces and technology. Oh, and we also take a glance at some of this month’s hottest hotel openings. Are you sitting comfortably? Let’s begin.

FEATURE // How will the pandemic affect hotel design and development?

Modern and clean interiors inside Ruby Lucy

Image credit: Ruby Lucy

Let’s start by addressing the elephant in the room: the pandemic. To help us separate fact from fiction, Tom Bishop, Director of Project Management at Concert, is here to offer some clarity and perspective on the current Covid-19 situation. We wanted him to answer the fundamental question to understand once and for all how the pandemic will impact the hotel design community. Here’s what he had to say…

Read more.

INTERVIEW // Meet the visionaries behind Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa

Pascale Lauber & Ulrike Bauschke on steps

Image credit: Katja Brinkmann

This feature was a strange one for me because, if Covid-19 hadn’t entered on its wrecking ball last year, it would have followed my review of the hotel under the spotlight.  Almost a year after my flight was cancelled, plans to review the luxury lair are unsurprisingly still on hold. While we wait patiently, though, it felt fitting to catch up with Pascale Lauber & Ulrike Bauschke in order to understand the context and challenges that come with such a magnificent project…

Read more.

TECH MAD // CES 2021: Best hotel design tech trends

Image credit: Samsung/TOTO/Kholer/Care OS

Technology’s role in hotel design has arguably never been so relied upon. If you happened to miss CES 2021, fear not as myself and wellbeing expert Ari Peralta – together, an editorial dream team – are here to share the best hotel design tech trends that emerged from the show…

Read more.

EXCLUSIVE // Inside flagship hospitality development at Silverstone

Villas overlooking the Silverstone Racecourse

Image credit: Escapade Living

When we were told that we were going to be the first to publish about Bergman Interiors – the design firm that cleaned up at The Brit List Awards 2020 – teaming up with Twelve Architects and Escapade Living on a new hospitality development in Silverstone, we were so excited. And then we saw the renderings of the luxury villas overlooking the iconic racetrack and that took the anticipation up a level. Take a look for yourself in our exclusive feature that takes a glance at what this hospitality project will look like…

Read more.

HOTEL OPENINGS // VIP arrivals in February 2021

Render of NoMad London

From where we are sitting, most new hotels that are expected to open this year are holding off until later in the season, but there a handful of gems are expected to arrive early to the party. Without further a due, here are some of the hottest hotels that are opening this month.

Read more.

FEATURE // Virtually escape into the world of art in hotel design

A blue abstract art installation

Image credit: Melia Rhodes/Elegant Clutter

Are you swooning over staycations or dreaming of distant lands? We are all feeling the desire to escape from it all. I started the week in search for that holiday away from my thoughts by catching up with Elegant Clutter’s Creative Director Harry Pass to find out how art in hotel design can be a wonderful way of elevating a sense of escapism…

Read more.

TRENDING // Surface trends for 2021 & beyond

Image credit: Lindsay Lauckner

And finally, here’s a meaningful and relevant trends forecast that goes way beyond the surface… “Strict pre-pandemic industry standards mean that hospitality design is well-placed to weather the storm without a major supply-side rethink,” says Meghann Day, partner, HBA San Francisco. In this exclusive feature, the designer walks journalist Oriana Lerner through what’s ahead for surface design trends in 2021 and beyond…

Read more.

That’s your lot! Join us next week when we will take a look at W Hotels’ latest opening in Australia and we share our in conversation with Amsterdam-based designer Saar Zafrir. Also, keep one eye open for our podcast DESIGN POD, which will drop with episode one shortly…

Since you’re here…

More than 40,000 readers per month enjoy the content we publish on Hotel Designs. Our mission is to define the point on international hotel design, and we are doing that by serving relevant news stories and engaging features. To keep up to date on the hottest stories that are emerging, you can sign up to the newsletter, which is completely free of charge. As well as receiving a weekly round-up of the top stories, you will also access our bi-monthly HD Edit –staying ahead of the curve has never been so easy!

Click here to sign up to our newsletter.

Main image credit: Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa

Inside Selina Brighton, a new rough-edged boutique jewel

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

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

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

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

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

Image credit: Selina

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

Selina sign above the entrance

Image credit: Selina

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Selina

In Conversation With: Penta Hotels’ new MD, Rogier Braakman

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In Conversation With: Penta Hotels’ new MD, Rogier Braakman

In February 2020, weeks before the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared a pandemic, the new Managing Director of Penta Hotels Worldwide was announced. Following what we can only imagine was a turbulent start to his role, Editor Hamish Kilburn catches up with Rogier Braakman to understand his plans for the lifestyle hotel group…

It’s hard to recall that a few months ago, before the words ‘furlough’ and ‘pandemic’ were being splashed across the daily news channels, the industry as a whole was feeling rather optimistic about 2020. New colour trends were being predicted, hotel groups were expanding, and, in February 2020, the news broke that Rogier Braakman would take over from Eugène Staal to become Managing Director of Penta Hotels Worldwide, marking a new era for the group. 

As regions were seeing record-breaking levels of development, Covid-19 sent its shockwave through all industries – arguably hitting hospitality the hardest – which decimated sales and marketing strategies as businesses went into survival mode. “It is the biggest burden of every business owner being forced to suspend operations for an undefined time,” explained Braakman in a press release that was released at the time. “Since opening, we have operated our hotels 24/7, 365 days a year, and hadn’t had to close for a single day. Yet, instead of carrying out our initial plans, we have been working around the clock to temporarily suspend operations in many hotels, restructure our processes and ask for many intense sacrifices from all team members and stakeholders. Despite all this, we have been putting a lot of effort in bringing in new innovations and improving our product throughout all hotels.”

Following the lockdown, and after what can only be described as one of the most challenging months for all hoteliers, I sat down with Braakman (virtually) to understand more about his role.

Hamish Kilburn: Where were you self-isolating during the Covid-19 pandemic?

RB: I make a weekly commute between our family home in the Dutch forest and our Frankfurt Penta office, always adhering strictly to all Covid-19 regulations. I feel privileged to be able to enjoy my family life and the positively contagious Penta-spirit!

Image caption: The lounge inside Pentahotel Berlin

Image caption: The lounge inside Pentahotel Berlin | Image credit: Penta Hotels

“But what sets us apart from other lifestyle brands is that our ‘neighbourhood’ promise extends to the wider community and environment, which we have committed to protecting through various initiatives and our goal of being carbon neutral by 2030.” – Rogier Braakman, Managing Director, Penta Hotels.

Hamish Kilburn: What makes Penta Hotels a unique lifestyle hotel brand?

RB: Penta Hotels are characterised by our lively neighbourhood brand that emits a happy camper ambience. The positive attitude of our staff and our unique interior design makes us a model host. We have created a comfortable environment for our guests with a relaxed atmosphere centered around our buzzing Penta Lounges in every hotel, which function on a 24/7 basis where all our guests’ needs are catered for in one space. But what sets us apart from other lifestyle brands is that our ‘neighbourhood’ promise extends to the wider community and environment, which we have committed to protecting through various initiatives and our goal of being carbon neutral by 2030. In keeping with the Penta spirit, we don’t ever do single acts of charity, but instead offer ways that our guests can take part in giving back so that they too can feel a part of our community. However, lately we have had the tendency of exchanging the word ‘lifestyle’ more and more with the word ‘lively’, which we believe nowadays is more spot on.

Hamish Kilburn: Can you explain a little bit about Penta Hotels’ plans for expansion?

RB: Our focus is to grow our brand in prime locations in secondary cities or secondary locations in primary cities across Europe. Expansion should arise as a result of our strategy, rather than the other way around.

Image caption: Suite inside Pentahotel Moscow | Image credit: Penta Hotels

Image caption: Suite inside Pentahotel Moscow | Image credit: Penta Hotels

Hamish Kilburn: You mention that lockdown has allowed you to look at new innovations and improving your product throughout all hotels. Can you elaborate on this?

RB: With the pandemic we’ve had to adapt quickly to the new normal, or as I heard an entrepreneur recently say, a ‘temporary abnormal’. In just over a month, we managed to think up and execute our Between Us campaign, based on the notion that although Covid-19 has forced more physical distance between us, it can be seen as an opportunity for bonding and creating solidarity between people. Through this campaign we are allowing our guests to feel comfortable, safe, but also have fun with social distancing. It includes the VIP Rock Star Service where we’ve mapped out routes guests can take around the hotel and Penta Lounges that limit interaction with others, cashless payments, and introduced excellent hygiene training for our staff members that includes no housekeeping, but also exciting perks like free Take Care package on entry, and free bag of snacks every morning at your door.

The campaign sets us apart from our competitors because it shows we are seizing the pandemic as an opportunity to learn how to better accommodate our guests, by finding new ways to create a safe and comfortable space. So far, guest feedback has been really positive.

Image caption: Meeting room inside Penta Hotel Paris | Image credit: Penta Hotels

Hamish Kilburn: What advice would you give the rest of the hospitality industry at this time?

RB: Unfortunately, COVID-19 is a predator and it will stay around for a while, so we are having to take a real ‘don’t crack under pressure’ attitude as we adapt to new circumstances. In order to do this, we have to stay strong and try our best to turn this crisis into a success by playing to our strengths, as well as recognising which things weren’t working well even before the crisis. Our strengths have always been a positive attitude and creative approach, and we are making sure to always be direct with each other, not beat around the bush, and take immediate actions to make our hotels safe.

Hamish Kilburn: How will lifestyle hotels, which typically focus heavily on utilising public areas, differ post-pandemic?

RB: This predator is going to remain for a long time – so we’re going to need to work with it. We have revisited our business operations and figured out how best to safely and securely reopen, and although we do not want our hotels to serve as extended intensive care units, we need to make sure that all hygienic measures are in place and that people feel safe. Luckily, we don’t have small lobbies and most of our Pentalounges are extensive spaces in which we’ve been able to encourage social distancing with our Between Us campaign, by mapping out distanced routes and introducing cashless payments.

We do not want our brand standards to vaporise due to all these extra precautions, so we had to redefine our new operating standards within the ‘temporary abnormal’. This means taking serious precautions that alter the Penta experience, including no more housekeeping, and training our staff on additional hygiene procedures. For example, when you check in, you’re given a ‘Take Care’ bag from Penta, and we’ve even made our own ‘Penta Pointer’ which is similar to a keyring that can be used to open all access points within the hotel, therefore reducing the risk of being contaminated. We’re also doing trials with heat cams to see how our guests are responding, and introduced the Penta Hotel app, which isn’t fully in place yet, but it means everyone can check in from home using their own device, or even chat to our reception team.

Image caption: Fitness area inside Pentahotel Leipzig | Image credit: Penta Hotels

Hamish Kilburn: What does lifestyle in ‘lifestyle hotel’ mean to you?

RB: A lifestyle hotel means ensuring all our guests are happy campers, and however brief or extended their stay, they are made to feel part of our community. Instead of custom reception areas we have created social spaces in every hotel called the Penta Lounge, areas with 24/7 service where guests can check in, but also chill out, do some work or play on our games consoles. At our hotels, there is always an initiative that guests can take part in that benefits the wider community and environment, and our social staff members are always willing to engage with any problem a guest has

Hamish Kilburn: What do you love most about the hospitality industry?

RB: What I love best about hospitality is working with people, and I was drawn to Penta because it is an appealing and distinctive hotel brand centered around people, with a buzzing community spirit. I believe success comes from guest satisfaction and high-quality service, which is only possible when you have a team of brilliant staff members that communicate well with one another and our guests. I share Penta’s vision for a modern approach to hoteliering, where giving back to the community and providing a relaxed, neighbourhood feel is at the centre of its brand. Penta has had a rocky climb in the last year or so but our positive staff with their can-do attitude, have really helped with recent difficulties. Their team spirit and desire to truly make Penta a success has made me feel extremely supported and inspired my confidence that we will continue to succeed in the future.

Image caption: The lounge inside Pentahotel Moscow | Image credit: Penta Hotels

Image caption: The lounge inside Pentahotel Moscow | Image credit: Penta Hotels

Hamish Kilburn: Can you explain Penta Hotels in three words?

RB: Relaxed, positive, friendly

Hamish Kilburn: If money or development were not obstacles, where in the world would you like to open a hotel?

RB: Every self-conscious city with a sustainable, interesting and appealing backcountry deserves a Pentahotel.

Penta Hotels, which has 28 operating properties across Europe and Asia, represents a new generation of neighbourhood lifestyle hotels offering modern-minded individuals and business travellers comfort and style in a relaxed atmosphere. Known for its unique interior design and attitude, the lifestyle brand stands for true innovation in the industry’s upper- midscale segment.

Main image credit: Penta Hotels Worldwide

Hotel Designs LIVE – what you missed

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Hotel Designs LIVE – what you missed

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