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Meet the design team behind Monkey Island Estate and Raffles Singapore

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Champalimaud Design

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Hyatt Hotels

Hyatt Regency arrives in East Shenzhen

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hyatt Regency arrives in East Shenzhen

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

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

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

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

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

Modern and clean hotel guest room

Image credit: Hyatt Hotels

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

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

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

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

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

Main image: Hyatt Hotels

INSIDE THE FACTORY WITH: Hamilton Litestat

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INSIDE THE FACTORY WITH: Hamilton Litestat

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Hamilton Litestat

Checking In: Wyndham Grand Athens

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Checking In: Wyndham Grand Athens

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image credit: Marcelo Barbosa

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

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

Main image credit: Marcelo Barbosa

Independent Hotel Show 2019 announces this year’s talks

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

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

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

October 15

Innovation Stage

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

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

Three men on the Hotel Vision stage

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

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

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

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

Hotel Vision Stage 

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

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

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

October 16

Innovation Stage

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

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

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

Hotel Vision Stage

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

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

Main image credit: Independent Hotel Show 2018

Hotel Indigo arrives in Italy’s fashion capital – Milan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: IHG

Singita Kwitonda Lodge and Kataza House opens in Rwanda

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image credit: Singita

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

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

More than 500 local artisans and builders were involved in the project crafting volcanic walls, impressive woven ceilings and hand-fired terracotta brickwork, ensuring an authentic translation of local culture into key elements, adding a significant boost to local employment and businesses.  The overall effect is strong and captivating, yet soothing, enhancing the serious, soul-centering experience of encountering gorilla families in their natural habitat.

The food and beverage offering at the lodge takes a farm-to-table-approach featuring largely vegetable-based dishes and local Rwandan favourites, the on-site herb and fruit garden supplies the lodge kitchens with an array of fresh ingredients. Other highlights of the food journey include tailor-made trekking lunchboxes, flexible mealtimes and a signature “bar-deli” which offers fresh fruit and small snacks, enabling guests to help themselves throughout the day.

Main image credit: Singita

Lennox Hotels arrives on Miami Beach

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Lennox Hotels arrives on Miami Beach

Sheltered within an original 1930s Art Deco shell sits the newly opened 119-key Lennox Hotel Miami Beach. Hotel Designs takes a closer look at the new hotel on the block, imagined by acclaimed Argentinian interior designer Juan Ciavarella…

A striking new modern hotel, combining contemporary design with original Art Deco design, has opened its doors in South Florida hotspot, Miami Beach. Lennox Hotel Miami Beach is a bold luxury boutique property offering stylish accommodation and an authentic Miami experience.

The hotel – located on Miami’s iconic Collins Avenue – offers 119 contemporary guestrooms, 13 of these complemented by a balcony offering sweeping views of the buzzing streets of Miami Beach.  At the centre of the property’s four interconnected buildings, a Mediterranean-style courtyard features a 12ft swimming pool and poolside bar offering al fresco dining and serving innovative cocktails.

Located in what was once the Peter Miller Hotel, the property is a protected building in the heart of the area’s Historic District. Lennox Hotels purchased the building for $14.7 million in 2010 and has invested more than $100 million on an extensive transformation of the building.  The renovation has been focused on maintaining the property’s legacy by retaining its original Art Deco and Mediterranean Revival architectural style exterior and transforming it into a living landmark.

Exterior render of the hotel

Image credit: Lennox Hotels

“One of the most special features of Lennox Hotel Miami Beach is that not one guestroom is the same as the other.”

The guestrooms are enhanced by handcrafted furnishings from Patagonia, natural elements and eco-friendly and upcycled materials meticulously curated by acclaimed Argentinian interior designer Juan Ciavarella. Soft neutral tones and unique textiles combine in rooms that will range in categories from Terrace Poolside with direct pool access, to Balcony King with private balcony overlooking the colourful streets of Miami Beach. One of the most special features of Lennox Hotel Miami Beach is that not one guestroom is the same as the other.

“We are thrilled to be expanding the Lennox Hotel brand to the U.S. with the opening of Lennox Hotel Miami Beach,” said CEO of Lennox Hotels, Diego Agnelli. “Our reasons for choosing this area were as much because of the area’s vibrancy and liveliness as it was because of the welcoming spirit of its people and the friendliness they express toward travellers.  Our vision for Lennox Hotel Miami Beach is to provide a sophisticated and inviting setting for travellers to live an authentic Miami experience, one that not only provides a place to mingle with the locals, but also allows them to feel like locals and enjoy the area, its culture and vivacity through the lens of a local.”

The historic structure was designed by architect Russell Pancoast in 1934.  Pancoast is known for much of Miami Beach’s most celebrated buildings, including the Surf Club, the Church by the Sea and the Miami Beach Auditorium.

The property has the notable distinction of being among the 300 Miami Beach buildings that were leased by the U.S. Army for the Air Forces Technical Training Command during World War II. The buildings returned to civilian use in 1943 and remained a military property until 1944. The structure is now part of the Historic District.

The transformation of the hotel’s original structure into Lennox Hotel Miami Beach is the work of veteran Miami architect Beilison Gomez. 

Image of courtyard and long narrow pool

Image credit: Lennox Hotels

Stepping through the hotel’s front doors, guests will be welcomed by bartenders at the hotel bar, the ultimate lounge area to mingle with locals or relax after a day of travel and exploration. To the right, guests will find the lobby and to the left, a walkway will lead them to the hotel’s upscale restaurant.

The seamless service from the hotel’s staff will make guests feel welcomed in an atmosphere that exudes unpretentious sophistication.  Unparalleled signature service will include concierge services, room service, laundry and more.  Each guestroom will be complete with amenities such as a Nespresso Vertuoline with complimentary Nespresso capsules, 47-inch LG TVs, a stocked mini-bar and local artisan stacks (extra cost), in-room safe and complimentary Wi-Fi.

The team is also announcing a partnership with William Roamto provide the luxury bathroom products featured in each guestroom. From the brand’s SENSE collection, these products feature vegan, nature made beauty care. With Minnesota Tamarack Larch tree bark as the main ingredient and a blend of 21 aromatic extracts, the collection promotes lush and hydrated skin and hair. William Roam is a partner of American Forrest, a non-profit conservation dedicated to protecting and restoring healthy forest ecosystems. Thanks to this partnership, American Forest has committed to planting one tree for every hotel room at Lennox Hotel Miami Beach.

Additional amenities for guests include complimentary shuttle service within a one-mile radius, including to the hotel’s private area on the beach that offers lounge chairs, umbrellas and towels.

The property is located just one block away from the Miami Beach Convention Centre.  The hotel will provide an ideal setting for intimate meetings of up to 12 people in its Patagonia Boardroom, a multi-use space equipped with the latest technology.

Main image credit: Lennox Hotels

London to welcome ‘private members’ club’ hotel in 2020

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
London to welcome ‘private members’ club’ hotel in 2020

Slated to open in Q1 of 2020, The Guardsman is a purpose-built luxury London boutique hotel that is expected to offer the atmosphere, discretion and personal service usually associated with a private members’ club…

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

The hotel will be sheltered in an intimate property said to cut the same style and atmosphere as that of a private members’ club. The top three floors will encompass six exclusive residences. Designed as the perfect London pied-a-terre, they comprise a selection of one, two and three bedrooms, along with sumptuous living spaces, dining areas and fully fitted kitchens. The Penthouse has a wraparound terrace, whilst two other residences feature a more expansive outdoor space with planting and seating.

The hotel is set amongst some of London’s most historic and prestigiouslandmarks. The Houses of Parliament and Buckingham Palace are both a short walk away, while the neighbourhood has been the seat of government for a thousand years. The hotel extends down the quieter, more hidden, Vandon Street, giving the impression of a sanctuary.

Image credit: Shiva Hotels

From the moment guests arrive, they will instantly be made to feel at home by the discrete yet attentive service. Along with their choice of rooms or residences, they can request their preferred brand of drinks, menu items or bathroom products, all of which will be prepared ready for their arrival. The hotel has an unmistakably British feel that befits such a prestigious address. Interiors are contemporary and relaxed, complemented by a few carefully chosen, classic and sometimes quirky embellishments.

Meanwhile, bespoke furniture will fill the intimate public spaces and curated art adorns the walls. The individually styled bedrooms are exceptionally comfortable. Meticulously considered interior design and clever use of space ensure each room feels spacious, whilst flourishes such as custom-made furnishings and free-standing baths combine with more classic features like herringbone parquet flooring to continue the unmistakably British feel. State-of-the-art integrated televisions and speakers with Chromecast ensure all travellers’ technological needs are met.

Plush snug area

Image credit: Shiva Hotels

The spaces for dining and socialising are set over two levels, perfect for relaxing, reading, small gatherings or enjoying the carefully selected whiskeys and spirits as well as a sommelier curated wine list.

At the core of the hotel’s personality is the exquisite restaurant, open to residents and their guests only. Although a few select dishes will always be available, menus are developed daily from seasonal produce sourced from carefully selected purveyors, London markets and organic farms. The kitchen will be open all day, and room service will be available around the clock.

The Guardsman is owned and operated by Shiva Hotels and represents a new direction in this market for the group. “The Guardsman is designed for those who want the tailored, personal experience offered by a club, the flexibility and luxury of a hotel and the comfort and familiarity of a home,” said Rishi Sachdev, Managing Director, Shiva Hotels. “It will also have a conscience, wherever possible putting both its people and the environment at the centre of its decisions.”

Main image credit: Shiva Hotels

 

A legend reborn: Raffles Singapore reopens

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
A legend reborn: Raffles Singapore reopens

Raffles Singapore has announced its highly anticipated reopening. With interiors by the acclaimed Alexandra Champalimaud, the hotel’s sensitive design heralds an exciting new chapter in the iconic property’s rich history and heritage…

The infamous Raffles Singapore is now open, following the iconic hotel’s careful and sensitive three-phased restoration, which first began in February 2017. The meticulous restoration project, led by acclaimed interior designer Alexandra Champalimaud, was also supported by Aedas.

“There are few hotels in the world whose names have become virtually synonymous with the cities in which they are located – and none more so than the Raffles Hotel in Singapore. The newly restored Raffles will provide an experience like no other,” said Christian Westbeld, General Manager, Raffles Singapore. “It is our wish and desire that our guests will continue to create treasured memories at the hotel, while rediscovering what makes it so special – the distinctive architecture, heritage and legendary service.”

Discerning travellers can expect new levels of unrivalled comfort and inimitable service with enhanced suite experience, brought to life by the fabled Raffles Butlers, while enjoying the new and reimagined spaces at Raffles Singapore.

“Raffles Singapore reinvents emotional luxury.” – Jeannette Ho, Vice President, Raffles Brand and Strategic Relationships, Raffles Hotels and Resorts

Striking chandeliers hang down in modern nd contemporary restaurant

Image caption: La Dame de Pic. Credit: Raffles Singapore

“We are very pleased to be part of the reopening of the iconic Raffles Singapore officially returning to the city, refreshed, reimagined and revitalised,” commented Jeannette Ho, Vice President, Raffles Brand and Strategic Relationships, Raffles Hotels and Resorts. “This is where it all started and faithful to its roots, Raffles Singapore reinvents emotional luxury. As the hotel concludes its restoration and embarks on the next chapter, the return of this flagship property to Raffles Hotels & Resorts paves the way for the expansion of the brand as we deliver this same level of unparalleled service and sublime experiences to new destinations in cities such as Udaipur, London and Boston.”

The revitalised hotel offers luxurious all-suite accommodations, across nine distinct suite categories: State Room Suites, Courtyard Suites, Palm Court Suites, Personality Suites, Residence Suites, Promenade Suites, Studio Suites, Grand Hotel Suites and Presidential Suites. Residence, Promenade and Studio suites, are the three latest additions to the hotel’s existing line-up. The total suite count increases from 103 suites to 115 suites.

The Raffles Arcade has been newly outfitted with a charming Raffles Boutique and various bespoke retail brands. Guests and locals will also delight in exploring the worldly restaurants and bars at Raffles Singapore, including restaurant collaborations with Chef Anne-Sophie Pic, of the three-Michelin star Maison Pic in Valence, France; venerable French Master Chef Alain Ducasse; and Chef Jereme Leung, known for his innovative Chinese cooking. At the refreshed Long Bar, travellers will continue to enjoy the hotel’s most famous cocktail, the original Singapore Sling, along with the timeless tradition of tossing peanut shells on the floor.

Westbeld further added, “Raffles Singapore is one of the few remaining great 19th century hotels in the world and its restoration has been carefully designed to preserve its unique historic charm, while creating extraordinary experiences for our esteemed guests – a dedicated commitment from all of us at Raffles Singapore and also from our owner, Katara Hospitality.”

First opened in 1887, and declared a National Monument a century later by the Singapore Government in 1987, Raffles Singapore has through the years, gained both local and international recognition as an oasis for the well-travelled. It is a national treasure among Singaporeans who deeply value its historical significance and unique heritage. The last restoration was conducted from 1989 to 1991 where the hotel closed for two and a half years.

Main image credit: Accor/Raffles Singapore

SPOTLIGHT ON: 7 hotel concepts on the boards that will rock your world

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
SPOTLIGHT ON: 7 hotel concepts on the boards that will rock your world

During this month’s Spotlight On Hotel Concepts, editor Hamish Kilburn identifies the projects on the boards that are taking international hotel design to unseen heights…

The hotels that are currently opening around the globe are impressive, innovative and are a reaction to the ever-evolving demands of the luxury and modern traveller.

“As designers, one of the biggest drivers we have noticed is in the demand for areas that enhance individuality and social wellness,” explains Fiona Thompson, Principal at Richmond International. “As a result, hotel public areas in the properties that we are currently designing are having to respond to these changes and be more agile in adapting to these changes.” With these trends in mind, and to really understand the public architecture forecast of the future, here are some raw sketches of the hotels of our future that are currently on the boards.

Whether they are floating, in the sky, robot-operated, pledge to fully eliminate carbon footprints – or so innovative that they can’t physically be built yet –  the concepts below that we have identified are gamechangers on the international hotel design scene.

Seminole Hard Rock Hotel And Casino

Complete with swim-up suites and a 7,000- seat concert venue, a new hotel shaped like a guitar is emerging in Hollywood, Florida. The estimated US$1.5 billion hotel is all part of a US$2.2-billion expansion of the current Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino locations.

Hotel of 2119, imagined by Hilton Hotels

To celebrate the hotel group’s 100th anniversary, Hilton has just unveiled what it believes will be the hotel in 100 years from now…

Intergalactic getaways, fast-food nutrient pills, two to three hour working days and adaptable, personalised rooms that can transport guests everywhere from jungles to mountain ranges; in celebration of its 100thanniversaryHilton predicts the future trends set to dominate the travel and hospitality industry in the next 100 years.

Continue reading.

Mandarin Oriental Melbourne

Image credit: VA

Currently on the boards, Mandarin Oriental Melbourne, designed by Zaha Hadid Architects(ZHA), is a new signature hotel and branded residences that is slated to open in 2023. Soon to become the hotel group’s first property in Australia, the mixed-used 185-metre tower will be located in the heart of the city’s financial district.

Continue reading.

Cliff-hanging hotel in Norway

Image credit: Cover Images/Hayri Atak Architectural Design Studio

Istanbul-based Architecture firm Hayri Atak Architectural Design Studio. has released the first renders of a new project that shows a luxury hotel built into the side of a 2000-foor cliff in Norway. The concept would be constructed to blend into the natural surroundings with the exception of a statement pool that would extend over the edge of the cliff edge.

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Sofitel SO Los Cabos

render of ocean-side hotel

Image credit: SB Architects

Set on a prominent five-acre beachfront site in premier tourist destination, Los Cabos, this five-star luxury resort cascades gently down to the white sandy beaches below, providing unobstructed Pacific Ocean views throughout. Designed by SB Architects, and inspired by the vibrant history of Mexican haciendas and the central role of family gathering spaces, the resort embraces bold, contemporary architectural features with vivid interior hues, paying homage to the authentic Zócalo (community spaces) experience.

Continue reading.

JW Marriott Jeju

Image credit: WATG

Incorporating key aspects of Jeju’s culture, the design narrative laid out by WATG is an abstract representation of the island’s indigenous Chogo architecture. The traditional curved roof has been reversed, expressing the patterned lattice on the underside of the structure.

Floating city

Image credit: Oceanix

The floating city concept, imagined by architect Bjarke Ingels in collaboration with Oceanix, has been designed so that it can survive a category five hurricane. The concept, known as Oceanix City, is described as the world’s first sustainable floating city, which would essentially be groups of hexagonal platforms – anchored to the seabed – that could each house an estimated 300 people.

Main image credit: Oceanix

In Conversation With: Fashion designer Jack Irving

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In Conversation With: Fashion designer Jack Irving

Having previously designed statement outfits for many international music and fashion icons, Jack Irving’s alternative style has recently spilled out onto the hotel design scene. Editor Hamish Kilburn joins the fashion designer, in between photoshoots, to understand how two worlds have recently collided…

The brand ‘Jack Irving Studio’ and the creative man behind the logo are two very different things. One is bold, disobedient and you would expect – almost encourage – to cause an outrageous impression in almost any social scenario.

The other orders a lemonade on a hazy Thursday afternoon at a media interview as he catches his breath between work engagements. Opposites do attract, after all.

Made famous by creating outlandish outfits for the likes of Lady Gaga and The Spice Girls for their come-back tour, the talented story-telling designer, Jack Irving, made his mark on the fashion industry by producing items that infused glamour and engineered technology.

His innovative work recently emerged on my radar when he unveiled the result of a collaboration with W London Leicester Square, which has been the designer’s first interior design project to date. “The idea of working with W Hotels was mentioned to us at Pride London last year,” says Irving. “But it wasn’t until November, following my first show at the V&A, when we met the team to really discuss what we could do together.”

Fashion shoot of models on bed with cushion

Image credit: Charlotte Rutherford

Presented by a loose brief to bring a flavour of ‘Jack Irving’ into the hotel, it became clear that that the W brand was willing to give the designer the creative reins in order to produce a statement piece for their newly designed guestrooms and suites. “They wanted a replacement for the current cushions and bed throw that met brand standards,” he explains. “The bed, for us, became the canvas.”

One month after the brief was given, Irving pitched what he explained at the time to the client as a ‘crazy tech idea’ for the concept of new cushions. He wanted the items to be inspired his signature sea urchin style, which became famous by his work with Lady Gaga. Irving then wanted to make the interiors more instagrammable. The spiked pillows’ fabric would appear muted to the naked eye until they are brought to life through the click of a camera flash. Through the lens, the smart fabric would transform into an iridescent masterpiece. “To be honest, we were hesitant as to whether or not the client would see our vision,” explains the designer. “What we pitched was as far away from convention as we could have gone.”

Irving and his partner (in life as well as well as in business), Rhys Beynon, received a call from the client while they were on a yoga retreat in Goa over Christmas 2018. “They wanted to see prototypes the first week of January,” Irving explains. “At this point, the pressure for us was on to meet the deadline.”

QUICK-FIRE ROUND

Hamish Kilburn: What would a Jack Irving guestroom look like if you were to design it?
Jack Irving: It would be ridiculous – think sea urchin chairs and UFO beds. I also have the idea to design a Chesterfield sofa in the rainbow smart material.

HK: What’s been the most challenging part going from fashion to interiors?
JI: It hasn’t actually been that challenging because W Hotels were so on board with our idea.

HK: Where’s next on your travel bucket list?
JI: New Zealand and LA!

HK: How do you switch off from work?
JI: Both Rhys and I are really into techno. Oddly, it’s become our sanctuary.

HK: What’s your biggest bugbear when checking in to a conventional hotel?
JI: When hotels don’t stay in their lane.

HK: What materials are really inspiring you at the moment?
JI: For me, smart fabrics and metallic fabrics are really fun to play around with. I want to experiment more with the manufacturing of the material we have been using. That being said, you can’t rely on the fabric. The shape and structure is just as important.

Models on bed with cushion

Image credit: Charlotte Rutherford

With time depleting by the day, and with fabric supplies on order to be delivered when they returned home from India, the next challenge was to secure a manufacturer. “The word ‘impossible’ landed in our inbox a few times,” explains Irving. “We did receive a lot of kickback at this stage from manufacturers, mainly because of the demand and the order size.” Undeterred, Irving and Beynon’s ‘when there’s a will there’s a way’ approach led them both to source the materials themselves to prove that it could be done. “I remember sitting on the beach with Rhys making a cardboard model of the cushion,” says Irving. “It’s one thing drawing the design, but it becomes very real when designing a 3D model.”

As well as the shape of the accessory being unconventional, so too was the material that designer decided to work with. “We call it rainbow smart fabric,” he explains. “We were worried that it would look to synthentic when not lit up, but in reality it was the perfect material to use for creating that contrast.”

As with all creative projects at pitch stage, there is an air of uncertainty, especially when it comes to unveiling to clients a prototype as futuristic as this one. “I was terrified when it came to pitching because you just don’t know how it’s going to go,” admits Irving. “We hadn’t seen the new rooms that our statement accessories would sit in, so it could have gone either way, as these things often do. But they loved it, and the second prototype we made on the beach in Goa over Christmas became the product that’s in the W London today.”

Irving’s interior design work for W Hotels may be just a dip in the ocean for now, but the designer’s ability to disrupt convention through the use of innovative materials and shapes unquestionably makes him a true innovator on the international hotel design scene.

Main image credit: Jack Irving Studio

Render of the Melbourne skyline including the new ZHA designed hotel

SNEAK PEEK: Inside Mandarin Oriental Melbourne designed by Zaha Hadid Architects

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
SNEAK PEEK: Inside Mandarin Oriental Melbourne designed by Zaha Hadid Architects

Following an insight into Zaha Hadid Architects’ Michele Salvi on The Morpheus, Hotel Designs heads backstage on another groundbreaking project the architecture firm is currently working to complete. Editor Hamish Kilburn writes… 

Currently on the boards, Mandarin Oriental Melbourne, designed by Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA), is a new signature hotel and branded residences that is slated to open in 2023.

Render of the Melbourne skyline including the new ZHA designed hotel

Soon to become the hotel group’s first property in Australia, the mixed-used 185-metre tower will be located in the heart of the city’s financial district.

The 196 spacious guestrooms and suites have been designed to reflect local culture together with features inspired by Mandarin Oriental’s heritage. The Group will also manage 148 residences at Mandarin Oriental, located on the tower’s upper floors, which will provide some of the most well-appointed private homes in the city. Owners will have access to the hotel experience, as well as their own bespoke amenities including a private residents’ lounge.

“The tower’s design conveys the wide variety of interior spaces within; dividing the building’s overall volume into a series of smaller stacked vases.” – ZHA’s project director Michele Pasca di Magliano

The hotel’s design vision was first realised in 2016. When completed, it will feature an all-day dining restaurant and a bar with a landscaped roof terrace. There will also be avariety of meeting spaces and an executive club lounge. A Spa at Mandarin Oriental will offer the Group’s renowned wellness,relaxation and beauty facilities, while further leisure options include a comprehensive fitness centre and an indoor swimming pool.

“The hotel’s façade reinterprets this historical detailing in a contemporary solution, introducing a delicate litre that gently envelops the building,” said ZHA’s project director Michele Pasca di Magliano.“The tower’s design conveys the wide variety of interior spaces within; dividing the building’s overall volume into a series of smaller stacked vases, with each different vase housing the bespoke guestrooms, suites, residences or amenities of Mandarin Oriental’s renowned service and standards.”

The project, which is being developed by Melbourne-based property developer, Landream, is said to have taken its inspiration from the finest examples of historic architecture within the Central Business District. “Mandarin Oriental, Melbourne will set anew standard for bespoke service in the city and will offer a preferred choice to travellers and potential homeowners who desire thenest accommodation,” said Kevin Li, Managing Director of Landream.

Disrupting not only design boundaries, but also the hotel development landscape, Mandarin Oriental Melbourne will open following predictions from experts that the hotel development market in Australia is expected to slow down in the coming years as a result of the regulation-driven curbs on development lending and the increasing construction and land costs, especially in Sydney and Melbourne.

Main image credit: VA

16th century shell transforms to open modern boutique design hotel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
16th century shell transforms to open modern boutique design hotel

The in-house design team at IHG, construction firm Stepnell and architecture practice Hitchman Stone Partnership have together completed a £13.2 million restoration projects on a Grade II listed building, which now sheltered the boutique 93-key Hotel Indigo Stratford-Upon-Avon

Located in the heart of Shakespeare’s birthplace, a three-storey Grade II listed building, which dates back to the 16th century, now shelters Hotel Indigo Stratford-Upon-Avon.

“It is a truly unique site, our first Hotel Indigo in a town, and what a town,” says Henry Reeve, Director of Interior Design at IHG. “We could not have picked a better site.”

Hotel Indigo Stratford-upon-Avon, formerly known as The Falcon Hotel, has upgraded its internal facilities whilst preserving the heritage of its historic exterior during a comprehensive refurbishment. “It’s been amazing to work on such an interesting project, helping to preserve a piece of history that can be enjoyed by the public,” adds Paul Fish, operations manager at Stepnell. “The work was incredibly specialist from a refurbishment perspective, so we had a real sense of achievement upon completion.”

Exterior shot of hotel

Image credit: IHG

Plans were originally laid out to refurbish the roof, but the job quickly grew in size when it was found to be beyond repair and had to be removed entirely, along with the internal plastering which was reinstated by a specialist company. Measures were also taken to preserve and replace the external beams and timber flooring in a bid to protect to the hotel’s defining features.

“We used bold contemporary botanics to reflect the surrounding flora and add a punch of drama.” – Henry Reeve, Director of Interior Design at IHG

Fish added: “We faced a few challenges during the build regarding conservation and access to the site due to the historic nature of the hotel, but the team managed to push forward with the works and the outcome is truly stunning.”

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

Beautiful bar area with aimless interiors

Image credit: IHG

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

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

Main image credit: IHG

citizenM Amstel Amsterdam hotel opens in 1920s shell

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

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

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

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

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

Image credit: Richard Powers

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Richard Powers

luxe marble bathroom

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

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

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

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

luxe marble bathroom

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

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

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

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

Render of luxury bathroom with marble surfaces and overlooking Manchester

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Brit List 2019 Awards: Meet the judges

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

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

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

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

The judges for The Brit List 2019 Awards are:

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

Harriet Forde, BIID President

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

Hamish Kilburn, editor of Hotel Designs

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

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

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

Jacu Strauss, founder and creative director of LORE Studio

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

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

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

Florence Rolfe, Former Deputy Decoration Editor, House & Garden

Florence Rolfe, Former Deputy Decoration Editor, House & Garden

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

Edward Webb, Director of Development Management, Nuveen Real Estate

Edward Webb, Director of Development Management, Nuveen Real Estate

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

Mel Yates, Photographer 

Mel Yates, Photographer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Headline Partner: Crosswater

Event Partner: Hamilton Litestat:

Industry Partner: BIID:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image credit: Marriott International/Aloft Hotels

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Marriott International/Aloft Hotels

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Hilton Hotels

MINIVIEW: COMO Metropolitan London

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
MINIVIEW: COMO Metropolitan London

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: COMO Hotels & Resorts

Ruby Hotels opens second hotel in Dusseldorf

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Ruby Hotels opens second hotel in Dusseldorf

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

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

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

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

Dressing room style design

Image credit: Ruby Hotels

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Ruby Hotels

Agreement signed between Hotel Investment Partners and Room Mate Hotels

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Room Mate Hotels

Hotel Summit 2019 bridges the gap between hotel buyers and suppliers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Partners:

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

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

Hyatt Place arrives in Japan

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hyatt Place arrives in Japan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Hyatt Hotels

In Conversation With: Simon Naudi, CEO of Corinthia Hotels

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

QUICK-FIRE ROUND

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Corinthia London ESPA spa

Image caption: Corinthia London ESPA spa

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

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

EDITOR CHECKS IN: Making debuts in international hotel design

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Editor, Hotel Designs

UK predicts 130,000 new hotel rooms by 2025

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other commitments in the Tourism Sector Deal include:

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Corinthia Hotel London

Signbox wins FESPA award for third consecutive year

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Signbox

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Rockwell Group

Hotel Indigo opens two new hotels in Germany

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: IHG/Hotel Indigo

DESIGN CONCEPT: Hotel of 2119 imagined by Hilton

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

To celebrate the hotel group’s 100th anniversary, Hilton has just unveiled what it believes will be the hotel in 100 years from now…

Intergalactic getaways, fast-food nutrient pills, two to three hour working days and adaptable, personalised rooms that can transport guests everywhere from jungles to mountain ranges; in celebration of its 100th anniversaryHilton predicts the future trends set to dominate the travel and hospitality industry in the next 100 years.

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

Key predictions for the hotel of the future include:

Personalisation is King

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

The Human Touch

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

‘Sustainable Everything’ – The Role of Responsibility

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

Menu Surprises and Personalisation

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

Futuristic Fitness and Digital Detoxes

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Hilton Hotels

SPOTLIGHT ON: Laura Ashley, from homes to hotels

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image credit: Laura Ashley Hotels

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

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

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

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

Image credit: Laura Ashley Hotels

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

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

Four Seasons Hotels arrive at the Comcast Centre, Philadelphia

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

Sleeping;

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

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

Dining;

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

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

Rest and relaxation;

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

Meetings;

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

In summary…

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

 

Image credits – Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts

Four Seasons Resort Nevis enters final phase of sustainable renovations

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

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

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

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

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

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

Raw luxurious dining experience in shack-like structure

Image credit: Four Seasons Resorts

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

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

Render of beach and pool

Image credit: Four Seasons Resorts

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

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

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

The design chapter continues…

Main image credit: Four Seasons Resorts

IHG debuts Hotel Indigo brand in Qatar

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
IHG debuts Hotel Indigo brand in Qatar

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

**Numbers as of March, 31 2019

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

Grecotel Group embarks on 42 million euro expansion plan

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

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

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

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

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

Image credit: Grecotel Hotels

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

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

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

Main image credit: Grecotel Hotels

Curio Collection by Hilton heats up the Costa del Sol

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Curio Collection by Hilton

Canopy by Hilton to debut in Africa

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Canopy by Hilton to debut in Africa

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Cape Town Tourism

Six Senses to arrive in Costa Rica and Iceland

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

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

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

Six Senses Papagayo, Costa Rica

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

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

Six Senses Össurá Valley, Iceland

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

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

Main image credit: IHG/Six Senses

InterContinental opens sixth hotel in France

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
InterContinental opens sixth hotel in France

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

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

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

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

Epona Restaurant full of gold

Image credit: InterContinental/Eric Cuvillier

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

 

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

Executive Room River View

Image credit: InterContinental/Eric Cuviller

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

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

High ceilings in the authentic dining area

Image credit: InterContinental/Eric Cuviller

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: InterContinental/Eric Cuviller

Tapestry Collection by Hilton to debut in the Caribbean

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Hilton Hotels

Canopy by Hilton arrives in Asia Pacific region

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

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

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

The concept of the hotel blends Chinese and Western charms, intertwined with old-fashioned feelings and vitality, elegant and unconventional design, bringing guests a lively Chengdu style and the comfort and warmth of home, with contemporary moments thrown in for good measure.

Art instalment depicting people having their photos taken.

Image credit: Canopy by Hilton

“The design revolves around the story of ‘the scholar goes to the city to take the imperial exam’,” explained designer Joe Cheng. “Traversing the memory corridor of the imperial city, capturing the auspicious details hidden in the green brick wall, on the street view of the market, in the peddler stall and the courtyard.” The history of the hotel has been reconstructed, while exploring and re-writing the new story of the Imperial City memory.

A row of green bamboos is in front of the drop-off area of the hotel, which forms a shadow that can different from the outside world, leaving the prosperous shackles behind, creating a leisurely temperament that calms and slows you down. The design of the door canopy derives from the elements of the arch, and the bags of the ancient scholars, using columns of the wooden strips, interspersed, and laminated to reproduce the beauty of Chinese classical architecture.

Inside, the first floor reception hall is designed as an art exhibition hall, creating a humanistic space under the artistic conception. Up to nine metres tall,  the lobby is an abstract reflection of the historical streetscape of the old imperial city. The streetscape of the past is vividly displayed in front of the guests, under the large art installation of the roof, to open a dialogue of time and space.The chair hanging in the elevator hall is a reproduction of ancient ‘Gongyuan’ scenes by modern artistic techniques. Guests are guided along the roadways (corridors), which are complete with with green bricks, grey tiles and wooden doors.

Large, open and very minimalist lobby with brings as wallcoverings.

Image credit: Canopy by Hilton

In the guestrooms and suites, Canopy’s unique brand colour, bright orange, has been applied throughout the design. The panda in front of each guestroom in different poses gives a further nod to the unique sense-of-location and injects an element of humour. Inside, each room is represented through the quaint texture and exquisite details, showing the calm and unpretentious attitude of life, build a balance in the selection, composition and colour.

Image credit: Canopy by Hilton

The design concept of the guestrooms originated from the idea of “Gong Yuan”and inspired by the film “A Chinese Ghost Story” to connect the whole design to the project. The Canopy brand classic L-shaped bedside, as well as the bedside table inspired by the actor in “A Chinese Ghost Story” Leslie Cheung’s backpack, the shower space of the rice paper laminated glass, also comes from the classic scene of the film – Leslie Cheung breaking through the doors and windows made of Xuan paper, the designer has used the modern techniques to interpret the ancient paper doors and windows, so that the whole design is closely related to the story in terms of form, image and material.

Living green wall inside the hotel - with integrated bookshelf

Image credit: Canopy by Hilton

The hotel also features a number of food and beverage options, including TC Café, the Canopy Lounge and the Leisure Bar, which features a striking floor-to-ceiling living wall with integrated bookshelf to add further to the laid-back luxury feel and tone the hotel sets.

The Canopy by Hilton brand was established in October 2014 as a lifestyle offering under Hilton hotel group. The concept of the brand is guided by ‘lifestyle’, which is dedicated in creating a localised-luxury boutique hotel, providing personalisation.

Main image credit: Canopy by Hilton

Leading designers, architects and hoteliers to attend Meet Up North 2019

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Leading designers, architects and hoteliers to attend Meet Up North 2019

Meet Up North, which takes place on July 1 at Hotel Gotham’s Club Brass, will be attended by leading hoteliers, designers and architects…

Following the success of Meet Up London in March, Hotel Designs is weeks away from heading up to Manchester with Meet Up North. The event, which is designed to bridge the gap between designers, architects, hoteliers and suppliers will this year carrying the theme of ‘Creativity Outside the Capital’.

Directors and/or partners from the likes of Denton Corker Marshall, Gensler, AEW Architects, Fusion by Design, LDA Design Consultants, Utopia Projects and Abode Architecture are among the designers and architects that will be attending the evening networking event.

In addition, general managers from the likes of The Stock Exchange Hotel, Hotel Indigo Chester and Hotel Gotham will be among the hoteliers attending the event.

Meet Up North, which returns to Manchester for a second year following clear indications that the city continues to be a hotel development hotspot, will include an insightful talk and presentation by Tom Lindblom, Principal and Hospitality Leader at Gensler (London), which will be entitled Hospitality is way more than hotels.’

How to purchase your tickets to Meet Up North

If you are a supplier to the industry and would like to purchase your ticket to Meet Up North for £150 + VAT, click here.
If you are a designer, architect or hoteliers to the industry and would like to purchase your ticket to Meet Up North for £20 + VAT, click here.

In additionl, there are still various sponsorship opportunities and packages available for Meet Up North. If you would like to discuss these with our team then please contact Zoe Guerrier by either emailing z.guerrier@forumevents.co.uk or calling 01992 374059.

The inaugural Meet Up North took place last year at King Street Townhouse and was attended by more than 200 designers, architects, hoteliers and key-industry suppliers.

About the venue

Hotel Gotham is sheltered in what is arguably the city’s grandest properties and is an exclusive city-centre sanctuary, previously a bank that was designed in 1935 by none other than architect Edwin Lutyens.

The hotel, which opened in 2015, prides itself on offering a modern and comfortable experience in a unique and luxurious environment, with exquisite service all within a bespoke private club in the heart of Manchester.

EDITOR CHECKS IN: Running on empty in Clerkenwell

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
EDITOR CHECKS IN: Running on empty in Clerkenwell

Editor Hamish Kilburn explains some of the benefits that come with being a runner on the editorial desk – especially during Clerkenwell Design Week… 

I believe that nine problems out of 10 within this ever-evolving industry can be solved with a fresh perspective. Whether the issue is a lack of inspiration or perhaps you can’t decide which soft furnishings to purchase for a fussy client, there are times where you – and your project – could benefit from taking some time out so that your ideas and thoughts can authentically mature.

For most, the obvious ‘time out’ would follow booking 10 nights away in bare-foot luxury, and I must conquer that the undisturbed nature of this thought also appeals. However, if it’s simply a case of a blockage of traffic in the brain, then I suggest you hop onto the pavement. For me, it is often only after a gentle jog – at any time of day or night – where most of my editorial ideas for Hotel Designs stem from – or at least final decisions are made.

This month, I went one step further in my fitness therapy and signed myself up to complete what will be my third marathon. But while I have been there, done that and got the T-shirt twice before, one thing has changed – I am the busiest I have ever been. And so, like so many amateur runners who have or are pacing in my footsteps while balancing a career, finding the time to train is often the hardest challenge – a test that carries great unparalleled rewards, including being able to juggle time wisely.

“What’s running got to do with hotel development, design and architecture,” you may ask. Well it turns out, this month in particular, being able to confidently trot around town was an essential skill for those for those of us attending Clerkenwell Design Week as ‘Press’. Entering double digits, this year’s volume of celebrating of design, which witnessed hundreds of showrooms opening their doors to the public, was turned up to the max – and it was, undoubtably so, a fabulous festival to amplify to our readers. For the 10th year, it recognised the UK once more as an incubator for incredible design, architecture and ideas. Despite this, at times it was also like hitting the dreaded wall during a marathon, each showroom becoming more of a fuel station as we got further through the course. Passed the finish line, though, and we were able to reflect on the journey, which was like every long-distance race, full of unforgettable moments including witnessing art outside the frame at almost every turn.

Brick wall with loud and colourful mural of shapes bursting out

Image caption/credit: One of the many art installations at Clerkenwell Design Week 2019 | Sophie Mutevelian

In addition to clocking up the miles around the design hub that is Clerkenwell, my mini adventures on foot have allowed me to experience some pretty incredible places from an unmatched perspective; from the sandy beaches of Barbados to the cobbled streets of Amsterdam – and sprinting through New York’s Time Square at 5am. With the right pair of trainers – and the will power to get out whatever the weather, travelling to – and seeing – these places has been extraordinary.

“Each time I head out for a run in Manchester, usually between exhibitions or events, I notice a new building taking shape.”

Closer to home, Manchester is within my top five locations to go for a run in and around. Having spent a year living in the beehive, I fell in love with the ‘on the boards’ skyline and at times juvenile personality locked within its ever-expanding city walls. Given its striking façade, and spirited soul, it is no coincidence, therefore, that hotel development up north is booming. Each time I head out for a run in Manchester, usually between exhibitions or events, I notice a new building taking shape. Top Hotel Project recently reported that between 2020 and 2021, 11 new hotels will open – the majority of which will be for the luxury sector. In response to this, we’re taking our Meet Up North networking evening back to the city that everyone is talking about, this year taking over Hotel Gotham’s much-admired rooftop bar, Club Brass.

Today, my running shoes have taken me back to my hometown of Whitstable in Kent, a beautiful rustic and trendy town – think Shoreditch style but by the sea and with oysters. The gorgeous weather combined with a steady westerly breeze was all the motivation I needed to add a totally unplanned half marathon (13.1 miles) into this week’s training plan. It was all the motivation I needed to write and complete this column.

During June, Hotel Designs will be putting Hotel Groups and Software & Controls under the spotlight. If you would like to contribute to these topics, please do not hesitate to email me.

Editor, Hotel Designs

MINIVIEW: Hard Rock Hotel London

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
MINIVIEW: Hard Rock Hotel London

In spectacular fashion, as expected, Hard Rock Hotel London has opened its doors, adding 900 stylish rooms to the Capital’s hotel scene. Hotel Designs took a peak inside…

Positioned on the corner of Oxford Street at Marble Arch, Hard Rock Hotel London has arrived, catering to the needs of both business and leisure travelers from around the world. Designed by award-winning design firm Scott Brownrigg, the concept for the interior design was inspired from the heritage of the existing building, which was built in the mid 1700’s.

Drawing on the legacy of legends who stayed here in decades past, including Jimi Hendrix, Nina Simone, Stevie Wonder, Bob Dylan, Diana Ross and Madonna, the new venue pays homage to the site’s rich history through stylish interior design and carefully curated music memorabilia displays. It also is an inspiration to those who have yet to write their own story – Hard Rock Hotel London stands alone as a hotel haven for music lovers everywhere.

Image credit: Roberto Lara Photography

Hard Rock Hotel London accommodates two vibrant bars and a lively Hard Rock Cafe – the second Hard Rock Cafe to open in the Capital City. With 370 seats, the hotel’s Cafe is set to be the ultimate Central hang out. Combining elevated food and drink offerings with weekly live music performances that celebrate both local London and international talent, the Cafe offers an electric atmosphere, perfect for all occasions – from lunch meetings to after work drinks.

“As the original birthplace of Hard Rock, we are delighted to open a new hotel in London, the brand’s spiritual birthplace,” said Ian Fletcher, general manager of the hotel. “In true Hard Rock style, the property offers stylish and contemporary design, incredible in-room amenities, fantastic food and unparalleled service, with the thread that unites them all – music. We know all our guests have an unforgettable experience.”

Image credit: Roberto Lara Photography

Meanwhile, the 42-seat Lobby Bar takes its inspiration from the original art-deco style ceiling of the Lyons Corner House, which originally stood on the site in the early 1900’s. As well as celebrating the site’s unrivalled heritage, the bar embodies Hard Rock’s musical roots, with an abstract installation designed to reflect a master disc and record player. Memorabilia, in true Hard Rock fashion, is suspended in the bar from the walls through guitar strings to replicate a ‘larger than life’ fret board.

‘It has been a great experience working with two established brands, glh hotels and Hard Rock International,” said Kate Jarrett, Interior Designer at Scott Brownrigg who was also credited as a Hotel Designs 30 Under 30 earlier this year. “We have enjoyed collaborating with them to create a unique and sophisticated offer for the London market. Combining the history of the central London location with the iconic musical heritage of the Hard Rock brand.”

With venues in 73 countries including 184 cafes, 237 Rock Shops, 28 hotels and 11 casinos, Hard Rock International (HRI) is one of the most globally recognised companies – and the hotel brand’s most recent opening fittingly returns to where it all began.

Main image credit: Roberto Lara Photography

Kimpton EPIC Hotel in Miami undergos major renovation

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Kimpton EPIC Hotel in Miami undergos major renovation

Kimpton EPIC Hotel in Miami is about to embark on an extensive renovation inclusive of its guestrooms and suites, lobby, and pool area…

Situated in the heart of Downtown Miami, with unparalleled views of Biscayne Bay, Kimpton EPIC will be fully reimagined with Miami-inspired elements, while maintaining its beloved sophistication and high-end feel. The finishes, furniture, and amenities will be acutely refined, and elegantly minimal with an organic sensibility.

High-impact artwork will evoke several elements including the natural components of the Earth while speaking to the Miami landscape and personality in a modern and abstract manner.

“Hues in wheat, gray and white, with a layer of soft harbor blue, offer a modern and high-end beach palette in the arrival and reception area.”

Upon arrival, guests will experience a different approach to minimal and sophisticated elegance in the hotel’s reimagined lobby area. Hues in wheat, gray and white, with a layer of soft harbor blue, offer a modern and high-end beach palette in the arrival and reception area. Black and bronze metals, woven linen, marble and custom hardware featured throughout will exhibit the luxurious feeling that Miami evokes within.

Close up of modern furniture above abstract blue art piece in white suite

Image credit: Kimpton Hotels

Featuring eco-friendly materials, travellers checking in will notice driftwood-inspired slatted headboards, wood-look tile flooring throughout the guestrooms, marble base table and chairs and private patios with custom furniture, all overlooking Biscayne Bay. Art featured within the guestrooms will be local sourced, with a specific focus on highlighting Miami’s flourishing art scene.

Two EPICally detailed suites – a Hospitality and a Presidential, will both reside on the corners of hotel’s 30th floor. Complete with wrap-around balconies and sweeping views of the city lights, the bay, and ocean – both will feature curated, one-of-a-kind furniture, collected art and various functional considerations for entertaining and hosting.

“As with all Kimpton properties, the approach is a bespoke design.”

The high-end sophisticated feel of the property will extend into the hotel’s expansive 16th-floor pool terrace, with new European furnishes and a clean and modern color palette that has playful touches for an energetic pool vibe.

As with all Kimpton properties, the approach is a bespoke design. Virtually all furniture, lighting and artwork are custom and proprietary to the hotel. The hotel’s redesign, expected to be completed by the end of September, is masterminded by the talented in-house Kimpton design team under the helm of Ave Bradley, Creative Director & Global SVP of Design, and Diana Martinez, Senior Design Director at Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants.

Main image credit: Kimpton Hotels

Aloft Hotels arrives in Ireland

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Aloft Hotels arrives in Ireland

Aloft Dublin City in Ireland has opened and is expected to shake up the hotel scene in one of Dublin’s most historic and vibrant quarters…

Marriott International has announced the opening of the design-led Aloft Dublin City, the first Aloft hotel to open in Ireland. The hotel is located in the Blackpitts area of Dublin’s Liberties, one of the capital’s most dynamic quarters.

The Liberties is rich with heritage, formerly a trading site of textiles; fast forward and this rejuvenated district is the thriving home to media and tech hubs as well as Dublin’s top visitor attractions.

As a brand for music lovers and music makers, we are so excited to debut Aloft Hotels in Dublin, the city that shares our passion for live music,” said John Licence, Vice President Premium and Select Brands, Europe at Marriott International. “From the buskers on Grafton Street to shows in the National Concert Hall, the live music experience in Dublin is a special one and we can’t wait to add to the city’s buzzing night-time scene by inviting emerging artists to take the stage at our Live At Aloft series,”

Vibrant blue carpets in large guestroom

Image credit: Marriott International/Aloft Hotels

With its vibrant design and always-on public spaces, Aloft Dublin City brings a new beat to the city and bold approach to the guest experience. The brand’s signature W XYZ® bar anchors the social scene on the seventh floor with striking panoramic views of the city – from sky-piercing mountains to famous hotspots including the Guinness Storehouse and St Patrick’s Cathedral.

Each of the 202 spacious guestrooms and suites feature Aloft’s ultra-comfortable plush beds, complete with headboards designed by local Dublin Artist, Sketchy; custom amenities by Bliss® Spa; fast & free Wi-Fi; and 49-inch televisions linked to a Plug & Play connectivity panel.

Aloft Dublin City features Mobile Key — the industry-first keyless entry system that enables guests to use their smartphone or Apple watch as a room key. Additional amenities include the Re:chargeSM fitness center, and meeting facilities equipped with state-of-the-art A/V equipment and fast and free WiFi.

With now more than 150 hotels now open in more than 20 countries and territories around the world, Aloft Hotels, which first launched in 2005, delivers a fresh approach to the traditional staid hotel landscape. For the ‘always on’ next generation of traveller, the Aloft brand offers a tech-forward, vibrant experience and a modern style that is different by design.

Main image credit: Aloft Hotels/Marriott International

Hyatt Centric brand to enter into Greater China

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hyatt Centric brand to enter into Greater China

Located on the eastern side of Hong Kong Island, the hotel will mark the Hyatt Centric brand’s entry into Greater China…

Following China being identified as a major international hotel design hotspot, Hyatt Hotels Corporation has announced that a Hyatt affiliate has entered into an agreement with an affiliate of Sun Hung Kai Properties Limited to rebrand the 665-key Hotel VIC on the Harbour to Hyatt Centric Victoria Harbour Hong Kong by the third quarter of this year.

The newly branded property will be the first Hyatt Centric hotel in the Greater China region, joining the brand’s inaugural property in Asia, Hyatt Centric Ginza Tokyo which opened last year.

“We are delighted to grow our relationship with our anchor owner Sun Hung Kai Properties with this exciting project in Hong Kong after our successful collaborations with Park Hyatt Hangzhou and Hyatt Centric Minhang, Shanghai,” said Stephen Ho, president of Greater China, global operations, Hyatt. “We look forward to introducing the Hyatt Centric brand to Hong Kong and providing more distinctive experiences to our guests. With the hotel’s convenient waterfront location and proximity to cultural and leisure hotspots, Hyatt Centric Victoria Harbour Hong Kong will be an ideal base for savvy, in-the-now guests to explore all that this dynamic gateway city has to offer.”

Tailored for socially connected guests seeking shareable moments, the hotel’s social areas and food and beverage concepts were designed by Hong Kong-based architect and interior designer, Andre Fu while the 665 harbor-view guestrooms feature designs from Hirsch Bedner Associates.

“We decided to work with Hyatt after careful consideration and are excited to debut the first Hyatt Centric hotel in Greater China,” said Tasos Kousloglou, chief executive officer of the Hotel Division of Sun Hung Kai Properties. “The Hyatt Centric brand’s young and dynamic profile will fit perfectly with the vibrant neighborhood. The hotel benefits readily from the landmark integrated development with the premium residential towers of Victoria Harbour and the retail complex of Harbour North, which, together with the hotel’s retail space has a total area of over 200,000 sq ft. Guests will also enjoy the new magnificent waterfront garden promenade and the lifestyle offerings within the hotel’s quintessential Hong Kong neighborhood. By joining hands with Hyatt, we will be able to leverage its world-class knowledge, excellence in food and beverage, wealth of hospitality experience, and global marketing and sales network to make Hyatt Centric Victoria Harbour Hong Kong the preferred choice for socially-connected travelers and locals. We will also reach a broader audience of savvy travelers worldwide and elevate guest experience.”

Following the brand ethos to connect guests to the heart of the action so they never miss a moment of adventure, the hotel is located in the dynamic North Point district on the eastern side of the Hong Kong Island.

Main image credit: Hyatt Hotels

100 Years of Hilton exhibition opens in London

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
100 Years of Hilton exhibition opens in London

The London Hilton on Park Lane, which was the first Hilton hotel to open in the UK, has opened an exhibition today for guests and visitors alike to explore the brand’s 100-year history…

100 Years of Hilton exhibition has opened to showcase the iconic history of the the group’s first hotel in the UK, London Hilton Park Lane, since opening in 1963 and explores the history Hilton as a brand and the London Hilton on Park Lane as an institution across the hospitality and London landscape.

A hotel of many firsts, founder Conrad Hilton himself commissioned what was the biggest post-war hotel build in Europe, standing at a majestic 28 floors. Conrad Hilton was noted upon opening the London Hilton on Park Lane as saying:

The hotel is known to have had a significant financial impact on the London economy, cited at around £7 million upon opening in 1963 and the hotel is proud to have helped redefine the UK’s event industry; one valued at an estimated £18.1 billion today and recently overtook Marriott International to become as “world’s most valuable” hotel brand.

“In a city as globally significant and as popular as London,” said Michael Shepherd, the longest serving General Manager of the London Hilton on Park Lane. “Standing out isn’t easy or straightforward; for the Hilton to land here in the 1960’s and immediately set the standard was quite a feat. To still be going strong and remain one of this city’s great hospitality settings is fitting to the work of the hotel staff, and shows that the Hilton brand is still timeless and appealing to guests around the world today.

“As Hilton turns 100, the celebrations will look at the positive, world-altering impact Hilton continues to have on billions of lives and thousands of communities around the globe, pioneering new travel markets and bringing people and cultures together, while expanding new horizons and opportunities.”

The exhibition will be displayed in the lobby area, and is open for guests and visitors to enjoy from Tuesday 28th May to Sunday 2nd June.

Main image credit: Hilton Hotels

Social hotel brand to arrive in Malaysia

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Social hotel brand to arrive in Malaysia

Ormond Group’s new social hotel brand, MoMo’s, will debut in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia in October of this year… 

MoMo’s, Ormond Group’s new playful hospitality concept, will launch its first property in central Kuala Lumpur within the eclectic Chow Kit neighborhood this October. Home to 99 guest rooms, MoMo’s KL will be a newly renovated, exciting hangout in the city, providing a fun and laid-back multi-dimensional space where visitors and locals can collide in harmony.

MoMo’s celebrates creative collaboration whilst offering a design-led lifestyle hotel at a value-for-money price point. Alongside micro rooms, MoMo’s KL will provide guests with a dynamic social space that engage with creative communities and urban nomads. The hotel has been designed to inspire memorable moments, through fun creative programming and a unique food and beverage offering.

MoMo’s hosts will ensure that guests have unrivalled access to Kuala Lumpur’s hidden gems, experiencing the city as a local would. Stepping away from the traditional notion of front-of-house staff, hosts are on hand to greet guests on arrival, make them a coffee or cocktail whilst checking them in for their stay. Embracing Asia’s open house culture, MoMo’s prides itself on its informal environment in which guests are encouraged to relax and have fun, feeling totally at home.

Render of minimalist lifestyle area

Image credit: MoMo

“MoMo’s is bringing a fresh personality to Kuala Lumpur, offering young, culturally driven travellers a design focused and value-concious experience,”  said Gareth Lim, CEO of Ormond Group. “Social interaction is central to MoMo’s ethos and look forward to being part of the regeneration of the Chow Kit neighbourhood.”

On the ground floor, MoMosita’s – a new casual concept from leading Malaysian F&B operators Christian Bauer and Eddie Chew of Troika Sky Dining, is a fun, gritty, self-serve dive bar serving tacos and snacks alongside draft beer and bottled cocktails. Open in the evenings throughout the week, with late night music programming on Fridays and Saturdays, MoMosita’s is the ultimate low-key hangout for guests and locals to let loose and mingle.

Reframing the hotel narrative from being a place to get a good night’s sleep to each hotel acting as a springboard to guests’ city experiences, MoMo’s KL encourages guests to live, play and stay. The traditional lobby is replaced by a social space that acts as the central hub of activity, The Playground. The Playground, located on the ground floor, is the hotel’s main events space which will host a series of weekly events from performance art, workshops and exhibitions to DJ sets and live gigs. The Playground was conceptualized to encourage the best creative minds from the city and abroad to mingle.

Render of minimalist dining area

Image credit: MoMo’s

The micro-rooms feature bespoke amenities, plush beds, smart TVs and a safe with a self-pick-up style room service facility. Inward facing rooms look out onto a large gallery lightwell which provides the rooms with a curated moving image space. The design palette throughout the rooms and the communal spaces are made up of simple, honest materials with raw concrete, laminated timber and combed plaster featuring throughout. Notes of dusty pinks, washed greens and aged brass are consistent throughout the furnishings, fabrics and ornaments that bring MoMo’s design focused, yet approachable, character to the fore.

Sydney based interiors and architecture studio, Akin Atelier, has led the design of MoMo’s Kuala Lumpur bringing founder, Kelvin Ho’s, renowned style to this unique property. The Australia based architect and interior designer has brought MoMo’s KL to life using the multi-faceted and playful character of Kuala Lumpur as the inspiration for the design. The public spaces have been conceptualised to feel like an experiential gallery where food, art and music are expressed in its rawest forms to elevate and juxtapose them from the simple rooms.

MoMo’s will open next door to The Chow Kit – An Ormond Hotel, another new launch from Ormond Group. A second MoMo’s hotel is slated for a 2022 opening in Melbourne, Australia.

Main image credit: MoMo

New ‘super boutique hotel’ in London to become leader in sustainability

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
New ‘super boutique hotel’ in London to become leader in sustainability

Edwardian Hotels London has secured a £175 million Green Loan from HSBC UK that will help make its new ‘super boutique hotel’, The Londoner, one of the most environmentally friendly in the UK, with sustainability at its core…

Edwardian Hotels London has secured a £175 million Green Loan from HSBC UK to ensure its new super boutique hotel, The Londoner, situated in Leicester Square will be one of the greenest hotels in the UK.

The deal with HSBC UK breaks new ground in sustainability for the hospitality industry. It is the first Green Loan in the sector that meets the Green Loan Principles, which were set out in March 2018 to encourage and facilitate environmentally-friendly economic activity. The funding will be used to ensure the new hotel doesn’t just meet but exceeds the BREEAM Excellent category in building environmental and sustainable performance.

Thanks to the Green Loan, The Londoner’s impressive green credentials will range from use of construction materials with a low environmental impact, to new technologies including an innovative liquid film which will reduce evaporation and energy loss from the hotel’s swimming pool.

The hotel is also aiming to contribute to the sustainability of its neighbours by including a heat network connection. Initially, this will be linked to the Edwardian Hotels London-owned hotel next door to The Londoner, The Radisson Blu Edwardian Hampshire, but could also be extended to the surrounding area in the future. In total, the hotel is set to use 30 per cent less carbon than regulations demand.

 “Since its inception we have always had bold ambitions for The Londoner to write itself into the very fabric of the city, said Jasminder Singh OBE, Chairman and Founder of Edwardian Hotels London. “We have been dedicated to delivering a high-quality, sustainable, integrated hotel and this Green Loan supports that vision. We are delighted that this new property, designed to celebrate the character of the capital, has become the first in the hospitality industry to secure this.”

Rob King, Head of Sustainable Finance at HSBC UK, said: “HSBC has made a commitment to provide US$100bn of Sustainable Finance by 2025 to help businesses transition to a lower carbon economy. We are very pleased to have supported Edwardian Hotels London with a Green Loan to support the construction of this high profile hotel with very strong sustainability credentials.  Green Loans are an exciting development in Sustainable Finance which will encourage the investment urgently required to meet our carbon emission reduction targets.”

The Londoner is in a new hotel category of one. Boutique in feel, yet staggering in scale, at 15 storeys, the property will offer a multifaceted experience through its 350 exquisite rooms and suites, signature restaurants and dining offerings and with the bespoke meetings and event spaces infused with London character. It is scheduled to open in Spring 2020.

Main image credit: Edwardian Hotels

In Conversation With: Felipe Ávila da Costa, CEO of Infraspeak

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In Conversation With: Felipe Ávila da Costa, CEO of Infraspeak

Arriving in the UK, Infraspeak is a powerful platform that offers fully customisable, sustainable technology for the hospitality market. Hotel Designs sits down with the company’s CEO and co-founder, Felipe Ávila da Costa, to find out more…

For years, the industry has been crying out for a platform that has been developed to make buildings smarter. Cue the UK arrival of Infraspeak, a solution for chaotic hotels that would benefit from improved operational efficiency and reduced costs of maintenance.

From humble beginnings in Porto, Portugal, the company was very much born out of the concept to bridge the communication gap between C-level executives and managers on the ground. Infraspeak’s journey, like so many other innovative tech-driven products, started at university with the initial idea to reduce paperwork for service men by introducing a digital platform. “It was Luís Martins who had the lightbulb moment for his final project,” explained co-founder and CEO Felipe Ávila da Costa. “His lecturer encouraged him to progress the idea, and it was at this point when he developed the foundations of Infraspeak.”

“Infraspeak emerged from the wings to take centre stage – and fast become one of Portugal’s largest start-up companies.”

After graduating, Martins kept Infraspeak as a side project – a hobby if you like – while working on other things. In his downtime, the he grew the brand’s roots in its colourful hometown of Porto. Soon, the demand for the game-changing software grew to the point that justified investment, which involved bringing Ávila da Costa on board. Infraspeak emerged from the wings to take centre stage – and fast become one of Portugal’s largest start-up companies.

Fast forward four fascinating years, the company now has offices in London, Porto, Barcelona and Florianapolis and 180 customers in seven countries benefiting from Infraspeak’s regularly updated software packages. “Every three weeks we automatically update the software, taking on board customer requests and the shifting demands from consumers,” explained Ávila da Costa. “Our software ensures that everything behind the scenes runs smoothly so that the staff can offer seamless service.”

One of the most recent case studies is InterContinental Palacio das Cardosas, which opened in 2011. By using Infraspeak, the hotel’s maintenance manager has reported a substantial reduction in maintenance calls. “Instead of 40 maintenance calls per day, now I only get 10,” he told the company. “For me, one of Infraspeak’s main advantages is that it allows me to stop worrying about everything that’s happening. It displays everything I need to know in a single platform.”

As well as improving communication between maintenance staff and the hotel, Infraspeak is a communication tool that is now used in other areas of hotel, such as house keeping, F&B and even energy management. “Every three weeks we launch a new software on the product so that the product starts to become a platform for all operational elements,” says Ávila da Costa.

How Infraspeak works:

One of the many unique selling points of the software is its sustainable aims. In a press release from the brand, the company explains that a staggering “80 per cent of hotel administration is largely paper-based and excel is most commonly used to run all hospitality maintenance. Infraspeak completely removes the need for paper as all facility management can be logged and traced to completion through the software. In addition, the product’s intelligent software uses data to start to predict problems in advance, rather than simply reacting to issues when they arise. This predictive approach to maintenance means Infraspeak saves time, money and resources with a sustainable and efficient approach.”

Quick-fire round

Hamish Kilburn: What is your number one bugbear when checking in to a hotel? 
Felipe Ávila da Costa: Waiting too long

HK: Iphone or Android? 
FAC: Android 

HK: What did you want to be when you were growing up? 
FAC: I wanted to be a film director, and then a bridge engineer and then a software engineer – it’s been a journey! 

HK: What’s the best thing about Porto? 
FAC: By far the personality of the city 

HK: What has been your largest regret in business? 
FAC: I’ve made lots of mistakes, but none have been regrets 

Although from the outside, the journey for the pair looks a seamless one, the reality is quite the opposite. “There have been many, many challenges. The first challenge was for hotels to come on board with our thinking,” explains Ávila da Costa. “We were lucky enough to get one of the largest hotel brands in Portugal to work with us. With 35 hotels in their portfolio, we really needed to understand their needs.”

From airports to shopping malls and of course hotels, the widespread demand for reducing paper waste and incorporating a seamless communication technology has allowed the company to straddle many markets. “Infraspeak is designed to be flexible, but the demand for hotels is massive,” explains Ávila da Costa. “We currently have more than 250 hotels using the product.”

Recent headlines in the mainstream news have demonstrated the need for individuals and companies alike to think further outside the box in order to become more sustainable. Platforms like Infraspeak are looking towards the future, providing practical solutions that are reducing carbon footprints around the world.

New destination bar opens at revamped Hilton Hotel Münich City

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
New destination bar opens at revamped Hilton Hotel Münich City

While Hotel Designs continues its Spotlight On Bars & Restaurants, Hilton Hotel Münich City opens Juliet Rose, a new destination bar…

Interior design firm Goddard Littlefair has completed a striking new destination bar called Juliet Rose at the Hilton Hotel Münich City. The city’s new place-to-be bar was inspired by the F&B concept of unusual botanical extracts and the importance of process in the creation of its singular drinks.

The scheme was inspired by the F&B concept of unusual botanical extracts and the importance of process in the creation of its singular drinks, which includes a range of signature cocktails and what is said to be the best coffee in Munich. The result is an exciting and theatrical zoned space with an alchemical, laboratory feel; a perfect back-drop for outstanding drinks to be made and delivered. The scheme both stands out from and also works subtly in harmony with the overall hotel, which has also undergone a thorough revamp by the Goddard Littlefair team.

The bar’s name, Juliet Rose, is taken from one of the most elite roses in the world, developed over a 15-year period by renowned rose breeder David Austin. As well as lending the concept connotations of craftsmanship and the long-term pursuit of perfection, the ‘Rose’ reference will also be easily understood by a local audience as a nod to Rosenheimer Strasse, the street onto which the bar’s dedicated entrance faces, as well as the Rosenheimer Platz metro station, on top of which the hotel stands.

Modern restaurant and bar

Image credit: Gareth Gardner

The generously-apportioned, 90-seat, 180 sq m bar is located on the hotel’s ground floor, with easy access from both the hotel’s spacious new reception, as well as via its own dedicated Rosenheimer Strasse entrance, introduced to maximise passing trade. Customers can additionally access the hotel and bar directly from the metro station and an adjacent car park below, arriving via a special circulation route through the ground floor of the hotel, offering intriguing glimpses of the back of the bar through semi-opaque windows, so that the bar is referenced and announced from every possible angle.

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

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

As visitors arrive from the hotel down the entry circulation route for example, they pass between two large-scale, floor-to-ceiling screens (with added ‘peep holes’), where a brass-effect structure features ribbed glass OLED panels with a striking inset palm print. The screens were bespoke-manufactured for the project and are just one of many bespoke items that ensure design integrity and exclusivity for the project. A second highly striking screen-wall faces the hotel entrance lobby, passed by guests on their way to either the bar or front reception, and is made up of a brass shelving structure with glass backlit panels where a textured opaque manifestation gives the impression of a linen-style finish and plays with light. The structure is decorated on the inner side with judiciously-placed planting.

Image credit: Gareth Gardner

As the existing columns in the space are quite dominant, the design team made a feature of them by using new cladding and mirroring. An existing ceiling was removed so that the space’s full height could be used, with a dramatic new lighting structure that uses brass pipes and large, exposed lamps to add to the geometric, laboratory feel. Inset mirrors within the ceiling area reinforce the structure, as well as adding reflection and sparkle. Architectural lighting for the scheme was created together with DPA Lighting, whilst the stand-out decorative pieces were all bespoke-designed by Goddard Littlefair, with advice from DPA, and manufactured by Peters Design. As well as the overhead grid structure, these include a stand-out ‘test tube’ style pendant light located over the main bar and a number of vertical, glass-clad wall lights, which refer to the test-tube decorative light in style. A number of mid-wall lights throughout feature a circular fitting with a pole attachment to each side. These add layering and create a lower-level light source to bring light to the tables. Flooring throughout features stained oak timber surround and inset panels, made up of a geometric pattern of small white mosaic areas, plus larger slices set at interesting angles.

The four main seating zones include a casual drop-in area, directly to the left of the entrance, primarily for daytime use for coffee and cakes. Further casual seating is to the right, whilst the two sections further back and along both sides of the bar, for day or evening use, feature a mixture of seating types, as well as a communal high table, for groups, cocktails evenings and special events. Planting is used throughout, both for biophilic appeal and to underline the ‘botanical ingredients’ bar concept.

Furniture throughout includes sofas in bottle green leather and loose seating upholstered in pale oyster pink or else in deep orange leather with thin brass upstands and dark turquoise seat backs. Tables are either a marble-effect silestone, a brass-edged timber-topped design or, for the higher communal table, a series of easily-conjoined tables featuring a print taken from a magnified gold-veined leaf print, supplied by Fameed Khalique and manufactured by the lead contractor on the scheme, Engels.

luxurious bar with pendent lighting

Image credit: Gareth Gardner

Four windows which look directly out onto Rosenheimer Strasse, alongside the bar, feature a special chain-mail curtain with a clip detail, playing once again with light and screening, whilst effectively obscuring the busy street view and ensuring customers are enveloped by the bar’s atmosphere.

Located behind the street entrance to the bar, on the other side of a draft lobby area, are two stand-out pieces of bespoke-designed joinery: a waiter station and a moveable cocktail bar, both in high-gloss lacquer with blue-green tones to work well with the planting and moss-green granite bars. The cocktail bar has a removable top with ice and a sink inside so that it can be moved around to cater to guests anywhere in the space.

The hotel reception lobby that connects with the bar features a design treatment in keeping with the overall hotel design scheme, inspired by German Expressionism and particularly Der Blaue Reiter art movement, which had its origins in the city. Stand-out design features in the reception area include feature lighting loops, designed by Goddard Littlefair and manufactured by LED-C4; a high-gloss hexagonal mosaic-fronted reception desk with brass edging; a striking reception back-wall with a pale grey wallcovering and bronze effect vertical dividing strips; a marble fireplace area and artworks chosen by art consultants ARTIQ, taking a cue from the dynamism and strong colour of early 20th century German Expressionism, but updating that for today’s context, with new artworks commissioned for the hotel from contemporary artists. The artworks that lead towards Juliet Rose are partly-abstracted paintings which reference a more natural theme, in keeping with the F&B concept, with bold and interplaying curved lines.

Main image credit: Gareth Gardner

How one boutique hotel is attracting modern travellers to Africa

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
How one boutique hotel is attracting modern travellers to Africa

Urbano Hotel is the modern design inspired boutique hotel located in the heart of Osu, Accra’s most vibrant neighbourhood designed by architect Hussein Fakhry…

With its landmark I LOVE ACCRA sign at the entrance, focus on design, attention to customer care, healthy food options and coveted location surrounded by international quality grocery stores, casinos, sports bars, African craft market, and thriving nightlife, Urbano is making waves on the African hotel design scene.

The hotel is part of the new hospitality trend in Ghana focused on affordable luxury and improved customer service that led the country to be named one of the top tourist destinations in the world.

“When we designed Urbano Hotel, we wanted to bring the concept of “New Africa” to life, an experience that fuses traditional African design and art with a cosmopolitan aesthetic and amenities that our guests are accustomed to when they travel to NY, London, or Paris or other top markets in the world. Urbano Hotel feels youthful and fresh yet a business traveller or family can still find comfort,” shares Fakhry, the Managing Director of Urbano’s parent company, Roots International and co-founder of Key Architectural Group who has more than 22 years experience on prestigious and diversified designs and construction projects throughout the Middle East and West Africa.

Team outside the sign 'I LOVE ACCRA' at hotel

Image credit: Urbano Hotel

It was the love and conception of urban neighbourhoods which promoted Fakhry’s team to revive and refurbish what was formerly the Penta Hotel into Urbano, a modern aesthetic piece, both internally and externally to enhance the facets of Oxford Street. Urbano Hotel features 43 rooms ranging from standard to the luxury bi-level suite and mini-apartment, a multi-functional hall with a capacity for 60, The Arabian, an indoor open courtyard, state of the art gym, The Terrace Bar, and Zaytoun Artisan Cafe featuring Middle Eastern specialities.

“Our utmost vision was to make Urbano Hotel a compelling, “must visit” destination within Accra and we complemented this objective with the mounting of the colourful “I LOVE ACCRA” installation which stretches across one side of the building to welcome every visitor to this culturally charming and vibrant neighbourhood. The millennial traveller is constantly documenting their travel experience on social media and Urbano’s facade lends itself to capturing iconic images of a visit to Ghana,” adds Fakhry.

Fakhry is passionate about the growth and development of Ghana’s tourism and hospitality industry and the possibility of the country emerging as a center of sustainable design in Africa.

“This year there has been a noted spike in travellers to Ghana due in part to Ghana Tourism Authority’s Year of Return initiative and several international conferences, music festivals and celebrity-driven tours scheduled to take place in the country. We are thrilled that discerning millennial travellers from around the world are travelling to Accra for both business and pleasure and finding Urbano’s eclectic style in alignment with their own sense of design, function and adventure and Osu serving as starting point to better understand the culture, dynamics and people of Ghana!”

Main image credit: Urbano Hotel

SPOTLIGHT ON: June’s features announced

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SPOTLIGHT ON: June’s features announced

Hotel Designs has officially dropped its May editorial features, which are Hotel Groups and Software & Controls…

Throughout June, Hotel Designs’ Spotlight On features will look at two highly topical features, namely Hotel Groups and Software & Controls – both areas working hand-in-hand to help create the hotel experience of the future.

Hotel groups

As the modern traveller continues to seek for experiences in all corners of the globe, hotel groups must arguably work harder than ever before in order to satisfy all guests. We will spend the month investigating just how hotel groups plan to do this.

Software and controls

For hoteliers and operators, technology is opening up a number of possibilities in hotel room technology. Technology is now being injected into work seamlessly with the interiors, to be hidden and totally user friendly.

If you wish to find out more, or know of a product that we should be talking about, please contact Zoe Guerrier on 01992 374059 or z.guerrier@forumevents.co.uk

THE Park Hotels unveils THE Park Mumbai

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
THE Park Hotels unveils THE Park Mumbai

India’s contemporary hotel group, THE Park, has opened the 60-key THE Park Mumbai, which is strategically located opposite Asia’s first Soho House…

THE Park Hotels, pioneers of luxury boutique hotels in India, brings its renowned design vocabulary to the city of dreams, Mumbai, with the launch of its latest hotel. Situated on Juhu Tara Road, framing unmatched sea views, THE Park Mumbai is set to bring contemporary design, rejuvenating spaces, innovative dining and sensuous entertainment into this vibrant part of the city.

Located opposite Asia’s first Soho House, close to sprawling Juhu Beach, the hotel is an uber-cool retreat in this urban hub. A striking charcoal facade by top architect Sanjay Puri is punctuated by burnt orange and fuschia windows that perfectly reflect the spectacular sunsets. The hotel’s eclectic exteriors are completed by stunning interiors designed by Singapore-based firm Ong & Ong.

The 60-key design hotel has six categories of rooms; with spectacular views of either the Arabian Sea or city while some overlook the historic Juhu airfield. The rooms and studio suites have been designed with a monochromatic colour palette with world-class amenities.

Image credit: THE Park Hotels

 Meishi, an elegant space off the lobby is an Asian inspired all day dining fusion restaurant – Japanese, Thai, Chinese, and a hint of Indian; using fresh and organic ingredients and currently open to resident guests.

The Saffron Room, a 2500 sq. ft. banqueting space on the first floor is a perfect place for social events and corporate meetings. The hall has two different types of lighting to enhance and make events even more spectacular.

Contemporary hotel room, framing the sea and palm trees

Image credit: THE Park Hotels

“We are excited to add the new striking address to our collection of hotels, said Speaking about the launch, Priya Paul, Chairperson of Apeejay Surrendra Park Hotels. “Mumbai is a city of interesting contrasts and THE Park Hotels will add to it by bringing immersive and Anything But Ordinary experiences. Our vision is to have a slice of THE Park in every city people travel to.”

Mr. Vijay Dewan, Managing Director, Apeejay Surrendra Park Hotels, added:, “We are happy to launch THE Park Mumbai today. It is our first managed hotel under THE Park Hotels portfolio. Mumbai is India’s key metropolitan cities and a business hub, and we are delighted to expand our footprint here. The hotel is not only targeted at the business travellers looking for a perfectly calm and rejuvenating experience, but this area is also for media, entertainment and other industries.”

Opening soon is a dramatic whisky bar with a cosy alfresco patio. as well as the addition of more rooms, a Presidential Suite, a spectacular poolside bar on the rooftop, a gym and a spa.

Main image credit: THE Park Hotels

Vienna House Wroclaw hotel to open following bleisure boom in Poland

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Vienna House Wroclaw hotel to open following bleisure boom in Poland

Vienna House plans to open a 240-room hotel in the centre of Wroclaw. The group’s seventh hotel in Poland is slated to open in Q1 of 2022 following a rise in the country’s bleisure market…

Following the acquisition of 17 city hotels from hotel brand arcona, Vienna House has announced plans to open its seventh hotel in Poland, further utilising on the destination’s booming business traveller market.

The new smart-casual city hotel is part of a redesigned building complex which surrounds a historically listed bakery. Vienna House Easy Wroclaw will be a base for business and leisure traveller alike, featuring a vibrant restaurant, lifestyle lobby and bar, modern fitness facilities and spacious conference area. Guests will receive a warm welcome from the famous Wroclaw dwarves’, an insight into the city’s history and unique culture. The complex in which the hotel sits also features a student apartment concept from the BaseCamp brand.

“Wroclaw is an exciting, growing market, and the location in the city centre, near the botanical garden, is ideal, ” said Rupert Simoner, CEO of Vienna House, in a press release. “The combination of the casual, service-oriented Vienna House Easy and the lively student concept fits very well together and will develop into a fresh, lively meeting place.” Vienna House Easy Wroclaw, the Austrian hotel group’s seventh hotel in Poland, underscores the enormous interest in the Polish market.

Rendering of modern guestroom with dark-green wallcoverings and twin beds

Image credit: Vienna House

The hotel will be operated by Vienna House under a lease agreement from ST Wroclaw Sienkiewicza Sp. z o.o., which offers student apartment solutions with BaseCamp in Poland, Denmark and Germany.

Vienna House Easy Wroclaw offers 236 double rooms along with four suites. The rooms come with extra-long, super comfortable beds, modern writing and seating solutions, and bathrooms with walk-in showers. The hotel also has a 360 m² meeting and conference area, ideal for working. The fitness area features state-of-the-art exercise equipment, in addition to a massage area.

Vienna House Easy stands for smart casual design, hospitality DNA within our employees, established analogue services and meaningful digital offerings. These include televisions with connectivity for guest devices, high-speed WiFi, mobile concierge, self-check-in/check-out and much more. The hotel lobby provides a cosy meeting place, inviting reception area, cool bar and lounge all rolled into one.

Main image credit: Vienna House

Hilton’s brand portfolio overtakes Marriott’s as “world’s most valuable”

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Hilton’s brand portfolio overtakes Marriott’s as “world’s most valuable”

Despite announcing earlier this year to open 30 new luxury hotels, Marriott’s portfolio drops to second place as the value of its brands in the Brand Finance Hotels 50 ranking decreases by 30 per cent, giving way to Hilton…

As luxury brands scramble over one another in the battle for being the best, there has been a change in the tables. Reporting a 17 per cent growth, Hilton now becomes the world’s most valuable brands in the Brand Finance Hotels 50 ranking.

The hotel group, which owns brands such as Homewood Suites, Double Tree, and Hampton, has extended its lead as the world’s most valuable hotel brand and, according to Brand Finance, has overtaken Marriott’s. Hilton’s brand value growth (up 17 per cent to US$7.4 billion) was largely driven by strong revenue increase over the last year, cementing the brand’s leadership position in the industry.

Meanwhile, Marriott suffered a reduction in brand value (down eight per cent to US$5.0 billion) and its brand strength dropped from AAA- to AA+. Marriott has faced several challenges in the North American market from hacking scandals to persistent problems with its loyalty schemes. At the same time, the combined value of Marriott’s brands within the Brand Finance Hotels 50 ranking decreased by 30 per cent, giving way to Hilton’s brand portfolio to claim the title of the world’s most valuable.

“Hilton’s strategic approach to brand growth has allowed it to extend its lead as the world’s most valuable hotel brand,” said Savio D’Souza, Valuation Director at Brand Finance. “At the same time, endorsement from the flagship brand has rendered benefits across the portfolio as Homewood Suites, Double Tree, and Hampton have seen their brand values sore. In its centennial year, Hilton is well-positioned for another hundred years of success.”

“Hilton’s brand value in the top 50 ranking is concentrated across six brands.”

Hilton Worldwide Holdings achieved overall brand value growth of 41 per cent. Hilton’s brand value in the top 50 ranking is concentrated across six brands, up from five in 2018, all strongly leveraging the valuable Hilton brand name and each recording solid growth this year. Hilton has continually committed to its relentless expansion programme and with thousands of new rooms and hotels in the pipeline, the company shows no signs of slowing down in the coming year.

Marriott has not fared so well, with four of its brands dropping out of the Brand Finance Hotel 50 ranking this year. With one new entrant, Marriott now has twelve brands in the ranking, many of which have nevertheless decreased in value. Marriott’s recent announcement of entering the home-rental market however, is a promising move to take back market share from Airbnb and could contribute to an uplift in brand value in the coming year.

The Hilton and Marriott portfolios remain well ahead of third-ranked Wyndham, which also suffered a drop of eight per cent in brand value to US$7.3 billion.

The three hotel brands to grow the fastest in value this year all come from Hilton’s portfolio, and each contributed to its overall growth. Its impressive performance was led by Homewood Suites (brand value up 99 per cent to US$0.8 billion), followed closely by Double Tree (up 79 per cent to US$2.1 billion) and Hampton (up 78 per cent to US$3.2 billion). This growth allowed the latter two brands to reshape the ranking’s top 10, with Double Tree jumping from 17th to 7th and Hampton rising from 10th to 5th place over the past year.

Aside from calculating overall brand value, Brand Finance also determines the relative strength of brands through a balanced scorecard of metrics evaluating marketing investment, stakeholder equity, and business performance. Alongside revenue forecasts, brand strength is a crucial driver of brand value.

“Mercure has claimed the title of the world’s strongest hotel brand.”

According to these criteria and scoring high in Brand Finance market research, Mercure has claimed the title of the world’s strongest hotel brand, significantly improving its Brand Strength Index (BSI) score from 75.7 to 86.2 out of 100 and recording a brand rating upgrade from AA+ to AAA. Mercure is also the most valuable brand in Accor’s portfolio, with nearly 800 hotels. The brand has continued to make several acquisitions through its scheme of franchise growth.

Alongside analysing the world’s biggest hotel brands, Brand Finance also ranks the top 10 most valuable brands in the wider leisure and tourism industry.

Royal Caribbean International has narrowly retained its position as the world’s most valuable leisure and tourism brand, with its brand value remaining steady at US$3.8 billion. The brand reported strong financial results in 2018, and with demand high in the cruise industry, Royal Caribbean are on course for future growth.

Meanwhile, second-ranked TUI (brand value up four per cent to US$3.7 billion) substantially closed the gap to the ranking’s leader, only just falling short of overtaking Royal Caribbean.

The fast-growing China International Travel (up 70 per cent to US$3.7 billion) has come third this year, up from 5th in 2018. China International saw a significant increase in its valuation due to a surge in forecast revenue in coming years as the Chinese tourism market continues to develop with unprecedented speed and scale.

The fastest-growing brand in the ranking also comes from China. Happy Valley almost doubled its brand value in a single year (up 97 per cent to US$2.0 billion).

The brand portfolio analysis is based on the Brand Finance Hotels 50 ranking and does not take into account less valuable brands which have not been included in the ranking.

Brand value is understood as the net economic benefit that a brand owner would achieve by licensing the brand in the open market. Brand Strength is the efficacy of a brand’s performance on intangible measures relative to its competitors.

Additional insights, more information about the methodology, as well as definitions of key terms are available in the Brand Finance Hotels 50 2019 report.

Main image credit: Hilton Amsterdam Airport Schiphol

PREVIEW: Independent Hotel Show Amsterdam

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PREVIEW: Independent Hotel Show Amsterdam

With just days to go until the first ever Independent Hotel Show Amsterdam, Hotel Designs, which will be moderating a panel discussion at the event, shares some of the main events that will be on stage in the city famed for its alternative creativity… 

Designed to support hoteliers with an independent attitude, Independent Hotel Show Amsterdam is setting up to deliver aspirational content alongside practical solutions.

Inspired by the hospitality offered in hotels themselves, the show strives to deliver a guest experience above and beyond that of the typical trade fair. So whether you’re looking for inspiration from our sublime designers, innovation from leading technology suppliers, or simply to discover something new for your hotel, we’re confident you’ll discover the solutions you are searching for.

Here’s what Hotel Designs, an official media partner of the show, is looking forward to…

WEDNESDAY May 8

11.00am – 11.45am: The Year in Review

The big picture of the European Hotel Industry. Our expert panel reviews the last 12 months of the European hotel market, outlining opportunities, implications and possibilities for you and your hotel – (in partnership with STR Global)

Speakers: Samantha Mardkhah, STR; Sander Allegro, Allegro INNovations Hospitality Consultancy; Gabriella Esselbrugge, Hotel De Dames van Jonge; Rene van Schie, Met Region Amsterdam

Stage: Hotel Vision Stage

12.30pm – 13.15pm: The Travel Future Forecast

This insight-packed presentation will navigate the major cultural shifts that are transforming the travel and hospitality landscape. Has the sharing economy gone luxe? How are Chinese tourists spending? Is room service having an existential crisis, and will robot concierges come to the rescue? The Travel Future Forecast is your ultimate guide to the trends defining travel and hospitality in 2019.

Speaker: Holly Friend, The Future Laboratory 

13.30pm – 14.00pm: Trend Tour

Join trend forecaster Vincent van Dijk for a trend tour, featuring a number of hand-selected highlights at the show which tie in with the most important hotel trends of this moment. From technological innovations to special sustainable gadgets that should not be missing in today’s hotel room! Tours will leave promptly from the Hotel Vision Stage.

Speaker: Vincent van Dijk, HBMEO Concepts

Stage: Hotel Vision Stage

14.30pm – 15.15pm: Why Sustainability is Good for Business

Discover the green business practices you need to know now. Join our panel of industry leaders as they outline the direct benefits of taking a transparent, sustainable approach to individual hotels and to the industry as a whole, from influencing customer trust to driving new business opportunities.

Speakers: Marie-Noelle Keijzer, WeForest; Inge van Weert, QO Amsterdam; Finn Bolding Thomsen, Green Key; Marco Lemmers, Conscieous Hotels

Stage: Hotel Vision Stage

15.45pm – 16.30pm: Let’s Get Personal: Attracting, inspiring and retaining your staff

Examining why hospitality is a hot career, This session outlines the new initiatives, opportunities and incentives hotel owners and operators can offer to staff looking to pursue a career in hospitality and how to train and retrain high potential recruits.

Speakers: Joost van Beek, The Student Hotel; Charles van Goch, Mise en Place; Erik-Jan Ginjaar, Postillion Hotels Netherland; Jorn Heikens, Stenden Hotel Management School

Stage: Hotel Vision Stage

16.15pm – 16.45pm Curating Design Through Art

Join Rebecca Wilson, VP of Art Advisory and former Director of the Saatchi Gallery in London, for guidance on selecting the best artworks to ensure you are at the forefront of art as well as design.

Speaker: Rebecca Wilson, Saatchi Art

Stage: Social Business Space

17.00pm – 17.45pm: Designing for ‘Bleisure’

Whether travelling for business or leisure, guests are seeking great experiences from their hotel stay. How is the hospitality and design community reacting to this need and designing spaces for ‘bleisure’?

Speakers: Rob Wagemans, Concrete; Hans Meyer, Zoku; Hamish Kilburn, Hotel Designs

Stage: Hotel Vision Stage

On stage with speakers

Image credit: Independent Hotel Show Amsterdam

THURSDAY May 9

11.00am – 11.45am: How to use Technology and Personalisation to Maximise your Direct Bookings

Industry expert, Frank Reeves explores the journey that hotels should be using to shift booker intent from OTA’s to their own website through revolutionary technology, and move the focus on from ‘direct bookings’ to ‘direct relationships’. This session will explore the changes in buyer booking behaviors, and how a digital guest-centric approach along with the adoption of emerging technology can revolutionise your guest experience from the start.

Speaker: Frank Reeves, Avvio

Stage: Hotel Vision Stage

12.00pm – 12.45pm: Placemaking: Hospitality at the heart of the community

A ‘how to’ for hoteliers wishing to capitalise on their local community’s assets, inspiration and potential.

Speakers: Veerle Donders, Zoku; Sander Allegro, Allegro INNovations Hospitality Consultancy; Gladys Camphuijsen; Annemoon Geurts, Kazerne

Stage: Hotel Vision Stage

13.00pm – 13.30pm: The Smart Travel Challenge

The 5 biggest industry challenges of the next decade and how we could turn them into sustainable growth opportunities.

Speaker: Christiaan Uittenbosch, Smart Travel Lab

Stage: Hotel Vision Stage

13.15pm – 13.45pm: Elevating Guest Experiences through Art

Rebecca Wilson, VP of Art Advisory at the international art gallery Saatchi Art, will discuss how art can transform the guest experience and lead to increased PR and greater social media exposure. Rebecca has curated art programmes for luxury brands such as Nobu, Hyatt, and Royal Caribbean Cruises.

Speaker: Rebecca Wilson, Saatchi Art

Stage: Social Business Space

14.00pm – 14.45pm: Scale Up But Retain Your Independent Spirit

A ‘how to’ for hoteliers looking to expand their portfolio, keeping the guest experience at the heart of the operation.

Speakers: Sander Allegro, Allegro INNovations Hospitality Consultancy; Bram Van Der Hoek, EU Hotels Private Collection; Jan Stuurman, V Hotel; Kevin Rockey, The Hoxton

Stage: Hotel Vision Stage

15.00pm – 15.45pm: The Hotel Room of the Future

What can we expect from the hotel room of the future? Trend forecaster Vincent van Dijk gives us a glimpse into the future of hospitality. Based on both experiences from his living lab, a hotel room where innovations for the hotel industry are tested, and a trend analysis.

Speaker: Vincent van Dijk, HBMEO Concepts

Stage: Hotel Vision Stage

15.45pm – 16.15pm: Trend Tour

Join trend forecaster Vincent van Dijk for a trend tour, featuring a number of hand-selected highlights at the show which tie in with the most important hotel trends of this moment. From technological innovations to special sustainable gadgets that should not be missing in today’s hotel room! Tours will leave promptly from the Hotel Vision Stage.

Speaker: Vincent van Dijk, HBMEO Concepts

Stage: Hotel Vision Stage

16.00pm – 16.30pm: Making a Difference – A Leadership Opportunity

Taking responsibility for the two most precious resources: Your People – Our Planet.

Speaker: Wolfgang M. Neumann, Radisson Hospitality Group AB, Guestline

Stage: Hotel Vision Stage

The Hotel Designs team will be exhibiting at the show on stand number F62

Former Metropolitan Police headquarters transformed into luxury hotel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Former Metropolitan Police headquarters transformed into luxury hotel

The historic landmark building, which was developed by Galliard Construction, has been transformed into The Great Scotland Yard Hotel, a 153-key luxury lifestyle hotel…

The former Metropolitan Police headquarters in London’s Whitehall has been converted into the 153-key The Great Scotland Yard Hotel, which is operated by Hyatt under the group’s Unbound Collection brand and was developed by Galliard Construction.

Working in association with Galliard’s in-house team along with HBA, and EPR Architects, The Deluxe Group was appointed to manufacture and fit all front of house areas, for the high-end hotel, including double height vestibule, grand entrance lounge, concierge, main cocktail bar, palm court style lounge, whiskey bar/clubroom, signature restaurant, library, gymnasium, 120-seater main conference room/ballroom, meeting rooms and function/private dining rooms. The firm also produced the luxury hotel’s sample bedroom, as part of the multi-million-pound development, which is expected to open later this year.

The bespoke joinery project, which was worth £5.5 million was completed in just six months, with all work completed on schedule and within budget.“We are delighted to have been part of the team which has sympathetically developed this building to give a classic period interpretation, reflecting the immense history of such a landmark site,” Commented Colm Connolly, Director of The Deluxe Group. “We used the highest quality, detailed joinery and luxury finishes throughout all front of house and public areas, with individually themed areas providing a stylish homage  to the crime and policing history of the building.”

“Our commitment to delivering the best in bespoke joinery with the greatest attention to detail and client servicing, ensured the finished project was a true reflection of the client’s vision.”

Luxury public area

Image credit: Great Scotland Yard Hotel

Constructed in 1910, the iconic Edwardian building served as the Royal Military Police headquarters and the British Army Recruitment Office. It later became the Ministry of Defence Library until 2004.

The famed landmark is known for its rich history, providing guests the opportunity to stay in the location where Metropolitan police pursued some of the country’s most notorious criminals, including Jack the Ripper and the 40 Elephants all-female crime syndicate. Reflecting on this, the distinct historical character of the building has been preserved throughout the renovation, including maintenance of its original façade.

Main image credit: The Great Scotland Yard Hotel

First integrated resort in the Maldives to open in June

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
First integrated resort in the Maldives to open in June

Crossroads project, which will span a 7km-long lagoon and nine islands in the Maldives, will open in June 2019 and will become the largest integrated resort in the Indian Ocean…

Crossroads Maldives has announced that it will be welcoming guests from June 2019, set to be the first integrated multi-island resort destination of the island nation.

Said to be one of the most comprehensive investment tourism projects to have been undertaken in the Maldives, the project will include the highly anticpated openings of Hard Rock Hotel Maldives and SAii Lagoon Maldives, Curio Collection by Hilton.

At the heart of the Emboodhoo Lagoon, Hard Rock Hotel Maldives will inject music-infused energy, engaging experiences and feel-good vibes into the Maldives. The resort will fuse tropical atmosphere and contemporary design, topped with curated music memorabilia and a regionally inspired twist. 178 expansive family suites, chic beach villas and unspoilt one and two-bedroom overwater villas lie in wait, alongside show-stopping activities and brand-signature amenities that will bring the signature Hard Rock experience to the Maldivian atolls.

SAii Lagoon Maldives, Curio Collection by Hilton, meanwhile, will offer guests something different, with a personalised journey from start to finish. Upon arrival, guests are welcomed with the chance to create their own bathroom amenities using natural ingredients from the resort’s Aroma Lab, a place to synchronise with the resort’s signature scents of Relaxation, Refreshment, Rejuvenation and Energy. An Aroma Specialist is on hand to explain the benefits of each scent and the precise techniques used to mix the ingredients. Using this knowledge, guests then are able to handpick from a selection of twelve scents, including cedarwood, lavender and rosemary, combining several of these to create their own delectable bathroom amenities. Once guests are settled, they are invited to drop by Snap: Snack Box and pick up complimentary refreshments.

Render of green shack-like guestroom in the Maldives

Image credit: Curio by Hilton

198 spacious guestrooms, beach villas and overwater villas are dotted across the tropical island, surrounded by al fresco spaces, spacious interiors and personalised comforts, all created with an eclectic yet artisanal touch. Located within walking distance to The Marina @ CROSSROADS, the resort is ideal for families, couples or friends looking for a unique escape.

Crossroads Maldives, a multi-island integrated leisure and entertainment project, will aim to redefine holidays in the Maldives and transform the Greater Malé Region when it opens. In addition to the new hotels, the project will feature a luxurious 30-berth yacht marina, 11,000 square metres of retail space and world-class facilities such as Café del Mar beach club.

Main image credit: Curio by Hilton

Nobu Hotel Los Cabos opens

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Nobu Hotel Los Cabos opens

The opening of Nobu Hotel Los Cabos marks the hotel group’s debut into Mexico…

Officially open today, Nobu Hotel Los Cabos, debuts 200 stylish guestrooms and suites. Both WATG and Studio PCH have blended Japanese minimalism with locally sourced Californian raw materials, such as custom furniture pieces, wood-soaking tubs, teak and stone materials, shoji-inspired closet doors and Japanese inspired lanterns.

The first Nobu Hotel in Mexico, perched beachfront on the southernmost tip of the Baja Peninsula, houses elegant meetings and event spaces, a luxurious spa with Natura Bissé products and, what all Nobu Hotels must have…a spectacular Nobu Restaurant and Bar with ocean views, making this the third Nobu restaurant in Mexico.

Light and bright public dining area

Image credit: Nobu Hotel Los Cabos

The natural growth of Nobu Hospitality, built on service, image, and reputation, offers the complete spectrum of hotel, restaurant and residence management for unique projects around the world.

Founded by Nobu Matsuhisa, Robert De Niro and Meir Teper, with operations spanning five continents, the Nobu brand thrives in the world’s capitals as the ultimate destination lifestyle experience.

Also set to open in 2019 are properties in Barcelona and Chicago, with Warsaw recently announced for 2020.

Main image credit: Nobu Hotel Los Cabos

Accor’s Aparthotel brand Adagio arrives in London

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Accor’s Aparthotel brand Adagio arrives in London

Hotel Designs attended the official launch party of Aparthotel Adagio London Brentford last night, which marked the brand’s official arrival in London, UK… 

Adagio has celebrated the opening of its first London property by hosting a show-stopping party that was attended by more than 150 people.

The 100-key Aparthotel Adagio London Brentford, which informally opened in October of last year, is located just a few miles from London’s main airport Heathrow and is the fourth hotel within in the brand to open in the UK, with more in the pipeline.

“This is an important milestone for us, with many more openings in the UK to be announced,” said Karim Malak, CEO of Aparthotels Adagio at the event. “Our target is to have 20 properties in the UK by 2023.”

Aparthotels Adagio London Brentford’s public spaces have been created as an open area for guests to meet and collaborate. Each apartment offers a fully equipped kitchen, spacious bedroom and living area with a flat-screen smart TV. Guests also have access to a bar, virtual concierge, fitness centre, laundry facilities, business services and onsite parking.

Image credit: Accor/Adagio

The West London property is part of Brentford’s Kew Eye Tower GWQ development. The aparthotel is the fourth UK opening for the brand following launches in Edinburgh, Birmingham and Liverpool. The aparthotel brand is planning further properties in London Stratford, Leicester (opening by the end of 2019) and Glasgow (opening by the end of 2020).

The opening of Aparthotel Adagio London Brentford emerges as part of the brand’s strategy to open 10 new hotels this year and to double the amount of properties it has within its portfolio by 2023.

Hotel Designs will be investigating the rise of aparthotels when it puts Hotel Concepts under the spotlight in August. If you would like to contribute to this topic, please get in touch with the editorial team.

Main image credit: Accor/Adagio

The Luxury Collection debuts in Armenia

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The Alexander, a Luxury Collection Hotel becomes the first international luxury hotel in Armenia…

Following plans to open 30 new luxury hotels this year, Marriott International has annoucned the opening of The Alexander, a Luxury Collection Hotel. Owned by Tsupani CJSC., the hotel proudly brings The Luxury Collection’s rare, indigenous and captivating experiences to the capital of Armenia – one of the world’s oldest cities and a noted historical intersection between the East and West. As the country’s first internationally-branded luxury hotel, The Alexander joins a portfolio of more than 100 Luxury Collection hotels around the world. The brand’s new footprint in Yerevan also further cements the hotel group’s strategy to meet the growing demand for experiential luxury in emerging markets.

“Armenia is a destination with a deeply rooted history and rich culture, which has until now remained a mostly unchartered destination for our Global Travelers” said Anthony Ingham, Global Brand Leader, The Luxury Collection. “The Alexander will allow our guests to connect with the fascinating capital city of Yerevan, marked by grand Soviet-era architecture and historic landmarks such as the Matenadaran library, and truly engage in the authentic traditions of Armenia.”

“Led by Alexander James Interior Design, the decor draws upon intricate Armenian motifs, alongside contemporary flourishes.”

Set in an enviable location in the heart of Armenia’s capital, The Alexander is mere moments away from the city’s famous Republic Square, and is a brief stroll to numerous landmarks and cultural sights. The striking hotel reflects the city’s distinctive architecture, cleverly incorporating an 18th century façade at its entrance to hint at the indigenous charms found within. Led by Alexander James Interior Design, the decor draws upon intricate Armenian motifs, alongside contemporary flourishes that bring to life the history and modernity of the destination within the property’s opulent public spaces.

Roof top restaurant

Image credit: Matthew Shaw.

“Shaped by rich traditions, coveted treasures and a storied history, the city of Yerevan truly encapsulates the spirit of The Luxury Collection,” said Jenni Benzaquen, Vice President of Luxury Brands, Europe at Marriott International. “The Alexander will provide sophisticated, independently-minded global explorers and locals alike with an unparalleled level of luxury in this fascinating destination. The unique destination experiences offered by The Luxury Collection, combined with Armenian hospitality, is also the perfect way to introduce our luxury portfolio to the region.”

The Alexander offers 114 guestrooms and suites, many of which include private balconies. The magnificent Presidential Suite is celebrated as a standout highlight of the property, occupying an entire floor and spanning over 1,700 square feet. An equally alluring feature is the Alexander Spa by Anne Semonin, providing guests with an inviting haven of wellness experiences and personalized treatments designed to relax, heal and rejuvenate. The hotel also features a state-of-the-art fitness centre, a full-service beauty salon, and the city’s first indoor pool, which boasts breath-taking vistas of the snow-capped peak of Mount Ararat.

Main image credit: Matthew Shaw/Marriott International

Marriott International announces three-year growth plan

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The hotel giant Marriott International’s growth plans include the openings more than 1,700 hotels around the world… 

Marriott International has presented the company’s three-year growth plan, which includes opening more than 1,700 hotels around the world, at its meeting with institutional investors and security analysts at the New York Marriott Marquis.

The hotel giant has outlined its plan to add between 275,000 and 295,000 rooms by 2021, supported by the strength of its record 478,000-room pipeline, including roughly 214,000 rooms already under construction. The company disclosed that its new room openings during this period could contribute $400 million in fee revenue in 2021 and $700 million annually when stabilised. The company’s three-year growth plan assumes, but does not forecast, comparable hotel revenue per available room (RevPAR) growth of one and three per cent, compounded annually.

“Starwood has made us a more formidable competitor, providing a more valuable loyalty program, brands with strong appeal to loyalty members and owners, talented associates, terrific locations, particularly in the fast-growing Asia Pacific region, significant cost synergies and meaningful scale,” said Arne Sorenson, Marriott International president and chief executive officer. “We launched our newly branded loyalty program, Marriott Bonvoy, just last month. The program reached 125 million members as of year-end 2018 adding roughly 50,000 members per day.”

Given the assumptions for its three-year plan, the company could produce the following results:

  • Diluted earnings per share of $7.65 to $8.50 by 2021, a compound growth rate of 11 to 15 per cent over 2018 adjusted results;
  • Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (adjusted EBITDA) increasing by six to nine per cent compounded, with net income increasing by five to eight per cent compounded, each compared to adjusted results in 2018;
  • Cash available for shareholders could total $9.5 to $11 billion for the three years (2019 through 2021);
  • Shareholders could see $1.9 to $2 billion in dividends, assuming a continued 30 percent payout ratio, and $7.6 to $9 billion in share repurchases over the three-year period.

Marriott’s growing pipeline of new hotels is fueled by the strong profitability of its hotels, the broad selection of powerful brands available for development, its rich loyalty program, lower costs from the company’s meaningful scale, and the strong confidence of its owners and franchisees. The company disclosed that 70 per cent of its portfolio of open and signed pipeline projects is held by owners with multiple Marriott properties, and roughly one-third is held by owners with ten or more Marriott branded hotels. Marriott’s development pipeline reflects an increasing number of legacy-Starwood branded hotels. Since the merger date, the pipeline of legacy-Starwood brands has increased nearly 25 per cent to represent nearly one-third of the legacy-Starwood portfolio’s system size.

“In 2018, Marriott launched a new Sheraton brand strategy, guestroom prototype and design approach.”

The company will also discuss its success improving the Sheraton brand. With more than 155,000 rooms, Sheraton is the company’s most geographically diverse brand and the company’s third largest brand globally measured in both rooms and fees. The brand contributes significantly to Marriott’s overall scale and effectively reduces costs for all the hotels in Marriott’s worldwide system. More than one-quarter of Sheratons are already under renovation or committed to a renovation. In 2018, Marriott launched a new Sheraton brand strategy, guestroom prototype and design approach, and just a week ago, unveiled the new Sheraton logo, signaling change to owners, operators, guests and Sheraton associates. Since the acquisition, Sheraton’s RevPAR index has improved to over 100.

“Our new three-year plan, with Starwood fully integrated, demonstrates how our fee-based, asset-light business model generates even stronger and more sustainable cash flows. This allows us to invest profitably in our core business at high rates of return and also return significant amounts of capital to shareholders,” said Leeny Oberg, Marriott International’s executive vice president and chief financial officer. “Our proven business model combined with opportunities to leverage our significant scale from the Starwood acquisition uniquely position us for additional shareholder value creation.”

Main image credit: Marriott International

SPOTLIGHT ON: April’s features announced

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SPOTLIGHT ON: April’s features announced

Hotel Designs has officially dropped its April editorial features, which are Interior Design and Outdoor Style… 

Throughout April, Hotel Designs’ Spotlight On features will look at two highly topical features, namely Interior Design and Outdoor Style. Although on the surface these topics suggest that we will be investigating separate areas of the hotel, with the major indoor/outdoor trend showing no signs of slowing, the editorial team will instead look at areas in which the two areas can collide to create timeless hotel interiors.

Interior Design

In our quest to find the most influential designers from around the globe, we will be examining which colour trends are having a moment while looking into which designers are taking risks to keep hotel design edgy, fun and full of life. In line in with our in-house event Interior Design and Architecture Summit, editor Hamish Kilburn will take to the stage at the event on April 29 at London Tower Bridge London to host the panel discussion The Rising Ceiling of Creativity.

If you are an architect or interior designer and would like to attend the Summit, there are very limited spaces available. Please contact Kerry Naumburger on k.naumburger@forumevents.co.uk – or click here to book your place.

If you are a supplier to the hospitality industry looking to meet the top architects and interior designers, contact Victoria Petch on v.petch@forumevents.co.uk – or click here to book your place.

Outdoor Style

Image credit: Round Wood of Mayfield’s ÖÖD house

A regular April feature here at Hotel Designs, Outdoor Style will look at how the whole hotel’s design can be utilised. While looking at ways in which designers and landscapers can create statement outdoor areas, we will also highlight which hotels are leading the way when it comes to what is becoming the ever-lasting indoor-outdoor trend.

If you wish to find out more, or know of a product that we should be talking about, please contact Zoe Guerrier on 01992 374059 or z.guerrier@forumevents.co.uk

Main image credit: Alila Ubud

MINIVIEW: Joyze Hotel Xiamen Curio Collection by Hilton

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MINIVIEW: Joyze Hotel Xiamen Curio Collection by Hilton

Opened late last year, Joyze Hotel Xiamen Curio Collection by Hilton, with all its unique design qualities, is a mere shadow of the stereotypical chain hotel you would expect check in to. Editor Hamish Kilburn dives deeper into its Chinese design story to uncover how the boutique 104-key hotel came to be… 

As a boutique hotel, the concept of a ‘floating city on the sea’ can be seen throughout the hotel design of Joyze Hotel Xiamen Curio Collection by Hilton. Combining the local cultural elements of Minnan with urban design techniques, the hotel narrates the historical changes of “the fishing village” that it neighbours. Tasked to merge architecture with interior design was Hong Kong-based design firm CCD (CHENG CHUNG DESIGN).

Image credit: CCD/Cheng Chung Design (HK)/Curio Collection by Hilton

Surrounded by mountains and seas, with the Dongping Mountain in the North, and the coastline of Huandao Road in the South, the hotel enjoys the best of both worlds. The villages in Zengcuoan are divided by walls, and the houses in the villages are scattered around. The floor plan of the hotel follows the arrangement of the villages, as different zones are divided by walls and intersected by landscapes between different areas. Look down from the above; each area is like a box, representing a household with different personalities and designs. Guests enter the hotel as if they are on a village tour, complete with alleys, walls and landscapes.

Image credit: CCD/Cheng Chung Design (HK)/Curio Collection by Hilton

The entrance of the hotel incorporates the local culture of ‘brick wall’, which is a very unique way of building a wall in Minnan architecture that uses stones and bricks of different shapes to overlay and build simple and beautiful walls.

According to the legend in the end of the Ming Dynasty that, there was a major earthquake occurred in the Southern part of Minnan region. After the earthquake, the native people used the local materials such as bricks, stones, tiles and gravels collapsed from the natural disaster to build the unique wall. And thereby, this way of wall-building has been widely practiced and followed in the region.

Image credit: CCD/Cheng Chung Design (HK)/Curio Collection by Hilton

The designer also used the mansion method to design the hotel lobby. The first sight of the guest after they get off from the drop-off area and enter the hotel is not the hotel lobby, but a door that is several meters wide, and if they are entering a mansion house. Then they will see the brick wall, followed by cultural exhibition area, then other landscapes and finally the lobby bar and reception.

“Under each box, there is a light to create a sense of levitation.”

The design concept of “Floating City on the Sea” is expressed through the subtle design method.The façade of the wall is constructed with boxes, and it transforms from empty to solid, presenting a feeling of ‘floating’, the orderly change of the gradient also presents a sense of rhythm swinging with the current. A corner of the reception desk floats into the air, becoming a warm chandelier, floating on the sea, and the entire hotel is like a floating city on the sea.

In comparison to the hotel, every box in the space is the composition of the hotel as a floating city. Under each box, there is a light to create a sense of levitation.

“The design of the guestrooms are natural, warm and cosy, creating a sense of home.”

The design incorporates natural comfort and childhood memories, vintage chandeliers, metal-trimmed glass doors, wooden tables and chairs; it brings guests back to the restaurant where they used to go with their parents. Here, the curious people walk into the old days of Xiamen.

Image credit: CCD/Cheng Chung Design (HK)/Curio Collection by Hilton

The design of the guestrooms are natural, warm and cosy, creating a sense of home. Meanwhile, it also tries to open the space as much as possible as to form a transparent visual experience. Getting rid of the traditional framework, and strengthen the interaction of spatial functions through subtle design, so that each area can be used alone and connected.

After the entrance is the cloakroom and the luggage rack, which is designed to make the walkway more functional and to make the largest use of space. In detail, it also closely follows the concept of floating city, as the wash table and the bed are suspended from the ground.

The city view and beach outside the window is one of the hotel’s business cards. The wash table, mini bar and operating desk form a small living room, so that guest can sit in the living room and enjoy the scenery with tea, just like the local residents. The texture of the old buildings in the city is projected onto the walls of the guestrooms, and the patterns of the old buildings in Gulangyu are carved into ceramic tiles, which become time fragments to record the traces of the years.

Main image credit: CCD/Cheng Chung Design (HK)/Curio Collection by Hilton

In Conversation With: Damien Perrot on defining ibis Hotels’ new design era

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The world’s most iconic budget hotel brand is undergoing a major redesign following the growing demands of the modern traveller. To understand all the design details of the new generation of ibis Hotels, editor Hamish Kilburn sat down with Damien Perrot, Senior Vice President, Design Solutions for Accor, to find out more about how the new ibis was conceived in three separate designs…

With more than 1,170 economy hotels open worldwide, ibis has become somewhat of a trailblazer in the congested budget sector of the hotel industry. Opening up in neighbourhoods that before the ‘70s may well have not existed for the modern traveller, the company’s aggressive expansion into tier two cities bridged the gap between travellers and the freedom to explore the world while on a budget.

With the aim to ‘shake up budget hotel standards’, the brand, which is known for its basic and standardised design, is now in the process of reinventing itself to become more flexible to cater to a wider demographic. Using interior design as its tool, Ibis’ latest face lift includes new guestrooms, F&B areas and living spaces. “Its transformation is primarily based on customer behaviour and how guests instinctively use the spaces,” said Steven Taylor, Chief Brand Officer at Accor in the official statement from the brand. “Today, the brand is a truly vibrant place where travellers and non-staying and local customers alike can dine, sleep, work and feel welcome.”

Leading the extensive brand renovation is Damien Perrot, Senior Vice President, Design Solutions for Accor. “I wanted to achieve a design that was living, vibrant and real,” he told Hotel Designs. “The objective, in terms of design, is to attract people and allow our guests to have a great experience that will naturally encourage them to return.”

“Perrot launched competitions in America, Asia and Europe in order to garner inspiration from all corners of the world.”

The design, marketing and brand team came together with the ambition to rethink ibis as if it was created today. “The simple fact was that we felt obliged to confront the way in which our guests’ behaviour and lifestyles have changed,” explained Perrot. “Our idea was not to radicalise the form, but instead to create a concept in line with that of the modern travellers’ needs of today.” In order to keep the thoughts open and fresh, Perrot launched design competitions open to all in America, Asia and Europe in order to garner inspiration from all corners of the world. “The brief being light in context around what we wanted was key as we did not want to restrict the designers’ creative flow,” adds Perrot. As a result, the brand was able to handpick the designers who put forward realistic and brand-worthy solutions to the challenge.

Following the competition, the new ibis was to be divided into three concepts drawn up from three separate design studios. Studio Innocad from Europe, Studio FGMF from Latin America and Studio Soda from Asia together were Perrot’s answer to the new generation of ibis hotels.

Studio Innocad – Europe

Flexible living area with hammocks by entrance - blue and while tiles

Image credit: INNOCAD Architecture

The concept is a modular, flexible and customisable approach for architecture and interior, for renovation as well as new construction of ibis hotels. Designed around the fluid transition between inside and outside, the different settings of social spaces invite travellers and locals to explore several atmospheres and areas and are importantly not limited to be in one design during their customer journey.

Studio FGMF – Latin America

Modern Scandinavian room with flexible living spaces

Image credit: FGMF/ibis hotels

Urban living comes to the heart of the hotels with the design concept from Studio FGMF while the street outside becomes an integral part of the lobby. Unveiling a new pedestrian walkway, the hotel concept is gallery of local inspiration.

Meanwhile, the guestrooms have been imagined to be comfortable in a modern style, featuring a bookshelf as a centrepiece. A functional layout opens up new possibilities for guests to relax in the home-from-home setting.

Studio Soda – Asia

Modern, opening living areas

Image credit: Soda Studio/ibis hotels

Flexible, modular and contemporary, the concept that was imagined by Studio Soda is one that offers everything the modern guest is looking for; comfort combined with warmth. The lobby has been specifically designed to welcome the outside world, with a terrace area that extends out onto the street. The result is a public area that is welcome and free for guests to eat, relax, work or play.

“When we are rethinking ‘the new’, it is essential to forget what it is today,” explained Perrot when confronting the challenges of the project. “After the big idea in terms of design, the question is how can we apply that into our existing hotels. That’s a really big challenge, but I think we have succeeded.

Portrait of Damien Perrot

Image caption: Damien Perrot, Senior Vice President, Design Solutions for Accor

“The other challenge is to not be distracted by trends. Each design concept that was accepted stayed true to the DNA of the brand, which is very modern. Throughout the project, I want to demonstrate that modernity is in line with a new way of living.”

With the ambitious plans to redesign all hotels in the ibis portfolio by 2022, the aim is not for all hotels to be identical to one another. Instead, each property is aimed to have its own quirky personality. “Each concept is not 100 per cent defined. But the designer will apply the concept on projects and select different furniture and lighting to suit the hotel,” said Perrot. “In order to be able to roll this out globally, we have to have guidelines and style book. Each document helps the designers to roll out this concept. In those guidelines, we explain the boundaries that can and can’t be broken to achieve the final design of the individual hotel.”

Each hotel to adopt the new design concept will be better equipped and better designed to personalise the overall guest experience. The refreshing, and very different, designed concepts suggest heavily that ibis strongly believe a good hotel experience is much beyond experiencing a good night’s sleep. To achieve that overall home-from-home experience, the brand has redefined its public areas, F&B environment and guestrooms allowing its guests to tailor-make their own travel experience when checking in.

Main image credit: FGMF/ibis hotels

Radisson Collection opens in Moscow

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Radisson Hotel Group has announced the opening of the Radisson Collection Hotel, Moscow. The rebrand is now complete and the hotel has become the latest addition to the group’s exceptional collection of premium lifestyle properties.

“As one of Moscow’s legendary landmarks, with outstanding architecture and world-class service, the hotel is the perfect match for Radisson Collection,” said Michel Stalport, Area Senior Vice President of Eastern Europe, Russia & Turkey at Radisson Hotel Group. “This is a one-of-a-kind property, and we’re delighted to have completed the rebranding of the hotel together with the owners.”

From the impressive, palatial exterior to the luxurious interior, featuring 501 stunning guestrooms and suites, the hotel is a Moscow landmark. The property itself is one of the capital’s ‘Seven Sisters’, a family of renowned neoclassical skyscrapers, while the rooms and public spaces echo the special nature of the building – with the finest materials and most exclusive furniture seen throughout the hotel.

A signature feature of the Radisson Collection brand is its outstanding service level, and the hotel is one of the most-awarded hotels in the whole of Russia – recognized for its service level, its professional conference expertise and luxurious hotel offers. Only recently, the hotel was awarded ‘Best 5 Star MICE Hotel in Russia’ at the Russian Hospitality Awards. The hotel’s Guest Relations Managers all ensure that no details are left unattended – all to give the guests truly memorable stays.

Located on the bend of the Moskva River, the hotel was formerly the tallest in Europe. It remains an imposing presence on Moscow’s skyline – and offers spectacular views of the capital. In fact, it’s a destination itself, with 26 on-site shops, its own art collection, a diorama of Moscow, an Olympic-sized swimming pool and its own flotilla of 10 yachts that offer city river cruises.

With Moscow’s most exceptional sky bar, the Mercedes Bar on the 31st-floor, the hotel is the perfect spot for guests who would like to get close to the twinkling stars and enjoy unparalleled views of Moscow. For gastronomy enthusiasts, there are 19 restaurants and bars on-site, serving a wide range of global cuisines from early morning until late at night.

Main image credit: Radisson Hotels

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Two new hotels with 500 rooms to arrive at Düsseldorf airport.

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H-Hotels signs a new contract for H2 Hotel and H4 Hotel at Düsseldorf airport, both slated to open in 2024…

H-Hotels Group is embarking upon the next stage of its dual brand concept by announcing two new hotels at Düsseldorf airport. The hotels will be constructed on Wanheimer Straße, in the immediate vicinity of Düsseldorf airport, and will be of particular interest to business travellers as a conference and congress venue.

The building complex will occupy grounds of around 15,000 square metres, located to the north of the state capital of North Rhine-Westphalia. It will host an H2 Hotel featuring 237 rooms as well as an H4 Hotel offering 264 rooms. A generous conference centre with an area of around 1,000 square metres will be available to guests of both hotels. This will also be the case for the planned fitness centre and ‘sky bar’ on the eighth floor. Around 18,000 square metres of office facilities will occupy the area that is parallel to the hotels. An underground car park with 700 parking spaces will complete the facilities.

Thanks to its unbeatable location in the immediate vicinity of the airport, the terminals can be reached using the SkyTrain in just a few minutes. The ICE long-distance train station is just five minutes away, which means that both the city centre of Düsseldorf as well as the exhibition complex can also be reached quickly using public transport.

“Our dual brand concept with its impressive conference facilities is the perfect response to this exclusive location, right next to one of the largest airports in the country,” said Alexander Fitz, CEO of H-Hotels AG. “This means that travellers can choose between completely different accommodation options depending on their preferences.”

The real estate partners for the project are Nördliche Spitze GmbH & Co. KG, a joint venture between Reggeborgh, Delta Project Development, and Kondor Wessels. Managing Directors Johannes G.S. Hegeman and Lars Stillmann are delighted by the joint project: “In the H-Hotels Group we have found a very experienced hotel operator, whose concept corresponded perfectly with the project and its environment. Future office users will be able to take advantage of all of the hotel’s services within the building.”

Reggeborgh is a family-led investment company from the Netherlands and has also been active as a property business in Germany for more than 25 years. The company is responsible for the fund and asset management of several property funds in Germany and the Netherlands, with which Reggeborgh is also significantly involved. Another of the company’s fields of activity is the development and management of projects for high-quality residential and commercial property projects. In this respect, Reggeborgh stands for the sustainable and innovative development of ambitious property projects, as well as their implementation.

“The fundamental idea behind their property developments is the C2C concept.”

With more than 120 completed projects, primarily within Germany and the Netherlands, the Delta Group is active as a property development company. The fundamental idea behind their property developments is the C2C concept. The intelligent use of all kinds of resources – as well as the possible reutilisation of these resources – is one of the challenges facing the property sector of today and the future. The value of the group’s current portfolio, with a focus on residential and commercial properties, is in excess of €500 million.

Kondor Wessels boasts more than 25 years of experience in the development, planning and construction of residential properties, care homes, and office properties as well as mixed residential districts. With all of its projects, the company takes responsibility for the entire construction process as a partner, as well as delivering added value – all from a single source. Currently, more than 38 property projects with a total value of more than 700 million euros are being supervised by Kondor Wessels in Berlin, Frankfurt and North Rhine-Westphalia.

The project was supervised by Horwath HTL Germany – hcb hospitality competence berlin GmbH, operating as a consultant. The tenants were assisted by GVW Graf von Westphalen lawyers, and the lessors were assisted by lawyers from Bornheim and Partners.

Main image credit: H-Hotels

20 new resorts slated to open in The Maldives in 2019

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20 new resorts slated to open in The Maldives in 2019

Top Hotel Projects has announced that the region will see a large increase in developments this year as demand for luxury in the Maldives continues to grow…

The President of The Maldives has announced that the tropical region made up of 26 ring-shaped atolls will welcome 20 new resort openings this year. In his presidential address to a sitting of parliament, President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has said with the new resorts, the number of beds in the country will increase to more than 47,000.

“By the end of last year, 1.4 million tourists from around the world visited the Maldives, and there were 145 resorts and 521 guest houses operating with a total of 44,860 beds,” the president said as reported by Top Hotel News.

Tourism and hospitality in the tropical nation has been steadily growing in recent years. Eleven new resorts opened in 2016, followed by at least 15 new resorts in 2017 and 20 new properties last year. Over the past few years, dozens of uninhabited islands have been leased to local and foreign resort developers as well. Several international brands have entered into the market too, increasing the number of resorts in operation to more than 140.

Singapore’s Park Hotel Group has opened its first resort in the Maldives, while major international hotel chains such as AccorHotels have entered the Maldives with three openings, including Mercure Maldives Kooddoo ResortFairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi and Mӧvenpick Resort Kuredhivaru Maldives, with two more in the pipeline.

Brands like Hard Rock InternationalCapella Hotel Group, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, Emaar Hospitality GroupBaglioni Hotels, Emerald Collection and Meliá Hotels International have all announced their own entries to the Maldives as well.

Main image credit: Radisson Blu Maldives

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HOTEL OPENING: Lincoln Plaza London’s design inspired by London Docklands

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By taking note of the exciting and vibrant spirit of the London Docklands area, RPW Design was the design firm that sensitively designed the 129-key Lincoln Plaza London… 

Based in the heart of Canary Wharf, RPW Design has announced the opening of its most recent project, Lincoln Plaza London. Conveying its location into the hotel, the experienced RPW Design team, led by Nicola Romanelli and Richard Snow, has maintained a unique and luxurious experience through the guestrooms, function and meeting spaces while staying true to the location. RPW Design took Canary Wharf as a treasure trove of inspiration; from the historic shipping and dockland past to the present day, high tech, modern, business, luxury residential living and extraordinary architecture.

When approaching the design for a property in such a vibrant area of the city, RPW Design was inspired by a quote from the design brief for the new Hilton Curio Brand: “Hotels with a special character you can’t duplicate. They’re part of the fabric of their cities: true locals, each embodying the spirit of their home”.

For Richard Snow, Senior Designer at RPW Design, this quote really stood out and inspired the design story for Lincoln Plaza London. “We drew on the rich industrial past of the area using rusty tones and finishes alongside the design of joinery and FF&E pieces with exposed metal framework,” he told Hotel Designs. “At the same time, conscious of the hotel brand and surrounding residential developments, we included quality finishes such as natural stone in the bathrooms and on joinery, as well as statement pieces like the rusty/burnished gold wall covering to the bed head wall.”

Image credit: Main image credit: Lincoln Plaza London/Curio Collection by Hilton

Lincoln Plaza London’s focus on luxurious lifestyle facilities has been seamlessly translated throughout the 129 guest rooms. The layout of the rooms was creatively developed to move away from the standard hotel offering by incorporating the vanity into the main lobby area of the room, creating a sense of space and openness in the room. A decision to remove the traditional hotel room desk was made, and instead RPW designed a multi-use table at the right height for either a work space or dining table whilst seated at the armchair. These changes allow a more residential feel. From the bespoke shelving units made of blackened steel and antique brass, through to the marble rainfall showers, all elements work together harmoniously. The guestroom artwork was carefully curated in collaboration with RPW Design’s Art Consultant, Peter Millard and Partners, in order to show some of the East End’s most famous and unique artists: Gary Hogben; Julian Bray; Kyra Cane; and Tom Clark. Meanwhile, individual sculptural pieces by Simon Bingle, positioned in every floor lift lobby, hark back to the industrial landscape still visible around the hotel. This particular bespoke artwork conveys RPW Design’s attention to details that is inherent in their projects.

Canary Wharf is a more recent business hub for London, and the Hilton Curio offers 465 square metres of event space that is distributed across seven meeting rooms.  With sleek design details, RPW Design implemented a blend of “old industrial” and contemporary design. RPW Design has created a popular new space in this centre of commerce and it is a truly unique destination for the Docklands.

Image credit: Main image credit: Lincoln Plaza London/Curio Collection by Hilton

The reflection of the historical and industrial shipping dock is continued throughout the hotel, from the lower-ground meeting and function spaces to the fitness centre. Lincoln Plaza’s fitness centre is designed to be simple and modern, reflecting the location’s industrial heritage with a concrete reception desk formed out of concrete and rusty metal effect laminate in the joinery.

Lincoln Plaza’s meeting areas can be reached by a feature staircase that is formed of shuttered concrete, poured in situ, with an exposed timber imprint remaining on view, contrasted by a polished concrete floor. The rough concrete is offset by a luxurious brushed brass handrail and stair treads, with concealed lighting to add drama. This is diffused into the pre-function space, with a concrete render-effect wall covering and rich, dark timber doors.

Image credit: Main image credit: Lincoln Plaza London/Curio Collection by Hilton

The function areas are versatile spaces that may be configured dependent on the client’s needs and meeting planners’ specifications. The large function room can be divided into thirds when required and the buffet counters housing TV and tea/coffee facilities in the individual meeting rooms can also be concealed, thus enabling various uses from one space. A central area with a communal work table, features iconic pieces of furniture from Poltrona Frau, Walter Knoll and Porada. The cranes, such a familiar sight in the Docklands, are reflected in the pattern of two large metal work screens, dividing the pre-function area. The walls of the function rooms are designed with contrasting finishes, featuring geometric patterned wallpaper and bespoke lighting, continuing the theme.

Andrew Hart, Chairman of interior fit-out contractor Fileturn, commented: “This project was one which used all the skills of the team on site to incorporate the new designs within the existing structural shell. The fit-out areas designed by RPW included public areas, conference and meeting room facilities as well as bedrooms. The end results have produced a striking hotel in keeping with its surroundings and one the team here at Fileturn can deservedly be proud of”.

RPW Design worked alongside Fileturn to make the design become a reality, creating the perfect addition to the Curio Collection by Hilton.

Main image credit: Lincoln Plaza London/Curio Collection by Hilton

LOCATION SPECIAL: Mexico sees significant increase in hotel investment

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Investment management company JLL has released findings, proving that hotel investment in Mexico is sharply on the up… 

Following the opening of Viceroy Los Cabos and the awaited arrival of Nobu Hotel Los Cabos, Mexico’s lodging market is being viewed as more sophisticated and liquid, reflected by a 26 per cent transaction volume increase year-over-year, a study from JLL has shown.

From bustling urban locations to relaxing resorts, Mexico’s lodging market has experienced strong growth over the past six years, averaging an annual compounded revenue per available room (RevPAR) growth of nearly 5.3 percent in U.S. dollar terms, which illustrates the country’s resilient tourism industry and ability to weather unforeseen situations such as hurricanes or travel advisory warnings. Although investors are exercising caution due to the uncertainty regarding the political environment and policies, investors are anticipated to continue exploring strategic lodging opportunities in Mexico.

Light and bright guestroom

Image credit: Nobu Hotels/Studio PCH

“In recent quarters, Mexico’s lodging market has been viewed as more sophisticated and liquid,” says Carolina Lacerda, JLL Senior Vice President, Investment Sales. “The quality of lodging supply has improved and investors, particularly domestic groups such as FIBRAS, funds, and local families, are increasingly active.”

Total transaction volume at year-end 2018 reached $980 million, a 26 per cent increase over the prior year. Additionally, 2018 recorded a price-per-key average of $466,000 – the highest annual average in the past 10 years, driven by several luxury hotel sales, such as the September 2018 sale of JW Marriott Mexico City, which JLL brokered for $183 million.

“Mexico’s hotel market is estimated to deliver nearly 23,000 new, quality rooms over the next five years.”

Travel to Mexico is driving much of the growth, with the majority of visitors heading to locations like Mexico City, Los Cabos and Cancún. According to Tourism Secretary Miguel Torruco Marques, tourists are anticipated to spend approximately US$23.2 billion in 2019, a nearly four percent increase over the prior year. Three hotel assets seem to be the current preferred types among investors and owners:

  • Hotels with a mixed-use component located in cities with a strong corporate presence, such as Mexico City, Monterrey, and Guadalajara. Beyond capturing the business travel segment, having a retail or office component is viewed as a diversification strategy.
  • Hotels located in vacation destinations such as Cancún, Riviera Nayarit, and Los Cabos. Additionally, some of these hotels with a branded residential or rental component allow developers and investors to achieve more attractive returns.
  • All-inclusive resorts in international destinations with a strong vertically-integrated business model.

In response to strong tourism numbers and in turn, strong hotel fundamentals, Mexico’s hotel market is estimated to deliver nearly 23,000 new, quality rooms over the next five years, per Smith Travel Research (STR) data1. Cancún/Riviera Maya, Los Cabos, Riviera Nayarit and Mexico City are slated to see the largest increases in total incoming supply, predominately in the upper-upscale and luxury segments.

“Mexico is witnessing unprecedented growth in branded lodging supply across major resort markets and gateway destinations,” says Wendy Chan, JLL Senior Vice President, Strategic Advisory and Asset Management. “The arrival of new and different-tiered brands to the marketplace is improving the quality and maturing the overall tourism and lodging infrastructure nationwide.”

Chan also points that continued international and domestic route development and infrastructure investment in key gateway cities will be essential, as this will contribute to the further growth of the lodging industry, especially with the anticipated supply increases in the near term. “While the investor sentiment in 2019 is generally cautious given recent changes in the political landscape and growth in incoming supply, the industry should start witnessing RevPAR growth across select markets in Mexico in the coming years.”

“Driven by revenue growth in U.S. dollars and operating expenses in its devalued Mexican Peso currency, investors are able to find attractive high margins,” says Lacerda.

[1] Reflects hotels under construction or final planning only (Jan 2019). 

Main image credit: Viceroy Los Cabos

MEET UP LONDON: 3 weeks to go

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Calling all designers, architects, hoteliers and suppliers: Meet Up London takes place on March 28 at Minotti London… 

Designers, architects and hoteliers can purchase tickets here.
Suppliers can purchase tickets here.

There are just three weeks to go until the industry will gather together for Hotel Designs’ Q1 networking event, Meet Up London.

Taking place on March 28 at Minotti London, the evening event is designed to bridge the gap between designers, architects, hoteliers and key-industry suppliers.

Meet Up London will be attended by more than 200 hospitality professionals. As well as providing the perfect networking stage for professionals who are working on the hotel design scene, the event will also pay special attention to young designers as it will unveil Hotel Designs’ 30 Under 30 (the shortlist can be accessed here).

The latest names to the guest list include designers, directors and 30 Under 30 shortlisted finalists from the likes of B3 Designers, Yasmine Mahmoudieh Design Studio, Scott Brownrigg and M Studio.

They will join designers and directors from leading studios such as Richmond InternationalHBA LondonGenslerJestico + WhilesGoddard LittlefairProject Orange and WATG who are among the names that are also confirmed to attend.

Agenda for Meet Up London: 

 

How to attend Meet Up London 

If you are an interior designer, architect, operator or hotelier and would like to attend Meet Up London, click here to book your place.

If you are a supplier to the hospitality industry looking to attend the event, contact Zoe Guerrier on 01992 374059 or on z.guerrier@forumevents.co.uk – or click here to book your place.

For more information about becoming a Hotel Designs Meet Up sponsor, contact Zoe Guerrier on 01992 374059 or email z.guerrier@forumevents.co.uk.

Marriott to add more than 30 luxury hotels internationally in 2019

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Hotel giant Marriott International plans to add hotels across its eight luxury brands…

Marriott International has announced that it is projecting to open more than 30 luxury properties in 2019, furthering the company’s global perspective on luxury travel with its ensemble of eight distinct luxury brands. Through the world-renowned hospitality hallmarks of The Ritz-Carlton, Ritz-Carlton Reserve, St. Regis, W, The Luxury Collection, EDITION, JW Marriott and Bulgari, Marriott International continues to push boundaries, creating new guest experiences which meet the needs of the evolving luxury traveller.

With hotels in more than 60 countries and territories, the hotel giant is poised to expand its luxury footprint with more than 200 properties in the development pipeline, representing 20 new countries for the company’s luxury portfolio, from Sri Lanka to Bermuda and Morocco to Kenya.

“Our eight unique luxury brands provide distinct experiences that appeal to different types of luxury travelers, no matter if your priority is residing at the best address in town, completely immersing yourself in your destination, or prioritizing your wellbeing,” said Tina Edmundson, Global Brand Officer and Luxury Portfolio Leader, Marriott International. “From the world’s most iconic destinations to the ultimate undiscovered gems, we are focused on elevating travel with highly contextualized, nuanced brand experiences that signal the future of luxury by allowing our guests to indulge their passions while sparking personal growth.”

A global luxury study, conducted in partnership with creative agency Team One, revealed that luxury travellers of today are travelling not just to discover the world, but also to discover something about themselves. Edmundson continued: “When it comes to experiences, people today are seeking more meaning and personal significance rather than just the opportunity to indulge. Travellers have become active participants in the trips they are taking – they are more engaged and vested than ever before. Ultimately, global luxurians are becoming ‘creators’ in every aspect of their travel experience and for this group, travel is no longer a departure from reality, it is the reality.” With a rapidly growing global footprint and eight distinct luxury brands, Marriott International is uniquely positioned to deliver on these new expectations, inviting globally-minded travelers to look at the world through a new lens. “For our guests, we strive to go beyond offering moments of delight, to creating experiences that will profoundly inspire and transform,” said Edmundson.

Ritz-Carlton to set a new standard of luxury 

Known for its legendary service and refined design, The Ritz-Carlton will continue to set the standard for luxury. With six openings anticipated in the year ahead, the iconic luxury brand also expects to celebrate the opening of its 100th property. The brand is expected to make its return to Australia with the debut of The Ritz-Carlton, Perthand is slated to grow in China with the opening of The Ritz-Carlton, Xi’an. Showcasing the beauty of the Moroccan landscape and culture, The Ritz-Carlton Rabat, Dar es Salam is set to offer an oasis in the country’s vibrant capital, while The Ritz-Carlton, Mexico City will invite guests to experience the city through a new perspective. With a mission to inspire travel and create memories for its guests, the brand also expects to see the completion of a major renovation of The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park and to continue to work towards the inaugural voyage of The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection in February 2020.

St. Regis anticipates grand debuts in global hotspots

Currently offering more than 40 hotels in 20 countries and territories, St. Regis recently celebrated the renovation of The St. Regis Rome along with the opening of The St. Regis Zhuhai, China’s premier tourist destination on the Pearl River Delta. In the coming year, St. Regis is planning to debut the André Fu-designed St. Regis Hong Kongwhere the award-winning designer will blend the brand’s timeless elegance with silhouettes representative of the city’s architectural and cultural diversity. The brand is also set to expand its footprint in Europe with The St. Regis Venice, which is ideally situated on the Grand Canal and offers a central location from which to explore the historic city. Finally, St. Regis is also expecting to bring its modern glamour and bespoke service to Cairo, a destination that has captivated travelers for generations and one which is quickly reclaiming its place as a hot spot for the global explorer.

W Rewrites the rules

Trailblazing its way around the globe, W broke the norms of traditional luxury in destinations including Brisbane, Amman and Costa Rica in 2018. The luxury rebel also rewrote the music festival rules, taking the festival experience off the field and onto fabulous hotel grounds with the global launch of WAKE UP CALL. Bringing people closer to the music than ever before, the brand’s signature music festival series made stops at W Hollywood, W Barcelona and W Bali. This year, the brand will live out its mission to fuel guests’ lust for life with eight hotels projected to open, ranging from Aspen and Ibiza to Muscat and Melbourne. W skillfully balances the power of a global brand with the relevance and personality of a local insider and continues to revitalize its global portfolio with multi-million-dollar renovations planned or underway at more than half its properties in North America, including W Washington D.C. and W San Francisco.

EDITION continues growth in iconic destinations

In 2018 the EDITION brand doubled its footprint, growing from four properties to eight with openings in Shanghai, Bodrum, Barcelona and Abu Dhabi. The in-demand lifestyle brand was created through a collaboration between boutique hotel creator and innovator Ian Schrager and Marriott International, which offers sophisticated design, a curated taste of the destination and modern service. Next up, the brand expects to redefine luxury with its recent opening in New York City’s Times Square and will bring its distinct perspective to West Hollywood with a scheduled opening in Q2 2019.

The Luxury Collection brings authentic charm to new destinations

Offering the promise of unique, authentic experiences, The Luxury Collection is a rapidly growing ensemble of 110 hotels in more than 30 countries and territories around the world. In 2018, the brand made its debut in Savannah with the opening of Perry Lane, expanded its footprint in Paris through Hôtel de Berri and brought distinct resort design to Los Cabos with Solaz, among other exciting debuts. With each hotel serving as a portal to the destination’s indigenous charms and treasures, The Luxury Collection anticipates debuting nine properties this year in coveted locations such as Okinawa, Cesme, Buckinghamshire, and Budapest.

JW Marriott Inspires the Passions 

JW Marriott offers differentiated luxury experiences at 84 hotels and resorts in nearly 30 countries and territories, including the recent opening of JW Marriott Nashville. Inspired by its legendary namesake, JW Marriott is committed to curating uplifting experiences for guests, delivering experiences and environments that help guests be fully present and bringing people together to celebrate life’s most meaningful moments. This year, JW Marriott anticipates continuing to bring its distinct style of warm service to established and emerging destinations with planned openings from the Maldives and Shanghai to Savannah, GA.

Marriott International currently encompasses a portfolio of more than 6,900 properties in 30 leading hotel brands spanning 130 countries and territories. Marriott operates and franchises hotels and licenses vacation ownership resorts all around the world.

Main image credit: EDITION/Marriott International

Ruby Hotels to open first Nordic hotel

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The 142-room property in Finland’s Helsinki is the latest installment in ‘lean luxury’ hotel brand’s expansion plan…

Ruby Hotels, since unveiling plans for UK and international expansion at the end of last year, has announced plans for its first Nordic property in the Finnish capital, Helsinki, to open in the first quarter of 2021. The new hotel forms part of an expansion plan for Ruby Hotels to unveil a total of nine new hotels by 2021.

Set within a historic 19th-century building, in the same plot which housed Finnish national poet Johan Ludvig Runeberg, the new hotel will be located in Helsinki’s charming Kruununhaka district. Enjoying a central position between the city’s main railway station and the hip district of Kallio, guests will be just steps from hotspots including the harbour and marketplace, Helsinki cathedral and the beating heart of the local nightlife, Tori Quarters.

A collaboration with Finnish project developer ICON Real Estate, the hotel will house 142 guest rooms, ranging in size from cosy ‘Nest’ rooms (13-15m²) to expansive ‘Loft’ rooms (23-38m²), a stylish 24-hour bar and breakfast area, a spacious outside terrace and – in a nod to traditional Finnish culture – Ruby Hotels’ first in-hotel Sauna.

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

A laid-back, contemporary design will take inspiration from the area’s Jugendstil art-nouveau style, with quirky touches such as the inclusion of a Marshall guitar amp in each room. Guests will be able to use the amp with their own guitar or one borrowed from reception, and will enjoy ‘Ruby Radio’, the hotel group’s own internet radio station.

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

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

The Ruby Helsinki development is a part of a half-city-block-sized (10,000m2) real estate project which will revitalise the neighbourhood, with a further 50-60 luxury apartments ranging from studios to 4-bedroom apartments also under construction next door.

Main image credit: Ruby Hotels

Alila in Bali achieves zero waste to landfill

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The luxury lifestyle brand, Alila Hotels & Resorts, which pledged the sustainability initiative in August 2016, has announced it has now achieved zero waste to landfill among four of its flagship properties…

Alila Hotels & Resorts has succeeded in piloting a zero waste to landfill initiative across four of its flagship properties in Bali: Alila Villas Uluwatu, Alila Ubud, Alila Mangis and Alila Seminyak, and will now replicate the initiative other Alila-branded properties.

Man walking through garden

Image credit: Alila Hotels & Resorts

The ambitious plans, which started in August 2016, were put in place following the wide-spread coverage of Bali’s waste crisis, which highlighted that much of the population’s waste ends up in overflowing landfills, contributing to the production of harmful toxic methane gas. The luxury lifestyle brand realised that the waste in Bali that does not make it to the landfill is either dumped on the side of the road, in rivers or ends up polluting both the ocean and beaches.

“In order to tackle waste at its source, the brand introduced methods so that it could recycle materials into useful resources.”

With the aim to ‘do its part’, Alila Hotels & Resorts decided to approach the issue in a new way. In order to tackle waste at its source, the brand introduced methods so that it could recycle materials into useful resources. The centrepiece of its Zero Waste Policy is an Integrated Sustainable Resource Recovery Facility (iSuRRF), an on-site laboratory where all waste streams are transformed into higher value products and services through a series of simple yet proven mechanical and biological engineering systems.

For example, plastics, glass and ceramics are shredded and crushed to produce aggregate, sand and fibre that is then reused to produce green building materials. Meanwhile, metals and high-value plastics are recycled. Uneconomical waste plastics, such as wraps and films, are converted into a light crude oil that is distilled down to diesel, kerosene and gasoline for reuse in the hotel.

In addition to the laboratory, each of the four hotels used in the pilot now feature a composting section and an organic garden.

Beyond its own zero waste efforts, the hotel brand also pledges to involve the community in order to be a catalyst for other businesses to put in place eco initiatives. Speaking at an exclusive event in London, Doris Goh, Head of Brand and Marketing for Alila Hotels & Resorts, said: “It has taken one year longer than we originally anticipated, because of how thorough we have had to be, but we are so proud to unveil to the world that we have achieved zero waste to landfill.”

All properties in the Alila Hotels & Resorts portfolio are operated to EarthChecks standards. Since adopting these regulations, the four Bali resorts have collectively reduced their wastage that would have otherwise have filled 64 20ft shipping containers.

Main image credit: Alila Hotels & Resorts

CASE STUDY: Furnishing Grand Central, Belfast

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Hastings Grand Central is more than a hotel, it’s an ode to a spectacular city. Recommended Supplier Style Library Contract explains how it helped to style the hotel in Belfast that everyone is talking about… 

Standing tall in Bedford Street, the 22-storey Hastings Grand Central, which opened in June last year, fuses glamour and grandeur with a uniquely Belfast spirit. Comprising of 300 luxurious guestrooms and suites, restaurant, bar, conferencing facilities and retail space, it is a jewel that sits at the heart of Belfast’s Linen Quarter.

RPP Architects was involved in the design of every aspect of the hotel, from the external envelope which involved the design of prominent and distinct signage, a bespoke cladding system to the different bedroom, suites and all of the public spaces. Meanwhile, the interior design was developed with Grahams construction and the Hastings Hotel group during a series of design workshops.

Situated on the ground floor, the Grand Café will catch your eye as you walk by but when you step inside you’ll want to stay. An everyday place with an easygoing elegance, it reflects the whole ambience of being “beautifully simple and simply beautiful”.

Sumptuous suite

Image credit: Hasting Hotels

Quality exudes from every angle of the bar and restaurant space; from the phenomenal cuisine and cocktails to the lavish fabrics and fittings. The art deco nods, high ceilings and sense of space add a distinctive drama and the vibe inside shifts as the day rolls in and the sun rolls round. Located on the 23rd floor, the Observatory is an aweinspiring cocktail lounge with spectacular, unique views of Belfast and beyond. The decadent décor combined with the stunning vistas make the inside feel intimate, and the outside infinite. Each of the 300 guestrooms and suites are designed for absolute comfort and relaxation. Each room has been lovingly created as an oasis of calm; a thoughtfully crafted cityscape sanctuary teeming with touchable, tactile fabrics and state of-the-art finishes.

entrance lobby

Image credit: Hasting Hotels

Mark Higgins, Associate at RPP Architects explains how they selected the materials and craftsmen for this project: “The interior design utilised local craftsmanship where possible sourcing marble and quartz from Ballymoney, specialist joinery and bedroom casegoods from Ballymena, bespoke upholstery and front of house furniture was manufactured in Carrickfergus and bespoke carpet from Portadown.

“We chose to work with Style Library Contract because of the wide selection and high specification of their fabrics and wallcoverings. Being able to specify products from across their brands enabled us to create the look we wanted for each distinct space. Products include: Zoffany curzon belvoir, Zoffany elswick paisley, Anthology veda, Harlequin mesh and sgraffito, Scion toma, Harlequin momentum aves paprika, William Morris snakeshead paper in the bar and various Anthology papers in the suites.”

Carolyn Mitchell, Group Contracts Sales Director at Style Library Contract adds, “We are delighted to have worked with RPP Architects and Hastings on this exquisite project. Our job is to provide clients with the means to create beautiful, design-led interiors. In house manufacturing and design expertise in contract specification fabrics, wallcoverings and paint, means we can be relied on for a complete project solution.”

Style Library is one of our recommended suppliers. To keep up to date with their news, click here. And, if you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, click here.

Main image credit: Hasting Hotels

Moxy NYC Chelsea opens an urban design jungle

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Refined yet playful, hand-crafted yet modern, the 349-key Moxy Chelsea reimagines the urban jungle, blending botanically-inspired design with Italian romance…

Rising 35 stories high into the New York City skyline, Moxy NYC Chelsea, the micro-room, macro-amenity hotel, developed by Lightstone and part of Marriott International’s experiential Moxy Hotels brand, has officially opened. Inspired by the surrounding Flower District, the hotel blends a botanically-influenced design with Italian romance and a touch of playful wit – perfectly timed to welcome guests on Valentine’s Day.

Creating an environment that appeals to both today’s modern traveller and locals, Moxy Chelsea was developed with a collection of public spaces designed to meet the community’s dining, drinking, and co-working needs—while providing guests access to New York City at a neighbourhood level. The 349-room hotel marks the second collaboration between Yabu Pushelberg, Rockwell Group, and architects Stonehill Taylor, the designers behind Moxy Times Square and three of the industry’s most admired firms.

The newly-constructed building’s architecture riffs off the neighborhood’s retro-industrial style and feels harmonious with its location, in the heart of the Chelsea Flower Market. The hotel blends into the lush flower shops that surround it, with a soaring three-story glass atrium revealing the vertical gardens within. Guests enter through the overgrown Putnam & Putnam Flower Shop, designed by Yabu Pushelberg, which is envisioned as a “botanical library,” with planter boxes suspended from the 15-foot wall, reachable by a wheeled ladder. The shop is run by husbands Darroch and Michael Putnam, whose couture approach to floral arrangements over the years has made them a staple at celebrity weddings, including the recent nuptials of Gwyneth Paltrow and Brad Falchuk.

Image credit: Michael Kleinberg/Moxy Chelsea/Marriott International

The guestrooms are drenched in sunlight and feature floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall windows. For the design, Yabu Pushelberg replicates the clever functionality they created for Moxy Times Square, leavened with wit and humanised with a sense of craft. In all three room types — King, Double/Double and Quad Bunk — the furniture, which includes a writing desk and chair/luggage rack, can be folded up and hung up on Moxy’s signature peg wall when not in use. Other space-saving gambits include under-bed storage and a lava-stone sink and vanity area placed outside the bathroom. Tiles in the shower stalls are printed with cheeky phrases like “SOME REGRETS” and “WILD THING,” while a bulldog-shaped beer bottle opener hangs on the door. Additional bedroom features nod to the Flower District, like reading lamps that resemble garden lanterns and faucets that recall hose reels. Unique to Moxy Chelsea is the over-the-top MONDO Suite, an entertainment suite located on the 32nd floor. With soaring, double-height 18-foot ceilings and a wall of industrial-style windows looking out onto the Empire State Building, the room is equipped for entertaining and socialising. The suite can be combined with one or two adjoining king rooms to create a place to party and sleep.

The lobby atmosphere is enlivened by a design that reflects Moxy’s trademark cheekiness, such as classically sculpted figurines making unexpected poses, like twerking, taking selfies, and wearing sunglasses. A life-size, toga-clad Roman statue rests on a column, one arm extended so it can hold a guest’s phone and pose with them for a selfie. Throughout the lobby, ample seating options invite co-working and socializing, including modular meeting studios that morph seamlessly from daytime workplace to evening social space.

Decadent rooftop bar

Image caption: The Fleur Room – credit: Michael Kleinberg/Moxy Chelsea/Marriott International

TAO Group and Rockwell also collaborated on The Fleur Room, Moxy Chelsea’s rooftop lounge, topping off the hotel on the 35th floor with panoramic 360-degree views of the Manhattan skyline, from the Statue of Liberty to the Empire State building. The design features a copper-clad bar, glass chandeliers that resemble giant water droplets, and a massive disco ball salvaged from the notorious 1980s L.A. nightclub Vertigo. The real showstopper: The lounge’s glass walls descend at the touch of a button, transforming the space into an alfresco sky veranda.

“We’ve all read about how the modern traveller wants to satisfy their curiosity with unique experiences and personalised, insider access,” says Mitchell Hochberg, President of Lightstone. “Nobody really expects that at the Moxy price point. With Moxy Times Square, we proved we could flip the script; and with Moxy Chelsea, we’re taking it to the next level: We’ve doubled down on that formula—affordable rates, rooms with character, distinctive public spaces—and made it even more personal, more local, more genuinely New York.”

“With the opening of Moxy Chelsea, the Moxy Hotels brand continues to boldly reinvent the hospitality scene,” says Toni Stoeckl, Global Brand Leader, Moxy Hotels, and Vice President, Distinctive Select Service Brands, Marriott International. “When you walk into a Moxy, you know you’re getting a killer bar experience with fun, playful programming; an in-the-know Crew; stylish and functional bedrooms; and experiential moments you’ll want to share with friends during your trip. Moxy Chelsea offers all of that, with a distinctly bold, New York twist.”

The Moxy brand now has 30-plus experiential hotels open across North America, Europe and Asia. Moxy is expected to open 20-plus more hotels in 2019*, in destinations including Paris, Nashville and Boston.

*subject to change depending on hospitality landscape and market conditions

Main image credit: Michael Kleinberg/Moxy Chelsea/Marriott International

FIRST LOOK: Apex unveils Insta-worthy London suite

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Apex Hotels has unveiled the Temple Suite in London that has been designed with Instagram in mind… 

Following the Hotel Designs’ series, Designing Instagrammable, Apex Hotels has revealed a sneak peek at the fabulous, ‘Instagrammable’ interiors that lie within the £6 million extension to its hotel on London’s Fleet Street.

The Temple Suite is considered the jewel in the crown of the multi-million pound extension, which also boasts four deluxe Grand Suites. Each one is perfect for those looking for a new type of luxury in the capital, and those who want to witness #interiordesigngoals first-hand.

While the Grand Suites are already available to book, the outstanding Temple Suite has been kept under wraps – but now the first images have been released, showing exactly what potential guests can expect when the space opens for booking on March 3.

It includes original fireplaces, bespoke furnishings in rich jewel tones, luxury linens and a bathroom (complete with underfloor heating) that’s just begging for mirror-selfies to be snapped.

Image credit: Apex Hotel

Set within a Grade II listed building on the capital’s Fleet Street, dating back to 1912, the Temple and Grande Suites sit alongside ‘The Amicable Society of Lazy Ballerinas’ – a brand new stylish, decadent wine bar – and private dining rooms to really give guests a taste of the ‘suite’ life.

Guests can cosy up in the coolest of surroundings in the Temple Suite, which features a sophisticated grey colour palette that is injected with warmth thanks to the original parquet flooring and wall panelling.

There’s a chance to relax on Scandi-inspired, bold furniture upholstered in rich velvets and textured wools, whilst snapping away at contemporary features including striking pendant lighting, and the intricately detailed glassware and accessories dotted throughout.

Image credit: Apex Hotels

Before languishing in luxury with access to a personal concierge service, guests can be whisked straight into their suite for a private, queue-free check-in before settling in with a welcome drink, testing out the luxury linens and making the most of the sumptuous surroundings – including a totally personalised mini-bar.

“We’re absolutely thrilled to reveal the striking Temple Suite which, along with our Grand Suites, has come as a result of a meticulous, multi-million pound restoration and refurbishment of the stunning Grade II listed building situated right next door to our original Fleet Street hotel,” Karl Mitchell, General Manager at Apex Temple Court Hotel. “Not only are each of the suites entirely Instagram-worthy, with beautiful furnishings and facilities masterminded by our architects, ISA; each and every guest who stays within the suites will enjoy a totally bespoke stay – from a private check-in and access to a personal concierge, to a mini-bar stocked with their favourite tipples and much more. No two stays will be the same.

“Just imagine lazing in front of the fire with your favourite drink from the personalised mini bar…it’s just one of the blissful ways our guests can spend a stay at our magnificent suites.”

Guests looking for a new type of luxury in London can now book to stay at the 115 square metres of pure, opulent relaxation that is the stand-alone Temple Suite – or at one of the four Grande Suites.

 

Leading designers and architects confirmed to attend Interior Design & Architecture Summit

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Two months before the inaugural Interior Design & Architecture Summit, the event has unveiled who among the architecture and design community will be attending… 

Following the announcement of the ‘Rising Ceiling of Creativity’ panel discussion at the event, the Interior Design & Architecture Summit (IDAS) has just announced the attendees list for the meet-the-buyers event.

Dexter Moren Associates, EPR Archtiects, Goddard Littlefair, MKV Design, ReardonSmith Archiects and Zannier Hotels are all among the leading design firms that have confirmed to attend IDAS as delegates.

The event, , is aimed to bridge the gap between designers, architects, hoteliers and key-industry suppliers.

About IDAS

The one-day event, which will take place on April 29 at Hilton Tower Bridge London, is designed to connect senior executives working within the sector with product and service suppliers for face-to-face meetings and business networking.

The Summit aims to support the design and architecture sector with a unique platform to help create long-lasting and mutually beneficial business connections.

The design and architecture companies confirmed to attend IDAS are:

Aaron Chetwynd Architect Studio
Abode Architecture
Ana Engelhorn Interior Design Ltd
Anita Rosato Interior Design
Brompton Cross Construction
Burke Rickhards Ltd
Burrell Mistry Architects
CMT Design & Construction
CS Design
Dexter Moren Associates
DesignLSM
EPR Architects
Fiona Barratt Interiors
FL Interiors
Forster
Gauri Dole Design Studio
Goddard Littlefair
GA Design
GA Architect
Gereghty Taylor Architects
Gunter & Co Interiors
Harp Commercial Interiors
Hartmann Designs Limited
Harriet Forde Design
HBA London
Henry Prideaux Interior Design
Hyphen
InD Creations
Je Ne Sais Quoi
JPA Design
JCC
Jo Berryman Studio
Koubou Interiors
Kim Partridge
KCA International Designers Ltd
Lambart & Browne
LDA Design
LXA Projects
Materialise Interiors
Mangera Yvars Architects
MKV Design
Natalia Interior Design
NBBJ
NSI Design Ltd
Nine Yard Club
One Creative Environments Limited
Panache Interiors
Project (SW) Ltd
Rebecca James Studio
ReardonSmith Architects
Run for The Hills
RWD
Sapphire Spaces
Suited ID
Stop and Smell the Roses
Studio Mica
Tara Bernerd and Partners
Toca
Temza
Twinning Design
Wilson Associates
Watson Batty Architects
Woods Bagot
WS Design
Yasmine Mahmoudieh
Virserius Studio
Zannier Hotels

If you are an architect or interior designer and would like to attend the Summit, there are very limited spaces available. Please contact Kerry Naumburger on k.naumburger@forumevents.co.uk – or click here to book your place.If you are a supplier to the hospitality industry looking to meet the top architects and interior designers, contact Victoria Petch on v.petch@forumevents.co.uk – or click here to book your place.

Click here for more information about IDAS.

Media partner: Future Contractor & Architect

London School of Architecture confirmed as headline speaker for Meet Up London

816 497 Hamish Kilburn

James Soane, Director of Critical Practice at the London School of Architecture, will speak at Meet Up London which takes place on March 28 at Minotti London…

Meet Up London has confirmed James Soane, Director of Critical Practice at the London School of Architecture, as its headline speaker for the networking event which takes place on March 28 at Minotti London’s showroom.

In addition to welcoming leading designers, architects, hoteliers and suppliers of all ages, Meet Up London will also carry a light theme to support young creatives. Attending the evening, courtesy of Hotel Designs, the 40 shortlisted finalists for Hotel Designs’ 30 Under 30 initiative will find out on the night who among them have made the final 30 Under 30.

“Our aim for this event has always been very clear; to support young designers and architects who are proving themselves to be rising stars on the international hotel design scene,”  said Hamish Kilburn, editor of Hotel Designs. “It is therefore my honour to invite James Soane to speak at the event in order to share his experience of working with and supporting young talent within in our industry. We hope that by having James speak at this event it will help to further bridge the age gap between designers, hoteliers, architects and suppliers.”

About Meet Up London

More than 200 hospitality professionals are expected to attend Hotel Designs’ highly anticipated Q1 networking event, Meet Up London.

Following the success of previous networking events, such as The Brit list 2018 and Meet Up North, Hotel Designs’ Meet Up London will adopt the theme of 30 under 30. The leading hotel design website has asked its readers to nominate designers, architects and hoteliers of the age of 30 and under who are fast climbing the ranks to become leading practitioners.

Meet Up London, which is being styled exclusively by Minotti London, will provide a unique opportunity to network over drinks and canapés with the largest names in hospitality, interior design and architecture.

Address: 77 Margaret St, Fitzrovia, London, W1W 8SY

Evening agenda:
18.00: Guests arrive
18.30: Welcoming speech from editor of Hotel Designs’ Hamish Kilburn
18.45: Unveiling of Hotel Designs’ 30 Under 30
19:00: Presentation by London School of Architecture’s James Soane (topic TBC)
19:15 – 21.00: Networking over complimentary drinks and canapés

If you are an interior designer, architect, operator or hotelier and would like to attend the Hotel Designs Meet Up London: 30 Under 30, click here to book your place.

If you are a supplier to the hospitality industry looking to attend the event, contact Zoe Guerrier on 01992 374059 or on z.guerrier@forumevents.co.uk – or click here to book your place.

For more information about becoming a Hotel Designs Meet Up sponsor, contact Zoe Guerrier on 01992 374059 or email z.guerrier@forumevents.co.uk.

 

Exclusive style partner: Minotti London

Exclusive headline partner: Hamilton Litestat

 

 

 

ISH Preview: Laufen to exhibit collaboration with Patricia Urquiola

797 534 Hamish Kilburn

At the upcoming edition of ISH, Laufen will present SaphirKeramik in all its forms with the return of Sonar, the refined collection designed for the Swiss company by Patricia Urquiola…

Laufen is enthusiastically preparing to participate at the upcoming iteration of ISH, the indispensable biennial event in the field of bath furnishings.

Always on the front lines of research and experimentation, Hotel Designs Recommended Supplier Laufen brings its finest innovation to Frankfurt: SaphirKeramik. High-tech and ecological, this ceramic material patented by the company has launched a new trend in the world of bathroom design, which has continued with growing success since 2013, in applications for both the residential and contract sectors.

The technical characteristics of SaphirKeramik are enviable, and never cease to amaze due to the infinite range of potentialities yet to be fully explored. Qualities like extreme strength, lightness and slimness have stimulated great designers to work with SaphirKeramik, in collaboration with Laufen, in an unprecedented exploration of form with