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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more.

Virtual roundtable: Colour & personality in the bathroom

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

Read more.

Now open: Inside Ace Hotel Brooklyn

Guestroom inside Ace Hotel Brooklyn

Image credit: Ace Hotel Brooklyn

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

Read more.

Design London to make its London Design Festival debut in September

Design London

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

Read more. 

Bathroom trends: Black accessories for a touch of luxury

Bathroom black accessories

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

Read more.

Since you’re here…

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

Click here to sign up to our newsletter.

Collage of interior images of inside the Ace Hotel Brooklyn

Now open: Inside Ace Hotel Brooklyn

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Now open: Inside Ace Hotel Brooklyn

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

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

Collage of interior images of inside the Ace Hotel Brooklyn

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Guestroom inside Ace Hotel Brooklyn

Image credit: Ace Hotel Brooklyn

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

Main image credit: Ace Hotel Brooklyn

Two buildings owned by Union Investments

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

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

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

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

Two buildings owned by Union Investments

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

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

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

Main image credit: Union Investments

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

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

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

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

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

Accor announces the signing of SO/ Maldives

S/O Maldives - accor

Image credit: Accor

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

Read more. 

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

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

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

Read more.

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

Collection of 3D-printed chairs

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

Read more.

Locke opens first hotel in continental Europe

Image credit: Locke

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

Read more.

5 minutes with: Interior designer Biagio Forino

Biagio Forino Hilton Venice

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

Read more.

Trend alert: Scandi style in the bathroom

Modern scandi bathroom

Image credit: VitrA

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

Read more. 

Since you’re here…

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

Click here to sign up to our newsletter.

Locke hotel in Munich

Locke opens first hotel in continental Europe

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Locke opens first hotel in continental Europe

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

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

Locke hotel in Munich

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

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

Image credit: Locke

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

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

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

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

Image credit: Locke

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

Main image credit: Locke

S/O Maldives - accor

Accor announces the signing of SO/ Maldives

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

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

S/O Maldives - accor

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

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

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

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

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

Arrival at S/O Maldives

Image credit: Accor

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Accor

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

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

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

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

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

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

45 Park lane collage

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

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

Read more.

LXR Hotels & Resorts arrives in Seychelles

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

Image credit: Hilton Hotels

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

Read more.

Registration is now open for Independent Hotel Show 2021

The innovation stage at Independent Hotel Show

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

Read more.

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

Fiona Thompson Richmond International

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

Read more.

Sneak peek: Inside Tembo Great Plains in Zimbabwe

Image credit: Great Plains (Tembo Plains Camp)

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

Read more. 

Since you’re here…

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

Click here to sign up to our newsletter.

Main image credit: Hilton Hotels

45 Park lane collage

Checking in to experience The Spa at 45 Park Lane

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

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

45 Park lane collage

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Spa at 45 Park Lane

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: The Dorchester Collection

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are the top stories from the last few days…

Hard Rock Hotels arrives in Madrid

Render credit: Hard Rock Hotel Madrid

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

Read more.

Exclusive: Meet the designer behind London Design House

London Design House

Image credit: London Design House

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

Read more. 

Virgin Hotels to arrive in New Orleans this summer

Image credit: Virgin Hotels

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

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

Read more. 

Richmond International unveils new interiors at The Langham, Boston

luxe suite inside Langham Boston

Image credit: Langham Hotels

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

Read more.

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

Sky Pool London

Image credit: Ballymore and EcoWorld Ballymore.

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

Read more. 

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

The Brit List Awards 2021

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

Read more.

Since you’re here…

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

Click here to sign up to our newsletter.

Hard Rock Hotels arrives in Madrid

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hard Rock Hotels arrives in Madrid

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

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

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

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

Image credit: Hard Rock Hotel Madrid

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

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

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

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

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

image credit: Hard Rock Hotel Madrid

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Hard Rock Hotel Madrid

Weekly digest: The struggling generation & the latest hotel openings

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gif James Dilley and James Ingram

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

Read more.

VIP Arrivals: Hottest hotels opening in July

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

Image credit: The Tawny Hotel

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

Read more.

Marriott International opens 70th hotel in Japan

Aloft Osaka Dojima

Image credit: Marriott International

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

Read more.

Wellness in design: tips from designer Shalini Misra

Shalini Misra

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

Read more.

And finally… Fashion brand PrettyLittleThing launches UK hotel

Pool inside PrettyLittleThing Hotel

Image credit: PrettyLittleThing

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

Read more.

Since you’re here…

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

Click here to sign up to our newsletter.

Aloft Osaka Dojima

Marriott International opens 70th hotel in Japan

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

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

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

Aloft Osaka Dojima

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A sedated interior scheme inside the guestroom of the hotel

Image credit: Tokyo Edition/Marriott International

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

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

Main image credit: Marriott International

Hospitality brand edyn to launch Cove

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hospitality brand edyn to launch Cove

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image credit: Cove Paradise Street, Liverpool ONE

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

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

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

Main image credit: edyn

Pool inside PrettyLittleThing Hotel

Fashion brand PrettyLittleThing launches UK hotel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Fashion brand PrettyLittleThing launches UK hotel

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

Pool inside PrettyLittleThing Hotel

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: PrettyLittleThing

VIP Arrivals - July

VIP arrivals: Hottest hotels opening in July 2021

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

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

VIP Arrivals - July

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

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

MAALOT Roma

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

Mondrian Shoreditch London 

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

Mama Roma

Redner of restaurant in Mama Shelter in Rome

Image credit: Mama Roma

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

The Tawny Hotel, Peak District

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

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

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

Six Senses Ibiza 

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

Hyatt Regency Koh Samui

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

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

Airelles Saint-Tropez, Château de la Messardière

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

Fairmont Taghazout Bay

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

Since you’re here…

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

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

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

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

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

Meet the panel:

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

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

The Dorchester rooftop terrace

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IL: All-inclusive hotels, globally!

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

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

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

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

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

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

W Rome - Guest Room (render)

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

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

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

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

W Rome - Guest Room (render)

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

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

W Rome - Wet Deck

Image credit: W Hotels

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

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

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

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

W Rome - Giardino Clandestino

Image credit: W Hotels

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

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

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

Main image credit: W Hotels

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image credit: RPW Design/Four Seasons Hampshire

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

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

RPW Design designed The Capital Suite

Image credit: Will Pryce

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image credit: RPW Design/Smallbone Kitchens

Image credit: RPW Design/Smallbone Kitchens

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

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

Main image credit: RPW Design

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

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

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

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

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

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

On the panel:

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

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

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

Since you’re here…

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

Click here to sign up to our newsletter.

Guestroom inside Viceroy Kopaonik Serbia

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

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

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

Guestroom inside Viceroy Kopaonik Serbia

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

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

Image credit: Viceroy Hotels & Resorts

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

Suite inside Viceroy hotel in Serbia

Image credit: Viceroy Hotels & Resorts

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

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

Yellow bar inside the Viceroy hotel in Serbia

Image credit: Viceroy Hotels & Resorts

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Viceroy Hotels & Resorts

Carlyle & Co in Hong Kong

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

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

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

Carlyle & Co in Hong Kong

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

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

 The Reading Room

Image credit: Rosewood Hotel Group

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Rosewood Hotels & Resorts

The_Nobu_Penthouse_Bathroom featuring BetteStarlet Oval Silhouette bath (low res)

Case study: Supplying baths for Nobu Hotel London Portman Square

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

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

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

The_Nobu_Penthouse_Bathroom featuring BetteStarlet Oval Silhouette bath (low res)

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

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

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

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

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

Image credit: Nobu Hotel London Portman Square

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

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

Image credit: Bette

inside Hotel Indigo Warsaw

Designing Hotel Indigo Warsaw inside an antique tenement house

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

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

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

inside Hotel Indigo Warsaw

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

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

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

Image credit: Hotel Indigo

In search of tracks

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

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

Adjustment to modern functionality

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

Main image credit: Hotel Indigo/IHG

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

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

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

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

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

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

Locke Zanzibar lobby

Image credit: Locke

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

Read more.

First look: Modieus launches Makers’ Mark rug collection

Spontaneous Mark – Modieus

Image credit: Modieus

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

Read more.

Four Seasons through the eyes of designer Tara Bernerd

Image credit: Joe Thomas

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

Read more.

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

Guestroom inside the Omni hotel in Texas

Render credit: SB Architects

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

Read more.

Since you’re here…

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

Click here to sign up to our newsletter.

Locke Zanzibar guestroom

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

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

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

Locke Zanzibar guestroom

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

Brick wall in lobby in Zanzibar Locke

Image credit: Locke

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

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

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

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

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

Locke Zanzibar lobby

Image credit: Locke

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

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

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

Main image credit: Locke

Lobby Arrival

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

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

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

Lobby Arrival

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

Render of Omni PGA Frisco Resort

Image credit: SB Architects

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

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

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

Golf Villas_Ext

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

Guestroom inside the Omni hotel in Texas

Render credit: SB Architects

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

Main render credit: SB Architects

Weekly briefing 4th june

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

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

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

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

Weekly briefing 4th june

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

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

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

Accor Design Awards – and the winners are…

Overall winner: Nomadish

Overall winner: Nomadish

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

Read more.

VIP arrivals: Hottest hotels opening in June 2021

White room inside OMMA Santorini

Image credit: OMMA Santorini

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

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

Read more.

Judges have been announced for The Brit List Awards 2021

The Brit List Awards judges 2021

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

Read more.

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

Image credit: YOTEL

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

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

Read more.

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

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

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M Social arrives in New York

M Social NY terrace night view

Image credit: M Social

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

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In Conversation With: Alex Tredez on designing The Lost Poet

Image credit: The Lost Poet

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

Read more. 

Since you’re here…

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

Click here to sign up to our newsletter.

Roundtable - sleep

Virtual hotel design masterclass: The science of sleep

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

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

Roundtable - sleep

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

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

Key panelists

Also on the panel:

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

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

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

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

In terms of product design, our key principles are:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image credit: YOTEL

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

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

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

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

Image credit: Silentnight Group

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

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

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

HK: How do Silentnight test their latest products?

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

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

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

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

Image credit: RPW Design/Marriott International

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cozy bedroom

Image credit: Silentnight Group

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

VIP arrivals: Hottest April hotel openings

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
VIP arrivals: Hottest April hotel openings

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

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

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

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

Iniala Harbour House & Residences

Image of bar in curved tunnel-like structure

Image credit: Iniala Harbour House & Residences

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

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

Kalesma Mykonos

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

Image credit: Kalesma Mykonos

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

Ca’ di Dio, Venice

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

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

Mandarin Oriental Ritz, Madrid

Sophisticated deluxe room inside Mandarin Oriental Madrid

Image credit: Mandarin Oriental Ritz, Madrid

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

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

W Algarve – look out, Portugal!

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

Image credit: W Hotels

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

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

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

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

Berkeley Park Hotel, Miami 

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

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

Main image credit: Iniala Harbour House & Residences

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

Since you’re here…

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

Click here to sign up to our newsletter.

Image of luxury Marriott f&b arae

Marriott signs agreement to bring three new hotels to Saudi Arabia

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

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

Image of luxury Marriott f&b arae

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

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

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

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

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

A render of an open air suite in Seychelles

Seychelles debut for Waldorf Astoria and Canopy by Hilton

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

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

A render of an open air suite in Seychelles

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

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

Waldorf Astoria Platte Island

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

Canopy by Hilton Mahé

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

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

Since you’re here…

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

Click here to sign up to our newsletter.

Main image credit: Hilton Hotels

Outside luxury pool and spa

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

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

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

Outside luxury pool and spa

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

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

Modern and clean interiors inside Ruby Lucy

Image credit: Ruby Lucy

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

Read more.

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

Pascale Lauber & Ulrike Bauschke on steps

Image credit: Katja Brinkmann

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

Read more.

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

Image credit: Samsung/TOTO/Kholer/Care OS

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

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EXCLUSIVE // Inside flagship hospitality development at Silverstone

Villas overlooking the Silverstone Racecourse

Image credit: Escapade Living

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

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HOTEL OPENINGS // VIP arrivals in February 2021

Render of NoMad London

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

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

A blue abstract art installation

Image credit: Melia Rhodes/Elegant Clutter

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

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TRENDING // Surface trends for 2021 & beyond

Image credit: Lindsay Lauckner

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

Read more.

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

Since you’re here…

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

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Main image credit: Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa

Inside Selina Brighton, a new rough-edged boutique jewel

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

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

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

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

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

Image credit: Selina

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

Selina sign above the entrance

Image credit: Selina

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Selina

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

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In Conversation With: Penta Hotels’ new MD, Rogier Braakman

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image caption: The lounge inside Pentahotel Berlin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RB: Relaxed, positive, friendly

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

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

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

Main image credit: Penta Hotels Worldwide

Hotel Designs LIVE – what you missed

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel Designs LIVE – what you missed

The debut Hotel Designs LIVE, which took place during lockdown on June 23, broadcasted four engaging virtual seminars. Editor Hamish Kilburn and publisher Katy Phillips share the highlights…

On June 23, hundreds of leading designers, architects and hoteliers from around the world tuned in for the debut of Hotel Designs LIVE.

The new one-day virtual conference, hosted by editor Hamish Kilburn from his hometown of Whitstable in England, broadcasted live conversations with industry experts on topics such as technology, public areas, sleep and wellness. In his opening speech, Kilburn explained how the concept emerged. “Hotel Designs LIVE (sponsored by Technological Innovations Group) was born in the chaotic realms of the coronavirus crisis,” he said. “It is our way – and we believe the most meaningful method – to keep the industry connected while also keeping the conversation flowing.”

Seminar 1: technology

To kick-start the event in a spectacular fashion, Jason Bradbury made a dramatic entrance, on a hover board (we wouldn’t expect anything less). The former presenter of The Gadget Show, who has built an international career as a futurology and tech-trends corporate speaker, took the microphone to start the conference’s debut session entitled: Technology’s role in tomorrow’s hotel.

The seminar included PRODUCT WATCH pitches from Hamilton LitestatTechnological Innovations GroupNT SecurityAir Reviver and Aqualisa.

Seminar 2: public areas

Following a quick-fire interview with Technological Innovations Group, the event’s headline sponsor, and after Jason Bradbury took the mic the debut session entitled Technology’s Role in tomorrow’s hotel, Kilburn launched the first panel discussion of the day, which was entitled: Will public areas ever be the same?

Emma King (Head of Design (Europe) IHG), Alon Barronwitz (Director at Baranowitz + Kronenberg) and Geraldine Dohogne (Founder of Beyond Design) got comfortable on the virtual sofa to discuss the difficult reality of public areas post-pandemic. The main takeaways were adapting as designers to meet modern consumer demands to create flexible and clean spaces, while embedding discreet technology to enhance the guest experience. The panel also discussed the need for intuitive public areas for ‘bleisure’ guests.

Stylo Graphics, which sponsored the session, asked the panel whether they have managed to implement directional signage controls and physical distancing measures to safeguard guest and staff wellbeing whilst maintaining great guest experience. King responded: “We have adjusted layouts of public areas and included social distancing measures in our hotels. To do this effectively, we have ensured that the colours and styles we have used are in keeping with our brand standards.”

The seminar included PRODUCT WATCH pitches from Inspired By Design and Falcon Contract Flooring.

Seminar 3: sleep

Up next, steering the conversation away from the pandemic, Kilburn focuses the editorial lens on sleep with a session entitled: Designing the guestroom to evoke a better night’s sleep, which was sponsored by Silentnight Group.

In order to explore this area of the hotel experience, he welcomed Darija Aziz, the in-house designer for Zedwell Hotels, to discuss one particular project that centres its entire model around sleep performance; Zedwell Piccadilly.

Zedwell has been designed with sleep at its core but also to promote health and wellbeing in every form,” Aziz explained. “Rooms were designed to eliminate clutter and remove anxiety, hence no TV or complicated controls. Interestingly, all the guestrooms have no windows in order to eliminate central London noise and bright lights.”

Adding context to the conversation, and bringing technology back into the discussion, Kilburn welcomes sound architect Tom Middleton into the seminar who explained that technology generically exposes the wrong frequency, and the fact that influences such a circadian rhythm needs to be more considered when designing the guestroom to evoke sleep performance.

The seminar included PRODUCT WATCH pitches from Silentnight Group, Atlas Concorde and Franklite.

Seminar 4: wellness

To aptly conclude the series of seminars, Kilburn hosted the session entitled: The future of wellness post-pandemic, and shared the screen with Beverley Bayes (Director of Sparcstudio), Michael Lahm (Vice President and COO of TLEE Spa and Ivaylo Lefterov (Hotel Development Director at Miris), which is the developer behind Svart, the world’s first ‘energy positive’ hotel.

As well as looking at hygiene, the panel discussed the demand for biophilic design, Covid-19 friendly materials such as copper and pushing the limits of wellness. In addition, injecting personalisation (and bespoke elements) in design and service.

Short-term, the pandemic has put a question mark on F&B in spa areas, but the general thoughts of the day were that healthy cuisine was a link that connects wellness and wellbeing.

When asked what each of the panelists look for in a spa experience, the general consensus was a meaningful treatment and seamless execution and experiences within the spa that balance indoor and outdoor spaces.

The seminar included an insightful PRODUCT WATCH pitch from hansgrohe.

Following the success of the inaugural virtual conference, Hotel Designs LIVE is back for a second edition, which will take place on October 13. The themes selected for the next event will include the evolution of discreet technology in hotel design, sustainability in design and architecture, reassuring the hotel consumer post-pandemic and adding personality in public areas.

Tickets for Hotel Designs LIVE will be available shortly. To discuss sponsorship opportunities for any of the sessions above, please contact Katy Phillips or call +44 (0) 1992 374050.

#HotelDesignsLIVE

Mandarin Oriental to arrive in Vienna in 2023

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Mandarin Oriental to arrive in Vienna in 2023

Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group has announced that it will manage a luxury hotel and branded residences in Vienna, Austria that is scheduled to open in late 2023…

Mandarin Oriental, Vienna will be housed in a heritage building that originally served as the city’s commercial law court from 1912 to 2003.

Mandarin Oriental, Vienna is located in a peaceful street in District One of Vienna within the Ringstrasse. It is in easy walking distance of the city’s major attractions, including St. Stephen’s Cathedral, the Imperial Palace, Vienna State Opera and a wide range of restaurants and bars.

“On completion, the hotel will comprise 151 guestrooms and suites.”

The conversion of the property is already underway, and the restoration will preserve many of the building’s original design elements. On completion, the hotel will comprise 151 guestrooms and suites surrounding a courtyard in the centre of the property, incorporating a restaurant, bar and outdoor garden. The property will also house a Spa at Mandarin Oriental featuring a series of treatment rooms, a swimming pool and a well-equipped fitness centre. A range of adaptable banqueting and meeting spaces will be available for events and social occasions.

The 17 Residences at Mandarin Oriental will be located on the top two floors of the building and will have private access to the roof, with several of the apartments offering outdoor terraces and stunning citywide views. These will be some of the most exclusive apartments in the city, with owners enjoying Mandarin Oriental’s legendary service and direct access to the hotel’s facilities.

“We look forward to extending the Group’s presence into one of Europe’s most popular destinations for art, music and culture and introducing the city to Mandarin Oriental’s exemplary quality of service,” said James Riley, Group Chief Executive of Mandarin Oriental. “This iconic redevelopment of a historic building in a prime location, will offer guests a truly memorable experience, and fits ideally within the Group’s increasing portfolio of central European hotels.”

The project is owned by Brisen Group, headquartered in Geneva and operating in the European real estate investment and wealth management sectors. London based designers, Goddard Littlefair, which recently completed Villa Copenhagen, have been appointed to create the hotel and residences interiors.

“We are delighted to partner with Mandarin Oriental, one of the world’s best luxury hotel brands, on this project. Mandarin Oriental’s reputation for providing an unparalleled level of luxury service and attention to detail, matches our own wish to create an exceptional luxury hotel and residences in the heart of Vienna,” said Mr Dimitry Vallen of Brisen Group.

Main image credit: Mandarin Oriental

Hyatt to expand Alila Brand in Americas

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hyatt to expand Alila Brand in Americas

Expected to open in early 2021, Alila Marea Beach Resort Encinitas will become the brand’s debut new-build resort and will shelter innovative eco-design and authentic destination experiences…

Hyatt has announced plans for the first new-build Alila resort in the Americas, which will be located in Encinitas, Calif., a quintessential beach town in San Diego’s North County Coastal region.

Alila Marea Beach Resort Encinitas is being designed by San Diego-based Joseph Wong Design Associates with interior design by Mark Zeff Associates. Developed by JMI Realty and Fenway Capital Advisors, the hotel will add to Hyatt’s growing Alila brand portfolio, joining Ventana Big Sur, an Alila Resort, as the brand’s second hotel in California and the U.S., along with 14 other luxury properties worldwide.

“We are thrilled to announce the development of the first new-build Alila resort in the Americas, marking a significant milestone for Hyatt,” said Susan Santiago, Global Head of Lifestyle and Miraval Operations at Hyatt. “The Alila brand has long been a leader in crafted luxury and responsible tourism, and Alila Marea Beach Resort Encinitas will embody that same ethos when it debuts in Southern California.”

Situated along coastal bluffs and overlooking Grandview and South Ponto Beaches, Alila Marea Beach Resort Encinitas will be a luxury oceanfront hotel with 130 guestrooms, including 16 suites. The resort will offer an ocean-view restaurant with rooftop patio, a pool with pool bar and an infinity-edge hot tub, a luxury Spa Alila and spectacular wedding and events venues, all with panoramic Pacific Ocean and lagoon views.

The hotel will seamlessly blend into the bluffs with natural building materials and native plants, delivering on the brand’s reputation of innovative eco-design. With the hotel’s namesake, “Marea,” meaning “tide” in Italian and Spanish, the resort will provide a distinctly Southern California feel, with bespoke experiences inspired by the area’s natural landscape, as well as its vibrant surf and beach culture.

Main image credit: Hyatt/Alila

Inside IHG’s debut Hotel Indigo property in Cyprus

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Inside IHG’s debut Hotel Indigo property in Cyprus

The 40-key Hotel Indigo Larnaca marks IHG Hotels & Resorts first Hotel Indigo and the second IHG property in Cyprus…

Days after announcing its arrival in Verona, IHG Hotels & Resorts opens Hotel Indigo Larnaca, which is the first and only Hotel Indigo in Cyprus. 

Each of the hotel’s 40 guestrooms are all uniquely designed and inspired by Cyprus’s craft heritage with balconies overlooking the picturesque city of Larnaca. Just a five-minute drive from the airport, the hotel is centrally located in one of Larnaca’s most historic areas, near the church of St. Lazarus and close to Finikoudes and Mackenzie beaches.

Image credit: Hotel Indigo

Within walking distance to the beach, the hotel combined two traditional Cypriot beach homes into a new hotel, marrying design elements from both old and new. The guestrooms have a modern yet contemporary feel by merging raw concrete with locally – made, brightly – coloured traditional textiles and light wooden furnishings. The en-suite bathrooms have spa-like rain showers, with brushed concrete flooring and original Cypriot tiling. All the balconies are fitted with traditional Mediterranean yellow shutters, reminiscent of old Cyprus, and mimicking the sunset amongst the surrounding mountains.

Hotel Indigo Larnaca also offers a stunning rooftop pool and Kampana Pool Bar with breathtaking views of the sea. The regionally inspired onsite restaurant, Avli, and the Oinotelia wine bar, are conveniently situated on the ground floor and are a destination for locals, tourists, and guests.

Image credit: Hotel Indigo

Mr. Savvas Kakos, President and CEO of Quality Group, said: “At Quality Group we are extremely happy and proud to welcome one of the most renowned hotel groups to the city of Larnaca. Unique and intriguing by definition, and one of the world’s largest boutique brands, Hotel Indigo is now part of the wider area of Saint Lazarus and a perfect addition to the heart of the city. On behalf of Quality Group, I convey my strong faith and certainty that this brand-new and organic collaboration with IHG and Hotel Indigo will leave its mark on the hotel industry in Cyprus.”

Inspired by the neighbourhood around each property, just as no places are alike, no two Hotel Indigo properties are the same. Each Hotel Indigo property features thoughtful design touches and vibrant restaurants and bars connected to the spirit of the local neighbourhood. Hotel Indigo Larnaca takes in the rich history of the Agios Lazaros area and is ideal for romantic getaways and caters to the most seasoned traveller. 

Hotel Indigo Larnaca will operate under the international agreement between IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group), one of the largest hotel groups in the world, Sunnyseeker Hospitality which is the fastest growing hotel management company and Quality Group, one of the largest companies of land development and investment on the island.

There are currently 119 Hotel Indigo properties open globally including the recently opened Hotel Indigo Verona – Grand Hotel Des Arts, with another 104 in the pipeline to open in the next three to five years. 

Main image credit: Hotel Indigo/IHG

IN PICTURES: Sneak peek of Four Seasons Hotel Madrid

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
IN PICTURES: Sneak peek of Four Seasons Hotel Madrid

Opening this September, after being on the drawing boards for nearly a decade, Four Seasons Hotel Madrid has been designed in collaboration between designers from BAMO, BG Architecture, Martin Brudnizki Design Studio, AvroKO and Luis Bustamante…

After a seven-year reconceptualisation and meticulous restoration of a collection of seven historic buildings, the new Four Seasons Hotel Madrid will open September 15, 2020.

With a soaring grand lobby welcoming guests at its heart, the hotel is located within Madrid’s Centro Canalejas, also home to 22 Four Seasons Private Residences and the Galería Canalejas luxury shopping centre. Architects Estudio Lamela led the restoration, preserving more than 3,700 artefacts throughout. Inside, interiors are by an international team of designers including BAMO, BG Architecture, Martin Brudnizki Design Studio, AvroKO and Luis Bustamante.

Exterior of the hotel

Image credit: Four Seasons Hotel Madrid

“It’s truly been a labour of passion and love as these beautiful buildings transform into a fantastic setting for a new chapter in their histories,” says Christoph Schmidinger, Four Seasons Regional Vice President and the Hotel’s General Manager. “Our owner partners OHL Desarrollos and Mohari Hospitality, and our all-star team of artisans, culinarians and hoteliers, share our vision for offering a very personalised Four Seasons experience in a truly extraordinary setting.”

In a city that is ever changing but always welcoming, visitors will discover something new with every return visit. Four Seasons is just steps from Kilómetro Cerothe central point from which all distances in Spain are measured. In this truly pedestrian-friendly city, most of the main points of interest are within a 20-minute walk, including the 125 hectare (300 acre) Retiro Park with its incredible Glass Palace and endless pathways amid trees, fountains and ponds. Three of the world’s best museums – the Prado, the Thyssen-Bornemisza and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía – form a Golden Triangle in the neighbourhood around Four Seasons.

Luxe, eclectic interiors to reference Madrid's vibrancy in public area

Image credit: Four Seasons Hotel Madrid

Spanish celebrity Chef Dani Garcia will unveil Dani, a new dining concept from the three Michelin-starred chef, with an unmatched rooftop setting envisioned by acclaimed London and New York-based designer Martin Brudnizki. Expect a bright and vivid brasserie with a sophisticated touch, where guests will savour Andalusian cuisine and panoramic views throughout the day and evening, both in the spacious indoors and out in the sunshine on the terrace.

Image credit: Four Seasons Hotel Madrid

Isa, a gastrobar located on the first floor, will continue to move forward the tapas trend that began in Spain, adding modern Asian flavours paired with cutting-edge cocktails in a space created by global design studio AvroKO.  Adjacent to the Hotel’s lobby, El Patio also invites relaxed drinks and dining.

Image credit: Four Seasons Hotel Madrid

The hotel will shelter 200 guestrooms and suites – among them an exceptional triangular Royal Suite with double-height ceilings and numerous historic details.

Staircase in Four Seasons Madrid

Image credit: Four Seasons Hotel Madrid

Elsewhere, the luxury property will also boast the largest spa in the city, offering eight treatment rooms plus a salon and 24/7 fitness centre. It will also offer more than 1,400 square metres (15,400 square feet) of flexible function spaces – including the glamorous oval-shaped Sol Ballroom – can accommodate both business meetings and social events.

Main image credit: Four Seasons Hotel Madrid

Hotel Indigo arrives in Verona

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel Indigo arrives in Verona

The 62-key property has stood as one of the most prestigious hotels in Verona for years, and was reopened following an exciting redesign under the Hotel Indigo brand…

IHG’s Hotel Indigo brand currently has 119 properties open globally, and a further 104 in the pipeline. It’s latest unveiling, following a tense lockdown period for the entire industry, is located in the heart of Verona, Italy, a destination that continues to attract travellers from around the world with its links to Shakesphere’s Romeo and Juliet.  

With 62 uniquely designed rooms, Hotel Indigo Verona – Grand Hotel Des Arts draws inspiration from the city’s passion of preserving history. With headboards throughout the bedrooms mimicking the beautifully preserved fresco paintings in the city, and the back panelling in the lobby that plays to the garden of Romeo and Juliet, guests will be able to find nods to the surrounding neighbourhood in the hotel’s design. Red marble native to Verona (Marmo rosso di Verona) throughout the public areas creates an elevated feel of a grand Italian residence – inspired by the most famous love story ever told. Hotel Indigo Verona – Grand Hotel Des Arts is a beautiful tribute to the city it calls home. 

Right when you enter, the reception area combines two elements that characterise the city: The Arena and the Shakespeare theatre. The architecture draws inspiration from the theatrical facades, its draperies, the arches of the Arena, and Juliet’s terrace. The Arena in Verona is a Roman amphitheatre built in the 1st century and is one of the best conserved amphitheatres in Italy. Made up of 44 levels holding up to 22,000 spectators, it is still used today and is internationally famous for hosting some of the world’s most spectacular large-scale opera performances.

“We are very proud to announce the renovation and reopening of Hotel Indigo Verona – Grand Hotel Des Arts, thanks to our affiliation with IHG and the Hotel Indigo brand of boutique hotels in the chain, commented Luca Boccato, CEO of HNH Hospitality Group. “This new opening joins art, culture and comfort at a top level and is the perfect destination for both Italian and international tourists, thanks to the attractions in Verona. In a difficult moment for our sector, we look toward the future with faith, confident that a good project in such an important location will be a success.”

Image credit: IHG/Hotel Indigo

Perhaps the quirkiest Shakespearean touch is the meeting rooms named after the duelling families in Romeo and Juliet, Montechhi, and Capuleti. The event spaces are easily adjustable for different uses – conferences and small functions. The hotel also has an onsite bar, Arya Bar & Mixology, with a selection of locally inspired cocktails and nibbles, perfect for guests to have an aperitif and relax after a day exploring the neighbourhood.

Eric Viale, Managing Director, Southern Europe, IHG, added: “With its iconic architecture and historical charm, Verona is the perfect neighbourhood for Hotel Indigo’s unique design and distinctive guest experience. Hotel Indigo Verona – Grand Hotel Des Arts is the fourth location for the brand in Italy, signalling significant interest in boutique, design-led hotels in the region. Partnering once more with HNH Hospitality, we look forward to being part of the tourism recovery in Italy and welcoming guests from across the country and beyond.” 

Image credit: IHG/Hotel Indigo

Inspired by the neighbourhood around each property, just as no places are alike, no two Hotel Indigo properties are the same. Each Hotel Indigo property features thoughtful design touches and vibrant restaurants and bars connected to the spirit of the local neighbourhood.

Main image credit: IHG/Hotel Indigo

In (Lockdown) Conversation With: Dean Winter, Managing Director, Swire Hotels

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In (Lockdown) Conversation With: Dean Winter, Managing Director, Swire Hotels

Following his recent appointment as Managing Director of Swire Hotels, Dean Winter sits down (virtually) with editor Hamish Kilburn to explain the brand’s change of direction…

Swire Hotels, which shelters luxury and lifestyle brands The House Collective and EAST, has recently announced a new Managing Director.

Dean Winter, who first started working with the hotel group in 2006, has more than 25 years’ experience as a hotelier and restaurateur in destinations such as London, Hong Kong and Singapore. Taking over from Toby Smith, who will now sit as Deputy Chairman for the group, Winter’s new role is part of a wider internal restructuring of management for the group with the aim to continue to inspire teams across the brands.

Following his appointment, I caught up with winter.

Hamish Kilburn: Dean, congratulations on your new role! What are you most looking forward to as Managing Director at Swire Hotels?

Dean Winter: People are central to what we do at Swire Hotels – both our guests and our dedicated team members – and their personal satisfaction is a main priority for me. By training our team and then empowering them to make decisions, we enable them to exceed expectations and build personal relationships with guests and other team members.

This dedication to service is core to our ethos at The House Collective and EAST, Hotels and I couldn’t be more excited to continue to support the people and guide the beliefs of a company that I’ve been part of for over a decade.

woman walking down modern staircase

Image credit: The Middle House, Shanghai

HK: How much does the design of the hotel affect the guest experience of Swire Hotels?

DW: Design lies at the heart of Swire Hotels and its brands. First impressions matter to our guests. When you walk into a hotel, its interior design can affect the way you feel and can influence your mood.

Each hotel within The House Collective all have their own identity, which boast some of the best design signatures in the industry. For example, behind The Opposite House’s unique design as an art gallery-inspired hotel there is visionary architect Kengo Kuma, who made our hotel one of Beijing’s hottest spots to visit.

HK: What are the key characteristic differences between Swire Hotels’ brands, The House Collective and EAST?

DW: All our hotels provide an extremely personalised service with each guest treated as a valued individual. The House Collective is all about design-led homes away from home, each with its own identity rooted in the destination, and a spirited, cultural soul. EAST is adapted to the new business traveller experience in destinations like Hong Kong, Beijing and Miami, blurring the line between business and leisure and enabling authentic experiences through art and design. At EAST, creating spaces that effectively accommodate guests at various points of life or of their day is also and important element. Examples of this would be the Domain spaces at our EAST hotels which function as cafés, meeting spaces, co-working zones and early evening bars; Sugar the rooftop bar is a popular nightspot for guests as well as locals and BEAST with well equipped gym, pool and wellness programmes helps keep our guest fit.

HK: Can you give us an overview of Swire Hotels’ commitment to sustainability?

DW: Swire Hotels is committed to making a positive impact on the environment and in order to manifest this change, we start from our people. What we envision is creating a healthy ecosystem of people who embody our values and care about our impact on the environment. We’re always looking to create meaningful initiative across our properties focusing on reducing water wastage, energy savings and better waste management. Some of these initiatives include removal of single-use packaging, amenities made of recyclable or biodegradable materials, paperless check-in and at EAST Miami, we have a smart pump that regulates water pressure throughout the hotel in order to reduce water usage. We are determined to find new ways to improve the sustainability of our properties, for our guests and the community around us. This way, we can continue delivering wonderful experiences not just for right now, but for many years to come.

“We have been taking advantage to accelerate some planned projects for both in terms of rooms and restaurants enhancements or systems development.” – Dean Winter, Managing Director, Swire Hotels

HK: What does 2021 look like for Swire Hotels?

DW: Overall I think everyone will have a more positive attitude towards travelling given how 2020 has unfolded. This year we’re celebrating the 10th Anniversary of EAST Hong Kong with new packages available to book directly from the hotel’s website and The Opposite House exciting new relaunch with the completion of an extensive renovation of the restaurant and bar spaces will have the celebration continue into the new year.

During the recent downtime, we have been taking advantage to accelerate some planned projects for both in terms of rooms and restaurants enhancements or systems development. So there will be more new spaces to reveal in 2021. We have also embarked on an expansion plan to grow both our brands, The House Collective and EAST, through management contracts throughout Asia Pacific and hope to have some announcement in 2021.

HK: Are you able to give us an insight into any new openings?

DW: We do have some evolving plans for new restaurant spaces next year. I’m excited by these opportunities and how we can continue to demonstrate our creativity on what is a core competency for the group.

QUICK-FIRE ROUND

HK: Where’s next on your travel bucket list?
DW:
Montenegro; I’m facinated by the history and the architecture. Followed by a drive along The Adriatic; ideally in a classic sports car!

HK: What’s one item you cannot travel without? 
DW: A great novel!

HK: Can you describe the Swire Hotels ethos in three words?
DW: Innovation, design, people.

HK: How have Swire Hotels and its two brands been preparing to welcome guests back following the health crisis?

DW: The relationship between The House Collective and EAST, Hotels and our guests have always been centred around trust – we are dedicated to providing the best for our guests, and will continue to uphold our standard of service moving forward from this pandemic. We have already been hosting guests from neighbouring cities to our destinations and are looking forward to welcoming guests from all over the world again. We have introduced various prevention and control measures since the very beginning of the health crisis, such as temperature and travel history checks for all guests upon arrival including our staff members, increased frequency of deep cleaning as well as preparing care kits for our guests with hygiene wet wipes, hand sanitiser and face masks.

Main image credit: Swire Hotels

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: ‘Togetherness’ is the new luxury post-pandemic

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INDUSTRY INSIGHT: ‘Togetherness’ is the new luxury post-pandemic

‘Togetherness’ is a new phrase emerging as self-contained serviced apartments are in high demand as old friends and extended family seek to reconnect as lockdown eases…

As travel restrictions begin to relax, serviced apartment brands have seen a spike in bookings as the demand for self-contained apartment hotels increases. As a result, a new trend is starting to emerge: “togetherness”, which is being seen as the new luxury.

One of these brands that are seeing their bookings rise in the wake of the pandemic is SKYE Suites, developed by Crown Group. The group’s Chief Operating Officer, Pierre Abrahamse said the emergence of the “togetherness as the new luxury” trend would replace the focus on experiential travel that had prevailed in the luxury hotel market over the past decade. “Togetherness is emerging as the biggest trend for 2020 and beyond,” he said. “People want to reconnect with those they have been separated from for the past few months and hotels are responding.

“Guests are calling to ask can they book co-joining apartments so that they can enjoy a holiday with their kids and the grandparents in the one place, or so they can have friends who live in regional areas finally able to join them in the city for restaurant or gallery outings,” he said.

Image credit: SKY Suites

SKYE Suites offer spacious one-bedroom and two-bedroom hotel apartments sized from 43sqm to 80sqm, in Sydney, Green Square and Parramatta, each with open-air balconies or courtyards to take in fresh air. Guests can do their own cooking and washing with SMEG appliances and Vittoria or Nespresso coffee machines, or head out to the array of restaurants that have opened their doors again in the city.

There are ‘virtual concierge’ tablets in each suite for guests to access hotel services. Guests can also catch a movie or watch Netflix by streaming their own content to huge in-room TV screens. Sleeping Duck bedding allows them to choose mattress firmness on each side of the bed.

SKYE Suites opened its third hotel above Green Square train station in April 2020, which offers 90 luxurious apartments in a precinct designed by globally renowned Koichi Takada Architects and offering 18 retail and dining offerings including Butcher & The Farmer, Nam2 pho, Bashan noodles, KFC, McDonalds and Gong Cha bubble tea.

Image credit: SKY Suites

The SKYE SUITES brand first launched in August 2017 with the opening of the stunning SKYE Suites Parramatta, part of a mixed-use residential, retail and hotel development, V by Crown Group.

The building was designed by Allen Jack + Cottier and Koichi Takada Architects and Crown Group’s signature resort facilities including a beautiful outdoor pool area, well-equipped gym and expansive foyer.

The second SKYE Suites opened in October 2018 as part of the stunning Arc by Crown Group residential tower at 300 Kent St. This luxe and inviting enclave in the heart of the city was also designed by Koichi Takada Architects whose “ice cave” themed lobby and lap pool have become one of Sydney’s most Instagrammed spaces.

The building has become known for its eye-catching brickwork and glass and steel towers that soar dramatically into the city skyline. It has 73 plush and inviting hotel apartments.

The Sydney and Parramatta hotels have earned accolades at the HM Awards two years running, for Best Serviced Apartment Property and Best Tech Hotel.  

Main image credit: SKY Suites

It’s a hat-trick! Ruby Hotels announces third hotel in London

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
It’s a hat-trick! Ruby Hotels announces third hotel in London

Ruby Hotels, which only recently entered into the UK hospitality market, has announced that it will open a 173-key property in London’s Notting Hill area in 2023…

Just months after making its London debut with the launch of Ruby Lucy on London’s Southbank, and while construction is underway to open a 153-key hotel in Clerkenwell next year, Ruby Hotels has announced that its third property in London will be based in Notting Hill.

Ruby Zoe, which is being built in conjunction with UK investor and developer Frogmore, will shelter 173 rooms.

Led by founder and CEO Michael Struck, Ruby Hotels has set its sights on further international expansion with a third hotel planned for London. The new-build, 173-bed property will be in the heart of colourful Notting Hill and will include a spacious street-front public area combining retail and hotel elements.

“Based on the model of modern luxury yachts, we accommodate our luxury in a relatively small area and simply leave out the unimportant,” explains Struck. “We also organise ourselves using our own technical solutions in a very different way to the rest of the industry. We plan and build in a modular way, centralise more, and automate consistently behind the scenes. As well as helping us to make a luxurious and unique hotel experience affordable for our guests, this approach gives us a leaner and more adaptable cost structure and means lower risks for our real estate partners. This combination of advantages helps us especially in these unpredictable times.”

After the successful opening of Ruby Lucy on the South Bank earlier this year and Ruby Stella set to open in 2022 in Clerkenwell, expanding to the west of the city is the next logical step for Ruby in the thriving London hotel market.

Jo Allen, Chief Executive of Frogmore commented: “We are delighted to have secured Ruby Hotels as an occupier on our Notting Hill Gate Estate. When we asked Gerard Nolan and Partners to market the hotel opportunity in our West Block we received 13 bids from 10 different hotel operators. We really love Ruby’s approach and vision for the project which we believe will complement the area. The Ruby Team have been fabulous to work with, have convincing development and construction competence together with the financial resources to deliver something special which I hope will be enjoyed by many.”

Ruby Zoe follows Ruby Group’s 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.

Main image credit: Ruby Hotels

In (Lockdown) Conversation With: Design legend Jean-Michel Gathy

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In (Lockdown) Conversation With: Design legend Jean-Michel Gathy

If the renders on the boards are anything to go by, Jean-Michel Gathy, who is widely considered as one of the industry’s finest, has embarked on one of his most ambitious hospitality projects to date, to design Amaala Island. Editor Hamish Kilburn learns more…

There is not a hotel designer or architect alive today who has not heard of the name Jean-Michel Gathy, and for good reason. The creative mastermind, who doesn’t just design but more reinvents hotel experiences, has been repainting the backdrop of luxury for what is coming up to three decades.

Not shy of his ambition – he once stated that he wanted to be the first person to design a hotel on the moon – Gathy’s approach to a project is all-encompassing, allowing him to further push (and at times break through) conventional barriers.

Arrival experience, luxury

Image credit: Capella Sanya, designed by Jean-Michel Gathy/Denniston

His latest project, Amaala Island will be an ultra luxury resort destination spanning three sites, a first for the region of Saudi Arabia. Designed to evolve and elevate the very best in travel, the island is an ultra-luxury destination that focuses on curating transformative personal journeys inspired by arts, wellness and the purity of the Red Sea.

To find out more about the project, and in homage to the designer’s award-winning career, I managed to speak to the architect/designer.

Hamish Kilburn: Jean-Michel, how will the ultra-luxe Amaala Island – aka the “Diamond of the Red Sea” – challenge conventional island developments?

Jean-Michel Gathy: The development of ‘The Island’ will be an immersive and interactive art-inspired jewel. Its lifestyle components, its landscaping, the museums, and art installations together with the art community will transform this island into the “Diamond of the Red Sea”. It will feature many different venues for permanent installations or temporary exhibitions and artistic performances. The graphic layout of its spine will be distinctive from the air and will be recognised internationally as an iconic landmark. The project features all elements programmed and reflects the areas, numbers and facilities. This is truly unique, nothing like it has ever been planned before.

“It’s not a matter of a specific place; it is the fact that when you travel, your mind is continually challenged by the happenings around you.” – Jean-Michel Gathy

HK: How does your approach differ when designing a destination from you’re designing a hotel?

JMG: Constant travel is a huge part of the job. It allows me to observe and to be constantly inquisitive about my surroundings. Travelling builds a subconscious library of ideas, which are expressed in my work and helps my ideas remain innovative and fresh. It’s not a matter of a specific place; it is the fact that when you travel, your mind is continually challenged by the happenings around you. It’s not about where you travel, either – what counts is that you explore. No matter where you are, every country has something new to offer in terms of inspiration.

Luxury spa area that frames unspoilt view through rustic blinds

Image credit: Image credit: The Chedi Muscat, Oman, designed by Jean-Michel Gathy/Denniston

HK: What have been some of your design highlights in your career?

JMG: Perhaps the one for which I am most renowned is the overwater hammocks or ‘basking nets’, which I initiated in the Maldives at the One&Only Reethi Rah in 2000. Until then, you would find balustrades around the terraces of villas. I decided to alter that – if anyone was going to fall off the terrace, they could fall on to the nets. And I put scatter cushions on them.

Image credit: One&Only Reethi Rah Maldives, designed by Jean-Michel Gathy/Denniston

Today, just about every hotel uses this idea. Another pioneering step was turning standalone tents for safari-style camps into a commodity. The accommodation at these hotels used to be basic but this started to change after I designed luxurious tents for the Amanwana in 1990. I am also known for my oversized, dramatic swimming pools such as the one on the roof of Marina Bay Sands in Singapore.

Large, oversized swimming pool

Image credit: The Setai Miami, designed by Jean-Michel Gathy/Denniston

QUICK-FIRE ROUND

HK: What has been the most demanding request you have received from a client to date?

JMG: I guess I take every client that I work with as a challenge more than a demanding request.

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

JMG: I would love to travel to Iceland to see its rugged landscapes, glaciers, rough seas, hot springs and volcanoes. I’d also like to visit the south of Chile and the peninsula of Kamchatka in Russia, which has extraordinary wildlife and endless forests.

HK: What’s your biggest indulgence when travelling?

JMG: Collecting art – I like to collect and invest in local artwork whilst on my travels.

HK: What lesson would you teach to your younger self?

JMG: The pathway to success is never easy, it takes hard work, dedication and passion.

HK: If you could design a hotel anywhere in the world, where would it be?

JMG: I’d love to design a hotel in Antarctica. There’s an ice hotel in Sweden, but that’s only open four months a year, so I want to do one that permanently remains ice.

HK: What’s been your favourite year on the international design scene?

JMG: To be honest, every year working with my team at Denniston has been and is special to me.

HK: What’s one item you cannot travel without?

JMG: I travel light, but I always ensure I have a cashmere scarf for the plane, and a sweater (I’m a big cashmere fan). I also travel with my camera, a Canon EOS 5D Mark III.

“The hotels where you arrive and lay on the beach and do nothing have progressively disappeared.” – Jean-Michel Gathy.

HK: How is the perception of luxury changing – and how is this evolving the way in which you create spaces in the luxury arena?

JMG: Before, hotels were just a place where you go and relax. Today, guests are connected: they want spas, they want food and beverage, they want activities, they want things to do. The hotels where you arrive and lay on the beach and do nothing have progressively disappeared, because life is such that people have become more and more active. I think luxury property clients are now asking for more than simply great rooms. They want retail facilities, a cinema, an extraordinary spa, award-winning F&B offerings and outdoor activities all integrated into the hotel.

“In terms of reliability, price strategy, and brand positioning, Toyota is a fantastic commercial car – but I prefer a Bentley.” – Jean-Michel Gathy.

HK: What’s the value of having designers and architects in your practice?

JMG: There are many good architects, but we have a specific niche. I’m going to compare us to branding: thousands of people buy Toyotas, but few people buy Bentleys. I believe that we are more Bentley than Toyota. This doesn’t mean that a Toyota is not a good car. In terms of reliability, price strategy, and brand positioning, Toyota is a fantastic commercial car – but I prefer a Bentley. Designers are the same; many prefer commercial projects and properties, because their interest is financial. They just want to make money, which means they’re not romantic about their projects. Then you have other designers, which is where I belong, who are more interested in the success of the project, the excitement of the journey of designing a hotel, and having the pride of making something fantastic, even though you earn less money.

Restaurant overlooking ocean in the Maldives

Image credit: One&Only Maldives, designed by Jean-Michel Gathy/Denniston

HK: Has the way in which you source inspiration changed over the years?

JMG: I’m someone who designs from the heart so my style is one that’s charismatic. It’s not an ego trip like the architects who design for themselves. I design elements that are a composition of dramatic effect; I create large and dramatic space, in opposition to intimate areas, so the space is always dynamic. Secondly, I design for the sensation you get out of it. I want every space in the hotel to be comfortable and for my clients to come back and say, I like this space. Sometimes they don’t know why they like it, but if they walk in and feel good, I know I’ve succeeded.

And succeeded Gathy has in widening the path of innovative hotel experiences in far-flung destinations around the world. While his past hotel projects have firmly etched his name into the architecture, design and luxury hospitality history books, his latest ideas and concepts that are currently on the boards highlight Gathy and Denniston’s ambitions. Inspired by his worldly perspective of design and architecture, I believe that Gathy’s aspiration is yet to peak as he continues to think big with the future landscape of luxury international hotel design patiently waiting in his sketchbook for its cue to emerge.

Main image credit: Jean-Michel Gathy/Denniston

Europe’s hotel construction pipeline continues to expand despite pandemic

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Europe’s hotel construction pipeline continues to expand despite pandemic

Analysts at Lodging Econometrics (LE) report that at the close of the first quarter of 2020, Europe’s hotel construction pipeline expanded to near-record highs with 1,840 projects and 294,047 rooms, a 10 per cent increase in projects and a 15 per cent increase in rooms, year-over-year (YOY)…

Projects under construction in Europe stand at 878 projects, with an all-time high of 142,185 rooms; while projects scheduled to start construction in the next 12 months stand at 522 projects with a record-high 82,229 rooms. Projects in the early planning stage have 440 projects/69,633 rooms; up significantly at 27 per cent and 44 per cent respectively, YOY. During the first quarter of 2020, Europe opened 84 new hotels with 10,469 rooms.

The United Kingdom leads the construction pipeline with 342 projects with an all-time high of 52,231 rooms, and then Germany with 323 projects/58,935 rooms. France follows with 172 projects/21,070 rooms. Next is Portugal with 120 projects and a record 13,049 rooms and then Poland with 92 projects/14,529 rooms. 

The cities in Europe with the largest pipelines are London with 96 projects and an all-time high 18,055 rooms, Dusseldorf at 58 projects/11,290 rooms, and Paris at 39 projects/6,108 rooms. Next is Hamburg, with 34 projects/7,294 rooms and then Lisbon with 33 projects/3,116 rooms. 

Accor Hotels is the leading franchise company with the largest European pipeline by projects with 238 projects/32,763 rooms; followed closely by Marriott International, with 227 projects/37,764 rooms. Hilton Worldwide is next with an all-time high of 195 projects/30,289 rooms, then InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) with 160 projects/25,632 rooms. These four global franchise companies account for 45 per cent of all projects in Europe’s pipeline.

The leading brands for these four companies are Accor Hotel’s Ibis brands with 108 projects/13,779 rooms and then Novotel and Mercure Hotels with 25 projects/3,890 rooms and 25 projects/3,177 rooms, respectively. Marriott International’s top brands are Moxy with 75 projects/13,386 rooms, Courtyard by Marriott has 28 projects/4,892 rooms, and Autograph Collection with 20 projects, and an all-time high 1,909 rooms.

Hilton Worldwide is led by Hampton by Hilton at an all-time high of 81 projects/ 12,736 rooms, Hilton Garden Inn with 42 projects/7,093 rooms, and DoubleTree by Hilton with an all-time high 28 projects having 3,354 rooms. IHG’s top brands include Holiday Inn Express with 70 projects/10,844 rooms, Holiday Inn with 31 projects/7,196 rooms, and Hotel Indigo with 16 projects/1,661 rooms.

Similar to other pipelines around the world, Europe’s hotel construction pipeline is experiencing temporary delays of approximately two to four months. Hotel construction across the region varies by country; some countries have resumed construction while others are still waiting for guidance on precautionary measures, guidelines and start dates. 

Countries across Europe are working on plans to safely reopen existing hotels, with plans varying by country. Some countries have partially reopened under strict guidelines, while others plan to roll out “phased reopenings” through June and into July. 

Main image credit: Pixabay

Hotel performance in Asia Pacific were lowest ever recorded in April 2020

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel performance in Asia Pacific were lowest ever recorded in April 2020

Reflecting the effects of the COVID–19 pandemic, the Asia Pacific hotel industry reported record lows in the three key performance metrics during April 2020, according to data from STR

New data from STR shows that the absolute levels in occupancy, average daily rate and revenue per available room were the lowest for any month on record in the region of Asia Pacific.

U.S. dollar constant currency, April 2020 vs. April 2019

  • Occupancy: -60.3 per cent to 28.0 per cent
  • Average daily rate (ADR): -44.8 per cent to US$54.97
  • Revenue per available room (RevPAR): -78.1 per cent to US$15.38

Local currency, April 2020 vs. April 2019

South Korea

  • Occupancy: -70.8 per cent to 20.0 per cent
  • ADR: -21.0 per cent to KRW112,897.83
  • RevPAR: -76.9 per cent to KRW22,536.18

Each of the three key performance metrics were up from March but remained the lowest for any April on record in the country. Incheon & Seoul experienced a 75.2 per cent year-over-year decrease in occupancy (to 18.8 per cent).  

Australia

  • Occupancy: -72.7 per cent to 19.9 per cent
  • ADR: -33.1 per cent to AUD119.87
  • RevPAR: -81.7 per cent to AUD23.85

The absolute occupancy, ADR and RevPAR levels were the lowest for any month in STR’s Australia database. Among key markets, Melbourne and Sydney saw year-over-year occupancy declines of 65.0 per cent and 73.7 per cent, respectively. Returning travellers are predominantly keeping occupancy up, as seen in Adelaide, where year-over-year occupancy declines eased slightly during April up to May 13 due to returning travellers from India. More information can be found in STR’s Pacific webinar recording.

Main image credit: Pixabay

IN PICTURES: New photography emerges of ME Dubai at the Opus

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
IN PICTURES: New photography emerges of ME Dubai at the Opus

Photographer Laurian Ghinitoiu has shared new images of Opus, an innovative glass-façade building that was designed by Zaha Hadid Architects…

Home to newly opened ME Dubai, the Opus, which conceptualised in 2007 by Zaha Hadid Architects, explores the balance between solid and void, opaque and transparent, interior and exterior.

The late Zaha Hadid herself presented this project as the only hotel in which she created both its architecture and interiors, which gives it a special significance among the architecture firm’s portfolio of work.

“The cube has been ‘eroded’ in its centre, creating a free-form void that is an important volume of the design in its own right.”

Spanning 84,300 square metres (907,400 square feet), the Opus was designed as two separate towers that coalesce into a singular whole – taking the form of a cube. The cube has been ‘eroded’ in its centre, creating a free-form void that is an important volume of the design in its own right. The two halves of the building on either side of the void are linked by a four-storey atrium at ground level and also connected by an asymmetric 38 metre wide, three-storey bridge 71 metres above the ground.

Striking architecture of the cube like building

Image credit: Laurian Ghinitoiu

“The precise orthogonal geometries of the Opus’ elemental glass cube contrast dramatically with the fluidity of the eight-storey void at its centre,” explained Christos Passas, project director at Zaha Hadid Architects.

The cube’s double-glazed insulating façades incorporate a UV coating and a mirrored frit pattern to reduce solar gain. Applied around the entire building, this dotted frit patterning emphasises the clarity of the building’s orthogonal form, while at the same time, dissolving its volume through the continuous play of light varying between ever-changing reflections and transparency.

Image credit: Laurian Ghinitoiu

The void’s 6,000 square metre façade is created from 4,300 individual units of flat, single-curved or double-curved glass. The high-efficiency glazing units are comprised of 8mm Low-E glass (coated on the inside), a 16mm cavity between the panes and two layers of 6mm clear glass with a 1.52mm PVB resin laminate. This curved façade was designed using digital 3D modelling that also identified specific zones which required tempered glass.

During the day, the cube’s façade reflects the sky, the sun and the surrounding city; whilst at night, the void is illuminated by a dynamic light installation of individually controllable LEDs within each glass panel.

Furniture by Zaha Hadid Design is installed throughout the hotel, including the ‘Petalinas’ sofas and ‘Ottomans’ pods in the lobby that are fabricated from materials ensuring a long lifecycle and its components can be recycled. The ‘Opus’ beds are featured in each guestrooms, while the ‘Work & Play’ combination sofa with desk are installed in the suites. The bathrooms incorporate the ‘Vitae’ bathroom collection, designed by Hadid in 2015 for Noken Porcelanosa, continuing her fluid architectural language throughout the hotel’s interiors.

Modern, angular guestroom

Image credit: Laurian Ghinitoiu

The ME Dubai hotel incorporates 74 rooms and 19 suites, while the Opus building also houses offices floors, serviced residences and restaurants, cafes and bars including ROKA, the contemporary Japanese robatayaki restaurant and the MAINE Land Brasserie.

modern bathroom

Image credit: Laurian Ghinitoiu

Sensors throughout the Opus automatically adjust the ventilation and lighting according to occupancy to conserve energy while ME Dubai follows Meliá Hotels International initiatives for sustainable practices. Hotel guests will receive stainless-steel water bottles to use during their stay with drinking water dispensers installed throughout the hotel. With no plastic bottles in guest rooms, and a program to become entirely plastic free in all areas, the hotel is also reducing food waste by not serving buffets and has composters to recycle discarded organics.

Main image credit: Laurian Ghinitoiu

The Brit List Awards shortlisted for AEO Awards 2020

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The Brit List Awards shortlisted for AEO Awards 2020

The Brit List Awards, Hotel Designs’ premium annual awards ceremony, has been shortlisted for the AEO Excellence awards in the ‘Best Live Event’ category… 

Following last year’s successful live event, The Brit List Awards 2019, Hotel Designs is up for an AEO Awards, which “represents the best that the events industry has to offer”.

“We are thrilled to have been shortlisted for this award,” said publisher of the brand Katy Phillips. “The Brit List Awards has developed new elements each year since its inception in 2017 and this has been very much in response to the way the hospitality market has transformed in this time.

“Our 2019 awards was arguably the most successful, with more designers, hoteliers and architects in attendance than ever before. We had a world-class judging panel coupled with an impressive and worthy winners list. 

“So much work goes in to The Brit List Awards behind the scenes – we have an amazing team who come together each year to deliver our most prestigious event of the year. This acknowledgement from the AEO is a real boost for us during these difficult and uncertain times.” 

The Brit List Awards 2020 will return to London later this year. In addition to crowning the winners of eight separate award categories, Hotel Designs will also for the first time unveil The Brit List 100, which is a published list of the top influential British-based designers, architects, hoteliers and developers who are currently operating in the international hotel design arena.

 

Details on how to send in your free-of-charge applications will emerge shortly. In the meantime, if you would like to know more about the various sponsorship opportunities, please contact Katy Phillips.

Headline Partner: Crosswater

Event Partner: Hamilton Litestat

Industry Partner: BIID

MINIVIEW: Equinox Hotel, New York – the world’s ‘fittest’ hotel

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MINIVIEW: Equinox Hotel, New York – the world’s ‘fittest’ hotel

The luxury fitness and wellbeing brand Equinox opened its debut hotel to sit proudly in the epicentre of New York City’s Hudson Yards, an iconic architectural marvel that reflects a new style of neighbourhood. Editor Hamish Kilburn explores… 

Until recently, the Equinox brand was limited to the cluster of exceptional fitness and wellbeing clubs in major cities dotted around the world.

However, in June of 2019, the affluent brand hit a major milestone by opening its first ever hotel –not a surprising move considering the link between wellbeing, fitness and hospitality that has strengthened over the years.

The hotel is sheltered within a 14-storey limestone and glass skyscraper designed by architecture firm SOM, and is situated in the heart of Hudson Yards, a major up-and-coming neighbourhood along Manhatten’s westside that is arguably most known for Thomas Heatherwick’s The Vessel, an elaborate honeycomb-like structure that rises 16 stories. Adjacent to the giant public space, Equinox’s new hub has settled in and is setting standards.

Designed by David Rockwell and Joyce Wang to evoke comfort, creativity and focus, the ‘world’s fittest hotel’, as Hotel Designs labelled it ahead of its opening, is an ideal hub to meet, eat, sleep and connect. Extraordinary environments, such as a co-working community space, and thoughtfully chosen elements come together in order to reimagine how people move, eat, sleep, work, and live.

Sunset pool

Image credit: Equinox Hotels

From the moment guests arrive at the 212-key hotel, and throughout their stay, they are immersed in a world that the brand describes as “infinite possibilities”.

When it come to specifying the luxury elements inside, selecting products and materials that fit perfectly with the Equinox aesthetic was paramount. In addition to Zaha Hadid Design sofas in the public areas, all guestrooms feature the brand’s proprietary sleep system that ensures the best quality sleep. Complete with total soundproofing, a total-blackout window system, the areas also include CocoMat all natural fibre mattresses and Scandinavian-style duvets that allow temperature regulation. In true Equinox fashion, each guestroom and suite comes with a foam roller, yoga mat, blocks and straps, whilst the mini bar contains a juice press and magnesium-based sleep supplements.

Image credit: Equinox Hotels

Elsewhere, in the presidential suites, British brand Lusso Stone was chosen by the nominated interior designer to supply its Vetrina stone bath. With an ergonomic design, smooth contours and matte black finish, the timeless piece complements the hotel’s vision of performance and regeneration. “The Equinox project is something we are incredibly proud to be a part of as it allows us to showcase our designs in a truly unique setting in the beautiful and exclusive project in New York,” said Mike Manders from Lusso Stone. “We’re constantly evolving as a company and we make sure that we know exactly what we want to develop next. Whether it’s a new design, expansion or the latest bathroom collection, we want to be leading the charge in design and innovation.”

Image credit: Equinox Hotels

Fresh, seasonal flavours, market-driven menus and dynamic social spaces work in harmony to create modern and clean F&B areas. On the menu, as well as in the architectural design aesthetic, discipline and decadence merge.

The modern and contemporary bar area

Image credit: Equinox Hotels

Upstairs, the iconic rooftop bar operates in an open-air casual setting, and all activity happens around the dramatic Jaume Plensa sculpture, a startling monolith on the terrace’s infinity-edge water feature.

Large structure that sits on rooftop at the edge of an infinity water feature

Image credit: Equinox Hotels

The hotel’s immersive 27,000 square foot spa area, which was the brainchild of Joyce Wang Studio and spa design and consultancy firm TLEE, maximises the most valuable commodity, time. The luxury wellness facilities include tailored treatments, an indoor salt water pool, hot and cold plunge pools, and our E.scape Pods — private relaxation areas that capture unparalleled views of the Hudson River.

Light and bright pool area in the spa

Image credit: Equinox Hotels

The overall design of the brand’s debut hotel transcends hospitality and elevates the art and science of fitness – it is clear why the hotel has been described as an ideal place to meet, connect, train and sleep, with all four of these elements playing a vital role in the overall performance of the design and service.

The arrival of the Equinox Hotel New York, along with a number of luxury boutiques and high-end restaurants that have opened, has given the Hudson Yards life as the neighbourhood continues to evolve and take shape.

Main image credit: Equinox Hotels

Rosewood launches relief to support communities during pandemic

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Rosewood launches relief to support communities during pandemic

The luxury hotel group has launched Rosewood Raise, a relief initiative to support associates and communities that have been affected by COVID–19…

Rosewood Hotel Group has launched Rosewood Raise, a comprehensive relief initiative developed in support of the Group’s associates who have been impacted by the COVID-19, as well as the communities in which the Group operates.

Rooted on the foundation of Relationship Hospitality, a belief that true hospitality springs from the nurturing and building of strong and lasting relationships with associates, guests, partners and communities, Rosewood Hotel Group has always recognised and revered the power of people in creating the exceptional experiences that drive the industry. Developed in dedication to these very individuals that have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to the Group’s hotels and destinations, Rosewood Raise supports an associate relief fund and community-focused efforts, including donated hotel rooms and meal preparation and supplies for essential workers.

Managed by the Emergency Assistance Foundation, Inc., a 501c(3) charity created to design and operate multiple employer-sponsored disaster relief and employee hardship funds, the Rosewood Raise Relief Fund aims to assist staff in corporate offices and managed hotels across its three brands – Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, New World Hotels & Resorts, KHOS. The fund will support associates whose jobs were amongst the first and most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, prioritising those facing financial difficulties due to health-related needs, as well as local communities that have been especially affected by the pandemic. Upon the containment of the current crisis, the relief fund will continue to support the Group’s associates against future adversities and hardships.

In its first two weeks since formation, the fund has received initial pledges of close to USD $2 million from Rosewood Hotel Group’s corporate executives and associates, including salary contributions and a commitment from the company to match all employees cash contributions to the fund.

“We wish to stand in solidarity and with gratitude for our associates, and in support of the local communities that are so deeply affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.” – Sonia Cheng, chief executive officer of Rosewood Hotel Group.

On the property level, several of the Group’s hotels and resorts are supporting the local communities in which they operate, engaging in Rosewood Raise efforts across the globe. Among the first properties in the portfolio to be affected by COVID-19, New World Hotels & Resorts’ hotels in Wuhan and Guiyang saluted their cities’ medical workers by providing complimentary accommodations. Across the ultra-luxury Rosewood Hotels & Resorts brand, many properties throughout Asia Pacific, Europe and North America are supplying necessities and meals to medical associates, first responders and area hospitals, as well as to local organisations and charities aimed at assisting families and individuals in need. Both Rosewood Bangkok (Bangkok, Thailand) and Rosewood Miramar Beach (Montecito, USA) have created Rosewood on the Move food delivery services to offer complimentary comfort meals to frontline workers in the hotels’ respective regions. Rosewood Miramar Beach, specifically, has already served over 1,500 meals to essential personnel throughout Santa Barbara, CA, ranging from police officers and fire fighters to waste handlers and grocery store attendants. Additional properties preparing meals for key workers at their local hospitals include Rosewood London (London, UK), Rosewood Hong Kong (Hong Kong, SAR), and Rosewood Abu Dhabi (Abu Dhabi, UAE).

“I have always believed that people are the beating heart of the hospitality industry,” said Sonia Cheng, chief executive officer of Rosewood Hotel Group. “Through Rosewood Raise, we wish to stand in solidarity and with gratitude for our associates, and in support of the local communities that are so deeply affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Our hope is that through this initiative we can provide assistance to our associates and communities who are facing serious hardship and let them know their Rosewood family is here to support them through this unprecedented time.”

Through the launch of Rosewood Raise, Rosewood Hotel Group is committed to continuing to identify and execute future opportunities to support its associates and the global community through multi-layered fundraising activities and community service projects in the years ahead.

To read Hotel Designs’ exclusive virtual roundtable on how the pandemic will impact the industry, which includes comments from Rosewood London’s Managing Director, Michael Bonsor, click here.

Main image credit: Rosewood Hotel Group

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Mothballing your property during the pandemic

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INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Mothballing your property during the pandemic

With the current slump in trade, operators are being forced to close sections of their properties or indeed whole buildings. Hotel Designs asks Interior Refurbishment Contractor, Interefurb, how hotels can best utilise this quiet spell during the pandemic. Gary Crosbie explains…

The COVID–19 pandemic continues to halt the hotel design and hospitality industry. While some properties are being transformed into temporary accommodation for the sick, homeless and medical workers, other buildings lie bare.

If it’s any conciliation, we have been in a similar situation before. In 2001, the Foot and Mouth outbreak and the wake of 9/11 left the industry on its knees. After the lull of activity and an anxious period for investors and operators, the market recovered. Here are some tips that we learned during that time. 

One of the largest barriers when carrying out refurbishment is the loss of revenue whilst rooms and areas are out of action. But back then, several of our clients took advantage of quiet and empty properties and carried out their refurbishment and maintenance works, stealing a lead on the competition when business returned. Which it will.

Plan ahead

How long  are you expecting the building to be unoccupied for? Do you have any special features that require special protection? The most important threats to a vacant building are:

  • Weather – our weather patterns currently are unpredictable and extreme. If building elements are not properly secured, the high winds may damage many building elements and leave others open to further damage. Likewise, heavy rains may cause flooding on the lower levels of the building and water penetration in other unsecured areas.  
  • Escape of water – Escape of water and moisture will cause the decay of materials, leading to wood rot, growth of mold and fungi, and provide a hospitable environment for insects.  Water can gain direct access to the building through windows, doors, roof openings, damaged mortar joints, blocked gutters and condensation caused by temperature and humidity shifts within the building.
  • Pests and Vermin – When birds, bugs, and rodents make your vacant building their home, it increases the likelihood of structural damage and compromises the integrity of decorative elements.  New openings in the building may be made by these vermin.  Birds’ nests can be a fire hazard and their droppings, a disease threat.  Rodents may chew on the building’s wiring, and insects may bore into wood structural supports. Old food left in rooms and dare I say staff accommodation
  • Vandalism – Caused when local opportunists force entry, any opening then allows the direct entry of vermin, wind, and water.  Vandals may also damage the interior or start fires in the building. 

A well a thought-through and implemented plan will help eliminate disaster, especially whilst there is nobody around to regularly monitor and will also make the recommissioning easier.

Create a checklist

A simple checklist can help to prevent many of these conditions from exacting their toll on your investment: 

  • Roof – Repair all leaks. Ensure all flashing is secure, and gutters run freely.
  • Ventilation – A securely ventilated building prevents the damage that can be caused by condensation. Ventilate the building so that air enters at ground level and leaves at the attic level. 
  • Windows and doors – Entry points, such as windows and doors, should be secured to prevent damage and entry from vandals. Remove any debris, such as loose bricks, that could be thrown at the building to provide entry. 
  • Plumbing and heating – Plumbing in an unheated building should be protected by shutting off the water supply and draining the pipes, contact your insurer regarding their requirements for and sprinkler systems.  Seal WC lids to prevent accidental use.
  • Finishes and furniture – If safe storage can be provided elsewhere, it may be prudent to remove and store valuable items. Photograph the items in their original location before removal.
  • Notifications – notify your insurers, alarm monitoring companies and appropriate local authorities of the vacant building, consider providing keys to the police and Fire and Rescue.

Interefurb is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this  three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Crown Group secures land for debut project in the USA

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Crown Group secures land for debut project in the USA

The $500 million mixed-used development plans for Crown Group‘s 43-storey tower high-rise in downtown Los Angeles include 160-key hotel…

Australian residential developer Crown Group has taken the next steps in its first move into the US market, where it plans to develop a $500 million mixed-use high-rise condominium and hotel tower that will bring a touch of the enviable Aussie lifestyle to LA’s burgeoning Downtown district.

Crown Group is progressing entitlements with Los Angeles City Hall for the proposed tower, which is earmarked for the southeast corner of South Hill and 11th streets at the convergence of Downtown’s financial, fashion and South Park districts. Crown Group has formed a joint venture with a Singapore-based company, Magnus Property Pte Ltd, and one of Indonesia’s biggest property developers, ASRI, the premium lifestyle brands division of Agung Sedayu Group, which has won 20 awards for 33 projects since they were founded in 1971. Some of ASRI’s most notable developments include The Langham Jakarta (the first in Southeast Asia), The Langham Residences (the first Langham-branded residence in the world), as well as premium estates such as Fatmawati City Center and District 8 in the heart of Jakarta’s CBD. The joint venture group settled on the Downtown site in November 2019.

“We want to humanise tall buildings.” – Archtiect, Koichi Takada

The striking 43-storey tower, designed by world-renowned architect Koichi Takada, is destined to redefine the Downtown skyline and will embody Crown Group’s philosophy of melding inspired architecture with a futuristic vision of a new way of living, to become an iconic landmark for the city. The project at 1111 Hill Street is expected to be completed in 2024. 

“It is our desire, through a nature-inspired approach to architecture, to transform an old warehouse district into a living breathing neighbourhood in LA,” Takada explained. “We want to humanise tall buildings, to celebrate the pedestrian activities and consider how people experience it,” he said. “We want our tall building designs to be more engaging for the public, and to contribute to the community by activating and creating a connection with the neighbourhood.”

The high-rise sections of the building will comprise 319 condominiums with an exclusive residents’ retreat over the top two floors and a façade design that references California’s gigantic ancient redwood trees. A dramatic street canopy will ground the tower and incorporate a “breathing green wall”, designed to improve the city’s air quality and introduce a unique landscaping feature to the Downtown streetscape.

Crown Group’s LA office is also in discussions with several luxury hotel brands to incorporate a 160-key hotel in the low rise of the building, which is set to become one of the city’s’ most desirable getaways.

Crown Group CEO Iwan Sunito said the flourishing Downtown district of LA had experienced a significant transformation over the past decade. This is evidenced by LA Live’s expansion, Warner Music and Spotify establishing offices, headline retailers such as Apple, Vans and Paul Smith launching flagship stores, a bevy of iconic restaurants opening venues and numerous residential, hotel and commercial developments underway.

“It’s rare to find the central district of a large cosmopolitan city on the verge of such significant change,” he explained. “Downtown is experiencing a once in a generation revival – led by the heightened convergence of tech, media and entertainment in Los Angeles. There’s a great deal of investment and it’s exciting to think of what Downtown will be like in another few years’ time. It will be a highly sought-after place to live.”

Crown Group Head of US Development Patrick Caruso said the development would offer an appealing point of difference for buyers in Downtown LA and bring a new version of condominium living to the district.

“It’s a fast-evolving part of the city yet there is limited choice when it comes to well-designed homes,” Caruso added. “We anticipate that this new mixed-used development, which will offer attainable luxury living with never before seen facilities including an exclusive rooftop residents’ retreat, collocated with a quality branded hotel will be very well received by those looking for a new condominium.

“It’s clear that buyers are seeking more diverse offerings, so our fresh and unique Australian approach of functional resort style-living melded with sophisticated architectural design will fill a significant gap in the market.”

Established in Sydney in 1996, Crown Group has built its reputation on delivering iconic luxury developments and today has a $5 billion pipeline spanning five cities and two continents. 

Crown Group and Koichi Takada Architects are the creative pairing behind a series of major residential apartment projects in Australia including a stunning condominium and hotel tower called Arc by Crown Group in Clarence Street Sydney, which has won numerous international awards.

In 2019 they completed the sell-out Infinity by Crown Group, with its famous looped shape, at Green Square, just 4km from Sydney centre. Koichi Takada has also gained worldwide recognition for designing the stunning interiors of the National Museum of Qatar in the Middle East, which were unveiled in 2019.

Main image credit: Crown Group/Koichi Takada Architects

Edinburgh hotel donates 1,000 free nights to medical staff during pandemic

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Edinburgh hotel donates 1,000 free nights to medical staff during pandemic

Workers of the pandemic frontline in Edinburgh have booked 1,000 free nights and meals at the Best Western hotel, Ten Hill Place… 

Owned by The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RSCEd), Ten Hill Place in Edinburgh has donated 1,000 of its rooms to NHS medical workers during the COVID–19 pandemic.

Located three miles from the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh and less than a mile from the Royal Hospital for Sick Children, the hotel is providing much-needed nearby accommodation and meals for key workers tackling the pandemic.

This has proven invaluable to guests facing tiring commutes between expanding shifts or to help workers isolating from vulnerable family members.

“The response to our decision to accommodate medical and clinical workers has been astounding, and we want to encourage more staff who are working at the city’s hospitals to get in touch with us to find out how we can help support them,” said Scott Mitchell, Managing Director at Surgeons Quarter. “It’s a privilege to play our part in helping make the lives of medical workers a little easier during one of the most difficult times the country has faced.”

The Best Western Ten Hill Place has 129 guestrooms available for hospital staff, as well as packed continental breakfasts and complementary evening meals courtesy of its award-winning catering team.

Frontline workers have praised the hotel for its continued support during the pandemic.

A Tripadvisor user posted: “I cannot explain how grateful I am to them. All social distancing respected and we are well looked after – not to have worries about cooking or cleaning plus a calm comfortable night’s sleep is great. This will be my top hotel in Edinburgh forever.”

Professor Michael Griffin, President of the RSCEd and one of the UK’s leading surgeons, said: “We’ve heard and seen directly from our colleagues how severe the impact COVID-19 is on our health service.

“Having accommodation near hospitals to rest and recover from allows our colleagues to be looked after, at a time when they need the most support. We’re incredibly proud of the team at Surgeons Quarter and their invaluable efforts to help the health service.”

As well as the commitment to accommodate staff, the RCSEd has been engaging with interim Chief Medical Officer Dr. Gregor Smith to declare its willingness to temporarily convert the hotel, should hospitals overflow.

Surgeons Quarter promotes, sells and manages all commercial activities held within the RCSEd campus. All profits support the charitable aims of the College which are education, assessment and advancement in surgical standards worldwide.

Main image credit: Ten Hill Place

VIRTUAL ROUNDTABLE: COVID–19’s impact on hospitality and hotel design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
VIRTUAL ROUNDTABLE: COVID–19’s impact on hospitality and hotel design

To understand the long-term impact COVID–19 will have on the hospitality and hotel design industry, editor Hamish Kilburn asked a handful of leading designers, architects and hoteliers to remotely partake in Hotel Designs’ debut virtual roundtable…

Meet the panel

There is no doubt about it, the industry is suffering as the COVID–19 pandemic forces businesses around the world to either close entirely or adopt working remotely into studio life. With many questions emerging around the current crisis, Hotel Designs puts the pandemic under the harsh editorial spotlight in its debut virtual roundtable. Editor Hamish Kilburn confronts some of the industry’s leaders in order to gain some perspective over how hospitality and hotel design will be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in the long-term.

Hamish Kilburn: How has the pandemic affected working life?

Fiona Thompson: Design is all about collaboration, and we are learning a whole new way of doing that. We typically work in an open studio, for example, and we experience the projects as they are being designed. In the physical sense, our team is not able to do to that at the moment. We moved out of London a few days before the ‘lockdown’ was introduced, and we are all currently very well connected. I can’t say it’s the same, but it is working and we are adapting.

Michael Bonsor: To put it bluntly , this [COVID–19] has decimated the industry. The concept of hospitality, which is third largest employer in the UK, has stopped. We are now questioning how long this will last for. The government stepped in with the incredible furlough package, which has protected so many jobs.

Conor O’Leary: Hospitality is what we do – we look after people. Guests from all over the world stay with us, eat with us and enjoy the plethora of outdoors activities that we offer. Well, we are not doing any of that at the moment. None of our team want to be sitting at home on any furlough arrangements. We totally understand the frustration, but we are where we are.

Geoff Hull: From an architect’s perspective, while on-site activity has been put on hold, there is a lot of design work, and collaboration work with specialists, that is ongoing. We are hoping that we can come out of this, in three months, with some dynamically designed projects planned so that we are ahead when we are allowed back on site.

James Dilley: As a designer, the backdrop of wallpapers and artwork in colleagues and clients kitchens, bedrooms and lofts is sometimes inspiring and sometimes sobering. On a serious level, I personally miss the face-to-face and often serendipitous interaction of a physical studio. 

“This pandemic will reset how we think about travel and will require us to confront problems such as mass tourism and over tourism in many destinations around the world.” – Michael Bonsor, Managing Director, Rosewood London.

HK: How has working-from-home changed your mindset on communication? 

GH: I think we are communicating better at the moment, and how people have come together is awe-inspiring. We work with a lot of non-UK designers at EPR Architects who would usually insist on flying over on a first-class ticket to see us. However, with these meetings being able to happen virtually instead, there is a question on the need of so much travel. I genuinely am looking at this positively.

JD: I have recently been pre-occupied with the way that people “home” themselves has been rapidly evolving, and layering this revolution in how we work, particularly from home, will make this even more exciting. If life is evolution peppered with revolution, this is the latter.

MB: Prior to this happening we were over communicating with the team, to ensure that everyone had all the information they needed. With those employees that have been put on furlough packages, we may not be engaging with them to work, but we are engaging with them to keep everyone updated. We have a core team of 30 people in the hotel who are making the property safe and they are doing fun things in the hotel to keep everyone engaged and informed.

HK: When do you expect your hotels to re-open?

MB: The global market has to be stable for a hotel like Rosewood London to re-open. We can’t just rely on the local market because there is not enough demand to go around. For me, I would rather the government measures were prolonged a little while longer so that it gives time for the world to reset.

CO: Not only does the world need to reset, but we also have to understand how happy people are to travel.

MB: We might open a part of the hotel, like the the bar and restaurant, in June or July. Things are getting pushed back as the social season is cancelling in the UK. Meanwhile, Austria has just announced that they will begin to slowly reopen some businesses, which could be an indication of things to come, but hotels and restaurants are at the end of that cycle.

CO: We don’t see a hotel bedroom being open until July. It’s slightly different for us here. We don’t see there being much point in having the restaurants and bars open without having guests in – we don’t have that passing traffic and footfall. We may get some of our activities open for our members, but it’s not a game-changer for us. We will know more after Easter, but the second question to that is what that looks like when we open. It’s going to be focused on local custom which will be a lower volume level. Suddenly our entire business model changes.

HK: Generally speaking, hotels are targeting an international audiences. Will this change post-pandemic? 

CO: Our business model is built on a summer of international guests, and that may be different going forward. We are privileged in our geographical location – Gleneagles is built on an 850-acre estate. For now, all our strategies are short-term and everything is changing all the time. We are staying in touch with the team. We have always been conscious about where we sit in the community, and that’s great in the good times, but also more important in the times like these to ensure we stay in touch and support.

MB: 40 per cent of our market comes from America. This pandemic will reset how we think about travel and will require us to confront problems such as mass tourism and over tourism in many destinations around the world. That may be a small silver lining in this global crisis. We are re-forecasting and re-strategising every four hours right now, because who knows how this is going to go?

“I cannot see how the business take-up of those rooms will not drop significantly, because it will be luxury and almost indulgent to have this face-to-face time when we have learned to cope without it.” – James Dilley, Director, Jestico + Whiles.

HK: How will hotels catering to ‘bleisure’ travellers be impacted from the pandemic?

JD: The ‘business hotels’ will come out looking very different. I have spent many years just hopping on a plane to a destination to see a client or a site. Over three months, working from home will start to feel normal. I cannot see how the business take-up of those rooms will not drop significantly, because it will be luxury and almost indulgent to have this face-to-face time when we have learned to cope without it. That is the biggest impact.

In terms of leisure, when this passes I predict there will a spike because people will be anxious about being coped up and will want to compensate. After that, people will settle down and I predict that people will question whether they need to travel as much as they were. I think there will be a spike in leisure hospitality experiences closer to home.

HK: What about the way in which we design public areas, will this change?

FT: Perhaps in the short-term. Of course people will be conscious of hygiene and numbers of people in meetings may end up being limited. It’s very difficult to tell how quickly it will reset, and whether or not it will go back to normal. I certainly don’t have the answer right now. In business travel, we are utilising the internet and technology at the moment, so there will arguably be less need to travel as much at the end of this.

“Sustainability is such an important topic and it should be engrained into mindsets enough now that there is no reason for it to be shelved, especially when it comes to designing projects.” – Fiona Thompson, Principal, Richmond International.

HK: Has COVID–19 taken sustainability off the radar?

CO: One of the core aspects for me with sustainability is to think local. I think there will be huge shift in supporting and buying local, which is one of the pillars of sustaina