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hotel opening

Meet the design team behind Monkey Island Estate and Raffles Singapore

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Champalimaud Design

CitizenM has announced fourth arrival in London

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
CitizenM has announced fourth arrival in London

Global hotel group, citizenM, announces the acquisition of a Victoria property for its fourth London hotel, opening in 2021…

citizenM has announced that construction will commence in May 2020 for a new hotel in London, following the demolition of the existing Denison House. The 226-room hotel, designed by concrete with architecture by ICA, will comprise basement and ground floor levels, with ten upper floors and will be built using citizenM’s innovative modular construction method.

Each of the rooms will be built and furnished one-by-one in an offsite factory and then moved to the site where they will be assembled to make up the hotel. Prefabrication enables faster construction and easier quality control, and also guides the architectural aesthetic of all citizenM locations. No matter how they’re assembled, citizenM buildings are recognisable in their surroundings for their identifiably square units, clean lines, and artwork on the facades.

citizenM’s hybrid hotels offer travellers luxury accommodation at affordable prices in hyper-busy urban centres. This latest addition, situated in the heart of London, will be close to major London tourist attractions such as Buckingham Palace and Tate Britain, and offer great transport links within Greater London and Gatwick Airport – perfect for all mobile citizens.

“We are excited to have completed this transaction after securing planning consent in a prime location in Westminster. With three hotels already operating successfully in London, this new property will offer a fantastic addition to our existing portfolio and confirms our commitment to expand further in London’s most desirable neighbourhoods.”

The hotel’s interiors will be designed by citizenM’s Amsterdam-based partner Concrete, and will feature furniture from long-term collaborator Vitra,” said Klaas van Lookeren Campagne, CEO of citizenM hotels. “The guestrooms will include citizenM’s famous XL king-sized beds, powerful rain showers and large flat screen TVs. Guests will be able to enjoy the same creative technology that has marked citizenM as an innovative force in hospitality, from online check in to in-room mood pads.”

The new Victoria-based hotel will be located at 292 Vauxhall Bridge Road and will be the fourth stand post of citizenM in London, following openings in Bankside (2012), Tower of London (2016) and Shoreditch (2016).

In Europe, the key target cities for new sites are London, Paris, Milan, Rome, Dublin, Munich, Hamburg, Frankfurt, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Zurich, Geneva, and Barcelona.

Main image credit: citizenM

Empty room with various styles of seating

In Conversation With: Matthew Balon at Ruby Leni’s first showing

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In Conversation With: Matthew Balon at Ruby Leni’s first showing

Ruby Hotels has re-entered the stage to take a second bow in Dusseldorf, Germany. The 170-key Ruby Leni, which takes shelter in a former 1950s theatre, is the hotel group’s seventh hotel to harness ‘lean luxury’. Editor Hamish Kilburn travels just south of the city’s fashion district to meet the group’s lead designer, Matthew Balon, the morning after the night before’s launch party to discuss design details, the significance of paper puppets and the brand’s highly anticipated 2020 arrival in London…

Empty room with various styles of seating

They say that to make any act truly memorable, the performer must enter the stage armed with a spectacular encore up his or her sleeve. In the case of Ruby Hotels in Dusseldorf, the main performance took place last year with the arrival Ruby Coco. The dynamic property is a contemporary urban hub that is nestled within the city’s main shopping district, just off Königsallee – AKA a fashionista’s heaven. The interiors inside are sharp, considered and give more than an apt nod to the fashion quarters that surround it.

[CURTAIN UP]

If Coco was used in the opening scene, engaging its captivated audience with the allure of couture costumes, then the encore is Ruby Leni, which is situated a mere 10 minutes down the road. Although the neighbourhood may feel quieter, its entrance certainly isn’t: a large marquee sign with the words ‘make it your own stay’ frames an appropriate first impression.

Exterior shot of the hotel, showing a colourful courtyard

Image credit: Ruby Leni

[PUBLIC AREAS ENTER FROM STAGE RIGHT]

With large, expansive public spaces that filter into plush private break-out areas, the hotel is designed for both locals and guests checking in. The character and soul has been channelled into the lobby/lounge, where the real story of the iconic 1900s building, which sheltered the Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus theatre, comes to life. “We looked at the materials, shapes and forms that you would associate to a theatre of that era,” says Lead Designer Matthew Balon. “We then separated that into front-of-house and back-of-house. We wanted to challenge that idea by merging those areas. For example, we have included stage cases in the lobby to really create an authentic feeling of being part of the production, behind the scenes.”

[GUESTROOMS ENTER FROM STAGE LEFT]

Upstairs, the sharp and stylish guestrooms have been designed around the original peculiar structure of the building, creating an interesting layout in each. The design and general make-up of the room, though, is a reflection of the others in the entire hotel group’s portfolio: crisp white beds, refillable toiletries and eco-friendly rain showers to match. The brand calls it ‘lean luxury’, which is posh for ‘uncomplicated, laid-back comfort’ – and it works, especially for bleisure travellers.

White, bright and contemporary guestroom

Image credit: Ruby Leni

Although you would recognise the rooms as ‘Ruby Rooms’ guests with eagle eyes will notice subtle differences, like the wood panelling for example.  “It’s been designed to also reference the story of the hotel,” explains Balon. “I looked into how sets were built and was inspired by the fact that guests in the theatre only ever see the pretty side. I wanted to show the back of the sets, the flats. I was interested to know how these things stood up and how they were constructed. That provided the inspiration for the wall panelling and the reinforced corner detailing.

Another quirky touch that sensitively helps set the theatrical scene is the art above the beds. Bolan initially wanted to do something with shadow puppets, which evolved into creating an immersive and playful paper puppet stage. “I really love introducing interior design elements that are fun and interactive,” says Balon. “We like to have fun with it and make an interesting element to guests’ stay.”

[APPLAUSE]

Image caption: Editor Hamish Kilburn (left) dragged the Lead Designer for Ruby Hotels, Michael Bolan (right), out on ‘stage’ the morning after the launch party before…

Quick-fire round:

Hamish Kilburn: What can you not travel without?
Matthew Bolan: My Darth Vader suitcase. I just love it!

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

HK: What’s your biggest bugbear when checking in to a hotel?
MB: Queuing!

HK: What is the number-one tool for success?
MB: You have to create an emotional connection.

HK: What is the last thing that showed up on your credit card transactions?
MB: A round of drinks I bought last night. It’s your round at the next launch, I’m told…

Most hotel designers are working with many several brands and brand standards, and so it is interesting how Bolan, within his creative realms, can piece together many different stories with the same Ruby strand running through each. “It is all-encompassing,” he says. “What the brand stands for in regards to design is something I can really get behind. When I think about Ruby, I think of all the people who bring the brand to life.”

[CURTAIN CALL]

The brand’s design is spilling out of the seams and leaving a permanent stain on new destinations. The next hotel design hotspot to welcome the arrival of Ruby Hotels is London – to the Southbank to be more specific. “We have done a lot of research into the location, which is a really interesting corner of London,” Balon explains. “I can tell you that Ruby Lucy is going to be fun, colourful, unexpected and I am really looking forward to the opening party!”

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

[CURTAIN CLOSED]

Hyatt Regency arrives in East Shenzhen

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hyatt Regency arrives in East Shenzhen

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

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

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

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

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

Modern and clean hotel guest room

Image credit: Hyatt Hotels

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

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

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

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

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

Main image: Hyatt Hotels

INSIDE THE FACTORY WITH: Hamilton Litestat

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INSIDE THE FACTORY WITH: Hamilton Litestat

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Hamilton Litestat

Hotel Indigo arrives in Italy’s fashion capital – Milan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: IHG

Hampton by Hilton becomes first hotel to adjoin famous racecourse

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hampton by Hilton becomes first hotel to adjoin famous racecourse

Hampton by Hilton Hamilton Park boasts rooms overlooking one of the most picturesque grounds in British horse racing…

Hampton by Hilton Hamilton Park has opened, unveiling 118 guestrooms located within Hamilton Park Racecourse, a five-star VisitScotland attraction, which is a significant part of Scotland’s racing heritage. The property, owned by Hamilton Park Racecourse and managed by Interstate Hotels & Resorts, will be the first hotel to adjoin the racecourse in its 90-year history.

With contemporary, comfortable and functional rooms offering panoramic views of Hamilton Park Racecourse, guests can watch over the excitement on the racetrack below in comfort and style. The hotel, situated just 10 miles from Glasgow city centre, also provides easy access to a range of shopping, entertainment and historical attractions in both cities. Travellers seeking a relaxing day can head to the nearby Strathclyde and Chatelherault Country Parks, while thrill seekers can visit M&D’s Theme Park, just a few miles away.

“Following a £10 million investment, Hampton by Hilton Hamilton Park opens its doors today, joining six existing Hampton by Hilton properties in Scotland,” said Simon Vincent, Executive Vice President and President, EMEA, Hilton. “We are delighted to offer visitors to Hamilton Park Racecourse a quality accommodation option on-site, becoming the first hotel to adjoin the racecourse in its 90-year history”.

Guests can enjoy Hampton’s signature hot breakfast, with complimentary tea and coffee, to gear up for the races. The property’s 24-hour bar and restaurant offers open views of the racecourse where groups can enjoy a cocktail or light meal without missing the action.

The hotel includes 57 “flex rooms” which are suitable for either three adults, or two adults with children. Guests can make use of the on-site 24-hour fitness centre, open daily from 6am until 10pm ,and enjoy complimentary Wi-Fi and 50-inch flat-screen HDTVs in every room. With complimentary parking and18 fully equipped function rooms within the racecourse, the hotel is also an excellent option for business travellers

Vivien Currie, Chief Executive at Hamilton Park Racecourse, said: “We are delighted to be delivering this landmark project at Hamilton Park Racecourse and are certain it will deliver substantial benefits to the wider economy as well as enhance the Racecourse’s reputation as a world-class sporting and hospitality attraction.”

“Hampton by Hilton’s unmatched, friendly and authentic customer service is backed by the brand’s 100% Hampton Guarantee™,” said Shruti Gandhi Buckley, global head, Hampton by Hilton. “Add to that our modern design and high quality amenities, guests of Hamilton Park will have an unbeatable stay experience.”

Hampton by Hilton Hamilton Park is part of Hilton Honors, the award-winning guest-loyalty program for Hilton’s 17 distinct hotel brands. Members who book directly have access to instant benefits, including a flexible payment slider that allows members to choose nearly any combination of Points and money to book a stay, an exclusive member discount, free standard Wi-Fi and the Hilton Honors mobile app. Book direct at Hilton.com, through the Hilton Honors app or through other official Hilton channels for more perks and a price match guarantee.

Main image credit: Hilton Hotels

SNEAK PEEK: B3 Designers lifts the lid on The Prince Akatoki Hotel London

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
SNEAK PEEK: B3 Designers lifts the lid on The Prince Akatoki Hotel London

London-based hospitality interior design specialist B3 Designers is heading towards the finish line of completing the interiors for The Prince Akatoki London, a new hotel located on Great Cumberland Place near Marble Arch…

Opening mid-September, The Prince Akatoki London’s newly designed spaces include 82 guestrooms and suites, a reception and sanctuary, a communal workspace for hotel guests, a Japanese restaurant featuring a sushi counter and robata grill, as well as a lounge and bar offering a tea ceremony room by day and a whiskey bar by night.

The Japanese-owned Prince Akatoki London, the first of its kind, will bring Japanese luxury design and hospitality to the heart of the West End, and this will be reflected in the design throughout the entire hotel. The brief to B3 Designers was to create spaces that encourage guests to relax and recharge in a light, tranquil, mindful and minimalist environment that champions Japanese craftsmanship and unparalleled attention to detail.

B3 Designers has fused quintessentially Japanese touchpoints into its minimalist and modern design to enhance and complete a luxury Japanese experience. The team has drawn inspiration from well-crafted simple joinery details, and has applied a strong use of natural materials, muted and light yet durable fabrics, crafted but modern seating, sleek metallic lighting, modern ceramics with rustic touches, and abundant use of stone and slate.

Image credit: B3 Designers/The Prince Akatoki London

The look and feel of the bedrooms, hotel reception and sanctuary (located adjacent to the reception) evoke a sense of calm through the use of lighter-coloured, fresh and tranquil materials. The use of decorative panels featuring Japanese landscapes, whether dark or light, help guests enjoy a unique, refined incarnation of Japanese hospitality and culture in the heart on London.

The destinational public spaces including the restaurant and a tea ceremony room that transforms into a whiskey bar for evening guests, flaunt a darker colour palette yet still boast natural, well-crafted materials.

The hotel is currently gearing up for its official unveiling, which is slated to take place next month.

Main image credit: B3 Designers/The Prince Akatoki London

CASE STUDY: Furnishing Hard Rock Hotel London

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
CASE STUDY: Furnishing Hard Rock Hotel London

Curtis Furniture explains its role on the first ever Hard Rock Hotel in the UK to bring the brand back to its British London roots…

When Curtis Furniture was tasked to work on the UK’s first ever Hard Rock Hotel, we had to understand the heightened importance of accuracy in order to bring to life the designer’s vision. Key to this was our ability to clarify accurately the requirements in advance, working as partners to the architects, Unwin Jones Partnership as we developed an on-site sample room and rolled this out through the whole hotel.

Benjamin Harvey, Category Buyer at glh Hotels explains: “Shipping supplies from outside the UK carries a risk to the quality of materials and timings of deliveries. To avoid these risks, we wanted to select a British Manufacturer, and Curtis are one of the few with the capacity to supply bespoke case goods for 1,000 rooms over a 12-month project.

Our relationship with them goes back more than 20 years. We needed to choose an expert partner we could trust to turn around the room refurbishments in a timely manner and with minimal disruption, as the hotel remained fully operational throughout.”

“The newly refurbished rooms buzz with the energy associated with the Hard Rock brand.”

Ultimately the success of the project was due to the accuracy and quality of materials supplied by a responsive, client-focused team. The newly refurbished rooms buzz with the energy associated with the Hard Rock brand. Hard Rock Hotel London is no longer simply somewhere to stay while experiencing all that London has to offer, it is now part of the London experience.

Main image credit: Hard Rock Hotel London/ ROBERTO LARA PHOTOGRAPHY

Singita Kwitonda Lodge and Kataza House opens in Rwanda

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image credit: Singita

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Singita

Mitsis Hotels lifts the lid on redesign story behind Greek gem

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Mitsis Hotels lifts the lid on redesign story behind Greek gem

Architecture and design firm WATG completed the renovation and redesign of Mitsis Summer Palace on the Greek island of Kos… 

Uniquely positioned on an elevated site above a Blue Flag-awarded beach, the newly renovated Mitsis Summer Palace boasts 360-degree views across the Aegean Sea towards Nissiros Island and the Bay of Kardamena, and offers a stunning direct line of sight all the way to the coast of Turkey. Tasked with the evolutionary renovations was the multidisciplined design firm WATG.

Showcasing the full suite of of the firm’s services, the project – which included upgrades to thesite’s restaurant and pool amenities – incorporated strategy, planning, architecture, landscape architecture and Wimberly Interiors to achieve a fully integrated, considered space that celebrates the stunning surroundings while aligning perfectly with Mitsis Hotels’ commitment to creating one-of-a-kind travel experiences.

“The hillside situation of the hotel, with expansive views across the Aegean, was theinspiration for creating a space which seamlessly connects the guest with the horizon,” said Georgina Langridge of WATG’s London Landscape Architecture team who was awarded a Hotel Designs’ 30 Under 30 earlier this year. “From a design perspective, it was all about connecting visitors with the surrounding sea and celebrating the Kos sunset. In contrast to other pools on the island, we made a bold move with the colour palette and opted for a dark tile – something that is quite unique to the property, which has bold features throughout including teal sun lounges and coralaccents in the restaurant.”

On working with Mitsis Hotels, WATG London Associate Vice President and Architect Nick Carrier commented: “WATG is thrilled to have an ongoing and exciting relationship with a company like Mitsis Hotels. We’re grateful to them for placing trust in us to make bolddecisions and contribute to their vision of creating unique, customer-centric spaces.”

Mitsis Summer Palace reopened in April 2019 following the highly successful renovation and reopening of Mitsis Norida Beach in April 2018, which featured five new pools, a pool bar, three restaurants and a beach bar – also a WATG multidisciplinary design project.

Main image credit: Mitsis Hotels

MINIVIEW: room2 Southampton, the debut hometel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
MINIVIEW: room2 Southampton, the debut hometel

Claiming to be the world’s first hometel brand, room2 Southampton shelters the best of both worlds in 71 rooms. As Hotel Designs continues to focus the Spotlight On Hotel Concepts, editor Hamish Kilburn spoke to design firm Project Orange to understand the design story…

With the aim to create a home-from-home hotel on England’s south coast, room2 Southampton opened to float above the surface in a sea of competition among other sub brands sitting under larger groups to stand out as a lifestyle hotel.

Tasked to redesign the hotel experience as we know it, the design team at Project Orange were briefed by Lamington UK to conceptualise and create the ultimate apart-hotel. “We believed that there are a lot of tired, soulless, corporate hotels out there, and we wanted to inject fun, energy and life into peoples stay,” says Robert Godwin, the Managing Director of Lamington UK. “The design brief was to take inspiration from the local surroundings, and so the ‘golden age of cruise lining from Southampton’, was our design starting point. We wanted to make a place which would put a smile on someones face, not make them feel stiff, because if a guest was relaxed, they would rejuvenate better, and be their best version of themselves the next day (whether for work or play).”

Steering clear of gimmicks, which too often creep in to plans when innovating hotel concepts, the project started to convert a block of 1980s offices into the 71-key ‘hometel’. “The concept of room2 is neither conventional hotel nor conventional Apart-hotel,” says Christopher Ash, Director at Project Orange. “It is a space between a hotel and Airbnb.”

Image credit: room2

Before creating the modern, compact but well equipped kitchens and proper spaces to dine, eat sleep and relax, the design team faced a common challenge of planning restrictions. “The main challenges involved taking an un prepossessing 1980s office building in a fantastic location and transforming it into this new brand of hometel,” explains Ash. “Planning restrictions severely limited external changes to the main part of the building so we focussed on the ground floor and creating huge Edward Hopper type picture windows that drew the gaze into the room2 Living Room, married with a bold new entrance design. Incorporating new M&E services, especially as bedrooms include kitchen areas also presented challenges.”

“Guests ‘get it’, they rave about the concept for us.” – Robert Godwin, Managing Director, Leamington Group

In creating something new and aiming to make a marked improvement on conventional hotel and apartment-style accommodation, a new term has been created – the ‘hometel’ – and it’s the perfect way to describe the interiors, the feel and the overarching concept that is housed inside. “It has been our biggest achievement to date, because it is not a fad, or buzz word,” adds Godwin. “Guests ‘get it’, they rave about the concept for us, and what’s very special about ‘home’, is it means something special and personal to everyone, so therefore guests get an instant connection with the brand and their stay experience.”

The extremely flexible accommodation has clearly been designed with purpose in order to suit both long and short stay, full or part self-catering and mixed/family groups. Many of the rooms, for example, include an iconic second loft-like sleeping deck area, ideal for families travelling with kids. “Everyone one loves a well-designed hotel room, cleaned daily and with fresh towels and linen, air conditioning and (generally) a big TV you can lie and watch in bed,” explains Ash. “And lots of people love a good hotel breakfast too. But sometimes you want a bit of flexibility, especially with extended stay guests.  – a chance to enjoy your favourite breakfast cereal in your room, or to cook up a quick pasta in the evening. Or you may want the chance to rustle up something simple for the kids whilst they’re glued to the TV. These are things more associated with home, or an Airbnb. But then you have to do your own housekeeping!

“You can be as plugged in or as zoned out as you like.” – Christopher Ash, Director, Project Orange.

“room2 is the perfect half-way house. An informal hotel with lots of personality you can enjoy but won’t be beholden to. There is no restaurant or bar in the traditional sense, just the room2 Living Room which is part hang out space, laid back working area, café, bar and meeting area. Likewise there are no designated reception staff, waiters or bar staff – the room2 Roommates are easy going jacks of all trades. You can be as plugged in or as zoned out as you like.”

Drawing on extensive industry experience, room2’s design considers all people and checking in and all possible scenarios. The result is a rule-breaking design-led abode, full of personality and attitude that allows its guests to experience the hometel on their own terms.

Main image credit: room2 Southampton

Rosewood Washington D.C. reopens with new F&B and public areas

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Rosewood Washington D.C. reopens with new F&B and public areas

Rosewood Washington D.C., which is widely regarded as Georgetown’s leading luxury hotels, has reopened with new distinct dining concepts, including a new rooftop lounge, CUT Above…

With interiors led by Jacques Garcia, Rosewood Washington D.C. has reopened its doors to unveil a new public area and F&B spaces. Instilling a sense of conviviality at the very start of the guest journey, the hotel’s new public spaces include a reimagined lobby and library.

Elegant design and architectural details, such as wood paneling, antique mirrors and marble fireplaces, line the lobby and its corridors, evoking the environment of a private home. The signature residential style is further reflected in the library, where a double height ceiling, deep velvet sofas and armchairs and a stunning chandelier invite guests to visit with friends or relax on ones own.

“We are thrilled to reopen our doors and welcome back our neighbors and visiting guests alike,” said Gabor L. Vida, managing director of Rosewood Washington, D.C. “Created to complement the historic charm of the neighborhood, the new CUT D.C. is characterized by regionally sourced cuisine that celebrates the best of the area’s local farms and purveyors, marking a new chapter for the brand, hotel and local community. Combined with our new rooftop lounge, CUT Above, the restaurant reinforces Rosewood Washington, D.C. as an inviting gathering place for all of our guests.”

Destined to quickly become the most sought-after dining venue in the city, CUT D.C., debuts a new and unique take on Wolfgang Puck’s famed CUT concept through a highly evolved vegetable- and seafood-centric menu. Helmed by Executive Chef Andrew Skala, a veteran of the Wolfgang Puck brand who has spent the last 13 years working across its restaurants in Las Vegas, Los Angeles and New York City, the hotel’s restaurant features a locally inspired menu that brings a fresh flair to the district’s vibrant dining scene. The venue combines essential elements of American architecture with those of European interiors to produce a refined yet relaxed setting that invites guests to return time and time again.

Dark lit restaurant with modern interiors

Image credit: Ryan Forbes/Rosewood Hotels

“I want this CUT to be different, one that is true to the location of where it is,” said Wolfgang Puck. “It’s important to me that CUT D.C. has its own soul that reflects just how unique the Mid-Atlantic is and how diners want to eat now. While guests will still be able to order the signature steaks they have come to love at CUT, we want to showcase the bounty of the region and create a menu that encourages sharing.”

Set against the capital city’s iconic skyline, the hotel’s new rooftop bar and lounge, CUT Above, emerges as the ideal destination for al fresco entertaining.

In addition to the new dining venues, lobby and library, Rosewood Washington, D.C. is set to debut six new and one-of-a-kind townhouse suites later this year. Built at the turn of the century and situated along one of Georgetown’s picturesque, tree-lined streets, the accommodations will offer an entirely residential guest experience unavailable anywhere else in the city. Each approximately 1,100 square feet in size, the accommodations will be designed by local interior designer Thomas Pheasant and will boast private entrances, dedicated living spaces, fully equipped kitchens and a private back courtyard, in addition to custom furnishings and décor created by artisans and photographers from the surrounding metropolitan area.

Main image credit: Ryan Forbes/Rosewood Hotels

 

Blackpool Pleasure Beach welcomes new luxury hotel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Blackpool Pleasure Beach welcomes new luxury hotel

Boulevard Hotel is expected to be a game changer luxury hotel that is about to arrive on Pleasure Beach in Blackpool… 

The entertainment capital of the north west – AKA Blackpool – is about to add a new luxury hotel to the mix as part of a multi-million pound investment plan to reinforce the destination’s reputation as one of the UK’s most popular attractions. Situated on Ocean Boulevard, adjacent to iconic beaches, Boulevard Hotel is on the brink of opening its luxury offering.

With architecture by Allison Pike, the £12 million Boulevard Hotel comprises 120 stylish rooms designed by Amanda Thompson OBE, Managing Director of Blackpool Pleasure Beach. Accommodation offering will include eight junior suites, two park view suites and eight coastal suites, all with either coastal vistas or direct views of the attractions and rollercoasters – perfect for building the excitement.All boast bespoke artwork complemented by materials sourced from renowned British companies, including handmade furniture by Tetrad, Designers Guild fabrics and wallcoverings by Andrew Martin.

This superior accommodation will be complemented by a 90-seat signature restaurant, The Beachside, which uses locally sourced ingredients to create an array of exquisite dishes from around the globe.

“We are delighted to be able to build on the success of the Big Blue Hotel by offering both leisure and business visitors another hotel which exceeds all expectations,” said Thompson OBE. “This is a continuation of Blackpool Pleasure Beach’s ongoing investment and a pivotal moment for the town as a whole. We are proud to be at the very heart of a transformation that will see Blackpool become one of the UK’s most exciting resorts.”

The hotel is the latest addition to the Blackpool Pleasure Beach accommodation offering, which also includes the adjacent award-winning Big Blue Hotel. Both these properties are part of the Blackpool Pleasure Beach portfolio which has been operated by the Thompson family since the resort’s inception in 1896.

Main image credit: Boulevard Hotels

 

Lennox Hotels arrives on Miami Beach

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Lennox Hotels arrives on Miami Beach

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

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

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

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

Exterior render of the hotel

Image credit: Lennox Hotels

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image of courtyard and long narrow pool

Image credit: Lennox Hotels

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Lennox Hotels

FINAL CALL: Applications for The Brit List 2019 close this week

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
FINAL CALL: Applications for The Brit List 2019 close this week

FREE TO APPLY, nominations for The Brit List 2019 close on Friday August 9… 

Calling all interior designers, architects, hoteliers and suppliers who operate in Britain, you have until Friday to submit your free entries for The Brit List 2019. Once all nominations/applications have been gathered, the expert judging panel will decide who will from this year’s The Brit List. All will be unveiled – including the individual award winners – on November 21 at an exclusive awards ceremony and evening drinks reception.

APPLY/NOMINATE SOMEONE FOR THE BRIT LIST 2019 BY CLICKING HERE

The concept of The Brit List, which launched in 2017, results in 75 names, split into three categories (designers, architects and hoteliers), being listed as true movers and shakers. The list will be created around the nominations (applications close on August 9) from the following awards that are up for grabs:

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

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

In addition to attending The Brit List 2019 Awards, there are also various sponsorship opportunities for suppliers. If you would like to know more about these, please contact Katy Phillips on email or by calling 01992 474050.

Headline Partner: Crosswater

Event Partner: Hamilton Litestat

2019 Industry Partner: BIID

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image credit: Shiva Hotels

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

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

Plush snug area

Image credit: Shiva Hotels

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

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

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

Main image credit: Shiva Hotels

 

Is this the most instagrammable hotel in Barcelona?

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Is this the most instagrammable hotel in Barcelona?

During August Hotel Designs is shining the Spotlight On Hotel Concepts. The editorial team believe that Hotel Arts Barcelona has all the ingredients in the mix to be Barcelona’s most instagrammable hotel. It’s a bold statement, but here’s why…

Exclusive and indulgent, the 28 penthouses at the top of the tallest building in Barcelona give guests a behind-the-scenes experience to those photos on Instagram – where luxury is the bare minimum. Beneath them, is the entrance of a hotel that has been designed around essence of wellness and wellbeing.

Iconic design, incredible culinary experiences and the sparkling Mediterranean are what draw visitors to Barcelona, Spain. These elements are also what attract luxury travelers to Hotel Arts Barcelona. Towering 44 floors above the sea, the 5-star hotel is a striking tower of blue glass and steel with beautifully designed accommodations, a two Michelin-star restaurant and spaces, including a rooftop spa and two outdoor pools, that overlook the sea.

Beautifully curated by world-renowned Catalonian designer Jaime Tresserra, the penthouses display unforgettable wraparound views over the city and the Azur of the Mediterranean beyond, making Hotel Arts Barcelona an unmistakable icon of Catalonia’s capital.

The hotel has been designed to evoke a certain wellness ambiance to shelter a collection of Insta-worthy and bespoke experiences including private cocktail mixology classes by highly acclaimed mixologist and high-end cuisine. From bright sunrises to soft pink sunsets, guests of the Royal, Presidential, Barcelona or Arts Penthouse can also book expertly taught, mindful yoga classes or have the professional therapists from the hotel’s 43 The Spa set up terrace massages for Natura Bissé spa treatments paired with undoubtedly Europe’s finest views.

Each Penthouse also features indulgent Bvlgari amenities, daily personalised breakfasts and personal use of a MINI Cooper Cabrio. Unparalleled service throughout, combined with dynamic design, the Penthouses boast exclusive check-ins as well as dedicated, multilingual butlers and magnificent flower arrangements by celebrity florist Donna Stain.

Main image credit: Hotel Arts Barcelona

Violet armchairs by the window

Laura Ashley Hotel The Iliffe, Coventry opens

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Laura Ashley Hotel The Iliffe, Coventry opens

Laura Ashley Hotel The Iliffe, Coventry, formerly known as Corus The Chace Hotel, has opened its doors to reveal to reveal a quintessentially British and timeless transformation… 

As part of the hotel group’s aggressive expansion, Laura Ashley Hotels has opened the doors to its second property, Laura Ashley Hotel The Iliffe, Coventry. The 17-key boutique hotel is sheltered in a stunning example of Victorian architecture surrounded by three acres of attractive landscaped gardens.

Violet armchairs by the window

The new design, led by the company’s in-house Commercial Designer, Kay Cullen, takes inspiration from the grand sweeping staircase, leading upstairs to the new guestrooms, which evokes the splendour of the past.

The land, which the property is located on, boasts a colourful history dating back to 1257 and was once owned by King Henry VIII. Laura Ashley Hotel The Iliffe, Coventry is named after the family the property was constructed for in the late 1890s, Dr Charles Webb Iliffe, a well-respected figure in the local medical community, and his wife, a young debutante, Mary Ann Soden.

Every part of the hotel has been redesigned drawing inspiration from the hotel’s Victorian heritage, with carefully selected rich colours which complement each other and luxurious furnishings to create an elegant space to entice comfort & relaxation.

“To pay homage to the decadence this image portrays, I decided to bring back a sense of the past and to embrace the beautiful detail within this magnificent old building.” – Kay Cullen, Commercial Designer, Laura Ashley Hotels.

“I was charmed by the beautiful building which once a grand manor house of late Victorian origin,” said Cullen. “The beautiful sweeping staircase takes you on a journey through the owner’s past with a portrait of the glamorous lady Mary Ann Soden as a debutante in the mid-eighteen hundreds. To pay homage to the decadence this image portrays, I decided to bring back a sense of the past and to embrace the beautiful detail within this magnificent old building.”

The boutique hotel’s superior and deluxe Laura Ashley bedrooms have been designed to infuse a sense of tranquillity with an effortless style. Classic Laura Ashley design adorns every surface, from plush cushions, to Laura Ashley Glenmore chairs in marine velvet, floor-to-ceiling drapes to statement lighting and stylish Laura Ashley Constellation Champagne and Gold Constance Mirrors.

Classic leather Hudson button back sofas add a touch of luxury and are a nod to the gentleman’s library that would have been cherished in a grand house by the Iliffe family. While a bespoke bookshelf separates the bar from the lounge space, with a secret pocket door which opens to connect both spaces when required. In the main restaurant there is a hand painted mural to reflect the surrounding grounds and to add a little country manor house romance to the space.

The Laura Ashley Hotels portfolio, which also includes The Belsfield Hotel, Windermere, and is soon to include Burnham Beeches Hotel in Buckinghamshire, aims to offer guests an authentic home from home experience against the backdrop of the Laura Ashley Home range in characterful properties in the UK.

Main image credit: Laura Ashley Hotels

A legend reborn: Raffles Singapore reopens

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
A legend reborn: Raffles Singapore reopens

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

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

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

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

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

Striking chandeliers hang down in modern nd contemporary restaurant

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Accor/Raffles Singapore

THE BRIT LIST 2019: Last chance to claim early bird tickets

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
THE BRIT LIST 2019: Last chance to claim early bird tickets

Early bird tickets for The Brit List 2019 Awards, which takes place on November 21 at Patch East London, expire on August 4…

There are just two days left in order to claim your early bird tickets to The Brit List 2019 Awards. Hotel Designs’ annual awards, which as well as recognising individual winners also lists the top 75 influencers who are operating in Britain on the hotel design and hospitality scene. The awards evening takes place on November 21 at Patch East London.

Click here to purchase your tickets

The concept of The Brit List, which launched in 2017, results in 75 names, split into three categories (designers, architects and hoteliers), being listed as true movers and shakers. The list will be created around the nominations (applications close on August 9) from the following awards that are up for grabs:

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

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

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

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

In addition to attending The Brit List 2019 Awards, there are also various sponsorship opportunities for suppliers. If you would like to know more about these, please contact Katy Phillips on email or by calling 01992 474050.

Headline Partner: Crosswater

 

Event Partner: Hamilton Litestat

2019 Industry Partner: BIID

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

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

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

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

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

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

Seminole Hard Rock Hotel And Casino

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

Hotel of 2119, imagined by Hilton Hotels

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

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

Continue reading.

Mandarin Oriental Melbourne

Image credit: VA

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

Continue reading.

Cliff-hanging hotel in Norway

Image credit: Cover Images/Hayri Atak Architectural Design Studio

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

Continue reading.

Sofitel SO Los Cabos

render of ocean-side hotel

Image credit: SB Architects

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

Continue reading.

JW Marriott Jeju

Image credit: WATG

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

Floating city

Image credit: Oceanix

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

Main image credit: Oceanix

NEW FOR DESIGNERS & HOTELIERS: Bisque debuts new online platform

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
NEW FOR DESIGNERS & HOTELIERS: Bisque debuts new online platform

Pioneering British design brand Bisque has announced a new online platform for interior designers, specifiers and architects…

A new section of Bisque’s website has been developed specifically to cater to the demands of designers, specifiers and architects in order to provide this audience with all the information it may need to specify Bisque products in new projects and developments.

For more than 40 years, Bisque has been the brand of choice for interior designers thanks to its class-leading selection of designer radiators. In fact, Bisque has been specified in a wide range of projects, from big budget hotels to independent, boutique outlets. These include the The Savoy, Shrangi-La at the Shard and Chewton Glen. Whatsmore, Bisque is also an accredited partner of SBID, the Society of British Interior Designers, founded by Vanessa Brady OBE, who was also a judge for The Brit List 2017.

“For a long time Bisque has enjoyed fruitful relationships with some of the UK’s finest interior designers, from both established names to up-and-coming talent,” explained Brand leader Ellie Sawdy. “The launch of this new section on our website signifies our ongoing commitment to providing designers with all they need to specify our products, and make the entire process as seamless as possible.”

Bisque provides a range of services for interior designers, which can be accessed via the new platform. This includes: an online resource library with downloadable images and CAD files, bespoke sizes and finishes, bespoke brackets and fittings, and a dedicated technical service team to assist throughout the entire process, from design to installation.

Main image credit: Designer – Edwina Boase/Bisque

 

HOTEL CONCEPT: Cliff-hanging hotel on the boards

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
HOTEL CONCEPT: Cliff-hanging hotel on the boards

A spectacular architecture concept has emerged from a Turkish architectural design studio showing plans for a luxury boutique hotel to be built into a cliff…

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

The hotel that is currently on the boards is proposed to be built directly into the rock within the cliff and would spread out over five levels. Straying from convention, guests would enter the hotel from the top level, which will be shared by a large viewing platform. The three floors underneath would shelter the guestrooms and suites. Each floor would have its own curved balcony, taking full use of the panoramic views own offer.

Pushing the boundaries of design and architecture, the firm’s renders shows an instagrammable narrow pool, which is arguably the most striking feature of the property. The pool, which extends out from the cliff on the lower lever, is complete with translucent sides and bottom in order to create a totally unmatched experience.

Although there is yet to be confirmation as to whether the hotel will ever be built, it raises some interesting questions around the landscape of hotel design, its boundaries and most importantly, the possibilities to blend together nature and architecture in designing future hotels.

Main image credit: Cover Images/Hayri Atak Architectural Design Studio

 

Soft and loose luxury interiors

Aparthotels Adagio announces to quadruple UK portfolio

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Aparthotels Adagio announces to quadruple UK portfolio

Aparthotels Adagio has announced major plans for UK expansion, with plans to quadruple its UK portfolio over the next four years…

Aparthotels Adagio will strengthen its presence in central locations across the UK, with a new opening planned in Leicester by the end of 2019. Other openings in the planning stages include a complex of 136 apartments in Stratford, London scheduled to open in 2020 and a 162 apartment premise in Saint Enoch, Glasgow in 2021.

Soft and loose luxury interiors

The brands latest signing will be located in Whitechapel, London in the heart of the historic East End and will open its doors in 2021.

Adagio Whitechapel will have 147 apartments; made up of 112 studios and 35 apartments comprised of two connecting rooms, all featuring a modern and innovative design. For optimal comfort, the new communal areas will benefit from one of the latest Adagio concept “The Circle”, which transforms the public spaces based on customer desire and usage.

“The market for aparthotels in the UK and Ireland is booming, both from an investor and a customer perspective,” said Karim Malak, CEO of Adagio. “Consolidating Adagio Aparthotel’s growing position in the region is key in our ambitious global development strategy. To achieve our goal of quadrupling the number of aparthotels by 2023, we have hired new talent locally.”

The planned expansion reflects the strengthening of Aparthotels Adagio’s presence in Europe and worldwide. By the end of 2019 the brand will have 115 aparthotels worldwide, representing more than 13,000 apartments in 13 countries. By 2023, the brand plans to manage a total of 220 assets, consolidating its leading position in the aparthotels sector.

Main image credit: Adagio

16th century shell transforms to open modern boutique design hotel

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

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

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

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

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

Exterior shot of hotel

Image credit: IHG

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

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

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

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

Beautiful bar area with aimless interiors

Image credit: IHG

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

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

Main image credit: IHG

AB Concept unveils ‘futuristic luxury’ hotel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
AB Concept unveils ‘futuristic luxury’ hotel

‘Futuristic Luxury’ defines the AB Concept-designed interiors at Laguna Baycourt Club Hotel & Spa Resort…

Ed Ng and Terence Ngan, Founders of international design studio AB Concept, have collaborated on Laguna Baycourt Club Hotel & Spa Resort in Gamagori, with Japanese designers Tanseisha Co., Ltd. and Yasui Architects & Engineers, Inc., to create the interiors of the ultra-luxury members hotel by Resorttrust, Inc. in the Kaiyo-cho area.

AB Concept’s designs extend from the public areas of the receptions, concierge and lobby, to the private domain of the guest rooms, whilst also incorporating the restaurant and members bar.

Speaking about the project, Ed Ng said: “Our interiors are inspired by Laguna Baycourt Club’s coastal location in Mikawa Bay, and the fluidity of the building’s architecture. Contrasting colour schemes and wave-like elements helped us to emulate the surrounding coastline and capture the geographical essence of the area in our designs.”

Entering through the diamond-shaped vestibule, guests are guided into the sculptural space of the lobby by forms reminiscent of waves. Curving acrylic curtains divide the space, their translucency creating private spaces without blocking the dramatic panoramic views. Antique metal panelling and monochrome stone tiles add to the flow of the edgeless space, whilst a handcrafted free-form table in front of the floor-to-ceiling windows is reminiscent of a sea-surge.

Luxe and bright interiors within the suite of the hotel

Image credit: AB Concept

Intricately carved gold screens define Maroce, the hotel’s main dining, designed by AB Concept. Creating dramatic silhouettes and curvaceous forms, the opulence of the shimmering space is palpable throughout the restaurant. Entering through a feather-etched glass door, guests will find a sophisticated blend of light and dark merging seamlessly with the serenity of the surrounding seascape.

In the guest rooms, Ed Ng and Terence Ngan have created different themes in order to create a sense of time passing throughout the day. ‘Sunrise’ defines the Bay Suites, where the soft curves combine with the room’s light openness to create a calm environment, whilst in the Luxury Suites, the theme of ‘Sunset’ is explored through AB Concept’s design combined with the orientation of the room. Neutral tones have been used to emulate the fading afternoon sun, whilst gentle arching forms drawn on the walls and carefully places mirrors induce a sense of infinite time and space.

Image credit: AB Concept

Lastly, deep colours, midnight tones and rich textures characterise the two Royal Suites located at each end of the buildings top floor. Conjuring up images of starry nights, the ‘Twilight’ theme of the suite is accentuated by the seamless transition from interior to exterior, as a balcony outside each suite offers members unparalleled views of the ocean and the night sky.

Laguna Baycourt Club Hotel & Spa Resort opened on 28th March 2019, and is an exclusive membership resort located in the area of Laguna, Gamagori City, Aichi Prefecture. It is the third of the Baycourt Club properties, and follows the Tokyo and Ashiya openings.

New hotel in Santa Monica debuts ‘looser kind of luxury’

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
New hotel in Santa Monica debuts ‘looser kind of luxury’

The 271-key Santa Monica Proper, designed by Kelly Wearstler, introduces a looser kind of luxury with interiors inspired by the natural coastline… 

A new hotel has emerged in Santa Monica that is said to disrupt the luxury hotel scene in California. Juxtaposing Hollywood glamour, Santa Monica Proper, designed by internationally acclaimed designer Kelly Wearstler, describes itself as embracing ‘looser luxury’ with an emphasis on wellbeing and holistic wellness.

The hotel, which is currently in soft-launch phase, is situated in the district around 7th and Wilshire, which is considered to be a rising hub of creative energy with upscale conveniences and wellness activities in any direction—and the beach and bike path only blocks away.

Using Santa Monica as muse, Wearstler took cues, motifs and hues from classic Santa Monica history. With room designs distinct to each building, the clean-lined environments are grounded in a bold, neutral scheme of subtle organic textures, materials, and natural elements: sandy palettes, light hardwoods underfoot; grasscloths, and floor-to-ceiling windows. To further enhance the site-specific, artisanal feel in public spaces, Wearstler has collaborated with the finest names in L.A. art for original artworks and monolithic installations, such as Ben Medansky, Morgan Peck, Tanya Aguiniga, Len Klikunas, and Bradley Duncan.

close up of soft headboard and comfy looking bed with white sheets

Image credit: The Ingalls

Meeting the needs of the modern traveler, each room is well-appointed with specially designed furniture and signature Proper beds dressed with Bellino and Fili D’oro linens. State-of-the-art technology includes the Proper App and mobile room keys and checkout. In addition to curved floor-to-ceiling windows, balconies and garden terraces offer plenty of natural California light.

Integrated into a Proper stay is the 3,000-square-foot flagship collaboration with celebrated wellness practitioners Martha and Roger Soffer. Following a philosophy that bridges the physical, mental, and spiritual, hotel guests and locals can explore 10,000 years of Indian wellness principles through therapeutic massage, steam and oil treatments, cooking, yoga, and meditation.

The hotel, which offers its guests a front-row perspective over unspoilt ocean, is expected to be fully completed and open by September 2019.

Main image credit: The Ingalls

citizenM Amstel Amsterdam hotel opens in 1920s shell

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

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

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

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

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

Image credit: Richard Powers

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Richard Powers

Hyatt Centric arrives in Silicon Valley, California

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hyatt Centric arrives in Silicon Valley, California

The new lifestyle hotel, Hyatt Centric Mountain View,  targets savvy explorers seeking shareable moments with a new 167-key hotel designed by Studio HBA and CallisonRTKL…

Hyatt Hotels Corporation has debuted in Silicon Valley with the eagerly anticipated opening of the 167-key Hyatt Centric Mountain View. Designed for a growing segment of savvy explorers seeking shareable moments to inspire others, the brand currently has 29 properties across 11 countries, including Chile, France, Spain, India, Japan, among others.

“We are pleased to bring the in-the-now spirit of the Hyatt Centric brand to Silicon Valley,” said Rich Higdon, general manager of Hyatt Centric Mountain View. “The hotel is designed as a launch pad that encourages visitors to explore and experience the unique aspects of our dynamic city.”

ech-forward décor creates a sense of place at Hyatt Centric Mountain View, paying homage to the area’s history as the birthplace of modern technology. Locally inspired art references Silicon Valley’s storied innovation — a dramatic installation in the lobby, for example, is rendered with hundreds of mini pocket compasses and a neon depiction of the periodic symbol for silicon. A cozy lounge by the bar features metal panels with an interactive QR code motif as well as wall art composed of classic Atari games and other creative memorabilia. Multi-media pieces created with computer components adorn guestroom walls.

Image credit: Hyatt Hotels

“Not just in Mountain View, this hotel is truly of Mountain View,” says Corry Oakes, President and CEO of OTO Development, part of The Johnson Group. “The lively design captures the community’s innovative vibe, immersing guests in the essence of Silicon Valley.”

OTO developed Hyatt Centric Mountain View with project partners including architect practice CallisonRTKL, interior design firms Studio HBA, and general contractor Lusardi Construction Co.

Hyatt Centric Mountain View comprises 167 modern, streamlined rooms and suites designed to deliver everything guests want and nothing they don’t. Hardwood floors are accented with area rugs based on intricate tile patterns, and wall coverings mimic textured woven linen. Headboards offer full connectivity with plenty of outlets and ports to charge devices, as well as discreetly designed lighting. Along with custom open closets, HD Smart TVs, and Drybar Buttercup blow-dryers in every room, among other in-room offerings, hotel amenities include a fitness centre equipped with LifeFitness machines, a 24/7 business center and a second-level terrace with heated pool, firepit and life-size games.

minimalist and industrial-like interiors in public areas

Image credit: Hyatt Hotels

The design-forward hotel offers full-service catering and lively meeting space, both inside and out, divided into 11 distinct settings for everything from corporate functions to social gatherings. The elegant Cloud Ballroom features floor-to-ceiling glass walls that slide open to access al fresco seating.

Fairchilds Public House, the hotel’s restaurant and bar, serves up locally sourced California cuisine for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with a beverage program drawing from regional breweries and wineries. Hours are 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. on Friday; 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. on Saturday; 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Sunday; and daily happy hour from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.  The indoor and outdoor spaces include a lively bar and cozy lounge, fresh-air veranda with fire pit, and a variety of dining spaces. View On 2 offers cabana-style drinks and dishes on the second-floor terrace, with views of the Santa Cruz Mountains.

With its emphasis on connecting travelers to the local community, Hyatt Centric Mountain View is located just steps away from restaurants, retailers and a movie theater, and close to Silicon Valley’s top technology companies. Within walking distance to Caltrain and a Stanford Express Bus stop, there is easy access to hotspots on Castro Street in Mountain View, University Avenue in Palo Alto and the Downtown Triangle in Los Altos.

Hyatt Centric Mountain View was built to LEED Silver standards, with an emphasis on sustainable land use, resource conservation and waste minimization. With built-in systems to reduce energy and water consumption, the hotel operates as responsibly as possible with programs such as comprehensive recycling, Clean the World soap reuse and light touch cleaning based on guest request. The property additionally offers EV charging stations.

Hyatt Hotels is a leading global hospitality company with a portfolio of 19 premier brands. As of March 31, 2019, the company’s portfolio included more than 850 properties in more than 60 countries across six continents.

Main image credit: Hyatt Hotels

luxe marble bathroom

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

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

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

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

luxe marble bathroom

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

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

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

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

Render of luxury bathroom with marble surfaces and overlooking Manchester

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hotels that have emerged bigger and better post-natural disasters

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotels that have emerged bigger and better post-natural disasters

Hotel Designs identifies hotels around the world that have risen from the ashes of natural disasters…

Following the news of last week’s earthquake in Athens – and as we approach two years since part of the Caribbean was hit by Hurricane Irma – now is a good time to amplify properties that were resiliently rebuilt to stand once more as leading hotels around the world following unexpected disasters.

Whilst the BBC reported that nobody was injured in last week’s earthquake of 5.1 magnitude in Athens, a destination that is seeing a significant spike in soulful boutique hotels, several aftershocks left two buildings collapsing.

Looking back in recent history, here are a selection of developments around the world that have reopened, post-natural disaster, to become bigger, stronger and better hotels than they were in their former shells.

Le Sereno St Barth’s

Image credit: Sereno Hotels

Sereno Hotels announced last year the reopening of Le Sereno St. Barth’s, following the damage it sustained from the passing of Hurricane Irma in September 2017. The hotel was originally designed by the Sereno Hotels team in keeping with the original vision of Christian Liaigre. The decision to rebuild from scratch a significant part of the property came from the Contreras family with the aim to extensively renovate more than half the rooms and all the public spaces, while maintaining the iconic style of Le Sereno which has a devoted following among guests.

Las Alcobas Napa Valley

fire in front of luxury pool

Image credit: Marriott International

Located in California’s famous wine region, Napa Valley, Las Alcobas closed its doors temporarily following the 2017 fires that burned 144,000 acres in three counties. Although the hotel’s doors remained closed, Acacia House, its in-house restaurant remained open to serve first responders and neighbours who had lost their homes. Two years on from the event, business is booming in the 59-key luxury boutique hotel.

Wyndham Grand Kalim Bay 

Light and bright guest room with impressive views over the bay

Image credit: Wyndham Hotels

Opened in 2016 with the aim to inject a level of luxury above Patong Beach, which was one of the destinations hit by the 2004 Tsunami, Wyndham Grand Kalim Bay boasts some of the most premium views on the island of Phuket.

El Lodge – Sierra Nevada

lodge-like interiors in the guest room

Image credit: Small Luxury Hotels of the World

Quite literally a hotel that has risen from the ashes, El Lodge in Sierra Nevada’s design story is mesmerising. Following a fire that damaged the entire structure, the same design team, led by Andrew Martin, were given the unique opportunity to rebuild the foundations and interiors and, in process, were able to improve what they originally completed.

Main image credit: Le Sereno St Barth’s/Emily Lab

In Conversation With: Michele Salvi, Associate at Zaha Hadid Architects

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In Conversation With: Michele Salvi, Associate at Zaha Hadid Architects

Following the opening of the 770-key Morpheus Hotel in Macau, Zaha Hadid Architects’ Michele Salvi sits down with editor Hamish Kilburn to discuss pushing boundaries, ever-changing public areas and how the pioneering practice is continuing the legacy of a design legend…

When Morpheus first opened to the public in June of last year as the “world’s first free-form high-rise exoskeleton” hotel, to the surprise of nobody, it quickly became one of the most talked-about new-builds of the decade.

Six years in planning, the ambitious brief that the team at Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) received by Melco Resorts Entertainment was to design and build the fifth and final tower to complete City of Dreams Resort in Macau.

“Morpheus is a step into the unknown.” – Michele Salvi, Associate, Zaha Hadid Architects

To understand more about the challenges that were attached to such an enormous project – and to get a glimpse into the inner workings of one of the leaders behind many of the decisions – I join project architect and Associate Michele Salvi for one of his typical lunch hours in London’s bustling Clerkenwell district. “I love it here,” he says tucking into a fresh salad. “London’s vibrant culture scene makes Britain such a significant design hub.”

Establishing shot of site against other buildings

Image credit: Ivan Dupont

The architect, who operates from the ZHA’s London HQ and has recently been confirmed among other visionaries to be a jury member for the Outstanding Property Award London, is currently working on projects such as Mandarin Oriental Melbourne as well as several high-end competitions in Europe, Asia and Australia. And while these buildings that are on the boards are full-on commitments, there was nothing that could have prepared Salvi and the ZHA team for the opening of Morpheus. “Throughout the year there were many launch events with the hotel’s grand opening being the most important and expectations were high,” he admits. “The large atrium had been unwrapped from its scaffolding only a few days before and we had been working full speed with the interior contractors to deliver a project of premium quality right up until the last day. To be honest, it was a huge team effort.”

Instead of referencing architectural styles from around the globe, like the majority of other buildings in and around Macau, Morpheus ascended from its own unique environment juxtaposing its neighbouring buildings. “As our client says, Morpheus is a step into the unknown,” adds Salvi, “an unprecedented mix of challenges. More so than previous projects as parametric design tools methodologies have been used extensively in all design stages until construction.”

“It takes more than a comfortable room and premium facilities to make a hotel experience truly special.” – Michele Salvi, Associate, Zaha Hadid Architects

Rewind six years, and it was the late Zaha Hadid herself who had originally signed off the plans for the project. “We started with the envelope and exoskeleton,” explains Salvi. “The massing was given by the brief, the limited footprint leftovers from the existing City of Dreams development and 160m height restrictions because of being in close proximity to the airport.”

To create a fitting first impression that allowed all guests to experience the full scale of the project, the design team decided to keep the public areas as open and exposed as possible. “It takes more than a comfortable room and premium facilities to make a hotel experience truly special,” Salvi explains. “We wanted people to physically experience the building, be amazed and discover something unexpected.” Examples of this can be found no further than the 12 panoramic lifts, which through the full-height atrium provides what can only be described as a breathtaking 45-second experience of defying gravity.

What gives the 40-storey Morpheus its iconic free-form exterior shape are a number of delicately created pockets within the architectural structure. “We carved out three voids from this solid block to increase the amount of unique corner rooms,” explains Salvi. “By bending and curving the façade towards the centre, we enhanced visual connectivity and created unexpected crossing views between different areas of the building, such as two panoramic bridges that host restaurants.”

Exterior shot of the hotel, with irregular details

Image credit: Ivan Dupont

The guestrooms and suites within the hotel are somewhat hidden in the non-uniformed design in collaboration with interior design studio Remedios Studio. “Most rooms are within the flat façade and corners, with unique suites in the transition between flat façade and the voids,” Salvi continues. “All of them are behind the exoskeleton, and the variation of its pattern provides shelter from direct sunlight and generates dynamic filter towards the city.”

QUICK-FIRE ROUND

Hamish Kilburn: How do you escape from the daily grind?
Michele Salvi: Sailing, when I can, and I love travelling

HK: Where’s next on your travel bucket list?
MS: Hong Kong and Jordan are on my list. I would love to visit Patagonia and La Tierra del Fuego

HK: Renders or sketches?
MS: Both of them in every stage of design

HK: If I were to give you unlimited budget to design a hotel, where would it be in the world?
MS: I would love to design a floating hotel, always in motion rather than anchored to a specific context

HK: In your career, so far, what has been the largest change that has affected the way in which you design hotels?
MS: For me, this was when I started to use parametric tools, which could manage more information and has a much higher level of complexity

HK: Who inspired you when you were training to be an architect?
MS: Primarily Zaha Hadid. But also Frank Gehry and later on, from other creative fields, Ernst Haeckel and D’Arcy W. Thompson.

“Zaha’s loss was devastating.” – Michele Salvi, Associate, Zaha Hadid Architects

Despite Morpheus being no-doubt an impressive piece of architecture, it is perhaps the fact that it was one of the last projects that the late Zaha Hadid herself worked on that makes it an important building – and a poignant moment – in the firm’s journey. “Zaha’s loss was devastating,” says Salvi. “However, there is a strong sense of community within the company and we all share the responsibility to continue her legacy.” Salvi joined the studio just more than 15 years ago, first starting in the firm’s Italian studio before moving to London to work within – and later lead – a larger team. “I do feel as if I have contributed to making the company successful,” he says. After more than three years, we are doing incredibly well and continue to deliver unique projects.”

Just like the project itself did over many sketches and renders, Salvi has also evolved since early stages through to the completion. “Due to the extraordinary scale of the project, I feel I’ve learnt a lot,” he says. “From façade technology and interior design to form structure and workflow management, which is now a precious resource on every new project.”

With the architect’s lunch hour over running, and a design competition deadline looming, it’s time for Salvi to head back to the London studio to contribute further in changing the skylines of our cities for the better, all while continuing the work of the woman who changed architecture – and equality within the sector – forever. And with that, the extraordinary work taking shape behind the firm’s studio doors continues into a new chapter, which will no-doubt be complete with new, unique and elegant dimensions.

Main image credit: Jacopo Spilimbergo

The Brit List 2019 Awards: Meet the judges

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The Brit List 2019 Awards: Meet the judges

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

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

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

The judges for The Brit List 2019 Awards are:

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

Harriet Forde, BIID President

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

Hamish Kilburn, editor of Hotel Designs

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

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

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

Jacu Strauss, founder and creative director of LORE Studio

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

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

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

Florence Rolfe, Former Deputy Decoration Editor, House & Garden

Florence Rolfe, Former Deputy Decoration Editor, House & Garden

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

Edward Webb, Director of Development Management, Nuveen Real Estate

Edward Webb, Director of Development Management, Nuveen Real Estate

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

Mel Yates, Photographer 

Mel Yates, Photographer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Headline Partner: Crosswater

Event Partner: Hamilton Litestat:

Industry Partner: BIID:

InterContinental Hayman Island Resort opens in Great Barrier Reef

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
InterContinental Hayman Island Resort opens in Great Barrier Reef

Designed in collaboration with DBI Designs, DAARC and KY Design, with the Great Barrier Reef as a main source of inspiration, InterContinental Hayman Island Resort has opened… 

Following InterContinental Hotels & Resorts (IHG)’s plans to extending its footprint in Australia as well as other regions, the 166-key luxury InterContinental Hayman Island Resort has opened its doors. With design by DBI Designs, DAARC and KY Design, the new luxury hotel has been created to evoke one-off experiences.

Nestled in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef – famously one of the seven wonders of the natural world –the hotel has opened a after a spectacular multi-million-dollar refurbishment. Located on a pristine 400-hectare private island in The Whitsunday Islands, the luxury resort features dynamic 166 rooms, suites and villas across three distinct wings, and is accessible by luxury catamaran, helicopter or seaplane.

Exterior establishing shot of the hotel

Image credit: IHG

New to the resort, InterContinental offers 11 all-new suites in the luxury collection of the Pool Wing, with remarkable accommodation options including the Three Bedroom Hayman Beach House with three rooms each with its own private pool, and the One Bedroom Pool Access Suite with direct swim-out access to Australia’s iconic Hayman Pool. Completing the immersive on-island experience is a brand-new luxury spa with 11 treatment rooms, all-new resort boutique, on-island chapel, world-class kids club, and fitness and wellness centre.

With luxury properties in more than 200 locations around the world – some more far-flung than others – IHG is the world’s largest global luxury hotel brand. The hotel group’s strategy now  is to expand its portfolio, focusing on destinations such as France, Maldives, Japan, Australia and Thailand.

Main image credit: IHG

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Styling a hotel for design press

1024 768 Hamish Kilburn
INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Styling a hotel for design press

With first impressions now being made before guests have even considered checking in, making a hotel’s style, personality and character pop in photographs is fundamental in any successful launch campaign. Florence Rolfe, former senior stylist at House & Garden – and judge for The Brit List 2019 – explains some of the tricks of the trade… 

The overriding question I am often asked is: “What do I have to do in order to get my brand into a leading publication?”

As we well know, the role of the journalist is to find the next big scoop, to draw the reader in with interesting content, and ultimately: to tell a story.

When it comes to creating engaging imagery, my advice is that your visuals should also tell a story. They need to express a lifestyle, and, moreover when it comes to hotels, where there is an abundance, that story needs to be aspirational. It needs to offer access to something that you wouldn’t usually experience, and conclusively to communicate this. The image should encapsulate the incredible journey you will have. What do we enjoy most about staying at hotels? For me, I like to indulge: step into my room, kick off my shoes and slip into that soft luxurious robe. I scout out the brand of miniature toiletries carefully curated in the bathroom. Perhaps run a bubble bath, then later tuck into high-thread count, Egyptian cotton sheets freshly turned down by housekeeping, before indulging in a chocolate left on the pillow.

“Whilst emulating the comfort of a home is important, the magic of hotels is also the escapist quality.”

But how can we convey this sublime experience into a photograph? Whilst emulating the comfort of a home is important, the magic of hotels is also the escapist quality. A luxurious element and impression of pampering is key. Detail shots of gorgeous bed linen, or a beautifully presented breakfast on a balcony, or a section of the bed with a thoughtfully styled bedside table, attractive looking cocktails at a beautifully stacked bar, or a good looking dish prepared by the chef. An evocative shot could also capture a neatly rolled towel pristinely perched on a sun lounger.

Are there any quirky design details around the hotel that the stylist and photographer are able to hone in on? Perhaps an interesting art collection, extensive book collection, rooftop pool with panoramic views, or an inviting private beach? Perhaps an unusual design element like a bath tub on the balcony – think The Zetter Townhouse, Marylebone. Draw your focus onto the interior design elements in a hotel, like an oversized bedhead – Kit Kemp style – or a mega chandelier, as seen in The Corinthia London’s lobby. Focus on the materials at your disposal: the tiles, upholstery, curtains, bed linen. Do they contrast with other fittings like dramatic brass door handles? The writing desk in a hotel room. Or a big beautiful armchair. These furnishings are interesting to photograph to show guests how differently the bedroom space can be used (outside the standard realm of bed and en-suite bathroom).

Consider the different mix of materials not as typical or practical in our everyday living spaces: silk curtains, bed throws, velvet armchairs. The prevailing impact that interiors trends have for press and bloggers means that in this day and age photography and styling is really important.

Think about whether you want the pictures to look as though they are ‘guest ready’, preparing for the customers arrival or whether they should encompass a natural ‘lifestyle’ quality? Do you want to create your bedroom shots with a more ‘lived in’ feel. This could be a messy bed, for example. If your shots have been commissioned purely for website purposes, I would stick to ‘guest ready’. Lifestyle are great for video and social media content. I would also always advise having a model on hand for any lifestyle imagery as the human element not only brings things to life, also helps scale in a photograph. A mix of the two works well for website, brochure and social media content. Movement can still be created in a still life image: a running bath or shower, lit candles or a barman pouring a drink or shaking a cocktail.

If the budget allows, I would suggest hiring a stylist and good photographer to bring these elements to life. My job as a stylist is to create this ‘home from home’ environment in a photograph, achieved by sourcing props in interesting shapes and sizes that I know will always photograph well.  You can never go wrong with beautiful flowers. They bring any image to life. Not only will they provide that pop of colour if needed in the photograph, but they can hugely help image proportions.

Flowers is another element I would suggest carefully considering for your branding. Take a look at your surroundings: which flowers and/or plants are native to the country or area that your hotel is based? A hotel or resort based in South Africa might decide to stick with their native flower, which in this case is the ‘Protea’, whereas a hotel or resort in Mexico might opt for succulents in their imagery. As we are all aware, flowers can be pricey and don’t always last long. This isn’t always ideal when you’re on a long shoot, as they need to look as fresh as possible for every shot. Faux flowers might be a good option. Once renowned for having a bad reputation, these days there are some beautifully crafted, really realistic ones available. A good selection of hardback books in various sizes and colours are always useful to fill a neglected area.

To create an image that not only gets you into the press, but also hooks your target market, you need to create emotion. Put yourself in the guest’s shoes. Do not simply take a cold image of a smart room, but rather bring that room to life. Allow the reader to envisage how they would feel when they walk through the door into your hotel room and sense all the wonderful things around them, which you’ve so carefully thought out for them.

Main image credit: CitzenM Kuala Lumpar

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image credit: Marriott International/Aloft Hotels

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Marriott International/Aloft Hotels

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Hilton Hotels

Ruby Hotels opens second hotel in Dusseldorf

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Ruby Hotels opens second hotel in Dusseldorf

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

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

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

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

Dressing room style design

Image credit: Ruby Hotels

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Ruby Hotels

Waldorf Astoria arrives in Dubai’s Financial Centre

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Waldorf Astoria arrives in Dubai’s Financial Centre

Waldorf Astoria expands presence in the Middle East with the opening of Waldorf Astoria Dubai International Financial Centre, treating guests to a unique check-in experience from the 18th floor as well as sky-high dining and wellness facilities…

With the aim to bridge the world together, with a French Riviera-style rooftop bar and pool and a 1960s, New York-inspired F&B areas, the highly anticipated Waldorf Astoria Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) has opened its doors.

Waldorf Astoria DIFC occupies the 18th to 55th floors of the Burj Daman, a complex featuring residences and office towers. Guests will enjoy a unique reception and check-in experience on the 18th floor, which is also home to the hotel’s dining and wellness facilities and acts as the true heartbeat of the hotel.  All 275 guestrooms, including 46 suites and 28 residential suites, offer unobstructed views of the downtown Dubai skyline, which can be viewed through floor-to-ceiling windows in each room.

“We are pleased to be part of this rapidly growing district and look forward to delivering unparalleled experiences to guests staying in DIFC.” – Rudi Jagersbacher, President, Middle East, Africa & Turkey, Hilton

“We are delighted to expand our luxury presence in the region with the opening of Waldorf Astoria DIFC which is located in an important economic hub within the region,” said Rudi Jagersbacher, President, Middle East, Africa & Turkey, Hilton. “Earlier this year, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum approved the launch of DIFC 2.0 which will add 13 million square feet of space to the Centre. We are pleased to be part of this rapidly growing district and look forward to delivering unparalleled experiences to guests staying in DIFC.”

Image credit: Hilton/Waldorf Astoria

Inspired by the iconic architecture, lifestyle and mid-modern style of the 1960s, the hotel exudes a contemporary elegance and understated luxury. With its stylish furniture, multifunctional design peppered with marble, ebony, brass and bronze materials, the hotel boasts a sleek and contemporary look.

In line with Waldorf Astoria’s legacy of culinary expertise, Waldorf Astoria DIFC is primed to be a best-in-class dining destination. All restaurants and bars are located on the 18th floor, a stunning location from which to view the city.

Inspired by the original once located in the Waldorf Astoria New York, Bull & Bear is the hotel’s signature restaurant which offers a twist on the legendary eatery. Diners can enjoy imaginative cuisine in a stylish, relaxed setting.

An oasis in the heart of the city, St. Trop serves up a slice of the French Riviera in DIFC. This stylish rooftop lounge ⁠— with its pool, whirlpool, timber decking and bright colours ⁠— is perfect for drinks and light bites from day to night. Truly an urban escape, St Trop brings laidback poolside chic to Dubai’s financial district.

Peacock Alley is an elegant lounge and bar ideal for both sophisticated gatherings and informal gatherings. The term “Peacock Alley” was coined to portray the daily promenade of people through the original colonnade connecting The Waldorf and The Astoria hotels in New York City. The iconic venue is present at all Waldorf Astoria hotels worldwide ⁠— and this historical part of New York heritage is now in DIFC.

The Waldorf Astoria Spa ⁠— with its floatation tank, hydrobath, hammam and Vichy shower ⁠— is a sanctuary of relaxation in the middle of the city. Secluded on the 18th floor, the spa offers four treatment suites and the hotel’s fitness centre offers state-of-the-art equipment and views of Dubai’s skyline from 18 floors up.

luxe and large bathroom

Image credit: Hilton/Waldorf Astoria

The hotel offers five elegant, innovative settings, including a unique library concept which houses an open kitchen. The hotel also features spacious meeting rooms, a grand ballroom with a pre-function area and a sophisticated boardroom that is perfect for corporate meetings. All spaces have a residential, personal feel, providing the ideal setting for every type of event.

“We are thrilled to bring Waldorf Astoria to DIFC and offer True Waldorf Service in such a thriving and dynamic location within the city,” said Dino Michael, Global Head, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts. “From Bangkok to Amsterdam, Waldorf Astoria properties are set in landmark locations all over the world, and Waldorf Astoria DIFC is a remarkable addition to our growing portfolio in the Middle East and beyond.”

Waldorf Astoria DIFC joins two award-winning Waldorf Astoria properties in the UAE ⁠— Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah and Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah ⁠— and is the brand’s first city-based hotel in the country. Like all Waldorf Astoria properties in the world, Waldorf Astoria DIFC offers True Waldorf Service: graceful, anticipatory service from the moment a guest books through checkout.

Main image credit: Hilton/Waldorf Astoria

Agreement signed between Hotel Investment Partners and Room Mate Hotels

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Room Mate Hotels

Hotel Summit 2019 bridges the gap between hotel buyers and suppliers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Partners:

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

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

Hyatt Place arrives in Japan

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hyatt Place arrives in Japan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Hyatt Hotels

Stock Exchange Hotel in Manchester unveils sneak peek of design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Stock Exchange Hotel in Manchester unveils sneak peek of design

Stock Exchange Hotel, one of the most eagerly anticipated hotels in Manchester, will open on November 15, 2019 as a member of Relais & Châteaux…

The former Stock Exchange building, located in the heart of Manchester, is a striking example of Edwardian architecture from the 20th Century and is currently being meticulously transformed into a hotel which will offer a collection of 40 rooms, including two signature suites and a stunning 3,500 square foot penthouse residence. The food and beverage operation within the hotel will be overseen by chef Tom Kerridge.

The sneak peek of the hotel follows Meet Up North, Hotel Designs’ premium northern networking event, which shone the spotlight further on Manchester being a hive of hotel development in the pipeline.

Co-owned by Gary Neville, Ryan Giggs and hotelier Winston Zahra, the boutique property is set to open as a member of global hotel and restaurant fellowship, Relais & Châteaux and will be managed and operated by Manchester based GG Hospitality.

Having purchased the Grade II listed building six years ago, Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs explained that their vision was to bring the building back to life: “We knew the Stock Exchange well from when it was a restaurant but it was only when we viewed it in its entirety that we realised the extent of the history there.

“Most people familiar with the building will know of the domed ceiling above the old trading room floor, but there are many other original features that will not have been seen by many, such as fireplaces, vaults and stained glass windows. For us it was critical that this heritage was protected, and it now sits at the heart of what we hope will be an exciting new concept for Manchester.”

Speaking about the association with Relais & Châteaux, co-owner and GG Hospitality CEO Winston Zahra said: “We are honoured to be the first ever Relais & Châteaux member in Manchester and one of the first properties in the 65 year history of the fellowship to become a member before its doors open. This is testament to all of the work the team has been doing behind the scenes. We have put a great amount of effort into ensuring the design for the property truly respects the history of the building.

“The values and foundations of Relais & Châteaux to protect and defend local arts of living are are reflected in every detail of our offering and we are committed to preserving an important part of Manchester’s heritage, while offering quality service in an exceptional setting.”

Philippe Gombert, President of Relais & Châteaux said: “We are very happy to count Stock Exchange Hotel as a member of our family and to be able to accompany them in the opening of this beautiful house. I am deeply convinced that Gary Neville, Ryan Giggs and Winston Zahra will revive Stock Exchange and its history in a remarkable way. This is a perfect example of what Relais & Châteaux is: properties anchored in their region, ambassadors of their heritage, but also passionate about their craft and deeply committed to forging warm, lasting relationships with their guests.”

The hotel’s interiors have been designed by internationally renowned design studio Autoban.  Their bespoke design – a subtle arrangement of a light palette of colours, combined with luxurious materials, original marble, brass, glass and woodwork – ensures guests will experience spaces deeply rooted in the history and heart of the city, crafted around the remarkable stories of the building.

The collection of unique rooms and suites can be booked as individual rooms or combined into a number of configurations, creating interconnected spaces ideal for guests visiting the city for business or leisure and for families or groups. Whole floors can be hired with full interconnecting capability and the building is also available to be booked out in its entirety for exclusive use.

Render of a lobby

Image credit: Stock Exchange Hotel

The Bradshaw, John Gass and Arthur Hope room collections pay respect to the architects who originally designed the Portland stone building which originally opened in 1906. Additionally, the Kent and Norfolk suite collections complement what will be a very unique accommodation offering in the city.

In addition to the room and suite collections, the hotel includes two signature suites – The 1906 Suite and The Boardroom Suite, measuring 1,070 and 1,700 square feet respectively. The signature suites are available for both short and long term fully serviced stays at the Hotel.

The 1906 Suite, named after the year in which the Stock Exchange opened for trading, is located on the newly constructed fourth floor of the building.  Comprising two bedrooms, this 1,070 square foot suite is a great space for families and friends who want to reside in the same room while retaining an element of privacy.

The Boardroom Suite, accessed via a private staircase off the main lobby of the hotel, is located in one of the most historically significant and architecturally preserved parts of the building – the original Stock Exchange boardroom. Designed to honour its past, the 1,700 square foot space boasts a number of original features, including marble pillars, wood panelling, an ornamental fireplace, stained glass windows, and the original Stock Exchange vault. Other features include a walk-in wardrobe, a large lounge area, dining room and small fitness room. The Boardroom Suite can be extended to 2,300 square feet with the addition of an interconnecting suite that also includes its own private terrace.

Complimenting the best accommodation available in Manchester, The House is an exclusive, fully serviced residence. With its own roof terrace offering views over and across the Manchester skyline, The House is a unique penthouse residence with superlative attention to detail, extensive amenities and spacious facilities, spread over 3500 square feet.

Ideal for both short and long term residency, The House encompasses three meticulously designed bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms, a fully fitted kitchen, breakfast bar, two separate lounge areas, a beverage bar and a stylish dining room. A fitness room completes this exquisite top floor residence, underpinned by the full range of services offered by the team of the hotel.

The heart and soul of the hotel will be a restaurant and bar overseen by chef Tom Kerridge, housed under the magnificent dome which for decades was the trading floor of the Stock Exchange. The space has been designed to be a social space where people can enjoy quality food in a casual and relaxed atmosphere.

In addition to this, private dining and a variety of events will be catered for within The Vault and The Bank. The Vault sits in the lower ground floor of the building and will offer events for up to 120 people.  The Bank, with its own private entrance off Norfolk Street, will offer private dining experiences for up to 14 people in an intimate environment. The Bank comes complete with its own wine cellar which guests can enjoy as part of an overall dining experience. Both event spaces will cater for tailor made events depending on guest requirements.

Main image credit: Stock Exchange Hotel

Four Seasons Hotel Singapore unveils botanical twist

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Four Seasons Hotel Singapore unveils botanical twist

Four Seasons Hotel Singapore goes botanical, unveiling reinvented interiors, including luxury suites, F&B and wellness areas…

Nestled within a city/country that is widely known as a modern metropolis that is leading the way in sustainable design and architecture, Four Seasons Hotel Singapore has lifted the lid on its newly completed interior design renovation, celebrating the natural, verdant flora that the island is unmistakeably known for.

Somewhat becoming a major source of inspiration for the design team, the hotel is situated amidst lush foliage on the fringe of one of the world’s largest shopping street, Orchard Road, a mere five minutes away from the a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Singapore Botanic Gardens. With the creative direction of celebrity Floral Art Director Nicolai Bergmann since April 2019, guests are greeted fresh florals in the Grand Lobby at arrival.

“Replacing deep, rich palettes are now contemporary interiors that feature a natural colour palette of dusty cool blue tones and lime green accents.”

The guestrooms and luxury themed suites alike were revamped in the last six to twelve months in preparation for the hotel’s Silver Anniversary. Replacing deep, rich palettes are now contemporary interiors that feature a natural colour palette of dusty cool blue tones and lime green accents, inspired by the water and tropical lotus leaves of the Singapore Botanic Garden’s Swan Lake. Each room also features a mural wall composition of traditional Peranakan tiles, adding an artistic touch and reminiscent of Singapore’s rich and multicultural heritage. Peranakan culture represents the union between two or more major ethnicities of the Straits Peninsula – a result of Singapore’s historical significance as a major trading port. Large floor-to-ceiling windows provide sweeping views of the city and surrounding greenery, while white-colonial style doors and windows with plantation shutters, reminiscent of Singapore’s once-agricultural history, allowing for the natural light to brighten the rooms.

Comprising four distinctive residences – the Royal Suite, Governor Suite, Ambassador Suite and the Presidential Suite – the quartet of luxury suites unfurl Singapore’s legacy through subtle design motifs, natural textures and serene palettes of subtle sophistication that portrays and acknowledges the Garden City’s dynamic, cosmopolitan storied history.

The passion for a nature-enlivened, tropical ambiance continues from the private areas to the restaurants and bar at the Four Seasons Hotel Singapore.

Relaunched in March 2019 after a month-long revamp, One-Ninety, the breezy, botanical modern Asian brasserie teases with its Asian twist on wholesome Provençal cuisine. The adjourning resort-style alfresco Terraza is perfect for unwinding with a classic in hand and weekend tete-a-tete over a tri-terraced Floral Afternoon Tea that intrigues with flora-infused treats, launched in end-May 2019. Embodying the concept of “Xiang Le Zhu Yi,” or the principle of enjoyment and happiness, newly minted Michelin-starred restaurant Jiang-Nan Chun is not only evocative of the pastoral lifestyle of Jiang Nan region’s traditional river villages through its rustic décor, but also through its authentic Cantonese cuisine.

Main image credit: Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts

Waldorf Astoria arrives in the Maldives

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Waldorf Astoria arrives in the Maldives

The 122 all-villa Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi spans across three interconnected islands… 

Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, Hilton’s iconic luxury hotel brand, has announced the highly anticipated opening of Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi — which is said to set a new standard of luxury in the Maldives. The 122 all-villa resort spans across three interconnected islands, including an independent private island for those seeking an exclusive enclave equipped with a dedicated staff and luxury amenities.

Each luxuriously appointed beach, reef and overwater villa opens onto either a white sand beach or an expansive deck, and features a private infinity pool with uninterrupted views of the Indian Ocean, allowing guests to bask in the island’s natural beauty in the privacy of their villa.

The resort also features two Stella Maris Ocean Villas, accessible only by boat. These villas feature floor-to-ceiling windows and direct ocean access, providing unmatched views of the sunlit paradise and celestial charm of the nighttime Maldivian sky.

Image credit: Waldorf Astoria Hotels

“Asia Pacific is enjoying a golden age of travel, and the launch of Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi is part of the growing momentum of Hilton’s Luxury and Lifestyle portfolio throughout the region,” said Alan Watts, president, Asia Pacific, Hilton. “This is especially significant as the Maldives becomes an increasingly popular destination for global travelers. As the first international hotel brand to have opened in the Maldives over 21 years ago, it is especially fitting that this opening takes place as we celebrate Hilton’s 100th year milestone as a leader in global hospitality.”

Image credit:

At the height of exclusivity is the Ithaafushi Private Island. Accessible only by yacht, the 32,000-square-metre sanctuary features a four-bedroom residence, three-bedroom beach villa and a two-bedroom overwater villa, giving guests a transcendent sense of space. The private island comes complete with a dedicated chef and personal concierge team, an overwater spa and gym, five swimming pools, an entertainment center and pristine beaches, providing endless options in which guests can indulge.

“The debut with our flagship brand in the Maldives is no exception.” – Martin Rinck, executive vice president and global head, Luxury & Lifestyle Brands, Hilton

“The Waldorf Astoria brand has a long-standing legacy of setting the standard for luxury and for providing personalized, graceful service,” said Martin Rinck, executive vice president and global head, Luxury & Lifestyle Brands, Hilton. “The debut with our flagship brand in the Maldives is no exception, and we will continue to redefine what it means to provide luxury escapes and deliver memorable experiences for the discerning traveller.”

Continuing the brand’s legacy as a pioneer in culinary innovation, Waldorf Astoria’s landmark opening in the Maldives will feature an unparalleled array of choices for its guests with 11 celebrated specialty-dining venues — many of which are brand new concepts developed with the Waldorf Astoria guest in mind.

World-renowned chef Dave Pynt, mastermind behind Singapore’s Michelin-starred restaurant Burnt Ends, offers his expertise to the island’s barbeque grill restaurant, The Ledge. The restaurant features his signature, custom-built, four-ton, dual-cavity oven and elevation grills, enabling the use of techniques such as smoking, slow roasting, baking and grilling. Bringing culinary theatre to the Maldives, The Ledge allows guests to witness the preparation of their dish, including favorites such as the Dry Aged OP Rib, a 45-day dry-aged beef rib, and the signature Lobster Roll, a brioche bun stuffed with freshly grilled lobster and lobster aioli.

Other dining highlights include Terra, located on the island’s highest point and providing a unique gastronomic dining experience in private dining pods crafted from natural bamboo. Nestled among boulders, The Rock is a rustic wine cellar and dining experience set in a carved-out space, where guests can indulge in wine pairing meals or an elevated dining experience with a menu that pays homage to renowned wine regions around the world.

Yasmeen offers guests the chance to savor authentic Middle Eastern cuisine. Hot pitas and puffed breads baked in ovens based on centuries-old designs, charcoal-roasted meats, and hot and cold mezzes are served in dining rooms filled with decorative artifacts and antiques, creating an unforgettable sensory experience. The immersive journey continues at Glow, which is set in a greenhouse-like structure shaded by lush greenery. It celebrates the concept of interactive garden-to-table dining by serving healthy and holistic cuisine made from fresh ingredients harvested from the on-island garden.

Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi offers guests an endless number of remarkable experiences designed with the ever-growing wellness trend in mind. The calming ambience of the Waldorf Astoria Spa invites guests to indulge in a range of invigorating treatments — all from the tranquility of an overwater or garden villa. Nearby, soft white sand beaches provide the perfect backdrop for a day spent in the sun, while the 40-meter Mirror Pool is an ideal place to cool down.

“We aim to surpass the expectations of today’s luxury traveler with the introduction of our fifth Waldorf Astoria property in Asia Pacific,” said Dino Michael, global head, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts. “Our guests are searching for new and extraordinary experiences during their travels, and we are confident that this latest luxury destination in the Maldives provides the perfect setting for our guests to Live Unforgettable.”

Main image credit: Waldorf Astoria Hotels

In Conversation With: Simon Naudi, CEO of Corinthia Hotels

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

QUICK-FIRE ROUND

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Corinthia London ESPA spa

Image caption: Corinthia London ESPA spa

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

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

EDITOR CHECKS IN: Making debuts in international hotel design

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Editor, Hotel Designs

UK predicts 130,000 new hotel rooms by 2025

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other commitments in the Tourism Sector Deal include:

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Corinthia Hotel London

MINIVIEW: AC Hotels by Marriott arrives in Jamaica

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
MINIVIEW: AC Hotels by Marriott arrives in Jamaica

The design-led European lifestyle brand, AC Hotels by Marriott, makes its debut in the heart of Kingston, Jamaica…

AC Hotels by Marriott, which boasts nearly 150 design-led hotels in 19 countries and territories, has announced the opening of AC Hotel Kingston, Jamaica, bringing the brand’s forward-thinking design approach to the island.

Born from the signature vision of renowned hotelier Antonio Catalan, the brand was founded in 1998 in Spain, and brought into the Marriott International portfolio in 2011, launching AC Hotels by Marriott globally in locations including France, Denmark, the United States, Latin America, Puerto Rico and now Jamaica.

Embracing the AC brand’s focus on purposeful design, the AC Hotel Kingston, Jamaica features 219 rooms to provide guests with thoughtfully-designed moments of beauty and experiences that elevate their stay and help them focus on what is important to them. The result is sophisticated yet unpretentious style and innovative food and beverage programming with locally-inspired experiences for both international travelers and locals.

Guests will have access to a spacious 24-hour fitness centre; an outdoor pool; the brand’s signature AC Kitchen which provides a daily European-inspired breakfast buffet infused with a taste of Jamaica; and the AC Lounge, which offers a chic, open and comfortable ambiance, ideal for co-working and socializing.

“We are delighted to welcome our first AC Hotel to Jamaica, offering travelers a modern aesthetic and intuitive service, as well as an opportunity to slow down and uncover the beauty in the essential while visiting the destination,” said Toni Stoeckl, Vice President, Distinctive Select Brands for Marriott International, and Global Brand Leader, AC Hotels by Marriott.

This new addition to the city is expected to have positive implications for the country’s tourism sector. In a recent walk-through of the hotel, Minister of Tourism for Jamaica, Edmund Bartlett said: “The debut of a brand like AC Hotels in Kingston will solidify the city’s status as a strong city tourism destination.”

Image credit: Marriott Hotels

AC Hotel Kingston Jamaica adds a modern touch not only to the Kingston skyline but to the wider Caribbean region, joining AC Hotel by Marriott San Juan Condado as the brand’s second hotel in the region. The hotel design includes elegant, clean lines that are signature features of the brand, along with thoughtful touches that harmoniously reflect Jamaica’s vibrant flair. Throughout the hotel, guests will find an impressive collection of art, each crafted by Jamaican artists, and one-of-a-kind furnishings that have also been locally made.

The hotel is equipped with more than 18,000 square feet of cutting-edge meeting and banquet facilities, making this the largest meeting space in the city. Whether hosting a small meeting, or a group of up to 600 people, the hotel is ready to cater to groups of various sizes.

“My family and I are determined to play our part in building the economy in the Caribbean. This is a monumental occasion as we venture beyond the beach to establish our first AC Hotel by Marriott,” said Adam Stewart, CD. Deputy Chairman of the Sandals Resorts International and ATL Group of Companies. “We are excited to work with a global company like Marriott International, while retaining the local Jamaican touch for guests visiting the city.”

The Stewart family, who own the AC Hotel Kingston Jamaica, selected Koen Hietbrink to oversee the hotel’s operations as General Manager. In addition to his fourteen years of leadership experience with the Marriott brand, Koen has led the openings of numerous Marriott properties in the Caribbean.

Main image credit: Marriott Hotels

Wimberly Interiors completes ‘Diamond Residences’ in all-suite hotel in Crete, Greece

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Wimberly Interiors completes ‘Diamond Residences’ in all-suite hotel in Crete, Greece

Elounda Peninsula All Suite Hotel in Crete, Greece, has opened two new luxurious ‘Diamond Residences’, which have been designed by Wimberley Interiors… 

As part of a recent €500,000 refurbishment project by Elounda SA Hotels & Resorts, design firm Wimberly Interiors has completed a two new two-bedroom seafront Diamond Residences.

Part of Elounda SA Hotels & Resorts, the exceptional Elounda Peninsula All Suite Hotel enjoys striking views across the iridescent Aegean Sea and Sitia mountains. Perched on the water’s edge, the hotel has been famous over the years for having the finest beach area on the island of Crete, flaunting crystal clear waters and smooth sandy shallows. The new ‘Diamond Residences’ are situated just by the resort’s private sandy beach, being the hotel in Europe to offer this.

Taking its main source of inspiration from the resort’s beautiful landscape, nestled around a natural bay, the Cretan setting creates a stunning backdrop to the two new Diamond Residences at Elounda Peninsula. Upon entry into the residences, the prominent feature is the incredible view out to the bay and mountains beyond.

“The use of a simple yet timeless palette within each room exudes the luxury and sophistication sought by an international clientele,” says Rachel Johnson, Senior Vice President at Wimberly Interiors and a finalist in the The Brit List 2018. “From the modern take on the built-in sofas and placement of Cretan benches in the dining area, to the use of local artisans for the artwork and accessories, the choice of design showcases the island’s rich history and culture.”

Two-tier modern suite that looks out at pool and bay

Image credit: Elounda Peninsula All Suite Hotel

Each of the two residences have two master bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms, a large sitting room with dining area, kitchenette and bathroom. The furniture in the residences are tailor made, using top quality interiors, fabrics and materials. The new rooms give access onto a unique, 90sqm terrace with a private heated pool, seating area, loungers and outside dining. Steps from the residence’s terrace provide access to the resort’s private sandy beach.

“The juxtaposition of old and new, along with the smoothness of the marble alongside the softness of the textiles, all craft an eclectic residential feel,” adds Johnson. “Implementing two levels to the residences has intensified the drama of the suites and created natural and easy definition to the areas. Features include a long, low built- in sofa and the soft palette, accented with soft blue hues.”

The two new Diamond Residences encompass timeless elegance, infusing a contemporary international aesthetic with local references of Crete. Purposefully complimenting the elegance of the architecture with the interiors, the design embraces panoramic sea and mountain views of Elounda Peninsula All Suite Hotel.

Main image credit: Elounda Peninsula All Suite Hotel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Rockwell Group

Hotel Indigo opens two new hotels in Germany

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: IHG/Hotel Indigo

SPOTLIGHT ON: Laura Ashley, from homes to hotels

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image credit: Laura Ashley Hotels

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

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

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

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

Image credit: Laura Ashley Hotels

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

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

W London Leicester Square unveils tech-based renovation

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
W London Leicester Square unveils tech-based renovation

Sheltering the result of fashion designer Jack Irving’s debut interior design collaboration, W london Leicester Square has unveiled its new tech-savvy guestrooms and suites… 

W London – Leicester Square has unveiled a multi-million-pound transformation of all 192 guestrooms and suites. W’s quirky, glamourous and decadent look has been super-charged with the help of architecture firm Concrete, designer firm Krause Architects and fashion designer Jack Irving.

Furthermore, W London has partnered with fashion visionary and dynamic artist, Jack Irving, to create a one-of-a-kind ‘techorative’ pillow, along with a range of immersive in-room experiences.

“W Hotels has consistently been at the forefront of innovation – reinventing and rewriting the rules of hospitality wherever the W sign lands,” said Jenni Benzaquen, Vice President of Luxury Brands – Europe, Marriott International. “The transformation of W London – Leicester Square merges the latest technologies in hospitality and the music industry with boundarybreaking design, offering our guests the ultimate experience in-room, in our newly renovated public spaces, as well as connecting them with what’s new/next in this dynamic city.”

“Upon entry, music and lighting greet the guest to offer a truly immersive and memorable stay.”

Much like its guests, every room at W London is unique. Ever the rebel, the hotel is the first in the UK to embrace the full DigiValet technology – one of the most advanced tablet-based systems in the industry which allows each guest to be in control of their stay right from check in. Upon entry, music and lighting greet the guest to offer a truly immersive and memorable stay. All settings are adjustable and customisable to the guest’s preference and mood, whether getting pumped up for the night ahead or beginning to unwind before the next day’s meeting.

A user-friendly tablet controls the in-room temperature, lighting and media, including personal streaming services, at the touch of a button, while also showcasing a taste of the freshest beats being made and played across the city. W London has teamed up with Kobalt, a music tech company, to curate playlists showcasing London’s coolest up-and-coming artists, including W London’s own Music Curator, DJ/producer Olivia Dawn. Global music-lovers can tune in to hear what’s playing in real time at any of the 55 W Hotels worldwide through advanced music technology by Soundtrackyourbrand. The tablet also gives guests insider access to what’s new and next in London with an ever-evolving calendar of happenings including the hotel’s music programming and the latest dining and entertainment suggestions across the city.

Each of the property’s 192 rooms, including 28 suites, has had a bold makeover. Designed by renowned architects, Concrete, and kitted out by Krause Design, the rooms have benefitted from structural upgrades along with daring new feature walls, refreshed avant-garde furniture and atmospheric lighting. Sleek white details, photo-friendly mirrored walls, and party-starting disco balls complete the provocative new look. This renovation completes the hotel’s full transformation, following the redesign of the hotel’s bar and lounge, The Perception at W London, in 2017 and makeover of the hotel’s luxurious oasis, the AWAY Spa, in 2018.

“Over the years, our guests have made it clear that they want innovation, as well as both fashion and function, from their hotel room,” said Martijn Mulder, General Manager of W London –
Leicester Square. “The new room design is just that- substance, as well as that inimitable W style. We offer the latest tech available today in the hospitality industry for guests to easily control and personalise their stay, from mood lighting to music, in-room dining and entertainment.”

“When set with the task, I took inspiration from Soho’s creative energy and W London’s irreverent attitude.”

To amplify the re-imagined guest experience, W London has teamed up with daring fashion fantasist, Jack Irving, to create a limited-edition pillow collection. Best known for his eyecatching designs injected with a shot of engineered technology, Irving has dressed the likes of global superstar Lady Gaga. Taking inspiration straight from the catwalk and remixing it with the bold attitude of W London, the spiked pillows, available in every guestroom, appear muted to the naked eye until they are brought to life through the click of a camera flash. Through the lens, the smart fabric transforms into an iridescent masterpiece.

Image caption/credit: The spiked pillows, designed by fashion designer to the stars, Jack Irving,  appears muted to the naked eye until they are brought to life through the click of a camera flash. Through the lens, the smart fabric transforms into an iridescent masterpiece making it truly instagrammable/W Hotels

“It’s amazing to be working with W London for my first interiors collaboration, as the hotel’s unmistakable bold identity is a perfect match for my avant-garde designs,” said Jack Irving. “When set with the task, I took inspiration from Soho’s creative energy and W London’s irreverent attitude, to create a unique statement piece that unites the hotel fabulous new room design and upgraded functionality.”

The limited-edition pillow by Jack Irving and new Mini Mega Bar will be available to experience in all 28 suites from mid-June and will be rolled out to all guestrooms later this summer.

Main image credit: W Hotels

Four Seasons Resort Nevis enters final phase of sustainable renovations

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

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

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

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

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

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

Raw luxurious dining experience in shack-like structure

Image credit: Four Seasons Resorts

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

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

Render of beach and pool

Image credit: Four Seasons Resorts

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

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

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

The design chapter continues…

Main image credit: Four Seasons Resorts

Grecotel Group embarks on 42 million euro expansion plan

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

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

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

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

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

Image credit: Grecotel Hotels

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

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

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

Main image credit: Grecotel Hotels

Unbound Collection by Hyatt unveils fourth hotel in Europe

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Unbound Collection by Hyatt unveils fourth hotel in Europe

Parisi Udvar Hotel Budapest has officially joined the Unbound Collection by Hyatt, marking the brand’s fourth property in Europe…

Hyatt Hotels Corporation has announced the opening of Párisi Udvar Hotel Budapest as part of The Unbound Collection by Hyatt, following major restoration and full-scale renovation. The hotel is managed by Mellow Mood Hotels. It features 110 guestrooms and is situated on Ferenciek Square, between the River Danube and the bustling city center.

Once home to Budapest’s most fashionable shops and cafés, building has continuously evolved; from the shopping destination inspired by the Parisian ‘Passages des Panoramas’ that gave the hotel its name, to Budapest’s Central Savings Bank in 1906. Today, it stands as a palatial hotel, offering a novel, story-worthy experience and sense of place in the heart of Budapest.

“The original façade, staircases and decorative tiles have been carefully preserved.”

The hotel incorporates elements from Arabic, Moorish and Gothic design, representing Hungary’s fascinating past. The original façade, staircases and decorative tiles have been carefully preserved and the guestrooms feature tailor-made, Hungarian-crafted furnishings. Entering from the street or the lobby, visitors to the hotel’s restaurants and cafes will see its original iconography, including the Central Savings Bank mascot, the honey bee. Popular points of interest near the property include the State Opera House, Chain Bridge and St. Stephen’s Basilica.

Image credit: Unbound Collection by Hyatt

“Párizs Property Kft and Mellow Mood Hotels are excited to work with The Unbound Collection by Hyatt brand,” said Zuhair Awad and Sameer Hamdan, both Managing Directors at Mellow Mood Hotels. “We are very proud to open this renowned landmark building and to give it back to Budapest. We expect its rich history and stunning architecture will deliver memorable stays for the modern travelers.”

The hotel’s 110 upscale and spacious guestrooms will ensure guests have the ultimate stay. Each palatial Art Nouveau guestroom has been elegantly designed with decorations by Hungarian contemporary artist Agnes Toth, inspired by Gothic, Moorish and Oriental styles to guarantee that guests have an unconventional stay.

There are 18 luxurious suites and two Royal Residencies including the spacious Budapest Residence situated at the top of the hotel, which provides guests with stunning views of the city and a terrace to relax and watch the sunset.

Párisi Udvar Hotel Budapest offers two unique dining options, each with their own style and space. The hotel’s main restaurant, the Párisi Passage Cafe & Brasserie, serves international cuisine but also local and international wines in a cosmopolitan dining area. It is made complete with an open kitchen, allowing guests to interact with the chefs in a relaxing yet lively atmosphere. The Patisserie & Café, best known for its signature dark chocolate dessert, Párisi kocka, will serve hand-crafted juices, artisan coffee and traditional Hungarian pastries. By evening it transforms into a stylish cocktail bar.

Elsewhere, four distinctive multi-functional meeting and event spaces spanning more than 3,229 square feet (300 square meters) which can accommodate up to 160 guests.  Each space is equipped with contemporary conference facilities and the latest audio-visual technology.

Párisi Udvar Hotel Budapest is the fourth property to open in Europe as part of The Unbound Collection by Hyatt. It joins Hôtel Martinez in Cannes, Nish Palas in Istanbul, Turkey, Hotel du Louvre in Paris and Hotel SOFIA Barcelona, in Spain.

Main image credit: Unbound Collection by Hyatt

In Conversation With: Senior designer Kate Jarrett on Hard Rock Hotel London

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In Conversation With: Senior designer Kate Jarrett on Hard Rock Hotel London

Since becoming a Hotel Designs’ 30 Under 30, Kate Jarrett, senior designer at Scott Brownrigg has completed the Hard Rock Hotel London. Sitting down with editor Hamish Kilburn, Jarrett talks job satisfaction, preferred materials and the challenges that come with being a young designer in 2019…

The early summer vibes are in full swing; the sun is out over the capital and its latest hotel, Hard Rock Hotel London, has arrived.

Upon entering, the hotel is humming with activity. Guests are soaking in the iconic memorabilia hanging on the walls, while locals gather around the bar enjoying a post-work refreshment or two.

The Lobby Bar feels like an apt place to meet Scott Brownrigg’s Kate Jarrett, the senior designer on the project, who earlier this year became a Hotel Designs’ 30 Under 30. “This started with a passion for illustration, something I studied before moving to Brighton University to study Interior Architecture,” she says. “I then started as an interior designer and I haven’t looked back. I have worked across several sectors but my real passion is for hospitality design.”

“We have used drumsticks to create unique lighting over the concierge desk.” – Kate Jarrett

The completion of the new 900-key hotel, which is located a stone’s throw from Oxford Street, is the perfect stage for the designer to amplify what has become a milestone moment in her career. “We drew inspiration from the history of music and specifically instruments themselves, breaking them down in detail seeing how they have been made,” she says. “This was an unusual take on the obvious theme of ‘music’ and we never lost sight of this unique brief in our design. For example, we have used drumsticks to create unique lighting over the concierge desk.”

Drumsticks used as lighting in the hotel's lobby

Image credit: Philip Durrant

The hotel’s walls are plastered with memorabilia that reference the legacy of legends who stayed in Hard Rock Hotels in decades past, including Jimi Hendrix, Nina Simone, Stevie Wonder, Bob Dylan, Diana Ross and Madonna. Balancing the history and heritage of the brand in a timeless style to avoid cliché moments was the first task for design firm Scott Brownrigg when confronting the motifs that will be sheltered in the new hotel. “We knew we had to represent the Hard Rock brand in an innovative way for the contemporary London market,” Jarrett explains. “The hotel scene here is competitive so we knew we had to create something that tied into London and Hard Rock’s music heritage, while still being completely contemporary.”

Contemporary bar

Image credit: Philip Durrant

The F&B structure at the Hard Rock Hotel London originally took its inspiration from the original art-deco style ceiling of the Lyons Corner House that original stood on the site in the early ‘90s. “Great F&B and bars are key to the success of a hotel as they offer a destination for non-hotel guests too,” explains Jarrett. “For that matter, the expectations of hotel customers on what they want from the hotel experience has also changed. They want it to feel like a home, workplace and a space to socialise; the brief is more open than it used to be.”

QUICK-FIRE ROUND

Hamish Kilburn: If budget was no object, what product would you include in a project you are currently working on?
Kate Jarrett: An incredible art collection

HK: Best thing about being a designer in London?
KJ: The constant source of inspiration

HK: Where is next on your travel bucket list?
KJ: Japan – it would be like an experiential mood board. I already have a list of places I want to visit

HK: Where was the last hotel you saw that took your breath away?
KJ: I recently visited the Beekman in New York, and it really impressed me. That central atrium is like something straight out of a 1920s novel.

HK: What does luxury mean to you?
KJ: For me it represents a space that I want to spend time in, a collection of pieces whether its furnishings, art etc. that make me feel like I can sit back and slow down.

HK: What’s the last item that will appear on your bank statement?
KJ: Most likely ASOS… or coffee, as I’m always running around at the moment!

Without a doubt, it’s her ability to let the project do the talking that has made Jarrett the designer she is today. But the challenges of being a young designer in 2019 are far deeper than simply securing projects, or belonging to a leading firm. “London has a lot to offer, however it also means that you have to shout louder, metaphorically, to get yourself heard and to stand out in the industry,” says Jarrett. “Platforms like the 30 Under 30 I find career-affirming as they enable us to get our names out there and really help to showcase the talents of young designers.”

With sustainability arguably as big a talking point as any other at the moment in interior design and trends, Jarrett is insistent, where possible, on using naturally sourced materials within her projects. “I really enjoy working with natural materials,” she says. “Specifically, I like working with the tactile qualities of natural timbers, stones and the effects achieves by a neutral palette.”

“Scott Brownrigg has been really supportive and encouraging with the projects I have worked on.” – Kate Jarrett

At the root of Jarret’s decisions and place in the market is a design firm that has incubated and supported the young designer’s creativity to ultimately develop better places to live, stay and work. “At Scott Brownrigg, we are all encouraged to enrich lives through the environments we design,” she explains. “Scott Brownrigg has been really supportive and encouraging with the projects I have worked on. As a young designer it can be hard to establish yourself in a company, but Scott Brownrigg has really been great at championing me every step of the way. We’re a friendly, social bunch so I have also make some great relationships with colleagues along the way which has really helped.”

Aside from the Hard Rock Hotel London, current projects that Jarrett is working on that on the boards are firm proof that she is anything but a one-trick pony in the race. “We are working on an exciting hotel project in Stratford,” she explains. “This area is having a surge at the moment with lots of new developments, particularly in the hospitality sector. There are also some further Hard Rock projects we are working on; it’s great to get repeat work as it means we are doing something right!”

The fresh and vibrant interiors that surround the new hotel that everyone seems to be talking about are a reflection of the designer that Jarrett is becoming, or arguably already become. Modest, calm-natured and enthusiastic, Jarrett is, in my opinion, a credit to the firm that has helped support her on her way.

Main image credit: Tash Busta Photography

Canopy by Hilton to debut in Africa

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Canopy by Hilton to debut in Africa

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Cape Town Tourism

Inside Hokkaido National Park’s latest luxury hotel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Inside Hokkaido National Park’s latest luxury hotel

Design firm Wilson Associates unveils luxury condominium-hotel in renowned Japanese ski resort…

Interior architecture and design firm Wilson Associates, which this year made it onto Hotel Designs’ 30 Under 30, has unveiled the interiors of a modern hotel located in Japan’s Hokkaido National Park. The Skye Niseko ski resort shelters 100 apartments and five penthouses and is located on a picturesque mountainside with views of the surrounding landscape.

The firm was brought on board to complete the interior design of the five penthouses, lobby, corridors, spa, cafe deli and ski valet at the unique ski-in ski-out hotel.

The luxurious collection of condominiums, which officially opened earlier this year, is a blend of Alpine design and Japanese hospitality and culture. The design firm’s theme of minimalist, monochrome is filtered throughout the interior of the suites.

The privately-owned resort was designed by Australian-based Pike Withers and its shell has been conceived of as two interlocking L-shaped volumes, allowing each of the apartments and penthouses to benefit from both privacy and panoramic views.

Wilson Associates ensured the main lobby had plenty of WOW factor and guests are immediately greeted by a striking reception desk where a rough stone wall surface contrasts with the counter’s sharp and sleek metal immediately greets guests with a WOW factor.

The lighting strategy works in tandem with the bamboo lattices on the walls and slate paving on the floor to make everything in the lobby seem like it’s floating.

The penthouses are organised in arrangements of either three or four bedrooms and come complete with comfortable and cosy living and dining areas. They offer guests the ultimate in luxury and boast covered balconies and heated external spring pools overlooking the stunning landscape.

Modern spa area

Image credit: Skye Niseko Ski Resort

Meanwhile, the spa area has been sustainably designed so that its own onsen well draws mineral rich hot water from deep below the property.

The hotel describes itself on its website as: “More than just a place to stay, Skye Niseko has everything you need for your alpine getaway.”

Six Senses to arrive in Costa Rica and Iceland

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

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

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

Six Senses Papagayo, Costa Rica

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

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

Six Senses Össurá Valley, Iceland

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

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

Main image credit: IHG/Six Senses

InterContinental opens sixth hotel in France

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
InterContinental opens sixth hotel in France

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

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

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

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

Epona Restaurant full of gold

Image credit: InterContinental/Eric Cuvillier

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

 

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

Executive Room River View

Image credit: InterContinental/Eric Cuviller

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

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

High ceilings in the authentic dining area

Image credit: InterContinental/Eric Cuviller

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: InterContinental/Eric Cuviller

Tapestry Collection by Hilton to debut in the Caribbean

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Hilton Hotels

Injecting sense of place in Koh Samui beach hotel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Injecting sense of place in Koh Samui beach hotel

SALA Samui Chaweng Beach Resort, the luxury boutique beach resort on Koh Samui, briefed design firm Onion to divide the resort into two distinct parts in order to add architectural drama while creating an unforgettable sense of place.

The moon plays an integral role in Thai culture, with each phase of the lunar cycle holding deep significance. The presence of a full moon, half-moon or dark moon can dictate the timing of festivals, the schedule of planting and harvesting, and even the most auspicious dates in a person’s life.

More recently, they have provided the backdrop to the legendary full, half or dark moon beach parties of Koh Samui and Koh Phangan.

SALA Samui Chaweng Beach Resort, the luxury boutique beach resort on Koh Samui, has divided the resort into two distinct parts – the Oceanfront/Beach Wing and Garden Wing – each of which has been exquisitely designed to reflect the changing phases of the moon.

“The Garden Wing will complete our resort, not only in terms of its rooms and facilities but through the story of its design,” said Erwin van der Veen, General Manager, SALA Samui Chaweng Beach Resort. “Just as the moon moves through cycles, SALA Samui Chaweng Beach Resort will allow guests to journey through a series of spaces which are designed to reflect the different characteristics of the full, half and dark moons. Charming, intimate and atmospheric, our new Garden Wing will provide the perfect contrast to the bright and spacious vibe of the Oceanfront/Beach Wing,”

Image caption/credit: Inside the Garden Wing/SALA Samui Chaweng Beach Resort

Conceived by Onion, the Thailand-based architecture and design studio, the hotel allows guests to channel the energy of the full, half or dark moons through innovative design shifts – from the openness and high energy of the full moon, through smaller half-moon spaces, and into the more intense shades of the dark moon.

Blue and white decor in treehouse-like bar and restaurant

Image caption/Credit: Treehouse restaurant and bar/SALA Samui Chaweng Beach Resort

While the Oceanfront / Beach Wing reflects the energy of a full moon with the circular shapes incorporated into various design elements, from the façade to the aptly named Moon Pool – the new Garden Wing offers a collection of private spaces with an ambience elevated by verdant trees and plants that add a touch of natural tranquillity. The family friendly area includes 82 rooms, pool villas & pool suites, ranging from 45 to 181 square meters in size, with state-of-the-art IPTV and audio systems, and glamourous full-size daybeds. Also included is a Tree House Restaurant and Bar, 25-metre swimming pool, the Garden Pool Bar, SALA Gym, SALA Spa with six private treatment rooms and steam room as well as SALA’s first kids’ club, which includes indoor and outdoor play areas.

Luce interiors with rustic villa furniture

Andronis Arcadia opens in Santorini

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Andronis Arcadia opens in Santorini

Offering “unrivalled luxury”, earthly Andronis Arcadia shelters 53 design-led pool suites on Santorini, Greece, all with striking vistas towards the Aegean Sea and the island’s unforgettable sunsets…

Andronis Arcadia is the latest addition to the Andronis Exclusive family of five-star hotels and villas. The hotel, which is named after the mythical home of Greek God Pan, is situated on the fringes of Oia, a place of natural harmony and pastoral enchantment.

Luce interiors with rustic villa furniture

Andronis Arcadia’s rustic and earthly-luxe interiors bring elements of nature indoors, from the succulents and plants, to local wood and materials. The Greek forged cement coating technique used throughout, has existed for centuries and creates a minimalistic look. Around 85 – 90 per cent of the furniture is handmade locally and has been constructed inside the hotel. The exterior heavily uses stones, drawing on the colours and textures of the volcano and its lava.

Close up of woven chair and a glass of white wine

Image credit: Carley Rudd Photography

The hotel has 53 suites of six categories including Eden Villa, the largest villa on the island complete with six bedrooms over three floors, plus its own spa, fitness centre, private chef and two pools. All suites have sunset and sea views plus a plunge pool, and guests additionally have access to the 450m2 infinity pool surrounded by cabanas. The suite interiors have geometrical-style design alongside square recesses on the walls, and natural fabrics throughout including linen to give the ultimate sense of light and space.

Evexia Spa is Andronis Arcadia’s Spa & Wellness Centre, developed in partnership with founder of luxury skincare brand ila, Denise Leicester, and Dr Zulia Frost, who pioneered the non-invasive hair profiling test. The largest spa on Santorini, Evexia Spa has five treatment rooms with the option for in-suite treatments.

Three restaurants and two bars occupy the space. Signature restaurant Opson spearheaded by Stefanos Kolimadis showcases dishes inspired by the tastes and ingredients of classical Greece through a several course tasting menu developed in consultation with a classical scholar. Contemporary cuisine and flavours of an ancient time are fused to bring together the best Greek food today with dishes known and loved by legendary forefathers including Aristotle, Plato and Omiros. Althea Restaurant features dazzling Mediterranean seafood as well as local dishes with ingredients grown in the Andronis gardens. Chef showcases the best flavours and produce of the Cycladic islands and wider Mediterranean. Oishii Sushi Bar uses the freshest ingredients fused with traditional Japanese techniques, serving exceptionally well presented and seasonally changing dishes.

View from the hotel terrace withColours of blue, orange, red and yellow in the sunset

Image credit: Andronis Arcadia

The sunset terrace, Senses Cocktail Bar, is a welcome return for island friends. Chic and convivial, it’s designed to be a premium Instagrammable setting. The hotel, which opens as the seventh property within the Andronis Exclusive portfolio, is said to be a game-changer on the island for style, gastronomy and understated luxury.

Canopy by Hilton arrives in Asia Pacific region

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

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

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

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

Art instalment depicting people having their photos taken.

Image credit: Canopy by Hilton

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

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

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

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

Image credit: Canopy by Hilton

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

Image credit: Canopy by Hilton

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

Living green wall inside the hotel - with integrated bookshelf

Image credit: Canopy by Hilton

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

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

Main image credit: Canopy by Hilton

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to purchase your tickets to Meet Up North

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

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

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

About the venue

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

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

H-Hotels Group to add 11 hotels by 2020

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
H-Hotels Group to add 11 hotels by 2020

H-Hotels Group announces it will add 11 hotels in 2020 to its brand portfolio following sales in the group increasing to €436 million…

The H-Hotels Group has announced that it has seen strong growth for another year in a row. Revenues of €436 million for 2018 have marked a new all-time high in the company’s history. Occupancy figures have shown a similarly positive development, with an average of 73 per cent across the company’s 63 properties, and increased average room prices of €101 have paved the way for considerable profitability increases within the hotels themselves.

The continued growth of the brand can also be seen in both its operating locations and brand portfolio. Its newly opened H+ Hotel in Vienna not only marks a new regional presence on the H-Hotels map, but also demonstrates further expansion into other European countries. 2020 will see a new H2 Hotel opening in Budapest, as well as a Hyperion Hotel within the historic Palais Faber in Salzburg.

With the launch of its hostel brand H.ostels in the centre of Münster and the introduction of new serviced apartment brand H.omes, the H-Hotels Group’s portfolio has grown to incorporate six of its own brands. “With H.ostels and H.omes – Serviced Apartments, we have created a brand portfolio that covers the entire range of guest and location requirements,”  stated Alexander Fitz, CEO of H-Hotels AG.

All signs point to further expansion for H-Hotels in the years to come: with H4 Hotel Mönchengladbach in BORUSSIA-PARK, the Hyperion Hotel in Munich, the H2 Hotel in Olympia Park Munich and the Munich opening of H.ome Serviced Apartments, H-Hotels has already celebrated four new openings in 2019 so far. Autumn will also see the launch of its Hyperion Hotel and H2 Hotel double brand, which will open close to Leipzig central station. A total of 1572 new rooms will become available this year.

Further projects have already been signed for 2020, with a total of five new openings in the pipeline in Düsseldorf and Mainz, among others. 2024 will also mark the start of a double brand between H2 Hotel and H4 Hotel, with 501 new rooms set to become available in the terminals of Düsseldorf Airport. Discussions are now in the final stages for a number of short and medium-term acquisitions, as well as new projects such as H2 Hotels in Saarbrücken and Hamburg.

Main image credit: H-Hotels Group

In Conversation With: Jacu Strauss, designer & founder of Lore Studio

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In Conversation With: Jacu Strauss, designer & founder of Lore Studio

An architect or a designer can become one of the most dynamic hoteliers, as editor Hamish Kilburn learns when sitting down with Jacu Strauss, the founder of Lore Studio and the mastermind behind some of the world’s most awe-inspiring hotels…

“Being a great storyteller is essential,” says designer Jacu Strauss as we start discussing what it takes to be a leader in design on the international hotel design scene.

It’s the first time we have caught up properly in a whirlwind three years. We catch up immediately where we left it in 2016, when the designer was putting the finishing touches onto The Pulitzer Amsterdam – an independent hotel project that allowed Strauss to break free with his creativity. “It was a once in a lifetime opportunity,” he says, “that through a cocktail of heavy research, team work and some brave risks turned out to be a tremendous success.”

Growing up in the diamond rich area of South Africa, Strauss moved to New Zealand to train as an architect at the University of Auckland before travelling to London to study at the Bartlett School of Architecture.

After graduating in 2008, Strauss worked as a senior designer at Tom Dixon’s Design Research Studio, and started to add major hospitality projects to his growing portfolio. “My architectural training and education proved helpful and I was responsible for the project from concept development through to completion,” explains Strauss. “As we won larger projects, we were eventually given the green light to design Mondrian at Sea Containers on London’s South Bank. It was there where I completed my first hotel and, eventually, I was offered an exclusive role as Creative Director of what is now called Lore Group.

“Designing a successful hotel is so much more than just choosing colours and fabrics.” – Jacu Strauss

Following the completion of The Pulitzer Amsterdam in 2016, which continues to capture the attention of the world’s media on a mass scale with its timeless yet quirky interiors, Strauss went on to not only design hotels, but also own them by becoming the founder of Lore Studio. “I have not so much changed as become more attune to what does and doesn’t,” he adds. “I have tried to refine how guests and visitors experience our hotels, so it is more than just the visual. It involves a balance of senses that when you get it right means an enjoyable and memorable experience.”

Image of the designer flicking through a book on the floor

Image credit: Emily Andrews

Today, in between jetting around the world being inspired by life’s movement, Strauss and his team are working to complete a new independent hotel, RIGGS Washington DC, a hotel, slated to open in heart of the city at the end of this year, sheltered in what was the Riggs National Bank building. “Washington DC is a city with a particularly strong and quirky evolving hotel and F&B market,” he explains. “So much so, in fact, that there may be another hotel in DC to join the portfolio, but it will be completely different to RIGGS Washington DC.

QUICK-FIRE ROUND:

Hamish Kilburn: What would you like to be if you were not a designer/architect/hotelier?
Jacu Straus: A jeweller

HK: What’s the first rule to learn when designing a hotel?
JS: You can only open the hotel once, so make everything count!

HK: Where is the next hotel design hotspot?
JS: There is a great need for more hotels in urban centres that act as calm retreats for peace from the hustle and bustle of dense cities, but without being gimmicky.

HK: What one hotel would you have liked to have designed/or would like to redesign?
JS: I would have loved to be part of the design team of the Negresco Hotel in Nice. It’s so crazy and magical – I love it.

HK: What is the number one item you cannot travel without?
JS: Tabasco! I always have little sachets of Tabasco in my travel wallet. The little bottles are cute but the sachets are more convenient for travel. Tabasco makes everything taste better.

HK: What trend do you wish would emerge again soon?
JS: Decent table manners.

HK: What was the last hotel you stayed in?
JS: Downtown hotel in Mexico City.

HK: Explain London in three words…
JS: Quiet, polite, multicultural.

HK: What’s your favourite colour this season?
JS: Rust. Something nice about earthier and natural  tones as we move away from sterile palettes.

HK: What’s the last thing that shows up on your credit card statement?
JS: Uber. It is the first item that appears and most of what is inbetween!

As someone as visual as Strauss, the urge the design came as almost a natural instinct. “I think I was always a designer,” he narrates. “My mother says I was always observing my surroundings as a child and I think to this day it’s perhaps one of the reasons that I am doing what I am doing. What I really think makes you a professional designer is being able to process criticism. That you learn over time and does not come naturally.”

“F&B, I believe, is once again thriving in hotels.” – Jacu Strauss

As we converse over cocktails in a rooftop bar overlooking east London, it feels apt to discuss the rise of food and beverage facilities within hotel design. “I think hotels have historically been an important “pillar” in a city or town or community,” he explains. “But towards the end of the last century hotels became massive and exclusive only to its guests, and that meant it became inaccessible to their neighbours. Hotels are unique to their locations and I think guests have become more interested in feeling like they are part of a community even just for a night, than staying at a non-descript hotel that is removed from its surroundings. F&B is a tell-tale sign of how it was once the place to eat and drink, before it then became sterile. F&B, I believe, is once again thriving in hotels – as we’re proving this afternoon – because hotels are opening up to locals as well as guests making it feel less like a “hotel restaurant” and more like a restaurant that happens to be in a hotel.”

In reference to the quick-fire round above, Strauss is a man that believes in detail. “I have realised how important it is to research a new market thoroughly and avoid having a cookie cutter approach,” Strauss explains. “Designing a successful hotel is so much more than just choosing colours and fabrics. It is about the neighbourhoods, the greater contexts of the city and its people, and ensuring the longevity of a product. There are always things to improve on, but we believe you only open a hotel once.”

For the designer who has just as much in the pipeline as what’s already on his impressive portfolio, what makes him stand out his ability to be different. “At some stage,” he adds, “you need to ignore what others are doing and focus on your own task at hand and making decisions based our own hotel and not what others are doing.”

Another distinct characteristic that quite clearly sets Strauss aside from other hoteliers, designers and architects is his ability to effortlessly – on the surface at least – to balance work and life. Living his best life through both travel and work and sometimes a combination of both, Strauss is anything but a one-trick pony, constantly absorbing ideas, concepts and themes that time and time again capture the world’s attention each time the ribbon is cut. And for those wanting a snippet of the inspiration behind his designs, you have only to follow him on Instagram account.

Main image credit: Patrick Meis

Global awards launches to challenge industry standards around accessible design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Global awards launches to challenge industry standards around accessible design

The Blue Badge Access Awards launches and questions why accessible design is not as large a talking point as sustainability currently is. Editor Hamish Kilburn attended the launch event in London and writes…

Blue Badge Access Awards has launched raising some much-needed debates around the current industry standards around accessible design.

The launch of Blue Badge Access Awards – a combining of two major design competitions – the Bespoke Access Awards and the Blue Badge Style Awards – took place at Home Grown Club in Marylebone. The occasion explained the purpose of the new global competition, which is to celebrate thoughtful and stylish inclusive design worldwide. It aims to inspire designers, architects, operators and developers to work together in order to build exceptional business and venues that make everyone feel like a “first-class citizen.”

“No one would have dreamed that sustainability would be so high on the agenda as it is now and we want access to be high on the priority list.” – Robin Sheppard.

Speaking at the event was Robin Sheppard, Chairman of Bespoke Hotels, Hotel Sector Champion for Disabled People and in turn the winner of The Brit List 2018’s Outstanding Contribution to the Hospitality Industry. “It is important to make access a permanent addition to the agenda,” he said during a thought-provoking speech. “No one would have dreamed that sustainability would be so high on the agenda as it is now and we want access to be high on the priority list.”

With the support of charity Leonard Cheshire, the Blue Badge Access Awards aims to accelerate much-needed progress. This follows studies that show inclusive design gives businesses and venues access to a market of more than one billion people across the world, a group of more than 13 million people in the UK along with spending power of more than £250 billion.

Inclusive design has a history of inspiring great innovation, from the invention of the first typewriter, which was built to help a blind Italian countess write legibly, to the remote control, which was created to make life easier for people with limited mobility.

Categories include:

  • Arnold Fewell Award – The Most Inclusive Building/Interior Design
  • Best Hotel x 2 (Upmarket and Boutique, Bespoke Award)
  • Best Bar x 2 (Upmarket and Budget)
  • Best Restaurant x 2 (Upmarket – Conran award – and Budget)
  • Best Accessible Toilet
  • Ludicrous Loo
  • Above & Beyond (Includes Hospitality & Corporates)
  • Euan’s Guide Award
  • Best Venue in a Listed Building
  • Inclusive Employment Award (Leonard Cheshire)
  • Employee of the Year

“Nowhere can be 100 per cent accessible, but everyone can start somewhere,” said Fiona Jarvis, founder of Blue Badge Style. “There is a tremendous public interest in the area of accessible design, with a strong desire to honour and recognise businesses that go the extra mile for their customers.”

With categories ranging from Best Hotel and Best Bar, to the Leonard Cheshire Inclusive Employment Award, the Blue Badge Access Awards recognises the variety of ways that businesses can become more inclusive. The prize that nobody wants to win, ‘Ludicrous Loo’ demonstrates the challenges faced in a light-hearted manner, revealing bathrooms where accessibility is an afterthought.

Nominations of the Blue Badge Access Awards, which are open to anyone, anywhere in the world, are now open and close on June 30. Visit to website to cast your vote.

Winners will be announced at the awards ceremony on October 7.

Main image credit: Blue Badge Access Award/Bespoke Access Awards

SPOTLIGHT ON: Inspirational design hotel bars and restaurants in London

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
SPOTLIGHT ON: Inspirational design hotel bars and restaurants in London

To round off our Spotlight On topic of Bars & Restaurants, Hotel Designs headed into London to pick out the best F&B facilities that are serving up a treat on the international hotel design scene… Editor Hamish Kilburn edits…

Since hotels became much more than simply a bed for the night, the in-house food and beverage scene globally has taken off. Here are a few London bars and restaurants that have emerged to be statement F&B areas within hotel design.

GMT Bar –  Hard Rock Hotel London 

Image credit: Roberto Lara Photography

Incorporating the Hard Rock “mantra”, which includes the global brands’ range of memorabilia, artwork, installations and lyrics, design firm Scott Brownrigg was tasked to complete the 900-room Hard Rock Hotel London. As well as designing quirky and edgy guestrooms, the design team, led by Senior Designer and Hotel Designs’ 30 Under 30 Kate Jarrett, also created what is now London’s latest Instagrammable statement bar, which acts as an inviting cocoon from the rest of the city.

The Monkey Bar – Monkey Island Estate

Image credit: Monkey Island Estate

Monkey Island Estate is located in Bray-on-Thames. The island, with its intriguing history dating back 800 years, has been the haunt of monks, monarchs, aristocrats and writers alike. Visitors from London and beyond are transported to their own private countryside escape steeped in stylish yet laidback luxury. Designed by award-winning Champalimaud, complete with its beautiful garden terrace, The Monkey Bar is elegant, contemporary and relaxed – just like the rest of the hotel.

Sloane Place Hotel London 

Long dining table with hanging pendents above

Image credit: Sloane Place Hotel

The 50-seat café-bar in the hotel, designed by JSJ Design, required extensive structural works to open up the space, making it more accessible for guests and local clientele alike. The interior design scheme combines bold teals,timber panelling, glass and brass, maximising light and space.

45 Park Lane

modern quirky bar in 45 Park Lane

Image credit: 45 Park Lane

While the world is all too familiar of the iconic bar inside The Dorchester, its younger sibling, 45 Park Lane, located next door, is the contemporary answer to luxury in the city. The hotel’s modern-chic bar, which serves London’s finest negronis, is described as: “the vibrant beacon of contemporary culture in a luxury hotel.” It is an invigorating blend of art and landmark architecture in the middle of classical London.

InterContinental London Park Lane

Once more, RPW Design strikes again on London’s leafy iconic Park Lane. The design firm’s latest refurbishment of the guestrooms and The Capital Suite in the InterContinental Park Lane compliments the work of David Collins Studio in the hotel’s restaurant, Ella Canta.

Hotel Cafe Royal London

Image credit: Hotel Cafe Royal London

Designed by Piero Lissoni and Atelier 27, the new F&B areas sheltered in Hotel Cafe Royal London are contemporary yet timeless. The Green Bar’s cocktail list is an invitation to explore tastes throughout the ages, divided into four eras spanning over 100 years. The interiors masculine, with hues of emerald green creating a dark and moody atmosphere to compliment the cocktails served.

Main image credit: Roberto Lara Photography

Sloane Place Hotel in Chelsea unveils eclectic décor

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Sloane Place Hotel in Chelsea unveils eclectic décor

The new 27-key Sloane Place Hotel opens in the heart of Chelsea and is complete with eclectic décor by JSJ Design…

Sloane Place has opened a 27-bedroom boutique hotel, café-bar and restaurant adjoining The Sloane Club in Chelsea, London. Hospitality interior design studio, JSJ Design were hired by Queensway, who acquired The Sloane Club in 2017 in order to convert the property into a hospitality hotspot in one of London’s most upmarket districts.

The large five-storey red-brick Victorian building has been remodelled and divided to create a separate venture, with work on project beginning in February 2018.

From the original building, around 30 bedrooms were allocated for the hotel, alongside smaller underutilised meeting rooms. Led by JSJ Design, the space was remodelled, renovated and refurbished, creating 15 bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms, 13 luxury suites, a multi-functional café-bar-restaurant and lower ground floor bar.

The 50-seat café-bar required extensive structural works to open up the space, making it more accessible for guests and local clientele alike. The interior design scheme combines bold teals,timber panelling, glass and brass, maximising light and space.

View of the stairway from above

Image credit: Sloane Place Hotel

JSJ Designer, Simeon Thompson was required to maximise the space and create an inviting modern scheme that reflects the locality. “The concept for the café-bar evolved to become a venue in its own right, with short backed seats and clever use of colour, soft eclectic furniture to create an open, sociable space,” he said. “In the décor, we’ve combined hints of luxury, with elements of nature in a nod to Chelsea past and present.”

With the combination of informal décor and an all-day dining menu courtesy of Executive Chef Bernhard Mayer (formerly The Savoy, Four Seasons Park Lane Hotel), guests and patrons are encouraged to relax and extend their stay.

Long dining table with hanging pendents above

Image credit: Sloane Place Hotel

The interior décor and evolution of the Sloane Place brand work together harmoniously, with hand-drawn Broom bush designs featuring within the décor across the three main areas and in the new logo. This is a nod to the heritage of the area; for centuries the Broom bush grew in abundance on site and features at the top of the Kensington and Chelsea coat of arms.

The hotel bedrooms fall into three categories: Cosy (14-17 sqm), Classic (18 sqm) and Suite (38 sqm). All boast en-suite bathrooms, comfortable Hypnos beds, WiFi, mini kettles and Nespresso machines and a small writing desk.

Bedroom décor consists of warm grey timber panelling to evoke a sense of warmth and comfort, complimented by luxury statement blue and yellow fabrics. All furniture items are bespoke, with high gloss light-reflecting surfaces, designed to make the best use of space.

Overall the design, décor and concept promise a luxury venue for guests and the general public to feel welcome to enjoy from day to night.

Main image credit: Sloane Place Hotel

MINIVIEW: Hard Rock Hotel London

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
MINIVIEW: Hard Rock Hotel London

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

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

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

Image credit: Roberto Lara Photography

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

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

Image credit: Roberto Lara Photography

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

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

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

Main image credit: Roberto Lara Photography

Canopy by Hilton to make its debut in France in 2020

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Canopy by Hilton to make its debut in France in 2020

Canopy by Hilton is poised to make French debut with two hotels in Paris (2020) and Bordeaux (2021)…

Hotel giant Hilton has announced its intention to introduce its upper upscale lifestyle brand, Canopy by Hilton, to France. Two new hotels – Canopy by Hilton Paris Trocadero and Canopy by Hilton Bordeaux Chartrons –  are set to welcome their first guests before the end of 2021, following management and franchise agreements.

“Paris and Bordeaux are exceptional destinations, and these new hotels are meticulously designed to celebrate their respective neighbourhoods,” said Patrick Fitzgibbon, Senior Vice President, Development, EMEA, Hilton. “Hilton’s expansion in France is gaining further momentum, with plans to triple our portfolio in the next five years. The introduction of new brands including Canopy by Hilton is testament to the quality of partners we are working with to grow across the country.”

Canopy by Hilton hotels are thoughtfully curated to appeal to travellers seeking a locally inspired experience, with unique interiors that are influenced by the culture and history of the neighbourhood. Guests are welcomed by friendly Enthusiasts with expert local knowledge and recommendations and are invited to immerse themselves in the experience with local food and drink tastings and use of the complimentary Canopy by Hilton bicycles to explore the city.

“Travellers want a hotel to help them get the most out of travel and experience the best of a great neighbourhood – Canopy by Hilton allows our guests to do just that,” said Gary Steffen, Global Head, Canopy by Hilton, Hilton. “Designed with their immediate surroundings, local art, culture and cuisine in mind, Canopy hotels redefine the lifestyle hotel category.”

Canopy by Hilton Paris Trocadero

The 123-key Canopy by Hilton Paris Trocadero is scheduled to be the first Canopy by Hilton to open in France. Slated to open in mid-2020, the hotel is located in sight of the place du Trocadero and Palais de Chaillot in the 16th arrondissement of Paris, a cultural hotspot with several galleries and attractions such as the Palais Galliera and Palais de Tokyo museums.

Construction has already started on the property, which is being transformed into an open and inviting space in touch with Canopy’s local design influences.

The hotel is owned by a French institutional investor and will be operated by Hilton under a management agreement. The hotel is located at 16 Avenue d’ Eylau, Paris.

Canopy by Hilton Bordeaux Chartrons 

Canopy by Hilton Bordeaux Chartrons is expected to open in early 2021. The new-build property will be constructed in the Chartrons neighbourhood, overlooking the Garonne River. Chartrons is famous for its waterside bars and dining, antique shops and vintage boutiques.

The hotel will offer multiple dining options, including a spectacular rooftop restaurant, bar and pool overlooking the river and Bordeaux’s city centre. The hotel’s design will draw on the area’s history as an industrial hub, made famous by its eponymous wine, which is produced in vineyards around the city.

The hotel is owned by SAS RE Hotels, an affiliate of SAS Groupe Reaumur France, and will operate under franchise agreement. The hotel is located at 85 Quai des Chartrons, Bordeaux.

The introduction of Canopy by Hilton in France marks Hilton’s fourth brand entry in France in as many years, following the debut of Curio Collection by Hilton in 2017, Hilton Garden Inn in 2018 and Hampton by Hilton in 2019. The new Canopy hotels join spectacular European properties in Reykjavik and Zagreb, with a further hotel under construction in London.

Main image credit: Canopy by Hilton

Aloft Hotels arrives in Ireland

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Aloft Hotels arrives in Ireland

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

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

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

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

Vibrant blue carpets in large guestroom

Image credit: Marriott International/Aloft Hotels

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Aloft Hotels/Marriott International

Hyatt Centric brand to enter into Greater China

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Hyatt Hotels

Hotel Group IHG has signed a hotel in London’s Clerkenwell

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel Group IHG has signed a hotel in London’s Clerkenwell

The 151-key Hotel Indigo property is slated to open in London’s most-talked-about design district, Clerkenwell, in 2021…

Following the opening of Hotel Indigo Stratford Upon Avon and ahead of the openings of both Hotel Indigo Bath and Hotel Indigo Chester later in the year, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has signed a Management Agreement with Omenport Developments Ltd for Hotel Indigo London – Clerkenwell.

The 151-room hotel will be the fifth Hotel Indigo in London and is expected to open in early 2021. Located in the heart of the city, Hotel Indigo London – Clerkenwell brings a brand defining property to IHG’s pipeline.

Established in 2004, the Hotel Indigo is IHG’s upscale boutique brand and has more than 100 hotels across more than 15 countries around the world. The brand is set to double its portfolio presence over the next three to five years and continue its growth as one of the largest boutique brands.

The decision to arrive in Clerkenwell comes as the neighbourhood, arguably most known for its annual Clerkenwell Design Week, has strong travel links with Farringdon station, Barbican and Old Street all within walking distance, making it an increasingly popular location for both business and leisure travellers.

Just like no two neighbourhoods are alike, no two Hotel Indigo properties are the same. At the Hotel Indigo London – Clerkenwell, the current historic listed building of the Hat & Feathers pub will be added to by two newly-built modern wings. When it opens in 2021, the hotel will feature well-appointed guestrooms, an all-day restaurant and five meeting rooms, as well as incorporating the existing pub into the hotel.

“We are excited to bring Hotel Indigo London – Clerkenwell into portfolio,” said Jon Colley, Head of Development, UK&I at IHG. “We are seeing strong growth in the boutique market in the UK and this hotel strengthens our position in the capital. This signing will join the newly opened Kimpton Fitzroy London and Hotel Indigo London – 1 Leicester Square to build out our boutique presence in the UK’s capital.”

IHG has 15 Hotel Indigo properties in the UK and a further seven in the pipeline*. There is a strong momentum behind the brand as part of IHG’s UK growth strategy.

In total, IHG currently has 349* hotels operating under eight brands in the UK, including: InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, Hotel Indigo, Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts, voco™ Hotels, Holiday Inn®, Holiday Inn Express® and Staybridge Suites, with another 26 in the pipeline.

*Numbers as at 31 March 2019

Main image credit: Hotel Indigo

Hotel Designs becomes media partner for Outstanding Property Award London

730 565 Hamish Kilburn

[vc_row padding_top="35"][vc_column width="1/3"][vc_column_text el_class="newposttitle"][page_title][/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Hotel Designs become an official media partner for the Outstanding Property Award London as editor Hamish Kilburn is confirmed on the jury...  The Outstanding Property Award London (OPAL), which honours innovation and talent in the most exceptional projects globally within property development, interior design and architecture, has confirmed Hotel Designs as an official media partner.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width="2/3" el_class="top-left-border"][vc_column_text][thumbnailnew][/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]In addition to covering news and features around the awards, Hotel Designs has also put forward its editor, Hamish Kilburn, to be on the jury. "As the leading international hotel design website, Hotel Designs is all about supporting awards, events and concepts that are dedicated to rewarding outstanding individuals and projects worldwide," he said. "There's a lot of synergy between OPAL and Hotel Designs. For starters, both brands aspire to identify and celebrate the leading individuals and firms who are pushing the boundaries of design and architecture. On a personal note, as a member of this year's jury, I am eager to sift through the entries, but what I am most looking forward to is helping to amplify the individual property developers, designers and architects who are internationally shaping the future of our industry." Other jury members of OPAL 2019 include Richmond International's Fiona Thompson, Stylt's Erik Nissen Johansen, Zaha Hadid Architects' Michele Salvi, Beauchamp Estates' Gary Hersham and Yasmine Mahmoudieh among others.  "The awards are now open to outstanding entries from around the world." Described on its website as "not just another award", OPAL creates the opportunity for each participant to gain visibility for their latest innovative projects and allows developers, designers and architects to connect with leading professionals within the industry and beyond. The awards are now open to outstanding entries from around the world. An exclusive event, organised in London, will celebrate the winners. OPAL will reward the world's most outstanding property projects and expose them to the world - and Hotel Designs will now be there alongside the awards with live updates between now and the ceremony. OPAL accepts applications for project submissions from three industry sectors, which are property developers, interior designers and architects. To apply for this year's OPAL, and/or to find out more information about the concept and the jury, please click here. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Social hotel brand to arrive in Malaysia

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Social hotel brand to arrive in Malaysia

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

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

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

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

Render of minimalist lifestyle area

Image credit: MoMo

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

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

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