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    hotel opening

    MINIVIEW: The Biltmore Mayfair, London

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    MINIVIEW: The Biltmore Mayfair, London

    In the heart of London’s leafy neighbourhood, The Biltmore Mayfair, London has had a £60 million renovation – and it is unrecognisable…

    The red-brick facade of The Biltmore Mayfair reopened its doors in September of this year as Europe’s first LXR Hotels & Resorts property. The 307-key hotel’s recent renovation has resulted in the building – and its interiors sheltered inside – becoming a new jewel in the prestigious neighbourhood, uniting 20th century grandeur with modern architectural details throughout.

    The hotel combines exquisite contemporary accommodation, stunning views across the gardens of Grosvenor Square, and innovative culinary concepts by Michelin Star restaurateur, Jason Atherton, creating the ultimate urban sanctuary in the heart of Mayfair.

    Red-bricked exterior of the hotel

    Image credit: The Biltmore Mayfair

    Guests looking for an elegant escape can book into one of the 57 quintessentially British suites. Designed to reflect the iconic area, each suite’s panelled walls and distressed mirrored headboards feature references of leafs and nature. As well as referencing a timeless location, the hotel guestrooms also feature modern touches, such as Ruark audio systems that sit on the bedside tables. The dark furniture of red and blue creates a deep luxe scene, while accents of colour in the soft furnishings adds a sensitive layer. The layout of each room has been sensitively designed so that guests can take in the vistas of Grosvenor Square.

    Quintessentially British suite

    Image credit: The Biltmore Mayfair

    The bathrooms, specified by Utopia Projects, continue the luxury theme with marble surfaces complimenting muted gold towel rails. Clever spot lighting has been added either side of the twin vanity basins to create meaningful statement as guests demand for wellness evolves.

    Luxe bathroom with marble and large bath tub

    Image credit: The Biltmore Mayfair

    The Biltmore Mayfair is also home to the capital’s most sought-after new restaurant concepts from world-renowned restaurateur Jason Atherton:

    • The Betterment features a seasonally driven menu, from locally-sourced fish and meats that are wood-fired, to signature salads and plant-based dishes.
    • The Pine Bar operates as a sophisticated bar with classic cocktails, exceptional wines and delicious bar snacks, including home-cured charcuterie.
    • The Tea Lounge, located within the hotel lobby, is ideal to enjoy one of London’s finest afternoon teas, and indulge in a selection of homemade sandwiches.  Guests can also enjoy sweet delicacies including a Dorset spice apple cake and lemon and lavender macarons, in the Writer’s Corner.
    • Finally, within the heart of the hotel is The Terrace. Open all year round, the relaxed, alfresco area is surrounded by stunning floral arrangements, sweeping greenery and glimmering fairy lights, making it the perfect spot to drink and dine under the stars.

    “We are delighted to be opening The Biltmore Mayfair, Europe’s first LXR Hotels & Resorts property, on London’s prestigious Grosvenor Square,” said Simon Vincent, President, EMEA, Hilton when the hotel opened in September. “Bringing contemporary luxury to Mayfair, guests will experience outstanding hospitality, including dining by Chef Jason Atherton, in remarkable surroundings that truly capture the spirit of London and British luxury.”

    With a host of iconic landmarks and neighbourhoods on its doorstep, including the home of bespoke tailoring, Savile Row, and exclusive retailers on Bond Street – the hotel is a decadent retreat to experience the best that London has to offer.

    Main image credit: The Biltmore Mayfair

    W Hotels Arrives In Abu Dhabi

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    W Hotels Arrives In Abu Dhabi

    Rev up your engines, W Abu Dhabi – Yas Island is the only hotel in the world to be located on a Grand Prix racetrack…

    Buckle up… W Hotels Worldwide has announced the highly anticipated debut of the W brand in the UAE capital with the opening of W Abu Dhabi – Yas Island. Located in the heart of Abu Dhabi’s bustling entertainment epicentre, the hotel is the brand’s second W Hotel to open this year in the United Arab Emirates after W Dubai – The Palm, and has the bragging rights to be the only hotel in the world located atop a Grand Prix racetrack.

    W Abu Dhabi – Yas Island is surrounded by iconic landmarks, located just 15-minutes from Abu Dhabi International Airport at the doorstep of the famed Yas Marina Circuit and Yas Marina. The hotel is also in close proximity to Ferrari World, Warner Brothers Studios and Abu Dhabi’s biggest shopping center, the Yas Mall. W Abu Dhabi – Yas Island is set to provide front row seats to the glitz and glamour of the vibrant metropolis, be it on or off the track.

    YAS Island's iconic building and racetrack

    Image credit: W Hotels

    “W Hotels seeks dynamic destinations that are multi-dimensional and ever-evolving, and Abu Dhabi, with its cultural DNA that honors a millennium of tradition while boldly embracing what’s new and next, is an ideal fit for the brand,” said Anthony Ingham, Global Brand Leader, W Hotels Worldwide. “The arrival of W in Abu Dhabi marks a new chapter for both the brand and the capital. While paying tribute to the essence and spirit of the city, the hotel creates a modern, energetic and stylish escape unlike anything else.”

    “The design draws inspiration from traditional and artistic surroundings complementing the natural landscape of the Emirate.”

    W Abu Dhabi – Yas Island reveals the best of the destination’s history, heritage and culture while infusing elements of its modern future. From the barren desert to the burgeoning concrete metropolis, Abu Dhabi boasts one of the most unique and diverse landscapes, all celebrated by the hotel’s tone-setting vibe. The design draws inspiration from traditional and artistic surroundings complementing the natural landscape of the Emirate. All architectural elements are influenced by symmetry, intricate detail, parallel beams and optical illusions, creating silhouettes and shades inspired by the region’s natural lakes, wetlands, salt flats and fossilized sands and dunes – the hidden natural gems of the UAE.

    Guests are greeted by Bedouin-inspired tents, large columns and seating inspired by local mangroves. Custom-designed Welcome Desks mimic the form of oil droplets and jewel tone furnishings, depicting the colors of liquid gold, a distinctive historic trade in Abu Dhabi. Show-stopping Whatever/Whenever desks are canoe-shaped, a visual reference to the Abu Dhabi waterways and once the mode of movement across the city.

    The hotel’s vibrant 499 guestrooms and suites offer plush amenities and floor-to-ceiling windows with spectacular views of the Grand Prix racetrack or the Yas Marina. The EWOW Suite (the brand’s over-the-top take on the traditional Presidential Suite), boasts 409 square meters (about 1,342 square feet) of ultimate luxury spread over two floors. Guests can soak it up in the suite’s private lap pool, sauna and enjoy jaw-dropping, 180-degree views of Yas Island.

    Image credit: W Hotels

    The W brand’s iconic poolside experience features the stunning scenery of the Yas Marina Circuit as guests swim, sun and enjoy signature beverages while listening to live DJ performances. WET is sure to become the hottest place to cool off, take a dip and make a splash in the city. W Abu Dhabi – Yas Island will embody the brand’s signature work hard, play hard philosophy, with FUEL-focused activities (fitness and wellness programming) including weekly workouts, healthy cuisine and amazing adventures.

    Main image credit: W Hotels

    Canopy by Hilton to arrive in Paris’ Latin Quarter

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    Canopy by Hilton to arrive in Paris’ Latin Quarter

    The 150-key Canopy by Hilton hotel will feature a vegetated facade with climbing plants and a garden on the ground floor, and is expected to open in 2022…

    Canopy by Hilton, Hilton’s lifestyle hotel brand has announced the signing of a development agreement and a long-term lease between Novaxia Investissement and Dutch hotel operator Borealis Hotel Group for the 150-room Canopy by Hilton Paris Quartier Latin.

    The hotel, which is expected to open at the end of summer 2022, will be located on rue Lacépède, near Place Monge, Jardin des Plantes and in the heart of the Latin Quarter one of Paris’ most diverse and culturally rich districts.

    Canopy by Hilton Paris Quartier Latin will occupy a renovated, historical mansion with an Eiffel-style industrial roof and a new seven-floor building and will offer a range of features, including a restaurant, bar, a tearoom and a fitness centre.

    Patrick Fitzgibbon, senior vice president, development, EMEA, Hilton, said: “With the first property opening near Trocadero in 2020, introducing the second Canopy by Hilton hotel to Paris, the first on the Left Bank, is a significant milestone in our French expansion plans. Already one of the world’s most-visited cities, Paris is enjoying a surge in tourism recording close to 40 million visitors in 2018, with demand set to increase. Canopy by Hilton Paris Quartier Latin creates the ultimate Parisian experience. It is perfect for exploring this charming neighbourhood, and its central location is ideal for those who want to search out Paris’ cultural sites, gastronomic adventures and all that this remarkable city of light has to offer.”

    Nature will be anchored in the Canopy by Hilton Paris Quartier Latin with an ambitious landscaping component: a vegetated facade with climbing plants, a garden on the ground floor and green terraces. The project is part of a BREEAM certification process.

    The rehabilitation of this obsolete complex began in September 2019 and is expected to finish in summer 2022. The new hotel will be inspired by the numerous tourist sites that surround the project and will offer top-of-the-range services for international tourists as well as local neighbours.

    “This project highlights Novaxia Investissement’s ability to offer to its clients complex and outstanding operations, usually led by institutional investors,” said David Seksig, deputy director, Novaxia Investissement. The development is the eighth hotel project developed by the funds managed by Novaxia Investissement and reflects the expertise of the teams in this asset class. Novaxia Investissement has been advised by the Avocats White & Case law firm.

    Lodewijk van der Meulen, co-founder of Borealis Hotel Group added, “We are very excited to expand our foothold in the Parisian region to three hotels. We see the Canopy by Hilton brand as the perfect addition to Paris’ city centre and our portfolio. Borealis and Hilton have been working on numerous developments across Europe together and we very much value the strong and trusted partnership we have formed over the years.”

    Main image credit: Canopy by Hilton

    The Kixby Hotel opens in New York

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    The Kixby Hotel opens in New York

    Rockwell Group completes The Kixby Hotel, which is located in a storied Beaux-arts building in Herald Square, New York…

    Rich in history, pulsing with life, and constantly changing, Herald Square feels like the true crossroads of Manhattan — a neighborhood whose often-overlooked architectural splendor reflects its Gilded Age roots.

    Now, with the rebirth of one of its storied buildings, Herald Square is about to get the hotel it deserves.

    Kixby reclaims the stunning 1901 building that housed a legendary luxury hotel, the Collingwood, a century ago. With public spaces designed by Rockwell Group, Kixby will bring sophistication, history, and wit to Herald Square — along with a sense of intimacy, warmth, and the personal attention of a true boutique hotel.

    “Herald Square has always been the heart of New York, and, at this time of resurgence, Kixby will give guests a prime place to experience it,” said co-owner and managing partner Justin Arest, whose family has operated a hotel on the site since 1995. “The area, known to many as being home to the Macy’s flagship and once to the New York Herald, has been reinventing itself over the past two decades.” It has become the ideal mix of history, energy and personality, drawing the best traits from neighboring NoMad and Times Square. Kixby will reintroduce many to the neighborhood that, in the early 1900s, was a stone’s throw to the flagships of Tiffany & Co., B. Altman & Co., and Gimbels.” Today, Kixby’s location puts the Empire State Building, shopping, Broadway theaters, the High Line, Grand Central Station, Bryant Park, Hudson Yards and many other attractions within a walk or easy commute.

    Black Tap, whose prize-winning burgers and CrazyShake milkshakes have earned raves worldwide, opened the brand’s first flagship location inside Kixby, with their signature NYC-inspired dining room where graffiti and neon meet black and white tiles and exposed brick. Like Kixby, Black Tap offers a smart spin on tradition with inspiration from classic burger joints and an old-school New York vibe. Designed by Rockwell Group, the restaurant features a stand-alone CrazyShake Bar, an installation made of 4,000 custom-designed cassette tapes, and an oversized neon boombox.

    On the hotel’s roof with the Empire State Building as its backyard Julie Mulligan and Chris Barish from the Black Tap team partnered with Kixby on The Lookup, a rooftop bar with smart bar bites and cocktails curated by mixologist Pamela Wiznitzer, formerly of the Seamstress and the Dead Rabbit. Both the restaurant and the rooftop lounge mix a playful edge with sophisticated, old-world style that syncs perfectly with Kixby’s spirit.

    A green wall with a neon sign greets guests in The Lookup. The three-season space has a summery, crisp, and clean aesthetic, with black and white elements that draw the spirit of Black Tap up to the roof. Tabletops and furniture in bright colors give the space a playful feeling.

    Image credit: The Kixby Hotel

    In its previous life as the Hotel Metro, the hotel earned a loyal repeat clientele from around the world. Many on the hotel’s team, including its general manager, head of housekeeping and director of sales, have been with the property for 25 years and will stay to welcome guests at Kixby. Arest’s partners in Kixby are Ira Drukier and Richard Born of the renowned BD Hotels, which owns some of New York’s most stylish lodgings.

    A namesake character will also animate Kixby. Mr. Kixby is a compilation of the known and imagined characters that have lent themselves to Kixby’s history. He was a resident of the original Collingwood and tended bar there in the early 20th Century. Local lore paints English-born Mr. Kixby as a fabulous raconteur, pioneering artist, and inventive mixologist — a dapper, whimsical, slightly rakish presence.

    Kixby takes inspiration from his name and his spirit; its understated luxury blends Beaux-Arts splendor with clean, modern style that embraces and energizes guests from the minute they enter.

    Kixby’s fresh, forward-looking spin on history starts in its lobby. Working with Arest, Rockwell Group crafted an atmosphere that has a modernised members-only club feel, with a mix of classic elements, such as rich hardwood floors and fluted dark wood paneling. Modern takes on traditional furniture in plush fabrics like velvet and leather nod to the hotel’s past. A feature wall comprised of bronze screens a latticed work of art inspired by New York’s classic metal elevator gates illuminates the room.

    “Rockwell Group had an amazing opportunity to create a collection of spaces that brings a new social experience to the hotel,” says Shawn Sullivan, Partner, Rockwell Group. “Juxtaposing modern and traditional, our design concept embraces the building’s history while adding a contemporary layer that feels vibrant and relevant today.”

    Image credit: The Kixby Hotel

    Guests are greeted at a front reception desk crafted with warm woods and reflective slatted metal. Kixby associates will be ready with iPads to offer swift check-ins and answer any guest questions. Walking through the lobby, past a curated “book cabinet featuring New York-themed books, leads to the hotel’s cocktail lounge, Lot 15, which is also operated by the Black Tap team, and offers guests and locals a destination to experience old-New York mixed with elegant yet approachable cocktails and delicious fare. Executive Chef Stephen Parker curated a menu that evokes nostalgia through classic dishes with modern-day twists, such as a bite-sized Hot Honey Crispy Chicken Skins and Wagyu Steak Sandwich, as well as a Sweet Tooth section. The cocktail menu by Mixologist Cameron Shaw showcases familiar yet elevated options like a vegan Whiskey Sour with bonded bourbon and aquafaba, and the Airmail, a Daiquiri and French 75 lovechild with honey.

    Lot 15 has a gritty, sophisticated feeling, with a dark palette that features gold accents, exposed brick and charred black wood walls in a chevron pattern. With black leather banquettes, high-top seating, custom drapery, art installations by contemporary muralist Fumero, and even its own DJ booth, the space is a destination in itself unlike anything else in the neighborhood.

    Guestrooms feature a stylish palette of periwinkle blue and charcoal gray. For the hotel’s clean-lined furniture, Arest sought out a unique source: Amish and Mennonite craftspeople in Ohio, who worked with him to customize the Kixby’s solid oak furniture. The cleverly designed dressers conceal a hotel safe and a mini-fridge. Side tables, next to the hotel’s plush beds outfitted in MATOUK linens, feature two electrical outlets and two USB ports each — a thoughtful detail that’s often overlooked in some hotels. Even the numbers on each room have been hand-selected by Arest; crafted in solid brass, they also capture the hotel’s fusion of classic and modern. Bright, elegant marbled bathrooms feature Brizo fixtures with rain shower heads and hand showers, as well as lighted mirrors, bath amenities by New York-based apothecary MALIN + GOETZ and luxurious bathrobes made by Frette.

    Main image credit: The Kixby Hotel

    CASE STUDY: How YOTEL utilised space in design and hospitality

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    CASE STUDY: How YOTEL utilised space in design and hospitality

    In the wake of a plethora of announcements regarding hotel openings to expand the YOTEL portfolio, editor Hamish Kilburn sat down with the hotel brand’s CEO, Hurbert Viriot, to understand more about the company’s ethos and methods to grow… 

    It’s safe to say that the international hotel design and hospitality scene transformed dramatically in 2007 and 2008 – the exact cause of this is still up for discussion.

    Undeniably, though, it was influenced by the financial crisis and driven largely by a change in behavior among frequent travellers, which resulted in the industry having to rethink its foundations.

    One hotel group to react to this was YOTEL, which opened its debut property strategically within Gatwick Airport, the UK’s second busiest airport which last year recorded 46.1 million passengers pass through its terminal doors. “The original concept of YOTEL Air Gatwick was quickly followed by hotel openings in Heathrow and Amsterdam Schiphol,” said Hubert Viriot, CEO of YOTEL. “Essentially, it was in these three hotels where the business DNA was set.”

    “Hotels that were built 10 years ago and beyond, they are very inefficient pieces of real estate.” – Hurbert Viriot, CEO, YOTEL.

    Today, YOTEL is known globally for its comfortable and affordable hospitality offering; a modern hotel experience, it calls it, that shelters smart thinking, smart design and smart prices. The design concept is compact, and functional without changing lanes to look or feel budget. This design ethos of what the brand calls its cabins was led by the unique demand of a guest checking in to an airport or urban hotel. “Most people travel several times per year, and the average length of stay in our hotels is very short,” Viriot added. “They travel looking for an experience, and they are very well informed with access to smart phones etc. Their budget accommodation has reduced because people travel more often, and the structure of a ‘budget hotel’ is different. Formally, the bulk of your travel costs was transport and accommodation – and consumers would save a proportion of money left over for pleasure. That has changed, which is driving the industry to change with it.”

    Image credit: YOTEL NYC

    The launch of a fresh design hotel concept to cater for short-stay travellers looking a low-price point flipped the current hotel model on its head. “Hotels that were built 10 years ago and beyond, they are very inefficient pieces of real estate,” explains Viriot who is talking about large guestrooms and non-essential, low-income-generating retail and F&B areas. “Once we remove those areas and make the room or cabin design more compact without taking away the quality, then we are able to keep our room rates low.”

    When it comes to the design details of any short-term hotel experience, the most important element to get right is bed. Inspired the lay-flat beds inside modern planes, YOTEL believed that including an adjustable smart bed, complete with cool action gel memory foam mattresses, was something its guests would appreciate.  “The beds and mattress meet our customer requirements,” said Viriot. “You can recline and adapt the bed to your liking, so we had to find a mattress that also adapted in this way, as well as regulating the temperature of the body to ensure for a good night’s sleep. Ultimately it [YOTEL] is about providing those essential luxuries.”

    Image credit: YOTEL

    Since the success of the modern airport hotels, the group has expanded into the hearts of cities, taking with it the compact design of guestrooms to ensure the room rates remain lower than competitors. But what is arguably more impressive is the group’s ability to design sustainable spaces, which is none more so apparent as it is inside the newly opened YOTEL Amsterdam Noord.

    The brand’s first hotel in mainland Europe, YOTEL Amsterdam Noord is at the epicentre of the up-and-coming Buiksloterham neighbourhood, built on the sunny bank of the Tolhuis Canal. Home to start-ups and creative businesses, the area is also brimming with hip bars, experimental festivals and modern architecture, making it an ideal base for modern travellers.

    As well as featuring the space-saving adjustable beds, the cabins are also equipped with refreshing amenities from Urban Skincare, rejuvenating rain showers, adjustable mood lighting, free super-fast WiFi, HD SMART TVs with Chromecast and much more.

    At the centre of the action, guests will find KOMYUNITI, which is something new for the brand. The hotel’s relaxed all-day social space spills out on to an alfresco waterside deck. The light and airy restaurant and bar will offer a menu of small and large plates, sharing platters and snacks with ingredients sourced from local partners and coffee seasonally selected by speciality roaster, Workshop Coffee. An inviting place for guests and locals to both work and play, KOMYUNITI will also run a programme of neighbourhood events such as yoga and running clubs along with film screenings under the stars at its cosy outdoor cinema.

    Developed by Being Development,and designed by Studioninedots, also based in Amsterdam Noord, the hotel also boasts top notch sustainability credentials. Benefitting from a unique water system which collects, stores, filters and recycles water, the hotel also utilises energy saving LED lighting and sensors to ensure nothing is kept running when not in use. Guests who arrive by electric car will also be able to charge their vehicles at one of the hotel’s 10 charging points.

    Image credit: YOTEL

    So, what’s next for the outward-looking brand? Well, there seems to be no end to YOTEL’s vision. Considering that aparthotel growth is currently outpacing hotel expansion, the hotel group has launched YOTEL PAD, it’s answer to combine the best of serviced appartments with the hotel experience, again limiting unnecessary cost for both operator and guest. It has taken its deisgn DNA to expand the process, injecting compact design, while utilising space.

    The new concept has already been rolled out across North America and soon to enter on the European scene in Lake Geneva. “The Lake Geneva region is a natural location to introduce YOTELPAD into Europe,” explains Viriot. “Centrally located and concentrating an unusually high proportion of global organisations, the region is home to an exceptionally mobile, dynamic workforce and welcomes frequent international business travellers, visiting their headquarters or attending conferences at the UN or elsewhere.”

    YOTEL currently operates seven airport hotels in London Gatwick, London Heathrow, Amsterdam Schiphol and Paris, Charles de Gaulle, Istanbul Airport (2), Singapore Changi and seven city centre hotels in New York, Boston, San Francisco, Washington D.C., Singapore, Edinburgh and Amsterdam. YOTEL is expanding rapidly with new projects under development globally, including Porto, Glasgow, London, Dubai, Geneva, Long Island City, Miami, Park City, Mammoth, Atlanta and Melbourne.

    Main image credit: YOTEL

    Urban development completes to welcome Hoxton Southwark

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    Urban development completes to welcome Hoxton Southwark

    Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands completes a new kind of hotel in London, the Hoxton Southwark

    Architecture firm Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands has completed work on an ambitious mixed-use development in Southwark, which shelters Hoxton Hotel’s third property in London, Hoxton Southwark.

    Complete with 192 rooms as well as restaurants, bars and function rooms and 4,000 m2 of flexible co-working office space, the facilities that are stacked within are shelters in a slender 17-storey building.

    Owned by Ennismore, the hotel, which is clad in precast brick panels, is situated on the busy Blackfriars Road, nicknamed ‘Blackfriars Boulevard’ because of the way in which it has gradually become a destination in its own right over the past few years. The narrow site sits just to the south of a Grade-II listed, 1950s church and charming church gardens. The Colombo Centre – a small community sports hub lies to the west.

    The basement contains logistics and kitchens with the ground and first storeys given over topublic areas that include restaurants and bars, banqueting and conference rooms plus a terrace that looks over the churchyard. Six floors of hotel rooms provide rooms of different sizes – ‘Shoebox, Snug, Cosy, Roomy and Biggy’ – ranging from 16-25m2. A further six floors of flexible office space provide new offices for start-ups and sole traders with the taller ceilinged 13th floor and winter garden breakout/crossover space for co-workers to mingle. HVAC and other plant is on the interstitial 14th floor and the top (15th) floor features a high-quality seafood restaurant and sky-barwith spectacular views over London.

    Image credit: Lidschutz Davidson Sandilands

    “The Hoxton has always set out to do things differently, and we are continually evolving as a brand in response to guest demands and the trends we’re seeing among travellers,” said Chief marketing officer of Ennismore, Martina Luger. “We’re quite unique as a hotel as we set out to position ourselves as a destination for both guests and locals, with everything from our open-door lobby culture to our events programme, Hox Friends initiative and destination restaurants being designed with both in mind. Working From_ will bring a whole new experience to the space and enhance our offering, helping us to continue to evolve.”

    The building has a very permeable, active and attractive ground and mezzanine floor on the street with abundant planting and sitting out spaces that are sheltered by awnings and heaters for all season use. Chiming with Hoxton’s open-door policy, visitors are welcome to enter the building without having to check in and go up to the mezzanine function rooms and bar, the co-working suites or the sky bar and restaurant.

    Alex Lifschutz, Director of LIfschutz Davidson Sandilands commented: “The hospitality sector is transforming in an interesting way and companies like Hoxton are at the forefront of an evolution. They are providing great places to stay, in a buzzy ecosystem, which makes them appealing environments to hang out and work, cleverly extending the concept of co- working.

    “As architects we had to create internal layouts that enabled this, incorporating workspaces with lots of amenity space – relaxed lounge areas as you walk in…bars, restaurants, even a gallery. Combining all these elements to create an exciting new urban community that works for the people inside the building and for members of the local community to come in and exchange ideas and inspiration.

    “We delivered a raw, warehouse aesthetic both externally and internally, presenting a facade that is in sympathy with the conservation area that the building stands in and also in keeping with the Hoxton brand.”

    Following the building’s completion, LIfschutz Davidson Sandilands’ Catarina Pina-Bartrum and Ennismore’s Charlie North have been shortlisted for The Brit List Awards 2019, which takes place next week.

    Main image credit: Hoxton/Ennismore

     

    Checking in to Inhabit Hotel, sheltering a new level of eco design

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    Checking in to Inhabit Hotel, sheltering a new level of eco design

    During the London hotel’s soft launch period, editor Hamish Kilburn checks in to discover Inhabit’s debut property, which in the process earns his eco stamp of approval…

    Last year, an insightful study revealed that the city of London had the eighth highest level of pollution in the world, making the sky 67 times brighter than it would be without the contribution of humans. In the same study, it was highlighted that a staggering 84 per cent of Brits spend less than 10 minutes a day enjoying peace and quiet.

    Armed with these statistics, it came with great delight reading about a new hospitality concept of a fresh urban hotel perspective, where wellbeing and sustainable design was at the core of everything. Where the aim is for guests to leave feeling lighter, more free and inspired by taking the pace of life down a gear or two. Where time is luxury. Where Inhabit Hotel becomes a home-from-home.

    After a chaotic experience navigating the London Underground, which I politely consider to be ‘the pits’ of all public transport with it being the most polluted place in the city, I arrived at Paddington’s new boutique hotel in the same state of mind as I imagine most guests do; slightly stressed showing early symptoms of rush-hour rage. Juxtaposing the hustle and bustle of the city’s zone 1, the hotel’s understated is guests’ first indication of a new kind of hotel.

    The sixth-floor urban sanctuary is the brainchild of Nadira and Rihim Lalji, and is the cousins’ first hotel within the portfolio. Created by architecture firm Holland Harvey Architects and Caitlin Henderson Design, the 90-key hotel is designed with busy travellers in mind. My arrival experience feels more as if I am staying with warm hosts rather than a hotel. The lobby sits in perfect harmony between the F&B area, named Yeotown, and book-filled library.

    The check-in desk is down-played, and marries nicely into the laid-back luxury design concept. While checking in, my eyes are drawn to a timetable that I am not familiar with; a yoga and mediation schedule, which I am told launched only this week but was very much part of the core plan for the hotel. “Wellness is at the heart of our brand,” says Nadira Lalji. “Every aspect of our hotel is aligned with what being well means to us. We think of wellness as more than a physical state, but a way of being. Our brand pillars, which stand for social connectedness, intellectual expansion and environmental responsibility, reinforce this belief.”

    The ground-floor library is Inhabit’s answer to the rise in demand for public areas designed with bleisure in mind. The space encourages residents and members of the public to unwind, work and be inspired. The noise-free corner is complete with LED bulbs, which are 80 per cent more efficient in terms of energy used than traditional lighting. Occupancy sensors ensure that no energy is lost and guests are seen in their best light when they require it.

    Image credit: Inhabit Hotel

    Yeotown, is an innovative and thoughtful F&B area, perfect for guests on the move or as a venue for casual meetings. By partnering with food-wastage apps Karma and Too Good to Go, the area allows non-guests to pick up perfectly edible bargains which would otherwise be put into waste. The tables and chairs, made also by Holland and Harvey, have been created using materials honestly and in their natural state. “At Inhabit, we have specified oak flooring and joinery, all finished with a natural sealant to show off their natural colouring and tones,” said architect Richard Holland. “The floor is a natural stone from Fired Earth, which has beautiful variations and tonal differences.”

    Upstairs, the sustainability story continues, which is most impressive when considering that the hotel is sheltered within a Grade II listed building. From Casper eco-friendly mattresses to the REN amenities that are made from recycled plastic – even the soft toilet paper is 100 per cent recycled – the guestrooms and bathrooms are quite obviously designed with conscious guests in mind. But on close inspection, it becomes apparent just how high up on the agenda sustainability is for the hotel. Taking the concept of ‘escapism’, one step further, each room comes complete with Studio ND phone charge and stowaway boxes, made from scrap materials, so that guests can break away from their devices.

    Perhaps it was my perfectly timed stay to sit in-between speaking about this very topic on stage at the Independent Hotel Show – more likely it’s simply the sheer statement of an urban hotel having such an eco-focused message – that has put on a smile on my face when checking out following one of the best night’s sleep I have had in London for a while. I can’t help but feel totally relaxed and reassured that the bottom line of profit is not the only value when it comes to successfully operating a hotel. And it was this that inspired my latest Editor Checks In online column, where I argue that consciousness could very well become the new luxury.

    Main image credit: InHabit London

    Manchester’s Hotel Brooklyn to open in February 2020

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    Manchester’s Hotel Brooklyn to open in February 2020

    The doors to Manchester’s highly anticipated Hotel Brooklyn will open in February 2020…

    Designed by Squid Inc – the team behind renowned Hotel Gotham – the long-awaited Hotel Brooklyn is scheduled to open in February 2020. The 189-key hotel is inspired by the New York Borough and chosen for its resonating similarities to Manchester, in terms of its buzzing industrial growth, as well as its strength of identity and culture.

    The hotel will pay homage to Brooklyn’s history from early 20th century to the present day, with the inclusive design of the hotel being overseen by Motionspot, the UK’s leading accessible design company. Positioning itself as Manchester’s most accessible hotel, Hotel Brooklyn will be a trailblazer in championing accessible, sexy and modern design for all.

    “We believe Hotel Brooklyn is a perfect fit for Manchester” – Robin Sheppard, Chairman of Bespoke Hotels

    Squid Inc’s starting point was to create a distinctly Mancunian destination that resonated with the characteristics of its counterpart, Brooklyn: the sense of neighbourhood, the grittiness of its culture and edginess of its people. Brooklyn residents, from Mel Brooks to the Beastie Boys, have helped inspire this vibe.

    “It was an honour to work with Bespoke Hotels again on creating another iconic Manchester hotel with a strong identity and character,” said Olly Redfern, Lead Interior Designer of Squid Inc. “Weaving the lines between Manchester and Brooklyn is a bold and inspirational project that draws many parallels and it was incredibly fun to do, partnering with some of the best local suppliers to create the finished look.”

    Beautiful Victorian brownstone buildings have become icons of both Brooklyn and Manchester and Squid Inc have been driven by the ambition that the architects of Brooklyn showed when repurposing an area which had fallen out of favour, transforming it into one of the most exciting parts of town.

    The brownstone idea is explored from the moment guests enter the hotel, with the industrial feel of the architecture softened by the lobby interior and designed to recreate the sense of journeying down a Brooklyn avenue, with brick stone and trees lining the walls.

    Image credit: Bespoke Hotels/Hotel Brooklyn

    Beyond the lobby is a flight of wide-paced steps, designed to provide a communal space to hang-out – paying homage to the iconic stoops of Brooklyn, and the sense of community these have inspired in film and art.  

    The Snug is designed to be a playful, contemporary twist on the traditional.

    Harking back to historic Victorian brownstone buildings and their expansive drawing rooms, The Snug is designed to be a playful, contemporary twist on the traditional.  This space is cosy and intimate – a sanctuary from the hubbub – with an open fireplace and a record player spinning vintage records from the Manchester music scene.

    “Bathrooms have been cleverly-angled to allow their back walls and semi opaque windows to look out across the guestroom.”

    The aesthetic of the 189 guestrooms has been inspired by Brooklyn’s loft spaces, peppered with immaculate features that favour quality and high-spec finishes. Beds have brass adornments, while Turkish rugs have been designed to contrast with the concrete floors. Bathrooms have been cleverly-angled to allow their back walls and semi opaque windows to look out across the guestroom, while street art wall features finish off the bold design direction.

    Image credit: Bespoke Hotels/Hotel Brooklyn

    Bathroom amenities include organic bamboo toothbrushes and ethically sourced toothpaste, green soap and lotion dispensers with minimum waste.

    In addition, the hotel features 18 dynamically designed accessible bedrooms, each of which has been stylishly designed to complement the aesthetics of the hotel. “Accessible accommodation at Hotel Brooklyn features subtle details like basins with integrated hand grips, removable matt black grab rails, accessible bedroom storage and a hidden ceiling track hoist”, said Ed Warner, Founder & CEO of Motionspot. “We hope this high level of attention paid to inclusivity will make Hotel Brooklyn one of the most sought-after venues for guests of all abilities.”

    Hotel Brooklyn’s bar and restaurant, named Runyon’s after Damon Runyon, an American writer renowned for his depictions of Brooklyn characters, will present a diverse menu showcasing European and American influences. Paying respect to the remarkable industrial craftsmanship of the Brooklyn Bridge (immortalised in many iconic images), Squid Inc have taken the bridge’s tension lines as inspiration, giving Runyon’s a flavour of downtown Brooklyn – a mix of gangster and quality, purposeful engineering – adding a desirable irregularity to proceedings.

    On the top floor of the hotel, Salvation is the hotel’s dedicated events bar, featuring exposed brick work, pop art and neon lights to create a lively destination bar for the UK’s preeminent Northern city.

    “We are thrilled to have secured this fantastic site in the heart of Manchester’s historic industrial thoroughfare of Portland Street”, commented Robin Sheppard, Chairman of Bespoke Hotels. “We believe Hotel Brooklyn is a perfect fit for Manchester, not solely in terms of the architectural grandeur and convenience of its location, but the abundant character and feistiness of the city. Portland Street is experiencing a regeneration as the hotel strip of the city”.

    Image credit: Bespoke Hotels/Hotel Brooklyn

    Throughout the hotel, regional suppliers have been selected wherever possible. Deanhouse Interiorswere commissioned to fabricate the entire fit-out package, including cased goods from wardrobe and bedroom fittings, to the reception pods and 9th floor bar counter. Alongside this, PS Interiors sourced several key furniture pieces throughout, including the retro styled bedroom chairs, while sourcing New York street art was overseen by Elegant Clutter Artwork. In addition, Manchester-based The Knot Collective were commissioned to design two bespoke rugs for the hotel’s public spaces.

    Main image credit: Bespoke Hotels/Hotel Brooklyn

    FIRST LOOK: Inside Riggs Washington D.C., a new level of unrivalled luxury

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    FIRST LOOK: Inside Riggs Washington D.C., a new level of unrivalled luxury

    Ahead of the highly anticipated opening of the 181-key luxury hotel in Washington D.C., Hotel Designs takes a closer look inside…

    Lore Group, the international hospitality company behind renowned hotels, such as Sea Containers London and Pulitzer Amsterdam, has released model images of Riggs Washington D.C.. The new luxury hotel is the latest hotel development to hit the headlines, and is the brainchild of The Brit List 2019 judge Jacu Strauss, designer, architect and Lore Group’s creative director.

    In concepting and designing the property, Strauss, invoked the spirit of the former bank while preserving and restoring much of the property’s original design features to reimagine the storied building for the modern traveller. The 181-room property features playful nods to the building’s rich past, drawing on the parallels between the activities that take place in banks and at hotels to offer something personal and serendipitous around every corner.

    The hotel’s development, which was first explored by Hotel Designs in a exclusive interview Strauss when he described the Washington D.C. as: “a city with a particularly strong and quirky evolving hotel and F&B market.” As such, the design of Riggs has paid particular attention to the public areas of the hotel, with the aim to add sensitive statement on the hotel design scene in the US capital. In the original barrel-valuted lobby and cafe, restored expansive ceilings, corinthian columns, classic stonework and custom furniture set the scene for an eye-catching arrival experience. A medallion of Juno Moneta, the Goddess of Money, presides over the room, while original features have been given a new lease of life and the grandeur of the building embraced to create a welcoming and inspired hotel that is deeply rooted in D.C. and its impressive history.

    Image credit: Lore Group/Riggs Washington DC

    Upstairs, the 181 guestrooms – including 15 bespoke-designed suites are full with flair and personality. The marble-patterned headboards and wall coverings by Vousta blend together to create a thoughtful motif in each room. The interiors, balanced to create a romantic, sophisticated and calming oasis, have been inspired no doubt by Strauss’ love for travel.

    Image credit: Lore Group/Riggs Washington DC

    Catering to Washington DC’s ever-evolving social scene, the hotel’s 2,500 soft rooftop will offer panoramic views over the capital, and also feature a number of meeting, dining and events space.

    “Lore Group continues to explore ways to deliver inspired and approachable hospitality concepts to interesting places around the world,” said Billy Skelli-Cohen, group CEO. “With Riggs Washington D.C., we have created a hotel and F&B concepts that celebrate both the legacy of the building – and the history of the city – through unexpected details and a thoughtful approach to guest experience.”

    The arrival of Riggs comes an interesting time for Penn Quarter, which has been rejuvenated over the last two years. The new hotel is expected to further raise the level of luxury, creativity and innovative hospitality in the area – and Hotel Designs is keen to follow its progress.

    Main image credit: Lore Group/Riggs Washington DC

    SO/ Paseo del Prado La Habana opens in Cuba

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    SO/ Paseo del Prado La Habana opens in Cuba

    Accor’s fastest growing luxury hotel brand, SO/I arrives in Cuba just in time to honor Havana’s 500thanniversary…

    Designed by the renowned French architect, Michel Regembal, SO/I Paseo del Prado La Habana has opened in Cuba. The 250-key hotel will showcase the brand’s ‘have-it-all’ lifestyle of rebellious luxury at its new residence in one of the most emblematic neighborhoods of the country’s capital city.

    “SO/ is one of the most high-energy, fashionable and edgy brands within Accor’s luxury portfolio, combining the vibrant energy of the locale, energizing entertainment and creative food and beverage experiences with modern luxury service,” said Heather McCrory, CEO, Accor North & Central America. “Avant-garde design and fashion are also at the heart of the SO/ brand, and the new hotel in Havana will be a welcomed and exciting addition to our fast-growing network.”

    Image credit: Accor

    SO/ Paseo del Prado La Habana is a masterpiece of luxury and style, designed by the renowned French architect, Michel Regembal. With design at the core of the SO/ brand, the hotel in Havana will unfold as a glamorous yet playful masterpiece featuring the creative signature of celebrated Spanish fashion designer Agatha Ruiz de la Prada – from the hotel’s emblem to the staff’s stylish uniforms. With 250 guestrooms on nine floors, including eight suites, the décor of each room is infused with the spirit of one of three dance styles – Classical Ballet, Salsa or Son Cubano – balanced with spectacular floor-to-ceiling views of the sea, the neighboring Malecón, Paseo del Prado and the hotel’s sweeping patio.

    “The life of SO/ Paseo del Prado La Habana begins in this special year, the 500th anniversary of Havana itself,” said Jean Philippe Hubau, General Manager, SO/ Paseo del Prado La Habana. “We feel this is a bright and exhilarating way to start, as our goal is to become the most sought-after lifestyle address in Havana – a city that captures the imagination like no other place on earth. The hotel provides a fascinating mix of social spaces, audacious experiences and distinct ‘Just Say SO’ services to celebrate the Cuban culture, surprise and amuse even the most sophisticated jet-setters, and captivate the hearts of Habaneros as well.”

    SO/ Paseo del Prado La Habana is located at the intersection of Paseo del Prado and Malecón, just a one minute walk from Habana Vieja (Old Havana), a World Heritage Site filled with ancient monuments, forts, churches and palaces. A seven-minute walk takes guests to Central Park and the Gran Teatro de la Habana, while a stroll along the Malecón boardwalk to the El Vedado district provides a glimpse into the city’s wide avenues, aristocratic villas and ubiquitous 1950s American-series cars.

    At the idyllic Cosecha Restaurant, guests of SO/ Paseo del Prado La Habana are invited to begin the day with organic and wholesome breakfast fare. The SO/ SPA, SO/ FIT gym and the infinity pool with a signature pool bar provide daily rejuvenation and wellbeing experiences. In the evening, the HI-SO bar brings the glamour to stylish guests who mingle to the DJ beats while taking in fashion shows, art events and glittering, celebrity-filled SO/ parties on a spectacular rooftop terrace with exclusive palapas from which to enjoy an artisanal sunset cocktail. If that’s not enough, the hotel’s Chocolate Shop, Origen, is a charming spot where guests and locals pop in for savory European-inspired pastries, artisanal chocolates and Cuban coffees; while the lobby bar, MIXO, attracts stylish Habaneros and international guests to enjoy a lively atmosphere set amongst great views.

    SO/ Paseo del Prado La Habana is the ninth property in the SO/ portfolio, which includes the recent additions of SO/ Auckland, SO/ Berlin Das Stue, SO/ Vienna and SO/ St. Petersburg. With an ambitious plan to expand its global footprint over the next few years, SO/ is one of the fastest growing brands in the luxury portfolio of Accor.  New SO/ properties in Kuala Lumpur, Koh Samui, Dubai, Paris, Melbourne and Los Cabos are scheduled to open over the coming years.

    Main image credit: Accor

    Swissotel aquires Hotel Allegro in Bern, to reopen property in Autumn 2020

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    Swissotel aquires Hotel Allegro in Bern, to reopen property in Autumn 2020

    As part of this exciting next chapter for the property, Kongress + Kursaal Bern AG will invest approximately 16 million Swiss Francs on remodeling the property’s 171 guestrooms and public areas. 

    More than 20 years after opening, the Kursaal Bern enters a new chapter in its history. Kongress + Kursaal Bern AG entered into an agreement with Swissôtel Hotels & Resorts whereby, effective in autumn 2020, Hotel Allegro will then be operated as Swissôtel Kursaal Bern.

    Renovations inside the 171-key hotel will commence next January and are due to be completed by autumn 2020, and the hotel will remain open during the refurbishment process. Once complete, guests can look forward to clever design solutions, high-quality furnishings and a carefully thought-out sustainability concept, but also to traditional Swiss hospitality in the midst of one of the country’s most historic cities.

    “Our search for a strong international brand partner led us to Swissôtel. It combines genuine Swiss hospitality with intelligent design and a stimulating atmosphere. This makes us a perfect match,” said Kevin Kunz, CEO Kongress + Kursaal Bern AG. “Regardless of the change in brand, we will of course keep the proven management team in place and will continue offering traditional Bernese hospitality.”

    modern and contemporary guest room in a hotel

    Image credit: Swissotel

    Operating more than 30 hotels in 18 countries, Swissôtel, which will celebrate its 40th anniversary in 2020, has been part of the Accor group since 2016.

    The partnership agreement between the brand and Kursaal Bern is a landmark moment for the tourism sector in the city. Both Kursaal and the hotel will benefit from Accor’s global reservations system, the company’s worldwide sales teams, direct booking channels, and access to new, innovative technologies. Guests at Swissôtel Kursaal Bern will also have the opportunity to become a member in the ALL loyalty program that puts all Accor brands and businesses worldwide under one umbrella.

    “We offer a genuine expression of Swiss values and a steadfast commitment which is deeply rooted in quality, efficiency and reliability,” said Lilian Roten, Vice President Swissôtel Hotels & Resorts. “We are excited to add a third property in the brand’s birthplace. Our contemporary Swiss style combined with local characteristics creates a balanced environment for guests to relax and feel at home.”

    The renovation is led by architects Marazzi + Paul together with interior designer Nina Mair. “She uses high-quality, natural materials and has managed to win us over with well-conceived and confidently stylish functionality,” added Kunz.

    Roten adds: “Our alpine heritage has its roots in craftsmanship, sustainable design and a conscious, active way of life. This is exactly what Nina Mair’s design brings to the new Swissôtel Kursaal Bern. It’s through these approaches that we offer our guests a sense of well-being, energy and joy of life, which is perfectly in-tune with our brand promise ‘Life is a journey. Live it well.’”

    Main image credit: Swissotel

    JW Marriott Maldives officially opens

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    JW Marriott Maldives officially opens

    The Maldives is booming as JW Marriott Maldives officially opens with what is being called the region’s most impressive culinary facilities, complete with a treetop restaurant, former Nobu chef and ultra-private supersize villas…

    Situated on the island of Vagary, Shaviyani Atoll, JW Marriott Maldives Resort & Spa has officially opened featuring 60 expansive beach and overwater villas all with private pools. Headed up by food and wine expert, general manager Marc Gussing, the resort has one of the most impressive culinary offerings in the Maldives.

    There are five restaurants as well as three fully-serviced bars, and a chef’s garden – an exceptional offering for a remote private island with only 60 villas.

    Guests can feast on a wide range of cuisine that includes and goes beyond classic Maldivian dishes. Highlights include vibrant Thai dishes created by a former Nobu Chef in a treetop restaurant, authentic Japanese Teppanyaki, poolside Woodfired pizzas made in a traditional pizza oven, and freshly caught seafood in a fine-dining, overwater restaurant. Meals are complemented with a choice of sake, Japanese whisky, rum cocktails, smoked cocktails, and both new and old-world wines.

    Image credit: Marriott International Hotel

    The villas start at 234sqm – larger than the average London flat. The resort places a strong emphasis on privacy with private decks and pools designed so they can’t be seen from the outside.

    “Each room draws inspiration from the natural surroundings and local Maldivian culture.”

    There are four ultra-expansive villa types, all with private pools. The two-bedroom, three-bathroom Duplex Beach Pool Villas sleep up to five guests and have upstairs living areas and direct beach access ideal for families, whilst the Duplex Overwater Pool Villas with upstairs living areas have unsurpassed views of the Laccadive Sea. Beautiful One-bedroom Beach Pool Villas and sunrise and sunset Overwater Pool Villas are also available.

    Each room draws inspiration from the natural surroundings and local Maldivian culture, incorporating colours and materials that highlight the island destination. Thatched roofs on villas are reminiscent of inverted Dhoni boats, the traditional Maldivian wooden fishing vessels, and slanted roof tips recall white herons dipping their heads into the water.

    Image credit: Marriott International Hotel

    Situated in the untouched Northern atoll of Shaviyani, the resort is a 55-minute seaplane flight to the north of Male. The island’s surrounding natural reef benefits from the island being far from Male and civilisation and is teeming with sea life. An on-site marine biologist ensures the pristine reef remains untouched and in perfect health whilst overseeing aquatic expeditions including diving and snorkelling.

    An iconic Spa by JW, overwater gym and an open-air yoga pavilion offers cutting-edge and indulgent spa treatments and a daily schedule of yoga and fitness activities.

    Main image credit: Marriott International Hotel

    MEININGER Hotels signs for second hotel in the UK

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    MEININGER Hotels signs for second hotel in the UK

    The hotel group, MEININGER Hotels, will open 87-key hotel in Liverpool in 2021…

    MEININGER Hotels, which currently operates 29 hybrid hotels in Europe, has signed a contract for a new hotel in Liverpool, reinforcing its aim for further growth in the UK. “Our new hotel property in Liverpool is an existing building that will be converted into a typical MEININGER Hotel according by spring 2021,” says Thomas Hagemann, COO of MEININGER Hotels.

    “On a gross floor area of 36,049 sq ft (3,349 sq m), the result will be a state-of-the-art accommodation with 87 rooms and 277 beds spread over six floors, a lobby, reception, guest kitchen, bar, lounge, game zone as well as a breakfast area and luggage room.

    “Our guests can also look forward to sufficient social spaces for shared community experiences as well as to our flexible room concept, which is unique in the industry. The MEININGER Hotel Liverpool will appeal to individual, group and business travellers with its room structure consisting of two, three and four-bed rooms.”

    The MEININGER Hotel Liverpool will be located on Union Court, right in the heart of the city. Most of the main cultural, architectural and gastronomic attractions of the city are within walking distance of the hotel: from the UNESCO world heritage buildings around the Royal Albert Dock, Liverpool One, the Tate Gallery or the Cavern Club. Thanks to the excellent public transport links via the nearby train and bus stations, both Anfield and Goodison Park are also within easy reach for football fans.

    This will be the MEININGER Group’s second hotel in the UK after the opening of the MEININGER Hotel London Hyde Park in 2006. A MEININGER Hotel Manchester is also underway and expected to open at the end of 2021.

    Hannes Spanring, CEO of MEININGER Hotels commented: “Together with openings planned for this year in Paris and Lyon as well as next year in Washington D.C., which will mark the respective market entries in France and the U.S., Liverpool is an important milestone in MEININGER Hotels’ goal to operate approximately 34,000 beds internationally by 2024.”

    “There is no doubt that the UK capital is very popular with visitors, and we had a 94% occupancy rate last year at our Hyde Park hotel,” he added. “But the UK is very rich in attractive destinations with enormous development potential elsewhere too. We are therefore delighted to have signed the contract for a new MEININGER Hotel in Liverpool.

    “In Liverpool, the figures for overnight stays and hotel offerings have shown a sustained upward trend in recent years, and the forecasts are also very positive,” Spanring continues. “The current range of rooms consists mainly of four-star and budget hotels, hostels account for only one percent of all accommodation in Liverpool to date. Our goal is to become the UK market leader in this segment with our unique hybrid hotel concept, which combines the service and comfort of international budget hotels with the exceptional amenities and flexible room structure of hostels.”

    Main image credit: Xtravagant

    The world’s first guitar-shaped hotel arrives in Florida

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    The world’s first guitar-shaped hotel arrives in Florida

    Located in the prime spot in Greater Fort Lauderdale, Seminole Hard Rock Hotel, which is the world’s first ever guitar-shaped hotel, has opened following a $1.5 billion property-wide expansion…

    Seminole Hard Rock Hotel has made history this week, becoming the first ever guitar-shaped hotel to have opened. The 638 new luxury guestrooms and suites and an oasis tower housing 168 guest suites all sit within the now iconic structure of the hotel.

    Known as an icon for hospitality and entertainment, The Seminole Hard Rock will also be introducing it’s flagship casino which has doubled in size. The casino will include high-stakes table games, South Florida’s premier poker room and an extensive roster of slot titles.

    Guests can now enjoy a 4.5-acre lagoon-style heated pool area featuring dramatic waterfalls, private cabanas, 182-foot high waterslide, elevated jetted spa, hot tub and Beach Club. There are a plethora of restaurants within the hotel, and a luxury spa.

    The hotel group this year also made its entry into the UK with the opening of Hard Rock London as well as shaking this up in the Maldives.

    Main image credit: Hard Rock Hotels

    Editor Checks In: The new luxury for AW/19 and beyond

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    Editor Checks In: The new luxury for AW/19 and beyond

    Following an enlightening month at the helm of the editorial desk, Hamish Kilburn pauses for just a moment on whether or not consciousness is the new luxury in design, architecture and hospitality…

    Am I accurate in saying that a few years working on the international hotel design scene can often feel like a lifetime of achievement? So much seems to happen in such a short period of time.

    Within what feels like a blink of an eye, sketches of projects have become the jewels of populated skylines, while juniors have evolved into directors of studios. Meanwhile, topics we have discussed in the specialist press for decades, such as sustainability and designing with purpose, have finally hit the headlines of the mainstream media to leave whole cities and populations petrified about their future.

    I so vividly remember my first ever trade show in this colourful industry. I was a 22-year-old, fresh-out-of-university features editor. You could spot me in the crowd from a mile away, complete with a three-piece suit, polished black shoes and new glasses to match. I may as well have just worn a sign with the word ‘noob’ printed in permanent ink.

    I scurried towards my pre-booked seat to catch an insightful on-stage Q&A with Martin Brudnizki, who had at the time just completed the extensive renovation of The Ivy in Soho, London. Whether I was shy or just inexperienced (or quite possibly both), I was not a fan of audience participation back then, at least not if it involved speaking up myself. I would rather leave a question burning within my chest than all eyes in the audience potentially focusing on me.

    How things have changed, and thank the high heavens they have too. This month was full of minor milestones for both myself and Hotel Designs, which as a result has made my former self a mere shadow of the editor I feel proud to have become.

    Firstly, in an interview to understand what the designer has achieved since becoming The Brit List 2018’s Interior Designer of the Year, I was finally able to put my questions to Brudnizki. I visited the celebrated designer in his Chelsea studio just a few months ahead of this year’s ceremony, which takes place on November 21 at Patch East London.

    In addition to the award-winning designer unknowingly becoming our poster boy for this year’s awards, I also held the microphone to host the headline panel discussion at the Independent Hotel Show London 2019: The Conscious Bedroom Report. And although this was my fifth time hosting an on-stage session, it was – in many ways – the most significant of them all. For starters, the subject area that was restrained under the spotlight, sustainability and thinking consciously, was one of huge relevance. And also, my panel made up of Alex Harris from Harris + Harris London, Olivia Richli from Heckfield Place, Sue Williams from Whatley Manor and Xenia zu Hohenlohe from Considerate Group made the whole experience seamless and the topic easy to digest.

    “Unmistakably, business owners from up and down the country were, in a way, pledging that they would do more to make a difference.”

    “Let’s have a show of hands,” I said to the overflowing audience as I ignored entirely what my 22-year-old self would be thinking. “Who here is a hotel owner/operator and truly believes that they could do more to be sustainably and socially more conscious?”

    One by one, hands raised and remained firm in the air. It was a moment. Unmistakably, business owners from up and down the country were, in a way, pledging that they would do more to make a difference. Admittedly, this was after hitting them hard with the statistic that 76 per cent of guests believe that hotels could be greener while 72 per cent hope a hotel can provide local produce. I am not a gambling man, but if I was I would bet for the same overwhelming result if we were to put forward the mini yet mighty experiment on our readers – the designers, hoteliers, architects, suppliers, procurement managers, and design and architecture enthusiasts from far and wide. If the session was anything to go by, we can all do more to become more thoughtful in our actions on this global stage.

    “My conclusion for the audience at the show was to not think about sustainability with red tape around it.”

    So where do we go from here? Things are changing. In April 2020, just five months from now, plastic cotton buds, drinks stirrers and straws will be banned in England. This is very much a ‘today’ problem, and in order to keep ahead of the game, all individuals operating within this market need to consider the issues we will face tomorrow instead. I’m talking about food wastage, using upcycled materials in design and eliminating the ingredients for greenwashing. My conclusion for the audience at the show was to not think about sustainability with red tape around it, but to instead brainstorm new and innovative ways to add organic, conscious personality into your hotel or service.

    One of our breakfast planning meeting to establish and define the theme for this year’s show was sheltered inside the extremely quirky and sustainable Artist Residence London. I was inspired and captivated to hear about some of the initiatives that were already happening in a handful of the UK’s leading independent hotels; how they were tackling the war on food wastage, going paperless and spending hours scrolling through search engines for second-hand furniture pieces. But it was Julio Margues, the General Manager of London Bridge Hotel who, for me, hit the nail clean on the head. “My vegetable patch has a great view of The Shard,” he said casually. And that’s the point. Hoteliers, designers and architects should not boast about being sustainable in their day-to-day decisions, which in my opinion should naturally be a common value shared by all. But they should highlight the minor and quirky – somewhat personal – details that set them aside from others.

    I leave you with an open question to sign off October 2019, a period of my editorship I will struggle to forget (for all the right reasons). In an industry and era where and when trends are becoming more and more obsolete, could consciousness become the new luxury?

    Editor, Hotel Designs

    Kempinski opens second luxury hotel in the Americas

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    Kempinski opens second luxury hotel in the Americas

    Cabrits Resort & Spa Kempinski has opened, marking the brand’s debut in Dominica ahead of global expansion… 

    Nestled in Douglas Bay on the northwest side of the island of Dominica, the unparalleled luxury destination which now features Cabrits Resort & Spa Kempinski blends harmoniously the Caribbean hospitality with timeless European elegance of Kempinski.

    “Cabrits Resort & Spa Kempinski Dominica is an important addition to Kempinski fast-growing portfolio of iconic and luxurious hotels in the Caribbean, and further emphasizes our development strategy in the region,” said Martin R. Smura, Chairman of the Management Board and Chief Executive Officer of Kempinski Hotels S.A. “The beachfront hideaway is the perfect destination for luxury travellers looking for a different kind of resort experience in deep connection with nature, and combines the best of Kempinski European service with a keen respect for Dominica culture and traditions.”

    Commenting on the opening, Michael Schoonewagen, General Manager, Cabrits Resort & Spa Kempinski Dominica says: “We are excited to bring Kempinski rich heritage of impeccable personal service and incomparable hospitality to Dominica. Cabrits Resort & Spa Kempinski Dominica is the celebration of the destination’s pristine, untouched landscape and Kempinski European refinement. We look forward to welcoming all guests to experience this new pinnacle of luxury in the Caribbean.”

    “Dominica is the land of a variety of flora and fauna, including many rare plants, animals and bird species.”

    Found between Guadeloupe and Martinique, the lush, unspoiled island of Dominica is the Caribbean’s hidden gem. Unexposed to mass tourism, the island attracts both eco-adventurers and those simply wishing to disconnect from everyday life. Surrounded by Cabrits National Park, Cabrits Resort & Spa Kempinski Dominica has been designed to preserve the natural balance between land and the sea, whilst ensuring a modern contemporary guest experience.

    Dominica is the land of a variety of flora and fauna, including many rare plants, animals and bird species. The island is protected by an extensive natural park system that encompasses three national parks, two forest reserves and the Syndicate Parrot Reserve. Adventure seekers can enjoy eco-trekking on countless hiking trails, bird watching or simply observing wildlife in their natural surroundings.

    All of the resort’s 151 luxuriously appointed guestrooms and suites are generously proportioned and guarantee exceptional mountain or ocean views. From deluxe and superior rooms to spacious suites and two-bedroom duplexes, as well as villas, each is inspired by the island’s natural beauty and features a soothing palette of coastal colours, detailed wood accents and ample natural lighting, bringing the beauty of the outdoors in.

    Rooms are equipped with every modern convenience that a guest might need including flat-screen televisions and complimentary WiFi service to in-room espresso machines and luxurious bath amenities.

    For the ultimate Cabrits experience, the 426 sq m Presidential Villa features stunning ocean views, dedicated butler service, a private lobby entrance, two bedrooms, two and a half bathrooms, a dining room, a private spa room with sauna and a large, oversized terrace for outdoor dining, complete with a grill and private pool. A private chef is also available upon request.

    The selection of culinary treasures at Cabrits Resort & Spa Kempinski has been carefully thought out to give all the senses a feast. The resort is a culinary destination featuring both local and international cuisine as well as “farm-to-table” and “sea-to-table” dining.

    The hotel group currently operates 79 five-star hotels and residences in 34 countries, and has plans to add new properties in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and the Americas.

    Main image credit: Kempinski Hotels

    In Conversation With: Britain’s design legend Martin Brudnizki

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    In Conversation With: Britain’s design legend Martin Brudnizki

    Last year’s crowned Interior Designer of The Year at The Brit List Awards, Martin Brudnizki, invites editor Hamish Kilburn to his Chelsea London studio to explain some of the major milestones in his career as well as how he logistically manages his time in a truly international market…

    Design gems are not hard to come by on the British hotel design scene. You have only to open the pages of last year’s edition of The Brit List – and this year’s shortlist for that matter – to find the top 75 influential designers, architects and hoteliers.

    However, design legends are less common. It’s not a question of talent or ability, but more a reflection of style, class, personality and being about to really set oneself aside from others in the heavily congested international hotel design market.

    There is only – and will only ever be – one Martin Brudnizki, for example. Last year, Hotel Designs’ The Brit List crowned the acclaimed visionary as its Interior Designer of the Year – and for good reason. “Brudnizki is an international leader, standing as an icon as well as inspiration to so many young aspiring designers,” commented last year’s expert judging panel. “His recent work in University Arms Cambridge is a credit to his studio’s ability to give a building a new lease of life in the most sensitive and creative way.”

    Image caption/credit: The Library designed by MBDS/University Arms Cambridge

    Almost one year later, while the editorial team at Hotel Designs are gearing up for yet another spectacular awards ceremony, I aptly caught up with the Brudnizki in his Chelsea studio in London to find out more about our ‘poster boy’s’ journey to become one of the world’s most celebrated interior designers of the moment.

    “I grew up in Stockholm; my mother was a stylist and my father an engineer and I think this blend of approaches to living and design, in particular, rubbed off on me,” Brudnizki explains. “My mother is incredibly stylish and filled our home with beautiful colours, patterns and objet. My father on the other hand, worked in a very precise and thought-through way. Both aspects of their personality has certainly informed the way I work today.”

    Brudnizki’s early career in design saw him working at the likes of David Gill Gallery and David Collins Studio before branching off and putting his own practice in 2000, Martin Brudnizki Design Studio (MBDS) in 2000. “I learned a lot during my time in other places,” he adds, “which has served me well when establishing my own studio.”

    “We have a number of up-coming projects that I also hope shape our studio’s story. It’s an exciting time.” – Martin Brudnizki

    Since then, MBDS has become one of the leading international design studios, with bases in London and New York and projects including The Beekman, University Arms and Four Seasons Athens. But, like all designers, Brudnizki remembers the milestone moments; the hotels and buildings that captured his and his team’s incredible imagination, usually sheltered in iconic shells. “All the projects we work on are exciting and help shape the future of the studio however, there are a few that really stick out as being pivotal,” the designer explains. “Scott’s in Mayfair presented us with the opportunity to design our first fine dining restaurant, it also cemented our relationship with Caprice Holdings, who have since become important clients of ours. Working with Nick Jones on Soho Beach House Miami was exciting as this saw us introduce the successful Soho House brand to a new region. The Beekman in New York opened in 2016 and helped stamp our mark on New York. It’s located in a beautiful building and we were lucky to garner a lot of attention from it. Finally, Annabel’s in London has proved incredibly popular for us. It’s such an iconic club so we felt very honoured to be asked to redesign its incarnation. We have a number of up-coming projects that I also hope shape our studio’s story. It’s an exciting time.”

    Dividing his time between both London and New York has given Brudnizki the unique freedom to position himself in two of the world’s most respected design hubs. “Both cities have very unique identities,” Brudnizki explains. “They are both are melting pots of culture and excitement and whilst very different, they both present wonderful opportunities to mark your mark.”

    “Luxury travel to me is being able to combine a sense of curated experience with spontaneity; finding new places but also the having the flexibility to be adventurous and go off piste.” – Martin Brudnizki

    From the outside looking in, the luxury market in hotel design may look like a desirable place to start when setting out to build a reputation as being a leading designer, but it also comes with risk to cater to the ever-changing demand of the modern luxury traveller. For Brudniki, the true art of luxury travel is a reflection of his own experience and personality. “Luxury travel to me is being able to combine a sense of curated experience with spontaneity; finding new places but also the having the flexibility to be adventurous and go off piste,” he defines.

    Since winning at The Brit List 2018, Brudnizki’s vision on a new hotel brand has come to life in the shape of Mr C Hotels, which opened in Miami earlier this year – and has, as a result, put him in the running for the second consecutive year for this year’s awards. “Mr C is situated in a modern new build in the green surroundings of Coconut Grove,” he explains. “New builds have many benefits, including up-to-date technology and no listed statuses to content with however, new builds often lack the characterful details of older properties. With this in mind, we often have to dig deeper to find a strong narrative to wrap the hotel’s design in. For Mr. C we looked to the landscape of the region and the glamorous boating heritage and incorporated elements of this into our scheme.”

    As well as technology, another area that has peaked recently in popularity among developers as well as designers and architects is the value of sustainability and designing consciously. “I think it depends on the project and the client, Brudnizki admits. “We are working with Six Senses on their new hotel and resort in Kitzbuehel Alps and the whole design is focused on sustainability and using organic and local materials. This is to mirror the brand’s values so we’ve had an interesting time researching new materiality and local artisans who can help reduce the hotel’s carbon footprint and up their sustainability accreditation.”

    Quick-fire round

    Hamish Kilburn: Where is next on your travel bucket list?
    Martin Brudnizki: Portugal.

    HK: What is the number one item you simply cannot travel without?
    MB: A silk eye mask.

    HK: What is the last item that will show up on your bank statement?
    MB: Probably food from Bayley & Sage.

    HK: What is your favourite place to unwind in London?
    MB: My home in Parsons Green. As a travel so much, it’s nice to just come home and relax in the peace and quiet.

    HK: What trend do you hope will never return?
    MB: International Beige.

    HK: Where are you travelling to next?
    MB: My New York Studio next week.

    Before I leave the designer in peace to create with his team the hotel interiors of the future, which include hotels in London, Austria, LA and Cape Town (among others), I am interested to explore, on the surface at least, new materials that have emerged on the designer’s radar. “I am really interested in straw marquetry at the moment; it’s such a beautiful natural fibre that can be used in the most unusual of places, such as walls and furniture,” Brudnizki says.

    MBDS itself is incubating a strong network of talented designers that will further position Britain as a globally regarded leading design hotspot. With his name on the door of two dynamic studios – and also in the minds of I would argue all aspiring interior designers – Brudnizki is leading the ever-evolving industry into new territory.

    The shortlisted finalists this year’s The Brit List have been invited to The Brit List Awards 2019, which takes on November 21 at Patch East London (Aldgate). To purchase limited tickets, click here

    Main image credit: Luca Marziale

    ACE Hotels to arrive in Australia

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    ACE Hotels to arrive in Australia

    ACE Hotel Sydney is slated to open in 2021 and will become the brand’s debut property in Australia… 

    Ace Hotel announces their first Australian property with Ace Hotel Sydney, slated to open in 2021. Marking its 20th anniversary this year, Ace Hotel celebrates a double decade with 10 hotels spanning North America, Europe and soon Asia, including hotels in New York City, Los Angeles, London and Kyoto, Japan (Spring 2020).

    Atelier Ace, the agency and operator behind Ace Hotel, also launched two new hotel brands this year: Maison de la Luz, a luxury guest house in New Orleans, and Sister City, a thoughtfully designed hotel in NYC inspired by simplicity and beauty.

    “Opening an Ace Hotel in Sydney, and on our fourth continent, is a project that aligns with our Pacific roots and love of food, art, architecture, design and cultural creatives — things that are in rich abundance in our new Surry Hills neighbourhood ” said Kelly Sawdon, Ace Hotel Group Partner and Chief Brand Officer. “We’re excited to partner with Golden Age, whose vision and sense of collaboration is in kinship with Ace, to build a central gathering place for locals and travelers alike.”

    Jeff Xu, Golden Age Founder and Managing Director commented: “Ace Hotel is one of the best and draws inspiration from the characteristics of the city they operate in. Surry Hills is known for being a culinary hub with a stylish culture and acts as a great canvas to design a hotel from. We’re excited to be bringing the first Ace to Australia and the brand’s fresh approach to the hotel industry is one that has been missing from the local hotel market.”

    Holding space in the global imagination as a singular destination, Sydney balances a relaxed spirit with renowned architecture, design and food, embodying kindness, culture and community in kinship with Ace.

    Opening in the Surry Hills neighbourhood in a part historic, part new build structure built around Tyne House, one of Sydney’s original brick structures. Ace Hotel Sydney will feature 264 rooms, a ground floor lobby bar, restaurant and cafe, as well as a rooftop bar and restaurant. Inspired by the abundance of natural flora, the city’s rich history as a welcoming hub and its generous quality of life, the hotel stands as a unique intersection of culture, commerce, art and community gathering.

    Main image credit: ACE Hotels

    Six Senses to open first hotel in the Galápagos Islands

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    Six Senses to open first hotel in the Galápagos Islands

    Opening 2021, Six Senses’ first hotel in the Galápagos Islands will be designed by world-renowned bamboo architect Simon Velez… 

    Following a rise in demand for hotels to open in far-flung destinations around the world, Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas has announced that its first resort in the Galápagos Islands will open in 2021. Six Senses Galapagos will be located on San Cristobal Island, in the town of Cerro Verde on the Northeastern coast. This is the quietest of the main islands with a relaxed and tranquil vibe.

    The Galápagos Islands were named by 16th century Spanish sailors after the saddle-shaped shells (“galápago”) of their most famous resident, the giant tortoise. The 19 islands are home to some of the world’s most amazing wildlife and ecology systems. Guests at the upcoming Six Senses Galapagos will therefore experience a one-of-a-kind natural environment.

    UNESCO recognised the Galápagos Islands as a World Heritage Site in 1978 and a Biosphere Reserve in 1985, development is only permitted on three percent of the total area. Permission has been granted to develop the resort on a verdant hill with unspoiled views of the ocean and other topographical landmarks. All building work is in accordance with local laws and with strong involvement from the local community.  The development of this project is being led by Hitesh Mehta of HM Design and will focus on a distinctive planning philosophy which balances economic, environmental, and social impact.

    Chief Executive Officer Neil Jacobs of Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas said: “Sustainability is at the core of our brand, influencing everything from ongoing community engagement and conservation efforts to the local, repurposed materials used in the development. We are excited and delighted to work with the Orgal Group on this extraordinary project in such a special and environmentally sensitive place, staying true to our joint purpose of ecosystem restoration, scientific research of marine species and low-impact tourism.”

    Plans are underway for an Earth Lab and Experience Center. The first will showcase the project’s sustainability efforts and the second will host research and educational activities by well-respected academics and NGOs already working in the Galápagos. There will be a particular focus on restoring the original endemic Miconia ecosystem, eradicating invasive species and maintaining a native plant nursery on site. The almost zero light pollution ensures night skies are some of the most spectacular on earth, and an Observation Post will offer guests stargazing and fine dining experiences. All three facilities have been designed by world-renowned bamboo architect Simon Velez.

    The Six Senses Spa will have a functional fitness centre, yoga studio and Alchemy Bar and will offer comprehensive wellness programmes incorporating  local healing and herbalist treatments. Following the guiding principles of Eat With Six Senses, the food and beverage program will minimise the need to import any produce. The ultimate aim is self-sufficiency, with an organic vegetable garden complementing produce grown by local farmers or caught by local fishermen. There will also be a Fermentation Room where guests can learn about the joys of pickling and preserving.

    The hotel brand currently manages 18 hotels and resorts and 30 spas in 21 countries under the brand names Six Senses, Evason and Six Senses Spas, and has signed a further 19 properties into the development pipeline.

    Main image credit: IHG/Six Senses

    INTERACTIVE HOTEL REVIEW: Monkey Island Estate, Bray-on-Thames

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    INTERACTIVE HOTEL REVIEW: Monkey Island Estate, Bray-on-Thames

    Unearthing eight centuries of history, editor Hamish Kilburn checks in to Bray-on-Thames’ Monkey Island Estate to interactively review a new kind of private countryside luxury…

    Travel upstream from London and you eventually arrive in the quintessentially British surroundings of Bray-on-Thames, a quiet suburban village that is arguably most for harbouring two of the UK’s five restaurants that hold three Michelin stars.

    But before the existence of award-winning gourmet F&B establishment, some 800 years prior, there quietly sat an empty island, which went on to soak up interesting eras. It was firstly an ideal setting for monks seeking peace on the banks of the river. It is said that after the Great Fire of London in 1666, materials from Oxfordshire, such as stone and brick, were transported down the river for rebuilding the city. On the vessels’ return, rubble would be spread around some of the Thames islands, which greatly reduced erosion and helped to strengthen the foundations.

    A few decades later, in 1738, the land was purchased by Charles Spencer, 3rdDuke of Marlborough, who was rumoured to have paid palladian architect Robert Morris £2,277 to erect the first two buildings on the island in order to indulge his hobby of fishing. It took Morri three years to complete, but his work marks an important milestone in the property and island’s history – and it is arguably here where the narrative of what is now known as Monkey Island Estate really begins. But it was only recently when the story took on a new narrative, complete with the introduction of new characters, to become a completely unique boutique hotel.

    In 2016, YTL Hotels acquired the land, and work began to restore the property into a modern and relaxed countryside abode. Inspired by the haunts of monks, monarchs, aristocrats and writers alike, New York-based Champalimaud Design was responsible to sensitively orchestrate the interior design of the hotel. Having completed the interior design of YTL’s debut UK property, The Gainsborough Bath and Spa, and more recently The Academy in London, the studio, while also sensitively restoring Raffles Singapore, was well-poised to develop the relationship further.

    Unlike any hotel project that lead designer Jon Kastl has faced before, the geography of Monkey Island Estate presented its own unique set of challenges. “You have no idea how difficult it is to work on a island that has no direct car access,” he explains. “Everything had to be carried over the footbridge onto the island. And then, the other challenge was the age of the buildings, and dealing with the neglect of the building. They were in pretty rough shape, almost falling into disrepair.”

    Guests’ first impression of the hotel is an understated – almost camouflaged – lobby area in a cosy ‘boathouse’ – the feeling of being taken away from the daily grind does not get much stronger than this so close to the centre of London. “The hotel is relatively small,” adds “

    The short walk over the footbridge from the unassuming lobby to the public areas is one of wonder. Architectural landscape designer AV Design has created a majestic garden that compliments the various buildings.

    Framing what should be in my opinion the postcard picturesque views of the River Thames, the pavilion building, which shelters the majority of the public areas, sets a relaxing setting – and echoes, on a balmy summer afternoon at least, the same peaceful scene that I imagine was once enjoyed by monks centuries ago.

    Caption: The Restaurant | Image credit: ACT Studios

    Although the bar and restaurant is, on the surface, seemingly conventional, the building has a few hidden gems. The Monkey Room, for example, stands true to its original form and structure – and even design. “The only thing we changed was the purple paint colours on the ceiling and add the furnishings,” says Kastl. The eye-catching murals on the panelling is all original which has been there from since when the building was first built.

    Caption: The Monkey Room | Image credit: ACT Studios

    Up the spiral staircase, The Whiskey Room is the latest area that has opened. Designed with the winter months in mind, the cosy and home-from-home atmosphere, complete with tactile wallcoverings, is an expected treat.

    It is because of the fact that the 41 guestrooms and one originally restored suite are sheltered in a grade I-listed building that makes the design story even more fascinating. The design of each and every one of the guestrooms utilises the entire space, with some stretching out onto terraces which look over the river, while carefully blending in a modern style that becomes timeless.  “We just had to accept the smallness of the rooms when designing them,” Kastl explains. “We did things like designing miniature shelves and additional service space. We designed rails that lined the rolls for guests to hang items from. Because there is such a limited closet space, we had to rely on these rails.” The furniture is scaled appropriately so that it fits in the limited space neatly. Meanwhile, the blinds and curtains, supplied by Concept Contract Furnishings are deliberately not heavy, and instead naturally flood the rooms with light to make them look and feel more expansive.

    INTERACTIVE tour of The Wedgwood Suite | Image credit: ACT Studios

    Despite the guestrooms being impressive – and adding to the overall interior design story (and challenges) – the masterpiece of the hotel is perhaps sheltered upstairs in the Wedgewood Suite. “The room, from the panelling to the ceiling, was very much intact,” explains Kastl. “One of the challenges was that it has windows on three sides, so from a layout point of view it created a few headaches.” The ensuite bathroom has been re-gutted and given a fresh and modern look. “ The suite is the coming together of old heritage design and the new.

    Moored on the river bank, the hotel’s spa is unlike any other in or around London. The facilities have been curated by Melissa Mettler who took inspiration from its riverine surrounds, past inhabitants in the form of royalty, liturgy and literary stars, as well as elegant architecture. The floating spa, which features two treatment rooms that are uniquely sheltered within a renovated barge, is a celebration of the power of water blended together with natural wellbeing and wellness.

    Image credit: ACT Studios

    I’m sure, for the designers as much as the operators, that the thought of completing Monkey Island Estate and opening again to the public was a distant day dream. But, considering the drastic rise in demand for wellbeing as well as wellness, the timing of YTL hotel’s countryside retreat could not have been more perfect. Checking out of Monkey Island feeling fully restored in mind, body and spirit myself, following a short by sweet trip to the floating spa before departure, the hotel locks in so many unique and thoughtful moments – and exceeds expectations to become one of the UK’s premium countryside retreats.

    Main image credit: ACT Studios

    The Standard Hotels brand arrives in the Maldives

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    The Standard Hotels brand arrives in the Maldives

    The Standard, Huruvalhi Maldives opens as the brand’s second hotel outside America and its debut hotel in Asia… 

    Following the brand’s first venture outside The States to open in London, The Standard brand has spilled into Asia with the arrival of The Standard, Huruvalhi Maldives. With 115 stunning private pool villas, The Standard, Huruvalhi Maldives is a short sea plane ride away from Male, nestled between the Raa and Baa Atolls, on a naturally protected island.

    The goal of every Standard project — be it a hotel, a rooftop discothèque, or a magazine — is to defy conventions, up the aesthetic stakes, and deliver an experience that can only be had at The Standard. While the Maldives has traditionally been seen as a ‘couple’s destination’, the famed hotel brand has approached the development with a fresh set of eyes. The resort offers an unmatched combination of relaxation, dynamic social life and vibrant cultural programming that also welcomes groups of friends or singles looking to meet others or just reset and recharge in Paradise.

    Each of the 115 villas features its own private lounge deck and plunge pool, and guests can choose from one of six unique culinary offerings. The Standard, Huruvalhi Maldives presents culinary options that are inspired by the bounty and beauty of the Indian Ocean and guided by the brand’s commitment to authenticity. Both local and global cuisines are offered, and special, local ingredients – some grown on its very own island farm – are woven throughout the menu.

    The Standard Spa is a haven for recovery or reboot, offering a communal hammam, aroma cypress steam room, chromotherapy and contrast shower, and ten private treatment rooms. Guests are able to drop in to a daily yoga or personal training session, or chill out at the Spa Deck and Tonic Bar plunge pool.

    Of course, no Standard experience would be complete without nightlife, from tribal beats at a beach bonfire to a glass bottom nightclub. And a disco ball above your bath tub, for guests to enjoy their own private party.

    The hotel brand, which was created in 1999, now has six hotels within its portfolio, which includes properties in New York, Los Angeles, Miami, London and now the Maldives.

    Main image credit: The Standard Hotels

    100% not-for-profit luxury safari, Lepogo Lodges, opens in South Africa

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    100% not-for-profit luxury safari, Lepogo Lodges, opens in South Africa

    The safari Lepogo Lodges, joins the ‘Not-for-Profit Conservation Tourism’ Movement and pledges to offset each and every guest’s carbon footprint…

    Lepogo Lodges, one of Africa’s few entirely not-for-profit high-end safari lodges, has opened its very first lodge in South Africa’s Limpopo Province, Noka Camp, which is set within the 50,000-hectare, malaria-free Lapalala Wilderness Reserve.

    Lepogo Lodges is the very first luxury camp in Africa to offset the carbon footprint of every visiting guest, from the time they leave their home to the moment they return. Family-owned and operated, the project has been developed as part of a life-long dream to create a sustainable conservation legacy in Africa, with 100 per cent of any financial gains made re-invested back into the reserve for the benefit of wildlife, conservation and the local community.

    Image credit: Lepogo Lodges

    Noka Camp consists of five stilted villas, including one villa especially designed for families. The villas are joined by a main lodge comprised of dining room, bar, lounge area and sprawling outdoor terrace, all perched atop a 100ft cliff overlooking the winding Palala River below and the endless bush ahead. The camp is entirely off-grid, with all energy self-generated by a bespoke, 250msolar walkway.

    Lepogo Lodges have worked with award-winning Japanese Architect Yuji Yamazakion Noka Camp and its five stilted villas, designed to offer the highest level of luxury while bearing the lightest footprint on the surrounding environment. A glass-fronted design for the main lodge and villas maximises the incredible panoramic views seen at every turn, while the entire property has been built on small concrete pads, which ensure that no scars are left on the land.  Each villa is complete with heated plunge pool, unique ‘sky bed’ with glass floor over the ravine, sunken bathtub and underfloor heating.

    Lepogo Lodges have collaborated with Sarah Ord Interiors on the interior design of Noka Camp. Reputed for her use of colour and eclectic designs, Sarah’s vision was to enhance and reflect the natural colours of the reserve. Noka’s light-filled interiors were inspired by the vast horizon of turning leaves on the terracotta-coloured cliffs, where the sky meets Africa. Walls disappear through the use of expansive glass panes, with each vista becoming a framed work of art on a grand scale. Sarah has made use of sustainable and South-African products, crafts and textiles wherever possible.

    Lepogo Lodges will consist of two lodges, with a second property, Melote House, set to open in 2021. Ideal for multi-generational travel, Melote House will be an exclusive-use property sleeping up to 16 guests.

    Entirely energy self-sufficient thanks to the property’s very own solar walkway, Lepogo Lodges will be the first luxury lodge in Africa to offset the carbon emissions from all guests’ travel, from the time they leave their home to the moment they return. Guests can also participate in conservation efforts, community outreach, school visits and more.

    The owning family of Lepogo Lodges is committed to supporting community projects. For example, the Montebello Design Centre in Cape Town was founded by a close relative as a centre to support the disadvantaged, where students can learn valuable crafting skills and generate income to support their livelihoods. It flourishes today and has produced some remarkable talent, some of which Lepogo is proud to be able to showcase. Lepogo Lodges are also working closely with local communities, who have created bespoke soft accessories for the lodges, toys and clothing for the on-site curio shop and custom amenities including hydrating hair oil made from the fabled Baobab and Moringa trees.

    The family is particularly passionate about the conservation of cheetah, pangolin and rhino, having been attracted to Lapalala as one of the leading private rhino sanctuaries in Africa. Lepogo Lodges have funded research and are working with Lapalala to establish the reserve as a centre of excellence for the release of wild captured cheetah in conjunction with The Endangered Wildlife Trust. A pangolin re-introduction programme will also begin in the coming months and the family look forward to supporting and working with the world renowned Lapalala Wilderness School.

     Main image credit: Lepogo Lodges

    The Standard London, Camden’s new kid on the block

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    The Standard London, Camden’s new kid on the block

    In search of a new standard in design, creativity and urban hotels, editor Hamish Kilburn checks in to London’s most talked-about hotels this year to explore another world. The Standard London has opened, making a bold statement on the capital’s new hospitality scene… 

    Something significant is happening in London’s King’s Cross area. It’s been brewing for some time now, but it has only recently erupted.

    During London Design Festival and London Fashion Week, the area was the backdrop of a scene of celebrities, models and the odd design editor or two falling out of parties and onto pavements. Soho and Shoreditch were desolate deserts in comparison. It’s the power of real estate like you have never seen before. Selecting its opening date carefully, The Standard has disrupted everything – and it’s about time too!

    Although, for years, the district has evolved with the time, it was the expansions to King’s Cross and the new St Pancras International stations adjacent to each other that started the catalyst for change. Strangely enough, my father worked on the construction of both. I remember the odd non-official ‘bring your son to work’ day, the oversized hard hat specifically, as we meandered around the expansive building site unable to imagine the finished picture. “Soon, you will be able to travel from London to Paris in just two hours, imagine that” I remember my father saying overexcitedly. “Right here, where you are standing, is going to become London’s major international train station!”

    Whether or not my pops really was one of the first to envision the area’s potential is irrelevant. The station opened and almost instantly the cool, quirky neighbourhood of Camden became even more of a hotspot for the mainstream, without much – if any – loss of its bold and bohemian personality. As a result, the capital’s hotel scene – quick to follow major travel trends – moved outward to put a roof over the raw and rustic scenes that its locals had created.

    And here we are, welcoming the city’s new arrival, The Standard, which has been patiently waiting in the wings for some time now. And while all hotels have a story (some more worth sharing than others), The Standards’ narrative is as unique as the interior design scheme locked within; a perfect meeting of American soul and London’s ostentatious quirk.

    Housed in the former Camden Town Hall Annex in London’s thriving King’s Cross neighbourhood, the 1974 Brutalist building has been meticulously restored by the legendary ORMS Architects in collaboration, in part, with Archer Humphryes Architects.

    The 266-key hotel, which shelters 42 suites, sets the perfect stage for the brand’s first arrival outside America. Uniquely overlooking the iconic St Pancras Station, from street level it’s juxtaposition of architecture that shouldn’t but does work. On the north side is the traditional 19th-century iconic neo-gothic architecture, which has stood the test of time, and two world wars for that matter, unscathed. On the south side is the ultra-modern non-conventional structure, symbolising loudly that times are changing.

    “Three new storeys have been added to the top of the building,” explains Simon Whitaker from ORMS Architects. “The form of which has been derived from the host building below, and clad in new stainless steel and glass panels. Two of these floors provide hotel bedrooms, whilst the top floor is dedicated to the new restaurant and bar, with a roof terrace above.”

    Image credit: The Standard Hotels

    Upon entering, the lobby lounge sets the scene, with a carefully curated library that pays homage to the building’s original use. Further in, sound studio booths host weekly live music and talks. Executive Chef Adam Rawson’s street facing bar, Double Standard, designed by Shawn Hausman, the neighbourhood’s street-facing anchor for lunch, casual drinking and dining throughout the evening.

    Although the colour scheme in the guestrooms and suites may not be to everyone’s taste, it is very much so mine. Not so much because of the tones used, but more so because they have been intertwined together with purpose – and unapologetically so for that matter. Complete with bespoke curved sofas and the King’s rooms featuring outdoor terrace bathtubs, the idiosyncratic charm of the hotel is certainly not limited to the public areas.

    Image credit: The Standard Hotels

    Before it opened, the hotel’s street level, red exterior lift was the ultimate teaser campaign. Now fully open, it shoots guests up directly to the 10th-floor where Chef Peter Sanchez-Iglesias’ restaurant showcases his live-fire cooking and where guests and visitors alike can enjoy the building’s 360-degree views of the city below all-year round thanks to the retractable awning.

    No longer do party-hard followers of the brand have to travel stateside to experience The Standard’s retro maximalism. First launched in the late 90s with its debut hotel in Hollywood, which for the record remains to this day a go-to destination on the Sunset Strip, the hotel’s urban cool influence is London’s answer to keeping the Camden’s hospitality scene fresh, authentic and designed with purpose.

    It’s next stop? The Maldives, next month in fact, which will be an interesting page to turn in what is an unmistakably climatic chapter for the now international hotel brand.

    Main image credit: The Standard Hotels

    Ruby Hotels to open second hotel in London in 2021

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    Ruby Hotels to open second hotel in London in 2021

    The 154-key Ruby Stella will open in London’s Clerkenwell district and is the latest instalment in the ‘Lean Luxury’ hotel brand’s ambitious expansion plan…

    Following a theatrical launch in Dusseldorf, Ruby Hotels, the Munich-based hotel brand and pioneer of the ‘Lean Luxury’ philosophy, today announces plans for a second UK property, in London’s Clerkenwell, to open in the first quarter of 2021. The new hotel, Ruby Stella, will follow the launch of Southbank’s Ruby Lucy in January 2020 and will form part of Ruby Hotels’ plan to unveil a total of 12 new hotels by 2022.

    Set within a modern purpose-built space which will reflect the historic facades of the surrounding buildings, Ruby Stella will be constructed on Clerkenwell’s Eyre Street Hill in collaboration with real estate partners Geneva Management Group and UDevelopments.

    The hotel will shelter 154 rooms, ranging in size from cosy ‘Nest’ rooms (13-15m²) to expansive ‘Loft’ rooms (23-38m²), a stylish bar area, a communal work station and a library. All guest rooms will showcase Ruby Hotels’ sleep-scientist-approved formula for the perfect night’s sleep, with full soundproofing, blackout curtains, high-quality linen and extra-long and wide custom mattresses.

    A laid-back, contemporary design will see 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, and ‘Ruby Radio’, the hotel group’s own internet radio station.

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

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

    For example, a trendy communal space will serve a healthy, 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 will 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.

    Main image: Ruby Hotels

    Accor announces six new Mercure hotels by end of 2019 in the UK

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    Accor announces six new Mercure hotels by end of 2019 in the UK

    The Mercure Hotels properties are being refurbished to a high standard and combine international standards of quality and service with a locally inspired look and feel…

    Accor has announced that six UK hotels signed by Danish based real estate property group Proark will be opening under the Mercure brand by the end of 2019. The hotels are located in key locations in Birmingham, Nottingham, Cardiff, Bedford, Telford and Harlow.

    Previously operating under the Park Inn brand, these six hotels are in the process of being extensively refurbished by Proark and rebranded to Mercure.

    The first three; Mercure Bedford Centre Hotel, Mercure Telford Centre Hotel and Mercure Nottingham Sherwood Hotel, have this month opened under the Mercure brand, with the extensive redesign and refurbishment of each hotel due to fully complete by the end of October 2019. The remaining three hotels; Mercure Cardiff North Hotel, Mercure Birmingham West Hotel and Mercure Harlow Hotel are set to be branded as Mercure by the end of this year.

    Every Mercure hotel takes its inspiration from the features, traditions and history of its individual location while sharing the consistent quality of an international brand. Each hotel features locally inspired artwork, design, décor and even textures encompassing elements of its area’s cultural and historic past.

    For example, Mercure Birmingham West Hotel is inspired by the industrial and automotive heritage of the West Midlands. The hotel features black powder-coated metal designs fixed to the wall with industrial exposed fixings, alongside pieces of artwork which reflect the region’s automotive history. The hotel offers 168 guestrooms, and provides a convivial eating and drinking experience, alongside full on-site leisure facilities and extensive meeting and banqueting space.

    The theme of Mercure Nottingham Sherwood Hotel meanwhile draws on the city’s historic lace making heritage, having been the world centre for the industry for more than 100 years. This is reflected in the artwork styles throughout the reception and lounge areas, featuring lacemaking artefacts. The hotel has 172 guestrooms, a 42-cover restaurant, bar and meeting lounge spaces.

    Mercure Cardiff North Hotel is based in the docklands district, Tiger Bay, which was key to the export of coal, iron and tin from South Wales during the industrial revolution. The design of the hotel features copper aesthetic lining inspired by the Millennium Centre façade in Cardiff Bay, while curated display items include Welsh love spoons, miners’ hats and Welsh textiles. The hotel offers 132 guestrooms, a 32-cover restaurant and a café and bar lounge area.

    Mercure Bedford Centre Hotel takes the Great Ouse River as its inspiration, which is seen as the jewel in the crown of Bedford and is popular for canoeing and kayaking. The design of the hotel features lots of timber features from canoes, water graphics and rowing illustrations. The hotel has 121 guestrooms available and provides a 20-cover restaurant, bar and café area as well as lounge and meeting spaces.

    Ironbridge, the home of the world’s first iron bridge and a turning point in construction around the globe, provides the focus for the Mercure Telford Centre Hotel. The hotel takes its inspiration from this rich industrial and pioneering heritage and features metallic designs and artwork styles to convey wrought iron manufacturing. The hotel offers 153 guest rooms, a locally inspired eating and drinking experience, plus extensive meeting rooms.

    The New Town of Harlow was built in 1947 as a hub for manufacturing and the technological industry and is where fibre-optic telecommunication was born. Mercure Harlow Hotel takes its inspiration from this pioneering spirit and the development of new technology is reflected in details throughout the hotel. The hotel offers 119 guest rooms and provides 7 meeting rooms, and ample on site car parking.

    We are delighted to be partnering with Proark on these hotels and are proud to brand them as Mercure hotels,” said Jean-Marc Vendioux, Senior Vice President Managed hotels UKI. “ Guests can expect a hotel which provides an incredibly high level of personalised service and the quality they expect from a Mercure, elevated by the look and feel of a hotel rooted in its local community.”

    Michael Brag, Chairman of Proark commented: “We have worked closely with Accor since signing this portfolio of hotels and are extremely pleased with the result of the refurbishments. Each hotel has the Mercure service and features guests expect but they offer local touches too, which we are confident will be well received by business and leisure travellers alike.”

    Main image credit: Accor

    Leading designers, architects and hoteliers to attend The Brit List Awards 2019

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    Leading designers, architects and hoteliers to attend The Brit List Awards 2019

    Here are some of the leading names that have confirmed to attend Hotel Designs annual award ceremony, The Brit List Awards 2019…

    It’s been just seven days since Hotel Designs officially unveiled the shortlisted finalists for The Brit List 2019, and already design directors, principals and hoteliers from the UK’s leading firms and hotels have confirmed to attend the exclusive award ceremony, which will take place at Patch East London on November 21.

    Among the leading designers who have already confirmed are design directors and principals from Richmond International, Project Orange, Harriet Forde Design, Harris + Harris, RPW Design, Scott Brownrigg and IHG.

    In regards to architects attending The Brit List Awards 2019, Hotel Designs will welcome associates and directors from the likes of Zaha Hadid Architects, WATG, Jestico + Whiles and Dexter Moren Associates.

    Hoteliers confirmed to attend the annual awards ceremony include, among others, Good Hotel London, Limewood Group and Homegrown Hotels, Rosewood London, Cliveden House, The Athenaeum Hotel & Residences London, The Dixon, Bespoke Hotels, Eccleston Square, Inhabit London and Hotel Gotham.

    The nationwide search to find the most influential designers, architects and hoteliers operating in Britain began months ago when Hotel Designs opened up nominations and applications to readers.

    Since then, an independent panel of expert judges have gathered to select this year’s individual award winners and also to confirm the 75 individuals who have made it into The Brit List 2019.

    Head of Interior Design at IHG, Emma King, attended last year’s event and was one of the 75 names in The Brit List 2018. “The Brit List recognises the UK’s best hotel design talent,” she said at the time. “We at IHG are proud to be recognised for the hard work we have done to the interior design of our brands in recent years.”

    The shortlist is available to read here.

    “The Brit List is an unparalleled networking opportunity for all,” said editor Hamish Kilburn. “Bridging the gap between designers, architects, suppliers, hoteliers, developers, owners and operators has always been – and continues to be – the aim of every decision made by the team at Hotel Designs.”

    How to attend

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

    If you would like to discuss various sponsorship packages available, please contact Katy Phillips via email, or call 01992 374050.

    #TheBritListAwards2019

    Headline Partner: Crosswater

    Event Partner: Hamilton Litestat

    2019 Industry Partner: BIID

    MINIVIEW: The Pig at Bridge Place

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    MINIVIEW: The Pig at Bridge Place

    Following its hotly anticipated opening in April, The Pig at Bridge Place marks the hotel brand’s sixth authentic boutique hotel within its portfolio. Editor Hamish Kilburn heads back to his home county in Kent to explore the countryside gem… 

    With its welcoming red brick façade and ornate Jacobean interior, Bridge Place is an intriguing old building with an usual rock-n-roll vibe. Over the past four decades, this musical honeypot in Bridge, Kent, has been home to some renowned parties and gigs playing host in the ‘70s to Led Zeppelin and The Kinks.

    The property houses a wealth of period features, which are most noticeable in the public areas, including large fireplaces, secret stairways, panelled walls and endless nooks and crannies. In the refurbishment, all of these structural nuances have been respected and enhanced to create seven bedrooms along with numerous cosy bars and sitting areas.

    But now, the building has turned the page to a new chapter, The Pig at Bridge Place is a 31-key boutique hotel that oozes effortless style thanks to the acclaimed designer Judy Hutson, whose signature style has given The Pig its unique brand of laid-back chic, which has been beloved by guests to date.

    The Pig, Bridge Place, Canterbury, Kent, hotel, boutique hotel, gardens, restaurant, bar

    Attached to the main building a new, carefully detailed Coach House contains a restaurant with open kitchen. Within The Coach House are 12 bedrooms; four on the ground floor and eight on the first floor. Over the brook via a hand crafted wooden bridge are seven fitting Hop Pickers’ Huts created from reclaimed materials all dotted along a meandering wooden walkway. Each hut houses a double bedroom with cosy bathroom and wood-burning stove. Next to the kitchen garden is The Barn; a large upstairs/downstairs room with vast bathroom and bedroom views across the garden.

    Worlds away from the building’s former existence of being an illustrious party scene in the ’70s, the rooms inside The Pig at Bridge Place are a calming oasis reflecting countryside bliss. Overflowing with character and style, each key unlocks its own personality. Original details can be found in each room, which are finished effortlessly with carefully curated artwork and an array of personally chosen vintage features.

    “We’ve had a great couple of years, with customers seeming to love what we do. Occupancy is in the mid 90 per cent in our rural locations and we know from our guests and their invaluable feedback that they want more PIGs,” said CEO of Home Grown Hotels Robin Hutson. “After searching far and wide for truly unique properties, we really are over the moon about our new hotel in Kent.”

    If the design wasn’t impressive enough, as with every other PIG, the kitchen garden and restaurant sit at the beating heart of this property; anything that can’t be supplied by the gardens are impressively sourced from Kent’s best producers within a 25-mile radius of Bridge.

    Main image credit: The Pig at Bridge Place

    LIGHTING TREND WATCH: Chelsom’s elegant and contemporary orb

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    LIGHTING TREND WATCH: Chelsom’s elegant and contemporary orb

    Orb from Chelsom is one of the signature ranges from the latest collection Edition 26, presenting a range of elegant contemporary fittings with timeless appeal that would be an impressive addition to a wide variety of interior schemes…

    The Orb ceiling fittings feature matt opal hand blown glass globes teamed with Brushed Brass cups with a decorative laser cut Prince of Wales check pattern. Arms are in contrasting Satin Black fixed to central support rings.

    Chandeliers are suspended from three fine strainer wires adjustable for height during installation and are available in a variety of sizes with a wall light alterative also available.

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

    Moxy Hotels opens third property in New York City

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    Moxy Hotels opens third property in New York City

    Moxy NYC East Village shelters stylish and affordable design-driven guestrooms, co-working spaces, and four new dynamic F&B areas…

    Marriott International’s quirky lifestyle brand, Moxy, which currently has 44 hotels in America, Europe and Asia, makes it a hatrick in New York City, with the unveiling of its third property in the city that never sleeps. Moxy NYC East Village has opened in the heart of East Village, where rock ‘n’ roll, renegade art, LGBTQ+ activism, and generations of immigrants all merged to give birth to American counterculture.

    Located on East 11th Street between Third and Fourth Avenues, directly across from the legendary concert venue Webster Hall, the hotel features 286 design-driven guestrooms, co-working spaces, and tech-savvy amenities, as well as lively restaurants, bars, and cultural programming – all at an affordable price. Part of Marriott International’s experiential Moxy Hotels brand, Moxy East Village marks the third Moxy property developed by Lightstone, following the successful openings of Moxy Times Square and Moxy Chelsea.

    “Moxy East Village is conceived as a vertical timeline, drawing inspiration from various eras in East Village history.”

    With interior design by Rockwell Group and architecture by Stonehill Taylor, Moxy East Village is conceived as a vertical timeline, drawing inspiration from various eras in East Village history, from the earliest settlers to the punk era to today. Interior design is inspired by urban archaeology, with the hotel’s 13 floors loosely conceived as homages to different eras in the East Village’s past and present, as well as its future. Three check-in kiosks just inside the entrance are assemblages by local artist Michael Sanzone, made from found objects and materials. Behind the kiosks, striped tapestries hang on the walls and bleed onto the floors. Their alternating bands of graffiti and graphics recall shredded layers of wheat-pasted posters—the kind you might see peeling off a downtown building façade.

    The guestrooms are, like all Moxy properties, smartly designed featuring the brand’s iconic peg wall. The rooms are completee with trendy hotel bathrooms, which include walk-in rain showers, glazed lava stone sinks and MUK amenities.

    Image credit: Moxy Hotels

    Lightstone has once again teamed up with Tao Group Hospitality who oversees the four brand-new dining and drinking areas at Moxy East Village that offer a multitude of scenes all under one roof: Alphabet Bar & Café, Cathedral, Little Sister and a rooftop bar which will launch in Spring 2020. “I don’t think there are any places in New York where you can get an outdoor café vibe, a coffeehouse vibe, a dimly lit bar, a backyard rooftop party, and a grand dining room all in one,” said Noah Tepperberg, Co-Founder of Tao Group Hospitality.

    Alphabet Bar & Café, situated in the lobby, serves as the social heart of Moxy East Village, comprising a bar, terrace, co-working lounge, and meeting studios that seamlessly transition from day to night. The seating includes plush sofas and swinging chairs; a Skee-Ball game provides a hit of nostalgia for the arcade era.  An interactive real-time graffiti installation lets guests use a tablet to draw their own tag or sketch a bit of street art, like a latter-day Basquiat or Haring, and see it projected on the wall. The iconic Strand Bookstore will have a cart in Alphabet Bar offering free books, and nearby Academy Records will offer free vinyl LPs and curated collections so guests can listen to the sounds of the East Village’s past, present, and future—to play on a retro turntable, provided in-room on request.  Alphabet Café serves an all-day menu of custom artisanal brews by Intelligentsia Coffee, freshly baked goods, composed salads, and seasonal panini and tartines.

    The centrepiece of Moxy East Village is Cathédrale, a French-Mediterranean restaurant conceived by Tao Group Hospitality Chef/Partner Ralph Scamardella, in collaboration with Executive Chef Jason Hall. As diners descend from the lobby—via a staircase that resembles a fire escape between two East Village buildings—they’ll feel like they’re discovering an abandoned architectural treasure. That’s thanks to the show-stopping Rockwell Group-designed main dining room, a triple-height space covered by Italian artist Edoardo Tresoldi’s dramatic wire mesh sculpture that looks like the apparition of a grand domed ceiling. Named by Forbes as one of the 30 most influential European artists under 30, Tresoldi is revered for his installations in public spaces, including Etherea at the 2018 Coachella Music Festival. His ethereal sculpture for the ceiling of Cathédrale pays homage to the interior of the Fillmore East, once known as the “Church of Rock ‘n’ Roll.” The delicate yet monumental sculpture, called Fillmore, is made from Tresoldi’s signature wire mesh and floats above the main dining room, creating a dramatic dialogue with the restaurant’s architecture. Tresoldi describes Fillmore as an “architectural precious wreck” and a “tribute to the legendary cultural background that influenced not only New York’s culture, but several generations worldwide.”

    Under Cathedrale’s soaring, 26-foot ceilings, the space includes a blue-tiled, open-hearth kitchen hung with copper pots and equipped with a rotisserie grill. An outdoor dining terrace, with a retractable roof, also feels like a hidden surprise: channelling the improvised backyard gardens tucked behind many East Village restaurants. The Poster Room, a private dining space that seats up to 26, immerses guests in the psychedelic rock era, its walls and ceiling lined with backlit screen prints of vintage concert posters from the Fillmore East.  Cathédrale brings elemental cooking and a poised French-Mediterranean sense of hospitality to its striking setting. The menu is focused on well-prepared but simply arranged dishes that pay quiet deference to the cuisine of Southern France with traces of Italy, Spain, and Greece.

    Located on the lower level, adjacent to Moxy East Village, Little Sister is an intimate, seductive, sophisticated lounge – an update from the underground clubs that defined East Village nightlife in the 1990s. Its clandestine, cavern-like feel is enriched by jewel-toned velvet sofas and plush banquettes, embossed leather accents, a glowing copper DJ stand, and a mirrored-copper bar illuminated by an overhead bank of backlit whiskey bottles. Wood-clad, barrel-vaulted ceilings evoke a hidden underground chamber where whiskey might have been stored in the bootlegger era. Legendary doorman Wass Stevens, will conspire to create an exclusive, in-the-know vibe at the ropes.

    Opening in Spring 2020, the rooftop bar is designed to resemble a coveted New York City backyard garden, with strung garden lights, abundant foliage, and colorful patio furniture. A retractable roof allows the bar to be used in all seasons. Behind the bar, liquor bottles will be displayed in stacked plastic milk crates—not unlike those you’d spot on an East Village sidewalk. On one wall, interlaced with crawling ivy, will be a mural that overlays a map of the area with images from the neighbourhood’s musical and artistic history. The venue will be available for private events and hotel programming before its official debut.

    Authentic, local, and experiential have all become buzzwords in the hotel business,” said Hochberg. “With Moxy Times Square and Moxy Chelsea, we’ve seen how putting visitors and New Yorkers in the same space can foster a sense of community. The East Village’s breadth of experiences and layers of history allow us to take that concept to a whole new level. Moxy East Village is multidimensional—a thrilling mashup that lets people honour the past, experience the present, and dream about the future. We’re embracing it all to create a true sense of magic.”

    “Moxy is a brand that has always boldly broken the rules of a conventional hotel experience, and we’re excited to be able to bring our fun and spirited brand to New York’s iconic East Village to help evolve the hospitality scene in the neighborhood,” said Toni Stoeckl, Global Brand Leader, Moxy Hotels, and Vice President, Distinctive Select Brands, Marriott International.

    There are 96 Moxy Hotels in the pipeline opening in North America, Asia, The Caribbean & Latin America, and Europe.

    Main image credit: Moxy Hotels

    SNEAK PEEK: Kimpton Hotel Palomar South Beach

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    SNEAK PEEK: Kimpton Hotel Palomar South Beach

    The new chic boutique hotel, which is located in the heart of Miami’s South Beach, is slated to open later this year – and will be Kimpton’s Fifth Property in Florida…

    Kimpton Hotel Palomar South Beach is waiting in the wings to open as the boutique hotel company’s fifth in the Sunshine State, complementing its existing hotels in Miami Beach, Downtown Miami and Vero Beach. Featuring striking design by legendary Miami architect and designer Kobi Karp, the 96-key hotel is set to become an iconic addition to the South Beach scene.

    Karp’s design takes its cues from the waterfront. Spanning over five stories, the hotel’s guestrooms surround a spacious central atrium. Meant to resemble the hull of a private luxury yacht lilted on its side, the lobby excites the senses with its custom-built light installations and is peppered with art displays, including light panels, abstracted shapes, and large format fabrics meant to resemble the ripples of the Atlantic Ocean. Guestrooms feature private balconies available for nearly every guest and design that is inspired by the oceanic environs.

    Sitting atop of the sixth floor, the rooftop pool and two-tier roof deck features stylish décor and lounge area seating, utilising panoramic views of the ocean.

    “In addition to what the Altamarea Group will bring in terms of an elevated culinary experience, we are excited to assemble a stellar on-property team for this project,” said Ronny Finvarb, Principal of Finvarb Group,  the property’s developer and owner. “We’re confident that through Kimpton’s collaboration with the Osteria Morini team and our collective expertise in the South Florida market, we’ll be able to create an amazing experience for our hotel guests and Miami locals alike.”

    Osteria Morini, from Chef Michael White, will debut shortly following the opening of the hotel. Right off the lobby of the hotel, the restaurant will feature rustic Northern Italian fare in a light and breezy space, drawing inspiration from the area in which it is located off the canal, with both indoor and outdoor seating. It will be open all day, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.

    Main image credit: Kimpton Hotels

    Aman announces its debut in Bangkok

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    Aman announces its debut in Bangkok

    Slated to open in 2022, the luxury hotel will be Aman’s debut hotel in Bangkok, and second property in Thailand, further proving that the region is a design and hotel development hotspot… 

    Luxury hotel brand Aman, which has grown to encompass 38 hotels in 22 destinations around the world, has signed a long-term partnership with Nai Lert Group to manage a hotel and branded residences offered under a long-term leasehold ownership, which will mark the brand’s entrance in Bangkok.

    Under the terms of the agreement, Aman and Nai Lert Group will develop a luxury hotel and residences project, with construction works scheduled to commence in the coming months. The project is expected to welcome its first hotel guests and residents in 2022.

    “Aman Nai Lert Bangkok will offer a unique connection to the rich heritage and history of Bangkok” – Vladislav Doronin, Chairman and CEO of Aman

    “Thailand holds a special place in our hearts ever since the conception of Amanpuri, and our brand, in Phuket over 30 years ago,” said Vladislav Doronin, Chairman and CEO of Aman. “Aman Nai Lert Bangkok will be situated in its namesake iconic central city parkland and will further cement our vision to bring the Aman ethos to global cities. Nestled in the century-old tropical gardens of Nai Lert Park, Aman Nai Lert Bangkok will offer a unique connection to the rich heritage and history of Bangkok enhanced by the gracious traditions of Thailand.”

    Pursuing its long-lasting legacy in real estate and hospitality, Nai Lert Group is making its entry into the ultra- luxury segment with the upcoming mixed-use project, Aman Nai Lert Bangkok. Nai Lert Group Managing Director Naphaporn Bodiratnangkura commented: “We are very pleased to be working with world renowned hotel and resort brand Aman, which shares our values of delivering exquisite customer experiences.”

    Aman is the latest group to announce hotel openings in Bangkok. According to the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), in 2016 more than 32.59 million tourists visited Thailand, which was an almost 20 per cent increase over the year before, and a record number for the country. With recent openings from Rosewood and Avani Hotels, the region is proving to be a hotel development hotspot in the making.

    Main image credit: Amanpuri (Aman’s current hotel offering in Thailand)

    Egypt has most active project pipeline in Africa

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    Egypt has most active project pipeline in Africa

    The latest data published from TOPHOTELCONSTRUCTION shows Egypt is home to 55 new hotel projects which further adds 15,485 new rooms to the region…

    The hospitality market in Africa has been booming for some time, new statistics from the TOPHOTELCONSTRUCTION database has provided an insight into the region’s future growth in development and overall tourism.

    A recent report from TOPHOTELCONSTRUCTION finds that Egypt is the country with the most active project pipeline on the entire African continent, with currently 55 projects in the pipeline, which is nearly double that of the next closest country, Morocco with 36 hotels on the boards.

    This likely means Africa’s hospitality boom is being powered in part by the rise in tourism in Egypt, where visitors come from across the globe each year to enjoy unique historical sites and landscapes, as luxury travel for most becomes more about experience rather than product.

    Some of the significant hotels currently in the pipeline in Egypt include The St. Regis Cairo, Hilton Secon Nile Tower and Four Seasons Resort Sharm El Sheikh.

    Egypt is far from the only country in Africa with many hotels currently in its project pipeline. Below Egypt in the hotel development race (in order) is Morocco, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Kenya, Algeria, South Africa, Cape Verde, Senegal, and the Ivory Coast.

    On average, Africa’s top ten countries in terms of their hospitality market currently have in the region of 22 hotels in their pipelines, with Egypt standing out its 55 projects on the boards.

    The most recent development data compliments The Egyptian tourism ministry’s strategy to target social media influencers to boost tourism in the area and promote it as a travel hotspot destination.

    Main image credit: Marriott International/St Regis Cairo

    The Luxury Collection announces opening of eighth hotel in China

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    The Luxury Collection announces opening of eighth hotel in China

    With a design narrative that celebrates Chinese culture, the 290-key Na Lotus Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel, has opened… 

    Following Marriott International’s plans to open more than 30 luxury hotels in 2019, the hotel group, which has recently debuted the W Hotels brand in Oman, has announced the opening of Na Lotus Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Nanning. Strategically located in the business district of the Guangxi Province, the opening marks the global brand’s eighth property in China.

    The contemporary setting merges the rich heritage of the Zhuang Minority Group and showcases their history through beautiful décor, evocative catering and magnificent surroundings.

    “The hotel’s interiors echo strong elements of the Zhuang culture.”

    “We are excited to introduce Nanning to our Global Explorers, allowing them to discover the destination, also known as the Green City and it’s abundance of lush foliage,” said Anthony Ingham, Global Brand Leader, The Luxury Collection. “As a culturally rich ethnic minority area in Guangxi Province, the destination is a perfect gateway for travellers to experience through the lens of The Luxury Collection.”

    Each of the 290 guestrooms, including 26 suites, takes inspiration from the lotus flower, and feature floor-to-ceiling windows offering panoramic views of the city as well as the Yong River and Qingxiu mountain. The hotel’s interiors echo strong elements of the Zhuang culture such as farmlands, symbolizing happiness and prosperity. Na Lotus Hotel also features a 1,100 square metre Ballroom, state-of-the-art fitness centre, and an indoor pool overlooking the skyline.

    Indigenous and international cuisines are celebrated at Na Lotus Hotel’s four signature dining venues, including Na Lian, a Chinese restaurant offering a journey of flavors with an emphasis on fresh Guangxi and Cantonese cuisines. Sky Lounge is a popular social hub serves exclusive cocktails, wines and spirits accompanied by distinctive sweet treats. Elsewhere, The Clouds features an all-day dining experience showcasing international delights, while Yun Yue, a Thai and Vietnamese fusion restaurant,  focuses on signature seafood and meat dishes prepared with local and seasonal produce.

    Image credit: Marriott International

    “As the first Marriott International luxury hotel in Guangxi Province Na Lotus hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel invites the guests to explore the charm of Nanning,” said Henry Lee, Chief Operations Officer and Managing Director, Greater China, Marriott International. “Na Lotus Hotel is a rare gem of the Zhuang Minority, and we are thrilled to uncover this hidden treasure for our global travelers who are sure to develop a deep connection with this fascinating destination.”

    The opening of the hotel follows the hotel group unveiling its three year plan in March of this year. The strategy included adding 1,700 hotels, which would result in between 275,000 and 295,000 more rooms by 2021, supported by the strength of its record 478,000-room pipeline, including roughly 214,000 rooms that were already under construction when the press release was published.

    Main image credit: Marriott International

    TUI Blue to expand in Asia with debut hotel in Vietnam to open in Spring 2020

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    TUI Blue to expand in Asia with debut hotel in Vietnam to open in Spring 2020

    TUI’s flagship hotel group, TUI Blu, has announced plans to expand its portfolio in Asia, debuting in Vietnam next year with TUI Blue Nam Hoi An hotel…

    With the opening of TUI Blue Nam Hoi An hotel slated to take place in March 2020, the hotel brand is set to become the world’s largest leisure hotel brand, slated to expand its portfolio to more than 100 hotels by 2020:

    TUI Group’s existing portfolio of own hotels in Asia includes three Robinson Clubs in the Maldives and in Thailand and three Riu hotels in Sri Lanka and the Maldives. In addition, TUI operates three concept hotels in the region. TUI Blue Nam Hoi An is the first hotel of the world’s leading tourism group in Vietnam. The resort, to be converted and extended in the style of the flagship brand, will expand TUI Group’s portfolio of long-haul destinations for European travellers.

    “We see great potential for TUI Blue in Asia and have already started to pursue further growth plans. South East Asian destinations enable us to operate our hotels all year round, reducing our seasonal swing, and to tap into new target groups,” said Sebastian Ebel, TUI Group Executive Board member is charge of Hotels & Resorts. “We also work with local partners”, said Thomas Pietzka, Managing Director TUI Hotels & Resorts. “We are investing in our first hotel in Vietnam in cooperation with our new joint venture partner TMG, a company with many years of experience in the tourism and hospitality sector in Asia. They ideally complement the expertise held by TUI Blue, which will be in charge operating the new hotel.”

    The TUI Blue Nam Hoi An hotel features 318 rooms and is situated in a beachfront location on the fine sandy Tam Tien beach on the Central Vietnamese coast. Holidaymakers can combine their stay with a visit to the coastal town Hoi An. Its well-preserved old town with numerous canals and diverse architecture is a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site. “Vietnam is a perfect hotel location for travellers interested in culture”, said Artur Gerber, Managing Director TUI Blue. “The country offers ideal conditions for guests wishing to combine their stay with authentic experiences in the region. From 2020, we will label corresponding hotel offerings as ‘TUI Blue For All‘.”

    Main image credit: TUI Group

    Orchard Hotel Singapore opens 360-degree experience in 1950s shell

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    Orchard Hotel Singapore opens 360-degree experience in 1950s shell

    Following a multimillion-dollar nine-month refurbishment across the hotel, Orchard Hotel Singapore has unveiled an enhanced 360-degree guest experience with reimagined dining, events and accommodation offerings…

    Orchard Hotel Singapore has reopened with upgraded areas include the hotel’s 260 grand deluxe rooms, a grand ballroom, conference centre, lobby and F&B areas.

    The history of Orchard Hotel Singapore dates back to late 1950s, where it began as a humble four-storey, 34-key hotel, complete with The Golden Venus home to popular tea dances and emerging musicians of the 1960s. Redeveloped in the 1970s to cater to the tourist boom, the original building was demolished in 1978, and the first inkling of the 656-key, twin-tower Orchard Hotel Singapore as it exists today, took its shape.

    Guests are greeted with a new experience from the moment they step through the door and into the bright and enlivened lobby. The hotel’s iconic clock tower has been updated for the modern age with a contemporary chandelier-inspired art sculpture, bordered by two upgraded dining and drinking destinations. The Orchard Cafe renews itslegacy as a local dining icon with a vibrant new style and Signature Class buffet showcasing heritage-inspiredcreations and chef-curated classics. Bar Intermezzo has an air of sophistication with new and inviting interiors andcontemporary botanical-influenced cocktails that toast to Orchard Road’s past. Overlooking the lobby from thesecond floor is Cantonese restaurant Hua Ting Restaurant, which was also given its own extensive makeover in 2018. 

    Modern cafe in the lobby

    Image caption/credit: The Orchard Cafe | Millennium Hotels/Orchard Hotel Singapore

    The 260 Grand Deluxe guestrooms in the hotel’s Orchard Wing have also been updated. Each well- appointed roomhas been elegantly designed to provide maximum comfort and easy living. With today’s sophisticated traveller in mind, the newly refurbished rooms are equipped with upgraded amenities including; six USB ports, both wired andwireless high-speed internet to ensure 24/7 connectivity and a Smart TV loaded with a variety of channels to keepthem plugged into current affairs. Unwind after a long day of shopping along the famed Orchard Road with a relaxingbath in the luxurious Japanese soaking tub (select room configurations) or call for one of 12 signature spice-based cocktails from Bar Intermezzo to be delivered right to the room.

    Trends and technology favoured by the modern hotelier are now also included in the enhanced Orchard Hotel Singapore. Step into the future of hospitality with AURA and AUSCA – the hotel’s resident room service and chefassociate robots. While AURA (front-of-house Autonomous Service Delivery Robot) are in charge of delivering roomamenities, as well as the occasional mingling with guests in the lobby, AUSCA (the world’s first Autonomous ServiceChef Associate) is responsible for whipping up perfect eggs during breakfast service at The Orchard Cafe. Responding to the needs of today’s connected travellers, Bar Intermezzo transforms into a coffee bar during the day,providing a tropical co-working oasis for those seeking new connections, fresh ideas or simply a great cup of coffee.

    New and improved event spaces for every occasion – the 11 refurbished conference and function rooms andspaces are now more versatile than ever. A key highlight includes one of Singapore’s largest pillar-free grandballrooms, occupying more than 10,000 square feet and six metres high, refitted with a luxurious fresh new look, two floor-to-ceiling LED walls (a first in Singapore), statement lighting, state-of-the-art audio-visual capabilities, an impressive foyer lined with floating orchid-inspired chandeliers and exclusive spaces divided for various uses. The conference centre has also been redesigned with five intimate meeting rooms and upgraded meeting facilities.Event planners will now have the luxury of choice with creative catering options from the hotel’s four award-winningculinary concepts – Hua Ting Restaurant, The Orchard Cafe, Mon Bijou and Bar Intermezzoas well as a Halal-certified kitchen, ensuring that all tastes and diets are catered for.

    Main image credit: Millenium Hotels/Orchard Hotel Singapore

    Curio Collection by Hilton debuts in South East Asia with hotel in the Maldives

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    Curio Collection by Hilton debuts in South East Asia with hotel in the Maldives

    The new 198-key property will form part of the first integrated resort in the Maldives…

    Hilton has announced the opening of SAii Lagoon Maldives, Curio Collection by Hilton, a free-spirited tropical escape that offers sun, sea, style and sustainability, creating a playful getaway for groups of fun-seeking friends, couples and families. Nestled within the idyllic Emboodhoo Lagoon, SAii Lagoon Maldives forms part of CROSSROADS Maldives, the country’s first and only integrated resort and game-changing retreat.

    The opening of SAii Lagoon Maldives also marks the debut of Curio Collection by Hilton in South East Asia, and the fifth Curio Collection by Hilton property in Asia Pacific. With a total of 198 guestrooms and villas, the resort will be Hilton’s third property in the Maldives, making the global hospitality company the largest and longest-running international hotel operator in the Maldives. Hilton opened the country’s first internationally branded resort in 1997, and today, it operates Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, which features 151 villas, suites and THE MURAKA Residence, as well as the 122-villa Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi, which was recently unveiled in July 2019.

    “For more than 20 years, through the many firsts that Hilton has introduced in the Maldives, we have been sparking travellers’ imagination of waking up right above the Indian Ocean, or dining and even sleeping beneath the crystal-blue sea,” said Alan Watts, president, Asia Pacific, Hilton. “In addition to putting the Maldives on the global map, we have brought meaningful opportunities for employment and we continue to make positive contributions to the livelihood and well-being of local communities. With the launch of SAii Lagoon Maldives, Curio Collection by Hilton, we are looking to further deepen ‘The Hilton Effect’ in the Maldives and continue to set new benchmarks for hospitality through innovation.”

    “We are excited to welcome the world to SAii Lagoon Maldives,” said Martin van der Reijden, General Manager of SAii Lagoon Maldives and Vice President of Operations of CROSSROADS Maldives. “Guests will be able to experience the exquisite beauty of this destination, with plenty of places to stay and play. The architecture is quirky, and the interiors are daring. And yet, the resort also has a wonderfully inspiring ambience. We want everyone to walk into the resort and instantly feel a sense of excitement and exploration.”

    “Every room at SAii Lagoon Maldives is adorned with a bright, contemporarily eclectic design that reflects the archipelago’s maritime heritage.”

    “The Maldives is a dream destination for global travelers and we are thrilled to pair its tropical charm with Curio Collection’s spirit of discovery,” said Mark Nogal, global head, Curio Collection by Hilton. “SAii Lagoon Maldives is a breathtaking resort with distinct character and direct access to the fantastic facilities at CROSSROADS Maldives. Supported by Hilton’s 100 years of hospitality, guests of this resort are guaranteed memorable experiences in one of the most beautiful destinations in the world.”

    Every room at SAii Lagoon Maldives is adorned with a bright, contemporarily eclectic design that reflects the archipelago’s maritime heritage, complete with natural textures, driftwood décor and marine-inspired hues and views. Guests can choose from a series of rooms and villas, including overwater pool villas.

    The resort’s innovation is also showcased at its restaurants and bars. Miss Olive Oyl is a vibrant poolside Mediterranean seafood grill and bar, while Mr. Tomyam is an exciting Thai fusion eatery with an open kitchen and alfresco dining areas.

    The resort’s ocean-view infinity pool and fitness centre will allow guests to refresh and recharge in paradise. A wide range of water sports and recreational facilities will also be available at The Marina @ CROSSROADS, a 30-berth marina and vibrant lifestyle district.

    Main image credit: Hilton Hotels

    Boom in UK hotel sector drives supply growth

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    Boom in UK hotel sector drives supply growth

    Recent data shows that Edinburgh, London, Brighton, York and Birmingham are the five most attractive cities for hotel investment and development…

    The UK hotel industry saw the opening of 15,500 new hotel rooms in 2018, representing a 2.4 per cent increase in UK hotel supply, with 2019 expected to continue this uplift in development, with 19,300 new rooms forecast to open, an increase of 2.9 per cent, according to the latest research by global property adviser Knight Frank.

    The annual UK Hotel Development Opportunities 2019 report, which was published after it was reported that the UK had the third most hotels in the pipeline in Europe, reveals that the composition of new supply is altering. Whilst the development of new build hotel rooms constitutes the greatest proportion of new supply, during 2018 there was a significant rise in hotel conversion, with a 42 per cent year-on-year uplift.

    Hotel conversion constituted 34 per cent of new bedroom stock, as developers capitalised on increased vacancy rates from other asset classes, resulting in the greater availability of assets deemed suitable for hotel conversion. Nevertheless, for the full year 2019, hotel conversions are set to constitute only 20 per cent of new supply, whilst programmes of asset management, in the form of hotel extensions and refurbishments, will constitute a further 17 per cent of the UK’s new hotel supply, and new build hotel rooms expected to continue to form the majority of construction projects, making up 63 per cent of the new supply.

    The budget hotel sector continues to dominate the market, with 7,500 new rooms expected to open by the end of 2019, which equates to a five per cent increase on the previous year. However, the continued rise of both branded and independent mid and upscale hotels, partially as a result of the growing trend for lifestyle hotels, has led to a continued decline in the market share of new budget hotel rooms. As such, the market share for new hotel rooms opening in the budget sector accounted for 49 per cent of total new supply in 2016, which is set to decline to 39 per cent for the full year forecast 2019.

    There was over £1.1 billion of investment in hotel development projects in 2018 owing to increased investor confidence and the desire for long-term secure income. London attracted 60 per cent of investment volumes, which is fuelling its future pipeline, with supply set to increase by 4.2 per cent in 2019, constituting 38 per cent of the total UK pipeline.

    “The hotel sector is undergoing robust levels of development activity, despite the continued uncertainty that Brexit brings,” said Shaun Roy, Head of Hotels at Knight Frank. “This is occurring both in London and the UK more generally and is particularly evident in those markets which have a diverse business mix, with a thriving leisure market such as Edinburgh, Birmingham and Brighton.

    “There are clear opportunities for investors in the hotel sector nationwide at the development stage, which presents a long-term strategy providing a guaranteed stream of secure income.”

    The Knight Frank UK Hotel Development Index identifies which major UK towns and cities pose the best prospects for hotel investment and development and has named Edinburgh, London, Brighton, York and Birmingham as the UK’s top five most attractive cities.

    Unsurprisingly, Edinburgh topped the rankings whilst London leapfrogged the index, climbing ten places up the rankings to second, owing to its solid fundamentals and long-term market strength. Brighton retained its place in the top three whilst York represents this year’s rising star, jumping up 15 positions to enter the top five, as a result of its growth of supply and high occupancy rates of 80 per cent, followed by Birmingham, ranked in fifth place, which is set to host the Commonwealth Games in 2022.

    Main image credit: Pixabay

    INDUSTRY INSIGHT: The changing colour of hotel bathrooms – going greener

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    INDUSTRY INSIGHT: The changing colour of hotel bathrooms – going greener

    In the second part of our colour series (click here for part one), Recommended Supplier UKBathrooms explain how and why designers should opt for greener designs in bathrooms…

    Bathrooms make up a huge proportion of a hotel’s water and energy usage, which on average is 84 to 173 gallons per room per day, far higher than the average daily household usage of 66 gallons per day.

    This explains why they’ve become the focus for many hoteliers looking not only to save money, but also to minimise their impact on the environment.

    However, any environmental worries have to be balanced with the needs of guests. The seamless blend of sustainability and luxury, with little compromise to guest experience is the aim for hotel owners and trends show that this will be the case in the years to come. And ‘green’ considerations go way beyond the bathroom space, with materials used in bathroom products, transportation, waste produced during manufacture and subsequent biodegradable components all being important.

    UK Bathrooms, is the leading, independent supplier of designer bathroom products and as such is seeing a change in trends of sales to hoteliers in the UK and internationally. “We’re seeing a trend to natural materials, as well as reclaimed and recycled, such as timber from sustainable forests and stone,” said Graeme Borchard, director of UKBathrooms. “We’re a leading supplier of premium brands. As a company they are ‘a champion of the value of water’, pioneers in environmentally friendly, luxury, bathroom products. Their ongoing research, and development in technology and design, means that hansgrohe produces superb products which are beautifully designed, highly efficient and sustainable.”

    A great example of this is EcoSmart. Hansgrohe showers and taps equipped with EcoSmart technology use up to 60 per cent less water than traditional products, not only using less water, but also needing less energy to heat the water.  The Hansgrohe Raindance EcoSmart overhead shower provides guests with a relaxing and therapeutic experience whilst being eco-friendly.

    By implementing greener practices, and ensuring guests are aware of these, hotels can make being eco-friendly even more attractive. Hotel bathrooms have a certain ‘luxury’ which people then like to emulate in their own homes, the choices that hotels make end up being reflected in homes around the world.

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

    HOTEL DEVELOPMENT: Palm Springs is heating up for 2020

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    HOTEL DEVELOPMENT: Palm Springs is heating up for 2020

    The desert oasis of Palm Springs is slated to welcome a series of exciting openings in 2020, including two new hotels and a cultural plaza, alongside celebrating the 15th anniversary of its iconic Modernism Week event, offering even more to see for visitors to the sun-soaked city and further boosting the destination as a hotel development hotspot…

    Agua Caliente Cultural Plaza – Set to open in 2020
    Set to open in 2020, the Agua Caliente Cultural Plaza in downtown Palm Springs will feature a cultural museum, art gallery, gathering plaza, landscaped gardens and a walkable outdoor Oasis Trail complete with meditation labyrinth. The site will also be home to the Agua Caliente Spa and Bathhouse, which will offer treatment rooms, outdoor mineral pools, men’s and women’s bathhouses, a tranquillity garden, fitness centre and salon.

    Encompassing a wide-range of experiences and learning opportunities, which will convey the values and legacy ofthe Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, the new cultural plaza will build on the traditions of the Agua Caliente people, as well as the renowned natural features of the ancestral lands.

    For more information about the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, visit www.aguacaliente-nsn.gov.

    Modernism Week – 15-year anniversary
    2020 marks the 15th anniversary of the city’s world-renowned Modernism Week festival, which showcases Palm Springs’ design heritage and modernist culture with a series of impressive events. Highlights of the festival, which will run from February 13 – 23, 2020, are expected to include the Premier Double Decker Architectural Bus Tour, the Frey House II Tour, Frank Sinatra’s “Twin Palms” Estate Tour and The Best of Mod with a Twist series.

    The full schedule for February’s 11-day festival will be announced on the 25th October 2019, with tickets available from the 1st November 2019.

    Those looking to get a taste of what the 2020 Modernism Week event has in store, can attend the annual four-day Modernism Week Fall Preview, this October (17-20). Tickets for Modernism Week Fall Preview are on sale now.

    For more information on Modernism Week, visit www.modernismweek.com.

    Andaz Palm Springs – 2020 hotel opening
    Expected to open in early 2020 the Andaz Palm Springs, which will boast panoramic views of the city and the San Jacinto Mountains, will be located in the heart of the city’s downtown. On the doorstep of the Palm Springs’ vibrant uptown design district, the hotel will serve as a perfect option for those wanting to explore the city’s trendy boutiques, award-winning restaurants and renowned galleries.

    The 150-key, 13-suite hotel will be built as a collection of small buildings and guestroom bungalows featuring two outdoor pools, garden areas on an elevated patio terrace, full-service spa and signature restaurant.
    For more information, visit https://palmsprings.andaz.hyatt.com/en/hotel/home.html.

    Welwood Hotel – 2020 hotel opening
    Paying homage to the city’s first hotelier, Dr Welwood Murray, the Welwood Hotel in Palm Springs is set to open its doors to guests in 2020. Previously known as the Ivy Palm Resort, the hotel is currently undergoing a full renovation under the new ownership of Oxygen Hospitality.

    Inspired by the mid-twentieth century modernist architecture that Palm Springs is renowned for, the hotel’s redesign is described as angular and artistic, featuring colourful motifs. Renovations of the 100-room, three-acre property will include new guest rooms and suites, featuring clean palettes of neutral and aqua shades, complemented with sleek, rich, modern furnishings. Completing the property’s enhanced offering will be a new restaurant / bar concept and two remodelled pools with cabanas.
    For more information on the Welwood Hotel, visit welwoodhotel.com.

    Main image credit: Agua Caliente Cultural Centre (Image Credit – Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians)

    Super 8 by Wyndham Continues announces six new hotels in Germany

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    Super 8 by Wyndham Continues announces six new hotels in Germany

    Wyndham’s stylish economy brand has announced to further expand its German footprint by 2021…

    In the wake of latest statistics showing that Germany is leading the hotel development race in Europe, with 382 projects in the pipeline, Wyndham Hotels has announced that it, too, will to expand its footprint in the region, with the opening of new Super 8 by Wyndham hotels in Hamburg, Berlin, Mainz, Koblenz and Augsburg by the end of 2021.

    Super 8 by Wyndham, which has recently launched Super 8 by Wyndham in Dresden, is one of the world’s largest economy hotel brands with nearly 2,900 hotels around the world. The brand is designed to elevate the economy hotel experience for the new generation of travellers with contemporary design, modern facilities, friendly service, and convenient locations.

    Wyndham Hotels & Resorts introduced Super 8 by Wyndham in Germany in 2016, in partnership with leading hotel management company Gorgeous Smiling Hotels GmbH, Grünwald. From two initial hotels in Munich, the two companies have continued to expand the brand in Freiburg, Oberhausen and recently in Dresden, with plans to reach 10 hotels and over 1,800 rooms by the end of 2021.

    “We are extremely proud of the strong momentum of Super 8 by Wyndham in Germany,” said Christian Michel, Vice President Development Europe for Wyndham Hotels & Resorts. “With a growing demand for more affordable accommodation, the brand’s expansion perfectly fits our ambition to make hotel travel possible for all. Gorgeous Smiling Hotels GmbH is a trusted and like-minded partner, and we are delighted to continue to grow Super 8 by Wyndham together in this important market.”

    A recent opening for Super 8 by Wyndham included Super 8 by Wyndham Dresden. Opened in June 2019, the 176-key hotel is centrally located near the old and new Green Vault and close to major sights. Its stylish rooms feature modern design and amenities such as flat-screen TVs, safes, free high-speed Wi-Fi and heated bathroom floors. The hotel also features an on-site breakfast restaurant with a live cooking area, a Dallmayr coffee shop, as well as a 24/7 reception desk.

    Anticipated Super 8 by Wyndham hotels openings in Germany include:

    • Super 8 by Wyndham Hamburg City: Less than a five-minute ride from the city centre, the hotel boasts 274 bright rooms with comfortable box-spring beds, walk-in showers, smart TVs and safes. Each room comes with a SmartKey, which enables guests to easily check in and check out with their phones. The hotel is expected to open at the end of September 2019.
    •  Super 8 by Wyndham Mainz: The 216-room hotel will be located in the newly-developed urban area of Zollhafen with easy access to the famous old town with its half-timbered houses and medieval market squares. The hotel is set to open in early 2020.
    •  Super 8 by Wyndham Augsburg: Set in the medieval streets of one of the oldest cities in Germany, the new hotel will offer 154 well-appointed rooms with plenty of comfortable space to feel at home. The hotel is estimated to open by the end of 2020.
    •  Super 8 by Wyndham Berlin-Spandau: Set in in the bustling capital of Berlin, the hotel is expected to open in 2021, and will feature 200 rooms with stylish amenities, an on-site breakfast restaurant with a live cooking station, a Dallmayr coffee shop as well as a 24/7 reception desk.
    •  Super 8 by Wyndham Koblenz: Situated on the rivers Moselle and Rhine, Koblenz is the perfect gateway to the Upper Middle Rhine Valley with its terraced vineyards and old castle ruins. The new property, set to open its doors in 2021, will features 112 stylish rooms and a partially green facade.

    Heiko Grote, CEO of Gorgeous Smiling Hotels GmbH, added: “Whether it’s for a business trip or a weekend break, we know that today’s travellers look for a quality experience, but at an affordable price point – which is exactly what Super 8 by Wyndham stands for. We are delighted to further leverage the potential of this outstanding brand together with our partner Wyndham Hotels & Resorts and further expand the portfolio in the country.”

    Wyndham Hotels & Resorts’ presence in Germany, Austria and Switzerland includes more than 100 hotels and 10 hotel brands, ranging from upper-upscale to economy, to suit any traveller’s needs.

    Main image credit: Wyndham Hotels/Marcelo Barbosa

    Hard Rock Hotels arrives in the Maldives

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    Hard Rock Hotels arrives in the Maldives

    The iconic music and lifestyle brand hits the high note with Hard Rock Hotel Maldives, which marks the brand’s 30th property… 

    Following the opening of its first London hotel, Hard Rock International has announced its arrival in the Maldives, which marks the brand’s 30th property worldwide. Opening as part of CROSSROADS Maldives, the 178-key hotel is the country’s first and only integrated resort and is situated across the Emboodhoo lagoon.

    “Hard Rock Hotel Maldives offers the beauty and serenity of the destination perfectly paired with the lifestyle and energy that only the Hard Rock brand can deliver,” said Dale Hipsh, senior vice president of Hard Rock Hotels. “We’re excited to showcase the property’s unique experience and signature brand amenities to locals and visitors from around the world.”

    Image credit: Hard Rock Hotels

    Offering a variety of dining options, Hard Rock Hotel Maldives appeals to all appetites with a variety of food and beverage offerings, including the brand signature Sessions, where diners are treated to a world of contemporary flavors with indoor and outdoor seating, while The Elephant and The Butterfly presents Latin American-inspired cuisine in a picturesque oceanfront setting. Just steps away, the Hard Rock Cafe at the Marina CROSSROADS offers world-famous, all-American cuisine, live music, events and music memorabilia.

    “Beginning with an Eric Clapton guitar, Hard Rock owns the world’s most valuable collection of music memorabilia.”

    Inspired by local Maldivian culture, Hard Rock Hotel Maldives infuses contemporary design features with tropical architecture throughout the property, alongside regionally-inspired, authentic music memorabilia, including items from regional sensations Chun Xioa and Khun Asanee Chotikul, as well as international superstars like Shakira and Justin Timberlake. Unique to this hotel, the two-bedroom Silver Family Suite allows parents and kids to stay together in style with bunk beds and direct beach access, while the 4,950 square foot Rock Star Villa features spacious outdoor living areas, an infinity pool, a tuk-tuk bar on the terrace, panoramic ocean views and even a private boat jetty.

    Image credit: Hard Rock Hotels

    With venues in 75 countries, including 188 Hard Rock Cafes, 241 Rock Shops, 30 hotels and 11 casinos, Hard Rock International (HRI) is one of the most globally recognised companies. Beginning with an Eric Clapton guitar, Hard Rock owns the world’s most valuable collection of music memorabilia, which is displayed at its locations around the globe.

    Four Seasons opens in Philadelphia’s tallest building

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    Four Seasons opens in Philadelphia’s tallest building

    Foster + Partners’ Norman Foster is responsible for the architecture and interior design of Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia at Comcast Centre, which is sheltered in the 48th and 60th floors of the city’s tallest building…

    The newly opened Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia at Comcast Center is located on the uppermost floors of what is now the city’s tallest building and 10th highest in the United States.

    The entire building and the interiors and furnishings of the hotel have been designed by world-renowned architect Norman Foster of Foster + Partners, while artistic director Jeff Leatham has created stunning floral art in his signature style. His designs are found throughout the property from the ground floor entry to the 60th floor hotel lobby. In addition, Tokyo-based teamLab has envisioned a giant digital floral experience as a modern expression of traditional Japanese painting techniques in the hotel’s arrival lobby.

    Image credit: Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts

    “This exceptional new property represents the very best of Four Seasons,” said Christian Clerc, President, Worldwide Hotel Operations, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. “From architecture to design, artistry and innovation, culinary mastery and wellness expertise, we have worked closely with our visionary partners at Comcast and Liberty Property Trust to assemble an all-star team of virtuosos who are elevating Four Seasons service, quality and artistry to new heights.”

    Framing what are arguably the best vistas over the city, the 180 guestrooms and 39 suites have been designed to reflect a timeless and relaxed style, while also to adding thoughtful and hidden technology throughout. For example, in partnership with Comcast, all guestrooms and suites also offer the award winning X1 Video Experience.

    The hotel’s dining scene is on the 59th floor inside the Jean-Georges Philadelphia restaurant and the 60th floor inside JG SkyHigh cocktail bar. Norman Foster’s soaring space showcases the internationally acclaimed French-American chef’s signature cuisine within an atrium featuring 40 foot (12 metre) glass walls and a cleverly mirrored ceiling that reflects both diners and the city below.

    Taking wellness and wellbeing to new height, the hotel’s 57th floor is a haven of health and wellness that includes an enormous indoor pool that “spills” into the sky; a state-of-the-art fitness centre.

    Main image credit: Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts

    W Hotels debuts first luxury hotel in Aspen in 25 years

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    W Hotels debuts first luxury hotel in Aspen in 25 years

    The 88-key luxury W Aspen, designed by interior design firm NEMAWORKSHOP and architects Rowland + Broughton, is the town’s only year-round mountainside rooftop venue…

    Following the opening of W Hotels first hotel in Oman, Marriott International Inc. has announced the much-anticipated opening of W Aspen & The Sky Residences at W Aspen, located at the base of the world-renowned, eponymous mountain.

    With ski-in/ski-out access to some of the world’s most coveted slopes, 360° mountain views and striking architectural and interior design, W Aspen is the second W Mountain Escape globally, following W Verbier in the Swiss Alps. Poised to carve out a new era of luxury in Aspen, the brand is bringing its bold point of view to the iconic mountain town for year-round access to alpine adventure.

    “Aspen’s people, vibrancy and natural beauty make this year-round mountain town the perfect place for the W lifestyle,” said Anthony Ingham, Global Brand Leader, W Hotels Worldwide. “W Aspen reimagines the traditional ski chalet and allows people to experience the town in a way they never have before, through evocative design, inclusive programming and a social scene that is sure to become an essential stop on the global jet-setting calendar. The first new build W Escape in the USA for 10 years, W Aspen marks a milestone in the brand’s reinvigorated focus on North America.”

    W Aspen & The Sky Residences at W Aspen are owned by Northridge Capital of Washington, DC, the owner for 16 years of the former Sky Hotel situated on the same site, and co-developed by Northridge and local partner Sarpa Development. “After more than five years of hard work,” commented Northridge’s owner and president Dave Jackson, “we are thrilled to finally be opening the W Aspen for the enjoyment of its guests and the local community, and grateful to our partners at W Hotels, Haselden Construction, and too many other team members to name for their tireless efforts to reach this goal.”

    “W Aspen centres on the natural beauty and bounty of the mountains and the historical context of the city it surrounds.”

    W Aspen brings a luxurious, playful style to the historically-rich town of Aspen. Designed by global interior design firm NEMAWORKSHOP and Aspen-based architects Rowland + Broughton, alongside the W Brand’s award-winning design team, W Aspen centres on the natural beauty and bounty of the mountains and the historical context of the city it surrounds.

    It begins with the exterior: a modern mountain chalet with long, sloping roof lines that draw inspiration from the Rocky Mountain landscape. The essence of the outdoors continues throughout the interior, where the Welcome Desk wood formations echo the Rocky Mountains and intricately-detailed terrariums represent seasonal Aspen activities from hiking and biking to skiing and snowboarding.

    On the second floor is The Living Room, which serves as the central point of the Escape experience and showcases a grid-pattern display on the bar – a nod to traditional millwork structures used to create mine tunnels in Aspen during the silver boom. Seating in The Living Room features brass and polished rods that surround plush, velvety cushions synonymous with Aspen’s bohemian counterculture of the early ’70s. Along the side, stadium seating leads to an iconic suspended DJ booth that takes its cue from the largest silver nugget discovered in Aspen at the turn of the century. Continuing to honor Aspen’s role in the Colorado Silver Boom, light fixtures are informed by the look of a miner’s headlamp and floors are swept with curving patterns that echo the soil found at the bottom of a smuggler’s cove. At sundown, The Living Room’s outdoor fire pit acts as a beacon at the base of the mountain – signaling to the skiers above it is time to après.

    Art reminiscent of iconic Americana paintings of the Rocky Mountains layer the walls of W Aspen. Commissioned artists impart a more modern vision through the lens of classic landscape paintings like those done by Albert Bierstad and other greats. Longtime W collaborator Gaia showcases a series of works throughout the Escape that tease an infatuation with American landscape paintings but are superimposed with local millennial fragmented culture spirit guides – adding a contemporary veil to the traditional. Accent pillows in the Living Room and guestrooms are inspired by artists Herbert Bayer and Thomas Benton and pay homage to the historical residents of Durant Street, named the ‘Soiled Doves of Durant’.

    “Selected rooms feature a W design first, quad-queen bunk beds, which can sleep up to eight to cater to a younger adult clientele.”

    W Aspen features 88 guestrooms and 11 W-branded residences, along with four WOW suites and one Extreme WOW suite that can be a one, two or three bedroom, all of which offer modern takes on Ute patterns and furniture inspired by the decadence of ‘70s Aspen “pleasure palaces.” All guestrooms and suites are playfully marked with room plates in a style reminiscent of the pop culture icon Bob Ross, while interiors reference the cozy warmth of Swiss chalet architecture through the use of rustic wood finishes, sloped rooflines and a fireplace-inspired W MixBar. Each guestroom features pit and platform lounge seating that nods to the plasticity of mile-high bohemia and is complete with Ute-inspired accent pillows. Selected rooms feature a W design first, quad-queen bunk beds, which can sleep up to eight to cater to a younger adult clientele, as well as offer a wink to the more hedonistic qualities of Aspen’s past.

    The two-bedroom Extreme WOW Suite is inspired by Aspen’s mountain culture and is the quintessential location to play and stay. The suite features modern industrial touches, rich ski-wear fabrics, a central fire pit surrounded by curved pit seating, a hot tub open to the living area, a crystal and glass barrier embracing a circular bed on a pivoting platform, and a DJ booth with a mini LP vinyl player and curated music library – all playing on vintage luxury. The plush reds, blues and oranges in addition to psychedelic detailing add extra electricity to this warm mountain escape.

    39 Degrees, a legendary après ski bar in the former Sky Hotel, returns as an underground ultra-lounge cocktail bar and grotto inspired by the famed Red-Light District of Aspen. Outfitted with platform and pit seating, crushed velvet touches, cheeky Gonzo-style posters and pillows and a W-commissioned, Gabriel Alcala mural that portrays an Aspen landscape through the lens of ‘excess,’ this hidden spot will keep the energy going late into the night.

    “The buzz and excitement for the debut of W Aspen has been building for some time and we could not be readier to bring the infectious energy, spirit and programming of W to this iconic American town,” says Greg Durrer, General Manager, W Aspen. “We know that W Aspen will not only serve as a year-round destination for travellers but that it will bring a bold new point of view to the local social scene and become the latest player in the legacy of this incredible cultural mecca.”

    Image credit: Marriott International

    The Sky Residences at W Aspen offer an exclusive shared ownership opportunity with 11 W-branded Residences located slope-side on Aspen Mountain. With a limited collection of only six three-bedroom and five two-bedroom Residences, owners have access to a private, owners-only roof deck with a spa, lounge seating, BBQ grills, outdoor kitchen and fire pit. In addition, owners can enjoy all of the Escape’s amenities and services at W Aspen, including Welcome Ambassadors and round the clock security; in-residence dining and STYLE housekeeping services; WHEELS valet service; FIT® state-of-art fitness facilities; two WET® Deck pools; and W’s signature Whatever/Whenever® service promise, providing residents and hotel guests alike with whatever they want, whenever they want it! The Sky Residences at W Aspen are currently offered for sale by Forte Aspen. “The Sky Residences at W Aspen feature compelling statements of space and design that defy expectations,” said R.J. Gallagher, Jr. of Forte Aspen. “It’s where an owner can get away from it all, while having it all. Effortless ownership, where quality time with family and friends is the only order of the day. And night.”

    The hotel’s opening further marks W Hotels and Marriot International’s commitment to add more than 30 luxury properties to its portfolio this year. W, a significant element to the planned expansion, is defying expectations and breaking the norms of traditional luxury wherever the iconic W sign lands. With a mission to fuel guests’ lust for life, W ignites an obsessive desire to soak it in, live it up and hit repeat. The brand’s provocative design, iconic Whatever/Whenever service and buzzing Living Rooms create an experience that is often copied but never matched.

    Main image credit: Marriott International

    Chelsom creates bespoke lighting scheme for chic Miami hotel

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    Chelsom creates bespoke lighting scheme for chic Miami hotel

    Chelsom worked with Martin Brudnizki Design Studio (MBDS) to create a bespoke lighting scheme for the guestrooms and public areas of one of Miami’s coolest hotels, Mr.C Coconut Grove

    The overall design scheme of Mr. C Coconut Grove was completely individual in its entirety as to be expected from MBDS and the lighting pieces designed for the project were no exception.

    A selection of Art Deco inspired fittings were created for the public areas including the reception and lobby and Bellini’s, the main restaurant and bar area. Channelling Miami chic at its finest, fittings for the restaurant include delicate glass wall lights with Brass detailing, decorative Art Deco table lamps with domed glass shades and Brass metalwork adorn the banquet seating teamed with classic Brass picture lights to frame the artwork. Toadstool shaped Art Deco lights with perforated Brass shades adorn the main bar area with a statement pendant above the bar making a dramatic visual impact. The custom designed fitting is an oversized shade style pendant in cream with Brass trim detail suspended from a Brass canopy. Oversized floor lamps adorn the lobby area with Brushed Brass and walnut table lamps with delicately concaved domed shades specified for the reception desk.

    Key pieces for the guestrooms and suites includestatement bespoke ceiling pendants in Antique Brass with six opalglass globes branching from a central stem with larger double tiered versions specified for the suites. Bespoke floor lamps in Brushed Brass with a curved arm and decorative locking key joint are teamed with tapered cylindrical shades in cream linen supplemented by Art Decotable lampsand wall lights perfectly in-keeping with both the flawless interior scheme created by the team at MBDS and the historic building itself.

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

    Main image credit: Mr C Coconut Grove/James McDonald

    1 Hotels to debut in Canada

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    1 Hotels to debut in Canada

    1 Hotel Toronto, which is being designed using reclaimed materials, will be unveiled next year as a design-led, sustainable urban retreat…

    Barry Sternlicht, 1 Hotels Founder and CEO & Chairman of Starwood Capital Group, who earlier this year announced a new lifestyle hotel brand, has confirmed plans for 1 Hotel Toronto. The hotel, which is slated to open next year, is inspired by Canada’s natural beauty, the vibrant character of King Street West and the Toronto marketplace.

    The hotel is being developed in partnership with Mohari Hospitality, a global real estate investment company and owner of the building which is currently operated as the Thompson Toronto. The downtown property will undergo an extensive transformation into a relaxing luxury sustainable 1 retreat.

    “The hotel group purposefully reuses existing structural and reclaimed materials gathered from the local community, including timber, driftwood and local limestone.”

    1 Hotels brings its sustainable vision to life by incorporating nature in its design and culinary collaborations, connecting with the local community to make a meaningful impact in the way people travel, eat, live and work. The hotel group purposefully reuses existing structural and reclaimed materials gathered from the local community, including timber, driftwood and local limestone. The hotel’s design balances refined elements with a comfortably curated atmosphere, inspired by the creativity and craftsmanship of local artists, builders, chefs, and others. Its operating philosophy reflects our commitment to sustainability. 1 Toronto is not just a place to stay; it’s a place to get inspired, focus, grow, connect and recharge.

    “1 Hotel Toronto will introduce the city to a new standard for an eco-conscious luxury experience, and is the first of its kind in Canada,” said Sternlicht. We look forward to sharing our mission to inspire conscious consumption with guests from across the globe as well as the local community. Our partnership with Mohari is key to the re-development of the project, and we are pleased to be collaborating with them.”

    “1 Toronto is not just a place to stay; it’s a place to get inspired, focus, grow, connect and recharge.”

    Mark Scheinberg, founder of Mohari Hospitality, said: “We’re excited to be partnering with 1 Hotels to open this luxury hotel and brand in the heart of Toronto. At Mohari, we look for innovative projects that are changing the hospitality market and 1 Hotel Toronto perfectly fits that mould.”

    1 Toronto will be enhanced by a level of luxury and personalisation that puts guests in an urban oasis. It’s expected to become a place to unwind, connect, eat well, and discover warmth and community in an environment which embraces nature, making it a luxurious and welcome respite for business travellers and world wanderers alike.

    Main image credit: 1 Hotels

    Germany, France and the UK lead European hotel project development

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    Germany, France and the UK lead European hotel project development

    Latest hotel development statistics from the TOPHOTELCONSTRUCTION database show the three nations account for 50 per cent of the 1,514 projects that are currently in the pipeline for the region…

    Germany, the UK, and France are currently dominating a “booming European hospitality market”, as stated in a report by TOPHOTELCONSTRUCTION. The latest data to be published indicates that the three nations account for 50 per cent of the 1,514 projects currently in the pipeline in Europe.

    Germany currently has 382 projects in its own pipeline, which means that it alone is accounting for around one quarter of the upcoming hotels in Europe. The UK, meanwhile, is hot on its heels, with 287 projects in its own pipeline. Meanwhile, there is a significant dropoff between the U.K. and third place France, which has 91 projects in its own pipeline.

    Other destinations in the top 10 include Spain (72 projects in the pipeline) and Russia, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Poland, and Ireland, all of which have less than 70 hotels each in their project pipeline.

    The report concludes that Europe’s strong performance is due to Germany being a significant driving force in the hospitality space, as well as globally dominant tourist destinations such as France, Spain, and the UK.

    According to TOPHOTELCONSTRUCTION, the 1,541 hotels currently in the pipeline for Europe will ultimately yield as many as 251,730 new guestrooms.

    Main image credit: Pixabay

    InterContinental Hotels debuts first luxury hotel in renowned hot spring destination

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    InterContinental Hotels debuts first luxury hotel in renowned hot spring destination

    InterContinental Hotels & Resorts continues to pioneer new luxury destinations with the opening of ANA InterContinental Beppu Resort & Spa, which is injected with local design and architecture references throughout… 

    Located in the Oita Prefecture in Southwestern Japan, ANA InterContinental Beppu Resort & Spa has opened as the region’s first international luxury resort.

    The opening strengthens the long-term venture with ANA and IHG in Japan and joins more than 200 InterContinental Hotels & Resorts worldwide. Leading the way in luxury, the resort isone of four immersive resorts to open in 2019, with InterContinental Hayman Island Resort opened on 1 July and InterContinental Maldives Maamunagau Resort and InterContinental Phuket Resort opening in September.

    “On behalf of IHG and IHG/ANA Japan, we are extremely proud to open the first international luxury hot spring resort and spa in Beppu,” said Hans Heijligers, Head of Japan, IHG, and IHG ANA Hotels Group Japan. “InterContinental has been pioneers in luxury travel for more than 70 years, delivering the allure of the InterContinental Life in all corners of the world. We are delighted to continue bringing the brand’s iconic hospitality, combining international know-how and local wisdom to new destinations as IHG continues to grow its luxury presence across the globe and in Japan.”

    Image credit: IHG

    Renowned for its rich culture and distinguished local craftsmanship, Beppu lends itself to offering guests rare access into authentic Japanese experiences. As the world’s second largest volume of hot spring water, the onsen tradition is a synonymous part of the guest experience in Beppu. The resort offers two large outdoor onsens, each meticulously designed with the selection and arrangement of Beppu stones selected by skilled masons, and placed to create a waterfall effect as if the hot spring water is overflowing from the mountain.

    The private onsen rooms offer a modern onsen experience within an exclusive space complete with a luxurious day bed, bathroom and minimalist design. The heart of the resort is the iconic infinity pool, designed to unite the sky with the view overlooking Beppu’s hot springs below.

    “Featured across the resort is work from local artists and craftsmen.”

    Elevating the cleansing and healing powers of myobanwater is the resort spa. In partnership with luxury Thai spa brand HARNN, the spa offers a selection of tailor-made treatments and therapies using materials derived from nature, along with rich aroma scent to rejuvenate the mind and body. The spa offers five treatment rooms with private en suites and outdoor garden, and two double massage rooms featuring a jacuzzi made from Japanese cypress.

    Imagined by the in-house design team at IHG, the resort shelters a distinct design philosophy, steeped in tradition and inspired by the elements. Featured across the resort is work from local artists and craftsmen, using traditional materials from various parts of Kyushu and local Oita prefecture. Beginning in the resort’s lobby, the soaring space is reminiscent of an art gallery with its high-quality bamboo art work, ancient pottery and wooden furniture with bold designs.

    Traditionally designed Japanese guest room, with low-level bed

    Image credit: IHG

    Elsewhere, the 89 guestrooms, including 10 suites, range from a luxurious 62-212 square meters, including large onsen or hot baths, spacious design and an abundance of natural materials for a sense of relaxation. All Suites and Club InterContinental rooms feature private open-air baths on the terrace with views sweeping the Beppu Bay.

    Continuing the philosophy of harmonious nature and design, the resort features five restaurants and bars inspired by Japan’s five elements: earth, water, fire, wind and void.

    The latest addition to the IHG portfolio proves further its continues its legacy of pioneering luxury travel in emerging destinations. 

    Main image credit: IHG

    Hammerson launches latest City Quarters concept, in Leeds, England

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    Hammerson launches latest City Quarters concept, in Leeds, England

    The revealed plans for a 14-storey, 205-key hotel adjacent to Victoria Gate in Leeds aims to enhance Leeds cultural quarter by driving additional footfall and spend to the city…

    Hammerson, which owns and manages Victoria Leeds, has today launched plans for the regeneration of a 1,670 sq m site in Leeds City Centre, adjacent to its flagship destination, Victoria Gate.

    The plans will see the site, which is currently a temporary surface car park, redeveloped to provide a 14-storey hotel catering for business and leisure guests.

    The Victoria Gate Hotel is one of the first schemes Hammerson has brought forward as part of its new City Quarters concept: creating vibrant mixed-use neighbourhoods surroundingHammerson’s existing flagship destinations, in thriving locations in the UK. The concept will see Hammerson transform many of its city venues beyond pure retail into successful neighbourhoods providing homes, workspace, hotel space and accessible public realm. This announcement follows the recent submission of mixed-use masterplan applications for both Martineau Galleries in Birmingham and the Goodsyard in Shoreditch.

    The iconic building would sit adjacent to Victoria Gate in Leeds City Centre and see the regeneration of the land between the existing Victoria Gate multi-storey car park and St Peter’sStreet (A61). Designed by architects Acme, who delivered Victoria Gate, the façade takes inspiration from the surrounding architecture and the city’s rich merchandising and textilehistory. The hotel will feature 205 spacious rooms, an on-site gym and conferencing facilities.

    A new contemporary bar and restaurant on the ground floor will welcome both guests and visitors to the City’s Cultural Quarter.

    “We are pleased to be able to share plans for a new hotel within the Victoria Estate as we continue the roll out of our City Quarters concept in thriving locations around the UK and Ireland,” said Robin Dobson, UK Director of Development and Project Management at Hammerson. “Hammerson has a strong track record of delivery in Leeds City Centre and these plans for a new, contemporary hotel represent the next step in our wider regeneration plans, creating a mixed-use destination where people can live, work and relax, centered around our premium flagship destination, Victoria Leeds.”

    The proposed hotel marks the next step in the continued regeneration of this part of the City Centre, following the development of Victoria Gate by the group in 2016. Hammerson also owns a 10 acre site just north of Victoria Leeds which will be brought forward for development in due course, creating a new mixed-use City Quarters neighbourhood.

    Main image: Hammerson

     

    Modern, fresh and vibrant interiors of a guest room

    W Hotels Debuts in Oman

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    W Hotels Debuts in Oman

    The “lavish playground” of W Muscat is set to shake up the coastal haven with bold design, eclectic programming and Oman’s First Siddharta Lounge By Buddha-Bar…

    W Hotels Worldwide, part of Marriott International Inc., has announced the opening of W Muscat, the brand’s newest beachfront W Escape and the second to open in the Middle East this year. Set against the backdrop of the rugged Al Hajar Mountains, which form a stark contrast to the historic capital city’s lively waterfront, W Muscat sits at the intersection of the bustling Shatti Al Qurum area.

    Modern, fresh and vibrant interiors of a guest room

    The hotel opens as part of Marriott International’s plans add more than 30 luxury hotels to its portfolio this year, furthering the company’s global perspective on luxury travel with its ensemble of eight distinct luxury brands.

    “Muscat is a fascinating and exciting city. Its cultural DNA honors millennia of tradition while looking to what’s new and next – an ideal match for the W brand,” said Anthony Ingham, Global Brand Leader, W Hotels Worldwide. “The arrival of W in Muscat marks a new chapter for both the brand and this buzzing metropolis. The hotel reinterprets Omani design and cultural traditions to create a modern, energetic and stylish Escape unlike anything the sultanate has seen before.”

    “Its striking design is inspired by the diverse and vibrant natural locale – from the rugged mountain range to the vast Omani desert, the sparkling bay to the azure waters of the Arabian Sea.”

    The architectural narrative of W Muscat immerses guests in the concept of exploration and the illustrious storytelling tradition of the nomadic Bedouin traveller. Its striking design is inspired by the diverse and vibrant natural locale – from the rugged mountain range to the vast Omani desert, the sparkling bay to the azure waters of the Arabian Sea. Colorful hints of Muscat’s vibrant culture are interspersed throughout the spaces to evoke the mystery and adventure of the city’s rich heritage and storied past. W Muscat is a bold remix of traditional charm, natural beauty and the disruptive W DNA.

    Bold design with Arabian themed interiors in the lobby lounge

    Image credit: W Hotels

    Welcoming guests upon arrival is a striking, nine-ton frankincense tree sculpture designed by renowned artist Pongsatat Uaiklang that pays tribute to Omani culture. Standing at an impressive 10 meters tall, the piece is made of solid stainless steel, welded from 28 winding pieces. In traditional Omani culture, frankincense was used to bless and welcome weary travelers after their long journeys. In that same tradition, guests are then ushered into the inviting Living Room (W’s signature take on the lobby) where they can relax and unwind in an Arabic Majlis, beneath an oversized installation of the Omani Kummas, chic headgears that are unmistakable marks of the Omani attire. Whether looking for a re-energizing iced tea or a cocktail, The Living Room is the perfect venue to see and be seen.

    “Asymmetrical corridors across the floors depict an artistic theme of ‘every girl has a story’ through locally commissioned holographic artworks.”

    All of the 279 guestrooms and suites at W Muscat provide uninterrupted views of the glistening blue water, with their design drawing inspiration from the ocean as well as the asymmetrical lines of the nearby mountains, caves and desert. These are contrasted with art deco detailing, reminiscent of traditional Omani charm. Asymmetrical corridors across the floors depict an artistic theme of ‘every girl has a story’ through locally commissioned holographic artworks depicting a female perspective of power, love, peace and beauty. Designed for an extra spacious and edgy stay is the EWOW suite (the brand’s take on the traditional Presidential Suite) which features subtle Arabic characteristics with a distinctive W edge. The corner Majlis seating showcases a Zanzibar-inspired print, a nod to the Omani Kumma or headgear, set against an inviting coffee table in celebration of Arabic coffee or Qahwa. The ceiling features tilted white paneling, evoking the intimacy of relaxing inside a tent. A saddle-like leather chair, bold mustard yellow stool, and faux fur wall are inspired by horse or camelback travel. Stacked luggage trunks comprise the MIXBAR (the W spin on the minibar) while a trunk closet lined with exotic silk links back to the narrative of the nomad.

    An 1800 sqm beachfront pool offers unparalleled views of the Gulf of Oman and forms part of the W brand’s iconic WET experience. Here, guests can swim, soak up the sun and enjoy signature beverages while listening to live DJ performances. WET is the hottest place to cool off, take a dip, make a splash, and get your glow on. W Muscat will be hosting a FUEL Weekend in October – the W brand’s signature fitness and wellness retreat – where WET will take center stage. FUEL guests can expect next level, energy-soaked celebrity workouts, killer parties and delicious beverage and food offerings all celebrating the brand’s DETOX. RETOX. REPEAT. philosophy.

    Elsewhere, the Escape’s AWAY® Spa offers 10 treatment rooms, a steam room, a hammam and a couples’ treatment room. The design is inspired by the ancient ritual of stargazing where guests are enveloped under a bejeweled night sky with the intimacy of cave-like comfort.

    The highly anticipated Siddharta Lounge By Buddha-Bar makes an Oman debut at W Muscat, bringing its signature flair for culinary prowess and inventive mixology to the rooftop restaurant and lounge. Overlooking the sweeping coastline of Shatti Al Qurum, the space interlocks both indoor and outdoor venues and celebrates the story of Bedouin travellers through innovative design and artistic representation. Ocean vistas are framed by an extraordinary rooftop infinity pool that invites guests to literally dive into the action and order a cocktail at the swim up bar. Siddharta Lounge By Buddha-Bar transforms from a daytime respite for lounging and relaxing amongst gorgeous views to a scene-setting hotspot when the sun goes down and the music turns up.

    Trailblazing its way around the globe, with more than 50 hotels, W is defying expectations and breaking the norms of traditional luxury wherever the iconic W sign lands. With a mission to fuel guests’ lust for life, W ignites an obsessive desire to soak it in, live it up and hit repeat. The brand’s provocative design, iconic Whatever/Whenever service and buzzing Living Rooms create an experience that is often copied but never matched.

    Main image credit: W Hotels

    4 reasons why hotels should consider 3D photography

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    4 reasons why hotels should consider 3D photography

    In a response to the industry insight on styling a hotel for design press article, Hotel Designs’ official hotel review photographer, ACT Studios, argues that 3D photography is where the future of hotel marketing is heading…

    Predictions for trends over the next couple of years in the hotel and hospitality sector abound. But there is general consensus that technology will continue to play a greater role in both the stay of a guest as well as the booking process itself.

    Virtual tour photography has an essential part to play here, enhancing the anticipatory experience of the traveller in advance of their stay, as well quickly and easily answering guest’s questions and concerns about location, layout and facilities.

    So just how exactly can virtual tour photography enhance the guest experience? And what value can it add to your website?

    What is virtual tour photography?

    Virtual tour photography is essentially an immersive, three dimensional digital means of bringing a room to life for the viewer. 3d tours are created using a special type of Matterport camera, which produces a 360 degree image of a room, which users can then browse online at their leisure.

    Users simply click on the image itself to then ‘step in’ to the picture, with the option to turn in any direction to explore a feature in more detail. Want to view the room from the other side of the bed? It’s Easy. Using your mouse (or a touch screen) you can simply click (or tap) on the picture and spin the view in a direction to suit you. Fancy a peek in the bathroom? Maybe to check if it has a walk in shower? Again, just click or tap on the direction you would like to take.

    3D photography even lets you leave the room to explore different rooms on another floor. And essentially look round the whole property, which can be really helpful if you need to check if the bedroom is on the ground floor. Or see if the bathroom has a shower over it. Or where your nearest fire exit is.

    The real beauty of 3D virtual tours is that they are incredibly simple to use. And extremely intuitive.

    4 ways in which 3D photography can help your hotel business

    1) 3D photography can improve your guest experience and ratings

    Image credit: Hotel Designs’ interactive hotel review of Oddfellows On The Park. Read full review here.

    Positive feedback and ratings count and anything that helps improve the customer journey for a guest deserves serious thought. And when it comes to the hotel guest’s customer journey, 3D photography can play a pivotal role in the consideration phase.

    Once a customer is aware that you exist – perhaps via a touch point such as a post on social media or an article in a third party publication – the next phase in the customer journey is consideration. This is when they arrive at your website and look through it in detail before deciding to make a purchase.

    It is well known how financially competitive the hospitality industry is and not every accommodation provider wishes to differentiate on price. Therefore, having the ability to see a building in all its dimensions – from a floor plan, to a dollhouse view to stepping into any of the key rooms – can positively influence their decision to buy in your favour. And most importantly, take them away from your competitors.

    2) 360 photography can refresh your brand image

    Image credit: Hotel Designs’ interactive hotel review of University Arms, Cambridge. Read full review here.

    “The quality of the imagery is second to none.” – Mario Ovsenjak, General Manager, Hotel Gotham.

    Guests have long come to expect well composed, professionally taken, high resolution photography when it comes to browsing both on and offline.

    Which is why the supply of high quality hospitality photography remains a core service for ACT Studios, taking us throughout the UK and Europe to photograph some of the most incredible accommodation providers.

    But brands that already have great photography are rightly asking “what’s next?” when it comes to updating their brand image, differentiating their offering and setting themselves apart from the competition.

    The answer is 3d photography. Offering guests the ability to virtually ‘step into’ a hotel bedroom, dining room or lounge. To explore an area in minute detail. Or just get an overall feel for what they are about to book.

    “Adding a fully immersive experience by adding virtual tour photography can increase occupancy by 14 per cent.”

    3) 360 virtual tour photography can help improve your occupancy rates

    Image credit: Hotel Designs’ interactive hotel review of Hotel Gotham. Read the full review here.

    Recent research by TripAdviser shows that having at least one photo of your property on a property page actually increases the likelihood of a booking enquiry by 225 per cent. And that for properties with at least 100 photos, engagement levels rise to 151 per cent and likelihood of a booking inquiry rises to 238 per cent compared to properties with no photos

    In addition, a study by Matterport concluded that adding a fully immersive experience by adding virtual tour photography can increase occupancy by 14 per cent and yield a 15 per cent increase in online engagement.

    4) Virtual tours are an honest complement to photography that encourages trust

    By offering guests the option of seeing and freely exploring a given room or area in its entirety before they buy, guests can more easily and more quickly judge for themselves how suitable (or not) a hotel is for them. There is therefore genuine honestly in a 3d virtual tour. And as marketers know, honesty breeds trust, which then sees guests returning time after time.

    If you would like to find out more about how 3D photography can work alongside your existing photography – or perhaps how you can refresh both your still photography and your virtual tours, to produce a more consistent brand image – then contact ACT Studios here.

    Main image credit: ACT Studios

    Downtown Manhattan inspires new guestrooms inside Andaz Wall Street

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    Downtown Manhattan inspires new guestrooms inside Andaz Wall Street

    Hospitality-focused architecture and interior design firm Stonehill Taylor recently completed the interior design renovation of the Andaz Wall Street’s 253 guest rooms in Manhattan…

    Inspired by downtown Manhattan, the new interior design sheltered within Andaz Wall Street is modern, crisp and includes a number of twists. The designers at Stonewall Taylor contemplated what an artist loft and studio might look like for a Wall Street Executive turned artist.

    The design team took great care to inject personal touches into the guestroom design, incorporating art pieces, distinct furniture and lighting, and the space’s signature moment: hand-sketched wall coverings and line work that reflects downtown Manhattan’s evocative and rich architectural forms. Sketched in-house, the overall concept adds a personal touch to the design that seems to come almost from the hands of the creatives who live and work in the neighborhood.

    Clean and modern guestroom

    Image credit: Andaz Wall Street

    Starting at 345-square-feet in size, the guestrooms are among the most spacious in New York City. Each room offers modern design, hardwood floors, walk-in rain showers and 12-foot ceilings with oversized windows to let in ample amounts of light. Each room features veined quartz, end-grain bamboo, and grey wood finishes, plus elegant bay window seating for reading and relaxation.

    Main image credit: Andaz Wall Street

    Editor Checks In: Home comforts in hotel design

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    Editor Checks In: Home comforts in hotel design

    In August 2019, editor Hamish Kilburn concludes that trends are overrated when a project close to his heart reaches its highly anticipated conclusion…

    I can’t quite believe it has been almost one year since we first started following the award-winning designer Nicky Dobree on her journey to complete her debut hotel design project. Before now, her undisputed talent was recognised for designing the interiors of 007-esqe luxury mountain retreats (Kevin McCloud’s words, not mine unfortunately).

    But this year, she has injected her effortless style to restore a 19thcentury building in Vejer, Spain, which is known as Plaza 18 – and Hotel Designs has been there every step of the way.

    Now that the season has ramped up to reach its peak, there’s no better time to put down the measuring tape, take a step back and reward Dobree’s “labour of love” as we cut the ribbon. More than 1,300 miles from Andalucia, the team in the London office are gathered around my computer screen as they impatiently wait for the folder to download, of which contains the final images of the new boutique hotel. Until now, you see, we have had to settle for shakey behind-the-scenes, unquestionably raw, photographs taken on location, as well as renders and sketches, which merely tease the luxury home-from-home concept in the making.

    You’d be wrong to assume it’s an easy task working on a project of this scale. What the hotel lacks in the number of guestrooms (six to be precise) it makes up for in personality. And if anyone could sensitively re-establish the heritage property in order to give it a new lease of life, it would be Dobree.

    “All that is missing is a luxury design-led hotel,” I think to myself as I run past the colourful beach huts (place your bids).

    ‘Home comforts’ feels like an appropriate theme for this month’s column. Four years after capturing my first solo metropolis memory, which then drove me to chase my career in a number of cities in the UK, I’ve hit a crossroads and have decided to take the right-hand turn, which has result in me hurtling back towards my hometown of Whitstable in Kent. Nestled on the north-east tip of the Garden of England, where home comforts – think sea views that stretch over the horizon and unparalleled sunsets – are never in short supply, this feels like ‘home’ to me. “All that is missing is a luxury design-led hotel,” I think to myself as I run past the colourful beach huts (place your bids).

    It seems I am not alone in chasing home comfort. Last year, a study published by Forbes showed that in the 10 cities with the largest Airbnb market share in the US, the entry of Airbnb resulted in 1.3 per cent fewer hotel nights booked and a 1.5 per cent loss in hotel revenue. But as damning as this statistic may seem, hotels are fighting back to offer more home-from-home comforts married together with one-off experiences to capture travellers’ attention.

    Examples of this can be found all over the Hotel Designs website this month, from our Miniview of room2’s ‘hometel’ concept in Southampton to a new ‘private members’ bar’-styled hotel that will open in London next year – and not forgetting the exceptional Plaza 18. Perhaps subconsciously, my year-long project with Dobree has led me to positively seek comfort in timeless style as opposed to chasing the short-term thrills of seasonal trends.

    Main image credit: ACT Studios

    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,” said Klaas van Lookeren Campagne, CEO of citizenM hotels.

    The hotel’s interiors will be designed by citizenM’s Amsterdam-based partner Concrete, and will feature furniture from long-term collaborator Vitra. 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

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    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.