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Red lobby inside the first Canopy by Hilton property in Spain

First Canopy by Hilton hotel opens in Spain

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
First Canopy by Hilton hotel opens in Spain

Situated in the heart of the capital city, Canopy by Hilton Madrid Castellana has arrived in the Azca neighbourhood with a focus on cultural hospitality and contemporary design that speaks the local language…

Red lobby inside the first Canopy by Hilton property in Spain

The vibrant lifestyle brand that takes inspiration from local neighbourhoods, Canopy by Hilton, has official arrived in Spain, with the opening of Canopy by Hilton Madrid Castellana.

Since your here, why not read our review of the UK’s latest Canopy by Hilton hotel?

The property, owned by Hotel Investment Partners (HIP), is located in the financial district of the city. It is one of a trio of European openings under the Canopy by Hilton brand this year, following the summer opening of Canopy by Hilton Paris Trocadero, and the soon-to-open Canopy by Hilton London City.

“This stylish hotel truly emanates the iconic city of Madrid, offering travellers an authentically local experience. Our third opening in the Spanish capital in the last year and Spain’s first Canopy by Hilton, we’re excited to launch yet another enticing option here in Spain for travellers visiting from across the globe, including the more than 118 million members of our award-winning Hilton Honors guest loyalty program,” said David Kelly, Senior Vice President, Continental Europe, Hilton. “This opening is a further statement of our continued commitment to the Spanish hospitality market, as well as our growing confidence in a strong recovery for the tourism sector in the months and years to come.”

The theme of ‘Red’ Madrid underpins an interior design scheme that embraces popular “Madrileño” culture from the forefront of design. The project was masterminded by the studio of interior designer Jaime Beriestain and takes inspiration from the city itself — as the cradle of cañí [traditional Madrid] culture — to produce a space by everyone and for everyone, in the words of Madrid’s unofficial hymn. The 314-key hotel, with 12 meeting rooms, has a distinct local look and feel, creating a comfortable environment for business and leisure travellers alike.

“We wanted to create an airy, open space, without barriers so that people could meet, see and be seen,” explained Beriestain. “For me, Madrid symbolises the colour red; it is a place where passion reigns and different, connecting cultures converge. That is why it is so important to offer the city a space that reflects that philosophy, a place to connect and meet — that is the concept behind Canopy by Hilton Madrid Castellana.”

Following the comprehensive refurbishment of the building’s interior, the hotel was planned as a setting to be lived and enjoyed. Airy, open spaces greet the visitor in a lobby — which creates an ambience conducive to conversation. The lobby is dominated by Canopy Central, a gastronomic meeting point where visitors can enjoy a specialty coffee or food prepared from healthy, local ingredients.

On the mezzanine, locals and visitors mingle at Planta Z, a spectacular terrace where you can enjoy fun street food-style dishes with live music. The menu is focused on delicious, fresh and healthy cuisine, designed to be shared and combined with the extensive cocktail menu. A new casual meeting place in the capital for residents and visitors to experience the unique ‘Madrid vibes’.

Pool terrace at Canopy by Hilton Madrid

Image credit: Canopy by Hilton

Hotel guests can also enjoy the exclusive pool terrace with views of Madrid’s rooftops and skyline – a typically romantic Madrid scene. To complete this ‘local experience’, the hotel welcomes all guests with violet sweets in their rooms, a souvenir that no visitor to Madrid should miss.

There are currently 31 Canopy properties open around the globe and 29 under development across 16 countries and territories. 

Main image credit: Canopy by Hilton

Writers Room inside Park Hyatt Toronto

Park Hyatt Toronto unveils new design inspired by ‘striking seasons’

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Park Hyatt Toronto unveils new design inspired by ‘striking seasons’

Park Hyatt Toronto has re-emerged on Canada’s vibrant hotel scene, with a fresh interior design from Studio Munge that combines luxury guestrooms with world-class F&B outlets and a rooftop lounge that will take your breath away…

Writers Room inside Park Hyatt Toronto

Hyatt Hotels and Oxford Properties have announced recently the re-opening of the restored Park Hyatt Toronto hotel. Long considered one of Toronto’s most iconic addresses, the property now offers deeply personalised and engaged service as the cornerstone of the hotel’s revival.

The re-imagined Park Hyatt Toronto combines luxury, sophistication, and glamour with a distinctive nod to Canadian heritage, art deco, and literature. The hotel collaborated with world-renowned designer Alessandro Munge of Studio Munge, who drew inspiration from Canada’s striking seasons and natural landscapes to bring this experience to life. The luxurious property offers an elevated home-away-from-home experience with purpose and style through modern materials and soothing colour schemes.

“We are proud to welcome guests to the restored Park Hyatt Toronto hotel, with exceptional personalized service at the heart of every touchpoint,” says Bonnie Strome, general manager, Park Hyatt Toronto. “The remarkable transformation was thoughtfully crafted to provide unparalleled luxury experiences across culinary, arts and culture, travel and design.”

Rooted in celebrating the sophistication of the arts, the hotel features a significant permanent art collection highlighting spectacular pieces from renowned Canadian and indigenous artists. A new public art sculpture “Rendezvous” by renowned Canadian artist An Te Liu, forms a vivid and iconic tableau establishing the hotel as a singular destination. “Dead Ringers”, a large-scale tapestry in the lobby by Canadian artist Shannon Bool, sets the tone for each guest’s enriched and immersive stay.

The 219 guestrooms – including 40 luxurious suites – artfully balance residential comfort with contemporary design.

The unrivalled presidential suite located on the 14th floor includes a welcoming foyer, a chef’s pantry and dining room, a study and living room grounded by a stone-clad fireplace with champagne metal accents. The stone-tiled bathroom is a lavish wellness sanctuary featuring a contemporary double vanity, glass-enclosed double rain shower, and a free-standing soaker tub overlooking Yorkville.

The immersive journey continues at Joni, a new culinary destination inspired by the spirit of Toronto’s vibrant arts and culture scene, harmonises casual bistro dining with contemporary cooking techniques and focuses on fresh and flavourful ingredients.

The return of the iconic rooftop cocktail bar, now known as Writers Room, pays homage to the history of literary legends that shared moments in the Park Hyatt Toronto hotel. This clever interpretation of a classic cocktail bar reflects the bar’s historical significance as a gathering spot for great minds as they take in the unparalleled Toronto skyline views.

In addition, and to feed new wellbeing demands from modern travellers, a spa and wellness destination is expected to be unveiled at a later date, welcoming guests to an escape from the surge of city energy.

Main image credit: Hyatt Hotels

Public areas inside Graduate hotel in Cambridge

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

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

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

Public areas inside Graduate hotel in Cambridge

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

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

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

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

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

Inside Graduate Cambridge

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

Public areas inside Graduate Cambridge

Image credit: Graduate Hotels

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

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

The Randolph Hotel by Graduate Hotels

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

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

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

Main image credit: Graduate Hotels

W Rome - Giardino Clandestino

W Rome – celebrating the past, present & future of the city

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
W Rome – celebrating the past, present & future of the city

Interior design studio Meyer Davis’ work is complete on W Rome, which opens in Italy’s capital as a contemporary hospitality experience that ‘oozes glamour’ throughout with traditional architecture melting into a modern design scheme… 

W Rome - Giardino Clandestino

It has been one of Europe’s most anticipated arrivals for quite some time, and now the time in approaching when we celebrate the opening of W Rome – a hotel that marries traditional architecture with cutting-edge interior design.

King Street Capital Management is the lead investor and owner of W Rome. “Presently, the market has a tight supply of internationally branded hotels so we saw an opportunity to convert this historic office building, nestled in the heart of the Ludovisi district, into a marquis, luxury lifestyle hotel that showcases Rome’s rich culture and pays homage the building’s distinctive history,” said Paul Brennan, Managing Director at King Street Capital Management. “We brought together a highly qualified international team of partners including Omnam, Marriot, L22, Meyer Davis, renowned architects, interior designers and hotel operators as well as local contractors, F&B operators, local artists and chefs to establish this into the first W Hotel in Italy that highlights the city’s heritage to a discerning clientele.”

Spanning two adjacent 19th-century buildings on Via Liguria with 162 guestrooms and suites, the hotel offers a prime location ideally situated near the famous Spanish Steps and fashionable boutiques of Via Condotti. It also boasts one of the city’s very few rooftop bars with panoramic views across the Eternal City. Meyer Davis has designed a portal where Rome’s past, present, and future effortlessly collide, and old contexts have unexpected pairings. From the juxtaposition of fabrics and surfaces to tempting textures, each detail of every space is intentional.

In a city marked by immense historical heritage, W Rome will see an unapologetically Italian colour palette and patterning meet a layered blurring of different eras of standout design. 1970’s Italian glamour oozes throughout the property with traditional architecture melting into colour blocking and bold graphic patterns in hues of burnt orange, dramatic red and foliage greens. An eclectic mix of colourful furniture meets stone walls representative of the building’s past, whilst reflective surfaces bring a contemporary feel to the property.   

Guests are welcomed into the hotel by the W Living Room, featuring a stunning skylight and a window of patterned glass allowing light to flood through the bright and airy open space. Eclectic seating areas are surrounded by elegant sculptural pieces of art, while black and grey marble flooring run throughout.  An intriguing, hand-painted mural wraps around walls that look onto chic reflective stainless steel welcome desk pods. The mural, painted by Italian artist Costanza Alvarez de Castro, is inspired by Roman gardens, and invites discovery by telling the story of the destination’s stunning geography. Transitional spaces are used as palate cleansers from room to room, while a digital gallery screen creates an immersive experience for guests, paying homage to Rome and its rich culture through images that unexpectedly change each time a guest passes through the area.  

Boundaries are blurred between public and private spaces throughout the hotel. Guests are invited to discover the unexpected with a hidden door in the public bathroom that leads to the intimate Parlapiano, a secret garden. Inspired by Borromini Church, a traditional Italian stone church complete with kissing benches, lush foliage, topiary and water fountains, this space provides a tranquil escape within the hotel.

With a bold yet calming colour palette, the 162 guestrooms and suites have been designed to make guests feel as though they have their own luxury city apartment. Open-plan living, and stylish design go hand-in-hand while materials naturally clash, with dark oak doors juxtaposed with highly polished brass decoration. 

Image credit: W Hotels

Local materials are used to tell the story of the hotel with traditional wooden herringbone patterned floors effortlessly blurring into modern marble as guests reach the bathroom, offering a thoughtful blend of both past and present throughout the space.  Wine red velvet curtains dress the guestroom windows from ceiling to floor creating a sense of bold luxury and a statement finish to the rooms. A selection of the guestrooms offer private balconies and terraces with iconic views of the city, some overlooking famous landmarks such as the Istituto Svizzero. 

Providing a next-level glamorous experience, the property offers Extreme WOW Suites offering unparalleled urban gardens and expansive terraces, adding rare and much-sought-after inside and outside living. The suites’ décor sees historical Roman architectural elements mixed with cutting-edge in-room technology and custom designed modern furniture.

Main image credit: W Hotels

W Changsha

W Hotels arrives in Changsha with futuristic design scheme

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
W Hotels arrives in Changsha with futuristic design scheme

Bright, bold and playfully fun, W Changsha has arrived sheltering a ‘uniquely eclectic’ design scheme that modern travellers expect from the W Hotels brand. The hotel opening marks the first W in central China – and the brand’s eighth property in the country…

W Changsha

The future is now, according to W Hotels, which has lit up the capital and largest city in Hunan province, China, with the opening of W Changsha. Owned by the Hunan Yunda Industry Group, the hotel is strategically located in the buzzing heart of the city and reflects the bright spirit of the futuristic and multi-dimensional city with a provocative and playful design inspired by space travel.

A red ceiling with tables and seats in public area of lobby

Image credit: W Chenghsa

“W Changsha marks the eighth W hotel to open in China, one of the most influential markets in both travel and business, and we’re excited to bring W Hotels to more destinations across the country,” said Tom Jarrold, Global Brand Leader, W Hotels Worldwide. “Cities such as Changsha, with their future-focused residents and fast-growing millennial luxury market who crave the new and unexpected, are playgrounds of limitless possibilities for W.”

Designed by the acclaimed Cheng Chung Design (H.K.) Ltd, W Changsha takes imaginative risks with daring new design forms celebrating Changsha’s rich heritage and modernity. In China, Changsha is also known as “Star City” and its name inspires the hotel’s design narrative featuring bold geometric patterns mixed with contemporary avant-garde artwork. Exclusively commissioned by the hotel, whimsical artwork such as the Schrodinger’s Cat series and the Zeta art installations explore the mystery of the universe through the W lens, creating unexpected encounters throughout the hotel.

Upon arrival at W Changsha, guests are greeted by the iconic W logo, illuminated to resemble the surface of the moon. “Avenue of the Stars,” a mixed-media landscape combining digital, interactive, and sound art, transports guests to RUNWAY, a destination bar in the Living Room, the brand’s signature, socially driven spin on the traditional hotel lobby. Here, the “Pepper Man” sculpture invites guests to look up and marvel anew at the wonders of space within the context of Changsha’s local custom and culture.

The hotel’s 345 guestrooms and suites offers modern luxuries and new-tech conveniences, with walls depicting planets, constellations, and discovery of the nebulae through a “meow eye cabin” LED screen emulating space exploration. From 26th floor to the highest floor on 28th, the triple-story Extreme – WOW Suite (the brand’s take on the presidential suite) incorporates more than 1,000 square meters of living and leisure space, including a private garden and a swimming pool, to make for a brilliant venue for private events amplified by the hotel’s signature service.

After work or play, guests can kick-back by the reflection pool or make a splash at WET®, an expansive pool with a three-meter ‘Space Cat’ sculpture. The 24/7, fully-equipped FIT fitness centre offers weights and cardio as well as heart-pumping dance classes to burn calories before the celebration begins again. For guests who live by the brand’s ‘Detox.Retox.Repeat’ philosophy, AWAY SPA awaits to restore and revive their glow.

“We are thrilled to debut the W Hotels brand in central China and mark another symbolic step for us as we continue to expand our luxury portfolio into new markets across the country,” said Henry Lee, President, Greater China, Marriott International. “As domestic travel continues to pick up tremendous momentum, we are bringing new and exciting brands such as W to the country’s emerging leisure destinations.”

W Changsha is the latest W Hotel to arrive onto the global hospitality scene, which comes parallel to the brand marking its arrival in Rome. With now nearly 60 hotels, the W brand continues to defy design and hospitality expectations by breaking the boundaries and norms of traditional luxury wherever the iconic W sign lands.

Main image credit: W Hotels

Lobby/lounge inside Pan Pacific London

Pan Pacific London – a new luxury wellness hotel is born

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

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

Lobby/lounge inside Pan Pacific London

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

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

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

What to expect inside

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

A minimalist lobby with plants

Image credit: Jack Hardy

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

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

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

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

A guestroom with neutral tones

Image credit: Jack Hardy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Jack Hardy

Ed Warner

Ed Warner: “Accessibility is not a dirty word in design”

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Ed Warner: “Accessibility is not a dirty word in design”

In 2021, it is shocking that new design-led hotels are emerging in the global hospitality arena without the same level of consideration when it comes to the design of accessible, disabled-access guestrooms and spaces. In a purposeful interview with Ed Warner, the Founder and CEO of Motionspot, editor Hamish Kilburn only hopes to raise awareness for stylish accessible design…

Ed Warner

You may or may not know this, but before I was the editor of Hotel Designs, I was part of the British Paralympic Sailing Team, working proudly between the years of 2009 – 2016 as a shore and tuning crew member for the wonderful Hannah Stodel, Stephen Thomas and John Robertson – AKA, the performance team.

Looking back, it was an incredible experience for a 16-year-old who was driven by adventure – not much has changed really. There were so many moments that pivoted me into the lane that I am now in. For example, when I let slip that I wanted to be a journalist on a ferry from Harwich to Hook they helped me launch my first blog and called upon peers to help organise interviews with Paralympic legends in order to create a solid portfolio when it came to progressing further, which ultimately secured my place at university to study my passion and make it a career. I received a dreadful phone call once at the small hours in the morning, during a Paralympic qualifying event in Weymouth, about my beautiful cousin who tragically lost her life in a car accident. I was sharing a room with another athlete, Paralympic gold medallist Helena Lucas who was competing in the morning. Without any objection, she woke up and sat with me through the night. I felt terrible, and even worse knowing that Lucas could have really used those extra hours resting for her final race in the series. It’s not often as shore crew at an event you are the centre of attention. In short, though, that painful moment was when I realised that I was part of more than just a team; I was part of a family.

And strangely, when I tell people about my experience working with this perfectly able – no, formidable – team, I get asked how it was possible to train with the Paralympic team without myself being disabled. I’m not judging the ignorance, because transparency is best for us to progress, but it is surprising to me how segregated in society people who have disabilities can become. During my years sailing with the squad, I witnessed very capable athletes who happen to have disabilities being treated extremely differently. I noticed, among other things, hotel facilities not being adequate, and the views, at best, from the windows from the ‘disabled rooms’ would stretch out onto the concrete car park.

Five years after the team were forced to retire as sailing was, to much protest, taken out of the Paralympic programme for Tokyo 2020, my blood boiled recently when I noticed that the Team GB Instagram account, which has more than 491, 000 followers was not being used to promote the Paralympic Team GB athletes. Instead, the team were being amplified on the Paralympics GB account, which has just 46, 500 followers (more than 400,000 less than the Olympic Team GB account). Call me a modernist, but to really promote diversity and equality, isn’t Team GB just Team GB? What is the need for a second social media account if the aim is not to drive a wedge between the two events?

I digress, however these anecdotes can very seamlessly be linked to the design and hospitality industry’s attitudes towards creating spaces that are accessible for all – practically as well as stylishly. Until recently, I think it’s fair to say that designing such spaces was seen through very limited lenses. Instead of enhancing a design scheme, hotels wrongly ticked a box in order to offer disabled-access rooms that were usually on the ground floor of the hotel without even a hint of design consistency and – in some extreme cases – only ‘accessible’ via the back-0f-house areas of the building – classy.

Cue setting up my next interview, which is with a true pioneer and visionary (not terms I use lightly). Ed Warner, the Founder and CEO of design solutions studio Motionspot. In 2020, Warner and his team were an integral element in the design and completion of The Brooklyn in Manchester, which became the only UK luxury property that was truly accessible for all and has been named the most accessible hotel in Europe. The hotel’s unique design is leading the Gold Standard in accessible design, with 18 of the 189 rooms fully accessible offering both wheelchair access and ambulant accessibility and the first hotel in Manchester to offer ceiling track hoists for guests. 

Since then, Warner and his team worked on the recently opened The Londoner to design accessible and stylish guestrooms and he was recognised in 2020 as one of the leading British interior designer when he was profiled in The Brit List 2020. What’s more, Warner has been shortlisted for the second-year running for Interior Designer of the Year at The Brit List Awards 2021 for his continued efforts to promote better design for everyone.

Hamish Kilburn: Ed, it is a pleasure to see you again! Can you start with explaining to us what ‘accessible design’ is and why is it so important for the future of hotel design and hospitality?

Ed Warner: Accessible design is about creating meaningful spaces that everyone can use, removing the barriers that create undue effort, stress and separation of people. Accessible design is more than a tick box exercise to comply with local regulations. Truly inclusive buildings are only built by considering the needs of all guests and staff with physical, cognitive and sensory impairments, including design for neurodiversity.

“There are more than 14 million disabled people in the UK spending over £15.3bn on UK trips a year. Hoteliers who can make the right adaptations to their hotels will benefit.” – Ed Warner, CEO, Motionspot.

There is a misconception it is just about wheelchair accessibility. Disability is diverse. Just eight per cent of disabled people use a wheelchair. We help people to think about what they are doing for wheelchair users and the other 92 per cent with many other types of physical, sensory and cognitive access needs too.

Why is this important for the future of UK hospitality? It is a massive market! There are more than 14 million disabled people in the UK spending over £15.3bn on UK trips a year. Hoteliers who can make the right adaptations to their hotels will benefit from a significant boost in revenues and proven increases in RevPar and loyalty.

HK: Why isn’t stylish accessible design on designer and clients’ radars? 

EW: For many designers and clients, designing for access has traditionally been an exercise in covering ramps and wheelchair toilets. Some designers and operators have neglected it because they mistakenly believe  these rooms are not required (wrong, as 10 per cent of all new build rooms should be accessible). Previously the design options have not been aesthetically pleasing, so some designers have opted against making hotels more accessible.

Image credit: The Londoner/Edwardian Hotels London

In addition, many designers have steered away from the subject for a fear of getting it wrong. There is a misconception that access is complicated, but with the right advice at the right time it doesn’t need to be.

Motionspot can help designers to turn high-level building regulations into practical guidance on layouts and finishes on the ground. We work constructively with the design team to achieve a beautiful balance between access and aesthetics so the accessible rooms blend perfectly with the design intent.

As more great examples of accessible design become more prominent my belief is this will start to change.

HK: Why is it so important for you to amplify this message?

EW: We believe accessible rooms and hotel spaces should be inclusive for all guests and we feel it is important to prove to clients the social and financial benefit of getting access right. At Motionspot we give clients and their architects the right design advice and access to beautiful accessible products.

Once aware of what is possible, the benefits of positive change generally follow. Delivering a better guest experience is always the goal and our work can help provide solutions that are a great experience, more likely to be recommended and in our experience generate more revenue. Given we have an ageing society we think it is likely that the requirement for accessible rooms is going to increase steadily in the coming decade and beyond.

The inclusion and diversity agenda is becoming increasingly important for companies to address. It is a fast-paced and ever-evolving area and Motionspot can support businesses to not just meet minimum standards but surpass them and show themselves to be leaders in being an inclusive brand.

Hotels like Hotel Brooklyn in Manchester are leading the way and showing that improving access can look amazing and improve the guest experience for all. As more and more examples break through to the mainstream, I think accessible design will become a key part of design decisions. At Motionspot, we hope that one day it will become industry standard to design all spaces to be accessible to everyone.

HK: You were profiled last year as one of the top interior designers in Britain. This was due to your work on Brooklyn Manchester. Can you tell us more about this project?

EW: Of course! Bespoke Hotels engaged Motionspot as access designers for their Hotel Brooklyn in Manchester. Working alongside the interior designers Squid Inc, we advised on every aspect of the hotel’s accessibility credentials to fulfil the vision of a beautiful and accessible hotel.  We also specified and supplied accessible products that perfectly blended into this design  scheme.

The hotel features 18 wheelchair and ambulant accessible rooms, including two rooms with concealed ceiling track hoists which is a first-of-their-kind hotel accessibility feature (pic below). These devices are cleverly concealed within a lighting feature and are stored inside a specially designed compartment in the wardrobe when not in use.

The En-suite bathrooms feature fold-up shower seats and matt black removable support rails which allow a room to be adapted to each guest’s individual requirements. Also installed were easy to operate lever tap and shower controls, accessible flush buttons and carefully selected floor and wall tiles that minimised glare and provided fully slip-resistant surfaces.

Since opening, Hotel Brooklyn has won many plaudits, including recently The iNewspaper Staycation Hotel of the Year award.

HK: Is it expensive to design these spaces to be accessible and stylish?

EW: No, and if planned at an early stage, well designed access does not have to cost any more. This is a common misconception!

Where it does become expensive is if a retrospective adaptation like a level access shower, platform lift or accessible reception area has to be installed because of a problem a disabled guest experiences so please think of it at the start of a new build of refurbishment!

In our experience the commercial benefits of getting access right are significant. A great example of this is The White Horse Inn in Dorking.  When renovating this historic coaching inn, attention was paid to the design of the accessible bedrooms to ensure they would appeal to all. Subsequent room bookings have shown this investment to be very worthwhile: more than a 12-month period, the accessible rooms had a higher occupancy rate and RevPar and generated an additional £6,900 of revenue per year in comparison to a standard room.

HK: It feels strange to me that in 2021, ‘accessible design’ is probably considered as an afterthought in many studios. Why is this? 

EW: It is not taught as a compulsory module in interior design or architecture courses. This would radically change the industry if it were.  To try and change the tide, we provide CPD training to any architect or design studio wanting to learn more about inclusive design.

We need the industry to help shout about good examples of accessible design to raise awareness of what is possible and it is great to see high-profile hospitality awards like The Brit List recognising accessible design.

HK: What sets you aside from other design studios?

EW: Motionspot is more than an access auditor. We don’t just uncover access challenges with buildings, we propose creative design solutions that make spaces more inclusive.

We also design, manufacture and supply beautiful accessible products. Frustrated that there weren’t enough well-designed accessible products on the market that fitted our client’s design intent, we began designing and developing our own innovative solutions. Our range now includes hundreds of well-designed accessible fixtures and fittings for all environments. Every product is created in line with Motionspot’s ethos of design-led accessibility e.g. our removable grab rails and shower seats are ideal for the hospitality industry as they can be quickly added and removed between bookings depending on guest requirements.

Main image credit: Motionspot

TheHague_3

Cove by edyn to arrive in The Hague in 2022

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Cove by edyn to arrive in The Hague in 2022

Hospitality group edyn continues the rapid expansion of its serviced apartment brand Cove into Europe with a new acquisition in The Hague. Here’s what we know…

TheHague_3

Extended stay hospitality leaders edyn has announced the acquisition of a new asset in The Hague, which will become the first opening of its recently-launched serviced apartment brand, Cove, in mainland Europe.

The asset will be converted into 121 serviced apartments, which will open in March 2022. The project will comprise a combination of studio and open plan one-bedroom apartments with fully fitted kitchens and will benefit from an updated design scheme throughout, representative of Cove’s contemporary sophisticated aesthetic. The building will also include 250sqm of lobby, lounge, and co-working area, providing informal workspace for groups or individuals.

Located on Grote Marktstraat, one of The Hague’s most important shopping districts, ‘Cove – Centrum’ will serve a base of corporate clients, as well as leisure travellers and families seeking more spacious, comfortable accommodation. Set in the iconic ‘De Passage’ building, designed by architect Bernard Tschumi which opened in 2014, the serviced apartments will also benefit from extensive local shopping and dining options.

The acquisition of ‘Cove – Centrum’ follows the recently announced ‘Cove – Landmark Pinnacle’; a £62.5m acquisition in London’s Landmark Pinnacle development in Canary Wharf, which is scheduled to open in November this year.

“The signing of ‘Cove – Centrum’ marks a milestone in the growth trajectory of the brand, which we are excited to expand into mainland Europe just two months after launch,” said Steven Haag, Managing Director of Cove. “Not only does this signal our intent on the continent, but it also is our first conversion of an existing hotel to serviced apartments which we feel is an increasingly likely path for growth.

“Flexible, thoughtfully designed accommodation that caters to both long and short stays has never been more in-demand, and the brand’s rapid expansion into Europe signals its relevance and appeal to investors, owners and travellers alike.”

JLL acted as advisor to to seller in this transaction, and more information about the new property is expected to emerge soon.

Main image credit: edyn 

25hours-hotel-firenze-paola-navone

25hours to arrive in Italy this September

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

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

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

25hours-hotel-firenze-paola-navone

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: 25hours

The Other House Club Flat Kitchen in blue and mustard

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

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

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

The Other House Club Flat Kitchen in blue and mustard

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

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

Who’s who? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A guestroom inside M Social

M Social arrives in Europe with hotel opening in Paris

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
M Social arrives in Europe with hotel opening in Paris

Millennium Hotels and Resorts is marking the first outpost for the M Social brand in Europe, with the opening of M Social Hotel Paris Opera on August 31. The new lifestyle offering will merge the ‘elegance of the historical Parisian lifestyle with contemporary design, vibrant art and inviting rooms’ to create an enchanting retreat for guests to gather, work and discover all that Paris has to offer. Let’s take a sneak peek inside…

A guestroom inside M Social

Following the opening of M Social in New York’s Times Square earlier this summer, lifestyle hospitality brand M Social is about to open a new hotel in Paris. M Social Hotel Paris Opera, which will shelter 163 rooms, will become the brand’s debut hotel in Europe when it opens later this month. Located at 12 Boulevard Haussmann, the hotel is in the heart of Opéra making it within walking distance to some of the city’s most famous landmarks including the Louvre, the Sacré-Cœur and the Moulin Rouge. To cater to a new diverse community of travellers, EUR 5.4 million was spent on refurbishing the former Millennium Paris Opera into more contemporary lodgings.

“People are in search of new and exciting experiences. M Social is all about creativity and passion. Combine this with the hotel’s central location and you have a winning formula to satiate travellers’ wanderlust,” said Mr Kwek Leng Beng, Executive Chairman of Millennium & Copthorne Hotels Limited. “With Europe re-opening, this is an opportune time for us to introduce M Social to this key gateway city.”

A hub for explorers, M Social Hotel Paris Opera features spaces that are designed to be accessible, comfortable and practical to guests’ needs with rooms that offer sweeping views overlooking the famous Boulevard Haussmann. The hotel is conveniently located near major shopping, art and cultural attractions of the Paris Opera district. Guests are guaranteed to experience Paris like a true Parisian in the heart of the city of lights escaping the hustle and bustle in timelessly stylish surroundings.

Step back in time to 1920s elegance as soon as you walk through the revolving door into the hotel’s Art Deco foyer, made of marble surfaces, ornate chandeliers and a glass-roofed cupola. StudioCaid, the creative architects behind the newly renovated areas, describes the design concept as an exchange of styles that emphasises the contrast between classic and modern. They have incorporated into the design the artistic styles of the surrounding iconic infrastructures such as the Opera Garnier and the Louvre to create the “Hotel of Today”. Each room holds the history of Les Années Folles (in English “The Roaring Twenties”) and the future of M Social Paris. The newly renovated rooms allow guests to have an authentic Parisian experience within the comforts of today’s modern world. Accommodation choices range from cosy yet spacious Signature rooms that give views into the hotel’s peaceful inner courtyard to Grande Sweetie suites that offer separate living areas and breathtaking views of the Opera Garnier or the Sacré- Cœur.

The M Social brand was launched in Singapore in 2016. Millennium Hotels and Resorts plans to grow the brand in more cities with strong character, to capture diverse stories and build up a vibrant and creative community. M Social Hotel Paris Opera is the fourth location for the brand with other outposts in New York, Singapore and Auckland.

Main image credit: Millenium Hotels and Resorts

Two seats by hotel balcony

IHG launches new luxury & lifestyle brand, Vignette Collection

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
IHG launches new luxury & lifestyle brand, Vignette Collection

Hotel group IHG has  announced Vignette Collection as its new Luxury & Lifestyle brand, with hotels in Australia and Thailand the first to join the collection…

Vignette Collection becomes the sixth addition to IHG’s brand portfolio in the past four years, taking it to 17 in total across nearly 6,000 hotels in more than 100 countries. The Collection further enriches IHG’s fast-growing Luxury & Lifestyle offer for both leisure and business travellers. 

Two seats by hotel balcony

IHG’s Vignette Collection will give owners of world-class independent hotels the opportunity to retain their distinctive identity, while benefitting from our global scale, Luxury & Lifestyle expertise, and powerful IHG Rewards loyalty programme. These exclusive properties in sought-after urban and resort locations will accelerate IHG’s growth and meet an increasing appetite from travellers for ‘one-of-a-kind’ stays. 

Keith Barr, CEO, IHG Hotels & Resorts, commented: “Our new Vignette Collection gives IHG a compelling way to welcome world-class independent hotels into our brand family, combining each property’s distinctive identity with the power of our global scale. As our first hotels in Australia and Thailand both showcase, each property is as unique as the next, and all will be endorsed by IHG’s trusted reputation for quality. 

“We’ve been strategic with the enhancements we’ve made to our luxury and lifestyle portfolio in recent years, which at more than 400 hotels and 100,000 rooms is the second largest in the industry. We’ve built on the heritage and global success of our InterContinental brand, with the rapid international expansion of Kimpton and Hotel Indigo, and acquisitions of Six Senses and Regent. We expect to attract more than 100 Vignette Collection hotels in 10 years, and the brand will be key to delivering our ambition of industry-leading net rooms growth.”

Among the first hotels to join IHG’s Vignette Collection will be Hotel X, a 5-star hotel, dining and lifestyle destination in the centre of Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley, Australia. Hotel X’s distinctive design and luxurious facilities celebrate this iconic Brisbane neighbourhood through ultra-cool art, Avant Garde lighting and exceptional views of the cityscape

Thailand’s vibrant Pattaya Aquatique hotel will also be one of the first hotels to join the Vignette Collection. Working in collaboration with Thailand’s leading integrated lifestyle real estate group, Asset World Corporation Public Company Limited (AWC), the hotel is based in Pattaya’s Aquatique district, the city’s first iconic lifestyle destination. 

“AWC feels honoured to be the first partner in Asia and one of the first globally to launch a hotel under IHG Hotels & Resorts’ new Vignette Collection,” added Mrs Wallapa Traisorat, CEO and President, AWC. “With the backing of IHG’s global systems and support, we are confident that our unique hotel, located in the vibrant and lively beachfront destination of Pattaya, The Aquatique, will appeal to all travellers seeking inspirational and exceptional experiences.”

Whether it’s a city haven, sun-kissed resort, or beyond, IHG’s Vignette Collection will provide one-of-a-kind stays, with each hotel serving up a distinct service style and character.

Owners of independent hotels and small chains are increasingly attracted to the opportunity to benefit from the scale, expertise and investment of a global hotel brand leader, such as IHG. Those joining IHG’s Vignette Collection will gain rapid access to world class revenue delivery and guest reservation systems, Luxury & Lifestyle expertise, our powerful IHG Rewards loyalty programme, and procurement savings. All of this will come without high upfront costs and each hotel will retain its distinctive identity.

Alongside the significant owner benefits, Vignette Collection will meet the needs of travellers seeking exciting independent stay experiences, and provide a greater choice of outstanding destinations to earn and burn loyalty points. Nowhere is this more sought after than in Luxury & Lifestyle, where the desire for distinct experiences and unique service is permanent.

Seamless conversions of high-quality, unique independent luxury and lifestyle hotels and small portfolios will further fast-track IHG’s growth in a market worth more than $100 billion, and where more than 1.5 million rooms globally are currently independent. Over the next 10 years, IHG expects Vignette Collection to attract more than 100 properties globally.

Main image credit: IHG

Render of suite overlooking city skyline inside W Philadelphia

Now open: W Philadelphia – a racy love letter to the ‘City of Brotherly Love’

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Now open: W Philadelphia – a racy love letter to the ‘City of Brotherly Love’

The highly anticipated wait for the arrival of W Hotels in the Philadelphia is over. The metropolis affectionately known as the ‘City of Brotherly Love’ has welcomed the opening of W Philadelphia to its glowing skyline…

Located in the heart of downtown, W Philadelphia is housed with a 51-storey skyscraper, and its arrival is already being described as a celebration of the city’s street art, musical legacy and historic embrace of originality – as seen through the provocative lens of the W brand. 

Render of suite overlooking city skyline inside W Philadelphia

W Philadelphia is the first W-branded hotel to open in North America since W Aspen in 2019, and follows the unveiling of W Osaka, which, earlier this year, marked the brand’s arrival in Japan.

“Philadelphia is the quintessential city for a W hotel – rebellious, unexpected and original.” – Tom Jarrold, Global Brand Leader, W Hotels Worldwide.

Embracing the same drive, grit and irreverence that sparked our nation’s revolution, the new hotel liberates the city’s traditional rules of luxury through its design as well as a lineup of local creative partners who authenticate and elevate every stay. 

Render of lobby/lounge at W Philadelphia

Image credit: W Hotels

“Philadelphia is the quintessential city for a W hotel – rebellious, unexpected and original,” said Tom Jarrold, Global Brand Leader, W Hotels Worldwide. “Its diverse neighbourhoods and rich history attract travellers from around the country and the world and we are excited to put our unique stamp on its luxury hotel scene.”

From The Sound of Philadelphia and the city’s legendary 1970s nightlife scene to its famed urban grid richly juxtaposed with vibrant green spaces, the design of W Philadelphia is as rich and diverse as the city itself. Punctuated throughout the hotel is an extensive artwork collection, much of it exclusively commissioned by the hotel using the talent of local artists. From abstract murals celebrating urban gardens to oil and digital print portraits of the city’s most famous musicians of the past and present, the art of W Philadelphia is as thoughtful as it is thought-provoking. 

W Philadelphia features 295 guestrooms including 39 suites, which feature floor-to-ceiling windows and breathtaking, panoramic city views. Nods to traditional Pennsylvania craftsmanship can be seen in entry way and bathroom tile patterns as well as Shaker-style chairs at each workspace. Illuminated in the guestrooms are the words of the Declaration of Independence, etched in graffiti font on a custom light fixture. The signature W Bed is made with a bespoke bedspread print – “Philly Toile” – featuring both modern and historical city icons. A throw pillow features the iconic Robert Indiana LOVE statue on one side and, for a playful twist, the word LUST on the opposite side. 

Guestroom over looking the city of Philadelphia

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The hotel’s six suite categories feature oversized soaking tubs and ornate details including Danby marble and Chesterfield-style furnishings, as well as the only private guest balconies of any luxury hotel in the city. Local artwork imagined under the theme of “Collective Independence” is displayed in salon groupings inspired by the impressionist and modern art collections housed at the nearby Barnes Foundation. The WOW and Extreme WOW Suites push the unexpected even further with custom foosball and billiard tables as well as in-room DJ booths.

Wow Suite at W Philadelphia

Render credit: W Hotels

Equally important to the design of a W is each hotel’s sonic identity. Shaping the sounds of W Philadelphia’s music activations is Joshua Lang, a multi-faceted artist with a background in design and music. In addition to spinning regular sets on property as resident DJ, Lang will book DJ talent with his distinct approach to curating the sound and vibe specific to the hotel’s social outlets: think soulful and loungey in the Living Room with funk and soul and high-energy and vibrant house and global dance music on the WET Deck. 

The hotel features an eclectic selection of spaces for guests and locals to socialise as they unwind and indulge. First is the Living Room, with design inspired by the historic sunken gardens of Fairmount Park. By day, coffee from local artisan roaster Rival Bros. will be served in custom ceramics from Philadelphia-based houseware and design studio, Centerpeak, and, by night, craft cocktails curated by famed local mixologist Resa Mueller will flow. The focal point of the Living Room is a wall of hand-painted, custom ceramic skulls which draw inspiration from the Hyrtl Skull Collection at the nearby Mutter Museum and feature references to hip-hop, fashion and garden icons. 

Tucked away behind the skulls and a two-way mirror, guests will find “Stevens’ Prophecy,” a salon adorned with artwork celebrating Hollywood and Philadelphia royalty, Grace Kelly. The name is a reference to the story of Grace Kelly’s high school yearbook superlative in which it was predicted she would become “a famous star of stage and screen.” The salon will soon feature its own specialty menu including small-batch as well as limited-run spirits.  

On the 7th floor, the WET Deck features a heated, year-round pool with intricate, green and blue custom tile work inspired by French parterre pattern, while the WET Deck Bar is adorned with a large-scale, pixelated floral motif from floor to ceiling. All WET Deck Talent will wear custom uniforms from Philadelphia’s own Grant BLVD, a Black-owned sustainable fashion brand that upcycles vintage clothing.  Around the corner, guests will discover a lush green space known as the Secret Garden, where Illuminated busts of Benjamin Franklin and Marie Antoinette are tucked amongst the greenery for a modern twist on traditional garden design. The urban retreat will play host to local pop-ups and host live music performances where guests and locals can discover up-and-coming talent of the musically-driven city. 

Located on the same floor, the AWAY Spa embraces socialisation with a lounge, beauty bar and DJ set-up for private events. AWAY features five treatment rooms inspired by the colour palette and joie de vivre of Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette as well as two large-scale wallpaper prints of Marilyn Minter’s provocative take on beauty and pleasure – Kicksilver and Goldkicker. 

In addition to all of this, the hotel also has more than 45,000 square feet of event space inspired by the brand’s long-standing passion for music. It begins with pre-function space connected by a monumental grand staircase with a dramatic floating chandelier made of 10,000 gold coins as a nod to Philadelphia’s banking history. Alcove seating under the stairs shares space with a locally-produced skull sculpture, another reference to the famed Hyrtl Skull Collection and a signature iconography of rock n’ roll. Each of the 37 meeting rooms flow with natural light and high-design lighting concepts that create the feeling of private recording studios. Lastly, the sun-drenched-by-day Great Room features floor-to-ceiling windows, abstract floral carpeting as well as circular lighting fixtures and shimmering wall finishes that resemble the night sky during evening events. 

Main image credit: W Hotels

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

Living like a local in Portugal – inside Lumiares, Lisbon

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

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

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

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

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

Guestroom - Lumiares Lisbon

Image credit: Lumiares Lisbon

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

Rooftop of Lumiares Lisbon

Image credit: Lumiares Lisbon

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

A gold and black and white open lobby in Lisbon

Image credit: Lumieres Lisbon

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

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

Main image credit: Lumiares Lisbon

Sneak peek inside The St. Regis Longboat Key Resort and Residences

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Sneak peek inside The St. Regis Longboat Key Resort and Residences

Designed by HBA Miami and Mac-Michaels Interior Design, with architecture by SB Architects, The St. Regis Longboat Key Resort and Residences is expected to open in spring 2024. Inside the elegant 166-room resort and 69 private luxury condominiums capture the natural beauty of the Gulf Coast and deliver a sense of relaxed comfort and barefoot luxury. Editor Hamish Kilburn gets a sneak peek inside…

SB Architects, an international architecture firm celebrated for creating spaces that capture the history, culture, and context of each location, has revealed the design for The St. Regis Longboat Key Resort and Residences, a new resort community nestled in the beautiful white sands of the Gulf of Mexico.

Arial view of site where The St Regis Longboat Key will be

Image credit: SB Architects

Situated on a barrier island outside of Sarasota, Florida, The St. Regis Longboat Key is scheduled to break ground this autumn and will deliver luxury seaside living with the amenities and service of a world-class, five-star resort upon opening in spring 2024.

Developed by Unicorp National Developments, the elegant 166-key resort and 69 private luxury condominiums will be distinguished both for the property’s architectural expression and the level of luxury that the St. Regis brand will bring to the locale. SB Architects is working alongside Hirsch Bedner Associates Miami (HBA), Marc-Michaels Interior Design, and Enea Landscape Design to bring the vision to life.

Render of bar in St Regis Longboat Key

Image credit: HBA Miami

Comprised mostly of glass, the buildings feature clean lines, fine detailing, and soaring floor-to-ceiling windows that draw in natural light and showcase stunning coastal views. “Our goal was to create a sense of relaxed comfort and elegance through contemporary design in both the resort and private residences,” said Pinar Harris, SB Architects’ Vice President and Principal. “Drawing inspiration from the existing landscape for materials and celebrating the pristine waters of the Gulf of Mexico through visual connections to the ocean, the design channels the spirit of the St. Regis brand through a timeless expression of barefoot luxury.” 

An immersive experience begins the moment guests and residents arrive, as they enter through a canopy of jacaranda trees. Inside, an entry corridor enhances the view to the ocean through an immersive, barrel-vaulted digital ceiling, where ambient lighting reflects the sky’s spectacular sunset colours daily. Projectors display graceful birds across the ceiling intermittently, capturing a sense of movement and bringing the outdoor environment inside. 

In addition to drawing inspiration from dance-like moments in nature, including the skillful flight of birds along the shore, the resort interiors by HBA honor Sarasota’s culture and history by gesturing toward the intersection of circus and dance. Sarasota is renowned for its performing arts – including The Sarasota Ballet – and for its circus heritage, owing to circus impresario John Ringling, who so loved Sarasota that he chose it for the winter quarters of Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey. Showcasing a clean and natural palette of colours, the contemporary interiors leverage these local insights in subtle touches, such as rope-like chandeliers suspended from the ceiling; an oval-shaped ballroom inspired by aerial rings; and in the St. Regis Bar, a centre feature latticed like a circus cage rising into the ceiling.

In the guestroom corridor, carpet patterns are reminiscent of local ocean currents while flowy drapes drawn over artworks and dramatic lighting add an element of theatrical surprise. Resort guestrooms and luxury residences offer unobstructed views of the ocean, with glass railings creating seamless connections between the outdoor living spaces and natural surroundings. Guestrooms feature wood paneling in the living area and subtle touches of color. Careful layering of materials, such as ceiling paneling with wood grain on the underside of the exterior balconies, complements the natural palette in the interiors and adds a sense of warmth to the architectural expression.

Sophisticated hotel corridor rendering

Image credit: HBA Miami

 The resort features a 20,000 square foot St. Regis Signature Spa, a salt-water lagoon with live fish and sea life, and an open-air Sunset Bar overlooking the Gulf of Mexico, in addition to a meandering drift stream, heated infinity edge pool, beachside event lawns, and business meeting facilities. The private condominiums – ranging from approximately 1,500 to nearly 6,000 square feet – comprise three six-story buildings and offer residents access to the amenities at St. Regis Resort & Spa, in addition to their own dedicated private amenities, including a waterfront pool and spa with a privacy sundeck and Resident’s Clubhouse featuring a world-class Wellness Center with meditation and yoga studios. Each residence will feature expansive terraces – some with infinity edge plunge pools – and a secured private access elevator opening directly into the residence.

Main image credit: SB Architects/HBA Miami

SVART in Norway - hotel concepts

Hotel concepts: Wild & wonderful hotel developments

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel concepts: Wild & wonderful hotel developments

To celebrate this month’s feature of ‘hotel concepts’, editor Hamish Kilburn puts some interesting hotel developments under the spotlight – some more realistic than others – that are currently on his radar…

As with any brief to source new and truly innovative ideas, to find hotel concepts that were really going against the tide I needed to look outside what I already knew leading designers, architects and hospitality experts were currently working on.

SVART in Norway - hotel concepts

Recently, I was lucky enough to sit on the judging panel for the Accor Design Awards, an initiative that was launched by the hotel group in order to celebrate and champion young student designers globally. In doing so, the panel of judges were able to see, from the unmatched perspective of bold, fearless young designers who have not yet made a name for themselves, an unedited landscape of ideas that naturally challenged the conventional approach to design, architecture and hospitality. From hovering hotels to floating vessels, each idea was supported by solutions for the industry moving forward.

Inspired by this year’s shortlist of finalists, I made it my mission to see what other hotel concepts are out there. From space hotels, to floating suites and a plethora of sustainable architecture concepts that will take hospitality into a new era, here’s what I found…

NOMADish – a conscious floating hotel

Our first hotel concept to look at in this feature was born out of that awards – and won not only the judges over but also the public. Manon Figuier, Victoire Datchary, Mathéo Maurel, Harold Loquillard from L’Ecole de Design Nantes Atlantique, whose project NOMADish provided an innovative solution that hit the three key goals: overall guest experience, element of surprise and delight, and consideration for social, economic, and environmental responsibility, won the first prize. They also won the Public Choice Award, voted for by the general public via our bespoke online award voting platform.

The concept drawn up by the team of students allowed guests to shelter themselves in their own floating pod, that would allow them also to explore the city and never wake up to the same view twice. In addition to showcasing a new hospitality experience, the team also confronted sustainability by utilsing the power of hydrogen to fuel this approach.

Tetra Hotel

Tetra Hotel

Image credit: Tetra Hotel

No, the aliens have not landed (not yet anyway). Tetra Hotel is a concept drawn up by David Ajasa-Adekunle who has reimagined the ‘pod’ hotel in such an innovative way. His idea to build Tetra Hotel combined the use of symmetrical rows of rhombus-like geometric ‘pods’ that sit lining the banks of a glacial river in Iceland. According to other reports, every room will feature a multi-storey configuration, starting with a work area on the ground floor, moving through an entertaining space on the middle, and finally a top-floor bedroom and shower situated beneath an enormous skylight.

SVART – the world’s first ‘energy-positive’ hotel 

Image credit: Snøhetta/Plompmozes/Miris

The 99-key Svart hotel, which we believe is still on track for opening in 2022, will incorporate stilted, circular design, and will be positioned atop of the Holandsfjorden Fjord, allowing guests to enjoying an unparalleled 360-degree view of the Svartisen Glacier. We have been privileged to follow this concept from very early development, to when it announced its interior design team – and more recently by inviting the team to speak on the Hotel Designs LIVE platform.

To reach hefty sustainability goals, several cutting-edge design choices have been made. Architects working on the project first conducted an extensive mapping-out of how solar radiation behaves in relation to mountainous context throughout the year, in order to optimise energy output. The findings influenced the design of the hotel, with hotel rooms, restaurants and terraces strategically placed within a circular design to exploit the sun’s energy no matter the time of day or season.

The hotel’s roof will be clad with Norwegian solar panels that were produced using clean, hydro-energy. This will further reduce overall carbon footprint, while energy-intensive building materials such as structural steel and concrete have been avoided as much as possible.

The space hotel – will it happen?

The Axiom space station hotel - interior design

Image credit: Philippe Starck

The space race is on, it seems. Following numerous rumours and ignored press releases, there seems to be a buzz in the air that space travel – and dare I say it hospitality – is not a question of ‘will it happen’ but more ‘when will it happen’. Sir Richard Branson recently flew to the edge of space on aboard a rocket-powered plane, 22 years after he created the Virgin Galactic brand that aims to fuel a brand-new tourism industry. Aside from moral questions regarding sustainability and whether or not there is a ‘need’ for space travel, it has undoubtedly floated the idea of space hotels on our radars.

While the headlines were publishing Branson’s achievements, 250 miles above the earth in the wilderness of space, with cabins designed by the world-renowned Philippe Starck, the idea of Axiom space station, which is the brainchild of former NASA chiefs, is coming together and has a ‘launch date of 2024. Costing a reported $2 million, the Axiom station is intended to become the first ever free-flying, globally available private space station, which is planning to launch in 2024. Although its manufacturing requires space engineers, the interiors have been handed over to French industrial architect and hotel design legend Philippe Starck who will have the honour of designing the cabins inside – think “nest-like comfort” – that will frame panoramic views of our home planet below.

GAIA hospitality concept

Render of floating hotel in Dubai

Image credit: AMA Design

With the aim to design a hotel resort that offers guests an unparalleled at-one-with-nature experience, AMA Design has developed a hospitality concept called GAIA, a floating eco hotel that pushes boundaries to re-connect people with nature. The concept has been designed to fit into its context. Respecting its natural environment in a light and positive way whilst considering sustainable design and circular economy principles, the hotel fits into an emerging contemporary ‘Eco-Gothic’ style. Built from pre-fabricated lightweight composites from boat technology, finishes will be all natural such as bamboo and timber so that visitors are immersed in a natural environment framed with the sky and sea.

Al fresco guestrooms

a room in the middle of nowhere

Image credit: Zero Real Estate/Appenzellerland

We’re not over this trend, which we first highlighted this time last year following us identifying an undeniable demand for one-off travel experiences that allow travellers to be ‘at one’ with nature. Well, you can’t get more connected to the elements than this. New hotel concepts continue to emerge showing completely open-air rooms in the middle of nowhere. One of the developers that is leading the way is the aptly named Zero Real Estate. The theory behind the layout, with the bed being perched on a wooden platform, is that the natural landscape becomes the backdrop. Removing surfaces altogether to eliminate boundaries is a drastic strategy in the post-pandemic world, which will not work for everyone, but it certainly works to deepen one-off experiences for luxury modern travellers.

Main image credit: SVART

Virgin Hotels - collage of Las Vegas property

In pictures: Inside Virgin Hotels, Las Vegas

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In pictures: Inside Virgin Hotels, Las Vegas

Leading New York-based hospitality design studio Rockwell Group has unveiled new images of its designs of the public areas inside Virgin Hotels’ new property in Las Vegas – and it’s everything and more we were expecting it to be…

Virgin Hotels - collage of Las Vegas property

Leading New York based interdisciplinary architecture and design firm Rockwell Group, which recently completed the design scheme inside Moxy South Beachhas unveiled its design of the interiors of Virgin Hotel’s debut property in Las Vegas, which is a re-conceptualised and revitalised property in the former Hard Rock Hotel.

The design studio’s authentic ability to push boundaries to disrupt and challenge conventional hospitality and design in a meaningful way is probably the reason why it has been developing Virgin’s signature playful spirit since 2015, when the firm designed Richard Branson’s first Virgin Hotel in Chicago in 2015.

Naturally, therefore, Rockwell Group was appointed to design the ‘Virgin Spaces’ that surround the main casino, including a new porte cochère and entry experience – The Junction – as well as a check-in area for guests, the Commons Club and the Commons Club Restaurant and the Shag Room. The studio also designed two additional bars within the main casino and transformed the lobbies throughout the hotel. 

Image caption: Check-in lobby inside Virgin Las Vegas. | Image credit: Nikolas Koenig

Image caption: Check-in lobby inside Virgin Las Vegas. | Image credit: Nikolas Koenig

The hotel, which first entered our radar earlier this year, is situated a few miles away from the iconic Strip, and Rockwell Group chose to accentuate this separation by creating a luxury destination that taps into the wider context of the desert landscape with pure forms and sculptural moments. The public spaces within the hotel reference desert modernism and, wherever possible, blur the lines between indoors and out, with glazing and an outdoor terrace.

With limited creative inspiration in a city that was effectively built in the wilderness (a strong part of its allure, of course), the design team envisioned taking guests on an adventure along a desert highway, spotted with natural wonders and follies – a clear homage to the city of Las Vegas and its surrounding desert landscape. The neutral, natural material palette includes flagstone flooring and rammed earth walls with pops of Virgin’s signature red, agate stones, and greenery. The result is an inclusive series of lounge and dining spaces that invite guests to linger and explore.

A new entrance welcomes guests with monumental, rammed earth walls, a cactus garden planted in a dune-like setting, and a striking geometric breezeblock wall. The dramatic centerpiece of the porte-cochère is an angular canopy clad in reflective gold metal, while red tiles frame the entry portal, signifying the Virgin brand and contrasting with the neutral rammed earth that surrounds it.

The Junction – the main lobby, gathering, and lounge space – announces Virgin Las Vegas’s departure from the Vegas norm and helps guests orientate themselves. A plywood, coffered, hung ceiling undulates throughout the space creating an impressive sculptural setting with light wells that glow at night. 

Alongside the Junction, the design team have designed a more private space – the Harmony Lobby, which houses a VIP check-in and a bar. A long communal library table in front of a fluted wooden screen features a record player and earphones, inviting guests to linger, surrounded by a central mirror-clad ceiling cove that unites all the spaces and features acrylic chandeliers that seem to float above.

Image caption: The bar inside the Commons Club. | Image credit: Nikolas Koenig

Image caption: The bar inside the Commons Club. | Image credit: Nikolas Koenig

Extending from the lobby, the Commons Club features a bar surrounded by a casual dining area that spills out onto an expansive terrace. The circular bar sits under a sculptural dome that terminates in a 20-foot diameter skylight with a diffused pattern. The bar die is composed of crushed, coloured glass inspired by rammed earth, while the back bar features a circular, sculptural tower composed of angular, mirrored panels that surround a glowing crystal centre inspired by cracked earth. Curved metal screens embellished with agates surround the back bar and create a sense of intimacy.

Sitting next to the Commons Club, its namesake restaurant features central banquette seating framed in light-coloured wood that sits under a recessed cork ceiling and pendant lights. Dining tables are made of an unexpected wood chip terrazzo and the seating niches at the perimeter of the restaurant feature art and breezeblock detailing. 

Image caption: The Shag Room. | Image caption: The bar inside the Commons Club. | Image credit: Nikolas Koenig

The Shag Room, a casual yet sumptuous bar and lounge is accessed through a speakeasy photobooth entrance and features plush soft seating and banquettes in shades of purple and red upholstery with shag carpet surrounding a conversation pit. Swooping Persian carpets hang from the ceiling, and the main bar is hidden behind dramatic drapery. 

Elsewhere in the hotel, the team at Rockwell Group have made interventions to the floor and ceiling landscapes in the casino area, with a red carpet design that mimics curving tracks in the sand dunes and ensures design continuity throughout the hotel and the casino.  

Meanwhile, the guestrooms and suites were designed by Los Angeles-based Studio Collective, which has previously completed projects inside Hotel June, Hotel Figueroa and The Landsby Inn.

The rooms inside Virgin Las Vegas are spread over three distinctive towers – Opal, Canyon and the all-suite Ruby Tower. These spaces manage to balance the vibrancy of Las Vegas yet remain calm and inviting for guests checking in.

Main image credit: Nikolas Koenig

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

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

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

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

Image credit: Hyatt Hotels

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Hyatt Hotels

Exterior of Ruby Ella

It’s ‘show time’: Ruby Hotels arrives in Cologne, Germany

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
It’s ‘show time’: Ruby Hotels arrives in Cologne, Germany

Ruby Hotels, which shelters the well-known ‘lean luxury’ hospitality concept, has opened a 186-key hotel in Cologne.“Ruby goes Late-Night” is now the motto at Ruby Ella – and becomes the brand’s 11th hotel property…

Exterior of Ruby Ella

Ruby Hotels, the Munich-based hotel brand that first launched in 2013 with the innovative ‘Lean Luxury’ philosophy, led by hospitality pioneer CEO and Founder Michael Struck, has opened its first hotel in the city of Cologne. Ruby Ella, the 11th hotel of the Ruby Group ,designed by Matthew Balon, is located in a prime downtown location: the former Capitol area, famous for its rich history in TV studios and entertainment.

Lobby inside Ruby Ella in Cologne

Image credit: Ruby Hotels

The hotel group already has a strong portfolio in Germany, with properties in Munich, Hamburg, Stuttgart and two hotels in Dusseldorf. In recent years, Struck and his team have been acquiring properties outside continental Europe, entering the UK hospitality arena with opening of Ruby Lucy on London’s Southbank. And the narrative continues to unfold… the brand is now expanding into Asia with the joint venture Ruby Asia, founded in 2018.

Inside Ruby Ella

The 186 rooms are spread over six floors and take guests into the legendary world of late-night shows, paying homage to Cologne’s status as the most important media location in Germany. The public areas with check-in, bar & café are located on the first floor of the impressive new building, which is ideally situated in the city centre on the Hohenzollernring and in the immediate vicinity of the trendy Belgischen Viertel. As in all Ruby Hotels, the Ruby Ella Bar is open 24 hours a day for Cologne locals and provides an enrichment on the Hohenzollernring nightlife mile. Where once iconic German hosts like Harald Schmidt and Stefan Raab offered late-night shows of the highest class, today the Ruby Ella Show presents itself. Large illuminated signs, a typical stage with talk show host desk & guest chair, a colourful mix of vintage furniture and quite a few props from the cult late-night show times of the 90s can be found in the public areas. Highlights include an original camera crane, the eight-meter-long “Show Time” vintage lettering on the ceiling and the show band instruments suspended in front of it. 

Bar at Ruby Ella

Image credit: Ruby Hotels

The centrepiece is the 24/7 bar with its quilted turquoise leather fronts that echo the typical look of old leather chairs and contrast excitingly with red marble and raw brass. Urban charm is provided by the open concrete walls that run throughout the hotel and rooms. These also show the typical Ruby signature: high open ceilings, fresh bright white, glass rain showers integrated into the room as well as wooden wall paneling and high-quality oak floors. The design highlight above each bed is the “Late-Night” moon lamp whose cable depicts the skyline of Cologne.          

The new building, set back in the quiet courtyard of the former Capitol, is located in the heart of Cologne. In addition to numerous restaurants and cafés, there are opportunities for shopping, as well as several cinemas and clubs, making the Hohenzollernring one of the most popular promenades, especially among young people. It takes five minutes by public transport from Friesenplatz to the main train station and 25 minutes to Cologne/Bonn Airport.            

The building, designed by architect Christoph Ingenhoven according to the highest sustainability standards, is impressive even at first glance. A particular eye-catcher are the almost 100 trees and shrubs planted in a staggered pattern on the hotel. The planting concept came from Swiss landscape designer Enzo Enea. Cologne-born Daniel Suré is taking over the management of Ruby Ella. The experienced hotel manager has already worked in renowned hotels in Switzerland and Germany. “The location of our Ruby Ella between the Belgischen Viertel and the Gerlingquartier is perfect for discovering the Cologne lifestyle on your own,” said Suré. Whether on a business trip or a city break, in just a few steps you’re right in the middle of the action.”

The hotel and rooms follow Ruby’s Lean Luxury philosophy: a location in the heart of the city, top design and high-quality amenities with the essentials, and remains an affordable option, by consistently dispensing with superfluous and non-essentials. This works because, following the example of modern luxury yachts, we accommodate our luxury in a relatively small area and simply leave out non-essentials,” explained Struck. “We also organise ourselves with the help of our own technical solutions in a completely different way than is usual in the industry. We plan and build more modularly, centralise more strongly and automate consistently behind the scenes. This helps us to make a luxurious and unique hotel experience affordable for our guests.”

Main image credit: Ruby Hotels

Marriott’s Tribute Portfolio debuts in Ibiza

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Marriott’s Tribute Portfolio debuts in Ibiza

Located on the shores of bohemian Santa Eulalia Bay, Hotel Riomar, Ibiza, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel is surrounded by the island’s crystal-clear waters on one side, and idyllic rolling landscapes on the other. Situated on the water’s edge, the newly opened hotel will bring balance and serenity through a harmonious connection with nature…

Where the river meets the sea, a place of natural wonder from which energies are channeled you will find Hotel Riomar, Ibiza, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel, which marks the brand’s arrival onto the ‘White Isle’.

The 116 guestrooms offer stunning views of Ibiza’s glistening waters, the island’s rural surroundings and historic landmarks including the 16th Century Puig de Missa. The minimalist, timeless design features a calming monochrome palette interspersed with accents of warm earthy reds, inspired by Ibiza’s iron-rich soil.

Gastronomy, mixology and relaxed vibes meet at the Ocean Brasserie & Bar, offering guests the chance to enjoy casual alfresco dining, kick back in one of the pool cabanas, or wind down at the hotel’s acoustic music nights set in the ‘Secret Garden’. The brasserie lounge extends to the outdoor terraces, making an affirmed connection to life under the sun and concealed within shade. Light flows, energy stays the same. Bar life intimacy; secluded moments on show. Restaurante Riomar exudes style from breakfast to dinner.

Pool in Ibiza

Image credit: Marriott International

Tribute Portfolio is a growing global family of characterful, independent hotels drawn together by its passion for captivating design drive to create vibrant social scenes for guests and locals alike. With more than 32 hotels open and growing, Tribute Portfolio has struck a chord with those who seek out independent experiences and crave a connection with the community when traveling. From boutique resorts like Inn at Rancho Santa Fe in California and urban hotels such as The Vagabond Club in Singapore, to hotels in indie-spirited locales like Noelle in Nashville and The Slaak in Rotterdam, each Tribute Portfolio hotel celebrates its individuality offering travellers a fresh, often colourful, perspective.

Main image credit: Marriott International

Guestroom in qingdao overlooking ocean

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

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

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

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

Guestroom in qingdao overlooking ocean

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

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

Image credit: Marriott International

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

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

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

Lobby Chandelier inside St. Regis Qingdao

Image credit: Marriott International

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Marriott International

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more.

Virtual roundtable: Colour & personality in the bathroom

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

Read more.

Now open: Inside Ace Hotel Brooklyn

Guestroom inside Ace Hotel Brooklyn

Image credit: Ace Hotel Brooklyn

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

Read more.

Design London to make its London Design Festival debut in September

Design London

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

Read more. 

Bathroom trends: Black accessories for a touch of luxury

Bathroom black accessories

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

Read more.

Since you’re here…

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

Click here to sign up to our newsletter.

Collage of interior images of inside the Ace Hotel Brooklyn

Now open: Inside Ace Hotel Brooklyn

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Now open: Inside Ace Hotel Brooklyn

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

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

Collage of interior images of inside the Ace Hotel Brooklyn

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Guestroom inside Ace Hotel Brooklyn

Image credit: Ace Hotel Brooklyn

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

Main image credit: Ace Hotel Brooklyn

A private outdoor bathroom and sunbeds overlooking sea

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

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In pictures: The Royal Senses Resort, Curio Collection by Hilton

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

A private outdoor bathroom and sunbeds overlooking sea

Situated on a serene, undisturbed coast outside the picturesque village of Panormos, a brand-new haven awaits the modern nomad. Combining Crete’s rich heritage with exceptional experiences of the here and now, the Royal Senses is the latest chapter in lifestyle hospitality from the Troulis Royal Collection.

Positioned right next to its sister property, the recently renovated seafront Royal Blue with its 100-acre premises, the Royal Senses makes its mission to go above and beyond that of a typical luxury family resort. As a true ambassador of Crete’s rugged beauty, the Royal Senses is deeply intertwined with the landscape of the island and the character of its people, while still maintaining a cosmopolitan aura.

Villas and guestrooms at the Crete hotel

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

Built with togetherness as a guiding principle, the resort’s 179 suites and villas connect seamlessly with their natural surroundings. Accommodations range from spacious 35-square-metre rooms, where undisturbed sea views and natural furnishing materials bring to mind a private cove, to ultra-luxurious 200-square-meter villas with amenities such as private infinity pools organically carved from the rock that surrounds the island. Ever present is the element of water: the four large communal pools and the 74 private infinity pools lined with elegant sun loungers and cabanas seem to cascade from level to level, creating a sense of motion that stirs the soul of the traveller.

For Zacharias, Kostas and Manolis Troulis, co-owners of the Troulis Royal Collection, this project showcases their lifelong dedication to Crete. “We are fully committed to our responsibility to the island, its people and our cultural heritage,” they said. “We wish to show guests all sides of the Cretan identity and embed ourselves purposefully into the texture of the island.”

The celebration of Cretan roots has been the main driving force behind the resort’s overall architectural and design approach. “The landscape’s rough beauty creates a wonderful juxtaposition with the clean, minimal lines of the buildings,” said Nikos Peppas and Katerina Tsiolaki, of Peppas N Architects, when describing the project. “We designed and positioned all buildings in such way that ensured unobstructed views to the endless blue of the Aegean Sea, wherever you are.”

The interior design project was awarded to Constantina Tsoutsikou while she was Creative Director at Hirsch Bedner Associates (HBA) London. Following her departure from HBA, Tsoutsikou became the founder and creative director of the new London-based high-concept practice, Studio Lost. Her task, outlined in the original brief, was to showcase the owners’ genuine commitment to local authenticity in a modern way.

Since you’re here, why not listen to our podcast episode with Constantina Tsoutsikou?

“We wanted to create a destination that benefits local communities,” explained Tsoutsikou, who briefed local artisans in their workshops and on-site. “I found a wealth of excellent craftsmanship and local techniques that informed the design as we went along. We created handcrafted bespoke furniture, repurposed items, objects and artwork that celebrate the artisanal skills of the islanders throughout.”

Pastel colour scheme in luxury hotel guestroom

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

The rooms and suites, all flowing towards their outdoor terrace, are built to remind the contemporary globetrotter exactly where they are — with framed views of the Cretan sea setting the tone. Earthy and textural, every guest room features carpentry and furniture from highly skilled local third-generation craftsmen (many of whom make their living by building traditional fishing boats), while furnishings, such as the cushions, are entirely made by hand in traditional motifs from the local women weavers association. The walls, treated with softly textured paint and cornices, are subtly marked out with traditional Cretan patterning, whereas the juxtaposition of rough and smooth surfaces mirrors the untamed character of the island itself.

All rooms maximise the time spent outdoors celebrating views and private pools, while the dark metal finishes and details such as leather wrapped door handles add an extra layer of depth in the overall look and feel. The open, boundless, layout connects the indoors with the outdoors and invites guests to enjoy these generous, calm spaces in their entirety.

At the Royal Senses, the traveller is called to connect with a community of kindred souls and experience a renewed sense of ancient mindfulness. This sense of community is highlighted by the fact that guests can seamlessly traverse across both resorts. Experienced in tandem, the Royal Blue’s private beach and marina and the iconic hilltop views of the Royal Senses set the tone for a holistic exploration that goes beyond the beaten path. Here, Crete’s multifaceted culture and ceaseless joie de vivre can be taken in at one’s leisure.

Sunbeds overlooking pristine sea

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

As celebrating locality is of the utmost importance for the resort, the three restaurants (two of which offer la carte menus) and the various pop-up food bars at the Marketplace honour Crete’s rich culinary tradition in various ways. Along with four bars, these dining locales create the perfect backdrop for precious moments together.

True to the spirit of engagement and togetherness, the resort provides travellers a plethora of distinctive experiences to help them connect with the island and one another. At the farm, visitors can stroll the fragrant hillside, discover a cornucopia of local herbs and harvest their own fruits and vegetables. Guests may also enjoy the resort’s unique Marketplace – a home to curated selections from small-farm producers and local artisans, blending tradition with a contemporary shopping experience.

Last but by no means least, guests can luxuriate at an activity spa offering therapies that exclusively utilise Cretan herbs, as well as a heated pool, leaving them radiating with serenity and relaxation.

Rustic, authentic, joyful and proud, the Royal Senses Hotel & Spa is above all a contemporary interpretation of the Cretan soul.

Main image credit: The Royal Senses Resort, Curio Collection by Hilton

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

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

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

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

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

Accor announces the signing of SO/ Maldives

S/O Maldives - accor

Image credit: Accor

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

Read more. 

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

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

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

Read more.

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

Collection of 3D-printed chairs

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

Read more.

Locke opens first hotel in continental Europe

Image credit: Locke

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

Read more.

5 minutes with: Interior designer Biagio Forino

Biagio Forino Hilton Venice

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

Read more.

Trend alert: Scandi style in the bathroom

Modern scandi bathroom

Image credit: VitrA

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

Read more. 

Since you’re here…

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

Click here to sign up to our newsletter.

Locke hotel in Munich

Locke opens first hotel in continental Europe

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Locke opens first hotel in continental Europe

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

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

Locke hotel in Munich

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

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

Image credit: Locke

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

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

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

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

Image credit: Locke

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

Main image credit: Locke

Biagio Forino Hilton Venice

5 minutes with: Interior designer Biagio Forino

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
5 minutes with: Interior designer Biagio Forino

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

Biagio Forino Hilton Venice

Born in Salerno, (Milanese by adoption), Biagio Forino opened his studio in 1987 dedicating himself with passion to his work, in the constant search for beauty and taking care of every detail for an overall result in harmony. “My work is an expression of my way of life,” he says. “The intellectual dimension of research and meticulous design is always accompanied by the realisation aspect in every little one detail, with rigour and technical efficiency, from building practices to the search for works of art, for the transformation of dreams into reality ”

Most recently, the designer was asked to renovate the suites inside Hilton Molino Stucky Venice, which emerged following Hilton’s Travel with Purpose commitment, which states: “By 2030, we [Hilton] are committed to double our investment in social impact and cut our environmental footprint in half through responsible hospitality across our value chain.”

Arial view of Hilton Venice

Image credit: Hotel Hilton Molino Stucky Venice

Formerly a flour mill factory on the peaceful island of Giudecca, the hotel is a modern Venetian masterpiece steeped in history. The historically listed building has been exquisitely restored with a series of recent refurbishments including sophisticated deluxe rooms and new spacious elegant suites – some offering guests enviable views of picture-perfect Venice.

After arriving at Hilton Molino Stucky Venice by water taxi, guests are spoiled for choice with 379 rooms and suites, one of the largest spas in Venice, an unrivalled conference centre and a collection of bars and restaurants. The new Presidential Suite at Hilton Molino Stucky Venice is the tallest and largest suite in town with private access to the hotel’s popular rooftop pool and bar. Fondly referred to as the First Lady Suite following a visit by Michelle Obama herself, the spacious new Presidential Suite is designed with tranquil blue and silver interiors, large floor-to-ceiling windows allowing natural light to illuminate the delicate Murano glass vases.

“My goal was to ensure that after a day of cultural visits in the most beautiful and unique city in the world, customers feel the desire and pleasure to return to Hilton Molino Stucky Venice to relax.” – Biagio Forino, Founder, Studio Forino.

Hamish Kilburn: What was your biggest challenge designing the new suites and presidential suite?

Biagio Forino: The existing suites were extremely dark and dusty. The furniture was dark wood with black leather headboards and carpeted floors. My biggest challenge was to transform the suites into a light and bright environment using soft colours enriched with touches of brilliant colours.

Dining area inside the presidential suite inside Hilton Molino Stucky Venice

Image credit: Hotel Hilton Molino Stucky Venice

HK: Tell us a bit more about the materials you used during this project…

BF: When I entrusted the realisation of my project to the ‘Status Contract’, I made sure that all materials were used with the certifications that guaranteed compliance with the regulations to safeguard ecology. From the use of glues, of woods, to the materials used for the upholstery of the sofas, the mattresses of the beds, the lighting with low energy consumption, the air control systems, etc!

Aside from the original darkness inside the rooms, another challenge was to make the suites as comfortable as possible making sure that the technology was present but integrated and harmonised with the very warm and welcoming yet contemporary style. Among the various materials used, I focused on one in particular for the bedside tables and desks using carbon because I wanted to bring the technology of boats into the furniture since we are in a city of sea also famous for its Moro Di Venezia.

HK: The views from the hotel are incredible! As you have now designed the tallest and newest suite in Venice, do you have a favourite viewpoint of the city from the new suites?

BF: Obviously, from all the Tower Suites the view is very beautiful but certainly my favourite is from the top of the tower which is accessed from the top floor of the Presidential Suite which allows you to see Venice at 360 degrees. It is truly a breathtaking view, a privilege that I wish everyone to be able to give themselves at least once in their life.

View from terrace of Molino Presidential Suite

Image credit: Hilton Molino Stucky Venice


HK: How would you describe your signature design style?  

BF: Elegant, sophisticated and welcoming

HK: How do you hope guests feel when staying in the new suites and presidential suite at Hilton Molino Stucky Venice?

BF: My goal was to ensure that after a day of cultural visits in the most beautiful and unique city in the world, customers feel the desire and pleasure to return to Hilton Molino Stucky Venice to relax and rethink the wonders they enjoyed and experienced.

HK: What projects is Studio Forino working on now/have in the pipeline?

BF: We are working on several projects for private clients and open public space areas. We are transforming two wonderful historic villas, one in Forte Dei Marmi in Tuscany and one in San Michele Di Pagana, not far from Portofino, in two luxury bed and breakfasts equipped with every comfort. In short, Studio Forino is busy!

Main image credit: Studio Forino/Hilton Hotels

S/O Maldives - accor

Accor announces the signing of SO/ Maldives

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

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

S/O Maldives - accor

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

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

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

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

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

Arrival at S/O Maldives

Image credit: Accor

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Accor

LXR-Mango-House-Seychelles-Main-House-Infinity-Pool_HR

LXR Hotels & Resorts arrives in Seychelles

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
LXR Hotels & Resorts arrives in Seychelles

Situated on southern Mahé’s pristine beachfront, the island oasis, Mango House, LXR Hotels & Resorts’ debut property in Seychelles promises guests a bespoke barefoot luxury experience…

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

LXR-Mango-House-Seychelles-Main-House-Infinity-Pool_HR

Stretching along the edge of the Anse Aux Poules Bleues, a sparkling calm bay with shallow clear waters, Mango House provides a convivial retreat where guests can explore Mahé’s breath-taking canvas of sun, sea, and sand all the while enjoying a handcrafted hospitality experience.

Originally built as a family dwelling by celebrated Italian photographer Gian Paolo Barbieri, this idyllic hideaway is nestled amongst the revitalising fragrance of surrounding fruit trees and offers a sense of home in a private and secluded location. All 41 impeccably designed guest rooms, suites, and villas offer unobstructed ocean views, adorned with distinctive natural décor echoing the rugged beauty of the Seychelles.

LXR-Mango-House-Seychelles-Bay-House_HR“We are thrilled to unveil this incredible property, which brings a truly unique guest experience to the shores of Mahé,” said Jochem-Jan Sleiffer, President, Middle East, Africa, and Turkey, Hilton. “Mango House sees the debut of Hilton’s luxury LXR brand to the Seychelles, joining our Hilton and DoubleTree by Hilton properties already welcoming guests, and the Waldorf Astoria and Canopy by Hilton hotels currently under development. The archipelago has long been a sought-after destination by discerning travellers who visit the islands for their vibrant tropical atmosphere and world-class hospitality. From immersive cultural experiences and bespoke service to locally inspired dining concepts, guests will be enamoured by all that Mango House has to offer.”

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

Image credit: Hilton Hotels

“Mango House has an abundance of captivating stories to be told and we cannot wait to share them with our guests,” said Feisal Jaffer, global head, LXR Hotels & Resorts. “Developed in harmony with its surroundings, Mango House mirrors the traditions of southern Mahé folklore, with the fascinating Seychellois culture woven into every aspect of the personalised guest experience. This fabulous property is an outstanding addition to our exclusive collection of LXR properties in alluring locations around the world and we look forward to welcoming guests to a magical experience.”

Staying true to the LXR brand, every element of Mango House is connected to its surroundings with a focus on sustainability and supporting local businesses where possible. Guests have the opportunity to explore the turquoise waters of the Anse Aux Poules Bleus bay and its kaleidoscope of flora and fauna through an exciting range of non-motorised water sport activities, such as kayaking and snorkelling. Locally sourced products can be found throughout the property, from the ingredients used in its mouth-watering delicacies to the handcrafted products at its wellness sanctuary, anpe.

Meaning ‘at peace’ in Creole, anpe offers personalised treatments that embrace the power of touch, delivered by skilled therapists in treatment suites overlooking the glittering Indian Ocean for the ultimate relaxation experience. Product ingredients have been carefully selected and blended to harness the power of local plants and natural resources. Together with a well-appointed fitness area, Mango House promises a complete sensory experience, allowing guests to conveniently relax and rejuvenate throughout their stay.

Guests will continue their sensational journeys through five world-class dining venues and bars showcasing distinct Mango House flavours –not to mention locally inspired menus with each concept promising a unique culinary experience.

Whether looking for spectacular views or pure tranquillity, guests can choose between the main infinity pool and the oval-shaped pool located next to Soley. Meanwhile, those in search for the ultimate family getaway can book an exclusive nestled cluster of 13 guest rooms. Known as Cliff House, the largest villa in the Seychelles comes complete with its own private elevated pool. Parents also need not worry about keeping kids entertained – Mango Pips, a programme specifically created for children, promises to take youngsters on a journey of curiosity, education, and adventure while the grown-ups enjoy curated experiences that will last a lifetime, from sunset yoga sessions and trekking through Mahé’s lush green forests, to traditional rock fishing and canvas painting.

Main image credit: Hilton Hotels

Interiors unveiled of The Springwoods Club Palm Tree Hotel in Heyuan, China

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Interiors unveiled of The Springwoods Club Palm Tree Hotel in Heyuan, China

Emotion derived from balance of nature, relaxation and luxury are all cues that have inspired the design narrative, led by Hirsch Bedner Associates Los Angeles (HBA), inside The Springwoods Club Palm Tree Hotel in Heyuan, China…

Design firm Hirsch Bedner Associates Los Angeles (HBA), which recently completed Hotel Carmichael, Autograph Collection and joined us for Hotel Designs LIVE in May, has unveiled the public area design of The Springwoods Club Palm Tree Hotel in Heyuan, Guangdong, China, bringing welcoming luxury, tranquility and the brilliance of nature together in perfect harmony.

14_Springwoods Palm_Courtyard

Image credit: The Springwoods Club Palm Tree Hotel

Sophisticated simplicity, synchronicity of the five elements, the alluring destination and the natural landscape establish the foundation of the design concept. The award-winning hospitality design firm drew inspiration from the scenic mountains of Heyuan and the property’s lakefront locale to achieve balanced interiors and a bespoke sanctuary of calm.

“The design brief was to utilise the natural beauty of the lake and surrounding topography as our muse to create serene environments and an overall respite from hectic city life,” said HBA Los Angeles Partner Kathleen Dauber. “There is a transformative moment when the morning mist enveloping the lake and scenery clears, revealing the setting’s radiance and tranquility. We embraced the emotion felt in that sense of discovery in writing the narrative of this project’s design.”

Guided by Eastern philosophies and a transitional mindset, HBA Los Angeles designers composed the public spaces with layered symmetry in a natural palette of wood and stone. Wood-beamed ceilings and sculpted archways in the voluminous lobby and lounge gracefully bring in elements of Mediterranean style, while floor-to-ceiling windows fill the space with natural light and usher in an airy ambiance. Vignettes and congenial seating groups create moments of intimacy without sacrificing social opportunities.

The themes of natural materiality and the balance of luxury and comfort are carried through the corridors, instituting an intuitive flow, as well as into the meeting spaces, VIP room, sauna room and patio dining area. In the ballroom, backlit glass screens line the perimeter of the ceiling and illuminate the space, while structural columns and wood paneling to wainscoting height cultivate a comfortable sense of enclosure. Cedar surfaces the sauna room with a Himalayan salt installation that acts as an artistic focal point in addition to a functional element. On the outdoor dining patio, textural walls of wood wrap the space to direct views of the picturesque lake, greenery and mountains.

Many of the furnishings throughout the public areas are custom crafted of carved wood and stone in organic shapes, balancing the grand scale of the interiors with tactile touchpoints, exceptional artisanship and refined detailing. All areas of the property are focused on the views outward, providing a visual connection to the outdoors.

Main image credit: HBA

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are the top stories from the last few days…

Hard Rock Hotels arrives in Madrid

Render credit: Hard Rock Hotel Madrid

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

Read more.

Exclusive: Meet the designer behind London Design House

London Design House

Image credit: London Design House

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

Read more. 

Virgin Hotels to arrive in New Orleans this summer

Image credit: Virgin Hotels

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

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

Read more. 

Richmond International unveils new interiors at The Langham, Boston

luxe suite inside Langham Boston

Image credit: Langham Hotels

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

Read more.

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

Sky Pool London

Image credit: Ballymore and EcoWorld Ballymore.

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

Read more. 

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

The Brit List Awards 2021

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

Read more.

Since you’re here…

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

Click here to sign up to our newsletter.

Hard Rock Hotels arrives in Madrid

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hard Rock Hotels arrives in Madrid

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

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

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

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

Image credit: Hard Rock Hotel Madrid

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

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

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

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

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

image credit: Hard Rock Hotel Madrid

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Hard Rock Hotel Madrid

A bathroom inside Virgin Hotels New Orleans

Virgin Hotels to arrive in New Orleans this summer

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Virgin Hotels to arrive in New Orleans this summer

Ahead of the anticipated arrival of Virgin Hotels New Orleans this summer, Hotel Designs was given a sneak peak behind the scenes to understand the design narrative of the 238-key hotel that was designed by both the in-house team and local New Orleans’ based interior designers Logan Killen…

A bathroom inside Virgin Hotels New Orleans

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

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

Lounge in Virgin Hotels New Orleans

Image credit: Virgin Hotels

Located at 550 Baronne Street near the Central Business District, the new-build hotel will feature 238 chambers (guestrooms), including Grand Chamber Suites, plus multiple dining and drinking outlets including the brand’s centrepiece restaurant and bar, Commons Club, The Pool Club, a rooftop pool and lounge, Funny Library Coffee Shop,  state-of-the-art gym and dedicated meeting and event spaces

Virgin Hotels will manage the hotel architecturally designed by Mathes Brierre Architects, Callison, RTKL Architects, Broadmoor Construction and developed by The Buccini/Pollin Group.

 

Through neighbourhood-centric influences, the hotel will open to tell the story of its locale. The entire concept was to bring an authentic New Orleans flair to the project. As a result, the property will incorporate a Southern residential feel while combining colourful, tropical architectural motifs with Virgin’s signature style of fun and smart design.

“We always take a localised approach to our design and we wanted Virgin Hotels New Orleans to embrace the local community and celebrate the city’s rich culture,” said Teddy Mayer, Vice President of Design at Virgin Hotels. “We’re thrilled to have collaborated with the talented team at Logan Killen Interiors to bring this vision to life. Specialising in residential and boutique commercial design, they brought a unique perspective to the project and created spaces that are welcoming and comfortable, with local and luxurious touches incorporated throughout.”

The hotel’s corridors, often a forgotten ‘in-between’ area of the hotel, will feature a bold and unique design including custom carpet inspired by artist Henri Matisse’s 1943 art book “Jazz” and Virgin Hotels’ signature red entry doors ready to welcome guests.  The 238 chambers will be fresh and bright with local art, historical detailing and Art Deco-inspired elements woven throughout, evoking a sense of old world meets modern luxury. The Chambers will feature Virgin Hotels’ signature double chamber layout – The Dressing Room and The Lounge – designed to make the best use of space and promote privacy for guests. The spaces are separated by a pair of panelled doors, a nod to French doors as commonly seen in New Orleans design, which offer a more residential look and feel.

The first space, “The Dressing Room”, includes spacious closets built for two with a custom sleek wooden makeup vanity with a well-lit mirror and charming floral print vanity chair. Guests will enjoy an extra-large shower with a bench and industrial doors, tying in the exterior architecture. Deluxe chambers will offer grand soaking tubs, French wallpaper from Pierre Frey and Moroccan tile mixed with graphic Deco-inspired marble patterns. Through the panelled double doors, guests will enter “The Lounge”, which boasts a charming entry table and playful statement wall art created by local artist Jane Talton. The brand’s patented ergonomically designed lounge bed, complete with a bullion fringe trim, will anchor the room, allowing guests to rest, relax, work, dine and more from the comfort of their own bed. Other local influences include commissioned artwork from local artists such as a collage poster of Richard Branson and an abstract painting by Ansley Givhan, playful furniture details inspired by vintage items like rattan tables and rug covered ottomans, and modern lighting elements with deco shapes.

Image of contemporary suite at Virgin Hotels

Image credit: Virgin Hotels

“When Teddy Mayer from Virgin Hotels reached out with the opportunity to design their New Orleans based hotel, Katie and I were equally excited and intimidated.  It was a very large leap for us to take professionally, having mostly residential design experience,” said Jensen Killen Partner and Lead Designer at Logan Killen Interiors. “But, when opportunity knocks in the form of the Virgin brand, you just say yes! Their team is led by kind, smart and thoughtful people that made the experience extremely fun and fulfilling. The trust they instilled in us to meet the particular challenge of creating a hotel that felt like New Orleans but carried the voice of the Virgin brand was inspiring and ultimately led to a successful and vibrant space that we know New Orleanians and visitors alike will enjoy for years to come.”

All Chambers will incorporate the brand’s classic amenities including a red SMEG mini-fridge, High Definition TV, yoga mat, custom lighting on sensors that automatically illuminate when guests move and ample outlets for smartphones and other electronic devices.

With this opening, Virgin Hotels continues to lead with innovation, combining heartfelt service, straightforward value, and a seamless, personalised hotel experiences with the track record of smart disruption that Sir Richard Branson’s global Virgin Group has pioneered for 50 years.

Main image credit: Virgin Hotels

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

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
A new meaning of bathing: The Sky Pool at Embassy Gardens

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

The Sky Pool at Embassy Gardens has dominated headlines recently as the feel-good story every news channel in the UK gushed over. It is (as the name suggests) a 35-metre high pool that bridges together two buildings in London, creating an unmatched (and slightly terrifying for some) swimming experience. Despite the accessibility of the pool dividing opinions, considering it is not being accessible to the affordable housing residents within the same development, its ambitious architectural structure, designed by studio HAL, has undeniably taken rooftop pools and bathing to a whole new level.

Sky Pool London

Image credit: Ballymore and EcoWorld Ballymore.

Kaldewei, a bathroom brand that is considered an expert in the manufacture of eco-friendly, sustainable and 100 per cent recyclable bathroom solutions, was delighted to be part of this exciting and prestigious project on London’s South Bank, developed by Ballymore and EcoWorld Ballymore.

The pool has a frame which weighs 50 tonnes; it is 8 inches (200 mm) thick with a 12-inch (300 mm) thick base and is nearly 10 feet (3.0 m) in depth, resting on an invisible steel frame.

Due to its excellent quality, Kaldewei products were fitted in all the tower apartments either side of the Sky Pool. The shower trays and baths are all created from Kaldewei steel enamel and it is this fusion of steel and glass, which makes the products extremely strong and durable like the Sky Pool! However, if all the baths in both towers were filled with water they would not come close to filling the Sky Pool; which at 82 feet long, with 46 of those suspended in mid-air, it is longer than most Olympic-sized pools which when full contain more than 2.5 million litres of water.

Kaldewei ‘bathers’ can stay inside and enjoy the privacy of their own bathing space.  All the bathrooms in the Embassy Gardens apartments include a combination of the Cayono, Puro and Meisterstücke Centro Duo 2 bathtubs, each bath has a central waste and two identical back rests providing an elegant addition to the bathroom.      

In addition to the baths the floor-level Superplan XXL’s, with its flush – fitting recessed waste cover and generous dimensions, (they go up to 1.8 metres), ensures greater freedom of movement when showering; whilst Kaldewei’s Secure Plus anti-slip finish, which is virtually invisible and guarantees safe footing, an essential requirement when walking on any wet surface.

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

Main image credit: Kaldewei

Weekly digest: The struggling generation & the latest hotel openings

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gif James Dilley and James Ingram

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

Read more.

VIP Arrivals: Hottest hotels opening in July

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

Image credit: The Tawny Hotel

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

Read more.

Marriott International opens 70th hotel in Japan

Aloft Osaka Dojima

Image credit: Marriott International

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

Read more.

Wellness in design: tips from designer Shalini Misra

Shalini Misra

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

Read more.

And finally… Fashion brand PrettyLittleThing launches UK hotel

Pool inside PrettyLittleThing Hotel

Image credit: PrettyLittleThing

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

Read more.

Since you’re here…

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

Click here to sign up to our newsletter.

Aloft Osaka Dojima

Marriott International opens 70th hotel in Japan

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

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

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

Aloft Osaka Dojima

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A sedated interior scheme inside the guestroom of the hotel

Image credit: Tokyo Edition/Marriott International

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

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

Main image credit: Marriott International

The Industrialist Hotel, sheltered inside a 1902 skyscraper in Pittsburgh

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The Industrialist Hotel, sheltered inside a 1902 skyscraper in Pittsburgh

The 124-key Industrialist Hotel, Autograph Collection, located in the heart of downtown Pittsburgh, gives the storied Arrott Building that was built in 1902 a new lease of life. Sensitively designed by Stonehill Taylor, the hotel’s interiors reference the thriving history of the city’s past with themes related to the city’s steel industry rooted in elements of smoke and molten metal. Let’s take a look inside…

Located in the heart of downtown Pittsburgh in the storied Arrott Building, the Industrialist Hotel designed by Stonehill Taylor revives a stunning 18-storey landmark. Originally built in 1902, in the city’s prominent 4th Avenue District by architect Frederick Osterling, the historic façade holds rich architectural details including a Cornice crown with howling masks and a brick and terracotta striped façade on a granite base. Stonehill Taylor oversaw the interior design of the hotel,including three floors of public spaces, as well as guestrooms and suites.

The hotel’s interior design references the thriving history of Pittsburgh as an industrial capital with themes related to the city’s steel industry rooted in elements of smoke and molten metal. Its design also makes organic nods to the city’s position at the confluence of three rivers called “The Point” referring to where the Ohio, the Allegheny,and the Monongahela rivers meet.

Guests arrive on the first floor where they will walk into a historic grand lift lobby clad in original marble walls, floors and brass accents from the turn of the century. Custom modern lighting guides guests to the elevators,and up-lit walls create a unique special effect on the ornate ceiling reminiscent of the city’s nearby rivers. The focal point of the elevator lobby is a collection of three modern sculptural chandeliers made of metal and inspired by machinery and steel fabrication. Each elevator cab feels like a vintage time capsule wrapped in three distinct warm metal materials including brass, copper and bronze wallcoverings. Cool-toned dark porcelain flooring and leather upholstered handrails balance the mood.

On the street level, visitors will find an elegant industrial bar and restaurant called The Rebel Room, which is illuminated by large original windows facing the street. The bar itself is the focal point of the space with glowing features imitating a large hearth with warm backlighting, copper mesh coverings, and a back-lit outsized antique mirror TV and two-toned patina bar top reminiscent of molten steel. The banquette railings and tables feature brass accents and subdued, dark upholstery keeping the focus on the bar.Water inspired blue porcelain tiles underneath the bar top add contrast and soften the space.

Modern, industrial looking bar

Image credit: The Industrlaist Hotel, Autograph Collection

Located on the second floor is the guest lobby, where an up-lit custom reception desk is framed by one of the building’s iconic arched windows. A sculptural pendant light floats above. To the right, guests can explore an expansive second floor salon, and, to the left, a library, both with dark custom wallcoverings and dark wood flooring with avant-garde and playful furnishings evocative of mid-century design. To the right of the guest lobby is the salon. Here, visitors are met by a sophisticated lounge area with40custom burnt orange Modern achairs and classic plush sofas around as striking corner fireplace clad in antique mirror underneath a statement artwork by Pittsburgh artist Louise Pershing. This space also features modern brass lighting as well as brass side and coffee tables, which sit atop a custom molten-inspired rug.

Lobby-Lounge copy

Image credit: The Industrlaist Hotel, Autograph Collection

Moving through the centre of the space, the salon expands with a seating area featuring a plush, cool-toned sofa paired with lounge chairs and small cocktail tables. To the right, the focal point of the room is an industrial molten-inspired communal table with group seating framed by a sculptural rope-like light fixture.Completing the salon on the far end of the room is a brass and bronze cocktail armoire handsomely outfitting the room with a copper-inspired back wall, bar,and sheer drapery. The space doubles as a coffee shop during the day and a cocktail bar in the evening. To the left of reception is an ember-like library space centered around a communal, dark walnut table with saddle leather desk chairs by Gervasoni with a beechwood lacquered frames and dark wood flooring. The room itself is outlined in custom millwork with up-lit bronze mesh and copper backing. At the room’s entry,there are playful upholstered maroon and oak framed lounge chairs by Hay with metal side tables. Also,on the second floor, guests will find midcentury-inspired “Instagram-worthy” corridors and restrooms with monochromatic colour themes—blue for men,and burgundy for women—featuring retro backlit walls and vanity mirrors.

On the third floor, more public spaces include a 1,267-square-foot private event space and a fitness centre. Inside the fitness centre is an abstract,oil painted inspired ceiling that replicates the flow of molten steel and smoke using contrasting orange tones lit by modern light fixtures. The private event space,which can hold up to 48 people seated, includes dark maroon wallcoverings juxtaposed with slate grey walls complemented by sheer dark drapery. Modern pre-function ceiling lighting and pendants spotlight the space,which features contemporary dining tables and vinyl seating.

The guestrooms located on floors 4-18 strongly represent the hotel’s design pillar related to smoke and Pittsburgh’s steel industry with their monochromatic industrial colour palette, raw materials, and ambient lighting. The hotel offers several room types including single queens, double queens, king and junior king suites and a presidential suite.Guests enter standard rooms through an open floorplan with a foyer connected to the bathroom and bedroom in one lofty space. The entryway greets guests with leather entry bench. The bathrooms are clad in dark granite tile including the shower, with an open vanity paired with electric ambient lighting and warm brass fixtures.The vanity area in each room surprises with a fire-coloured wallcovering contrasting with dark tones.

Presidential-Parlor copy

Image credit: The Industrlaist Hotel, Autograph Collection

Moving into the bedroom, a custom abstract carpet marks the change in space, mixing orange, black and beige to resemble molten steel. To the left, there is a custom millwork centrepiece running the length of the wall that includes a closet, cocktail area, mini-fridge and TV.On the right, the room focuses on the striking bed with a back lit custom leather headboard. Design-forward brass wall sconces frame the area against a monochromatic wall.Smoke-like abstract artworks hang next to each bed. Plush modern sofas highlighted by orange piping are found in the corresponding seating areas paired with a metal and wood C-tables/desks. The suites have solid wood distressed oak flooring and hand-woven flat weave area rugs by Marc Phillips rugs.

Main image credit: The Industrlaist Hotel, Autograph Collection

Hospitality brand edyn to launch Cove

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hospitality brand edyn to launch Cove

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image credit: Cove Paradise Street, Liverpool ONE

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

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

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

Main image credit: edyn

Pool inside PrettyLittleThing Hotel

Fashion brand PrettyLittleThing launches UK hotel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Fashion brand PrettyLittleThing launches UK hotel

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

Pool inside PrettyLittleThing Hotel

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: PrettyLittleThing

VIP Arrivals - July

VIP arrivals: Hottest hotels opening in July 2021

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

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

VIP Arrivals - July

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

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

MAALOT Roma

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

Mondrian Shoreditch London 

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

Mama Roma

Redner of restaurant in Mama Shelter in Rome

Image credit: Mama Roma

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

The Tawny Hotel, Peak District

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

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

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

Six Senses Ibiza 

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

Hyatt Regency Koh Samui

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

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

Airelles Saint-Tropez, Château de la Messardière

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

Fairmont Taghazout Bay

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

Since you’re here…

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

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Weekly Briefing 25 06 21

Weekly briefing: design departures, hotel development & a new era for F&B

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Weekly briefing: design departures, hotel development & a new era for F&B

Editor Hamish Kilburn here, reporting for duty to patch up your week with a round-up of the hottest news and features that have emerged in the hotel design and hospitality industry over the last few days. This week’s briefing includes an emotional farewell, a look into the future of F&B hospitality and a glimpse at some of the major hotel development projects that will complete in the coming months. Scroll down and enjoy…

Weekly Briefing 25 06 21

In the latest Hotel Designs newsletter, sent out yesterday, I summed up this week’s news as ‘bitter-sweet’. In the same week we bid our fond farewell to a design studio that led the charge in hotel design for 30+ years, we also gathered some of F&B hospitality’s world-renowned experts in order to explore how the dining experience will evolve in 2021 and beyond. What’s more, we shared features on lighting, a hotel lobby unlike anything else we have seen and a look inside Viceroy’s debut hotel in Europe. It’s been a wild week, here on the editorial desk, so here’s our snapshot of the hottest, most-read stories:

Farewell for now: A look back on RPW Designs’ iconic projects

Image credit: RPW Design

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

Read more.

EXCLUSIVE // Roundtable: How F&B hospitality is evolving in 2021 & beyond

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

Read more.

Lobby goals! Inside Graduate Hotels’ debut property in New York

Lobby inside Roosevelt Island hotel

Image credit: Steve Freihorn

Designed by Stonehill Taylor and SnøhettaGraduate Roosevelt Island becomes the Graduate Hotels’ 29th property and marks the brand’s arrival in New York City. With an arrival experience unlike any other (literally with a 12-foot sculpture greeting guests checking in), let’s take a look inside the 18-storey, 224-key design-led hotel.

Read more.

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

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

Read more.

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

W Rome - Wet Deck

Image credit: W Rome

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

Read more.

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

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

Watch more.

Since you’re here…

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

Click here to sign up to our newsletter.

W Rome - Guest Room (render)

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

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

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

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

W Rome - Guest Room (render)

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

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

W Rome - Wet Deck

Image credit: W Hotels

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

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

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

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

W Rome - Giardino Clandestino

Image credit: W Hotels

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

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

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

Main image credit: W Hotels

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image credit: RPW Design/Four Seasons Hampshire

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

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

RPW Design designed The Capital Suite

Image credit: Will Pryce

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image credit: RPW Design/Smallbone Kitchens

Image credit: RPW Design/Smallbone Kitchens

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

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

Main image credit: RPW Design

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

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

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

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

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

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

On the panel:

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

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

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

Since you’re here…

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

Click here to sign up to our newsletter.

Guestroom inside Viceroy Kopaonik Serbia

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

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

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

Guestroom inside Viceroy Kopaonik Serbia

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

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

Image credit: Viceroy Hotels & Resorts

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

Suite inside Viceroy hotel in Serbia

Image credit: Viceroy Hotels & Resorts

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

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

Yellow bar inside the Viceroy hotel in Serbia

Image credit: Viceroy Hotels & Resorts

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Viceroy Hotels & Resorts

Giant sculpture in Lobby in Graduate Hotel Roosevelt Island

Inside Graduate Hotels’ debut property in New York

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Inside Graduate Hotels’ debut property in New York

Designed by Stonehill Taylor and Snøhetta, Graduate Roosevelt Island becomes the Graduate Hotels’ 29th property and marks the brand’s arrival in New York City. With an arrival experience unlike any other (literally with a 12-foot sculpture greeting guests checking in), let’s take a look inside the 18-storey, 224-key design-led hotel…

Giant sculpture in Lobby in Graduate Hotel Roosevelt Island

Created for travellers who seek memory-making journeys, Graduate Hotels is a hand-crafted collection of hotels that reside in dynamic university-anchored towns across the country and expanding into the U.K. in summer 2021. Each property celebrates and commemorates the optimistic energy of its community, while offering an extended retreat to places that often play host to the best days of our lives. The brand’s latest hotel – and debut property in New York City – shelters 224 guestrooms inside a 18-storey building on Roosevelt Island.

Positioned at the entrance of the Cornell Tech campus, the hotel has been designed by internationally renowned design firm Snøhetta, hosptiality-focused architecture firm Stonehill Taylor and Graduate Hotels’ in-house design team. Blending together Old School charm and New Age, the design team took inspiration from the rich history of Roosevelt Island and the future of technology that the Cornell Tech campus embodies. The futuristic and functional meld to create a space that’s bright, open and always interesting.

“We’re thrilled to make our debut in New York with the first ever hotel on Roosevelt Island and proud to join the innovative Cornell Tech campus,” said Ben Weprin, founder and CEO of Graduate Hotels. “Each of our hotels are rooted in the communities they serve, and we took great care in creating a highly customised hotel experience that honours the island’s rich history and has an authentic connection to the Cornell Tech campus. Now more than ever, there is a new appreciation for exploring what’s in your own backyard and we look forward to welcoming locals and visitors looking to experience New York from a fresh and unexpected vantage point.”

The arrival experience has been designed to add personality and drama into the check-in element of the hospitality journey. Upon entering, guests are greeted with a custom 12-foot statement sculpture created by Hebru Brantley that reinterprets his iconic Flyboy character and a neon Graduate sign situated above the reception desk, which is a reimagined vintage apothecary cabinet.

Lobby inside Roosevelt Island hotel

Image credit: Steve Freihorn

In this area of the hotel, collaboration between the firms was integral. Stonehill Taylor, which recently took part in a panel discussion about the new era of lifestyle, ensured that the design of the ceiling connected the interior space to the exterior as part of the full campus experience. The ceiling’s unique trapezoidal wedge shape points upward towards the East River and Manhattan and aligns with the exterior soffit and façade planes to convey the sense of a mass floating above the ground. Unobstructed by lighting, the ceiling is reflectively lit by a fixture along the space’s perimeter. Three-quarters of the wall are glass windows and when paired with hard floors, the acoustics of the space proved challenging. Therefore, the architecture firm employed materials that would both soften the soundscape and accommodate the ceiling’s complex, three-dimensional shape. The wall opposite the floor-to- ceiling windows features 5,000 square feet of shelving with uplighting built into it that bounces off the ceiling above and surfaces below.

book shelf framing seating in lobby with deep red sofas in lobby of Roosevelt Island hotel

Image credit: Steven Freihorn

Nods to the island’s storied history can be seen through the corridor behind the front desk, which features a gallery of black and white photographs of the Roosevelt family. The spacious lobby is lined with 5,000 linear feet of textbooks and floor-to-ceiling windows to create a bright and airy space warmed up with Persian-inspired rugs, mid-century light fixtures and pops of Cornell Big Red hues throughout. The lobby is also home to the hotel’s full-service, all-day restaurant with a statement wraparound bar anchoring the space and a variety of inviting lounge seating.

The 224 guestrooms and suites include a Presidential Suite spanning more than 1,100 square feet. Contrasting the modern architecture with warm design details, the guest rooms offer a familiar, residential experience paired with unrivalled views of the East River and Manhattan skyline.

The décor plays with technology throughout the ages as seen through lamps with a Morse code of the Cornell fight song on the base, a neon light fixture inspired by a science project from a Cornell alum, floating glass desks and integrated audiovisual devices. Local elements and nods to Roosevelt Island are also incorporated throughout the guestrooms.

A soft, contemporary guest room overlooking the river in New York

Image credit: Steven Freihorn

Design highlights include benches upholstered with oil painting-like tapestry of Dutch colonial life, custom art pieces created by Matt Buchholz and Brooklyn-based artist Ashley Cunningham and a thoughtfully curated gallery wall showcasing unique pieces including portraits of prominent figures in the island’s history such as Nellie Bly and Mae West.

Los Angeles-based hospitality team and New York City natives, Med Abrous and Marc Rose of Call Mom are the exclusive food and beverage partners at Graduate Roosevelt Island, marking the duo’s homecoming and their third collaboration with Graduate Hotels, which also includes Graduate Seattle and Graduate Nashville. The hotel includes the full-service restaurant, Anything At All, on the ground level; The Panorama Room, an extraordinary indoor-outdoor rooftop bar and lounge with unobstructed, sweeping views of the city; and, more than 3,000 square feet of onsite flexible meeting space all conceived and operated by Abrous and Rose.

Abrous and Rose have tapped a talented, female-led team including Executive Chef Ja’Toria Harper, Pastry Chef Lindsey Verardo and Beverage Director Estelle Bossy to oversee all food and beverage programs. Opening later in June, Anything At All will serve breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner. Rooted in a vegetable-forward, farm-first approach to contemporary comfort food, the light-drenched indoor-outdoor space features a sustainable synergy between the kitchen and the bar whose playful, creative frozen drinks and seasonal spritzes will take centre stage at brunch.

Situated atop the hotel, The Panorama Room, is the stunning 168-seat rooftop bar and lounge designed by James Beard Foundation Award-winning design firm, Parts and Labor Design. Opening in July 2021, the crown jewel of the property will evoke a sense of cinematic drama inspired by futurism creating a true destination for fashion-forward elegance in an intimate space all set against unobstructed city views.

The hotel’s third floor features a variety of distinct multi-use meeting and event spaces set against clear skyline views, offering the perfect venue for every occasion from weddings to off-site corporate meetings. This summer, Graduate Hotels has transformed its ballroom into a space for collaboration inspired by the iconic film BIG. Known as “The Loft” at Graduate Roosevelt Island, this pop culture moment creates an opportunity for families, local businesses and private groups to catch up on lost time in a space that sparks creative energy and taps into the power of nostalgia.

A light and bright meeting space inside the new york hotel

Image credit: Steven Freihorn

What makes this project that much more impressive is its sustainability initiative. The hotel furthers the campus’ ongoing commitment to sustainability through its LEED-rated architecture and the use of highly efficient materials and energy saving systems throughout the property. Graduate Roosevelt Island’s many sustainability initiatives include the LEED-certified architecture, use of recyclable materials, highly efficient heating, cooling and LED lighting systems, reduced water consumption, waste reclamation programs, healthy indoor air quality and more. The food and beverage operators are equally committed to creating environmentally conscious restaurant operations and culinary programs including: composting food scraps, recycling programs for restaurant waste, no single-use plastic products, minimising food waste and purchasing sustainable, locally-sourced ingredients and products.

Main image credit: Steve Freihorn

Weekly briefing: Rediscovering British hospitality & unveiling Rosewood’s plot twist

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Weekly briefing: Rediscovering British hospitality & unveiling Rosewood’s plot twist

You’re just in time to catch today’s performance of the Weekly Briefing. My name’s Hamish Kilburn, and allow me to show you to your seat. This week’s cast of stories includes our latest podcast episode that explores creativity crafted, nhow taking unconventional design and art to a whole new level, our latest hotel review that took us on a trip down memory lane and all you need to know (and more) about Rosewood’s latest venture into the private members’ arena. “Talent to the stage, talent to the stage, please…”

If Hotel Designs was a theatre production – and what a show that would be – the main theme of the overall performance this week would be variety. The editorial team’s inbox has been flooded with vibrancy, colour and stories that have simply put a smile on our face. Although many of the travel industry’s audience members haven’t quite made act one, as Covid-19 continues to put pressure on hospitality globally, we have been reassured that the narrative will improve by the development that continues to happen during these turbulent times.

This week, as well as recording out next virtual roundtable that explores the future of F&B hospitality (stay tuned), I was able to publish my first hotel review in a while – I checked in to The Grove Hotel in Hertfordshire following an incredible renovation by British designer Martin Hulbert – which made me realise, thanks to a nudge from good friend and PR queen Lara Good (Grifco PR), that local performances in British hospitality aren’t all that bad after all.

Work perks aside, here are our top stories from the week… but first, why not read this article while listening to the latest episode of DESIGN POD, which welcomes the ladies from Carden Cunietti to take the mic?!

Hotel review: Checking (back) in to The Grove Hotel, Hertfordshire

Image caption: In one of the lounges, the designer even commissioned a large gold beam to hang on the ceiling because, well, why not? | Image credit: The Grove Hotel, Hertfordshire

Image caption: In one of the lounges, the designer even commissioned a large gold beam to hang on the ceiling because, well, why not? | Image credit: The Grove Hotel, Hertfordshire

Socially distanced from London’s hustle and bustle, but still within 20 miles of the city, The Grove is a country estate set within 300 acres of glorious Hertfordshire countryside. Its most recent renovation, led by British designer Martin Hulbert, answers only to nature and ushers the hotel into a new era – perfect for those seeking a luxury staycation within reach of the Capital – as I learns when I become the latest Hotel Designs editor to check in…

Read more.

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

The Reading Room

Image credit: Rosewood Hotel Group

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

Read more.

Editor checks in: What it’s actually like for young designers

In my latest column, I addresses an issue that is resulting in young designers and architects missing out on a fair opportunity to succeed. Can we do more to help students to become the next generation of A&D professionals? You tell me…

Read more.

nhow Brussels Bloom Hotel opens with a colourful twist

Van in lobby inside nhow Brussels

Image credit: HD Hotel Group

NH Hotel Group’s unconventional lifestyle hospitality brand, nhow, expands its portfolio with the launch of its seventh hotel; a contemporary hub that has been designed with a different art form on every floor, including a floor designed by London designer Jessica Thacker. Sunglasses on, folks things are about to get colourful…

Read more.

Meet the women who are pioneering a new wave of design-led motels

The June April Brown and Srah Sklash

Image credit: Lauren Miller Photography

With a penchant for ‘great wine and good vibes’, The June is a female-led motelier that was founded by best friends, April Brown and Sarah Sklash. Following our bow to International Women’s Day, I sat down with Brown and Sklash to learn more about how the due are using design into to evolve The June into a leading lifestyle brand…

Read more.

And finally… we unveiled our speakers for Hotel Designs LIVE

Hotel Designs LIVE - speakers

Following four successful virtual events, Hotel Designs LIVE, which is completely free for designers, architects, hoteliers and developers, will return on August 10, 2021. In order to confront ‘zoom fatigue’ with meaningful content, we have just announced the global line-up of speakers who will appear in a series of four engaging panel discussions throughout the day…

Read more.

Since you’re here…

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

Click here to sign up to our newsletter.

Carlyle & Co in Hong Kong

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

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

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

Carlyle & Co in Hong Kong

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

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

 The Reading Room

Image credit: Rosewood Hotel Group

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Rosewood Hotels & Resorts

The_Nobu_Penthouse_Bathroom featuring BetteStarlet Oval Silhouette bath (low res)

Case study: Supplying baths for Nobu Hotel London Portman Square

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

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

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

The_Nobu_Penthouse_Bathroom featuring BetteStarlet Oval Silhouette bath (low res)

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

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

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

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

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

Image credit: Nobu Hotel London Portman Square

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

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

Image credit: Bette

Moxy Shanghai Hongqiao CBD SHAOX

Moxy brand makes debut in Mainland China

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Moxy brand makes debut in Mainland China

Following to launch of its debut property in Miami and announcement of its arrival in Dubai, Marriott International’s disruptive hotel brand, Moxy, expands to Mainland China with additional openings slated for Shanghai, Nanjing, Shenzhen and Xi’an in the next year. Here’s what we know…

Moxy Shanghai Hongqiao CBD has opened, which marks the brand’s debut in Mainland China.

Moxy Shanghai Hongqiao CBD SHAOX

Designed for the young and the young-at-heart, Moxy Hotels – part of Marriott Bonvoy’s portfolio of 30 brands – enables guests to save on space and splurge on experiences – a word that is vastly evolving global hospitality. With thoughtful, tech-enabled bedrooms, interactive gathering spaces and approachable service, Moxy boldly reinvents the traditional hotel stay and aims to surprise travellers with a playful, spirited and fun guest experience.

The new 158-key hotel is conveniently located right next to one of the most important transportation hubs in China, which brings together the high-speed rail, an international airport and local metro lines. Lidoway, a 15-minute drive from the hotel, is a bustling Gen-Z destination with an array of trendy lifestyle shops, restaurants and bars. Travellers visiting the Moxy Shanghai Hongqiao CBD can also explore popular attractions in Shanghai including The Bund, known for its famous skyline, Xintiandi for its vibrant nightlife and food scene, and Tianzifang for its arts and crafts shopping.

Image credit: Moxy Hotels

“We are thrilled to continue to grow our global portfolio and introduce the energetic Moxy brand to mainland China with the opening of Moxy Shanghai Hongqiao CBD,” said Jeff Tomczek, Vice President and Global Brand Leader, Distinctive Select Brands at Marriott International. “Shanghai is a world-renowned commercial hub and tourist destination, with appeal to experientially minded travelers. Moxy will bring its Play On spirit and unconventional hotel experience to this world-class city, and expects five more Moxy Hotels to open in mainland China within the next year.”

Moxy Hotels plans to open five additional properties in mainland China in the next year, marking strong anticipated growth in a region where next-gen travelers play an essential role in the China tourism market. Following the opening of Moxy Shanghai Hongqiao CBD, a vibrant new social scene is set to be introduced at Moxy Shanghai Xuhui, which is slated to open in the cosmopolitan city later this summer. Additional new Moxy Hotels are slated to open in Nanjing, Shenzhen and Xi’an within the next twelve months.

“The opening marks the entry of Marriott Bonvoy’s 24th brand into mainland China – a testament to our focus on bringing a diversified portfolio for different types of travelers to China,” said Henry Lee, President, Greater China, Marriott International. “We currently operate more than 50 hotels in Shanghai and look forward to expanding our portfolio further across China in order to offer distinctive and personalized experiences for travelers.”

Moxy Shanghai Hongqiao CBD’s stylish and playful design pays homage to the neighbouring Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport and aims to welcome guests with the brand’s signature bold spirit by incorporating clever elements from airport terminals into the hotel lobby design, including an immersive display board that will feature flight information, route maps and aircraft seating updates in real-time.

Upon arrival, guests are instantly welcomed into an immersive stay with check-in at Bar Moxy, complete with a complimentary “Got Moxy”cocktail. The buzzing bar is also a communal hub in the lobby where guests can dine and socialize. Moxy’s 24/7 self-service grab-and-go concept gives guests access to what they want, whenever they want, with options including snacks, fresh juice, coffee, wine and beer. Guests can also re-energize at the hotel’s 24-hour fitness center decked out with a boxing bag, signature racing bike and other equipment. Additionally, the new hotel features a 24-hour ironing room, a signature Moxy amenity, for guests to iron their outfits or socialise with their crew before hitting the town.

The hotel’s tech-savvy, modern bedrooms intermix edgy details with functionality and are cleverly designed to maximise space and allow guests the flexibility to adapt the room to their needs. Guests can enjoy smart features from plush platform beds to a fun-size work surface, and peg walls instead of closets. Each guestroom is equipped with Moxy’s signature Stellar Works foldable workspace desks and chairs, as well as 55-inch flat screen TVs, bedside USB ports, electronic safety box, walk-in rain showers and furiously fast and free Wi-Fi, allowing guests to stay plugged-in around the clock.

Moxy’s interactive and intriguing Play On communal spaces will come alive with thoughtfully crafted happenings designed by the Moxy Crew to cater to travellers and locals who like to socialise and meet new friends. At Moxy Shanghai Hongqiao CBD, foosball and various popular boardgames are available in the communal spaces and guests can mingle at events organised by the hotel.

“We’re thrilled to be the first Moxy hotel in mainland China in the electrified metropolitan of Shanghai, and to show this city just how invigorating and fun a hotel stay really can be,” said Aleen Wan, Captain of the Moxy Shanghai Hongqiao CBD. “Different from anything else in this area, our spirited Crew members are excited to connect with travellers in a playful way over games and cocktails in our design-driven social areas, allowing travellers to blend work and play – all at an approachable price point.”

Main image credit: Moxy

Hotel Designs LIVE - speakers

Speakers announced for Hotel Designs LIVE in August

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Speakers announced for Hotel Designs LIVE in August

Following four successful virtual events, Hotel Designs LIVE, which is completely free for designers, architects, hoteliers and developers, will return on August 10, 2021. In order to confront ‘zoom fatigue’ with meaningful content, we have just announced the global line-up of speakers who will appear in a series of four engaging panel discussions throughout the day. Editor Hamish Kilburn, who will host the event at Minotti London, reveals all… 

Hotel Designs LIVE - speakers

Hotel Designs LIVE, the one-day conference which is free to attend if you qualify as a designer, architect, hoteliers or developer, will return on August 10 to serve up a series of online panel discussions with the aim to keep the industry connected and the conversation flowing during the on-going pandemic.

The four topics that have been confirmed for the virtual event, which was recently shortlisted shortlisted in the ‘Best Webinar Series’ category at the Digital Event Awards, are senses, sleep, surfaces and social.

Editor Hamish Kilburn will host the event from the comfort of Minotti London’s Fitzrovia showroom. “For more than a year now, Hotel Designs LIVE has been meaningfully serving the international hotel design and hospitality community by simply keeping the conversation following,” Kilburn explains. “It feels very fitting, considering our previous networking collaborations the luxury Italian furniture brand and its relevant to all of our four panel discussions, to welcome Minotti London as our headline sponsor.”

There are limited spaces available. Simply click here to secure your place in the virtual audience (booking form takes less than two minutes and entry is free for designers, architects, hoteliers and developers).

Meet the confirmed speakers (so far): 

The agenda: 

1st session Hotel Designs LIVE

Click here to participate.

1st Session - Hotel Designs LIVE

Click here to participate. 

Hotel Designs LIVE - sleep session

Click here to participate. 

Hotel Designs LIVE – surfaces session

Click here to participate. 

Session 4 - Hotel Designs LIVE

Click here to participate. 

If you are a designer, architect, hotelier  or developer and would like to secure your complimentary seats in the audience, click hereIf you are a supplier to the hotel design industry and would like to promote your latest product or services to the Hotel Designs LIVE audience, please contact Katy Phillips via email or call +44 (0)1992 374050.

Main image credit: Oladimeji Odunsi/Unsplash

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

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

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

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

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

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

Locke Zanzibar lobby

Image credit: Locke

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

Read more.

First look: Modieus launches Makers’ Mark rug collection

Spontaneous Mark – Modieus

Image credit: Modieus

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

Read more.

Four Seasons through the eyes of designer Tara Bernerd

Image credit: Joe Thomas

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

Read more.

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

Guestroom inside the Omni hotel in Texas

Render credit: SB Architects

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

Read more.

Since you’re here…

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

Click here to sign up to our newsletter.

Locke Zanzibar guestroom

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

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

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

Locke Zanzibar guestroom

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

Brick wall in lobby in Zanzibar Locke

Image credit: Locke

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

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

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

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

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

Locke Zanzibar lobby

Image credit: Locke

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

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

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

Main image credit: Locke

Weekly briefing 4th june

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

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

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

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

Weekly briefing 4th june

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

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

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

Accor Design Awards – and the winners are…

Overall winner: Nomadish

Overall winner: Nomadish

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

Read more.

VIP arrivals: Hottest hotels opening in June 2021

White room inside OMMA Santorini

Image credit: OMMA Santorini

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

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

Read more.

Judges have been announced for The Brit List Awards 2021

The Brit List Awards judges 2021

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

Read more.

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

Image credit: YOTEL

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

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

Read more.

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

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

Read more.

M Social arrives in New York

M Social NY terrace night view

Image credit: M Social

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

Read more.

In Conversation With: Alex Tredez on designing The Lost Poet

Image credit: The Lost Poet

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

Read more. 

Since you’re here…

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

Click here to sign up to our newsletter.

Villa Igiea

Now open: Rocco Forte Hotels’ Villa Igiea

730 565 Hamish Kilburn