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hotel opening

Apurva Kempinski Bali unveils new design-led villas

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Apurva Kempinski Bali unveils new design-led villas

Newly launched villa collection, designed by Trivium Design Group, marks the competition of The Apurva Kempinski Bali…

Nestled in tropical gardens on the clifftops of Nusa Dua, The Apurva Kempinski Bali has completed its design renovation, which results in the launch of 43 new villas. 

Named after the mighty kingdoms that once ruled over Indonesia, the one-, two- and three-bedroom pool villas designed by Trivium Design Group evoke the tropical characteristics of southern Bali, offering discerning visitors complete privacy, spacious indoor-outdoor living and a delectable flavour of Balinese life.

“We have made tremendous efforts to showcase Indonesian heritage in the eyes of the world by incorporating the best local craftsmanship, philosophy and materials into the interior design,” said Rudy Dodo, founder of Jakarta-based Trivium Design Group, which is responsible for interiors throughout the resort.”

Image credit: Kempinski Hotels

Hidden away among tropical gardens, each of the two-storey villas affords complete privacy. Self-contained plunge pools and outdoor terraces are surrounded by lush foliage and clever architectural features created by architect Budiman Hendropurnomo, who founded the Indonesia office of Denton Corker Marshal.

“The debut of our new villa collection means The Apurva Kempinski Bali is ready to welcome families or groups of any size, for any occasion; from intimate family escapes and show-stopping weddings, to board-level meetings and incentives,” said General Manager Vincent Guironnet. “The completion of the villas marks the final stage in our development, just in time for our grand opening. With 475 rooms, suites and villas, six dining outlets, an outstanding spa and a collection of versatile meetings and events spaces, The Apurva Kempinski Bali is one of the most dynamic, dramatic and breath-taking resorts on the Island of the Gods.”

All of the villas offer private plunge pools and spacious outdoor terraces, while the larger options also feature kitchens and rooftop dining areas. Wood and stone-clad interiors are meticulously finished with rattan bamboo furniture, woven Sumba textiles and handmade woodcarvings from Bali and Java, giving guests a flavour of Bali’s rich history of design and creativity.

Main image credit: Kempinski Hotels

Property group JAHAMA unveils plans for debut hotel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Property group JAHAMA unveils plans for debut hotel

JAHAMA Group has received pre-planning consent from South Lanarkshire Council for a full-service 100-bedroom facility in Clydebridge on the outskirts of East Glasgow…

International property and investment business JAHAMA Group has announced plans to develop its first hotel.

Investment in hospitality facilities is part of JAHAMA’s wider strategy to develop surplus land around existing and former industrial sites for a range of property uses, which enhance local communities while also bringing employment and tourism to the area.

South Lanarkshire Council’s support follows a pre-application enquiry submitted by JAHAMA last September. The scheme is for redundant land to the east of sister company Liberty and its iconic Clydebridge Steelworks, situated to the north of Cambuslang.

Once built, Clydebridge Hotel will deliver 50 permanent jobs and help create further indirect jobs in the wider community. UK property and development expert Strutt & Parker (part of the BNP Paribas Real Estate Group) has been appointed to advise JAHAMA on this project and secure planning permission for the development.

The 10-acre site benefits from a strategic road network including easy access to the M74, proximity to the River Clyde and a substantial area of woodland, providing opportunities for future guest amenities.

The plans for a full-service hotel are designed to offer a wide variety of activities to both leisure and business travellers as well as amenities to the local community. When developed, the site will include a restaurant, café, bar and state-of-the-art fitness club.

The east of Glasgow has undergone considerable regeneration over the last decade with the construction of buildings for the Commonwealth games such as the Athletes Village at Dalmarnock, Emirates Arena and The Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome.  The wider Clyde Gateway regeneration project is also attracting plenty of property investment and additional businesses into the area, which the hotel will be serving.

JAHAMA’S CEO Dilip Awtani said: “We are delighted to be contributing to the huge regeneration activity that is currently taking place in East Glasgow. The recent investment in the infrastructure and recreational facilities will drive tourism and business activity to the city, create jobs and other benefits for the local community. This is why we believe that Cambuslang is an ideal location for a modern enhanced-services hotel and leisure facility.

“Our team has a wealth of property development and finance experience that can bring these plans to fruition and advance further commercial property developments, utilising the extensive land within JAHAMA’s portfolio.

“For this project, we would also be keen to partner with branded operators in the area or new to the city that can work with us to turn the hotel in Clydebridge into a popular destination.”

JAHAMA is part of a collection of industrial companies that form the GFG Alliance, which also includes the owner of neighbouring Clydebridge and Dalzell steelworks, Liberty Steel Group.

Sanjeev Gupta, Founder and Executive Chairman of the GFG Alliance said: “We are focussed on Scotland as a key area of investment, already deploying funds of £500m as recently set out in our Scottish Investment Report.  The Clydebridge site was part of our first Scottish investment and I am pleased that the initial investment in the steel business is also bringing further local opportunities.

“We have recently received permission to build a zipwire leisure facility in the Highlands at Kinlochleven so the tourism industry is becoming an increasingly important part of GFG’s Scottish portfolio.”

Main image credit: Google Maps

close up of wall partition in the restaurant

How twenty2degrees redesigned Budapest Marriott Hotel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
How twenty2degrees redesigned Budapest Marriott Hotel

Hotel Designs follows twenty2degrees, which has just completed a two-phase refurbishment of Budapest Marriott Hotel…

Whenever a project completes from The Brit List 2019 accredited design firm twenty2desgrees, you know that its design is going to do three things: 1) stand out from the crowd, 2) be full of personality and 3) have meaning. The team’s latest project, Budapest Marriott Hotel, is no exception of that unwritten, yet widely known, rule.

close up of wall partition in the restaurant

Phase one of the renovation began with the brand’s signature ‘greatroom’ concept, which harmonises reception, lobby lounge, bar and restaurant in a single open space, followed by the hotel’s function and meeting rooms. The result not only aligns with brand expectations but, thanks to the designers’ introduction of local context and artistic provenance, feels absolutely at home in this historic and creative city.

Large contemporary partition in lobby/f&B area

Image credit: Marriott International/twenty2degrees

Tucked along the banks of the Danube River, the hotel overlooks some of the capital’s most iconic landmarks including the Chain Bridge and Buda Castle. The 50-year old building belongs to the Brutalist mid-twentieth style of architecture, and the designers pay homage to the concrete façade with a new stone sculptural relief in the lobby. Beyond this, however, the interiors are now modern and tactile with numerous residential-style details to ensure guests feel at their ease from the moment they arrive. The firm, headed up by Nicolas Stoupas and Joseph Stella, has also introduced Marriott’s first ‘disruptive bar’ – a free-standing island bar in the lounge designed to evolve through the day, from morning coffee and pastry service, to cocktails and snacks in the evening.

Large and comfortable lobby/lounge area

Image credit: Marriott International/twenty2degrees

“While addressing all the ‘Marriott Modern’ touchpoints, we felt it was important to also capture the rich essence of Budapest, a vibrant European city with a tremendous amount of history and a vast number of creative individuals, both past and present, from whom to draw inspiration,” explained Stella, Creative Director of twenty2degrees. “Whenever we begin a new project, we first look to the brief in order to form the bare bones of the design. Then we explore the locality in order to added layered design elements”.

The work of Hungary’s renowned Bauhaus designer, Marcel Breuer, and artist, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, was the inspiration for the specially designed carpets and the refined-yet-elaborate decorative screens throughout the Greatroom. Integrated as an artistic and architectural element, they also serve to zone the space without shutting off any areas. These areas include: The Individual Zone for guests to relax, read, work and enjoy a coffee or a light snack, The Social Zone that is centred on the Liz and Chain Bar, and The Guest Service Zone where customers check in. Zones are defined by varying colour palettes as well as by different seating, tables and lighting options. The multi-functional, open plan scheme is designed to reflect our modern lifestyle where the opposing demands for privacy and human connection, work and socialising need to be met within a flexible space.

large island in the middle of modern F&B area

Image credit: Marriott International/twenty2degrees

Together with cubist shapes and Bauhaus curves, twenty2degrees’ celebration of the local is continued through a collaboration with contemporary local artists, Janos Huszti, Petyka, and Stefan Osnowski. Their pieces, as well as a collection of traditional paintings and prints and integrated artworks compliment the colour scheme and provide an impressive gallery feel to some of the areas.

The meeting and banqueting spaces boast stunning views of the city. Together they represent 17,000 square feet of versatile space that includes Grand Budapest Ballroom, Ballroom Terrace, and a number of flexible meeting rooms. The redesigned spaces display similar aesthetic values to the Greatroom, echoing Bauhaus principles, favouring functionality over ornamentation and asymmetry over symmetry. They too are modern and tactile, combining cubist inspired forms with a contemporary design style.

Main image credit: Marriott International/twenty2degrees

NH Hotels arrives in style to join Amsterdam’s hotel scene

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
NH Hotels arrives in style to join Amsterdam’s hotel scene

nhow Amsterdam RAI is the brand’s second hotel to open this year – and it is as quirky as the rest of the portfolio…

Just days after opening the brand’s first hotel in the UK, NH Hotels has official cut the ribbon to its debut property in Amsterdam, which is located on the fringe of the culture hub’s city centre.

Designed by Dutch architecture firm OMA, famous for its cutting-edge buildings, the 24-storey shell that shelters the hotel a series of glass and steel triangular slabs that area stacked on top of each other at different angles. This is so that the building is not limited to face just one direction.

In addition to its location, which is situated steps from Amsterdam’s RAI convention centre, the hotel has been designed for bleisure travellers, and is complete with nine meeting spaces over three floors that offer the latest technology and stunning views of the city.

The 650-key hotel is described on its website as: “A place where contemporary art, design, gastronomy and cultural expressions mix. A new vibrant hub for business travelers, tourists and Amsterdam locals alike. The iconic building, facing various wind directions, symbolises the melting-pot the city of Amsterdam has always been.”

The guestrooms are inspired inspired by the cardinal direction the particular room faces – South, East, North, South West, South East and North West, with an eclectic mix of vibrant colors, patterns and traditional elements freshly interpreted throughout.

Referencing Amsterdam’s many different cultures and cuisines, the hotel features three terraces, each overlooking a different part of the city and a restaurant located on the 17th floor, with a bar also located on the ground floor.

nhow Amsterdam RAI is NH Hotels’ latest property to opening, making its permanent mark in The Netherlands as well as the overall European hotel scene.

Main image credit: NH Hotels

Thompson Washington D.C. opens in quirky Navy Yard neighborhood

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Thompson Washington D.C. opens in quirky Navy Yard neighborhood

Thompson Hotels’ lifestyle brand expands to America’s capital, Washington D.C., in the heart of bustling and emerging Navy Yard neighbourhood…

Hyatt Hotels has announced the opening of Thompson Washington D.C., the Thompson Hotels brand’s first property in the nation’s capital.

With architecture by New York-based Studios Architecture and interiors by award-winning firm Parts and Labor Design, the new hotel features 225 sleek and modern guestrooms and suites. It also features restaurant and bar concepts by Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group, positioning Thompson Washington D.C. to serve as a modern hub for locals and visitors against the backdrop of the city’s dynamic waterfront neighbourhood.

The hotel’s deeply textured façade and large industrial-inspired windows are a visual standout that embody the historic industrial language of the neighborhood, The Yards, a 42-acre waterfront development at the center of Capitol Riverfront’s Navy Yard neighborhood. As the first lifestyle hotel in the growing mixed-used development, Thompson Washington D.C. is designed to be a social anchor in The Yards community, joining dozens of specialty retailers, restaurants, high-end residences, and cultural attractions. Situated on D.C.’s scenic riverfront, outdoor parks such as the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail and The Yards Park are all mere steps from the hotel, inviting visitors to walk around and explore.

“Thompson Hotels is a brand that has always boldly pushed the norms of a traditional hotel experience.” – General Manager, Sherry Abedi

“We are proud to introduce the sophisticated and evocative Thompson Washington D.C. to the nation’s capital,” said General Manager Sherry Abedi. “Thompson Hotels is a brand that has always boldly pushed the norms of a traditional hotel experience, and we look forward to super-serving our global visitors, World of Hyatt members, and the Washington, D.C. community with a stylish destination to eat, drink, connect and relax. We have already felt a warm welcome from the neighborhood’s residents and local businesses.”

Junior Suite with views over the city

Image credit: Hyatt Hotels

The hotel’s interiors were inspired by the Thompson brand’s signature mid-century modern aesthetic and the area’s notable Navy Yard, incorporating industrial patterns and textures found in the neighborhood’s historic naval structures. The hotel’s 225 guestrooms, including 17 suites, boast floor-to-ceiling windows and breathtaking views of the Anacostia River and Nationals Park. Two expansive Thompson Suites also feature stunning outdoor terraces with views of the Washington Navy Yard. Each guestroom features custom headboards upholstered in a mélange wool boucle from Holland complemented by sherry and plume-colored leather framed in a dark oak. Additional room elements include bathroom vanity tops made of green onyx and Brazilian white avalanche marble, 400-thread-count SFERRA linens, Tivoli radios, 55″ flat screen HD TVs, D.S. & Durga custom bath products, and kimono-style robes. The hotel’s mini bars are stocked with locally sourced items, including guilt-free snacks and candles from Frères Branchiaux Candle Co., where 10 per cent of proceeds benefit Washington, D.C.’s homeless shelters.

Among Thompson Washington D.C.’s many standout features is its signature restaurant, Maialino Mare, from famed Union Square Hospitality Group (USHG). The restaurant – a coastal sister to the original Maialino in New York City – focuses on seafood-forward pastas and other seasonally-inspired dishes sourced from local farmers and fishmongers, complemented by a robust Italian wine list and rustic desserts. Maialino Mare’s interior reflects a nod to Italian tradition but is rooted in the local metropolitan, modern setting and community.

Anchovy Social, the hotel’s rooftop bar, boasts an airy atmosphere accented with nautical elements and sweeping views of the city. Parts and Labor Design sought to create a contrasting but unified experience seen through the dark-to-light palette, allowing the space and its unprecedented 360-degree views of the city and waterfront to become a destination in itself. Anchovy Social will open in the weeks to come.

Main image credit: Hyatt Hotels

MarBella Collection announces debut in mainland Greece

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
MarBella Collection announces debut in mainland Greece

MarBella Collection is months away from opening the brand’s first property outside Corfu. Hotel Designs took a sneak peek inside Marbella Elix on the mainland of Greece…

Up until now, the hotel brand MarBella Collection has enjoyed developing its hotel portfolio of luxury properties around the rugged mountains and within the resort-studded shoreline of Corfo in Greece.

But that is all about the change as the brand steers towards a new era. MarBella Elix, which will open in June of this year, will mark the brand’s first footprints onto the mainland of Greece.

As the third hotel to join the MarBella Collection portfolio, the luxury hotel will be perched above the beautiful Karavostasi Beach in the Parga region, looking west towards Corfu and Paxos. An area of astounding natural beauty, the luxurious MarBella Elix sits in unspoilt surroundings where the mountains meet the Ionian Sea.

Aerial view of sea and white sunbeds

Image credit: MarBella Collection

MarBella Elix is situated close to Parga Village and within the region of Thesprotia in mainland Greece which lies opposite Corfu and is a much-loved holiday destination for locals and the lucky few who have discovered this off-the-radar, picturesque area.

Image of modern room overlooking the sea

Image credit: MarBella Collection

146 spacious and contemporary guestrooms and suites have been designed using natural and simple materials, creating a clean and crisp look and feel, allowing the striking landscape to complete the guests’ hotel experience. Guests will have 13 different room types to choose from, all with balconies offering uninterrupted views of the Ionian Sea and include flat-screen TV, free Wi-Fi, organic toiletries and premium ultra-soft bedding.

With three restaurants and three bars, guests at MarBella Elix will not be short of choice when deciding where to slake their appetite. The choice ranges from modern Mediterranean dining at Saffron Main Restaurant in a sublime sea view setting to healthy, light bites beside the pool or Indigo Beach Restaurant.

The hotel will be the brand’s third hotel to join the portfolio of two unique properties. The iconic family 5* resort, MarBella Corfu Hotel, is located and in Agios Ioannis Peristeron and its adjacent sister, adult-only suite hotel MarBella Nido Suite Hotel & Villas, which opened in May 2018, is also a proud member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World.

Main image credit: MarBella Hotels

nhow London opens and Hotel Designs is first in

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
nhow London opens and Hotel Designs is first in

Sensitively designed by The Brit List 2019 accredited firm Project Orange, nhow London has opened in Shoreditch to become a brave and bold accent on the capital’s booming hotel scene. Editor Hamish Kilburn is first in…

NH Hotel Group has arrived in the UK hospitality arena with the opening of nhow London. The 190-key hotel shelters many contemporary and quirky design statements to frame the interior design theme of ‘London Reloaded’, which was imagined and created by Shoreditch-based design firm Project Orange.

With six properties in Europe, the nhow brand aims to evolve the lifestyle hotel market by surprising and inspiring its guests through unconventional experience and design, which is unique to each hotel’s location. nhow London is part of the exciting new development 250 City Road.

Project Orange has been responsible for the interior design of the project from concept through to completion, and has specified British manufacturers as much as possible throughout the entire project. The ‘London Reloaded’ theme is prominent throughout the hotel with bold and fresh design that takes inspiration from traditional British icons, such as the Royal Family, London landmarks and the underground.

All areas of the have an eccentric and contemporary take, with stand-out features including a Big Ben rocket sculpture in the lobby, tables in the ground-floor restaurant Bells and Whistles featuring cockney rhyming slang and oversized gold bell lights, a reminder of the city’s famous church bells.

Render of the ground-floor restaurant with green banquet seating

Image caption/credit: Render of Bells and Whistles restaurant | nhow London/Project Orange

Upstairs, the corridors have been designed to reference a walk in a typical London park. Featuring eye-catching designed HD carpets by Brintons, as well as colourful ‘townhouse front door’ style doors, this area of the hotel, which can all too often feel stale and unforgotten, has been brought to life with humour. Each floor, facing the lifts, features a stencil of a bike chained to a fence. As guests move up each levels of the hotel, another part of the bike is removed, which is a playful nod to the reality of most, if not all, for cyclists in the city.

Colourful textures confront contemporary art in the rooms, creating a dynamic version of London – think punk meets high-tech style, while graffiti appears alongside unconventional images of past monarchs.

As with all NH Hotels, everything in a nhow London is pleasingly unexpected. The nhow experience has arrived in London as the brand continues to make its mark on the European hotel scene.

Main image credit: nhow London

Electric red led lights in modern and quirky lounge

Most anticipated hotel openings in 2020 (Q3 & Q4)

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Most anticipated hotel openings in 2020 (Q3 & Q4)

Hotel Designs continues to glance at some of the most significant hotel projects that are expected to complete in the next 12 months (edited by Hamish Kilburn)…

According to the latest findings by Top Hotel Projects, a whopping 50,000 new rooms are expected to open in January alone of this year.

Electric red led lights in modern and quirky lounge

Following on from part one of this series, where we put hotel openings in 2020 under the spotlight, here’s a closer look at some of the more significant hotels that are slated to open in Q3 and Q4 of this year.

Pendry West Hollywood (Q3)

Render of modern building

Image credit: Penury Hotels

Located on the iconic Sunset Strip, Pendry West Hollywood is one of the most anticipated developments in the creative heart of Los Angeles. The ‘new luxury’ hotel – set in an eye-catching glass fronted building with interiors designed by the acclaimed Martin Brudnizki Design Studio to evoke Californian glamour – comprises 149 guestrooms, including 37 suites and 40 additional residences. For the property’s signature restaurant and food and beverage outlets, Wolfgang Puck has created an unparalleled culinary experience inspired by the artistic energy of the surrounding area. Other stand-out features include a spectacular rooftop pool and bar adorned with chic cabanas; Spa Pendry a tranquil sanctuary offering personalised wellness treatments; curated public art collections showcasing local talent; bowling alley; and screening room.

Hilton Garden Inn Silverstone (Q3)

Render of modern building overlooking racetrack

Image credit: Hilton Hotels

Racing fans will have a new hotel to call their home away from home from 2020. Hilton Garden Inn Silverstone is the first hotel to open at the premier motor racing venue and will provide guests with extensive views over the track. Enjoy the breakneck speeds and gripping circuit side action from the comfort of the guestroom balconies or the hotel’s gorgeous rooftop terrace.

The hotel will also offer race-day experiences for all major sporting events held at the venue.

The Reykjavik EDITION (Q3)

Render of the exterior of The EDITION Reykjavik

Image caption/credit: Render of The EDITION Reykjavik | EDITION Hotels/Marriott International

Opening in a prime location within the downtown area of the city, The Reykjavik EDITION is set to launch in late 2020. Adjacent to the prominent Harpa Concert Hall, the hotel is situated in both a vibrant and scenic part of Iceland’s historical capital.

Ian Schrager Company has collaborated with architects T.arch and designers Roman & Williams to introduce EDITION Hotels to Iceland. Poised to offer 250 rooms and suites, The Reykjavik EDITION is poised to house a private rooftop, nightlife space and ballroom. In addition, the hotel is expected to offer guests and locals a diverse culinary offering with three restaurants and a café.

Crowne Plaza & Holiday Inn Express, Warsaw Hub (Q3)

Render of hotel

Image credit: IHG

A phoenix arisen from the ashes, Poland’s capital is a modern and dynamic metropolis that radiates contemporary style and sheer joie de vivre. The city boasts diverse architecture, beautiful outdoor spaces, cultural treasures, and a superb selection of dining spots, as well as over 100 cultural events taking place on a monthly basis. This new dual-branded hotel is part of The Warsaw HUB – a new business concept that will offer 430 rooms and suites from Holiday Inn Express and Crowne Plaza, conveniently located in the heart of the city’s Silicon Valley – Rondo Daszyńskiego in the Wola district.

Rosewood Hong Kong – Asaya (Q4)

Two sun loungers overlooking bay

Image credit: Rosewood Hotels

November 2019 marks the launch of the ultimate urban wellness destination, ASAYA, at Rosewood Hong – offering progressive, comprehensive integrative wellness in a destination setting. This is the first urban outpost of Asaya, following its resort debut in Phuket in December 2017. Asaya will occupy a vast indoor and outdoor space at Rosewood Hong Kong, making it the largest lifestyle and wellness facility of the city.

Ambiente, A Landscape Hotel, Arizona, USA (Q4)

Render of hotel under rocks of Arizona

Image credit: Ambiente

Described as North America’s first landscape hotel, Ambiente is designed to blend in with the mystical red rocks of Sedona, Arizona.

Developed, owned and managed by Two Sister Bosses, a Sedona family-owned and operated company, Ambiente is being built with a deep respect for the environment with a focus on sustainable methods and organic, modern architecture that complements the surrounding topography and minimises the impact on the land. Designed by award-winning, Scottsdale-based ASUL Architects, the hotel will be constructed around the natural vegetation and topography, requiring less cut and fill, which better meets today’s expectations of being responsible land stewards.

Main image credit: Hilton Hotels

EDITION to open three new hotels in 2020

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
EDITION to open three new hotels in 2020

The luxury hotel brand EDITION Hotels has announced that it will open properties in Japan, Iceland and Dubai this year… 

Following the announcement of Marriott International’s strategy to open 30 new luxury hotels in 2020, EDITION Hotels has shared that it will open three new properties across three continents this year.

With the completion of new EDITION properties in Japan, Iceland and Dubai, the brand is expected to reach 13 properties worldwide. In addition, Marriott International has a further 15 hotels in EDITION’s signed development pipeline which, upon opening in coming years, should more than double the brand’s footprint.

“All of the EDITION hotels are unique, original and one of a kind, embedded with a sense of time and place,” Ian Schrager.

The brainchild of famed designer and hotel visionary Ian Schrager, EDTION Hotels continues to expand its home-from-home luxury interior scheme in major travel hotspots around the world. “All of the EDITION hotels are unique, original and one of a kind, embedded with a sense of time and place,” Schrager commented.

With two existing properties in the Asia Pacific region, the brand expects to open its first property in Japan – The Tokyo EDITION Toranomon. EDITION expects to expand its footprint in the Middle East with the opening of The Dubai EDITION, the second hotel in the UAE following last year’s launch of The Abu Dhabi EDITION. Europe is also expected to see its fourth EDITION property with the launch of The Reykjavik EDITION in Iceland.

Render of the exterior of The EDITION Reykjavik

Image caption/credit: Render of The EDITION Reykjavik | EDITION Hotels/Marriott International

Each new opening will further entrench EDITION Hotels’ position as a global leader in the luxury lifestyle hotel market. Working with eminent global designers to create distinctive properties, each EDITION Hotel is uniquely tailored to its destination. Displaying the best of dining and entertainment, services and amenities “all under one roof,” each EDITION property is completely unique, reflecting the best of the cultural and social milieu of its location and of the time.

EDITION Hotels’ commitment to uncompromising quality, true originality and impeccable modern service continues to define the luxury boutique hotel category. The brand’s rapid international expansion is set to continue with further openings slated throughout 2021 across multiple continents.

Main image credit: EDITION Hotels/Marriott International 

Render of luxury bedroom overlooking snowy slopes

Kiroro Resort in Japan opens new residences

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Kiroro Resort in Japan opens new residences

Construction has completed on first residential resort in world-class alpine destination in the heart of Hokkaido, Japan…

Within the powder paradise in the heart of Hokkaido, Japan, Kiroro Resort has welcomed the arrival of new luxury residences and several new restaurants and bars.

Render of luxury bedroom overlooking snowy slopes

Developed by Property Perfect PCL, Kiroro Resort, which is tucked away in the mountains of Hokkaido, was amongst the top three best ski resorts 2019 in the 7th annual World Ski Awards.

Yu Kiroro comprises of a collection of exclusive ski-in/ski-out private residences at the base of the mountain. The development features 104 one-, two-, three-bedroom and penthouse freehold luxury private residences that are fully-furnished with premium services such as ski valet, a natural indoor-outdoor onsen, 24-hour concierge, fitness centre and lounge.

“Residents will have ski-in/ski-out access to the world’s best powder, the longest ski season – Mr. Chainid Adhyanasakul, CEO of Property Perfect PCL.”

“We are thrilled to be completing the construction of Yu Kiroro, just in time for the winter season,” said Mr. Chainid Adhyanasakul, CEO of Property Perfect PCL. “Our owners are excited about the special opportunity to be the first to own in this highly coveted, high end mountain resort. Residents will have ski-in/ski-out access to the world’s best powder, the longest ski season, and year-round recreation in the heart of charming Hokkaido.”

render of the slopes and the exterior of the hotel

Image credit: Yu Kiroro

The completion of the residences also coincides with the opening of several new restaurants and bar in Kiroro Resort, including Yukashi (Japanese / Western) restaurant in Yu Kiroro, as well as Asian Kitchen (Thai-Chinese dining), The Hokkaido Bar, Yanshu Yakiniku, Belgian Waffle Shop and Shiro.

Main image credit: Kiroro Resort

 

Render of the building, featuring the outside f&b areas and the exterior of the rooms

Concept to completion: Journey to design Conrad Punta de Mita

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Concept to completion: Journey to design Conrad Punta de Mita

In the first article of the first concept-to-completion series of the year, Hotel Designs exclusively invites SB Architects explain the unique design concept of Conrad Punta de Mita, which is slated to open later this year…

Situated within what is being called ‘Mexico’s next major ‘it’ destination’, Riviera Nayarit, Conrad Hotels & Resorts is months away from opening.

Render of the building, featuring the outside f&b areas and the exterior of the rooms

Co-developers HRV Hotel Partners and Contact Development Company envisioned a modern design and destination that highlights and enhances the natural beauty of the surrounding area.

In 2016, architecture firm SB Architects was commissioned to transform the former La Tranquila Resortin Punta de Mita, Mexico to redesign and refresh the existing buildings to become Conrad Punta de Mita. The brief included repositioning the lobby and lobby bar, as well as the addition of new low-rise guest room buildings. In answer to the ever-evolving food and wellness travel market, the firm was asked to also design a three-meal restaurant, specialty restaurant, pool bar and grill, beach grill, sunset bar, adult pool bar, spa, and conference centre.

render of ground-level f&b area, open to nature

Image caption/credit: Render of Speciality Restaurant | SB Architects/Conrad Hotels & Resorts

Riviera Nayarit boasts more than 200 miles of sun-kissed beaches, provides a backdrop of the majestic Sierra Madre mountains, and is one of the only places in the world where you can find all four groups of mangroves; White, Red, Black and Buttonwood.

“People and place were the primary sources of inspiration, drawing from the rich, multi-cultural identity of Riviera Nayarit.”

One of SB Architects earliest and clearest project goals was to create a rejuvenating resort that places people at the centre of the design and harnesses the ambiance of the site. Weaving Conrad Hilton’s key brand attributes into the design, people and place were the primary sources of inspiration, drawing from the rich, multi-cultural identity of Riviera Nayarit.

People thrive best in environments that allow them to connect authentically to nature and the sophisticated, the contemporary architectural design, with seamless transitions between interior and exterior spaces, provides a fluid, natural and relaxed guest experience. Dovetailing with the dramatic scenery, resort bungalows, pavilions, and cabanas are nestled in coastal vegetation, overlooking ponds or the Pacific Ocean beaches and Litibu Bay coves. Influenced by Mexico’s rich history and unique culture, indigenous artwork integrates with luxurious amenities to create a sense of barefoot resort elegance. In each motif lies a story, a statement and a valued part of the local Mexican identity.

Image caption/credit: Render of exterior spa | SB Architects/Conrad Hotels & Resorts

A tranquil respite from Mexico City’s energetic pace, the 324-key hotel boasts serene natural landscapes, aquamarine waters, and uninhabited isles. Facilities include three dining venues, three pools; adult, family, activity; spa and 45,000 square feet of combined function space; including 30,000 square feet outdoor event space, 10,000 square-foot ballroom, and 3,000 square feet of breakout rooms, each with ample pre-function terraces.

Hotel Designs continues to follow the project, through concept to completion, as it heads towards its official opening later this year.

Main image credit: SB Architects/Conrad Hotels & Resorts

Guest room with modern interiors

Hyatt Regency brand debuts in Greater Bay area of Southern China

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hyatt Regency brand debuts in Greater Bay area of Southern China

Hyatt Hotels has announced the opening of the 493-key Hyatt Regency Hengqin in Zhuhai, Guangdong Province, China, designed in response to the rise in bleisure travellers visiting the area…

Situated in the heart of the dynamic and fast-growing Greater Bay Area of southern China, Hyatt Regency Hengqin is part of the vibrant Novotown complex, which features an impressive array of attractions including Lionsgate Entertainment World, Natinoal Geographic Explorer and more.

Guest room with modern interiors

The hotel has a total of 493 guestrooms, including 55 suites, ranging from and from 430 to 2,583 square feet (40 to 240 square meters). Subtle design touches include soft warm timber blinds, giving an overall feeling of natural comfort. Regency Club guests enjoy exclusive access to our club lounge offering a range of complimentary amenities including concierge service, private check-in and check-out, delicious bites served daily, and a dedicated meeting room.

Boasting six restaurants and bars, the hotel offers a wide range of global cuisine. Market Café is a self-service, market-style restaurant where diners can watch their food being prepared by expert chefs at live cooking stations. La Cucina is an extension of Market Café, bringing the delicious flavors of Italy to Hengqin, with a variety of popular European dishes.

Exterior shot of the hotel

Image credit: Hyatt Hotels

In early spring of 2020, the hotel will open three additional food and beverage outlets. The open-kitchen Xiang Yue Chinese restaurant will specialise in the delicate flavors of Cantonese cuisine. Pool Pavilion will be a relaxing, al fresco dining venue delivering sumptuous barbecue and craft cocktails. Meanwhile, the 180-degree rooftop bar, will be located on the 23rd floor.

Modern design in restaurant with open kitchen

Image caption/credit: Market Place/Hyatt Hotels

The modern 24-hour fitness centre features a wide variety of state-of-the-art workout equipment in a bright and airy space. In addition, the hotel shelters a 1,076 square foot (100 square meter) members’ lounge, as well as an indoor and outdoor swimming pool.

Main image credit: Hyatt Hotels

render of open-planned lobby/lounge area in hotel overlooking the pool and the sea

Most anticipated hotel openings in 2020 (Q1 & Q2)

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Most anticipated hotel openings in 2020 (Q1 & Q2)

Kickstarting 2020, Hotel Designs takes a glance at some of the most significant hotel projects that are expected to complete in the next 12 months (edited by Hamish Kilburn)…

If 2019 was anything to go by, then the next 12 months on the international hotel design and hospitality scene is going to be a jam-packed series of hotel openings in all corners of the globe. But with the industry churning out all kinds of hotels, it can be a challenge identifying the projects that will make the biggest impact.

render of open-planned lobby/lounge area in hotel overlooking the pool and the sea

In order to cut through the noise, the editorial team has sifted through the lists of projects on the boards in order to determine which among them are the most significant hotel projects that are slated to complete and open in 2020.

We start our series by putting the spotlight on the hotels forecasted to opening in Q1 and Q2.

Fusion Suites Vung Tau (Q1)

Render of rooftop pool and dynamic angular roof

Fusion’s latest hotel, Fusion Suites Vung Tau, is set to open in January in southern Vietnam’s popular coastal playground. The new 21-storey property features 171 well-appointed suites and apartments, a multitude of dining options, a spa, yoga studio, and a rooftop infinity pool. The property offers views of the ocean, and complements the setting with playful interiors dressed in sea green, ocean blue, and a wide range of ocean-inspired hues in between. The same sense of whimsy informs the building’s complex facade with pastel-coloured glass panels that zig-zag upwards. For dining options the hotel has the Fresh restaurant (open all-day), a rooftop bar, and market stalls in the lobby. The property’s 12 treatment room spa is inspired by the sea and features signature therapies based around salt. Conveniently located in the heart of Vung Tau, the hotel is just a short trip by boat or road from Ho Chi Minh City.

Mama Shelter Paris West (Q1)

Light room with living coral coloured decor

Image credit: Mama Shelter

Following a successful soft opening, Mama Shelter’s second hotel in Paris, located in the eclectic 15th arrondissement, will officially open in January 2020. With cutting-edge design elements by up and coming French designer Dion & Arles, featuring the playful design and vibrant colour palettes – guests can unwind in front of the open fire in the all-day restaurant or dine al fresco on the terrace, complete with its very own half-size basketball court. This will be Mama Shelter’s 12th property.

Hotel Brooklyn, Manchester (Q1)

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

Riggs Washington D.C.

Image credit: Lore Group/Riggs Washington DC

The long-awaited brainchild of The Brit List 2019 judge Jacu Strauss, Riggs Washington D.C. is expected to open its illustrious doors in February 2020. The famed designer has invoked the spirit of the building’s former bank while preserving and restoring much of the property’s original design features to reimagine the storied building for the modern traveller. The 181-room property features playful nods to the building’s rich past, drawing on the parallels between the activities that take place in banks and at hotels to offer something personal and serendipitous around every corner.

Atocha Hotel Madrid – Tapestry Collection by Hilton (Q1)

Render of gold and modern guest room with gold headboard and light grey bedding

Image credit: Tapestry Collection/Hilton Hotels

Tapestry Collection by Hilton is making its debut in EMEA and will soon land in two of the most iconic European cities.

Atocha Hotel Madrid will be the first hotel to join Hilton’s Tapestry Collection in Europe. It is located in the buzzing heart of Madrid, within walking distance from popular tourist attractions such as the Museo Reina Sofia and the El Reitro Park.

Crowne Plaza Sydney Darling Harbour (Q1)

Render of infinity pool over the edge of the building, overlooking the skyline of Sydney

Image credit: IHG/Crowne Plaza

The new build hotel features 152 modern guest rooms and suites suspended in a prime position just a short stroll to the CBD’s commercial & transport hub, the lively Darling Harbour precinct and the International Convention Centre. The new hotel will feature a heated outdoor plunge pool with vista across Sydney’s skyscraper as well as three restaurants & bars.

W Ibiza (Q2)

Render of a colourful exterior of the hotel

Image credit: W Ibiza/Baranowitz + Kronenberg

Conceived and designed by BARANOWITZ + KRONENBERGW Ibiza is slated to open in April ahead of the 2020 Summer season. Located off the beaten track, the 167-key hotel will strike a pose on the palm-fringed beachfront of Santa Eulalia. As the only global brand on the island, the design brief was to marry the parallel realities of Ibiza with a magnetic pull that turns up the sass.

By opening up the public spaces to become a flexible social hub, the hotel becomes a place that nurtures human connections, and through the use of subtle levels creates touchable distance between each functional area. “The idea is that the energy descends into the unconventional pool area,” Alon Baranowitz told Hotel Designs in an exclusive interview. “As you move up levels, the lobby/lounge area becomes more reclined, but the open architecture scheme allows for a clever connection between all spaces.”

The hotel will open as part of Marriott International’s goal to add more than 30 new luxury hotels to its extensive worldwide portfolio in 2020.

The Emerald House Lisbon, Curio Collection by Hilton (Q2)

Render of 70s inspired furniture in bar and restaurant with modern touches

Image credit: Hilton Hotels

One of the world’s most historic cities, known for its one-of-a-kind beauty and unique dining, will soon welcome The Emerald House Lisbon, Curio Collection by Hilton. The hotel will be located a few streets away from the historical districts of Chiado and Baixa, famous for their impressive plazas, vibrant restaurants and boutique shops, making it ideal for curious travellers seeking unexpected and authentic experiences.

Rosewood São Paulo (Q2)

Render of building that is blended into trees

Image credit: Rosewood Hotels

Rosewood Hotels & Resorts will launch its first South American property situated in the centre of São Paulo, featuring 151 guestrooms and 114 owners’ suites, two restaurants, including one located on a veranda overlooking hotel gardens and complemented by a bar and a caviar lounge. Recreational facilities will include two swimming pools with one rooftop pool and the other set amongst the landscaped grounds and a large spa and a fitness area. Hotel guests will also be able to access an adjoining music studio, screening room and luxury retail stores within the development. Rosewood Hotels and Resorts are collaborating on this project with leading international figures such as the Pritzker Prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel and designer Philippe Starck, to create a one-of-a-kind building.

The Tokyo EDITION, Toranomon (Q2)

Render of rooftop garden in restaurant area in hotel

Image credit: EDITION Hotels

Set to be the first EDITION Hotel in Japan, the Tokyo EDITION Toranomon is slated to rise as part of the redevelopment of the former Pastoral Building, a mixed-use project comprising offices, residences and a medical centre. The 205-key hotel has been created in partnership with the globally renowned architect and designer Kengo Kuma, who designed the Tokyo 2020 National Olympic Stadium. It is expected to offer easy access to some of Tokyo’s most iconic sites, including the Tokyo Tower and Tsukiji fish market. Within walking distance to the buzzing nightlife and restaurants of Roppongi, The Tokyo EDITION Toranomon will further raise the bar in entertainment and gastronomy for the area.

voco Edinburgh (Q2)

Not only a capital city, Edinburgh is also the leading festival city in the world, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. With a plethora of world-class attractions, sightseeing in Edinburgh is effortless, with visitors able to experience different centuries of history from street to street. IHG’s new voco brand is to open in Edinburgh on Torphichen Street, close to Edinburgh International Conference Centre. The hotel will feature all the usual comforts afforded by voco® properties, such as an indoor pool, eco-friendly bedding, a health club, and on-site bar.

The Pig at Harlyn Bay, Cornwall (Q2)

Establishing shot of the heritage property

Image credit: THE PIG

The Pig brand is going from strength to strength. Following its latest opening in Bridge, Kent, The Pig brand is heading west coast of cornwall. Inside a stunning Grade II-listed building, Harlan House, THE PIG-at Harlyn Bay is positioned near Padstow in Cornwall. Expected to open in June 2020, the hotel is just a short stroll from Harlyn beach, Constantine Bay beaches, Trevose Golf Club, and is also only a 10-minute drive to the sea-side honeypot of Padstow.

Ikos Andalusia (Q2)

Render of lobby area

Image credit: Ikos Resorts

Marking the brand’s arrival into Spain – and the first property outside Greece – Ikos Andalusia is slated to open in May 2020. The stylish resort is set amongst olive trees and has both modern features and local touches, such as traditional Moorish windcatchers perched atop its seven buildings. Individually commissioned pieces of art and colourful hand-painted tiles will be on display throughout the restaurants and guest rooms. A Cherry Blossom tree at Anaya restaurant, encircled by seating for guests to enjoy Asian dishes in an al-fresco setting, will be a particularly stand-out feature.

Six bars will be located around the resort’s lush gardens and pools serving cocktails prepared by award-winning Ikos mixologists, using branded international and local spirits.

The resort will boast eight outdoor and indoor pools, including kids’ pools, spa pools and adults-only pools, plus a number of private pools. Each of the outdoor pools will feature a cascading design overlooking the beach and Mediterranean Sea.

Banyan Tree Krabi (Q2)

Render of restaurant under roof on stilts overlooking lush jungle

Image credit: Banyan Tree Holdings

Singapore-based Banyan Tree Holdings Ltd, one of Asia’s foremost luxury hotel groups, has announced plans to open a new resort in Krabi in the second quarter of 2020. Currently under development in a serene location on Tubkaek Beach, Banyan Tree Krabi fronts powdery white sands and the shallow-shelved coast of the Andaman Sea. The new Thai resort will offer 72 pool suites and villas, among them seven two-bedroom options and one three-bedroom villa. Facilities include all-day dining, a ballroom, a wedding chapel, a beach club, a kids’ club, and a fitness center. In keeping with Banyan Tree’s holistic branding, the resort will also host a rainforest-themed spa.

Main image credit: W Ibiza

The Brit List Hoteliers of 2019 (Part two)

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The Brit List Hoteliers of 2019 (Part two)

This December, Hotel Designs has profiled the individuals who made it into The Brit List 2019. We conclude by referencing part two of The Brit List Hoteliers of 2019 (in alphabetical order)…

The Brit List 2019 is Hotel Designs’ annual nationwide search to identify the top 25 designers, top 25 architects and top 25 hoteliers who are operating in Britain. The Judges, which are made up of experts in all pockets of the industry, gathered to decided who was eligible to make this year’s list.

The industry’s leading figures then gathered on November 21 at Patch East London, where The Brit List 2019 was unveiled and the individual winners were announced. 

Following from The Brit List Designers and Architects of 2019 in Part OnePart Two, Part Three, Part Four and Part Five, here are the final 10 individuals that made it as The Brit List Hoteliers of 2019…

Olivia Richli, General Manager – Heckfield Place (Winner: The Eco Award 2019)

Olivia Richli who recently sat on a panel with editor Hamish Kilburn to put sustainability under the spotlight, is an inspirational general manager with a real drive to operate a consious luxury hotel. She was plucked from semi-retirement at her beachfront home in Sri Lanka by Boston’s Gerald Chan, who had bought Heckfield Place almost twenty years before. Richli’s youth spent among the farms and gardens of the British countryside, combined with her unique career in developing and operating eclectic luxury hotels within historic precincts, stood her inperfect stead to guide Heckfield Place into a grand new era.

Heckfield’s sense of responsibility and sustainable stance has inspired Richli onto the next level of stewardship, one that quietly leads by example and endeavors to establish an estate that will thrive and guide all those who visit.

Pat King, CEO – The Doyle Collection

Pat King, CEO of The Doyle Collection, has been with the company for more than 20 years, and became the CEO in 2012.

The company currently owns eight luxury properties, which include TheWestbury, The Marylebone, The Bloomsbury, The Kensington, The Croke Park, The River Lee, and The Bristol, and has recently of cially relaunched The Dupont Circle hotel in Washington, D.C.

Robert Alam, Area General Manager – Nadler Hotels

Robert Alam has worked at Nadler Hotels for more than three years, and has been the area general manager since October 2018.

During this time, he has overseen the launch of Nadler Covent Garden, which is the brand’s latest hotel to arrive on the London scene. Overlooking The Strand in a restored Edwardian building, the 57-key hotelopened as the hotel group’s fourth luxury boutique hotel in the capital.

Robin Hutson, Chairman and Chief Executive – Lime Wood Group & Home Grown Hotels (The Pig)

Robin Hutson is known as an innovative and entrepreneurial hotelier with 40 years’ experience in some of the world’s most famous hotel brands, including Hotel du Vin and Soho House.

He was non-exec director, then executive chairman alongside Nick Jones at Soho House Group for 14 years until 2008 when the group wassuccessfully sold for £105m. Hutson is now CEO & Chairman of Lime WoodGroup Ltd & Home Grown Hotels Ltd; his latest venture The Pig in its short existence has already been much lauded as a mold breaker in the country house sector, transforming English rural areas and enhancing comunities for the better.

Robin Sheppard, Chairman – Bespoke Hotels

With more than 40 years’ experience as a hotelier, Robin Sheppard was The Brit List 2018’s winner of the Outstanding Contribution to the Hospitality Industry. In 2004, just four years after co-founding Bespoke Hotels, Sheppard was left completely paralysed from the neck down as a result of Guillain-Barre Syndrome.

This life-altering event made Sheppard realise how inaccessible many hotels were. As a result, he launched the Bespoke Access Awards (now known as the Blue Badge Access Awards) to shine the spotlight on hotels which do offer stylish accommodation that is accessible to all.

Sandeep Bhalla, General Manager – The Connaught Hotel

Sandeep Bhalla was recently appointed as the new general manager of the Connaught Hotel. Indian-born Bhalla previously held the position of hotel manager of the five-red-AA-star, Maybourne Hotel Groupproperty, which he joined as hotel manager in 2018. Before arriving at the Connaught Hotel, he worked at the sister hotel, The Berkeley in Knighstbridge, where he joined in 2007 as director of food and beverage,and was later promoted to hotel manager in 2012.

Prior to his position at Maybourne Hotel Group, Bhalla was part of the pre-opening team of the Burj Al Arab in Dubai.

Sholto Smith, General Manager – Great Scotland Yard Hotel

Sholto Smith joined Great Scotland Yard Hotel from the same role at the Hyatt Regency Perth in Australia.

Sholto, who has been part of the Hyatt family for more than 20 years, was the general manager of the Park Hyatt Siem Reap in Cambodia and director of sales and marketing at the Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill before being promoted in 2008 to area director of sales UK &Ireland at Hyatt’s worldwide sales office in London.

Stephen Baker, Joint Owner – Carbis Bay Hotel & Estate (Highly Commended: Hotelier of the Year 2019)

Joint-owned by Stephen and Jose Baker, Carbis Bay Hotel & Estate is a luxurious coastal retreat with a privately owned 25-acre Blue Flag beach,impeccable service, fine food, superb spa facilities and breathtaking viewsacross one of the world’s most beautiful bays.

Central to everything is the main house, a white-walled landmark designed by the celebrated Cornish architect, Silvanus Trevail, and erected in 1894. Inside, gilt mirrors and chandeliers are complemented by modern, chic interior touches inside 45 individually furnished rooms and sea-facing suites.

Thomas Kochs, Managing Director – Corinthia London (Winner: Hotelier of the Year 2019)

Thomas Kochs became the managing director of Corinthia London in May 2017. Kochs is responsible for managing the group’s agshipproperty, which opened its doors in 2011. In six years, the property hasachieved international acclaim as one of the world’s leading luxury five-star hotels.

Kochs was the face of the two-part TV series, A Hotel for the Super Rich & Famous, which documented the operations behind the hotel, including the behind-the-scenes of significant changes to service and design, with the launch of Kerridge’s Bar and Grill.

Will Ashworth, Managing Director – Watergate Bay Hotel

Born and having grown up in Cornwall, Will Ashworth has worked withinthe hospitality industry in Kenya, Switzerland and North America before returning to Cornwall in 2000 to take over the running of the family hotelat Watergate Bay.

Under Ashworth’s management, the hotel has been transformed from a traditional seasonal seaside hotel into a vibrant, sustainable year-round holiday destination. In addition to managing the hotel, Ashworth also sits on the Visit Cornwall CIC board. Ashworth was once again on stage at the Independent Hotel Show this year, where he delivered an insightful talk on hotel dynasties.

Mandarin Oriental to manage its second hotel in the UAE

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Mandarin Oriental to manage its second hotel in the UAE

Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group will take over management of the iconic Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi from January 1 2020…

Mandarin Oriental is about to take on the management of its second hotel in the United Arab Emirates following the opening of Mandarin Oriental Jumeira, Dubai in early 2019. The hotel, which was known as Emirates Palace, will rebrand following a phased renovation over two years, during which time the hotel will remain open. The work will encompass significant upgrades to guestrooms and recreational amenities, as well as new food and beverage facilities.

The Emirates Palace hotel sits on a 1.3-kilometre private beachfront, featuring 394 guestrooms and suites, 12 restaurants and bars, 40 meeting rooms, a concert grade auditorium and a ballroom that can accommodate up to 2,500 people. Leisure facilities include a marina, two swimming pools, a spa and two fitness centres.

“This is a unique opportunity to manage one of the most high-profile properties in the Middle East and will be an excellent addition to our portfolio in the region. We look forward to bringing the Group’s exemplary service standards to Abu Dhabi and to introducing the brand to a new audience,” said James Riley, Group Chief Executive of Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group.

“The partnership with Mandarin Oriental represents an important milestone and aims to propel the property’s profile into a new era,” said His Excellency Sultan Dhahi Sultan Al Humairi, Managing Director of Emirates Palace Company (EPCO). “We look forward to a mutually prosperous and fruitful relationship with Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group,” he added.

Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi is centrally located in the heart of the city, conveniently situated for both leisure and business travellers. The Grand Mosque and the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre are a short drive away. The Marina Mall is nearby and the commercial centre of the city is also easily accessed. The hotel is 40 minutes from Abu Dhabi International Airport and 90 minutes from Dubai Airport.

Main image credit: Mandarin Oriental

Chalet style guest room overlooking mountains

Five-star Le Coucou opens in Méribel, France

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Five-star Le Coucou opens in Méribel, France

Renowned architect Pierre Yovanovitch completes Hotel Le Coucou, which is located on the slopes within the premium ski destination of Meribel in the French Alps… 

Maisons Pariente, a new luxury collection of boutique, five-star hotels across France, has announced the official opening of its third property in 2019. Le Coucou in Muriel is a 55-suite luxury hotel, created by architect Pierre Yovanovitch, designed to be quirky twist on a classic Alpine design.

Chalet style guest room overlooking mountains

The ski-in/ski-out hotel shelters two restaurants, a Tata Harper Spa, two swimming pools (one indoor and one outdoor) and two kid’s clubs. The latest addition to the Maisons Pariente portfolio boasts a fantastic location, which is perched on the heights of Belvedere, close to Le Rond-Point des Pistes, offering panoramic views across the slopes of Méribel.

The 39 suites and 16 rooms include bespoke furniture designed by Yavanovitch. Warm colours and contemporary artwork scattered throughout the hotel encourages guests to relax and recharge in exceptional settings.

image of contemporary red sofa with polkadot carpet and orange walls.

Image credit: Jerome Galland

In addition, the property also features two, four-bedroom luxury chalets that claim to be the “perfect home away from home”, while reaping the benefits of all the five-star services Le Coucou has on offer. Fully equipped with four en-suite bedrooms, spacious living area and a games area, each chalet offers the ideal cosy and comfortable retreat for a mountain holiday. Each chalet’s private ski room, pool and spa will welcome skiers each evening to ensure they are fully rested for another memorable day on piste.

marble bathroom reflecting the chalet window in the oval mirror

Image credit: Jerome Galland

Setting a new standard of wellness on the slopes, Hotel Le Coucou is delighted to offer guests a series of pampering and revitalising organic treatments at the new Tata Harper Spa, which has six treatment cabins including a spacious spa suite. In addition to a new spa, Le Coucou’s two new heated indoor and outdoor pools are separated by a glass window, while the fitness area offers panoramic views across the peaks with state-of-the-art fitness equipment.

Pool overlooking snowy slopes

Image credit: Hotel Le Coucou/Maisons Pariente

Le Coucou is set to bring a fresh taste to Méribel’s gourmet scene as the hotel’s two restaurants cater to relaxed lunches for couples and families, drinks at the bar après ski or a romantic dinner for two. An innovative concept created by Riccardo Giraudi for Le Coucou, restaurant Bianca Neve is entirely dedicated to Italian cuisine.

The Beefbar restaurant is also on offer to tantalise guest’s taste buds boasting the rarest meats with the most prestigious origins, from Black Angus Beef from Argentina and the Milk fed Veal to Australian Wagyu and Japanese Kobe. A nod to the hotels name, translated to the cuckoo, can be found in the Beefbar where a feature wall is adorned with an entire collection of old cuckoo clocks. Following a delicious meal, guests will have the chance to relive the day’s most memorable runs, over a night cap in the Cigar Lounge.

Hotel Le Coucou marks the third opening for Maisons Pariente in 2019, following closely behind the opening of Hotel Lou Pinet, Saint Tropez in June 2019 and the reopening of the refurbished Hotel Crillon le Brave in Provence on May 1 2019. The Pariente family have their sights set on Paris, in le Marais, for a fourth addition to the collection in 2021.

Main image credit: Jerome Galland

gold hue in room full of ice and a bed

In Pictures – 30th Icehotel opens in Lapland

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In Pictures – 30th Icehotel opens in Lapland

Hotel Designs receives the first images as the original Icehotel opens in Lapland for the winter season with spectacular new designs and features to celebrate its 30th anniversary…

Built from 30,000 cubic metres of ice, which is the equivalent of 110 million ice creams, the iconic Icehotel in Swedish Lapland has opened its doors for another winter season. Celebrating its 30th anniversary, the hotel shelters new layouts, suite designs, activities and features including a special ice-carved observation deck built above the hotel.

gold hue in room full of ice and a bed

It has been 30 years since Icehotel founder Yngve Bergqvist started a journey that would lead to the world’s first hotel made entirely out of snow and ice and during this time more than one million guests from all continents of the world have visited. The latest incarnation of the hotel is now open until the ice melts in the spring and the water returns to the Thorne river.

33 artists from 16 countries have spent an intense couple of weeks in the village of Jukkasjärvi, creating the hotel (made entirely out of ice and snow from the free-flowing Torne River) under the guidance of the hotel’s new Creative Director Luca Roncoroni.

Bar made from ice

Image credit: Asaf Kliger/Icehotel

This includes two British teams; father and daughter duo Jonathan and Marnie Green and professional sculptor Robert Harding, both of which have created Art Suites for Icehotel before.

The Green family’s suite is themed around a West End production called A Night at the Theatre, with ice-carved curtains, reindeers waiting in the wings, an impressive scale model of the hotel entrance in the centre and a frozen bed nestled amongst miniature theatre seats in the auditorium, with six life-size ice seats for guests to sit on behind.

Image credit: Asaf Kliger/Icehotel

Harding’s Bone Room celebrates the natural melting process of the Icehotel each spring as it slowly dissolves back into the Torne River, and aims to highlight the beauty found in the cycle of life with giant ice-carved bone sculptures overlooking the frozen bed, each glowing from within thanks to an under-floor white light.

Image credit: Asaf Kliger/Icehotel

The Main Hall “Brutalism” celebrates the construction of the hotel, the Ceremony Hall “Gingko” plays homage to the Chinese Ginkgo Tree (which symbolises hope, strength, longevity) and features 30 stars carved into the ceiling, one for each year of Icehotel, whilst the IceBar “TorneLand” is a tribute to the hotel’s 30 years of frozen fun, with ice-carved roller-coasters, games and hot air balloons surrounding the bar.

The full list to artists are as follows:

Main Hall: Brutal Experience
Jens Thoms Ivarsson: designer, artist and previous Creative Director at Icehotel,
Mats Nilsson: Stonemason and craftsman

Ceremony Hall: Gingko
Nina Kauppi: design studio owner, Sweden
Johan Kauppi: design studio owner, Sweden

IceBar: Torneland
Luc Vosin: landscape artist and interior designer, France
Mathieu Brison: urban planner, artistic director and architect

The Day After
Marjolein Vonk: art director, stylist and artist, Netherlands
Maurizio Perron: sculptor and artist, Italy

Subterranean
Jörgen Westin: artist and industrial designer, Sweden
Daniel Rosenbaum: artist and designer, Australia/ Canada

Feline Lair
Brian McArthur: artist and sculptor, Canada
Dawn Detarando: artist and sculptor, Canada

Ruossut- The Light You Can Hear
Anna Öhlund: photographer, sculptor and artist, Sweden
John Pettersson: lighting designer, Sweden

Clear Water
AnnaSofia Mååg: artist and sculptor, Sweden
Niklas Byman: entrepreneur and former Icehotel ice-production technician, Sweden

ECHOS of the Torne River
Francisco Cortés Zamudio: artist, Chile/Germany

White Santorini
Haemee Han: designer and landscape architect, USA/South Korea
Jaeyual Lee: architect, USA

Bone Room
Robert Harding: artist and sculptor, UK/South Africa/Spain

Spring Dream
ZhaoLei: artist and sculptor, China
ZhaoYong: artist and sculptor, China

Golden Ice
Nicolas Triboulot: designer, France
Jean-Marie Guitera: sound and game designer, Australia

Kaleidoscope
Natsuki Saito: ice sculptor, architect, designer, Japan
Shingo Saito: ice sculptor, Japan

A Night At The Theatre
Jonathan Paul Green: production designer, UK
Marnie Green: art student, UK

Tip Of The iceberg
Franziska Agrawal: industrial designer and artist, Germany

Warm Up
Tomasz Czajkowski: interior designer, Poland
Aleksandra Pasek: psychologist and writer, Poland

The 6th Feeling
Vladimir Barsukov: sculptor and photographer, Russia
Ekaterina Barsukova: designer and sculptor, Russia

To mark the 30th anniversary, the hotel has built a special ice-carved observation deck, offering views of the surrounding frozen landscape across the Torne River from which the ice is harvested. Plus, the hotel has also built a new sculpture at the enterence to the winter hotel; a four-metre tall tower that guests can climb.

Main image: Asaf Kliger/Icehotel

ME Dubai within the Opus to open in February 2020

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
ME Dubai within the Opus to open in February 2020

The iconic contemporary structure in Dubai, the Opus, has been designed by the masters at Zaha Hadid Architects. The architectural marvel will shelter ME Dubai, which is slated to open in February 2020…

Following the opening of The Morpheus last year, and Hotel Designs’ interview with one of the lead architects behind the project , Zaha Hadid Architects is preparing to celebrate yet another groundbreaking moment in architecture. The London-based firm’s latest project, the Opus, is months away from entering onto the international hotel design landscape with arrival of ME Dubai.

Located within Burj Khalifa district of Dubai, ME Dubai will open in February 2020, taking residence in the 95 metre-high building, which is managed by leading Middle East real estate developer, Omniyat.

“We are incredibly excited to open ME Dubai, our first ME property in the Middle East,” said Gabriel Escarrer, Vice Chairman and CEO, at Meliá Hotels International. “Dubai is a fascinating, exciting city, known for its progressive feats of design; all of which are characteristics that resonate with ME by Meliá hotels and the high standards we offer our guests.”

“The two towers are linked by a four-storey atrium at ground level and also connected by an asymmetric 38-metre-wide, three-storey bridge that is positioned 71 metres above the ground.”

ME Dubai will consist of 93 rooms and suites, the ultra-luxurious ‘Suite ME’, as well as 96 serviced apartments. The property will feature dramatic, signature furniture in the lobby, lounges and reception area, which were either designed or personally selected by the late Zaha Hadid.

The Opus is designed as two separate towers that coalesce into a singular whole – taking the form of a cube. The structure is then ‘carved’ to create a central void that becomes an important volume within the building in its own right, providing views to the exterior from the centre of the building. The two towers are linked by a four-storey atrium at ground level and also connected by an asymmetric 38-metre-wide, three-storey bridge that is positioned 71 metres above the ground.

Render of launch lobby with modern touches such as large chandelier

Image credit: Zaha Hadid Architects

“The design conveys the remarkably inventive quality of Zaha Hadid Architects’ work,” explained Mahdi Amjad, Ececutive Chairman and CEO Emniyat, “It expresses sculptural sensibility that reinvents the balance between solid and void, opaque and transparent, interior and exterior.”

Very contemporary black bathroom with contemporary mirror and shirts handing up

Image credit: Zaha Hadid Architects

The legacy hotel will offer three owned F&B outlets, including all-day dining concept Central, the Refuel & Relax pool bar and The Opus Studio. The Opus building will offer 15 F&B outlets including ROKA, the contemporary Japanese robatayaki restaurant, as well as The Maine Oyster Bar and Grill.

Main image credit: Laurian Ghinitoiu.

render of open and large lobby with accents of green and gold

Andaz debuts in Dubai with new hotel on The Palm

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Andaz debuts in Dubai with new hotel on The Palm

The newly opened Andaz Dubai The Palm marks the brand’s second hotel in the UAE…

Hyatt Hotels Corporation has announced the official opening of Andaz Dubai The Palm. Joining Andaz hotels in top destinations around the world, such as Amsterdam, London, New York, Tokyo, Seoul and Shanghai, the opening marks the first Andaz-branded hotel in Dubai and the second in the United Arab Emirates, following the opening of Andaz Capital Gate, Abu Dhabi in 2018.

render of open and large lobby with accents of green and gold

“The bustling Palm Jumeirah island serves as the ideal location for guests to immerse themselves in the sights and sounds of Dubai,” said Kifah Bin Hussein, general manager, Andaz Dubai The Palm. “The hotel is created for the inquisitive traveler. Set in a vicinity known for luxury and exclusivity, Andaz Dubai The Palm reflects the city’s eclectic style, showcased through local artist exhibitions and unique culinary offerings.”

Render of welcoming entrance to the hotel.

Image credit: Hyatt/Andaz

The hotel is home to local art, embellished on the walls of the hotel in pop-up style exhibitions. The property breaks the mold with its unscripted check-in and check-out experience, without the barriers of a front desk or a queue.

“The property incorporates the sights, scents and textures of Dubai into every aspect of the room design.”

Encompassing 217 guestrooms, including 34 suites, and 116 residences, the property incorporates the sights, scents and textures of Dubai into every aspect of the room design. The ideal space to relax, unwind and entertain, the guestrooms are inspired by the Emirati culture with bespoke artwork and luxury amenities.

The hotel features 31 Andaz Suites, one Terrace Suite, one Prince Suite and one Royal Suite, each made with modern, minimalistic interiors and fitted with premium amenities, including separate living and dining areas, a terrace, a rain shower and a deep soaking tub.

Sheltering five distinct dining venues that offer an abundance of local flavors and sensory experiences, Andaz Dubai The Palm creates a vibrant social scene through a medley of global and traditional Middle Eastern influences.

Render of buildings either side of a pool

Image credit: Hyatt/Andaz

Meanwhile, nestled on the 14th floor is the hotel’s spa. Ora a tranquil haven of relaxation with a carefully curated menu of facial and body treatments. On the same floor, guests will discover the adults-only Cabana pool area and state-of-the-art fitness center that completes the wellness experience.

The opening of Andaz Dubai The Palm follows the news that the Andaz brand will debut in the Czech Republic in 2022, while the Hyatt Regency brand is preparing to arrive in Portugal next year.

Main image credit: Hyatt/Andaz

 

The Brit List Architects of 2019 (Part 1)

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The Brit List Architects of 2019 (Part 1)

This December, Hotel Designs is profiling the individuals who made it into The Brit List 2019. We continue by referencing part one of The Brit List Architects of 2019 (in alphabetical order)…

The Brit List 2019 is Hotel Designs’ annual nationwide search to identify the top 25 designers, top 25 architects and top 25 hoteliers who are operating in Britain. The Judges, which are made up of experts in all pockets of the industry, gathered to decided who was eligible to make this year’s list.

The industry’s leading figures then gathered on November 21 at Patch East London, where The Brit List 2019 was unveiled and the individual winners were announced. 

Following from The Brit List Designers of 2019 Part One and Part Two, here are the first 15 The Brit List Architects of 2019…

Ben Adams – Ben Adams Architects

Ben Adams has more than 20 years’ experience of working on large scale and complex urban projects. His work demonstrates architectural and commercial consistency, but projects are individually distinctive and the result of bespoke thinking rather than formulaic solutions.

Adams divides his time between guiding the overall design direction of the practice, generating new business, and R&D, providing a pivotal link between the studio’s design ethos, client requirements and future possibilities.

Ben Addy, Managing Director – Moxon Architects

Ben Addy founded Moxon in 2004, and since then has cultivated the practice into an award-winning, cross-disciplinary architecture firm, with a varied portfolio encompassing infrastructure, residential, commercial and hospitality.

Addy’s work combines design excellence, technical talent and a commitment to faultless delivery attracting major clients in a variety of sectors. Among them: Transport for London, HS2, Hauser & Wirth, the City of Westminster and Fife Arms Hotel in Braemar. Addy works closely with his clients to understand their needs and ambitions and strives to elevate them, resulting in distinctly individual work that is both clear in its purpose and appropriate to its context.

Catarina Pina-Bartrum, Project Director – LDS Architects

Making her Brit List debut, Catarina Pina-Bartrum has recently completed a 27-key boutique hotel, The Moorgate, which has been developed by Epic Properties. The small yet complex site called for a coherent solution to resolve issues of access, circulation and internal space. In addition, it required a concerted effort to create somewhere that provides not just comfort and security but character and charm, with a place that speaks to both its historical context and contemporary city life. The Moorgate is recognisably contemporary yet of its time and place, celebrating its context to create comfort, character and delight.

David Lee Hood, Associate/Architect – Goddard Littlefair

Associate and architect David Lee Hood joined Goddard Littlefair in 2013 and now heads up the studio’s architectural department.

As a flexible all-rounder, Lee Hood splits his energies equally between hospitality projects, including international hotel and restaurant schemes, such as the Restaurant & Bar Design Award-winning venue, The Printing Press for Principal or the award-winning refurbishment of The Gleneagles Hotel. He recently worked on the revamp of Hilton Munich City’s F&B offering, launching Juliet Rose to become the city’s new destination bar.

Geoff Hull, Director – EPR Architects (Highly Commended: Architect of the Year)

Geoff Hull has more than 30 years’ experience specialising in hotels and hospitality including new builds, conversions, refurbishments, restorations and heritage schemes in listed buildings for budget, boutique and luxury brands. Hull was responsible for the multi award-winning Rosewood London, which was recently a winner at Conde Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Choice Awards, receiving the top honour within its category.

The architect continues to oversee a number of high-profile hotel projects of varying scale and complexity.

Gina Langridge, Project Landscape Architect – WATG

Showcasing the full suite of the firm’s services, the project to renovate Mitsis Summer Palace included upgrades to the site’s restaurant and pool amenities. It incorporated strategy, planning and landscape architecture. “The hillside situation of the hotel, with expansive views across the Aegean, was the inspiration for creating a space which seamlessly connects the guest with the horizon,” said Gina Langridge of WATG’sLondon Landscape Architecture team who was awarded a Hotel Designs’ 30 Under 30 earlier this year. “In contrast to other pools on the island, we made a bold move with the colour palette and opted for a dark tile – something that is quite unique to the property, which has bold features throughout including teal sun lounges and coral accents in the restaurant.”

Gordon Ferrier, Head of Hotels – 3D Reid

Gordon Ferrier brings more than 30 years of hospitality design experience on a wide range of hotel projects, covering new builds, refurbishments and conversions. Ferrier is currently working on Goodwood Hotel, Gleneagles Club in Edinburgh, Gleneagles Hotel in Perthshire, Malmaison in Edinburgh and Cameron House Hotel at Loch Lomond.

James Dilley, Director – Jestico + Whiles

Having seen the London-based studio evolve over a quarter of a century, James Dilley holds a unique position at Jestico + Whiles. Specialising inboth architecture and interior design of hospitality projects, Dilley has been responsible for creating some of the world’s most innovative hotels, including Zuri Zanzibar, which is the only hotel globally to be awarded EarthCheck’s prestigious Sustainable Design Gold certification.

Dilley is currently leading his strong team of architects and interior designers to complete W Edinburgh.

John Harding, Partner – Dexter Moren Associates

John Harding has been responsible for the delivery of a number of large and complex hotel and mixed-use developments. His excellent understanding of five star hotels, coupled with detailed technical knowledge and the ability to problem solve, means he is integral to the success of every project he works on.

Most recently, he has lead the team and has delivered the completion of L’Oscar in Holborn, London, and is currently the partner in charge to deliver phase three of the much anticipated art’otel, which will be sheltered at Battersea Power Station.

Jonny Sin, Associate Director – ReardonSmith Architects

Since joining ReardonSmith Architects in 2011, Jonny Sin has been a key member of the Beaumont Hotel award-winning team that transformed a Grade II Listed art deco style building into a luxury boutique hotel winning “Best Hotel in the World” opening 2014. Sin worked closely with British artist Sir Antony Gormley and was responsible for developing the unique architectural and technical solution to realise the artist’s vision of a monumental sculpture as a living space and extension to the hotel.

More recently, Sin was the project associate on a new-build 173-bed, five-star luxury hotel tower development in Battersea and has since taken a lead role in delivering feasibility studies for Park Hyatt and a new façade retained five-star luxury hotel in Mayfair, London.

Julian Lewis, Co-Founder/Director – East Architecture

With a multitude of social and community incentives, Park House is a new aparthotel and community leisure project in West Ham Lane,Stratford. Designed by East Architecture, and led by Julian Lewis, the nine-storey building holds a mix of uses, including 91 apart-hotel spaces, seven ‘residential’ units, community facilities, a gym and a new café and restaurant. The building is a London landmark project for hotel operator Roomzzz, marking the brand’s arrival in London.

Laura Turner, Architect – jmaarchitects

Laura Turner has just completed The Stock Exchange Hotel, Manchester. Built between 1904 and 1906, the building is a historically symbolic institution, which was purchased by co-owners Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs to transform it into a leading boutique hotel. “Several schemes to extend the building were explored with the client in virtual reality, arriving at an extrusion of the existing mansard roof form, set back from the building frontage and clad in monolithic zinc,” commented Turner. “A contemporary insertion routed into the building via a seven-storey sculptural staircase in place of the former 1980’s circulation core.”

Laurence Pinn, Associate – Tate Harmer

Tate Harmer is the studio responsible for The Eden Project in Cornwall, which last year won The Eco Award at The Brit List Awards 2018. Laurence Pinn joined Tate Harmer in 2011. He is design-led yet blends the best of both worlds, considering aesthetics and practical components of development to ensure concepts can become a reality. Laurence was theproject architect for the Eden Canopy Walkway project, and the Brunel Museum project, London, re-opening the historic Rotherhithe Sinking Shaft for use as a performance space.

Liz Pickard, Managing Director – Consarc Architects

Liz Pickard was awarded a European Laureate as one of the best emerging European architects in 2010. Consarc Architects has been led by Pickard for more than 20 years. She is an accredited RIBA client advisor and has worked with many clients in the private and public sectors. She teaches at the University College London Bartlett School of Architecture, as module director on the postgraduate course.

Luke Fox, Head of Studio – Foster + Partners

Luke Fox leads a team of designers in London, Hong Kong and Beijing on a wide range of international projects at Foster + Partners.

Recently, Fox has completed The Murray Hotel in Hong Kong and won an award in 2017 for his plans for the mixed-used development plans,which will shelter Four Seasons Makkah, by reinterpreting the traditional dense building clusters and creating a new contemporary vernacular that respects its sacred location.

To read The Brit List 2019, click here.

make-shift picnic with red cushions on the beach overlook undisturbed ocean

The Luxury Collection arrives in the Seychelles

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The Luxury Collection arrives in the Seychelles

North Island in the Seychelles joins The Luxury Collection as the portfolio’s first private island destination…

Following Marriott International’s ambitious plans to unveil more than 30 new luxury hotels in 2019, The Luxury Collection has announced the arrival of North Island, Seychelles into its portfolio of world-renowned hotels and resorts. With just 11 villas, Africa’s most exclusive private island is located 30 kilometres from the mainland and is accessible by a scenic helicopter flight or an hour boat ride, giving guests an immediate sense of escapism.

make-shift picnic with red cushions on the beach overlook undisturbed ocean

Following its history as a coconut plantation, the granitic island is now a sanctuary for endangered species; luminous beaches and clear blue seas welcome nesting sea turtles, and the Palm forests are home to giant Aldabra tortoises and rare Seychelles white-eye birds.

The island has been expertly designed and with pioneering conservation programs, offers the highest standards of hospitality, earning them status as an award-winning sustainable travel destination. With a mission to demonstrate that luxury with a conscience can co-exist, sustainability lies at the heart of North Island’s philosophy and will be further embraced and supported with The Luxury Collection. The operational responsibility of the resort will remain with ASMALLWORLD, the world’s leading travel & lifestyle community.

“North Island has always skilfully combined a sustainable and environmentally conscious management philosophy with the ambition to provide a truly immersive, barefoot-luxury experience,” said CEO of ASMALLWORLD, Jan Luescher. “Whilst maintaining our identity and ethos, our work with The Luxury Collection will allow us to maximise our awareness in our continued efforts in pioneering sustainable luxury travel.”

Eleven private guest and family villas line the island; each villa has been created using local materials harvested during the island’s rehabilitation process, expertly balancing luxury and simplicity. An haute-couture Robinson Crusoe aesthetic has been applied through interiors celebrating the sheer indulgence of volume and space.

“We’re delighted to be expanding our footprint of captivating destinations with storied pasts and protected futures.” – Global Brand Leader at The Luxury Collection, Anthony Ingham.

“North Island is one of the most rare and luxurious destinations in the world, making it a natural fit for The Luxury Collection and our global explorers who seek authentic experiences and connections to both pristine nature and elevated personalisation,” added Global Brand Leader at The Luxury Collection, Anthony Ingham. “This is the first private island within The Luxury Collection portfolio, and we’re delighted to be expanding our footprint of captivating destinations with storied pasts and protected futures.”

The island not only offers a calming refuge from the modern world, but also an invigorating, refreshing getaway connected to the island’s natural beauty. Aquatic explorers can take part in snorkeling, diving, fishing, sunset cruises, kayaking, paddle boarding and surfing. Bespoke guided excursions for those looking to explore the granite peaks or coral reefs are also available. Whilst on land, forest trails can be explored by foot, bicycle or private buggy, or guests can simply relax on one of the island’s four pristine beaches located at each end of the compass. The island is also the ultimate playground for families and children, with a Beach Buddy program tailormade to interests and hobbies. Parents are invited to take part, or can find their own relaxation whilst children remain supervised.

The North Island Spa is dwarfed by giant granite peaks, enjoys an open sea breeze and overlooks turquoise waters. Guests are invited to the spa on arrival where they are immediately immersed in ‘island life’ with each tailor-made treatment starting with a ‘barefoot ritual’. A private consultation to create a bespoke spa experience is then formulated as part of a holistic journey of visual and textural contrasts, arousing the senses and rejuvenating mind, body and soul.

Main image credit: Marriott International/The Luxury Collection

In Conversation With: The founders of design studio BARANOWITZ + KRONENBERG

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In Conversation With: The founders of design studio BARANOWITZ + KRONENBERG

With W Ibiza about to open, Hotel Designs gets a backstage pass to exclusively interview the design and architecture heroes behind the project. The founders of BARANOWITZ + KRONENBERG, Irene Kronenberg and Alon Baranowitz, have led the completion of some of Europe’s most iconic hotels. Editor Hamish Kilburn joins the pair to understand how to effortlessly confront convention in the ever-evolving hotel design arena…

A few miles away from where the spotlight is being cast on the designers and architects who are attending Sleep & Eat 2019, The Standard London’s playful interior design scheme provides an apt and backdrop for my next interview to take place. I don’t know it yet, but I am about to experience a pivotal moment in my career as I prepare to meet face-to-face with the designers behind one of my very first ever hotel reviews, which took place almost half a decade ago.

Irene Kronenberg and Alon Baranowitz are the founders of BARANOWITZ + KRONENBERG, and have – for some time now –  led an exciting movement on the hotel design scene in Europe and in the Middle East. Their two studios in Amsterdam and Tel Aviv consist of a group of talented designers and architects, all of whom have graduated from institutions around the globe.

Among a sea of residential projects within the studio’s portfolio, there are also a number of hotels that have marvellously opened to disrupt the tide of the pre-existing hospitality spaces. These include the likes of Sir Albert Hotel, Mendeli Street Hotel, Wyndham Grand Frankfurt, as well as a handful of W Hotels for good measure in pockets of Europe that have become major travel hotspots.

“I like to think it’s the building talking back when we face challenges.” – Alon Baranowitz, Co-founder, BARANOWITZ + KRONENBERG.

It’s a daunting prospect to reconfigure a respected building that has formed part of history and a community for centuries, and sensitivity from concept through to completion is called for for such briefs. “We have a beautiful dialogue with buildings that allows us to converse and work with them,” explains Baranowitz. “I like to think it’s the building talking back when we face challenges. It really is a journey. When you start from scratch, anything is possible. And then you start confronting elements that affect the original ideas and plans. The trick then is to work around constraints and not against them. Often, these end up being the most exciting and rewarding projects.”

“In that moment, we moved from being functional designers and became narrative creatives.” – Irene Kronenburg, Co-founder, BARANOWITZ + KRONENBERG.

1998 was a defining year for the studio. The two designers were approached by a client to create a new restaurant and dining experience. “We remember the birth of Zo Zo Bra’s design concept like it was yesterday, and it was a turning point for us,” says Kronenburg. “I even remember what the lady was drinking on the table adjacent to us during our meeting. We sat there for hours trying to understand the concept of ying and yang. We went in completely open-minded, and only after we had succeeded in defining the energy of the concept and space did we start designing. “In that moment,” reflects Kronenburg, “we moved from being functional designers and became narrative creatives.”

projector above tables and open front windows, the studio's design take on ying and yang

Image caption: The ying and yang concept executed in Zo Zo Bra in Tel Aviv

A few decades later, having perfected their innovative design method with a string of hotels and residential projects, the studio was awarded the opportunity to design W Amsterdam, which I first reviewed in 2014 during its soft opening. It was another one of those projects – a ‘labour of love’ hotel, which I’m assuming received more labour than love during key moments. “It was an incredible project to work on,” beams Kronenberg. “It felt like our role was to stitch all the elements together. Before we made any decisions, we had to understand the buildings as well as the city of Amsterdam. The biggest challenge was to breathe new life into the building while remaining sensitive throughout.”

The hotel, which takes shelter in the pre-existing 1920s telephone exchange building as well as the former KAS Bank down the road, challenges design and behavioural conventions in many ways. For starters, the check-in area is positioned on the top floor of the exchange building, which flows seamlessly into the rooftop bar and restaurant and heated outdoor pool, allowing visitors to feel part of the W’s energy immediately upon checking in. “It’s a party place, but Amsterdam does not the same night life you have here in London,” explains Kronenberg, and I can only assume the designer is referencing the city’s open-minded attitudes as well as an underground party, design and fashion scene. “It was important for us to create a venue that the locals would accept as a new destination that breaks boundaries. Without the locals using the hotel’s facilities as we intended, the design would not have worked as a concept.”

Hotel designers are moving – or have already shifted – into a new era, where their design projects on the boards being influenced as much by quality materials as they are aesthetics. Having led the industry as innovators for so long, I am intrigued to understand how this greater awareness has impacted the studio. “It’s a really exciting time to be operating in the industry at the moment,” explains Baranowitz. “Perspectives on sustainability are definitely changing. Before knocking down a building, for example, we should be investigating what we can restore in order to create a continuation of urban fabric that would otherwise be forgotten. Thinking in this way has become more of a reflex.”

“It really is as simple as adjusting the way we live in order to design more thoughtful spaces.” – Irene Kronenburg, Co-founder, BARANOWITZ + KRONENBERG.

For the studio, while consumers checking in and out of hotels become more savvy to consciously designed properties, it is less about designing purposely, and more about living sensibly and within ones means so that an eco-approach becomes second nature. “There shouldn’t need to be someone telling us to design responsibly, just like there shouldn’t be someone telling us to recycle,” adds Kronenberg. “It really is as simple as adjusting the way we live in order to design more thoughtful spaces.”

QUICK-FIRE ROUND

Hamish Kilburn (HK): Where’s next on your travel bucket list? 
Elon Baranowitz (EB): Japan
Irene Knonenberg (IK): The Azores

HK: What is the secret to good design? 
IK: Good design is about what you don’t see.

HK: Why should people visit your hometown of Tel Aviv? 
EB: We live each day like there is no tomorrow. No, really, the energy on the streets is electric!

HK: What would you say has been the most significant change on the international hotel design scene recently?
IK: Respect for specialists and sourcing inspiration outside of design territory.

Not understanding the 360-degree relationship between the designer, architect and operator is a pitfall I try to avoid when reviewing hotels. When researching into the studio’s latest project it is about to complete, W Ibiza, I find it uncommon and interesting that BARANOWITZ + KRONENBERG was commissioned to work on the architecture as well as the interior design scheme.

W Hotels has a habit of doing things differently – and considering the studio’s wealth of architecture experience as well as interior design – the renders of W Ibiza say rather a lot about the buildings need for a strong relationship between both elements. The colourful renders depict a vision that is the result of a seamless and understood relationship between the shell of the building, its practical properties catering to the modern traveller and and evolution of the W-style within the vibrant interiors sheltered inside. “When we first entered the building, which is positioned on the beach front, we couldn’t even see the sea. There had been no thought as to how guests would and should use these public spaces,” explains Kronenberg. “As a result of us opening up the structure of the building sensitively, guests now capture the sea from the outside of the property.”

Render of a colourful green and blue architecture of W Ibiza

Image credit: W Ibiza/Baranowitz + Kronenberg

W Ibiza is slated to open in April, ahead of the 2020 Summer season. Located off the beaten track, the 167-key hotel will strike a pose on the palm-fringed beachfront of Santa Eulalia. As the only global brand on the island, the design brief was to marry the parallel realities of Ibiza with a magnetic pull that turns up the sass.

By opening up the public spaces to become a flexible social hub, the hotel becomes a place that nurtures human connections, and through the use of subtle levels creates touchable distance between each functional area. “The idea is that the energy descends into the unconventional pool area,” adds Baranowitz. “As you move up levels, the lobby/lounge area becomes more reclined, but the open architecture scheme allows for a clever connection between all spaces.”

 

60 minutes in the company of Kronenberg and Baranowitz has allowed me to find a fresh perspective on the industry, as well as the possibilities that can emerge from taking the time to listen before acting. As the pair rush to catch their flight back to Tel Aviv, their boundless energy has awakened my senses. Nearly five years after checking in to W Amsterdam, it is as if fate has finally brought this moment together. My barely touched coffee has gone cold, which I now believe is the sign of a great conversation that will continue soon.

Main image credit: BARANOWITZ + KRONENBERG

Render of large hotel with pool on upper level and people eating below

Marriott International to open 30 luxury hotels in 2020

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Marriott International to open 30 luxury hotels in 2020

Marriott International’s 2020 strategy will see the unveil of luxury hotels in design and travel hotspots, including Tokyo, Mexico City, Reykjavik and Melbourne…

Matching the group’s 2019 aims, Marriott International has announced its projection to open more than 30 luxury properties in 2020. The hotel group’s 30 new openings will evolve from the more than 185 luxury properties, targetting 15 new countries and territories, in its signed development pipeline.

Render of large hotel with pool on upper level and people eating below

With the world-renowned hospitality hallmarks of The Ritz-Carlton, Ritz-Carlton Reserve, St. Regis Hotels & Resorts, W Hotels, The Luxury Collection, EDITION, JW Marriott and Bvlgari, Marriott International uses the global perspective gained from its boundless network of more than 420 landmark hotels and resorts in nearly 65 countries and territories to provide an unmatched variety of luxury experiences.

“Our plan to open more than 30 luxury properties in 2020 – an average of about three exciting new hotels per month – speaks to the remarkable momentum that brands such as St. Regis, The Ritz-Carlton and Edition have with affluent travelers, our Marriott Bonvoy members and hotel developers around the world,” said Tony Capuano, EVP and Global Chief Development Officer, Marriott International. “Each year, our luxury portfolio continues to grow in both quality and quantity in strategic destinations around the world.”

The Ritz-Carlton 

The iconic luxury brand recently celebrated the opening of its 100th property with the debut of The Ritz-Carlton, Perth and expanded the Ritz-Carlton Reserve portfolio to four exceptional properties with the opening of Zadún, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve in Los Cabos, Mexico.

In the coming year, the brand is expected to bring its legendary service to Morocco for the first time, with the planned opening of The Ritz-Carlton Rabat, Dar es Salam in the country’s dynamic capital. The Ritz-Carlton, Nikko is slated to expand the brand’s footprint in Japan, while a highly anticipated property in Mexico City is expected to give guests a unique way to experience the Mexican capital. Overlooking Camelback Mountain in Scottsdale, Arizona, The Ritz-Carlton, Paradise Valley is slated to grow the brand’s resort portfolio, while the brand also anticipates an opening in Nanjing, China, expects to see the completion of a major renovation of The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach, and continues to work towards the inaugural voyage of The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection expected in June 2020.

St. Regis

Offering modern glamour and sophisticated design, the St. Regis brand recently grew its footprint in Europe with the opening of The St. Regis Venice, boasting a magnificent outdoor garden and one of the most coveted locations along the city’s famed Grand Canal. Currently offering 45 hotels in more than 20 countries and territories, the brand in the year ahead expects to introduce St. Regis to Cairo, a destination that has long allured travelers with its enthralling history, and which is quickly reclaiming its place as a global hot spot.

Additionally, St. Regis expects to expand its resort portfolio with the anticipated opening of The St. Regis Kanai Resort in Riviera Maya, Mexico. The St. Regis Dubai, The Palm is also slated to open in 2020, bringing highly bespoke service and beloved signature rituals to the most populous city in the United Arab Emirates.

Lux Rebel W Hotels

This year, W Hotels brought its boundary-breaking approach, bold design and innovative programming to destinations including Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Muscat, Ibiza and Aspen, the brand’s first alpine destination in the United States.

Multi-million-dollar renovations by owners are underway or completed at more than half the brand’s properties in North America, including W Washington D. C. and W San Francisco.

In addition, the company recently announced plans to transform W New York – Union Square into a cutting-edge W Hotels showcase, advancing a larger strategy to redefine and reinvigorate the W portfolio in North America. Also underway is the exciting addition of W Nashville to the brand’s growing portfolio. The brand continues to trailblaze its way around the globe with 2020 expected openings in Philadelphia, Toronto, Chengdu, and Melbourne. Offering the insider track wherever the iconic W sign lands, the brand is also slated to debut in Italy with the planned openings of W Milan and W Rome, giving locals and visitors alike a distinctly W take on “la dolce vita.”

EDITION

In 2019, the EDITION brand made global news with the debuts of The Times Square EDITION in New York and The West Hollywood EDITION in Los Angeles, proving sustained high demand for its curated mix of modern design and service. Created through a collaboration between boutique hotel creator and innovator Ian Schrager and Marriott International, the lifestyle brand is slated to bring its distinct point of view to the in-demand destination of Reykjavik in 2020. Additionally, with 10 hotels in six countries and territories, the rapidly growing EDITION brand is expected to bring its sophisticated style to the global hotspots of Tokyo and Dubai.

Image credit: Matild Palace, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Budapest

The Luxury Collection

With a rapidly growing ensemble of 114 hotels in more than 30 countries and territories around the world, The Luxury Collection takes guests on journeys to the world’s most captivating places. In 2019, the brand celebrated the opening of North Island, Seychelles, the portfolio’s first private island destination, and welcomed properties in Cyprus, Nanning, Buckinghamshire, Kolkata and Çeşme. Looking to the year ahead, The Luxury Collection anticipates openings in coveted locations spanning the globe, including Nashville and Budapest, Hungary, as well as Hobart, Australia – a destination that signals the future of luxury travel.

JW Marriott

JW Marriott offers warm and intentional luxury experiences at nearly 90 properties around the world, including the recent, highly anticipated debut of JW Marriott Maldives Resort & Spa. Inspired by the principles of mindfulness, JW Marriott is a haven designed to let guests focus on feeling whole – present in mind, nourished in body and revitalized in spirit. Expected to reach more than 115 hotels by 2022, the year 2020 is slated to be a period of rapid growth for the brand, with planned U.S. openings in Savannah, Orlando and Anaheim, in addition to global destinations ranging from Istanbul and Danang, Vietnam, to Nara, Japan, Muscat, Oman and Monterrey, Mexico.

“Celebrating the distinct nature and individuality of our luxury brands, Marriott International offers a diverse variety of nuanced brand experiences that speak to the needs of the modern luxury traveler,” said Tina Edmundson, Global Brand Officer and Luxury Portfolio Leader, Marriott International. “Across our luxury brands portfolio, we will continue to incubate innovation and apply fresh thinking, both at the brand level and across our individual hotels, as we seek to be future forward, push boundaries, and continue to raise the bar by creating new, unexpected, and enriching guest experiences.”

Marriott International encompasses a portfolio of more than 7,200 properties under 30 leading brands spanning 134 countries and territories.

Main image credit: W Nashville 

Four Seasons opens Les Chalets du Mont d’Arbois, Megève

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Four Seasons opens Les Chalets du Mont d’Arbois, Megève

The new hospitality addition will become a sister property to existing Four Seasons Hotel Megève, which opened in 2017…

After meticulous renovations and more than EUR 10 million of investment, Les Chalets du Mont d’Arbois, Megève, A Four Seasons Hotel has opened its doors. Beautifully complementing the existing Four Seasons Hotel Megève, which opened in December 2017, the historic five-star hotel of the Edmond de Rothschild family will extend the exceptional luxury offerings in Megève.

“When we opened Four Seasons Hotel Megève, we knew we were creating something truly exceptional in a very special destination,” said Christian Clerc, President, Worldwide Hotel Operations, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. “With the addition of Les Chalets du Mont d’Arbois, the guest experience will be enhanced even more with expansive, beautifully-appointed chalets as well as a Michelin-starred dining experience at Prima, now officially under the Four Seasons brand. Together with the Baroness Ariane de Rothschild, we have elevated the history, elegance and charm of Megève to extraordinary new heights.”

Along with 25 rooms and suites, Chalet Eve also features the recently awarded Prima Restaurant by Chef Nicolas Hensinger, which now boasts one Michelin Star, adding to the exceptional dining experiences in Megève. Chalet Eve also features a spa with a beautiful indoor/outdoor pool for guests to enjoy the natural surroundings from indoors or outside.

Bathroom with wooden walls and modern shower

Image credit: Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts

“It has been wonderful to partner with Four Seasons, an iconic luxury brand, on a project that has been part of my family’s history for many years. We have brought to life a vision for Megève that extends many generations, and created a hotel experience like none other in the region,” said Ariane de Rothschild, Chairwoman of the Board of Edmond de Rothschild Group.“I look forward to offering new and returning guests of Megève a new experience within this wonderful destination with Les Chalets du Mont d’Arbois.”

Ideally located at the foot of the ski slopes of Mont d’Arbois in the upper region of Megève, and only two kilometres from the existing hotel, Les Chalets du Mont d’Arbois are named after Benjamin and Ariane de Rothschild’s first three daughters. The main chalet, renamed Chalet Eve, was bought by Edmond de Rothschild in 1960 to host a celebration to inaugurate the renovation of the family’s very first hotel, Le Palace des Neiges.

Modern and traditional interiors in chalet

Image credit: Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts

Chalet Noémie was built in 1927 for Baroness Noémie de Rothschild by French architect Henry Jacques Le Même, and was initially the family’s private chalet. Its location offers the ultimate in privacy, yet features large windows from which to enjoy the idyllic surrounding scenery. The chalet combines the charm of an old farmhouse with a modern twist.

Baroness Ariane de Rothschild, deeply involved in the project and the destination, commissioned the renovation from Thierry Curty, under the artistic direction of Pierre-Yves Rochon, who was also the designer in each of the Four Seasons hotels in France. Through successive renovation phases encompassing all the chalets and suites, Les Chalets du Mont d’Arbois have been successfully modernised while conserving the charm of bygone eras.

Each chalet features its own personality; Chalet Eve has kept itstraditional style, Chalet Noémie featuresclassic luxury décor and refined elegance and Chalet Alice offers a bohemian chic atmosphere. The character and décor of each chalet has been curated to offer distinct yet complementary experiences for guests.

Traditional chalet looking interiors with deep red furniture and wooden ceilings

Image credit: Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts

The timeless decoration of alpine chalets remains throughout, with wood-framed windows, exposed ancient beams, aged pine wood, rough stone and traditional alpine fabrics. The interior materials combine in a playful mix of textures, the tactile fabrics creating an eye-catching look and feel. The Rothschild family has left its mark throughout, with the distinct style of each chalet reflecting Benjamin and Ariane de Rothschild’s daughters’ personalities.

Main image credit: Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts

MINIVIEW: The Biltmore Mayfair, London

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
MINIVIEW: The Biltmore Mayfair, London

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

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

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

Red-bricked exterior of the hotel

Image credit: The Biltmore Mayfair

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

Quintessentially British suite

Image credit: The Biltmore Mayfair

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

Luxe bathroom with marble and large bath tub

Image credit: The Biltmore Mayfair

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: The Biltmore Mayfair

W Hotels Arrives In Abu Dhabi

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
W Hotels Arrives In Abu Dhabi

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

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

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

YAS Island's iconic building and racetrack

Image credit: W Hotels

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

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

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

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

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

Image credit: W Hotels

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

Main image credit: W Hotels

Canopy by Hilton to arrive in Paris’ Latin Quarter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Canopy by Hilton

The Kixby Hotel opens in New York

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The Kixby Hotel opens in New York

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image credit: The Kixby Hotel

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

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

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

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

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

Image credit: The Kixby Hotel

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

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

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

Main image credit: The Kixby Hotel

CASE STUDY: How YOTEL utilised space in design and hospitality

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image credit: YOTEL NYC

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

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

Image credit: YOTEL

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

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

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

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

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

Image credit: YOTEL

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

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

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

Main image credit: YOTEL

Urban development completes to welcome Hoxton Southwark

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Urban development completes to welcome Hoxton Southwark

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

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

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

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

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

Image credit: Lidschutz Davidson Sandilands

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Hoxton/Ennismore

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image credit: Inhabit Hotel

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

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

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

Main image credit: InHabit London

Manchester’s Hotel Brooklyn to open in February 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image credit: Bespoke Hotels/Hotel Brooklyn

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

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

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

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

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

Image credit: Bespoke Hotels/Hotel Brooklyn

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

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

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

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

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

Image credit: Bespoke Hotels/Hotel Brooklyn

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

Main image credit: Bespoke Hotels/Hotel Brooklyn

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image credit: Lore Group/Riggs Washington DC

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

Image credit: Lore Group/Riggs Washington DC

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

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

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

Main image credit: Lore Group/Riggs Washington DC

SO/ Paseo del Prado La Habana opens in Cuba

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

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

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

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

Image credit: Accor

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Accor

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

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

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

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

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

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

modern and contemporary guest room in a hotel

Image credit: Swissotel

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Swissotel

JW Marriott Maldives officially opens

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
JW Marriott Maldives officially opens

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

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

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

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

Image credit: Marriott International Hotel

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

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

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

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

Image credit: Marriott International Hotel

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

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

Main image credit: Marriott International Hotel

MEININGER Hotels signs for second hotel in the UK

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Xtravagant

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Hard Rock Hotels

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Editor, Hotel Designs

Kempinski opens second luxury hotel in the Americas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Kempinski Hotels

In Conversation With: Britain’s design legend Martin Brudnizki

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Quick-fire round

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Luca Marziale

ACE Hotels to arrive in Australia

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
ACE Hotels to arrive in Australia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: ACE Hotels

Six Senses to open first hotel in the Galápagos Islands

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: IHG/Six Senses

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Caption: The Restaurant | Image credit: ACT Studios

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

Caption: The Monkey Room | Image credit: ACT Studios

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

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

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

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

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

Image credit: ACT Studios

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

Main image credit: ACT Studios

The Standard Hotels brand arrives in the Maldives

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: The Standard Hotels

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

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

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

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

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

Image credit: Lepogo Lodges

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Main image credit: Lepogo Lodges

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image credit: The Standard Hotels

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

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

Image credit: The Standard Hotels

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

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

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

Main image credit: The Standard Hotels

Ruby Hotels to open second hotel in London in 2021

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

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

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

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

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

A laid-back, contemporary design will see quirky touches such as the inclusion of a Marshall guitar amp in each room, which guests can use both with their own guitar or one borrowed from reception, and ‘Ruby Radio’, the hotel group’s own internet radio station.

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

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

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

Main image: Ruby Hotels

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Accor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The shortlist is available to read here.

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

How to attend

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

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

#TheBritListAwards2019

Headline Partner: Crosswater

Event Partner: Hamilton Litestat

2019 Industry Partner: BIID

MINIVIEW: The Pig at Bridge Place

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
MINIVIEW: The Pig at Bridge Place

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: The Pig at Bridge Place

LIGHTING TREND WATCH: Chelsom’s elegant and contemporary orb

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

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

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

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

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

Moxy Hotels opens third property in New York City

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image credit: Moxy Hotels

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Moxy Hotels

SNEAK PEEK: Kimpton Hotel Palomar South Beach

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Kimpton Hotels

Aman announces its debut in Bangkok

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Aman announces its debut in Bangkok

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Egypt has most active project pipeline in Africa

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Marriott International/St Regis Cairo

The Luxury Collection announces opening of eighth hotel in China

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image credit: Marriott International

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

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

Main image credit: Marriott International

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: TUI Group

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

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

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

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

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

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

Modern cafe in the lobby

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Millenium Hotels/Orchard Hotel Singapore

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Hilton Hotels

Boom in UK hotel sector drives supply growth

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Pixabay

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HOTEL DEVELOPMENT: Palm Springs is heating up for 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Super 8 by Wyndham Continues announces six new hotels in Germany

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anticipated Super 8 by Wyndham hotels openings in Germany include:

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

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

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

Main image credit: Wyndham Hotels/Marcelo Barbosa

Hard Rock Hotels arrives in the Maldives

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hard Rock Hotels arrives in the Maldives

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

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

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

Image credit: Hard Rock Hotels

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

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

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

Image credit: Hard Rock Hotels

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

Four Seasons opens in Philadelphia’s tallest building

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

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

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

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

Image credit: Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts

W Hotels debuts first luxury hotel in Aspen in 25 years

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image credit: Marriott International

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

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

Main image credit: Marriott International

Chelsom creates bespoke lighting scheme for chic Miami hotel

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Mr C Coconut Grove/James McDonald

1 Hotels to debut in Canada

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
1 Hotels to debut in Canada

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: 1 Hotels

Germany, France and the UK lead European hotel project development

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Pixabay

InterContinental Hotels debuts first luxury hotel in renowned hot spring destination

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

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

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

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

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

Image credit: IHG

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

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

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

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

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

Traditionally designed Japanese guest room, with low-level bed

Image credit: IHG

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

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

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

Main image credit: IHG

Hammerson launches latest City Quarters concept, in Leeds, England

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image: Hammerson

 

Modern, fresh and vibrant interiors of a guest room

W Hotels Debuts in Oman

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
W Hotels Debuts in Oman

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

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

Modern, fresh and vibrant interiors of a guest room

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

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

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

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

Bold design with Arabian themed interiors in the lobby lounge

Image credit: W Hotels

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: W Hotels