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Rosewood Hotels to arrive in Rome in 2023

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Rosewood Hotels to arrive in Rome in 2023

Rosewood Hotels has announced that it will open a 157-key luxury hotel in Rome in 2023, which will become the brand’s 11th property in Europe. Here’s what we know… 

Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, a global leader in luxury travel and lifestyle experiences, has been appointed by real estate firm Antirion SGR to manage Rosewood Rome, which will open in 2023 in the heart of the capital city.

The latest news follows previous announcements referencing the brand’s expansion in Europe, including properties in Amsterdam, Sardinia and Madrid.

Located in the former headquarters of Italy’s Banca Nazionale del Lavoro (BNL) overlooking the iconic Via Venet, the new hotel will Extend an entire block and will encompass three historic buildings, each of which were originally built in the early 1900s.  The crown jewel of the project will be the reimagination of the former BNL headquarters, the main unit of the development that was initially designed by renowned Italian architect and urban planner Marcello Piacentini.

Image credit: Rosewood Hotels & Resorts

Image credit: Rosewood Hotels & Resorts

“The design will take influence from the hotel’s location overlooking Via Veneto.”

The property’s transformation will be managed by Colliers International, led by global architecture and engineering firm, Jacobs, and Australian interior design firm, BAR Studio, to build upon Piacentini’s legacy and pay homage to the property’s roots as an exemplar of modernist Italian architecture. The design will take influence from the hotel’s location overlooking Via Veneto, one of Rome’s most elegant streets and a symbol of the celebrated Federico Fellini film, La Dolce Vita, with elegant interiors that blend timeless style with contemporary comforts. In keeping with Rosewood’s guiding A Sense of Place philosophy, Rome’s relaxed ambiance and devotion to dolce far niente, or the art of “doing nothing”, will influence the hotel’s design concept, which will mix traditional architectural elements with modern décor and detailing to create a sophisticated environment for the ultimate life of leisure.

“Over the last several years, we have been searching for the right opportunities to evolve our European footprint and bring the Rosewood brand to new corners of the continent,” said Sonia Cheng, chief executive officer of Rosewood Hotel Group. “As one of Italy’s most vibrant cities with an undoubtedly rich legacy and charming character, Rome has long been at the top of the list of priority destinations in which to set the Rosewood flag, and we’re thrilled to be working with our partners at Antirion SGR on this project that will surely set a new standard for luxury lifestyle experiences in Rome.”

Upon completion, Rosewood Rome will offer 157 accommodations, including 44 suites. Home to three dining outlets, including a contemporary Italian bistro, a lobby bar and café and a rooftop bar with a terrace with sweeping views of the city, the hotel will serve as a luxurious escape for locals and visitors alike. Additional amenities include a subterrain experience within the bank’s original vault featuring a modern Roman Bathhouse and Sense, A Rosewood Spa, located on the rooftop which will feature four dedicated treatment rooms and a wellness terrace with a reflecting pool and dynamic fitness centre. Dedicated event spaces will encompass three meeting rooms and a grand ballroom.

“We are honored to embark on this exciting project with Rosewood Hotels & Resorts,” said Ofer Arbib, CEO of Antirion SGR. “We could not think of more suited partner to create a new world-renowned destination that celebrates the heritage and rich offerings of Rome while simultaneously extending a sophisticated interpretation of ultra-luxury hospitality.”

Rosewood Rome will be the brand’s fourth Italian property, joining Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco in Tuscany and the upcoming Rosewood Porto Cervo and Rosewood Venice, set to open in 2022 and 2023, respectively. Rosewood’s existing European properties also include Rosewood London and Hôtel de Crillon, A Rosewood Hotel in Paris.

Main image credit: Unsplash/Caleb Miller

Image of guestroom inside Ace Hotel Brooklyn

Looking ahead: inside Ace Hotel Brooklyn

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Looking ahead: inside Ace Hotel Brooklyn

Ace Hotel’s latest property will arrive in Downtown Brooklyn this Spring, designed from the ground up by renowned design firm Roman and Williams

Located on the cusp of Downtown Brooklyn and Boerum Hill, Ace Hotel Brooklyn will be the brand’s second property in New York City. The design of the 287-key hotel – one of the largest in the Ace portfolio – has been inspired by the “geographical and cultural history of Brooklyn” and is intended to harmonise with the borough’s ideals.

Image of guestroom inside Ace Hotel Brooklyn

“We’ve been building toward Ace Brooklyn for years; the entire city has reimagined itself several times over since we started,” said Brad Wilson, President, Ace Hotel Group. “That’s exactly the spirit we’ve worked to mirror in every corner of our new home — the inexhaustible ingenuity that stands as the borough’s only constant. We’re lucky enough to have landed at the junction of so many rich and inspiring neighbourhoods, and hope to provide a new and inviting sense of place for our guests and neighbours to call home.” 

Image caption: An early sketch of Ace Hotel Brooklyn, designed by Roman and Williams.

Image caption: An early sketch of Ace Hotel Brooklyn, designed by Roman and Williams.

Open, spacious and welcoming, the hotel’s design, led by Roman and Williams, gives more than a nod to Brooklyn’s complex fabric of communal and creative spaces, with an animated public lobby and indoor-outdoor portals that ease into the city’s edges. The guestrooms pair floor-to-ceiling windows with original artwork by local fibre and textile artists — with some higher floors offering a 360º panorama of Brooklyn, Manhattan, Staten Island and the Statue of Liberty.

Ace Hotel Brooklyn is the third design collaboration between Atelier Ace and Roman and Williams, following Ace Hotel New York and Ace Hotel New Orleans. Ace’s second-only ground-up build, the hotel’s facade and interiors are inspired by the sprawling egalitarian promise of the borough — from the industrial grit of its shipyards to the neo-expressionist complexity of Basquiat. Roman and Williams looked to traditions of studios and workspaces, embracing the purity of handcrafted expressions in every area — from massive timbers in the lobby, to the custom tile murals in the lavatories, the poured in place concrete structure of the building, plus a collection of furnishings created uniquely for this project.

“For our third collaboration with Ace Hotel, Roman and Williams created both the building and the interiors for Ace Brooklyn,” added Robin Standefer and Stephen Alesch, Roman and Williams. We chose to embrace a governing principle of purity and artistic spirit in our architecture and the spaces within. We employed a philosophy of primitive modernism holistically across the project. This highly artistic approach drove us to use construction methods and materials with honesty. This is evident in everything you touch and see. This undecorated and tactile spirit expresses a radical transparency in its approach to the design of Ace Brooklyn.”

With current locations in Seattle, Portland, New York, Palm Springs, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, New Orleans, Chicago and Kyoto, Ace is expanding its portfolio. As well as another arrival in New York City, the brand as has plans to open properties in Toronto and Sydney this year.

Main image credit: Ace Hotels

Weekly briefing: international hotel arrivals – we have ‘lift-off’!

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Weekly briefing: international hotel arrivals – we have ‘lift-off’!

Editor Hamish Kilburn here to deliver your first weekly briefing of the year, featuring all the hottest hotel stories of the week. This round-up includes a look at this year’s VIP international arrivals, a rather ‘dandy’ hotel review and even a pre-flight check into what a hotel in space will look like…

If, by any chance, you needed reassuring about the state of the international hotel scene, then all you have to do is take a glance at the below; stories that we have published this week in order to inject some positivity into the industry we love the serve. From London’s latest hotel opening in Mayfair to Q1 and Q2’s hottest arrivals, we have started 2021 by looking into the future to capture how the international hotel design arena is preparing to welcome back modern travellers.

With even more juicy stories and exclusive features waiting in the wings (to be published next week), here are your top stories from the last few days…

The Hot list: most anticipated hotel for 2021 (Q1 & Q2)

Render of infinity pool in Maldives

Image credit: LXR

Concussed from 2020, we are kicking off the year with positivity; shining its editorial spotlight on the hotel openings that will take hospitality worldwide to new heights. In our first of two series we take a look at Q1 & Q2’s VIP arrivals.

Read more.

Sneak peek: inside SLS Cancun, a “barefoot-chic tropical” hotel

Lounge inside SLS Hotels

Image credit: SLS Hotels

Having designed a myriad of hotels around the world, Piero Lissoni brought his iconic design magic to Cancun to bring to life sbe’s vision of a “barefoot-chic tropical” hotel. SLS Cancun, which opens in early February, is a perfectly timed arrival as the SLS brand is one at the centre of the Ennismore and Accor merge to become the largest and fastest growing global player.

Read more.

Checking in to The Mayfair Townhouse, London’s ‘dandiest’ hotel

Mayfair Townhouse hotel peacock entrance

Image credit: Iconic Luxury Hotels

Following what must have been the most dramatic build-up to any opening in 2020, The Mayfair Townhouse, which is made up of 15 Georgian townhouses (seven of which are Grade II listed buildings), has officially arrived in London.

Read more. 

Project watch: the ‘shimmering’ Dorsett Gold Coast takes shape

Render of sophisticated guestroom inside hotel

Credit: Destination Gold Coast Consortium

Currently on the boards, but preparing to take the Gold Coast to new heights of luxury, the golden-glazed windows of what will be Dorsett Gold Coast at The Star Gold Coast are being installed. And as construction of the building that will shelter the 313-key hotel has reached the 24th storey out of a total of 53 storeys, the new development is beginning to make a statement.

Read more.

“Ground control to Major Tom” – plans for a hotel in space on track for a 2024 launch

Collage of Axiom space station - hotel in space

250 miles above the earth in the wilderness of space, with cabins designed by the world-renowned Philippe Starck – think ‘nest-like comfort’ – the Axiom space station is the brainchild of former NASA chiefs.

Read more.

IHG to launch a landmark duel-branded hotel in Nottingham

Render of Hotel Indigo Nottingham

Hotel Indigo Nottingham/IHG

IHG has signed terms with development group Conygar to bring two of its world-renowned brands, Hotel Indigo and Staybridge Suites, to Nottingham. With both architecture and design led by Jestico + Whiles, we’re being told to expect something stunning as the building that will shelter the two brands becomes the city’s first of its size in nearly two decades.

Read more.

Main image credit: W Hotels/Marriott International

A render of a stylish bar

Hyatt Regency makes debut in Cambodia’s captital

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hyatt Regency makes debut in Cambodia’s captital

Sheltering 247 rooms, the opening marks the largest hotel by an international brand in the city and Hyatt’s debut in the Cambodian capital…

Hyatt Regency Phnom Penh, the first Hyatt hotel in the Cambodian capital and the second Hyatt hotel operating in Cambodia, has opened.

A render of a stylish bar

The 247-key property is the largest hotel from a global brand in the city and is located in the heart of the cultural and business district of Doun Penh.

Conceived by award-winning Singapore-based SCDA Architects and leading Thailand-based PIA Interior, the hotel’s stylish interiors reflect Cambodia’s unique history, seamlessly blending Khmer architectural accents with French colonial influences alongside specially commissioned artworks by contemporary Cambodian artist, FONKi.

As guests pull into the hotel’s driveway, they are greeted with a welcoming centerpiece, a beautiful French heritage building flanked by frangipani trees. Originally built as a Colonial villa in the early 20th century, the carefully restored lemon-coloured Colonial House with wooden shutters, arched doorways and terracotta-tiled roof now serves as the hotel’s entrance, providing guests with a nostalgic arrival experience.

Behind the Colonial House stands the newly-constructed, 14-storey main building, featuring 247 guestrooms, including 43 residential-style suites, all with hardwood floors and marble bathrooms. Starting at 30.5 square metres, the guestrooms offer modern comforts, including complimentary high-speed Wi-Fi, 65” TVs, a walk-in rain shower, Staycast systems, and Hyatt Mobile Entry technology for keyless entry.

A render of a modern guestroom in the Hyatt Hotel

Main image credit: Hyatt Hotels

Distinct Khmer touches are found throughout the rooms, including an intricately carved headboard depicting Bayon Temple, one of the most celebrated temples at Angkor. The 1,087-square-foot (101-square-meter) Royal Suite features two ensuite bedrooms, a walk-in closet, separate living and dining areas and floor-to-ceiling views of the city.

Guests staying on the 10th floor can access the Regency Club Lounge where they can enjoy dedicated check-in and check-out services, daily breakfast, evening hors d’oeuvres, and complimentary drinks alongside panoramic city views with indoor or outdoor seating.\

The hotel is home to four dining venues, including Market Café Restaurant & Lounge, an all-day dining venue inside a light-filled atrium serving breakfast, afternoon tea and à-la-carte options, Metropole Underground, an early 20th century metro-themed bar offering live music and local beers and an old-world speakeasy-style bar tucked away in the Colonial House called The Attic, which specialises in handcrafted cocktails and grand cru wines. Spanning the rooftop, FiveFive Rooftop Restaurant & Bar is set to become the city’s social hotspot where guests will be treated to locally sourced meats and sustainable seafood, an array of signature cocktails.

In addition, a wide range of recreational facilities are located on the third floor, including the 22-metre outdoor infinity pool surrounded by lush greenery, a poolside bar, a Himalayan salt room and a steam room. The 24-hour gym is equipped with a cardio zone, strength zone, and free weights. Personal trainers are on hand to offer one-on-one sessions for guests.

Main image credit: Hyatt Hotels

A clean and luxury hotel room in Cairo

St. Regis arrives in Cairo, Egypt

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
St. Regis arrives in Cairo, Egypt

An epitome of modern Egyptian glamour, and heralded as a new beacon of luxury on the Nile, the new St Regis hotel brings exquisite design and signature service to the bustling metropolis and tourist hotspot…

A clean and luxury hotel room in Cairo

With Marriott International expected to meet its 2020 aims this year to to open 30 new luxury hotels in 2021, St. Regis Hotels & Resorts has announced the highly-anticipated opening of The St. Regis Cairo. Rising tall on the banks of the River Nile, The St. Regis Cairo is an illustrious icon weaving a powerful story of luxury in the region. Located at the North end of the Corniche, in the heart of Egypt’s bustling metropolis, the 39-story hotel offers easy access to the magnificent monuments of a city steeped in history.

“Egypt has historically been one of our key markets and strategically significant to our growth in the region,” said Satya Anand, President for Europe, Middle East and Africa, Marriott International. “Cairo is a storied destination that has long mesmerised the global traveller with its incredible energy offering a vibrant mix of history, culture, tradition and glamour. The St. Regis Cairo is an exciting addition to our fast-growing brand portfolio and is set to elevate Cairo’s luxury hospitality landscape with its remarkable design, uncompromising service, and exceptional culinary venues.”

Eng. Abdullah Bin Hamad Al Attiyah, CEO of Qatari Diar commented: “We are delighted to strengthen our global portfolio of hospitality developments with the opening The St. Regis Cairo. This luxury landmark will introduce higher standards of hospitality to this beautiful destination with its unparalleled levels of luxury and exceptional service – both of which the iconic St. Regis brand is renowned for.”

With its striking architecture, created by renowned architect Michael Graves, The St. Regis Cairo firmly establishes itself as a pivotal landmark in the city and beyond, carefully balancing opulence with refinement and elegance to evoke a profound sense of grandeur. Uncompromising in its decadence, the hotel is an exquisite reflection of a passionate vision that conscientiously draws on the city’s influential and storied past while confidently introducing its vibrant future.

Graceful geometric lines flow throughout the interiors, creating a repeated structural motif that quietly references the heritage of the region. Dark wood and rich textures combine with intricate embroidery, bejewelled paneling, bronze and wood carvings embellished with flashes of shimmering gold, mother of pearl inlays and imposing crystal chandeliers creating a dramatic Egyptian aesthetic with modern execution. A striking mural entitled “The Pink Sun” graces The St. Regis Bar. Staunchly modern in its execution, the mural references ancient Egypt and the birth of a modern civilisation.

The hotel’s approach to design pays particular homage to the hundreds of craftspeople who dedicated their time and handiwork to perfecting each and every detail offering a distinctly modern vision that immerses guests in moments that are simply awe-inspiring.

Main image credit: Marriott International/St Regis

Render of luxury suite inside Hotell Reisen in Sweden

The Unbound Collection by Hyatt arrives in Sweden

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The Unbound Collection by Hyatt arrives in Sweden

Celebrating its rich history, Hotell Reisen in Sweden will mark the first property under The Unbound Collection by Hyatt brand in Scandinavia…

Hotell Reisen, which we first wrote about last month, is a 144-key hotel in Stockholm that has just opened as The Unbound Collection’s first property in Sweden.

Render of luxury suite inside Hotell Reisen in Sweden

The hotel has a proud history with origins from the 17th century, bringing the spirit of The Unbound Collection by Hyatt to life in the capital of Sweden. Located in the heart of Stockholm’s old town directly on the waterfront and next to the Royal Castle, Hotell Reisen is the first hotel in Scandinavia under The Unbound Collection by Hyatt  brand and will join the planned Grand Hansa Hotel in Helsinki, Finland and Hyatt Centric Reykjavík, Iceland.

Hotell Reisen pays homage to the building’s extraordinary past, beginning in the 1750s as one of the few places licensed to serve coffee. Dutchman Frederik Reiss ran the popular meeting place for sea captains, merchants and sailors, and soon his daughter started to rent rooms to travelers. True to its origin, Hotell Reisen has remained a destination for guests from all over the world. Decorated with ornaments from centuries past including a 350-year-old footprint in the bricks of the hotel lobby, the building offers guests the opportunity to discover the hotel’s rich history and experience a one-of-a-kind stay.

“We are truly proud to be opening our doors and unfolding a new chapter for Hotell Reisen in Stockholm,” said Tomas Tegfors, general manager, Hotell Reisen. “Celebrating the rich history of Hotell Reisen, we are excited to welcome travelers seeking experiences unlike any other and to deliver elevated service.”

Each of the 144 newly renovated, spacious guestrooms creates a sophisticated ambiance rooted in the culture of Scandinavia, with many featuring outstanding views of the sea and islands of Stockholm. Each also offer walk-in showers, while many also include private saunas. Commonly known as “bastu”, the sauna has a long tradition in Scandinavia and is a great way to relax after an eventful day in the city.

Classic Swedish cuisine with a modern twist and exceptional drinks are served at the hotel’s restaurant for guests who are looking to make memories and tell their tale afterwards.

Hotell Reisen will be the eighth property in Europe within The Unbound Collection by Hyatt brand, joining The WellemHotel SOFIA BarcelonaPárisi Udvar Hotel BudapestHôtel du Palais BiarritzHôtel du LouvreHôtel MartinezGreat Scotland Yard Hotel, as well the planned Byblos Hotel and Grand Hansa Hotel, both expected to open in 2022.

Main image credit: Hyatt

Render of what London Olympia will look like in 2023

cititzenM to land in Olympia London in 2023

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
cititzenM to land in Olympia London in 2023

The fifth citizenM hotel in London will be in the regenerated Olympia London exhibition centre, a £1.3bn mixed development in cooperation with Yoo Capital and Deutsche Finance International; featuring a state-of-the art live music venue and conference centres set to open in 2023…

Render of what London Olympia will look like in 2023

citizenM London Olympia will be the brand’s fifth hotel in London, featuring, for the first time, a listed living area: the historic Apex room. The 145-key hotel will comprise the first floor with front-of-house and three guest room floors on top of the existing historic building. 

citizenM’s hybrid hotels offer travellers luxury accommodation at affordable prices in prime urban centres. This latest addition will be part of a major £1.3bn Olympia London redevelopment project, led by Yoo Capital and Deutsche Finance International, that will create a new cultural hub in West London. The new neighbourhood will include a four-screen arthouse cinema, 80,000 sq ft performing arts space, 1,500-seat theatre, restaurants, shops, cafés, hotels and 550,000 sq ft of office and co-working space. The Heatherwick Studio and SPPARC-designed project will also see the redevelopment of the existing exhibition halls and 2.5 acres of new public space created. 

“We’re taking a strategic approach to expansion in London,” commented Klaas van Lookeren Campagne, CEO of citizenM hotels. “Despite the current challenges in both the hotel and conference industries, we are confident in the positive future outlook for citizenM, and therefore Olympia London fitted the brief perfectly. We believe our offer of affordable luxury accommodation will appeal to visitors of the conference centre, as well as the theatre and music venues, and confirms our commitment to expand in London’s most desirable neighbourhoods.”

Chairman of Yoo Capital, John Hitchcox, said: “Having citizenM as an anchor operator is a huge positive for the Olympia project. They are an ideal partner to have on board as we continue our work to transform this area into a destination for culture and creativity and today marks a major milestone towards the realisation of a new vision for Olympia London.”

The hotel interiors will be designed by citizenM’s Amsterdam-based partner Concrete and will feature furniture from long-term collaborator Vitra. The guest rooms will include citizenM’s famous XL king-sized beds, powerful rain showers and large flat screen TVs. Guests will be able to enjoy the same creative technology that has marked citizenM as an innovative force in hospitality, from online check in to in-room mood pads. Since June, citizenM is also offering contactless stays powered by its new award-winning app.

citizenM London Olympia will be located at Hammersmith Road and will be the fifth standpost of citizenM in London, following openings in Bankside (2012), Shoreditch (2016), Tower of London (2016) and Victoria Station (2022). citizenM was advised by CMS during the drafting process of the agreement and closing of the transaction.

Since you’re here, why not read about the arrival of citizenM in USA’s west coast?

Main image credit:wearenarritiv

ME Dubai re-emerges with award-winning architecture status

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
ME Dubai re-emerges with award-winning architecture status

The striking ME Dubai, which is sheltered inside Zaha Hadid Archtiects’ latest award-winning building, has reopened its doors as hospitality in the Middle East enters into a cautious era… 

ME Dubai inside The Opus by Omniyat, which considered an architectural masterpiece and was a winner at The Brit List Awards 2020, has reopened its contemporary doors. Home to world- class cultural programming, innovative culinary experiences and breath-taking design by Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA), the hotel is the latest addition to Dubai’s iconic skyline located in the heart of the Burj Khalifa district.

Known as the late Zaha Hadid’s legacy project, ME Dubai is the only hotel in the world to have both its interiors and exteriors designed by ZHA, and its futuristic architecture, characterised by curves, sharp angles and bold materials, epitomises Hadid’s unique design style.

Exterior of The Opus

Image credit: ME Dubai/Zaha Hadid Archtiects

The hotel boasts 74 guestrooms and 19 suites, including the Passion Suite, Personality Suite, the Vibe Room and the ultra-luxurious ‘ME Suite’. All rooms are split into two themes: Midnight and Desert. Midnight rooms reflect the dynamic night skies of the Dubai skyline, whilst the Desert theme pays homage to the serene environment and soft hues of the UAE landscape.

View from inside ME Dubai overlooking Dubai skyline

Image credit: ME Dubai/Zaha Hadid Archtiects

“The reopening of ME Dubai marks a historic moment for The Opus Building project; a true legacy project for the firm,” said Patrik Schumacher of Zaha Hadid Architects. “We’re also extremely proud to present the exclusive Zaha Hadid Exhibition within the hotel; a project that we’ve worked closely with the hotel team on to showcase some never-before seen work by the late Zaha Hadid.”

Equally as impressive is the hotel’s wellness offering. Guests can take advantage of ME Dubai’s state-of-the- art gym, spanning 7,000 square feet and home to the region’s best fitness equipment and facilities, including the Middle East’s first ultramodern Technogym Biocircuit. Those keen to work up a sweat can then cool down with a refreshing dip in the hotel’s pool terrace. Wellness gurus can indulge at the hotel’s world- class spa, offering guests the ultimate refuge for relaxation and a variety of luxurious spa treatments for individuals or couples to unwind.

With properties located in cultural capitals around the world, ME by Meliá creates a unique link to the communities in which it operates. ME Dubai’s Culture Collective cultural programme acts as a platform for contemporary Middle Eastern culture, connecting music, art, design, fashion and gastronomy in curated events that bring the creative scene of the city into the hotel, tapping into the latest trends whilst shaping the local cultural landscape. Guests can look forward to insider advice on the best places to experience the most diverse cultural happenings in the vibrant city of Dubai.

Since you’re here, why not read about The Morpheus (another ZHA groundbreaking project)…

Main image credit: ME Dubai/Zaha Hadid Architects

A fun living area inside Moxy Hotels with industrial design

Lifestyle brand Moxy to arrive in Dubai

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Lifestyle brand Moxy to arrive in Dubai

Just when we thought Dubai’s skyline couldn’t contain any more hotels, Marriott International drops the news that it will open a 320-key Moxy hotel in Dubai, which will mark the brand’s entrance into the Middle East…

Slated to open in 2025, Moxy Downtown Dubai will rise within Dubai’s iconic downtown neighbourhood.

A fun living area inside Moxy Hotels with industrial design

The news breaks weeks after the Moxy brand landed its third hotel in Japan. Marriott International announced it has signed an agreement with Ingenious Holding Limited to debut the company’s bold and experiential brand in the Middle East.

“We are excited to work with Ingenious Holding Limited to open the first Moxy Hotel in the region,” said Jerome Briet, Chief Development Officer, Middle East and Africa, Marriott International. “The introduction of Moxy continues to reinforce the demand we are seeing for affordable accommodation across the Middle East, without compromising on style. With its playful personality and stylish setting, Moxy will be a great fit for a vibrant and dynamic destination like Dubai.”

Although there are no official images that have been released yet, here’s what we do know:

  • Moxy Downtown Dubai is expected to feature 320 modern guestrooms with smart modular furniture, hi-tech touches and furiously fast Wi-Fi.
  • The industrial-chic design will include buzzing social spaces, such as a rooftop bar and restaurant with stunning views of Downtown Dubai, a bowling alley and a swimming pool.
  • The hotel will also highlight several of the Moxy brand’s signature public spaces including its ‘Library’ where guests can plug-in and tune out; ‘The Welcome’ for guests to check-in and hang out; and the gym, which offers a fully equipped fitness centre.

Moxy Hotels are designed to reimagine the hotel scene, offering guests unexpected, playful extras and affordability without compromising on style. Moxy Downtown Dubai will encompass the signatures of the brand such as its energetic lobby where guests are met by the welcoming crew, its smart and fun self-service B&F concept and its kinetic Living Room space for day to night gatherings.

> Since you’re here, why not read Hotel Designs’ exclusive review of Moxy Chelsea, New York?

Watch this space…

Main image credit: Marriott International/Moxy Hotels

Marriott debuts first Moxy hotel in Taiwan

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Marriott debuts first Moxy hotel in Taiwan

Moxy Taichung combines stylish, industrial-chic design with sociable service at the intersection of Taichung’s uptown and downtown districts…

Following the hotel group announcing its 800th hotel opening in the Asia Pacific region, Marriott International has announced the opening of its first Moxy Hotel in Taiwan, shaking up the city’s hospitality scene with its playful spirit. The experiential and next gen-focused Moxy Taichung is located near many of the city’s attractions, including the colorfully quirky Rainbow Village, Zhongshe Flower Market, as well as the street food paradise of Yizhong Street Night Market – all must-visit destinations for the young and young-at-heart.

“We are excited to see the arrival of the Moxy brand in Taiwan with the opening of Moxy Taichung,” said Henry Lee, President, Greater China, Marriott International. “This opening marks the sixth Moxy Hotel to open in Asia Pacific and further underscores Marriott International’s commitment to continue growing its lifestyle portfolio across the region, and to cater to the next-generation of travelers with tailored experiences in a well-designed space that is surprisingly affordable.”

Queen supier room inside Moxy Hotel

Image credit: Moxy Hotels/Marriott International

Moxy Taichung features 262 bedrooms that are cleverly designed to maximise space and allow guests the flexibility to adapt the room to their needs. Each room is equipped with the latest technology featuring a 55-inch flat screen television, high quality sound system, furiously fast and free Wi-Fi, ample USB power outlets, motion-activated LED guidelights below the bed, and a backlighted glass panel to add ambiance.

The hotel also features several of the brand’s signature playful touches, kicking the experience off with check-in at Bar Moxy where guests are greeted with a complimentary “Got Moxy” cocktail. The bar also doubles up as a communal hub for dining, drinks, and social gatherings. At sunset, the chic rooftop bar XOXO is buzzing with energy, and is the place to be for light bites, decadent drinks, and curated cocktails.

The hotel also shelters a 24-hour fitness centre decked out with cardiovascular equipment, free weights, and other equipment including SYNRGY and TRX. In addition, a tech-enabled meeting room is also available for any team brainstorming sessions in the hotel.

“Across the Asia Pacific region and the world, the strong growth of our playful Moxy brand is proof that its brand philosophy resonates with millennial and next-gen guests, who seek a hotel stay at an affordable price point, saving on space and splurging on experiences,” said Jennie Toh, Vice President, Brand, Asia Pacific, Marriott International. “We are excited to be bringing the Moxy brand to Taiwan with the opening of Moxy Taichung, and to welcome travellers to the Moxy experience in this dynamic, future-forward city.”

Taichung is Taiwan’s second largest city, home to its lively cultural, arts, entertainment, and lifestyle scenes. In addition to its many museums, theaters, parks and temples, Taichung’s Chun Shui Tang teahouse is said to be the original birthplace of bubble tea. The city is also home to many of Taiwan’s high-tech manufacturing facilities, particularly in the semiconductor and transport industries.

Main image credit: Moxy Hotels/Marriott International

One&Only Mandarina arrives in Mexico’s Riviera Nayarit

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
One&Only Mandarina arrives in Mexico’s Riviera Nayarit

Set on an undiscovered stretch of coastline along the Riviera Nayarit in Mexico, One&Only Mandarina has opened its doors…

Overlooking the Pacific Ocean with dramatic vistas and an awe-inspiring beachfront rainforest setting, One&Only Mandarina is a hidden retreat complete with secluded eco-designed treehouses and clifftop villas, swimmable shores, destination dining from Chef Enrique Olvera, active and mindful experiences, and an environment crafted for reconnection.

Identified earlier this year as a hotel development hotspot, Mexico’s Riviera Nayarit, a remote 192-mile-long coastline that frames the majestic Sierra Madre mountains, is tipped to be in hot demand once travel restrictions have lifted.

One&Only Mandarina was built around the unique topography of the land – in this volcanic and fertile region, three different microclimates are steeped in natural beauty with some of the richest biodiversity in North America, and more than 50 species of ancient trees grow in the jungle – allowing nature to take centre stage and preserving the precious environment. The resort was sensitively designed to embrace the dramatic setting, rather than reshape it, and careful low-density planning in consultation with botany experts has preserved the land and the historic and ecological importance of the destination.

The resort showcases low-impact contemporary style and sustainable design, coupled with unrivalled seclusion in an adventurous beachfront setting. Amid the jungle surrounds are 105 chic standalone treehouses and villas either elevated amongst the canopy or perched cliffside, all designed for indoor and outdoor living with breath-taking views of the Pacific Coast, Sierra del Vallejo mountains or rainforest. Accommodations boast private plunge pools and terraces, floor to ceiling windows, glass walls and expansive bathrooms – all framing the natural surroundings – as well as interiors complemented by custom woodwork and artefacts by local designers. Constructed with clay, wood, precious metal and stone, and the finest raw materials indigenous to the region, the villas are private sanctuaries, grounded in the earthen spirit of the local Cora and Huichol cultures.

The brand is renowned for its collection of expansive villas offering the ultimate in space and privacy within each resort. One&Only Mandarina will be home to Villa One, the pinnacle of resort living, stretching over 1,747m2 and boasting three bedrooms, infinity pool, private spa and gym, full screen cinema, wine cellar and generous outdoor dining terrace. The resort’s signature villas have all been thoughtfully designed to hero local craftsmanship, such as Villa Pacifico – a 342m2 sanctuary sleeping up to eight guests with two private swimming pools, plenty of entertaining and living space including a full-screen cinema and outdoor covered dining terrace with barbeque grill, it is ideal for family gatherings and celebrations.

The resort embraces the cultural traditions and signature warmth of Mexican cuisine and hospitality, from casual beachside dining to award-winning cuisine. The elegant culinary masterpiece Carao from world-renowned Mexican Chef Enrique Olvera showcases Mexican specialties reinvented through a combination of modern approaches and revered ancient technique. Located at southernmost peak of the resort, the newest concept from the famed chef is an extraordinary dining destination reflective of his globally recognised skill and passion for contemporary Mexican fare.

The relaxed Jetty Beach Club located on the resort’s private beach serves fresh seafood grilled to perfection over charcoal, as well as snacks, quick bites and inventive cocktails overlooking the ocean. The family-friendly, all-day dining destination Alma provides a variety of garden-to-plate menus featuring seasonal specialties mixed amongst Pan-American dishes designed with remarkable attention to flavour. The open kitchen concept features two striking, wood-fired hornos, or ovens, and an intimate dining room and citrus-tree lined patio for al-fresco gatherings. The adjacent botanical bar, The Treetop, showcases refined yet playful versions of classic cocktails paired with sweeping views of the coast.

Situated in a natural volcanic rock garden, One&Only Spa features a collection of six isolated, enclosed treatment rooms, offering experiences cocooned beneath a canopy of large Higuera trees, where guests can find privacy and serenity amidst the pristine, tropical rainforest.

Woven seamlessly into Mexico’s most awe-inspiring coastal rainforest, One&Only Mandarina balances unparalleled seclusion with the signature One&Only atmosphere. Discovering the sanctuary of unspoiled nature, open space and cultural heritage in Mexico’s Riviera Nayarit, resort guests experience a unifying environment amidst the palm-fringed sands, emerald cliffsides, sparkling lagoons and wandering estuaries that encourage guests to reconnect with themselves, loved ones, and the natural world around them.

Main image credit: One&Only

BREAKING: Hyatt brand to arrive in Sweden

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
BREAKING: Hyatt brand to arrive in Sweden

Located in Stockholm, Hotell Reisen will join The Unbound Collection by Hyatt brand, continuing to fuel Hyatt’s brand growth in Europe…

Hyatt Hotels has announced that a Hyatt affiliate has entered into a franchise agreement with First Hotel Reisen AB to open the first Hyatt property in Sweden. The 144-key Hotell Reisen will be available on Hyatt’s booking systems, on an unbranded basis, as of December 1, 2020 with plans to join The Unbound Collection by Hyatt brand after refurbishment in the first quarter of 2021. In the Nordics, the hotel will join the planned Grand Hansa Hotel in Helsinki, Finland as part of The Unbound Collection by Hyatt and Hyatt Centric Reykjavík, Iceland. The three hotels represent strategic cornerstones in Hyatt’s expansion plans for Northern Europe.

“The rich history and unique location in central Stockholm make Hotell Reisen a perfect addition to The Unbound Collection by Hyatt brand.” – Peter Norman, Senior Vice President of development Europe, Hyatt.

Located in the heart of Stockholm’s old town directly on the waterfront and on Skeppsbron, Hotell Reisen is rich in history, dating back to the 17th century. The property will offer cultural moments for guests seeking a sophisticated yet unscripted experience, as it will be located within walking distance of many of Stockholm’s landmark attractions. Independent-minded travellers can experience highlights of the city including The Royal Palace and the ferry to Djurgården, bringing guests to the tranquil oasis that is home to many of the city’s most famous museums and cultural attractions.

“At Hyatt, we are focused on thoughtful growth based on locations that matter most to our guests, World of Hyatt members and customers, and Stockholm has been a priority market for some time,” said Peter Norman, Senior Vice President of development Europe, Hyatt. “While Stockholm is known for its high barrier to entry for global brands, the rich history and unique location in central Stockholm make Hotell Reisen a perfect addition to The Unbound Collection by Hyatt brand. This brand has seen great momentum across the region, as each property celebrates their destination’s distinct culture and atmosphere, and we look forward to expanding the brand’s footprint in the Nordics.”

The name of Reisen originates from a 1750’s coffee house run by a Dutchman, Frederik Reiss. As the coffee house was a popular meeting space for merchants and travellers from all over the world, Frederik Reiss’s daughter soon started to rent rooms in the early 19th century. Ever since, the building has been in use as a hotel and today is a celebration of the vibrant and rich history of Sweden’s capital.

“We are delighted to work alongside Hyatt for the first Hyatt hotel in Sweden,” said Anders Moe, CEO of Host AB which owns First Hotel Reisen AB. “In creating a destination that locals and guests from afar will treasure, Hotell Reisen will honour the history of the building and the city. The combination of our expertise in Sweden’s hospitality market and Hyatt’s international reputation will allow for our vision to come to life.”

Born out of the belief that every property has a unique story to tell, The Unbound Collection by Hyatt brand invites guests to discover unforgettable places, showcasing the uniqueness of each property’s location. Hotell Reisen will join the eight European hotels under The Unbound Collection by Hyatt brand, including Great Scotland Yard Hotel, Hôtel Martinez, Hôtel du Louvre, Hôtel du Palais Biarritz, Párisi Udvar Hotel Budapest, Hotel SOFIA Barcelona as well as Byblos Hotel and Grand Hansa Hotel, which are both expected to open in 2022.

Main image credit: Hyatt Hotels

Banyan Tree unveils first luxury resort to open in Krabi in 11 years

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Banyan Tree unveils first luxury resort to open in Krabi in 11 years

Elevating the destination on the southern Thailand’s west coast, the 72-key Banyan Tree Krabi has opened…

Nestled on a verdant hillside with spectacular vistas of limestone cliffs rising from the sea, Banyan Tree Krabi has opened.

Owned by Asset World Corporation (AWC), the new luxury resort backs onto a lush national park and Naga Crest Hill, granting three ultra-exclusive beachfront pool villas, 10 beachfront pool villas, and 59 pool suites — each of which has its own private pool — a westward-facing view of sunset over the Andaman. A natural spring flows downhill into the property where it is transformed into a flower-fringed canal ferrying springwater to the sea.

Facilities at Banyan Tree Krabi include two restaurants and a beach bar, a fitness centre, a meeting centre, and in keeping with Banyan Tree’s global wellbeing branding — a rainforest-themed spa.

The centerpiece of the resort, as guests walk through the naga legend-inspired entrance, is a circular water feature in the lobby that cascades into a cavernous meeting room area below. With a backdrop of emerald sea and karsts, the awe-inspiring spectacle is shaping up as one of the resort’s signature images. 

Image caption: The lobby at Banyan Tree Krabi, with the karst towers of Than Bok Korani National Marine Park in the background | Image credit: Banyan Tree Krabi

The hotel offers eight suite and villa types. The most modest accommodation type, coming in at 99 sq.m, is the Deluxe Pool Suite. Highlight of the room is a sumptuous double bed, situated beneath a pitched hardwood ceiling and fan. A private terrace, plunge pool and jet pool surround the bedroom, giving guests the feeling of being on a small island.

The largest is the majestic seven-bedroom Presidential Villa, which sits directly in front of the beach. Guests can reserve the villa as a three-bedroom unit or take an option to combine the three-bedroom with the two adjoining 2-bedroom beachfront villas, transforming it into a seven-bedroom wonderland of saltwater pools, canals, and myriad balconies and terraces. Designed as a retreat for multi-generational family vacations and intimate wedding celebrations, the Presidential Villa commands a palatial 1,335 sq.m as a seven-bedroom arrangement.

All suites and villas have private saltwater pools and water features. Each is modern and bright with gentle tones of wood, stone and sand. Decor is modern chic, while bathrooms are resplendent with sandy beige marble tiles, a double sink, and decorated with naga art.

Mod-cons include a lavish bathtub and jet pool, high-speed Internet, IPTV with multiple-device connectivity, a full range of multi-lingual channels on state-of-the-art flat screen TVs, and a premium coffee machine.

In keeping with Banyan Tree Group’s “Safe Sanctuary” programme rolled out during the Covid pandemic, guests at the new resort will be assured of enhanced safety and hygiene protocols with emphasis on wellbeing and nature-focused offerings. Among them is a personalised check-in and check-out service in their rooms. Prior to arrival, each guest is assigned a Banyan Tree Host – similar to a dedicated butler. Upon checking in, guests receive a Portier Smartphone with unlimited international calls and data – to contact their Banyan Tree Host at the touch of a button and enjoy personalised service, ranging from in-room dining to arranging tours, as well as room service and housekeeping requests.

One of the most dramatic features at Banyan Tree Krabi will be the three “Bird’s Nest” tables perched precariously among the trees around the resort’s highly-elevated signature restaurant, Saffron. With a lush jungle scene as backdrop, and a sea vista of Krabi’s world-famous limestone wonders at sunset, this romantic dining spot will make for some memorable Instagram moments. 

As well as an all-day dining restaurant, Saffron Restaurant and its accompanying Sunset Wedding Deck can be accessed by a quaint electric funicular, large enough for eight persons, which will ascend and descend the hillside throughout the evening. 

Banyan Tree has been recognised worldwide for its sustainability stewardship. Sister resort Banyan Tree Samui was lauded by global organisation EarthCheck in 2018 as the first hotel in Thailand to receive its highest certification. Banyan Tree Area General Manager Remko Kroesen, who will oversee both southern Thai resorts, aims to maintain the same high standards at Banyan Tree Krabi.

Main image credit: Banyan Tree Krabi

White Elephant Palm Beach to open this November

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
White Elephant Palm Beach to open this November

From one holiday destination to another, Nantucket’s White Elephant resort will welcome a sister boutique property in Palm Beach, which will open on November 4, 2020…

The 32-key White Elephant Palm Beach is housed in the former Bradley Park Hotel – originally constructed in 1924 as one of the first resorts on Palm Beach’s Main Street. During its century-long history, it was initially owned by Colonel Edward R. Bradley, who ran a private and celebrated Beach Club casino on land that is today Bradley Park. For more than 20 years, the hotel served as a magnet for business tycoons and high rollers who frequented the salon. Over the decades that followed, the hotel remained a mainstay for seasonal visitors. In 1980, in part to its architectural significance, the hotel was listed with the Landmark Preservation Commission.

The footprint of the structure and the facade remains, while the interiors have been stripped to the bones and rebuilt by Boston-based Elkus Manfredi Architects. The nationally recognised firm, known for its projects with The Peninsula Chicago and Four Seasons Residences, Boston, worked closely with the Town of Palm Beach to create a new hotel that showcases the history of the existing building while incorporating a contemporary interpretation of Mediterranean-revival architecture. White Elephant Palm Beach will maintain the welcoming feel of a private residence with 13 rooms and 19 suites spread across four stories.

The hotel stands one street north of Royal Poinciana Way, Palm Beach’s original Main Street, less than two blocks from the Atlantic Ocean and one block from the Intracoastal Waterway.

The layout of the property takes advantage of the South Florida sunshine and features a U-shaped outdoor courtyard that is the social heart of the hotel – a place to relax and recharge, whether lounging on the patio or around the pool. The landscaping features mature, local flora whose lush colours and tropical fragrances envelop guests.  Previews of what’s to come started earlier this year, when White Elephant Palm Beach’s signature restaurant Lola 41– a Nantucket staple – began serving its globally inspired dishes and local seafood specialties.

Image caption: In the lobby parlor, guests face a row of arched windows looking out onto the courtyard and outside restaurant seating. Sheer drapery filters the natural light and offers slight opacity, lending a sense of privacy and separation from the activity outside. | Image credit: Chi-Thien Nguyen/Elkus Manfredi Architects

The design captures the spirit of a grand home while maintaining the ambiance of a landmarked boutique hotel. Breaking from the bright pinks and greens that dominate the Palm Beach aesthetic, the White Elephant Palm Beach features a neutral colour palette with sleek metal accents and vibrant pops of colour. The hardwood floors, Carrara marble, elegant tiles and woven rugs are all interpreted with contemporary style.  Outside, the Mizner-style facade is painted a light, creamy-white colour with classic black-and-white striped awnings, terracotta roof tiles, and black trim to bring a fresh, sophisticated look to the classic structure. Guests will be welcomed onto the property by a seven-foot white elephant statue by Santa Fe-based artist Fredrick Prescott.  (A “sister” elephant statue, Trunket, is on the grounds of White Elephant in Nantucket .)

The statue is just one of 120 original pieces of colourful modern and pop art personally curated by the owners and Elkus Manfredi. The museum-worthy collection will be on display throughout the rooms and common spaces. Featured artists include Robert Rauschenberg, whose early creations in the 1950s anticipated the pop art movement, and Jennifer Bartlett, known for her small, square steel plates that are combined in grid formations to create large-scale works. Several pieces by painter Kenzo Okada, the first Japanese-American artist to receive international acclaim using abstract expressionist style, will be on display, as will works by Donald Baechler, part of the East Village, New York 1980s art movement. A 54-inch round acrylic work by Orit Fuchs was specifically created for the hotel and is a focal point of the lobby; while six prints by Yinka Shonibare, who will unveil a new public sculpture installation in West Palm Beach in 2021, will be found on the second-floor corridor. Doodle Boy, a 10-year-old British artist, was also commissioned to create 30 exclusive pieces for the powder rooms. Using clean black lines hand drawn with a thick marker, he incorporated a hidden signature elephant in each of his drawings.

Guestrooms and suites range from 510- to 3,000-square feet featuring custom-designed furniture. King-size beds will be outfitted with Pratesi by Rivolta linens with upholstered backboards accented in a colourful palm and flower print. The same fabric will be found on the back of the desk chairs and on the throw pillow piping.

Other noteworthy pieces include console tables by Selamat Designs in collaboration with the heritage brand, Morris & Co, which are wrapped inside and out with authentic William Morris “Strawberry Thief” covering. The pattern was originally created in 1883. Each of the suites will be furnished with plush grey and cream armchairs and couches. The custom-designed wooden arches that frame the entrance to some of the rooms are a defining architectural element of the hotel. Other decorative accents such as bronze elephant door knockers, bold patterned throw pillows, rattan ceiling light fixtures, and black and white striped side tables are sprinkled throughout. The bathrooms feature marble tiles, double sinks crafted from stone, a dry vanity and glass-enclosed walk in showers with L’Occitane bath amenities.

Image caption: The master bedroom in the Park Suite is the largest of the suite’s three bedrooms and includes a seating area at the foot of the bed. Behind us, double doors lead to the master bathroom. | Image credit: Chi-Thien Nguyen/Elkus Manfredi Architects

The two penthouse suites are ideal for those who want to entertain, with large living rooms, fully equipped kitchens, and terraces ranging between 800- to 1,200-square-feet. With views of Bradley Park, the Park Suite is a three-bedroom that can be expanded into four, and the ocean-facing Palm Suite is a two-bedroom that can be expanded into three.

Image caption: All the hotel’s exterior furniture is by Janus et Cie, all in black-and-white to keep in tune with the graphic quality of the architectural language of the exterior. | Image credit: Chi-Thien Nguyen/Elkus Manfredi Architects

“Our main mission is to combine our vision of hospitality with the ethos and style of casually elegant Palm Beach,” comments Douglass Karp, President of New England Development. He notes, “We are pleased to combine our promise of service excellence with the exciting tradition of hospitality in this legendary resort destination. We feel right at home in Palm Beach.”

Main image credit: Chi-Thien Nguyen/Elkus Manfredi Architects

Marriott opens new Autograph Collection hotel in Japan

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Marriott opens new Autograph Collection hotel in Japan

Marriott has said that the new hotel showcases Kyoto’s culinary, cultural and community traditions to travellers visiting the gentle mountain landscapes of Takaragaike…

Autograph Collection Hotels has announced the opening of The Prince Kyoto Takaragaike, Autograph Collection hotel in the Takaragaike area, situated in the northern section of Kyoto, Japan. The hotel joins Marriott International’s diverse and exciting Autograph Collection portfolio of more than 190 independent properties across the globe, which are each distinct in design, character and charm, and all Exactly Like Nothing Else.

“We are excited to expand the Autograph Collection portfolio in Japan with the brand’s 3rd hotel in the country, said Rajeev Menon, President, Asia Pacific (excluding China), Marriott International. “The Prince Kyoto Takaragaike perfectly highlights Autograph Collection’s promise of showcasing experiences that are informed by unique perspectives on craft and hospitality. This opening reinforces Marriott International’s commitment to continue expanding its footprint across Japan.”

Designed by renowned Japanese architect Togo Murano, The Prince Kyoto Takaragaike shelters an interplay between Japanese tradition and Murano’s modernist approach to architecture and design. The main building is an oval shape, with an atrium at its center. The hotel’s 310 spacious guestrooms are all appointed with thoughtful amenities including free Wi-Fi and captivating views of Takaragaike Park and its surroundings. Guests are graciously welcomed upon their arrival at the hotel with a cup of matcha, or powdered green tea, prepared in Urasenke style.

Dining options are all designed to create an immersive experience in local as well as international culinary traditions. The hotel’s main restaurant, Ito-Zakura, serves French cuisine showcasing well-selected local ingredients from the region.

A sophisticated dining room

Image credit: Marriott International/Autograph Collection

Guests are invited to visit the century-old Morita Farm in nearby Kamigamo to handpick their own vegetables, which they will later enjoy in a French-inspired meal.

Takaragaike Japanese Restaurant presents an array of classic Kyoto cuisine and other Japanese regional favorites. At Tohen Chinese Restaurant, Beijing style cuisine is served with a touch of Kyoto essence by unique arrangements. Mizu-No-Ne is the hotel’s lobby lounge serving specialty coffees and herb teas to be enjoyed with oven-fresh baked breads, cakes and pastries.

Bar Ascot, an English-style bar, is a cozy, convivial venue for a relaxing evening over drinks and cocktails. In an elegant Sukiya-style, a traditional wooden Japanese Tea House is set within the hotel grounds, where guests can also experience an authentic formal Japanese tea ceremony or enjoy kaiseki-style cuisine from Tsujitome, a long-established Japanese Restaurant.

“Kyoto is the cultural capital of Japan, and for many centuries, it has welcomed visitors from all over the world who come to take in its beautiful natural scenery, fascinating culture and excellent cuisine,” said Masashi Takizawa, General Manager, The Prince Kyoto Takaragaike. “We are extremely pleased to become part of Marriott International’s prestigious Autograph Collection, and to present our very special hotel to the next generation of visitors who wish to discover authentic, one-of-a-kind experiences when they visit Kyoto.”

Main image credit: Autograph Collection/Marriott International

Opening of The Mitre, Hampton Court marks debut of The Signet Collection

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Opening of The Mitre, Hampton Court marks debut of The Signet Collection

Recently announced, a new boutique luxury hotel brand The Signet Collection has launched in conjunction with the unveiling of its first hotel The Mitre, Hampton Court…

The Signet Collection, which was founded by former COO of Longshot; owners of Beaverbrook and Bel & the Dragon Group. Hector Ross and his team are set to create meaningful stays in time honoured places and will be made up of several destination-defining properties throughout the UK.

The Signet Collection, a home-grown and hands-on brand, is passionate about all aspects of the craft of hospitality and champions the belief that a hotel is only as good as the people in it. With a focus on experiences, history and informality of design, food and service – each of The Signet Collection hotels will be highly individual and will centre around preserving and restoring authenticity.

Image credit: The Mitre, Hampton Court

“We start with a special place. Our hotels have history, stories to tell,” said Ross. Each one is imbued with generations of tales, legacies, myths and legends. We unearth this history, these stories. We restore them, reimagining them, passing them on for our guests to enjoy, layered with a British sense of humour, top-notch F&B and memorable experiences”

The first hotel in the collection, The Mitre, has debuted. Sheltered within a Grade II-listed property dating back to 1665, the now hotel was originally used as ancillary accommodation for guests of King Henry VIII at Hampton Court Palace. Set on the banks of the River Thames, the 36-key hotel includes a 60-cover riverside all day dining and wine bar, a 70-cover brasserie and bar, an 60-cover Orangery, a large riverside terrace, meeting rooms and private dining areas.

Food & beverage has pride of place for the new hospitality brand headed up by culinary and operations director Ronnie Kimbugwe, whose background includes time with the Gordon Ramsay group at Claridges and a decade with the Bel and Dragon Country Inns.

“Through design we aim to connect our guests with the history and the location of each hotel.” – Designer Nicola Harding

Interior designer Nicola Harding is the creative lead behind The Signet Collection and transformation of The Mitre, which combines quirky British sensibility with elegant authentic luxury.

Known for her work on the Garden House at Beaverbrook and The Rose Hotel in Deal, Nicola draws inspiration from Hampton Court and the surrounding neighbourhood, accentuating the character of the building and creating spaces that feel effortlessly evolved. “The Signet Collection hotels will blend the old with the new, the refined with the comfortable, and the local with the worldly,” she said. “Through design we aim to connect our guests with the history and the location of each hotel, providing characterful bedrooms, and playful lively public spaces where people quickly feel at home.”

Main image credit: The Mitre, Hampton Court

Weekly briefing: remembering Sir Terence, lighting launches & a Bath debut

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Weekly briefing: remembering Sir Terence, lighting launches & a Bath debut

Only got a minute? Our editorial team have compiled the top design stories that they have published this week, including an editor’s letter that remembers a legend, Chelsom unveiling Edition 27 and Hotel Indigo entering new territory…

And just like that we are in October. With the industry busy trying to navigate itself into more familiar settings – where hotels are open and in demand, – we appreciate that you may not have time to read all the content that Hotel Designs has published this week. Therefore, here is our ‘editor’s pick’ of the juiciest stories that have been covered this week.

Editor checks in: will design ever be the same again?

Weeks ahead of celebrating the best British designers, architects, hoteliers and suppliers in The Brit List Awards 2020, editor Hamish Kilburn warmly remembers a design legend, Sir Terence Conran, in his monthly column.

Click here to read more.

Two years in the making, Chelsom launches Edition 27

Image caption: The Hybrid set | Image credit: Chelsom

Image caption: The Hybrid set | Image credit: Chelsom

Every two years on the international hotel design scene, something incredible happens. The industry becomes temporarily blinded by new lighting designs that are created with tomorrow’s luxury hospitality projects in mind. The brand behind this much-awaited artificial phenomenon is, of course, Chelsom.

Click here to read more.

Hotel review: Villa Copenhagen

Image credit: Villa Copenhagen

A much-anticipated addition to the Danish capital city, Copenhagen, transforms an iconic architectural landmark into a modern oasis of cool. Writer Collette Swindells explores the hidden gems – including the country’s most luxurious penthouse and a sully sustainable ‘Earth Suite’ – that are sheltered inside.

Click here to read more.

Guide To Hotel Design (Part 50): how to design for social distancing

The hospitality sector has been deeply impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. As lockdown eases, hotels are navigating the effects of social distancing and new safety guidelines for their design and guest experience. Giles Fuchs, owner of Burgh Island Hotel, safely guides us through what to consider when designing for social distancing.

Click here to read more.

Confessions of a lighting designer – what is lighting design?

Throughout October we are, for the second time this year, putting the spotlight on lighting. To kickstart this series, we reach out to Gary Thornton, senior project designer at neolight global, to understand lighting design from the inside.

Click here to read more.

Hotel Indigo debuts in the historic city of Bath

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel Indigo debuts in the historic city of Bath

IHG Hotels & Resorts has further expanded its boutique footprint with the opening of the highly anticipated Hotel Indigo Bath

Set in a honey coloured Georgian terrace built in the 18th century, the 166-key Grade I listed building, which now shelters Hotel Indigo Bath, has hosted famous figures from history including Sir Walter Scott, William Wilberforce, and the Duke of York.

Just as no two neighbourhoods are alike, no two Hotel Indigo properties are alike. Each is designed to uniquely reflect the local culture, character, and history of the surrounding area.

Exterior of the hotel

Image credit: IHG/Hotel Indigo

Taking its design cues from the city’s surrounding Georgian architecture and the history of the local neighbourhood, Hotel Indigo Bath creates a truly memorable experience by artfully combining modern design and historical architecture. Guests will have five different room types to choose from, reflecting the surrounding neighbourhood of Bath:

‘Romance & Mischief’ rooms – Taking inspiration from the infamous Debutant Season in Bath, where grand evenings of gambling and frivolity mixed with afternoon tea and whispers of romantic promises. The rooms have dark green headboard wooden panelling combined with vibrant luscious red velvet soft furnishings. Nodding to the old gambling culture, there are playing card side tables. The artwork on the walls plays on the theme of romance with love birds and portraits that have been vandalised by ex-lovers.

‘Literary Hideaway’ rooms – Reflecting Bath’s abundance of famous authors, these rooms are designed to be cosier and reflect a getaway for creative writers. The walls behind the bed are covered in a montage of novels by many of Baths authors and the desk is a traditional writer’s bureau with a captain’s chair. There is a slightly more muted colour pallet of browns and mustard yellows.

Image caption: Literary Hideout Room | Image credit: IHG/Hotel Indigo

‘Georgian Architecture’ rooms – With the back wall of the bed lined with ornate ceiling sconce covers and grand high ceilings, this room amplifies the grand Georgian residence feel. Bold, symmetrical, geometric patterns favoured by Georgian architecture of that time, are visible with a deep and rich colour pallet – designed to accentuate the period features.

Image caption: Image caption: Georgian Architecture Room | Image credit: IHG/Hotel Indigo

Image caption: Image caption: Georgian Architecture Room | Image credit: IHG/Hotel Indigo

‘Garden’ rooms – Moving through the design periods, these rooms are a newly built modern extension. With a more contemporary, light and youthful modern design, these rooms are reflective of the garden in which they sit. 

Image caption: Image caption: Garden Room | Image credit: IHG/Hotel Indigo

Image caption: Image caption: Garden Room | Image credit: IHG/Hotel Indigo

Underground Vault’ rooms – Built in the 18th century the vaults are an amazing example of historical architecture and house the hotel Suites. Designed with soft lighting, black timber finishing, vaulted bath stone ceilings, underfloor heating and high-end crafted furniture, these rooms are offer something raw and authentic.

Image caption:Vault Suite | Image credit: IHG/Hotel Indigo

All rooms are equipped with comfy Hypnos beds with luxury Egyptian cotton linen, spa-inspired bathrooms, Nespresso coffee machines, high speed Wi-Fi and a variety of channels on a 40” flat screen TV.  

The sensitively designed bathrooms, which include top-quality brands, were specified by bathroom consultancy brand Utopia Projects.

Hotel Indigo Bath is also home to “The Elder”, a new and exciting restaurant from multi-award-winning West Country restaurateur Mike Robinson, co-owner of the only Michelin-starred London pub, the Harwood Arms in Fulham. He also opened The Woodsman restaurant and bar at Hotel Indigo® Stratford on Avon last year, winning the Good Food Guide Best New Entry 2020. 

The Elder is the place to enjoy authentic, honest and timeless British cooking, with a focus on sustainability, seasonality, and locally sourced produce and is open for lunch and dinner with an à la carte menu.  In the bar and the south facing terrace, visitors can enjoy small plates alongside cocktails and Somerset ciders.

There are currently 121 Hotel Indigo properties open globally including the recently opened Hotel Indigo® Verona – Grand Hotel Des Arts and Hotel Indigo® Larnaca, with another 102 in the pipeline to open in the next three – five years. The first Hotel Indigo in the Arabian Gulf, Hotel Indigo® Dubai Downtown is also set to open later this year.

Main image credit: IHG/Hotel Indigo

In Conversation With: Mark Kelly, Partner at PLP Architecture

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In Conversation With: Mark Kelly, Partner at PLP Architecture

Looking ahead, past the pandemic, editor Hamish Kilburn sits down with Mark Kelly, Partner at PLP Architecture, to understand how to build a meaningful hotel landscape…

With the world the way it is at the moment, the conversation in the industry has steered sharply towards how architecture and design will be affected in the post-pandemic world.

PLP Architecture is a firm behind some of the world’s smartest and most sustainable buildings, which will soon include Pan Pacific London. Expected to be completed in 2021 – and already being described as an ‘architectural marvel’ – the project’s vision is to balance a design that is sensitive to the Asian heritage of the brand whilst creating an ultra-modern, timeless hotel and complex that challenges conventional architecture.

As a result of the firms sustainable mission, the building will shelter mix of 42 native wildflower and some sedum species populate levels 34 and 42 – 44, protruding above the structure’s rooftop, seeking to create a sense of continuity between the tower and the outdoor public spaces and gardens on the ground floor. 

Representing a number of firsts for London, such as being the first tower development in the City of London to harmoniously fuse private apartments with a luxury hotel, PLP Architecture’s collaborative approach with Yabu Pushelberg and developers UOL and Stanhope ensures the delivery of an integrated and seamless design at every level of building, helping to bring to life a bold, emblematic and creative new embodiment of urban expression for the capital. Most importantly, though, it has been built with tomorrow’s consumers and travellers in mind.

So how are architects evolving to meet the hefty demands of modern travellers and budget conscious clients in the post-pandemic world? I spoke to Mark Kelly, Partner at PLP Architecture, to find out.

Hamish Kilburn: How will coronavirus reshape architecture?

Mark Kelly: Architecture is an inherently flexible process – always evolving while constantly questioning and reinventing itself. As such, it is well placed to respond to the current and seemingly ever-changing Covid crisis and, for that matter, other current and future global concerns such as the climate emergency. Covid has specifically put extra focus on the health of the architectural spaces we inhabit – not just in the way they operate, but in the way they make occupants behave and feel.

We are already seeing a shift towards greater implementation of technology to reduce levels of contact. There is also now a greater recognition of the benefits of architecture enhancing a state of health and wellbeing – achieved through more natural lighting and ventilation, improved climate control, larger areas of personal space more robust and cleanable surfaces, increased sizes and more options for circulation, clearer signage and better management of wayfinding – as well as more pragmatic inclusions like well-designed and integrated places for washing / sanitising hands and select use of screens and shields where required in areas of frequent interaction.

“The current environment is a perfect opportunity for hotels to think creatively about ways to not just reconsider and reactivate their existing spaces.” – Mark Kelly, Partner, PLP Architecture.

HK: How should the hospitality industry prepare for post-pandemic work in terms of architecture and design?

MK: Though we are in very challenging times at the moment, we see opportunities for an exciting future across the industry – one that addresses the requirements of a post-pandemic world and also reinvents itself into a more dynamic, safe and inclusive environment for people to use and enjoy. Ultimately hospitality, as a service-based industry, has the goal of accommodating and providing comfort – not just for guests, although they are a clear priority – but for staff as well. Everyone involved has a right to feel safe and protected at all times.

Image caption: Final mock-up room inside Pan Pacific London

During the pandemic, we have seen some creative uses for hotels being implemented – including people using them as remote offices, exercise studios and other support for a newly mobile workforce. This has not only helped to counteract the problems associated with lower occupancy levels but started to address other issues that were present before the pandemic. The current environment is a perfect opportunity for hotels to think creatively about ways to not just reconsider and reactivate their existing spaces, but transform their business models to help further diversify and futureproof their assets.

We see a real need to shift towards the inclusion of more local target groups, with a new and expanded reliance on the local population to add authenticity and ensure year-round activation and use of hotels. The pandemic has provided, and in some cases necessitated, an opportunity for the industry to expand from a more straightforward offering of overnight accommodation with perhaps a restaurant and gymnasium, into a truly community-minded hub where locals, tourists and business men and women alike interact and intermingle in an environment that entices each.

Premium hospitality can remain a core function in hotels, but it will need to be flexible enough to adapt to take advantage of this exciting and beneficial adaptation into a Hospitality Integrated Business that brings together the workplace, wellness and placemaking.

HK: What kinds of spaces will we be willing to live, travel and work in now?

MK: Everyone’s goal is and will be to avoid contamination with the virus. As a whole, many of the types of spaces we will be willing to live, travel and work in already exist in limited quantities and going forward their designs will become more widespread through the adaptation and retrofitting of existing spaces and the creation of new ones.

Image caption: Render of the hotel entrance at Pan Pacific London

Density control is easier than ever now, and in hotels we believe that good design for the management of arrivals and departures in a reception space, for instance, can be easily integrated with new goals for sustainability to achieve environments that actively help prevent the spread of the virus and, ultimately, are healthier and more invigorating for everyone.

The inclusion of more natural light, better ventilation, clearer wayfinding, more generous sizing, and adaptable personal spaces – all things we as a practice have been incorporating into our designs for many years – have become crucial visual indicators of safety that allow us to feel comfortable and protected at our homes, in our places of work, and while moving around outside of both.

“No longer a futuristic dream, loop circulation systems with horizontal movement will help optimise people movement across levels.” – Mark Kelly, Partner, PLP Architecture.

HK: How can architecture mitigate pathogenic risks in an interconnected world?

MK: Architecture will play a crucial role in supporting our control of pathogenic risks in our increasingly globalised world. Natural ventilation and better air management, including the use of HEPA filters, for instance, are already recognised for their ability to reduce infection rates and virus spread. Easy-to-clean materials, such as high-pressure laminates and other smooth, anti-microbial surfaces, enabling efficient management of contagion mitigation measures.

Spatial use and organisation are also important, including the ways in which shared spaces (corridors, lounges, lobbies, dining areas) are activated. New developments in vertical circulation are poised to be a game-changer for taller structures in our cities. No longer a futuristic dream, loop circulation systems with horizontal movement will help optimise people movement across levels, spaces, and even buildings and reduce risk associated with unnecessary interaction.

Crucially, we believe that changes in architecture can be carried out subtly and effectively, preserving a sense of design identity and uniqueness, accommodating luxury and comfort, while embracing risk reduction and contagion prevention to ensure we can get back to close to what we define as our normal lives as possible.

Main image credit: PLP Architecture/Pan Pacific London

Hyatt Regency Lanzhou Opens as “new architectural landmark”

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hyatt Regency Lanzhou Opens as “new architectural landmark”

The 711-foot-tall (217-metre-tall) landmark, which shelters the first Hyatt hotel in Lanzhou, is located beside the city’s famous Yellow River and becomes the brand’s debut property in the Lanzhou…

Hyatt Hotels has announced the opening of Hyatt Regency Lanzhou, Hyatt’s debut hotel in the city of Lanzhou, China.

Located in a city that is considered a gateway to China’s west region, the hotel is designed for productivity and peace of mind through its anticipatory service for which the Hyatt Regency brand is known.

Welcoming guests into a revitalising sanctuary above the bustling city, the 300-key hotel has been designed to enhance productivity and peace of mind. The spacious guestrooms and 15 suites, feature contemporary decor in soothing tones of blue and soft grey, with expansive views through floor-to-ceiling windows.

To promote wellbeing for guests and the environment, the hotel utilises smart, eco-friendly systems. Infrared sensors automatically activate control settings when guests enter or leave the room, and smart sunshades auto-adjust for a comfortable environment and power savings.

Hyatt Regency Lanzhou’s creative dining scene caters to Lanzhou’s multi-ethnic community as well as domestic and international travellers with three superb halal restaurants and a lounge. The all-day Market Café serves East-West-themed buffet selections showcasing seasonal ingredients, including made-to-order Lanzhou beef noodles. Xiang Yue is a contemporary Chinese restaurant specialising in authentic Gansu and Cantonese cuisines, with 10 private dining rooms. YUN – Hot Pot Restaurant offers personal seafood hot pots highlighting premium delicacies and nutritious slow-cooked broths. On the 16th floor, the lounge is an inviting urban retreat for meetings, socialising or relaxing over elegant high teas and light refreshments.

Image credit: Hyatt Hotels

Two floors of the hotel are dedicated to recreational and wellbeing facilities. In the pool sanctuary, the indoor, temperature-controlled swimming pool uses a leading glass-fibre quartz sand filter system for a natural, eco-friendly swimming experience enhanced by sixth-floor city views.

Elsewhere, the hotel also shelters creative event space. More than 16,145 square feet (1,500 square metres) of sophisticated spaces comprise a ballroom, eight multifunction meeting rooms and three VIP lounges. State-of-the-art technology includes HD high-speed cameras and 65-inch gesture-control smart screens supporting full-scene video synchronisation, rebroadcasting and live-streaming. Natural light and river views create a refreshing and inspiring ambience, with meetings and events supported by experienced hotel event planners.

The Hyatt Regency brand has more than 200 conveniently located urban and resort properties locations in more than 30 countries around the world. The opening of Hyatt Regency Lanzhou is part of the brand’s ongoing efforts to expand its presence globally in places that matter.

Main image credit: Hyatt Hotels

Inside Moxy Hotels’ third property to open in Japan

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Inside Moxy Hotels’ third property to open in Japan

Located in one of the main hubs of Osaka City, the new Moxy hotel will provide guests with what Marriott is describing as “a fun and playful experience” through lively communal spaces…

In a city that is buzzing with an attitude that does not always follow the rules, the 288-room Moxy Osaka Shin Umeda has officially opened its doors. As Marriott International’s bold experiential brand, the new hotel features fun, playful and stylish experiences, designed to give guests everything they want and nothing they don’t.

Render of outside of the Moxy hotel

Image credit: Marriott International/Moxy Hotels

“We are thrilled to be opening Moxy Osaka Shin Umeda, which marks the third Moxy branded hotel to open in Japan,” said Rajeev Menon, President, Asia Pacific (excluding Greater China), Marriott International. “This opening is a testament to Marriott International’s commitment to continue expanding its footprint across Japan and Asia Pacific with the experiential lifestyle portfolio catering to the next generation of travellers.”

Creating an environment that appeals to today’s modern traveller as well as locals,  the hotel’s chic design pays homage to the vibrant city of Osaka. The aesthetics of the hotel are inspired by a combination of the fashionable art of Umeda and the unique expressions of local Fukushima, known as the “mechanical arcade” that once supported the development of Japan’s electronic industry.

Upstairs, the 288 guestrooms are cleverly designed to maximise space and allow guests the flexibility to adapt the room to their needs. Each room is equipped with the latest technology featuring a 55-inch flat screen television with screen casting ability, furiously fast and free Wi-fi, abundant USB ports, motion activated LED guidelight and backlighted glass panels to add ambience.

The hotel also features several of the Moxy brand’s cheeky lifestyle touches. The signature Bar Moxy doubles as the hotel’s check-in counter, where guests are greeted upon arrival with a complimentary ‘Got Moxy’ cocktail. Buzzing with high-energy is The Terrace, an outdoor area where ‘Fun Hunters’ can eat, drink and socialise. The Lounge calls its charms through its graffiti art walls, modern furniture and ambient lighting, ideal for gatherings, special events or crafted cocktails, while Grab and Go allows guests to satisfy their cravings day or night. Guests can plug in and tune out in the Library or re-energise using the pink Moxy punching bag in the hotel’s 24-hour fitness centre that also features gymnastic equipment, spinning bikes and a full-circuit gym.

With the opening of Moxy Osaka Shin Umeda, the animated brand, which now has more than 60 experiential hotels open across North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific, continues to make design-led hotel experiences accessible and affordable.

Main image credit: Marriott International/Moxy Hotels

Inside Hart Shoreditch, London’s latest lifestyle hotel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Inside Hart Shoreditch, London’s latest lifestyle hotel

The 126-key hotel, which is in the heart of Shoreditch, has been designed by Fabled Studio and draws inspiration from East London’s past as a centre of craftspeople and makers. Hotel Designs takes a peek inside…

East London lifestyle hotel, Hart Shoreditch Hotel London from Curio Collection by Hilton, which has recently opened, was designed in collaboration with London-based interior design consultancy Fabled Studio. The 126-key property seamlessly blends the vibrant heritage and modern-day creativity of East London, through its thoughtfully designed spaces.

“Gone is the tired aesthetic of exposed graffitied brick walls, filament lightbulbs and mis-matched furniture to create a bright, fresh and life-affirming space.” – Steven Saunders, co-founder and director of Fabled Studio.

Image credit: Hart Shoreditch/Gary Edwards

Drawing inspiration from East London’s past as a centre for craftspeople and makers, the hotel’s design narrative is deeply rooted in showcasing the industries that thrived there including furniture makers, metal workers and silk weavers. In keeping with the Curio Collection by Hilton portfolio, the hotel will give visitors to London the chance to experience one of the city’s most sought-after neighbourhoods and discover its unique history.

Image caption: The lobby | Image credit: Hart Shoreditch/Gary Edwards

“We set out to create a brand-new identity for a Shoreditch hotel and restaurant/ bar by delving deeper into the stories and history that the East End has to tell,” said Steven Saunders, co-founder and director of Fabled Studio. “Gone is the tired aesthetic of exposed graffitied brick walls, filament lightbulbs and mis-matched furniture to create a bright, fresh and life-affirming space. Natural textures and a muted architectural colour palette create a crisp canvas which we have dressed with soft sage velvets, woven linens and Kilim patterns to offer an elegant and mature space to enjoy.”

Luxe guestroom

Image credit: Hart Shoreditch/Gary Edwards

Hart Shoreditch takes its name from one of the building’s previous occupants, The Harts, who were cabinetmakers in the 1800’s. The distinctive space encapsulates East London’s rich industrial and artisan past. Design details including a steel re-bar and copper staircase, and contemporary, bespoke mahogany lights have been designed to replicate cabinetmaker’s boxes and pay homage to the building’s earlier artisan life.

Soft textures, furnishings and warm lighting will guide guests through to Tavla, the hotel’s bar where guests and locals alike will be encouraged to relax and spend time throughout the day and into the evening. Here, textured woven stools are mixed in with lounge chairs in muted tones and softened textures giving the space a modern, residential feel. The restaurant BARBOUN, boasts an industrial-luxe aesthetic with rattan and Thonet-style chairs and partitions inspired by the Victorian furniture makers workshops of Great Eastern Street. Warmth and softness is brought into the space through natural linen café curtains, drapery in deep oxblood and upholstery in nude leather; as well as the asymmetric architecture of the vast timber ceiling replicating the beamed structure of a factory warehouse. A striking steel re-bar and copper staircase sits towards the back of the space along with a central cascade of moon chandeliers.

Guests can choose from nine room and suite categories, all of which feature a soft and elegant colour palette of white and grey with striking burnt orange and deep green accents. Predominantly contemporary in style with copper mirror detailing and simplistic modern furnishings, the guestrooms are warm and inviting with subtle design details throughout such as saddle-stitched leather strapping and copper rendered marmorino textures. Copper leafed bedside mirrors are embossed with woven lace etchings in a nod to the deep-rooted Huguenot history of nearby Spitalfields. Bathrooms feature a combination of materials which come together to create a sophisticated, urban space. Luxurious marble showers and rolltop baths with impressive views across Shoreditch are complimented by contrasting concrete vanities, herringbone flooring, bold geometric tiling and paired back brass detailing.

Hart Shoreditch is also home to two unique meeting spaces which have been designed to emulate the look and feel of 18th century Huguenot townhouses synonymous with East London and its silk weaving past. A classic London aesthetic intertwined with modern textures and details set against soft green walls.

Image credit: Hart Shoreditch

Located in the heart of Shoreditch on Great Eastern Street, the hotel is conveniently situated just a moment’s walk from Shoreditch High Street underground station and within walking distance of the neighbourhood’s independent boutiques, vibrant bars, restaurants and famous markets such as Brick Lane and Spitalfields.

Main image credit: Hart Shoreditch

Render of high-rise building

Hotel opening // Marriott opens duel-branded hotel in Yinchaun, China

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel opening // Marriott opens duel-branded hotel in Yinchaun, China

The building that shelters the duel-branded JW Marriott and Courtyard by Marriott hotel has been described as a new elegant landmark in Northwest China…

Render of high-rise building

Marriott International, Inc. has announced the opening of its dual-branded hotel, JW Marriott Hotel Yinchuan and Courtyard by Marriott Yinchuan in Northwest China, recognised as an oasis in China’s hinterland, a historical and distinctive destination surrounded by deserts and the Helan Mountains.

Invested and established by Ningxia Genyuan Real Estate Development Co., Ltd., the dual-branded hotel is an architectural masterpiece depicting a grand sailing ship boasting a total of 513 rooms. The property will deliver purposeful and memorable service to guests, from the warm luxury experience signature to the JW Marriott brand to the innovative and passionate offerings from Courtyard by Marriott.

Located in the cultural center of Yinchuan, JW Marriott Hotel Yinchuan and Courtyard by Marriott Yinchuan are adjacent to Yinchuan International Convention and Exhibition Center, Ningxia Museum and Ningxia Grand Theatre.

We are excited to welcome JW Marriott Hotel Yinchuan and Courtyard by Marriott Yinchuan to our expanding portfolio in the northwest of China. The opening of this dual-branded hotel demonstrates the growing demand for travel as more travelers seek to discover new and emerging cities all across China,” said Henry Lee, President, Greater China, Marriott International. “This milestone opening signals a new chapter in the dynamic hospitality industry of Yinchuan, and we look forward to bringing our signature offerings to our guests through thoughtfully-curated experiences, leaving them with unforgettable memories from our brands.”

JW Marriott Hotel Yinchuan offers 247 guestrooms and 32 suites featuring floor-to-ceiling windows with dramatic views of Yinchuan skyline. All rooms are thoughtfully decorated, equipped with the latest in-room technology and modern amenities, including a 55-inch LCD TV and capsule coffee machine. Embracing a sense of modern luxury, JW Marriott Hotel Yinchuan promises a haven designed to allow guests to focus on feeling whole – present in mind, nourished in body, and revitalised in soul.

A luxe dining set up inside residence

Image credit: Marriott International

JW Marriott Hotel Yinchuan features signature offerings centred on encouraging guests to celebrate being in the present, foster connections and revitalise the mind. JW Garden, a farm-to-table program, ensures sustainable sourcing of fresh herbs and vegetables for guests. Guests who want to maintain their wellness routines during their stay will enjoy the 24-hour Fitness Centre, which is complete with an indoor heated pool and is flooded with natural sunlight.

An indoor pool

Image credit: Marriott International

Designed to meet the diverse needs of business events, conferences and banquets, JW Marriott Hotel Yinchuan is able to accommodate large-scale event with the pillar-free JW Grand Ballroom. Covering a total area of 1,400 sqm and equipped with a 90 sqm LED screen, the ballroom can accommodate 1,300 guests and be divided into four independent areas. For more intimate events, the 500 sqm JW Ballroom is equipped with a 50 sqm LED screen, and can be repurposed as three independent multifunctional ballrooms. In addition, 10 multi-functional Meeting Rooms of varying sizes will meet the diverse needs of guests.

Courtyard by Marriott Yinchuan features 234 stylish and contemporary guestrooms that cater to passion-driven guests looking to pursue their personal and professional ambitions whilst on the road. Showcasing modern design and decor, as well as a vivacious and inspiring ambience, all guestrooms are equipped with flexible work areas, high-speed Internet, and high-definition televisions for discerning business travellers.

Main image credit: Marriott International

Inside Selina Brighton, a new rough-edged boutique jewel

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

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

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

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

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

Image credit: Selina

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

Selina sign above the entrance

Image credit: Selina

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Selina

5 minutes with: the founders of Avenue Interior Design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
5 minutes with: the founders of Avenue Interior Design

Following the completion of a handful of luxury hospitality projects in the States, Avenue Interior Design has become known for its refusal to be defined by any one style, as editor Hamish Kilburn learns when he interviews the firm’s founders…

Avenue Interior Design, led by founders Andrea DeRosa and Ashley Manhan, has positioned itself as a small yet mighty powerhouse in an industry full of giants.

Most recently, the firm spearheaded the design for Palms Casino & Resort’ renovation ‘From Dust to Gold’, and brought their skills to boutique properties such as The Ramble in Denver, La Serena Villas in Palm Springs as well as SLS Baha Mar.

With the world of hospitality slowly re-opening, there remain concerns and hesitations among operators and travellers on what will become of the industry. I speak to DeRosa and Manhan, two level-headed designers who understand and respect how design evolves around cultural shifts, in order to explore how the pandemic has affected hotel design decisions.

Hamish Kilburn: Let’s dive straight in, how will public areas look in the post-pandemic world?

Ashley Manhan: Business and convention travel will likely lag compared to leisure travel as we see safer at home orders lift. Convention travel has been a critical component for many hotels as occupancy and F&B revenue are strongly tied to properties located near convention venues or for properties that have large meeting facilities.

A luxury F&B interior area with plants and cute seating

Image credit: SLS Baha Mar

Andrea DeRosa: Accommodating large groups and conventions may require smaller breakout rooms with improved air circulation and potentially live streaming speakers to these smaller rooms. On the F&B front, buffets and family-style plating will likely be put aside for individual plates or packaged meals.

HK: What new/different materials might go into hotel builds now?

AD: Given that COVID-19 transmission has found to be primarily airborne, much consideration is going into upgraded air filtration systems. Increased ventilation and better filtration will be essential components of healthy building strategies. Additionally, we may see the use of mobile and handled UV disinfection systems for sterilisation and disinfecting of high use spaces. In terms of interior finishes and materials, and those selected for FF&E, designers will face the added challenge of selecting materials that can withstand more frequent cleaning and disinfecting.

AM: In terms of lobbies, our current clients are requesting short-term solutions for partitions and countertop shields at transaction points, check-ins, and other places social distancing may not be feasible.

Fitness spaces will likely decrease in size- a trend for some properties already in major urban areas with access to specialised gyms and studios. Look for more in-room fitness options and equipment like yoga mats and lightweight dumbbells.

Restaurants face some of the largest obstacles in terms of social distancing and the use of PPE by diners. Restaurants will surely seat fewer guests to accommodate for social distancing protocol. Menus may go digital or restaurants may offer apps to place orders from your own device. Larger service counters for pickups or extended “grab and go” options maybe also be more prevalent as people warm up to the idea of eating out again.

Modern interior design in a clean open bar area

Image credit: SLS Baha Mar

AD: In the short term, we are seeing many hotel brands unrolling programs to build guest confidence and implementing quick, sometimes temporary solutions now while permanent solutions are analyzed and explored. Long term, we anticipate pandemic related measures to be modifiable to give operators the option of adjusting to meet current health risk levels. Such modifications may include digital occupancy signage, movable partitions, and digital projections indicating recommended social distances in queuing areas. A large part of the equation is understanding guests’ demands, expectations, and associations with these changes. There will certainly be varying levels of concern depending on where in the country/world the guest is traveling from. Those guests from the hardest-hit areas are likely to expect greater measures than those traveling from areas less affected. Ongoing observation of guest behavior will inform decisions owners and operators make for long term modifications to their properties.

HK: How can hotels shelter these new hygiene protocols without disrupting the design or the experience?

AM: Taking into consideration that guest safety and wellbeing is, and always has been, a top priority for any property, the next priority remains firmly rooted in good design. Ownership teams require that our commitment to creating a hospitality quality experience remains the top priority just as it was pre-pandemic. Modifications to properties should be subtle, flexible and well-intentioned. This includes careful consideration to the function of the space, the circulation of guests through the space as well as more obvious elements like materials, furnishings and even wayfinding. Creating more space for guests to comfortably, and naturally, socially distance may be as simple as removing a few clusters of lounge chairs in a lobby or replacing a communal table with a series of smaller, movable tables that can be situated individually or easily paired together.

AD: Incorporating decorative, movable screens or drapery also allows for social distancing flexibility while providing a thoughtful, well-designed element to the space. Graphics, signage, and font styles can be utilised in a way that provides informative guidance on precautions or protocol in a way that is consistent with the design language of the brand or property. For new build properties, especially food and beverage venues, you will likely see more fluid floor plans with fewer permanent features to allow for flexibility in furniture layouts and the function of a space.

A blue interior scheme inside a junior king room

Image credit: The Ramble Hotel

HK: Have you already begun incorporating any changes into the hospitality projects you’re working on?

AD: Many of the modifications we’ve made for our current projects have been temporary or short term solutions that will allow our clients to adhere to guidelines as outlined by local jurisdictions. Before making more costly or broad-sweeping modifications, our clients are waiting to gauge guests’ expectations and behaviours to ascertain what long term modifications should look like. For instance, the addition of automated faucets and hand soap dispensers seem like a logical move, however, for many properties that have been without revenue for the last few months, the expense of a modification requiring any construction or electrical work may be out of the budget. Scale is a monumental consideration as well. The cost of making such a change in a hotel with 50 keys is likely more feasible than making that change in a hotel with more than 1,000 keys.

HK: Have you made any changes to guestrooms in the projects you are working on?

AM: Guestroom size, function, and programming have also been a hot topic amongst designers and Ownership teams. In recent years the emphasis was on creating public spaces so dynamic and engaging it drew people out of their rooms and into the lobby, restaurant, bar, pool, etc. Guestroom sizes were generally shrinking and the furnishings were becoming paired down and multi-purpose in their design. It will be interesting to see if guestroom sizes increase to become more of a mini-sanctuaries that offer personalised guest experiences.

Hotel Designs will be discussing topics such as adding personality in public areas and reassuring the post-corona consumer at Hotel Designs LIVE on October 13. If you are a designer, architect or hotelier, click here to participate for free.

Main image credit: Avenue Interior Design

Inside Bermonds Locke – an alternative hotel experience

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Inside Bermonds Locke – an alternative hotel experience

Ahead of speaking at Hotel Designs LIVE in October, Lifestyle hospitality brand Locke will open its third London property this September. Before then, Hotel Designs has managed to get a behind-the-scenes glance at the interiors inside Bermonds Locke

Designed to be lived in, and offering an alternative to traditional hotels in the post-pandemic world, each individual studio apartment inside Bermonds Locke is equipped with fully fitted kitchens and modern living space.

Combined with activated public spaces and a locally-led cultural programme, Bermonds Locke will simultaneously allow guests to enjoy the benefits of a lifestyle hotel. The flexibility of the home-meets-hotel format appeals to a broad range of travellers across the leisure and business markets, for both extended and short stays. As the demands of contemporary travellers rapidly change, Locke’s burgeoning success and European expansion plans put it at the centre of the future of travel.

“We are delighted to open our third property in London with Bermonds Locke,” said Stephen McCall, CEO of edyn. “Locke aims to liberate guests from the confines of a typical hotel room by creating beautiful apartments that are designed to be lived in. The type of guest we’re accommodating wants to explore life as a local, and so the Bermondsey neighbourhood has played a significant role in defining the aesthetic, partners and programming.”

“Concrete testing cubes destined for landfill find new purpose serving as a plinth for a six-metre long terrazzo tables in the ground floor workspaces.”

Image credit: Locke

Bermonds Locke marks the first collaboration for the brand with London-based interior architecture studio Holloway Li. Paying homage to nature’s wonder in both aesthetic and eco-responsibility, Holloway Li have created a living experience out of re-purposed construction materials in both the public areas and private apartments. Concrete testing cubes destined for landfill find new purpose serving as a plinth for a six-metre long terrazzo tables in the ground floor workspaces; whilst in the rooms bespoke bed frames woven out of blackened rebar are accented with linen canopies to infuse old ideas of the concrete jungle with a new sense of sanctuary.

“We are really excited to be partnering with Locke to pave a new design direction for the brand’s home-meets-hotel concept,” explained Alex Holloway and Na Li, Co-Founders Holloway Li. “By challenging the purpose of materials, we hope to highlight how a circular material economy can generate an incredibly unique aesthetic and a new kind of living experience – doing more, with less.”

Image credit: Locke

Bringing the changing gradient of the desert sunset to south London, Locke’s signature studios on the upper floors will be dipped in blue, beige and grey hues and saturated vibrant pinks on the lower floors. Responding to a narrative and concept developed by Heather Tierney from Wanderlust (the visionary behind cult US restaurant The Butcher’s Daughter), Bermonds Locke evokes the Southern California cool of Joshua Tree, the Mojave Dessert and Abbott Kinney – a culture and food destination comparable to Bermondsey Street.

Rendering of bar with lots of plants around it

Image credit: Locke

Situated within walking distance of some of London’s favourite spots, guests can enjoy the energetic Bermondsey Street – home to some of the best bars, restaurants and art galleries in London. To the north of the property, guests can meander through the cobbled streets of Shad Thames and Maltby Street Market– the smaller, slightly more charming younger sister of Borough Market. As with all Locke properties, Bermonds Locke comes fully staffed by a team of House Hosts, offering excellent insight to ensure both long and short-term visitors have access to the best local knowledge and insider tips.

The opening of Bermonds Locke comes as the brand continues to expand both within the UK and internationally. With further openings planned in Dublin, Berlin, Lisbon, Munich and Copenhagen, Locke is also slated to open its fourth London outpost in Dalston in late 2020.

Main image credit: Locke/Nicholas Worley

Hyatt Regency brand arrives in Qatar

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hyatt Regency brand arrives in Qatar

Hyatt Regency Oryx Doha, scheduled to open next month, is set to strengthen Hyatt’s brand footprint in Qatar and the Middle East…

Opening in September 2020 and marking a significant milestone for the hotel group, Hyatt Regency Oryx Doha will become the third Hyatt hotel in Qatar.

Hyatt Regency Oryx Doha will be joining Hyatt’s portfolio in Qatar, alongside Park Hyatt Doha and Grand Hyatt Doha Hotel & Villas.

The 400-key hotel will be strategically located close to Hamad International Airport and a few minutes from the heart of the city, the palm-fringed corniche and Doha’s vibrant business district.

The property itself was the first to join Dhiafatina, which has been owned by Qatar Airways since 2010 and received the 2019 World Luxury Hotel Award as the best ‘Luxury Business Hotel in the Middle East and North Africa.

“We are thrilled with our relationship with Dhiafatina Hotels, and we look forward to growing Hyatt’s portfolio in Doha,” said Srdjan Milekovic, senior vice president operations EAME, Hyatt. “We believe that Hyatt Regency Oryx Doha will become a key destination in the city, satisfying the needs of on-the-go business travellers with an exemplary setting for meetings and leisure, and attracting local guests looking for modern dining experiences.”

With 12 luxury suites, the hotel offers a multitude of social spaces designed for seamless gatherings, including a Regency Club and several food and beverage concepts including three restaurants, a pool bar, two lounges and a Jazz Club. In addition, the property shelters 10,700-square-foot (1,000-square-meter) of meeting and event facilities, including a state-of-the-art business centre, two ballrooms and eleven modern meeting and conference rooms.

“We are delighted to work with Hyatt on the first Hyatt Regency hotel in Qatar, a global brand with the caliber of offerings suited for this market,” commented Philippe Anric, director of operations Dhiafatina Hotels. “The Hyatt Regency brand perfectly aligns with both the business and leisure culture of the dynamic city of Doha and we look forward to providing an exceptional hospitality experience.”

Of the more than 900 Hyatt-branded hotels around the world, more than 200 of them in more than 30 countries are Hyatt Regency properties. The opening of Hyatt Regency Oryx Doha is part of a wider expansion strategy for the brand and group in the Middle East.

Main image credit: Hyatt Hotels

Inside the first ‘luxe lifestyle wellness resort’ in Grenada

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Inside the first ‘luxe lifestyle wellness resort’ in Grenada

Opening on October 1 2020, The Point at Petite Calvigny will be the first dedicated luxury lifestyle and wellness resort on the island of Grenada in the Caribbean. Editor Hamish Kilburn writes…

With just three design-led villas and 12 suites nestled on an 11-acre estate on the south coast of Grenada, The Point at Petite Calvigny is the island’s new ultra-luxury resort.

The resort, which slopes down to Benji Bay, features a privately accessed secluded beach, a state of the art gym and wellness centre including The Petite Spa, five swimming pools, a beach bar and restaurant and a private marina.

Chris Ashby, the property’s owner who, in collaboration with Adriana Hoyos Hospitality, took it upon himself to design the interiors following his extensive travel experience, fell in love with the raw, natural beauty of this part of Grenada and its stunning views. This ultimately inspired him to create the luxury ‘cloistered sanctuary’ where the outside world is left at the ‘entrance/gate’. “The Point is the first luxury resort in Grenada that is totally focussed on wellness,” Ashby explains. “We offer discerning travellers the perfect combination of luxury accommodation in a peaceful setting with the ability to design their stay exactly as they wish. I am proud to say that The Point is owned by a Grenadian, was built by Grenadians and is staffed by Grenadians.”

No effort was spared in creating the perfect ambiance, which included changing the orientation of the buildings following recommendations from a Feng Shui consultant who advised that they be aligned ‘with water in front and mountains in the background’. As a result, all the buildings stand in an optimum location in order to capture uninterrupted views of the waters of Benji Bay, the unspoilt marine sanctuary of Woburn Bay and the private resort of Calvigny Island.

Image caption: The hotel has been configured to capture uninterrupted views of the waters of Benji Bay, Woburn Bay and the private resort of Calvigny Island. | Image credit: The Point at Petite Calvigny

The Point at Petite Calvigny, which was developed by C.A.C Partners Ltd., has been built to the highest eco standards without compromising on comfort or luxury. There are many hidden eco-friendly elements such as environmentally compliant building materials; super insulated walls, UV filters on windows and doors to minimise energy consumption; rainwater harvesting to provide drinking water and a wastewater treatment system that produces water to irrigate the gardens.  All toiletries are vegan friendly and free from parabens, sulphates and phosphates while the spa incorporates local products such as scrubs made using natural, local ingredients.

“Designed in a contemporary West Indian style with warm wood finishes, all the rooms are spacious and bathed in natural light.”

Reflecting the wellness focus of the resort and Grenada, all accommodation has been named after crystals such as Citrine and Blue Lace. Designed in a contemporary West Indian style with warm wood finishes, all the rooms are spacious and bathed in natural light from floor to ceiling windows that allow for magnificent, unobstructed views of the bay and nearby islands. Inside the rooms, nautical artwork further reflects the property’s unique sense of location, as does the lighting and sensitively designed furnishings.

Image caption: The clean design of the interiors feature interesting lighting, natural materials and a large nautical map of the region. | Image credit: The Point

Image caption: The clean design of the interiors feature interesting lighting, natural materials and a large nautical map of the region. | Image credit: The Point at Petite Calvigny

Each of the three split level villas have three bedrooms, three bathrooms, a private infinity pool and deck with a grilling station. The 12 single-floor suites have two bedrooms, two bathrooms, private balconies and share two large free form swimming pools, a swim up bar and outdoor grilling station.  A selection of fresh herbs are available for guests wishing to add a little extra flavour to their barbecue.

Image caption: Exterior image of one of three villas available at the resort. | Image credit: The Point.

Image caption: Exterior image of one of three villas available at the resort. | Image credit: The Point at Petite Calvigny

Both the villas and suites have fully custom kitchens, dining and living rooms and internet-based TV. Extra touches such as oil diffusers, mood lighting, high quality hypo allergenic bedding, insulation to reduce sound and black out curtains help to enhance sleep performance.

The Point is specially designed to promote rest and rejuvenation. To take this up a level, and in order for the service to match Ashby’s aim, a complimentary consultation with the hotel’s ‘Vibe Director’ is available to each guest in order to create a stay that is perfectly attuned to their specific needs.

Places like this sanctuary within the Caribbean are highly coveted. The Point Private Residence Club is the first and only luxury residence club on the island of Grenada.

In conclusion, every detail of The Point has been specially designed and curated for the discerning eye – from the location and architecture of the residences to the carefully manicured tropical gardens and exceptional experiences – it is a paradise that is naturally self-isolating in its own unique corner of the world.

Main image credit: The Point at Petite Calvigny

Byblos Hotel on Spain’s Costa Del Sol to join The Unbound Collection by Hyatt

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Byblos Hotel on Spain’s Costa Del Sol to join The Unbound Collection by Hyatt

Following extensive renovations, the iconic Andalusian resort will join The Unbound Collection by Hyatt brand and mark the first Hyatt-branded hotel in Southern Spain…

The former iconic Byblos Hotel in Mijas on the Costa del sol, which has been closed since 2010, will be redeveloped to join The Unbound Collection by Hyatt.

The news was announced after a Hyatt affiliate entered into a franchise agreement with a wholly owned subsidiary of Intriva Capital European Principal Investment Fund I LP (“Intriva”), a European private equity fund.

Expected to open in early 2022 (the same year as Conrad Hotels & Resorts is slated to debut in the Costa del Sol) in one of the country’s most visited regions, Andalusia, the luxury 200-key resort will mark the first Hyatt-branded hotel in Southern Spain.

“The illustrious past and distinctive architecture of the hotel make it a perfect fit for the brand.” – Nuno Galvao Pinto, regional vice president of development Europe, Hyatt.

“We are delighted to collaborate with Intriva to redevelop and rediscover the splendour of this famous building and welcome it into The Unbound Collection by Hyatt portfolio,” said Nuno Galvao Pinto, regional vice president of development Europe, Hyatt. “The illustrious past and distinctive architecture of the hotel make it a perfect fit for the brand and we expect it to be a truly exceptional addition this collection of storied hotels. We look forward to further growing this exciting independent brand across Europe, inviting guests to create story-worthy experiences at unforgettable properties.”

Traditional Spanish interiors inside guestroom

Image credit: Hyatt Hotels

Since its original opening in 1986, the hotel has been known as a hideaway for jet setters and royalty alike. The iconic blue and white building will be restored as a luxury resort reflecting memories from a golden age of travel, attracting independent-minded guests seeking a sophisticated yet unscripted experience. Behind its new Andalusian latticework, the Byblos Hotel will offer moments that inspire visitors to create their own stories and enjoy Southern Spain’s distinctive lifestyle with its lush gardens, pools, bright spaces, and unique interiors. The hotel will offer an abundance of luxury amenities including a health club and spa, indoor and outdoor pools, a cinema, and a night club, family facilities including a kid’s club, and exceptional conference spaces for private events and business meetings.

The food and beverage venues at the hotel will incorporate and reflect Andalusian culture with a rooftop bar offering guests stunning views of the Sierra de Mijas mountain range. It will be located adjacent to two 18-hole golf courses, originally designed by Robert Trent Jones, making the resort an excellent base for guests looking for a golfing retreat.

Image credit: Hyatt Hotels

“We are thrilled to team-up with Hyatt on this exciting project, restoring the iconic hotel to its former grandeur on the Andalusian coast,” said Tom Saunders, head of post-acquisition, Intriva. “We look forward to working with the local community to bring a new luxury resort to the area, underlining our commitment to the European leisure and hospitality sector at this challenging time. The hotel has a rich and exciting past that we intend to bring it to life once again supported by Hyatt.”

The announcement signifies a major addition to The Unbound Collection by Hyatt brand in Europe and marks the first Hyatt-branded hotel in Southern Spain. As the third most visited region in Spain in 2019[1], Andalusia represents a key opportunity to expand the Hyatt brand’s footprint in Southern Europe and to tap into the growing popularity of the region with tourists.

The resort will join other Hyatt-branded hotels in Spain, including Hyatt Centric Grand Vía MadridHyatt Regency Hesperia MadridHyatt Regency Barcelona Tower, and Hotel SOFIA Barcelona, which is part of The Unbound Collection by Hyatt brand.

The Unbound Collection by Hyatt gives guests the freedom to create their own story-worthy experiences at unique properties around the world, whether it’s a historic gem tucked in the heart of Paris, like Hôtel du Louvre, or a spectacular architectural monument such as Parisi Udvar Hotel Budapest. Additional properties within The Unbound Collection by Hyatt in Europe include Hôtel Martinez in Cannes, Hôtel du Palais Biarritz, Nish Palas in Istanbul and Great Scotland Yard Hotel in London.

Main image credit: Hyatt Hotels

Feature: a new era of luxury hospitality has begun

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Feature: a new era of luxury hospitality has begun

To coincide with the opening of Birch, which has been described as a ‘next-generation escape’ hotel just outside London, editor Hamish Kilburn considers how Covid-19 has challenged the luxury hotel market by hearing from international architecture and interior design firm Red Deer on the luxury hotel’s design story…

Even after lockdown, Covid-19 has created a distance between us, which is predicted to last for a while. Although we will meet again as we did before, architecture firm Red Deer believes that a new shift in the luxury market will emerge from our time apart.

“For Red Deer, luxury comes from the creation of a meaningful emotional connection between the hotel guest and the space they inhabit.”

Red Deer considers the term ‘luxury’ as degraded through overuse, and the parameters of what constitutes a ‘luxury hotel’ can be difficult to define. The concept can be specific to each individual guest, based on their own expectation, habits and culture. For Red Deer, luxury comes from the creation of a meaningful emotional connection between the hotel guest and the space they inhabit.

Image credit: Birch/Red Deer/Adam Firman

“Millennials represent only about 32 per cent of spending in the personal luxury market, but by 2025 they are expected to make up 50 per cent of the total market,” writes Forbes contributor Pamela N. Danziger. “Some 130 per cent of market growth in the next seven years will be attributed to the Millennial generation.”

Rejecting traditional wealth values

The luxury industry has often been aligned with indulgence and excess rather than sustainability and connections. Quality craftsmanship and experiences may continue to command a premium price tag, however, Millennials are creating a new focus towards sustainability. Both Millennial and Gen Z groups’ expectations from luxury brands are very different from those of Gen X and Baby Boomers who favour traditional wealth values. Social connections and insider knowledge are of more importance to these younger consumers who are more likely to make value-based acquisitions and purchases. Luxury weaves its way through their experiences, free time, travel, community, self-growth and security.

For the Birch hotel project, a 140-key hotel that is set within 55 acres of nature just outside of London, Red Deer deconstructed the meaning of a hotel and pieced it back together to ensure that no element was intrinsic without careful consideration. The obvious need for a bed and bathroom are present, however, more attention was given to the contemporary ‘luxuries’ such as a TV, telephone and smart lighting systems to ascertain their place in a luxury hotel for an increasingly younger generation of guests.

“With Birch, the firm felt it crucial to collaborate with local artists and makers to create some unique pieces in the rooms.”

Image credit: Birch/Red Deer/Adam Firman

As the landscape for luxury hospitality has evolved, the onus is now focused on creating a unique and personalised one-to-one experience for guests. This bespoke experience is a key driver throughout the design of Red Deer’s projects. With Birch, the firm felt it crucial to collaborate with local artists and makers to create some unique pieces in the rooms and challenge the idea that uniformity was essential for large batch furniture specification.

The most prominent of these pieces is a bespoke valet stand constructed by Jan Hendzel Studio, utilising recycled plastic orbs by sustainable material designer Charlotte Kidger, textured vases by ceramicist Emma Louise Payne and hand-beaten copper bowls by metalsmith Lucie Naujalis. It’s a piece that is intimate and personal, telling a story of three different elements brought together in a single form that is simultaneously light and robust, whilst able to be easily taken apart when required and updated over time. It’s a piece designed to stimulate the guest’s senses and spark their curiosity.

Before the pandemic, the global luxury market was predicted to reach €1.3 trillion by 2025. As the hospitality industry enters a challenging period in Q2/3 2020 it is ever-important for the designers and hotel investors to consider the changing market needs and place social connections and insider knowledge alongside premium experiences at the forefront of their business models. Hotels aren’t just bedrooms with smart technology, but memory-making experiences that create value and loyalty.

Image credit: Birch/Red Deer/Adam Firman

Red Deer believes Birch to be an example of how hospitality projects should be approached, considering a long-term commitment to sustainability within a renovation or new build as a crucial component of architectural design.

Main image credit: Birch/Red Deer/Adam Firman

Stock Exchange Hotel in Manchester to re-open in August

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Stock Exchange Hotel in Manchester to re-open in August

Stock Exchange Hotel in Manchester, which will host MEET UP North on May 6, 2021, has sensibly decided to delay its reopening until August 28, allowing its team to put…

Following the government announcement on June 23, which highlighted that the hospitality sector could re-open once more from July 4, The Stock Exchange Hotel in Manchester started to work on its re-opening plan.

The Manchester-based luxury hotel, which will host MEET UP North on May 6 2021, was among one of the first hotels in the UK to close its door to the public and offer its rooms to NHS key workers during the Covid-19 crisis. Having operated throughout the Covid-19 lockdown period due to hosting NHS professionals, the hotel has already had first-hand experience of operating under rigorous guidelines and processes in order to protect the NHS team and its own volunteers in the building. In a statement, the hotel said: “This has given us valuable insight to how to do things even more safely than we used to before the virus outbreak.

In order to adapt its protocols to face the post-pandemic world, the hotel released a statement, which said: “Even though our doors are not officially open, members of our sales and commercial team have returned to the business and will be dealing with any guest enquiries as we head towards our re-opening date of the August 28.” 

Within the statement, the hotel outlined some of its new health and safety measures, including increasing the frequency of sanitising all public areas and facilities, PPE, increased signage and contactless check-in.

MEET UP North, which was forced to postpone this year due to the Covid-19 spread, will take place in Stock Exchange Hotel in Manchester on May 6. To find out more about the event, and how to secure you tickets, click here.

Main image credit: Stock Exchange Hotel

FEATURE: inside Hilton Garden Inn at Heathrow airport’s £4.2m renovation

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
FEATURE: inside Hilton Garden Inn at Heathrow airport’s £4.2m renovation

For optimists, the timing couldn’t be better for Hilton Garden Inn Heathrow Airport Hotel to unveil the result of its £4.2m renovation, which now shelters new guestrooms, meeting areas and a few Covid-friendly adaptations. Editor Hamish Kilburn takes a look inside…

Following a number of openings and completed projects that have emerged since lockdown, I, like many, am feeling optimistic about the future of hospitality post-pandemic.

The latest significant project that has opened its doors following an extensive renovation is Hilton Garden Inn London Heathroom Airport Hotel – and I am pleasantly surprised by the attention to detail in the design scheme as I step inside to have a look round.

Although Hilton Garden Inn sits below some of the more desirable brands in the Hilton cluster, the hotel is fit for purpose – it is positioned steps from Hatton Cross Station, and offers easy access to all terminals at Heathrow Airport. What’s more, the newly refurbished hotel, which is the brainchild of Swedish design team DOOS, is warm, comfortable and even knocks on the door of luxury. 

Image credit: Hilton Hotels

As part of the £4.2 million renovation, all guestrooms have been refurbished, with 205 undergoing a light refurbishment and 159 undergoing a full refurbishment and upgrade to Deluxe King Rooms. Additional areas of focus include the reception, restaurant, bar, and gym. Four innovatively designed meeting rooms within the pavilion conferencing area in the gardens of the property have also been completely renovated. Further enhancements to the MICE offering include the creation of three additional meeting rooms within the main building and the renovation of a further three meeting rooms, creating a total of 10 bespoke meeting areas. 

Each guestroom boasts the brand’s signature bedding featuring fresh, white duvets and crisp linens creating the perfect balance between comfort and support.  All bedrooms are fitted with optimum design elements to create a restful stay with stylish headboards, sophisticated lighting fixtures that fill the open space and soft furnishings. The theme is maintained through the upgraded Deluxe King Rooms which offer a larger en-suite bathroom and more luxurious settings, with additional plush sofa and unique lounge design features. The new bathrooms have been completely renovated and now feature large walk-in showers and modern, spacious vanity countertops.

A total of 10 new and newly refurbished meeting and conference rooms have been added to the hotel’s offering. Three brand new distinctive meeting rooms are available in the hotel’s main event space, with the existing three rooms boasting full renovations. The refurbishment continues through the outdoor Pavilion event space located in the gardens of the hotel, where four modern and professional rooms with their own personalities have been created. With these built-for-purpose event amenities, Hilton’s professional spaces offer slick technology, modern menus and expert planners and service teams who are on hand to help guests create special and memorable experiences for up to 300 people. A new shop area has also been completed offering grab & go food, freshly brewed Piacetto coffee, refreshing cold drinks and convenient amenity travel items.

In-house guests at Hilton Garden Inn Heathrow Airport will find greater convenience and more personalised experiences with Hilton’s refurbished health and wellness facilities, including a light and spacious purpose-built gym with state of art cardio and strength equipment by Technogym including the new high-intensity Technogym Bike where you can join interactive live spin classes from One Rebel studios in London.

In response to the impact of Covid-19, the property has responded by implementing key protocols relating to cleanliness and hygiene. This has been done with the protection of customers, employees and collaborators in mind. The hotel is the first in the UK to receive the Certificate of Assurance from Bureau Veritas for its measures in response to Covid-19 prevention, as well as being a part of the rigorous Hilton CleanStay programme.

Owned by Pandox AB, Hilton Garden Inn London Heathrow Airport offers amenities including complimentary WiFi throughout the hotel, a 24-hour business centre, a state-of-the-art fitness centre, full cooked-to-order breakfast, craft cocktails and shareable plates for dinner, that appeal to those travelling for business or leisure.

Main image credit: Hilton Hotels

Marriott International opens 800th property in Asia Pacific

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Marriott International opens 800th property in Asia Pacific

A milestone opening underscores the continued development of the Marriott International portfolio in Asia Pacific with brand debuts expected across the region throughout 2020…

Months after claiming to open more than 30 luxury properties in 2020, Marriott International has announced the opening of its 800th property in Asia Pacific, the JW Marriott Nara, marking the brand’s the entry into Japan.

The company also expects the EDITION and Aloft brands to debut in Japan before the end of the year. Across the Asia Pacific region throughout 2020, the Moxy brand anticipates its first hotel opening in China.

“We are encouraged by recent trends, especially in China, where demand has been driven primarily by domestic tourism.” – Craig S. Smith, Group President, Asia Pacific for Marriott International

“We remain confident in the resilience of travel, our owners and franchisees, guests and associates as well as the future prospects of lodging in Asia Pacific, our second largest market, ” said Craig S. Smith, Group President, Asia Pacific for Marriott International. “We are encouraged by recent trends, especially in China, where demand has been driven primarily by domestic tourism, and we will continue to focus on strengthening our footprint in this important, growing market.”

The group in Asia Pacific has, on average, added close to 80 hotels per year in the last three years, with its pipeline growing by nearly 10 percent annually over the same time period. In the first half of 2020 alone, the company recorded 73 new signings, including 43 in the Greater China region.

“These highly anticipated brand debuts are a testament to the confidence that the owner and franchisee community has in Asia Pacific, as well as Marriott International’s long-term vision, especially in today’s challenging business climate,” said Paul Foskey, Chief Development Officer, Marriott International, Asia Pacific. “Our owners and franchisees trust and choose Marriott International because of our overall reputation for product quality, our powerful and differentiated portfolio of brands, our Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program with more than 142 million global members, and our proven track record of operational excellence.”

In the last three years, the hotel group in Asia Pacific saw a 20 per cent increase in the number of conversion hotels added to the portfolio on an annual basis. Conversions allow owners and franchisees to plug into the Marriott system at a quicker pace compared to opening a new build hotel. This year, the company signed Singapore’s first two Autograph Collection hotels – Marriott International’s dynamic collection of independent hotels that champions individuality – both anticipated to fly the Autograph Collection brand flag in 2021.

With six billion domestic trips made to China in 2019 alone, largely attributed to a rise in average disposable income, demand for brands positioned at a moderate price-point has gained momentum among both travellers and hotel owners. To meet this growing demand and support franchisees, the group has introduced an “Enhanced Franchise” model. Under this model, Marriott will appoint a general manager for the first year of a hotel’s opening to help train and equip franchisees to leverage Marriott’s powerful systems.

Marriott International recently debuted the AC Hotels by Marriott brand in Asia Pacific with three AC by Marriott hotels in Malaysia earlier this year and the AC Hotels Tokyo Ginza earlier this month. AC Hotels by Marriott celebrates the beauty of modern design with its European soul and Spanish roots with hotels that are intuitively designed. Also in Japan and situated on the edge of a 1,300-year-old garden set on former royal palace grounds, the 158-room JW Marriott Nara is the first offering from the JW Marriott brand in the country. Additionally, expected to open by the end of this year, the EDITION Toranomon in Tokyo is slated to be the brand’s debut in the country.

With millennials expected to return to travel first, the anticipated opening of the Moxy Shanghai Xujiahui this year is expected to be an ideal addition to the vibrant cosmopolitan city. The millennial-focused Moxy brand features lively public spaces, minimalist design elements and rooms fitted with custom furniture that offers a playful style of traveling.

Note from the editor: while milestones like these should be celebrated as exceptional achievements, it’s also worth understanding that, as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak, the demand for hotel development, hospitality and tourism in this region specifically is expected to suffer. It is therefore my hope that familiar hotel brands, like the ones that Marriott International shelters, will re-engage with the modern traveller, giving them much needed assurance to explore destinations beyond their reach once more in the post-pandemic world.

Main image credit: Marriott International

Hyatt to expand Alila Brand in Americas

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hyatt to expand Alila Brand in Americas

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Hyatt/Alila

Luxury outdoor area at Sopwell House

MINIVIEW: Designing a ‘bare foot luxury spa’ at Sopwell House

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
MINIVIEW: Designing a ‘bare foot luxury spa’ at Sopwell House

Design studio Sparcstudio created a relaxed, yet elegant design concept to the recently refurbished £14 million Cottonmill Club spa within Sopwell House in St Albans, Hertfordshire…

Set in the beautiful Hertfordshire countryside, on the outskirts of historic St Albans in England, the Club at Cottonmill within Sopwell House was unveiled to the public in August last year.

Luxury outdoor area at Sopwell House

With an eye on the luxury guest market, the £14 million project covered an extensive development period of six years. Owned since 1986 by the family-run AB Hotels, Sopwell House retains its original Georgian grandeur with the main building sheltering the majority of the hotel’s accommodation, its restaurants and the spa, which now has a two-tiered membership that offers a new level of exclusivity in the shape of The Club at Cottonmill.

Image credit: Cottonmill Spa at Sopwell House, designed by Sparcstudio

Image credit: Cottonmill Spa at Sopwell House, designed by Sparcstudio Design

Sparcstudio developed the interiors and architectural design for the project which included a total refurbishment of the existing spa areas and the addition of a large, sleek glazed three-storey extension linking on to a new private spa garden (designed by Ann Marie Powell). Sparcstudio worked with Debi Green to develop the operational details and ISA Architects were appointed to assist with the delivery of the building itself.

Tasked with creating a premium aesthetic throughout the spa, Sparcstudio employed a rich, natural palette of materials, including marble and carved limestone relief tiles in the reception’s column cladding, as well as end-grain timbers to create a tactile feel.

Image credit: Cottonmill Spa at Sopwell House, designed by Sparcstudio

Clever space planning with bespoke designed elements and experiences create moments of surprise for the guest as Beverley Bayes, Creative Director, Sparcstudio explains: “The unique feel of Cottonmill is largely down to space-planning and the inclusion of so many bespoke aspects and experiences.

Image credit: Cottonmill Spa at Sopwell House, designed by Sparcstudio

Image credit: Cottonmill Spa at Sopwell House, designed by Sparcstudio

“We hope there is an element of surprise in the guest journey, which begins in the spaces carved out of original rooms within the Georgian building, but ends in an amazing contemporary new build over three levels with full-height glazing and direct links to the glamorous spa garden.”

The project features bespoke furniture design and fittings, from the small oval glass, brass and stone tables in the ‘sitting room’, the luxurious bespoke double loungers for the Garden Relaxation and Whisper rooms to bronze privacy screens, as well as the glazed critical screens between reception and the ‘sitting room’ with ‘cotton-reel’ installation.

Image credit: Cottonmill Spa at Sopwell House, designed by Sparcstudio

Image credit: Cottonmill Spa at Sopwell House, designed by Sparcstudio

Bayes elaborates: “We are very lucky to have worked with a visionary client who has been involved in every detail. AB Hotels managed the implementation of this huge project themselves and we respect the extra mile they went to ensure the design was beautifully implemented, from the ‘sunray’ veneered doors with their Calacatta-lined architraves to the etched glass doors and bespoke cast metal handles of the heat cabins.”

Image credit: Cottonmill Spa at Sopwell House, designed by Sparcstudio

Barefoot luxury

The overall feel of the interiors is über luxurious and is driven by the guest experience and the desire to create a beautiful spa journey that is stimulating as well as ‘Relaxed and Informal’, combining glamour and a sense of ‘Barefoot luxury’ that you might enjoy in a luxury resort outside of the UK. Bayes explains: “The swinging woven suspended seats around the bespoke fireplaces (clad with blocks of end grain willow) provide a playful touch and the social centre piece of each of the main relaxation spaces.

Image credit: Cottonmill Spa at Sopwell House, designed by Sparcstudio

Image credit: Cottonmill Spa at Sopwell House, designed by Sparcstudio

“We are particularly proud of the variety of bespoke designed heat cabins that we created which range from the organic sauna which is formed from Aspen, a white timber, and with the natural light flooding in, feels like you are sitting in the garden, to the glamorously lit Quartz lined salt stream room, and the first floor angular Panoramic that provides dramatic views on two sides of the grounds. ‘The jewel in the crown’ is the green slate lined outdoor Hydro-pool which is designed to provide an experience akin to ‘wild swimming’.

Comfort was key in the design of aspects and elements throughout the spa which boasts deep bespoke sofas laden with cushions in grey green and aqua shades crafted from fabrics including washed cotton and linen. Interiors feature a rich and sumptuous, but natural palette of materials, which includes smerelda marble, carved limestone relief tiles (reception column cladding) and end grain timbers to create a tactile feel. Bayes concludes: “We think the overall outcome is luxurious, warm and welcoming, definitely relaxing and conducive to contemplation and wellbeing.”

Sparcstudio is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here

Main image credit: SparcStudio/Sopwell House

IN PICTURES: inside the new Villa Copenhagen

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
IN PICTURES: inside the new Villa Copenhagen

The 390-key luxury hotel, Villa Copenhagen, has officially opened. Hotel Designs takes a peek inside…

It has been one of the most anticipated openings of 2020, with architecture and design from award-winning studios such as Universal Design Studio and Goddard Littlefair, Villa Copenhagen has officially opened its doors.

Housed in the century-old Danish Post and Telegraph office, adjacent to Tivoli Gardens, Villa Copenhagen is a Grande Dame hotel for the 21st century, offering approachable, conscious luxury through a commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and meaningful experiences that connect guests to the landscape, culture, and energy of the city.

Exterior of the building in Copenhagen

Image credit: Villa Copenhagen

To ensure that the new interiors matched the grandeur of the 1912 Neo-Baroque architecture, and to keep the building at the forefront of Scandinavian design for another hundred years, the hotel appointed several design and architecture firms. The overall look and feel is credit to Universal Design Studio, which was appointed to create 381 guestrooms across the hotel’s five floors and Goddard Littlefair, which, following a number of recent award-winning projects, was responsible for the design of no less than five F&B areas sheltered within the hotel, as well as the wellness areas and meeting areas and conference rooms.

light modern room inside Villa Copenhagen

Image credit: Villa Copenhagen

Evoking the ambiance of a sophisticated Danish residence, rooms feature high ceilings, herringbone floors, restored original windows, gold accents, and muted colour palettes that pay homage to paintings by 19th century Danish master Vilhelm Hammershøi. Thoughtful touches include keyless entry and remote check-in, virtual check-out, and an optional white glove service.

The two-storey Universal Penthouse Suite features a grand walnut and steel spiral staircase leading up to lounge space and a master bedroom. Other contributors include Danish architect Eva Harlou, who designed the sought-after Earth Suite, a fully sustainable suite entirely comprised of recycled materials and textiles with eco-friendly furniture by Mater Design; and Shamballa Jewels, a Danish fine jewellery brand that designed the remaining seven suites, including The Shamballa Master Suite, which is the most expensive suite in Denmark at US$8,100 per night, as well as two other spaces within the hotel, specifically The Courtyard and Old Boardroom.

Image caption: The Courtyard | Image credit: Villa Copenhagen/Stine Christiansen

Image caption: The Courtyard | Image credit: Villa Copenhagen/Stine Christiansen

Villa Copenhagen is also home to the city’s finest private art collection valued at more than US$2 million. With celebrated art curator Sune Nordgren at the helm, current artworks on display include pieces by local talent and celebrated international artists, including Jaume Plensa, Per Kirkeby, and Ian McKeever.

The new luxury address features ample outdoor and interior green spaces, including a generous rooftop pool, to promote a sense of wellbeing and tranquillity across its public areas, going above and beyond current government health and sanitation regulations while maintaining its vision of delivering an inspiring and playful ambiance.

Rooftop pool on top of Villa Copenhagen

Image credit: Villa Copenhagen/Stine Christiansen

Executive Chef Tore Gustafsson is responsible for Villa Copenhagen’s sustainable food profile, which focuses on ‘carbon-free’ dining and zero food waste. He worked with Epicurean, an F&B design studio from celebrated interior design house Goddard Littlefair, to develop all five of the hotel’s food and beverage outlets.

Located on the ground floor in the former sorting room of the Post House, the Public and Rug Bakery outlets make up a spacious breakfast and flexible event space with an open kitchen, where guests are provided with personalised options for fresh bread, pastries, and coffee, including individually sealed to-go ‘FIKA’ bags, as well as à la carte options that can be served via in-room dining.

The T37 Bar & Lounge offers a menu of tongue-in-cheek aesthetic, craft cocktails, and light dishes in a beautifully restored corner with original marble columns.

Image caption: Kontrast | Image credit: Villa Copenhagen/Stine Christiansen

Next door, the Playroom is stocked with table and board games, books, and plush furniture for laidback evenings. Kontrast brasserie has its own street entrance facing Central Station, and provides a cosy all-day restaurant open to city residents with contemporary takes on mid-century décor. Fresh, flavourful dishes made with organic ingredients from the hidden garden and local suppliers are served by Gustafsson and his team from a bustling open kitchen.

Image caption: The Brasserie inside Villa Copenhagen

Image caption: The Brasserie | Image credit: Villa Copenhagen

Opening in the post-pandemic world, in this new era for hospitality, the 390-room hotel has developed its health and hygiene policies in tandem with operational procedures to ensure travellers and local visitors enjoy a seamless guest journey, finding comfort in every corner– from the private sanctuary of the guestrooms and suites, to social hubs and dining outlets.

Main image credit: Villa Copenhagen/Stine Christiansen

Inside IHG’s debut Hotel Indigo property in Cyprus

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

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

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

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

Image credit: Hotel Indigo

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

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

Image credit: Hotel Indigo

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Hotel Indigo/IHG

Render of the hotel property

Bvlgari Hotels & Resorts to open debut property in Rome

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Bvlgari Hotels & Resorts to open debut property in Rome

Bvlgari Hotel Roma, which is slated to open in 2022, will occupy a magnificent building in the heart of the Campo Marzio neighbourhood, a stone’s throw from the iconic Spanish Steps and the signature Bvlgari flagship on Via Condotti…

Bvlgari Hotels & Resorts has announced that it will open its first hotel in Rome.

Render of the hotel property

The decision to debut in capital of Italy has been described as a “full circle moment” for the Bvlgari Hotels & Resorts, but also a significant one, opening a hotel an iconic destination that is rooted in the luxury brand’s heritage.

The Bvlgari Hotel Roma, which is slated to open as early as 2022, will be strategically located in the central Piazza Augusto Imperatore. This is in the very heart of the Campo Marzio neighbourhood, a stone’s throw from Via del Corso and Via del Babuino, the iconic Spanish Steps and the signature Bvlgari flagship on Via Condotti.

Render of the new Bvlgari Hotel Roma

Image credit: Bvlgari Hotels & Resorts

It will be sheltered in a magnificent building, which was built between 1936 and 1938 to a design by architect Vittorio Ballio Morpurgo, is owned by Edizione Properties who was assisted by CBRE Hotels for the tenant selection activity.

The rationalist building faces two of the most iconic Roman landmarks, the Ara Pacis and the Mausoleum of Augustus, the first Roman Imperator. It is currently under renovation and will reveal a monumental, modern architecture emphasised by the use of traditional Roman materials and colours, such as ochre Travertine marble and burnt red brick. The rigorous rationalist architectural appeal of the building is counterbalanced by Antonio Barrera’s frescos, running in the via della Frezza atrium and offering different views of the Mausoleum of Augustus, while the Southern face is decorated with a 70-square-metre mosaic by Ferruccio Ferrazzi, who offered his personal interpretation of the Roman foundation myth.

“Italian architectural firm Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel will be in charge of both the architectural project and the interior design of the new Bvlgari Hotel Roma.”

As for the other Bvlgari Hotels in the world, Italian architectural firm Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel will be in charge of both the architectural project and the interior design of the new Bvlgari Hotel Roma, which will count more than 100 rooms, most of them suites. In addition, the firm will design the prestigious “Il Ristorante” curated by Michelin-starred chef Niko Romito and “The Bvlgari Bar,” both located on the top floor to guarantee an unparalleled view of the Eternal City. The luxury hotel will also include a range of additional facilities, including a high-end spa with an indoor swimming pool, and a state-of-the-art gym, offering Bvlgari’s exclusive Workshop training method.

As unique feature, the Bvlgari Hotel Roma will also present a Reading Room containing a collection of precious volumes dedicated to the history of jewellery.

Standing out on the building’s façade, on top of a splendid fountain, a Latin inscription says: “This is the place where the Emperor Augustus’ soul flies through the air.”

This unique link between the new Bvlgari Hotel Roma and Emperor Augustus’ vision will be highlighted with an interior design balancing the rigor of the stones used in Imperial Rome, concise yet powerful details, as well as rich textures contrasting with the architectural essentiality of the building.

Seamlessly blending different references to the unique Roman heritage with the contemporary and timeless Bvlgari style, the new Bvlgari Hotel Roma will celebrate the extraordinary magnificence of its hometown, and will welcome its guests in an outstanding and unique environment.

“This hotel, to be opened in 2022, represents a remarkable achievement for Bvlgari that will finally have its own ‘temple’ right in the city where the Company was founded and that still represents nowadays the beating heart of the brand.” – Bvlgari CEO Jean-Christophe Babin.

“We are particularly proud to have secured such an extraordinary location for the new Bvlgari Hotel in Rome,” explained Bvlgari CEO Jean-Christophe Babin. “This hotel, to be opened in 2022, represents a remarkable achievement for Bvlgari that will finally have its own ‘temple’ right in the city where the Company was founded and that still represents nowadays the beating heart of the brand. It will be by far Roma most luxurious hospitality experience ever”.

“Together with all parties, public and private, involved in this important project, we are proud to have planned and executed this large, world class real estate investment in Rome, a key place for Edizione Property”, added Mauro Montagner CEO of Edizione Property SpA.

Rome being Bvlgari’s hometown, this opening will be a remarkable addition to the Bvlgari Hotels & Resorts Collection, which already counts six properties in Milan, London, Bali, Beijing, Dubai, Shanghai and which will be further extended, between 2021 and 2023, with inaugurations in Paris, Moscow and Tokyo.

Main image credit: Bvlgari Hotels & Resorts

Rosewood brand to arrive in Spain in 2021 as part of European expansion

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Rosewood brand to arrive in Spain in 2021 as part of European expansion

The iconic Hotel Villa Magna in Madrid is, in 2021, to become the first hotel in Spain to operate under Rosewood Hotels & Resorts…

Following the group’s recent announcement to take over Le Guanahani in St. Barth, Rosewood Hotels & Resorts has been selected by RLH Properties to manage the iconic Hotel Villa Magna in Madrid, Spain.

The hotel, which is situated in the heart of Madrid, on the revered Paseo de la Castellana, will  become Rosewood Hotels & Resorts’ first property in Spain and the fourth operation in Europe, where the group is sensitively expanding into other prime locations.

The beloved property will debut as Rosewood Villa Magna following a refurbishment, during which the property will remain open, that will incorporate a contemporary design, displaying an inspired interpretation of Spain’s capital city.

Exterior of Hotel Villa Magns

Image credit: Hotel Villa Magns

The hotel is centrally located, immediately neighbouring the prestigious Serrano shopping district, and other well-known nearby landmarks such as the Golden Triangle of Art, home to the Prado, Thyssen-Bornemisza and Reina Sofía Museums. Villa Magna is currently closed as a precautionary measure due to COVID-19 and will reopen on September 1, 2020 operating independently until Rosewood assumes management once the refurbishment works have come to an end towards late 2021.

“As one of the world’s most alluring cultural capitals, Madrid is an ideal destination in which to raise the Rosewood flag, and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to join together with our valued partners at RLH to breathe new life into one of the city’s most prolific properties, Villa Magna,” said Sonia Cheng, chief executive officer of Rosewood Hotel Group.  “A mecca for arts, culture and cuisine that perfectly balances the old with the new, Madrid offers the perfect canvas for our guiding A Sense of Place philosophy. We look forward to bringing our differentiated approach to ultra-luxury hospitality to Spain with this special hotel.”

With a refreshed contemporary sense of style and service that speaks to today’s travellers, Rosewood Villa Magna will feature 150 thoughtfully appointed guestrooms and suites, distinct dining experiences and an inspired Sense, A Rosewood Spa.

“The iconic Villa Magna plays an important part in Madrid’s history, and as such we are proud to embark on this new journey with our exceptional team at the Villa Magna and together with Rosewood Hotel Group towards enhancing this unique asset that enjoys an irreplaceable location and taking it to the next level of luxury. We are excited to add our third Rosewood property to the RLH portfolio, alongside sister resorts Rosewood Mayakoba in Riviera Maya, Mexico and the upcoming Rosewood Mandarina in Riviera Nayarit, Mexico,” said Borja Escalada, CEO of RLH Properties.

Rosewood Villa Magna will add to Rosewood’s network of distinctive European properties, which currently includes Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco in Tuscany, Rosewood London and Hôtel de Crillon, A Rosewood Hotel in Paris.  Additional properties set to open within the next three years include Rosewood Vienna (2022), Rosewood Munich (2023), Rosewood Venice (2023) and Rosewood Hotel, Grosvenor Square, London (TBD).

Main image credit: Hotel Villa Magna

IN PICTURES: Sneak peek of Four Seasons Hotel Madrid

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

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

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

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

Exterior of the hotel

Image credit: Four Seasons Hotel Madrid

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

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

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

Image credit: Four Seasons Hotel Madrid

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

Image credit: Four Seasons Hotel Madrid

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

Image credit: Four Seasons Hotel Madrid

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

Staircase in Four Seasons Madrid

Image credit: Four Seasons Hotel Madrid

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

Main image credit: Four Seasons Hotel Madrid

IN PICTURES: Italy’s Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa opens

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
IN PICTURES: Italy’s Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa opens

The sensitively designed 11-key boutique jewel has opened in the heart of Italy’s White City, Ostuni, Puglia…

With Covid-19 stalling its inaugural opening, the team at Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa are finally able to officially open the doors.  The elegantly restored red palace in the heart of Puglia’s White City, Ostuni, has been meticulously restored to boast 11 individually curated rooms, meaning guest numbers are naturally limited and exclusive takeovers are possible. 

Standing in stark contrast to the whitewashed buildings of Ostuni, Paragon 700’s red brick façade cocoons a lush garden and swimming pool, a rare green space in the heart of the city, offering a spacious, tranquil and exclusive oasis, just a five-minute walk from the main square. 

The Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa team painstakingly restored every inch of the former Italian palace using traditional handcrafted techniques, while injecting a splash of modern flair. French parquet flooring extends throughout all 11 rooms and suites, which feature stonewashed bed linen, cathedral ceilings, period frescos and fireplaces.

Image credit: 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa

Naturally, each guestroom is different, some offering terraces, balconies or in the case of the Paragon Suite, a sunken bathtub and private terrace with sun loungers. Guests who fall in love with the chic interiors will be delighted to discover that they can buy select furniture and décor to take home as the ultimate holiday memento. Any sold pieces will be replaced by the boutique hotel’s stylish owners, who will be happy of an excuse to indulge their passion for sourcing eclectic items.  

The hotel brings a fresh taste to Ostuni, with the opening of Restaurant 700. Head chef Giovanni Cerroni, the protégé of Michelin-starred Paulo Airaudo, offers an enticing menu that celebrates outstanding local ingredients and cuisine. Open to guests and locals alike, this new venue, including the quirky Bar 700, will offer an intimate dining experience, with impeccable service and the finest local vintages from the hotel’s impressive wine cellar.

As the only hotel in the heart of the White City to offer a swimming pool and garden, Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa will also be an unrivalled haven for guests looking to unwind and recharge. The palace’s former water chamber has been transformed into a unique spa offering a Turkish bath, Himalayan salt wall, multi-sensory shower and a natural whirlpool dug into the ground. 

Image credit: 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa

The team at the hotel have put in place a full range of cleanliness and safety measures in light of Covid-19, including daily temperature checks for staff and for guests on arrival, to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all those who wish to enjoy this exciting new boutique hotel. 

Main image credit: Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa

Hotel Indigo arrives in Verona

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel Indigo arrives in Verona

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

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

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

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

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

Image credit: IHG/Hotel Indigo

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

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

Image credit: IHG/Hotel Indigo

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

Main image credit: IHG/Hotel Indigo

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

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

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

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

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

Following his appointment, I caught up with winter.

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

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

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

woman walking down modern staircase

Image credit: The Middle House, Shanghai

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HK: What does 2021 look like for Swire Hotels?

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

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

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

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

QUICK-FIRE ROUND

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Swire Hotels

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ruby Zoe follows Ruby Group’s Lean Luxury philosophy: a top location, high-quality fittings, and outstanding design. All of this is offered at an affordable price by rigorously cutting out the superfluous and focusing on the essential.

Main image credit: Ruby Hotels

LOCATION WATCH: Hot hotels opening soon in Riviera Nayarit, Mexico

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
LOCATION WATCH: Hot hotels opening soon in Riviera Nayarit, Mexico

Ever since Hotel Designs started the concept-to-completion article series with SB Architects to cover the honest journey to design and build Conrad Punta Mita, Riviera Nayarit has been on our editorial team’s radar. Here editor Hamish Kilburn discovers which other hotels are opening in the area soon…

Mexico’s Riviera Nayarit, a remote 192-mile-long coastline that frames the majestic Sierra Madre mountains, is tipped to be in hot demand once travel restrictions have lifted. Later this year, the region will welcome two new five-star luxury properties for those looking for isolated remote escapes whilst keeping hygiene, health, and wellness front of mind.

Riviera Nayarit is welcoming two unrivalled luxury hotel openings (Conrad Punta Mita and One & Only Mandarina), that will complete its extensive luxury hotel offering, in preparation to be one of the most anticipated destinations of 2021.

Conrad Punta de Mita

Accepting reservations now and opening in October, Conrad Punta de Mita is a new 325-key property that will offer a tranquil retreat for guests, surrounded by palm trees and the Pacific Ocean. Explored by our team throughout its design and build, the hotel draws influence from Mexico’s rich history and unique culture, indigenous artwork integrates with the luxurious amenities to create an environment that will allow visitors to connect authentically to nature and to the sophisticated, contemporary architectural design.

Image credit: Conrad Hotels/SB Architects

Dovetailing with the dramatic scenery, resort bungalows, pavilions, and cabanas are nestled in coastal vegetation and all boast views of the aquamarine ocean, with suites offering fully-furnished kitchens and living rooms, perfect for larger groups, large patios, plunge pools, freestanding soaking tubs and outdoor showers.

Hilton’s first Conrad-branded resort property in Mexico will be set in the same private development as the Litibu Golf Course, an 18-hole experience designed by Greg Norman. 

One&Only Madarina

One&Only Mandarina is located just north of Punta Mita, on a spectacular cliff-side overlooking the Pacific Ocean with dramatic vistas and a lush rainforest setting. Blending chic interiors amid the lush jungle wilderness, the resort offers a combination of 104 free-standing villas that float above the treetops or perch against the cliffs – each with their own private plunge pool. 

Image credit: One&Only

Allowing nature to take centre stage, One&Only Mandarina has been designed and built to respect and blend with the environment. Experts were consulted on the development of the resort to minimise the effect on the existing natural landscape, and careful low-density planning has preserved the ecological importance of the destination. 

In addition, the resort will feature 54 Private Homes, among the first One&Only residences in the world. Available to own, One&Only Mandarina Private Homes offer privacy, seclusion, and comfort with unparalleled service – offering luxury resort living for a privileged few. 

The hotels will join an already thriving luxury hospitality scene and will sit alongside St. Regis Punta Mita Resort, Imanta Resorts Punta de Mita and other luxury hotels and villas.

Main image credit: One&Only

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

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

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

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

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

Arrival experience, luxury

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Luxury spa area that frames unspoilt view through rustic blinds

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

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

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

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

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

Large, oversized swimming pool

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

QUICK-FIRE ROUND

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

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

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

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

HK: What’s your biggest indulgence when travelling?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Restaurant overlooking ocean in the Maldives

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Jean-Michel Gathy/Denniston

IHG to open InterContinental in Rome

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
IHG to open InterContinental in Rome

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) announces the signing of a franchise agreement with Westmont Hospitality Group and funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management, L.P., for a captivating property in the heart of Rome…

As the industry prepares to rebuild following the destruction caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, and while hotel chains are predicted to announce signings and growth plans in new destinations, IHG has announced the signing to open a new 160-key InterContinental-branded hotel in Rome.

A multi-million-euro investment is behind IHG’s plans to open InterContinental Rome in 2022, marking a welcome sign of confidence in the Italian tourism industry at this challenging time.

“The palazzo building was originally home to ambassadors staying in Rome, opening as a hotel in 1993.”

The luxury hotel will be set on the iconic Via Veneto, in the Ludovisi area of the city, close to the Villa Borghese. The existing property – which includes 160 guestrooms and suites, a restaurant, bar, spa and public areas – will be restored to create a sense of discreet, modern luxury for visitors and locals alike.

Designed in the early 1900s by architect Carlo Busiri Vici in the neo-renaissance style, the palazzo building was originally home to ambassadors staying in Rome, opening as a hotel in 1993. Guests will benefit from its proximity to the city’s wealth of art and history, thanks to a prime position less than a kilometre walk from the Galleria Borghese, the Spanish Steps and the Trevi Fountain. The hotel can be easily reached from Rome’s Ciampino or Fiumicino international airports and is less than 10 minutes from the city’s main rail station.

IHG joins a strong consortium including the US-based fund, Oaktree, Westmont Hospitality Group, strategic investment partner and operator, and UniCredit S.p.A, the project’s senior lending bank. The project is held by a newly established real estate investment fund managed by Milan-based Castello SGR, one of Italy’s premier real estate management companies. 

Willemijn Geels, Vice President of Development, Europe, IHG, commented: “The signing of an InterContinental in Rome represents an important moment in the growth of our luxury portfolio and brand presence across Europe. In these challenging and unprecedented times, this signing shows the continued trust our Owners and partners place in IHG and our brands. We are delighted to partner with Oaktree Capital and Westmont Hospitality Group and look forward to offering InterContinental guests a rich and unforgettable experience in the Eternal City.”

“Confirmation by primary international investors of their commitment to Italy even in this difficult time is a strong signal of the country’s unimpaired attractiveness as a cultural, tourist and business destination,” added  Alfredo Maria De Falco, Deputy Head of CIB and Head of CIB Italy at UniCredit. “UniCredit is a strategic partner for the development of large real estate projects and we are happy to support this important initiative in a sector, such as the luxury hotel industry, which can be a driving force for the recovery of tourism in Italy.”

InterContinental Hotels & Resorts is the world’s largest luxury travel hotel brand. Each of its 213 hotels is a destination in its own right with a distinctive style and ambience, from historic buildings to city landmarks and immersive resorts in every corner of the globe. The InterContinental in Rome will join a family of 34 iconic InterContinental properties in Europe, including InterContinental London – Park Lane, InterContinental Paris – Le Grand and InterContinental Berlin, many of which are undergoing multi-million-euro refurbishment programmes.

This announcement comes weeks after the signing of the Six Senses Rome, which is set to open in late 2021. IHG currently has 44 luxury hotels in Europe, with another 17 luxury hotels in the pipeline to open in the next three – five years. In Italy IHG has a portfolio of 29 hotels – across brands including Hotel Indigo, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express – and further four in the pipeline.

These recent signings in Rome are the latest in a string of developments for IHG’s global luxury portfolio, including InterContinental Khao Yai Swan Lake Resort in Central Thailand, InterContinental Chiang Mai Mae Ping Hotel and Regent Shanghai Pudong.

Main image credit: Pixabay

Europe’s hotel construction pipeline continues to expand despite pandemic

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Pixabay

Work begins on Hotel Brooklyn’s second property

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Work begins on Hotel Brooklyn’s second property

It is being described as the city’s new ‘lair’, Bespoke Hotels’ Hotel Brooklyn is slated to open in Leicester in 2022…

Hotel Brooklyn is set to open its second design-led hotel in Leicester in summer 2022, following the successful launch of its Manchester sibling in February.

Located beside the expanded Welford Road Stadium – home to the famous Leicester Tigers rugby team – Hotel Brooklyn, Leicester will boast 191 stylish guestrooms and once again push the bar when it comes to beautifully-designed accessibility for all.

Image credit: Bespoke Hotels

“We are thrilled to have secured this fantastic site in Leicester – right next door to the Welford Road Stadium”, commented Robin Sheppard, Chairman of Bespoke Hotels. “Being built by our trusted partners Marshall CDP, with whom we have worked several times before, we believe Hotel Brooklyn is a perfect fit for Leicester. It will bring a destination hotel into the heart of the city, attract a new audience of customers and, we hope, become a business of which the city will be truly proud’.

Designed by Squid Inc – the team behind renowned Hotel Gotham and Hotel Brooklyn, Manchester – the new Hotel Brooklyn will offer high-class corporate hospitality, versatile dining showcasing both European and American influences, and atmospheric accommodation with a number of skyline suites. Inclusive design of the hotel will again be driven by the design statement capability of Motionspot, the UK’s leading accessible design company, unashamedly positioning itself as Leicester’s most accessible hotel. 

Hotel Brooklyn is a pioneer in accessible design – leading the way in Europe with its adaptability features: a trailblazer in accessible, sexy and modern design for all. Public spaces, including the reception, restaurant, bars, lifts and communal loos, will also entail an accessible design element.

“This hotel has a very unique neighbour in the form of ‘Leicester Tigers’ rugby club and will most definitely add a little extra inspiration into the design,” explained Oliver Redfern, Lead Interior Designer of Squid Inc. “Architectural features, such as the striking central atrium stretching over five floors, will allow us to take the Brooklyn ethos – a palpable anti-slick, anti-corporate sensibility – to a whole new level. This hotel will be irresistibly familiar: a place where outsiders become insiders, and a destination of true hospitality.”

Main image credit: Bespoke Hotels

Osaka Hotel sets sights on a summer unveiling

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Osaka Hotel sets sights on a summer unveiling

Palace Hotel Management Company’s first property to open under a new hospitality brand Zentis is being designed by Tara Bernerd of Tara Bernerd & Partners

With a pedigree that flows from the acclaimed Palace Hotel Tokyo and designs on rewriting the playbook for lifestyle brands, the management arm of Palace Hotel Co. Ltd. has announced plans for a Q3 opening of Zentis Osaka, the first property of its new hospitality brand.

Internationally renowned UK designer, Tara Bernerd of Tara Bernerd & Partners, has been tapped for the property’s modern interiors while Café Co. – the esteemed Japanese food & beverage operator behind the one Michelin-starred CRAFTALE in Tokyo – will develop and operate the hotel’s restaurant, bar and lounge. A top-flight team of seasoned staffers from Palace Hotel Tokyo, the first Japanese-brand hotel to achieve the prestigious Forbes Five-Star rating, will guide the standards of service.

“We see an opportunity to really elevate expectations for service, accommodations and F&B in the upper reaches of the select-service category,” said Daisuke Yoshihara, president of Palace Hotel Co. Ltd. “We believe those critical aspects of the stay experience are what will emerge as key standouts to our guests, truly differentiating our brand from those already in the market.”

Image credit: Palace Hotel Management Company

With Zentis’ strong focus on design, the new property is a member of Design Hotels – a curated selection of independent hotels with a passion for genuine hospitality, cultural authenticity, thought-provoking design and architecture. “We are truly privileged to collaborate with Palace Hotel Management Company to bring Zentis to the Design Hotels community. I am certain that our trend-forward and design-conscious travelers will be inspired by this sophisticated lifestyle addition to our portfolio – and our first for Osaka,” said Jinou Park, Vice President of Asia Pacific.

An entirely new build, the 16-storey property’s contemporary yet laid-back feel flows from a natural colour palette of raw materials, including exposed brickwork and timber beams. A stone staircase anchors a lobby wrapped in floor-to-ceiling windows where a double-sided fireplace creates a focal point and connects an intimate lounge space with the landscaped green space that surrounds.

One floor above is the hotel’s bar and main dining area as well as an airy lounge and outdoor terrace featuring lofty, seven-meter-tall ceilings. Also on the second floor is the hotel’s fitness center – outfitted with Life Fitness equipment and accessible 24 hours.

Taking inspiration from the modular design and intuitive functionality of bento boxes, the 212 guestrooms feature the same fresh palettes that are found throughout the hotel. Polished wooden floors, muted tones and splashes of mustard as well as art on the walls commissioned from a local Japanese artist define spaces that make ingenious use of otherwise snug square footage.

At the helm of UPSTAIRZ – the hotel’s dining venue that is likely to emerge as a destination not only for guests, but also discerning locals – will be Executive Chef Shinya Otsuchihashi, who, after having honed his culinary skills over the last two decades in both Japan and France, will be closely overseeing the eatery’s concept and menus from his base at CRAFTALE.

Zentis Osaka is situated where the picturesque, riverside area of Dojimahama and the high-end business entertainment district of Kita-shinchi meet. Nakanoshima, an islet home to some of the city’s premium attractions – including the Osaka Science Museum and the National Museum of Art, Osaka – is a leisurely three-minute stroll from the hotel while Osaka Station, the city’s main rail hub, is a mere five-minute taxi ride away. The two major airports that service Japan’s third largest city – Kansai International Airport and Itami Airport (Osaka International Airport) – are located less than an hour’s drive away.

Main image credit: Palace Hotel Management Company

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Striving for a more sustainable future in hotel design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Striving for a more sustainable future in hotel design

With Covid-19 taking up much of the industry’s attention at the moment, it’s important to keep sustainable design high on the agenda, as Senior Associate at HBA EMEA Erica Pritchard explains…

It wasn’t all that long ago that hotels could be praised for putting in LED lights, or banishing plastic bottled water from the mini bar. Yet in more recent times, the world has become focused on sustainability in an insistent way, and in no other industry has this been more apparent than in the world of travel and hospitality. Modern day travellers are seeking to travel more sustainably, and for hoteliers, sustainable credentials have become a necessity. But whilst offering eco-friendly straws and reducing towel washing is certainly commendable, ensuring sustainability is at the core of a hotel or restaurants design vision, and is fundamental in futureproofing it for generations to come.

Broadly, to be sustainable means to organise all human activity in support of the natural systems that ultimately give us life. In our field, to be sustainable means to integrate the processes of development planning, architecture, engineering, interior design, and construction in a way that will also support the natural systems in which we live. As such, sustainable design simply cannot come as an afterthought. Rather it requires intensive forethought to emerge from being an aspirational trend to having sustainability credentials that stand up. The most successful projects are those that have sustainability written into the brief as a core objective and where the whole design team are working together in carbon lifecycle thinking, along with the help of a dedicated sustainability consultant.