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Image of minimalist design guestroom in Nobu hotel

BREAKING: Nobu to arrive in Hamburg, Germany

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
BREAKING: Nobu to arrive in Hamburg, Germany

Nobu Hospitality, the global lifestyle brand founded by Nobu Matsuhisa, Robert De Niro and Meir Teper, has announced its continuing global expansion into the ‘Gate to the World’, Hamburg, Germany. Here’s what we know…

Image of minimalist design guestroom in Nobu hotel

As Nobu Hospitality prepares its arrival in Marrakech, the brand continues to expand its luxury lifestyle portfolio, which now includes a new hotel in Germany as details of a new 191-key hotel emerge.

The Nobu Hotel and Restaurant will be located within the Elbtower, a project by SIGNA Real Estate, one of Europe’s leading property companies. The Elbtower will be a mixed-use development destination encompassing premium office space and the Nobu Hotel and Restaurant set within the tallest high-rise in the city. For the founders of Nobu Hospitality, actor Robert De Niro and Chef Nobu Matsuhisa, there is synergy between the energy of Hamburg and the spirit of the brand. “We are very happy to be working with SIGNA in developing the Nobu Hotel in the great city of Hamburg,” they stated in a press release.

Timo Herzberg, CEO SIGNA Real Estate Germany, added: “The partnership with Nobu Hospitality in the launch of the Nobu Hotel and Restaurant Hamburg underscores the compelling Elbtower development as Northern Germany’s tallest skyscraper. Hamburg as a destination fits seamlessly within the Nobu Hotel and Restaurant collection and will be embraced by our prestigious office tenants in the Elbtower as the most exclusive destination in Hamburg.”

Rising 245 metres and 64 stories over the River Elbe, the Elbtower is designed by celebrated architectural firm David Chipperfield Architects and will complete the city’s silhouette with its striking and curved façade. Forming a designed counterpoint to the famed Elbphilharmonie concert hall and serving as an entrance marker to the prestigious HafenCity district. The Elbtower will house the Nobu Hotel and Restaurant, the tower itself will be comprised of flexibly designed office spaces with unparalleled views of the city and beyond. The ground floors, with their innovative layouts, will form the hub of the Elbtower community and play a significant role in positioning the Elbtower as the most attractive place to work, sleep, eat and drink, shop and socialise in Hamburg. The offering will comprise of a variety of retail shops, restaurants, and co-working spaces. The Elbtower will add to The SIGNA Group’s portfolio of exclusive real estate properties in prime city locations around Europe.

Trevor Horwell, CEO Nobu Hospitality, comments: “We are extremely honoured and excited to be working with SIGNA on this unique project.  This is the first project in this growing partnership, and we are exploring other destinations with SIGNA. Hamburg is an economic powerhouse in Germany and is an exciting destination for travellers whether for business or pleasure and perfectly fits with our global clientele.   The Elbtower itself is a very special project planned as Hamburg’s world class dynamic lifestyle destination with our Nobu Hotel and Restaurant sitting as its core.”

The Nobu Hotel Elbtower Hamburg will offer 191 spaciously designed guestrooms and suites, a 200-seat Nobu restaurant, a stylish terrace bar and lounge with views of the River Elbe, and a state-of-the-art fitness and wellness facility.  In addition to the restaurant and private dining rooms, the hotel will offer sophisticated event space for corporate and social gatherings as well as an outdoor terrace. Another highlight will be a Nobu private members club for the local community where members will benefit from a private lounge with a food and beverage offering, access to the hotel’s fitness and wellness facility as well as exclusive members only events. Nobu is one of the world’s most celebrated luxury hospitality brands renowned for its award-winning “new style” Japanese cuisine and exceptional hotel offerings in the world’s most desirable locales, with heartfelt service, energised public spaces and instinctive design.

Main image credit: Nobu Hospitality

A modern interior design of a kitchen

How surface design can elevate guest experience

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
How surface design can elevate guest experience

With public healthcare in the spotlight like never before, the Covid-19 pandemic is challenging hoteliers to rethink the entire guest experience. Here we hear from Harris Jackson on the role of surface design…

A modern interior design of a kitchen

From bringing the outside in to focusing on building a sense of community, wellness is high on the agenda for many brands as they look for new ways to connect with their customers and rebuild trust. And for good reason – according to a variety of data, consumer trust is at an all-time low.

Last year a study by End of Tenancy Cleaning Company, which surveyed almost 2,000 British travellers, found that 50 per cent of people do not trust hotel hygiene and over a third would avoid international travel for the next 12 months. Almost half of the people surveyed also said they would clean a hotel room themselves before using it. Research like this demonstrates the lack of confidence guests currently have and just how important safety and security is as a key message.

There are many ways hoteliers can respond to this and instil a sense of trust far beyond placing hand sanitisers in lobbies and installing perspex screens in the reception area. One way to elevate the customer experience and improve health and safety is through the design of surfaces.

Form and function

Beautiful design is about more than aesthetics, it’s about responding to customer needs and the current climate. There are a number of surface trends to look out for in 2021 (and beyond) that explore both form and function; sustainability, ventilation, flexibility and connecting to nature are all taking centre stage alongside technology that can improve public health.

Wellbeing is at the top of the agenda when it comes to design and we have seen this impact design trends before. In 1918, influenza impacted design by throwing more emphasis on light and air, and more minimal interiors (with heavier more cluttered interiors thought to be unhygienic). And now due to Covid-19 we are going to see another shift. It’s long been known that the surfaces we interact with can be transmitters for bacteria and some, such as E.Coli, can last for months on surfaces.

So how can hoteliers invest in surface technology to improve public health and the overall guest experience?

It can purify air

Some technologies are focusing on purifying air, such as Pureti’s photocatalytic applications. It utilises the natural process of plants. As well as purifying air it can also be applied to surfaces to help them stay cleaner for longer. Apparently this treatment has even been used by NASA! We know that air quality is so important for guest comfort and with many people seeking out less urban environments and a stronger connection to nature, technology like this could have far reaching benefits.

Pureti air purifying in a modern kitchen

Image credit: Pureti

Texture can limit transmission

The texture of surfaces can play a key role in not only the aesthetics of a room but in helping to eliminate viral transmission of bacteria. The Imperial College London looked at different textures and coatings and found that copper surfaces provide antibacterial protection, killing 99.9 per cent of bacteria within two hours. This raises some interesting ideas around materials used throughout the hotel environment, especially within heavy traffic areas such as lobbies and doorways.

Fabrics for more than comfort

New technology extends past hard surfaces and covers soft furnishings too; Aguaguard365 is an example of an antibacterial protection system for fabrics that helps keep textiles free of bacteria. From bed linens to towels, technology is constantly evolving.

A lounge that has been annotated to show furniture

Image credit: Aguaguard365

So as travel restrictions begin to lift and consumers consider staying away from home again, it’s clear that surface technology can do more than just elevate appearance – it can help to instil trust and boost confidence, something that’s crucial in the current climate.

Since you’re here, why not read Harris Jackson’s article on bringing the outside in & reconnecting with nature?

Harris Jackson 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: Harris Jackson

Render of Dolce Sitges

How will the pandemic affect hotel design and development?

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
How will the pandemic affect hotel design and development?

Tom Bishop, Director of Project Management at Concert, is here to offer some clarity and perspective on the current Covid-19 situation and answer how the pandemic will impact the hotel design community…

Render of Dolce Sitges

Using the word ‘post’ in the title seems very optimistic when we consider the current situation. Covid-19 has had a huge impact and the challenges ahead will require innovative solutions, and the design and build sector has a big role to play in this new landscape.

Wings may have been clipped by the travel ban during this pandemic but the desire to travel and see new horizons hasn’t gone away, so building confidence around health and safety will be paramount to getting customers back. In the short term, there is likely to be renewed interest in staycations, getting away from it all but without getting on a plane – with the added attraction of supporting UK-based businesses.

Marrying safety and socialising successfully is going to take invention and those hotels that will come out of this crisis stronger will be the ones that rise to the challenge. Terraces, balconies and outdoor space are already prime assets and will continue to be so.

Sustainability has risen up the agenda. While greener buildings became a ‘nice to have’ rather than a ‘must-have’ after the 2008 financial crash, the world has moved on since then. During the lockdown, health and well-being have become intrinsically linked with the environment – the dramatic improvement in air quality from travel being limited has been plain to see.

Modern and clean interiors inside Ruby Lucy

Image credit: Ruby Lucy

So what does all this mean for the design and development of hotels?

There will inevitably be a drive towards value and efficiency to reduce costs whether that is in the operation of the hotel or in how it is built.

Space and design will need to reflect new concerns about safety and sustainability and will be paramount in attracting and building a customer base. Health and wellbeing will become the new currency, not just for hotels but the entire hospitality and entertainment sector.

Cleanliness will need to be more visible as customer and client expectations will be different – could we see the return of staff in white gloves calling a lift, even temporarily? Simpler design with easy to clean surfaces will help reduce the time and cost of extra cleaning and services. And there will be a move to minimise visits to and from rooms such as more in-room dining, which may require a re-configuration of space to accommodate a suitable table.

Self-contained space such as that offered by apart-hotels will inevitably become more desirable while hotel restaurants will need to accommodate at-seat service rather than a buffet-style food offer.

The use of technology for guest and staff functions will accelerate. Already some hotels allow you to check-in online and download an electronic room key to your phone so that you can go straight to your room. Such applications can help to reduce crowding and queues in reception areas. Similarly, heating and lighting in rooms can be controlled by a phone app to reduce the need to touch switches.

Image of the interiors of the lobby inside the Marriott Hotel Park Lane

Image credit: Marriott Hotel Park Lane

Less will be more, for a time at least…

Communal areas will need to allow space for social distancing and places that can introduce discreet, well-designed safety measures such as shielding screens and hand sanitisers will no doubt be winners, particularly for higher-end hotels.

The drive to increase energy efficiency and reduce waste will make environmental concerns and the need to reduce costs in the longer-term good bedfellows.

Modern methods of construction (MMC) will no doubt prove pivotal for new builds. The construction industry has long been a creature of habit, slow to evolve, but this is the most convincing catalyst for change in more than a century and hotels will benefit.

Swift construction of a hotel is necessary so that operators can start getting a return on their investment and also respond to demand. Imagine cities with a ‘creaking’ hotel infrastructure who have won a bid to host a major event e.g. summer or winter Olympics that will attract people from all over the world, with only a few years to prepare. Over that time period, only a few conventionally constructed hotels would be completed, but with an offsite construction plan, many more will be built, leading to a far more successful build schedule and event for all involved.

“Social distancing will relax in time, but lessons will be learned and businesses will be better prepared” – Tom Bishop, Director of Project Management at Concert.

The goal is to save time and money and, of course, time translates into money. This saving also allows operators to offer customers a product of excellence at a lower price. Thanks to the factory production of rooms, operators are able to offer up to a four-star hotel at a much more reasonable price. This method saves a lot of time when building a hotel. Development time can be reduced by 35 per cent – this will off-set the increased time in traditional construction methods, which contractors are reporting are +35 per cent due to social distancing measures.

You could argue that much that is changing during this period will be temporary – how long will reception staff need to be behind Perspex? Social distancing will relax in time, but lessons will be learned and businesses will be better prepared should there be another pandemic in the future.

What this period will do is accelerate changes that were already starting to happen and this is a prime opportunity for both hotel design and construction to adapt, become more efficient and resilient.

About Concert

Concert and Bishop have worked on and delivered more than 3,000 hotel keys (three star to five star) in the UK and Europe. Concert and Bishop’s previous project experience has included Four Season’s Park Lane, The Marriott Park Lane, Canopy by Hilton (Aldgate), Staycity Aparthotels, Holiday Inn & Expresses, Hilton Green Park (refurbishment to an Iconic Luxury), ibis styles (various for Accor), Ruby Lucy on Lower Marsh Street (Waterloo), Dolce Sitges refurbishment and the re-brand of the former Ace Hotel Shoreditch. 

Concert acts as development, project and cost managers, forming the link between funder, planners, developers, its professional team and the contractors. The company manages the construction and or refurbishment of Hotels where the requirements of the developer, freeholder, funder, design team, contractor, brand and operator must be managed.

The firm understands that construction projects are complex; having the requirement to finish within a defined timeframe, with budgetary targets and involve the integration of multiple stakeholders and participants throughout the lifecycle.

Concert’s approach to Project Management is to work collaboratively with all members of the project team to minimise risk, maximise opportunity and ultimately give delivery and cost certainty throughout the project. Concert looks to provide a focal point for the project team and proactively lead and oversee all project activities ranging from planning, coordination, scheduling and cost control, to design, construction to final commissioning and handover. The firm’s approach to cost management is to undertake feasibility studies, budget appraisals, cost planning and reporting, procurement, tendering, forecasting cost to complete and project closure.

Concert is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this  three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: Concert

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 Infinity Pool at Mango House in The Seychelles

Hottest hotel openings anticipated for 2021 (Q1 & Q2)

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hottest hotel openings anticipated for 2021 (Q1 & Q2)

Concussed from 2020, Hotel Designs is 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. Editor Hamish Kilburn writes…

Render of Infinity Pool at Mango House in The Seychelles

Despite the pandemic, which temporarily brought hospitality to its knees last year, hotel construction remained strong following the prediction that the demand to travel will return in 2021. So, with that sprinkle of positivity, it’s time for us to address which hotels our editorial team believe will cause the most disruption on the international hotel design scene this year.

Moxy Austin – opening January, 2021

A clean modern guestroom

Image credit: Moxy Hotels

Following an announcement that referenced Moxy’s arrival in the Middle East, the Marriott International’s contemporary brand is slated to open a 158-key hotel in Austin, Texas, which has been designed by HKS.

The hotel is situated on the western edge of the University of Texas campus. Sited prominently on an abandoned corner lot along Guadalupe Street, referred to as “The Drag” by locals, the project is an important part of the area’s revitalisation. The massing takes its cues from the external arrival sequence – both vehicular and pedestrian – and echoes the efficient internal programming. Materials are selected based on the local Hill Country vernacular with a base of masonry and reclaimed wood at the ground floor dress the public zones, while metal panels of weathering steel wrap the guest room levels above. The masonry and wood provide a tactile experience down low, resist the abrasion and abuse expected with heavy traffic, and are representative of the community use at the ground level. The metal panels above provide a natural, ever-evolving quality. The weathering steel changes over time, symbolic of the travellers who come and go at the hotel, evolving in how they experience the building from the start of stay until the end.

Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, Curio Collection by Hilton  – opening January 2021

A render of a hotel room inside the Virgin Hotels property with views of The Strip of Las Vegas

Image credit: Virgin Hotels

With casinos slowly reopening in the entertainment capital of the world, Las Vegas is about to become the home of Virgin Hotels’ latest hotel under the Hilton by Curio Collection brand. Sheltering a staggering 1,500 rooms with no less than 12 dining venues and a 60,000 square-foot casino, the hotel is is preparing to arrive in style to ‘sin city’.

There are whispers that the Virgin Hotels, which currently operates four hotels in the USA with a further 10 properties in the pipeline, is gearing up to enter new destinations with a purpose to expand with an international portfolio – watch this space!

Nobu Residences Toronto – opening January, 2021

Conceived by award-winning architect Stephen Teeple, Nobu Residences Toronto will embody the Nobu spirit in both design and attitude.

Designated as a heritage site, the base of Nobu Residences Toronto will retain the classic brick façade of the original Pilkington Glass Factory and Art Deco elements from the early 1900s. Rising above it will be two striking towers: distinctive, modern, unforgettable. Both towers will be home to exclusive residences anchored by Toronto’s flagship Nobu Restaurant, with a signature Nobu Hotel at the top of the West Tower.

NoMad London – opening February, 2021

Located metres from Covent Garden, NoMad London will take residence inside the historic, grade II-listed building famously known as The Bow Street Magistrates’ Court and Police Station. Designed by New York-based interior design studio Roman and Williams, the transformation of the storied 19th century building draws inspiration from its history and location in Covent Garden, as well as exploring the artistic and cultural connection between London and New York.

AC Hotel Maui Wailea (Hawaii) – opening February, 2021

AC Hotel in Maui render of pool bar

Image credit: AC Hotels/Marriott International

Perfectly placed and featuring two white sand beaches, AC by Marriott Maui Wailea offers scenic views of South Maui. 110-key hotel will shelter a ‘stylish comfort’ and will be complete with an infinity pool and a restaurant serving European cuisine, among other amenities.

W Nashville – opening in February, 2021

In true W style, ready to cause disruption to conventional hotel design and hospitality, W Nashville is set to take the stage in the heart of The Gulch. “Striking the music city chord,” the hotel is expected to open with curated local tunes, garden-to-glass cocktails and welcoming communal spaces. “Expect the unexpected” is how the brand is teasing this special 346-key arrival, with a high-energy urban experience paired with our Whatever / Whenever® approach to hospitality and Southern comfort you can expect in downtown Nashville.

Four Seasons Resort and Residences Napa Valley – opening in March, 2021

Located in the charming community of Calistoga, the next addition to the diverse Four Seasons California Collection will include wine country’s first Four Seasons resort with an on-site winery and vineyard, in partnership with Thomas Rivers Brown. Featuring 85 luxurious accommodations designed by Erin Martin, two outdoor pools, and a distinctive wellness-focused spa concept, Spa Talisa, the property will also introduce the highly anticipated TRUSS Restaurant and Bar led by Michelin starred Chef Erik Anderson.

NoCo London – opening Q1, 2021

The wait is over! Three years since plans were unveiled for the new budget lifestyle hotel arriving in London, NoCo London is about to makes it debut. NoCo hotels, established by Enismore, is described as “a collection created with clued up travellers and inquisitive locals in mind.” Promised to be “never overpriced, never underwhelming,” NoCo arrives in the capital to prove that budget doesn’t have to be boring. We can’t wait to check in!

Mango House, Seychelles, LXR Hotels and Resorts – opening in Q1, 2021

Render of infinity pool in LXR hotel in the Seychelles

Image credit: LXR

As travellers seek solitude in remote places away from the crowds, Indian Ocean destinations will remain firmly at the top of travel bucket-lists. Originally built as a family dwelling, Mango House Seychelles features 41 immaculately designed guest rooms in a remote and private location. Set to open early 2021, the exclusive resort will give guests breath-taking views of the Indian Ocean and is the perfect spot to explore Mahé’s white sandy beaches and kaleidoscope of flora and fauna. With sustainable travel now topping the agenda for large numbers of guests, the Seychelles offers a year-round holiday sanctuary for the world’s most discerning travellers.

NoCo hotels is a collection created with clued up travellers and inquisitive locals in mind. Never overpriced, never underwhelming, NoCo sets out to prove that budget doesn’t have to be boring.

Since you’re here, why not read more about how astronauts and designers are working to create a hotel in space?

Six Senses Ibiza – opening Q2, 2021

The Six Senses hotel Pool in Ibiza

Image credit: Six Senses

With the aim to “dance to the beat of a new mantra,” Six Senses Ibiza will shelter a transformative wellness experience designed to nourish the body, mind and soul. The tranquil northern tip of Ibiza on crystalline Cala Xarraca Bay, with unobstructed westerly sunset views, is the inspiring setting for the new hotel, which will feature. The 134 guest accommodations include townhouses, pool suites and beach cave units set on a 25-acre (10-hectare).

St. Regis Bermuda Resort & Residences – opening Q2, 2021

Establishing image of the St Regis hotel in Bermuda

Image credit: St. Regis

An exquisite Atlantic debut, the St. Regis brand is about the arrive in Bermuda. Once completed, St Regis Bermuda Resort, with has been developed by Hotelco and designed by OBMI Design, is said to become the most exclusive and luxurious development on the island.

Main image credit: LXR

Image of lobby inside TRIBE hotel

Accor enters into exclusive negotiations with Ennismore

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Accor enters into exclusive negotiations with Ennismore

With the two brands working as one, the lifestyle entity is set to become the largest and fastest growing global player, with 12 world-class brands under their umbrella…

Accor and Ennismore, both award-winning hotel brands, have started exclusive negotiations to form the world’s leading lifestyle operator in the hospitality sector, with a clear focus on one of the fastest growing segments of the industry.

Image of lobby inside TRIBE hotel

Through this all-share merger, a new autonomous and fully asset light entity will bring together an unrivalled portfolio of world class brands, including The Hoxton, Gleneagles, Delano, SLS, Mondrian, SO/, Hyde, Mama Shelter, 25hours, 21c Museum Hotels, TRIBE, JO&JOE and Working From_. The new entity will be headquartered in London and will take the name Ennismore.

Image credit: Gleneagles

“The combined entity will comprise 12 brands with 73 hotels.”

Sharan Pasricha, Founder and CEO of Ennismore and Gaurav Bhushan, CEO of the Accor Lifestyle division will become Co-CEOs of the combined entity, alongside an experienced, highly skilled and international management team coming from the various brands and industries across the globe. Accor will be the majority shareholder of the new entity, with Sharan Pasricha holding a substantial minority position.

“Over the last nine years, our mission with Ennismore has always been creating hospitality brands that inspire discovery,” Pasricha explained. “I’m passionate about how brands make you feel, from the personalised digital experience to the design, and with an incredible team of operators and creatives around me, we have expanded The Hoxton across the globe; reimagined Gleneagles; and crafted unique restaurant and bar concepts. This exciting autonomous entity with Accor – one with culture and brand purpose at its heart – allows us to come together to build on our combined portfolio of unique lifestyle brands, accelerate our growth and explore new markets.”

Image credit: Hoxton Southwark

At its inception, the combined entity will comprise 12 brands with 73 hotels in operation with a committed pipeline of more than 110 hotels and another c. 70 hotels under active discussion, and more than 150 destination restaurant and bars. Based on the current network and pipeline the lifestyle platform should achieve an EBITDA of over c. €100m by midterm, the project resulting in significant cost synergies of approximately €15m per year.

In order to form this joint venture, Accor intends to buy out its partners in sbe (see dedicated release by Accor), Mama Shelter and 25hours. The planned combination also envisages the formation of a new company which will hold all the leased assets under the combined entity’s brands. The deconsolidation of the existing leases will have a €52m positive effect on Accor’s consolidated net debt in 2020.

A quirky twin bedroom inside Mama Shelter Lille

Image credit: Mama Shelter Lille

Gaurav Bhushan, CEO of Accor’s Lifestyle operations said: “Joining forces with Sharan and Ennismore’s talented teams will be a major step in Accor’s development strategy. With this combination, we are putting together an unrivalled portfolio of unique brands that appeals to owners, partners and guests, supported by the greatest set of talents in the industry, state of the art distribution and tools and a common ambition to continue to grow and innovate. I very much look forward to our journey together.

Sébastien Bazin, Chairman & CEO of Accor added: “Lifestyle, entertainment, places with a soul have been at the heart of our development and growth strategy over the last years. Partnering with Ennismore’s founder Sharan and his great teams will take our Lifestyle ambition to a new and exciting level. With this combination, we are leading the hospitality industry by creating the largest and fastest growing ecosystem of world class brands. Lifestyle is a sector fueled by passionate and daring entrepreneurs, constantly pushing the boundaries of a reinvented vision of travelling the world. I am proud Accor has been able to join forces with many of the most creative and talented ones. This new powerful combination is set to become the engine of our exciting future growth. “

Under the leadership of Pasricha and Bhushan, each brand will retain their unique culture and purpose, supported by dedicated teams and with the full support of their founders, including the Trigano family, founders of Mama Shelter; Christoph Hoffman, founder of 25 Hours; Sam Nazarian, founder of sbe; Laura Lee Brown and Steve Wilson for 21C, and Melissa and Mark Peters for TRIBE.

This new, unified and powerful venture will benefit from an in-house global creative studio, designing award-winning interiors and brand communication; an expert digital and technology team innovating the guest experience; and a team of restaurant and bar specialists crafting unique concepts rooted in their neighbourhoods.

Accor’s Lifestyle operations today represent c.5 per cent of Accor’s fees and more than 25 per cent of the pipeline fees. Growth will be accelerated, building on a strong footprint in Europe and the U.S., and a rapidly expanding presence in Asia Pacific, the Middle East and South America supported by Accor’s development teams.

Closing is expected to occur in the first semester of 2021 and is subject to the employee consultation process and customary regulatory authorisations for projects of this type.

Main image credit: Accor

A render of a guestroom inside a former jail

How would you design the most haunted hotel in the UK?

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
How would you design the most haunted hotel in the UK?

Slated to open in February 2021, The Bodmin Jail Hotel is expected to make a haunted entrance onto the UK hospitality scene. But how will the modern hotel’s design scheme follow a narrative that dates back to the 18th century? Editor Hamish Kilburn investigates…

A render of a guestroom inside a former jail

Nestled in the heart of Cornwall you’ll find a the foundations of a luxury hotel unlike anything else in the Britain. When it opens in 2021, The Bodmin Jail Hotel will be a place that intertwines the history of an 18th century prison with creative, contemporary design to introduce a memorable hotel experience.

Exterior of Bodmin Jail Hotel

For most of its life it was used as a debtor’s prison, until 1869 when imprisonment for debt was abolished. From 1887, the Royal Navy occupied an entire wing, and it was also used to house the Crowne Jewels during WWI.

After thousands of people had passed through its doors, the jail was finally closed in 1927. Now nearly 100 years later, the building is being brought back to life and remembered as a historic landmark.

A render of a contemporary restaurant inside Bodmin Jail Hotel

Image credit: Bodmin Jail Hotel

55 executions took place within the building’s formidable walls, for crimes such as rape, murder and stealing. Most of these executions were viewed by the public, and thousands would travel specially to witness the hangings. The last person taken to the gallows was William Hampton, who in July 1909 paid the ultimate price for taking the life of his 17-year-old girlfriend; he was also the last man to be hung in Cornwall.

The Bodmin Jail now encapsulates a contemporary hotel. The guestrooms, which feature modern touchpoints including a flat screen TV and free Wi-Fi, have been created by combining three cells, utilising their original features.

A cross section render of a guestroom inside Bodmin Jail Hotel

Image credit: Bodmin Jail Hotel

The guestrooms weave together original jail features with contemporary design to create a cosy, luxurious environment that strikes a delicate balance between old and new. The weathered stone walls and the stories they hold create the perfect backdrop. Complete with luxury details such as free-standing baths, walk-in showers and sumptuous bedding, every element of the hotel has been designed to offer ultimate comfort and luxury, creating the perfect setting for an enchanting escape.

A render of a bathroom inside Bodmin Jail Hotel

Image credit: Bodmin Jail Hotel

When guests step out of their rooms into the walkways, they will be captivated by the glass ceiling that creates a magical central space. From here, guests can easily explore the rugged beauty of Bodmin Moor, wander the sandy beaches of the North and South coastlines, or delve into the delights of Padstow or Fowey.

Main image credit: The Bodmin Jail Hotel

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

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

Hotel Designs LIVE: speakers & sessions announced

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel Designs LIVE: speakers & sessions announced

Designers, architects, hoteliers and developers can attend Hotel Designs LIVE for free on October 13, 2020…

Following the success of our first ever virtual conference, Hotel Designs LIVE is back on October 13, complete with new sessions and speakers.

Hotel Designs LIVE was born out of the idea to keep the industry connected and the conversation flowing during the lockdown period following the spread of Covid-19 coronavirus. However, considering the noise the virtual conference created, the team at Hotel Designs have decided to return with part two. “The aim of this event on October 13 is to look beyond today’s pandemic in order to find real solutions for designers, hoteliers, architects and developers,” explains editor Hamish Kilburn who will host the virtual event. “To do this meaningfully, we have invited industry experts from around the world to sit on our virtual sofa.”

If you are designers, architect, hotelier or developer, click here to secure your complimentary seat in the audience.

On the agenda

 

In addition to the live interviews and panel discussions with handpicked industry experts – and to ensure that the event is aptly bridging the gap between hospitality suppliers and designers, architects, hoteliers and developers – the conference also included structured ‘PRODUCT WATCH’ pitches around each session, allowing suppliers the opportunity to pitch their products and services in a ‘live’ environment to the hospitality buyers that are tuned in.

If you are a designer, architect, hotelier  or developer and would like to secure your complimentary seats in the audience, click here.

If you are a supplier to the hotel design industry and would like to promote your latest product or services to the Hotel Designs LIVE audience, please contact Katy Phillips via email or call +44 (0)1992 374050.

Aberdeen project trials NASA technology to purify air

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Aberdeen project trials NASA technology to purify air

A leading Aberdeen accommodation provider has become the first in its sector to trial an innovative system which uses technology developed for NASA to achieve the highest levels of hygiene and cleanliness…

City centre-based Skene House Serviced Apartments is currently trialling the innovative Room to Breathe cleaning process from Glasgow-based Insite Group as an additional level of cleanliness to maximise guest reassurance.

The ground-breaking, multi-step system is believed to be the only one of its kind and uses technology originally developed by NASA to purify air and apply antimicrobial coatings to surfaces.  Using non-toxic and environmentally friendly processes, Room to Breathe almost completely eliminates allergens, mould, germs, influenza, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and odours.  Testing and swabbing in collaboration with experts Andersen Caledonia ensure targeted application of the system, and the highest levels of confidence.

Charles Skene of Skene House Serviced Apartments said: “Delivering services of the very highest standard, including cleanliness, has always been central to what we do but it is important to constantly seek new ways of raising the bar and enhancing the customer experience.

Image credit: Room to Breath with Skene Group

“As lockdown eases, guests and clients are looking for as much safety and certainty as possible to increase their travel confidence, and we feel that the partnership of Room to Breathe’s innovative system and Andersen Caledonia’s testing protocol provides that.

“We were delighted to receive confirmation of the effectiveness of our own cleaning regime which, coupled with the installation of the Room to Breathe system, means that we really are good to go.”

“Being the first hospitality provider in Scotland to offer this service was irresistible.  It offers an augmentation of the deep clean and disinfection protocol that has been the standard hospitality ‘go to’ for reopening.  We are delighted that the test results evidence that we are a safe environment, the application of Biotouch prevents contact transmission via surfaces that guests come into contact with and the strategic placement of the sanifiers throughout the serviced apartments and public area delivers protection from airborne contaminants.”=

Gordon Bruce from Room to Breathe added: “The system initially came about to create a hypoallergenic room experience in the hospitality sector, spearheaded by the contaminants found in indoor environments.  At the beginning, it was seen as an opportunity for those who suffer from allergies or have immunity issues to buy a room which would match their needs and give them peace of mind.

“However, Covid-19 increased people’s awareness of the dangers that are present and, because our products kill Coronavirus and the system can work in any indoor environment, the interest in what we do has been significantly greater.”

Skene House Serviced Apartments is a locally-owned, independent and family-run enterprise.  It operates 49 four-star residences at Whitehall, 46 apartments at Rosemount and 35 suites at Holburn, all with free parking.  When Skene House was created in the 1970s, it was believed to be the first accommodation of its kind in the UK to offer fully serviced suites with hotel concierge service.

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

Main image credit: Skene House

FIRST LOOK: 2020 Outdoor Collection by Minotti

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
FIRST LOOK: 2020 Outdoor Collection by Minotti

Borders between the indoors and outdoors cease to exist in the 2020 Outdoor Collection by Minotti, which was marvellously coordinated by Rodolfo Dordoni. Editor Hamish Kilburn shares his first peek of the collection…

Long before the pandemic disrupted our social lives, the industry had identified a rising interest in open-air living.

A demand for biophillic design, combined with a desire to explore new sustainable approaches and materials to evoke wellbeing, opened the door so that designers could flirt with nature to design innovative spaces.

Minotti, very much a pioneer behind changing the definition of premium outdoor furniture, has used this approach for some time now in its designs for furnishing open-air areas. The brand realised early on that spaces with an inviting, relaxing vibe – whether they are corners of urban nature, exteriors nestled in the lush green landscape or overlooking the tranquil waters – evoke a natural sense of luxury and escape.

The 2020 Outdoor Collection develops these principles with targeted design proposals, which originate from different design cultures but are conceived to co-exist in a harmonious dialogue. It focuses on the independence of the individual pieces, each with its own identity and original personality, but also with the versatility required to design compositions that can furnish large spaces, and to be mixed with other elements of different styles from the 2020 Outdoor Collection.

The collection, coordinated by Rodolfo Dordoni with Minotti Studio, hosts pieces by leading international designers, such as GamFratesi, Marcio Kogan / studio mk27 and Dordoni himself. The outdoor furniture pieces are based on the main geometric shapes – square, rectangle, circle -, one of the characterising features of the 2020 Indoor Collection. The couture aspect, another leitmotiv of Minotti’s interior design projects, can be found in the sophisticated juxtaposition of the materials, in the choice of precious natural wood types, in the exquisite finishes, the textures and the tactile feel of the textile coverings.

Statement pieces of the 2020 Outdoor Collection, coordinated by Rodolfo Dordoni with Minotti Studio, include:

Sunray – Rodolfo Dordoni Design

Lifestyle shot featuring Minotti sofas outside

Image credit: Minotti

Sunray designs a new, open-air landscape where exquisite design and carefully researched comfort join forces to create an intimate, relaxing atmosphere. With its enveloping design, the Sunray seating system is inspired by the desire to design situations that convey a sensation of intimacy and relaxation, in line with the concept of open-air living that imitates the comfort and beauty of indoor furnishing solutions.I

It is designed both to play a leading role in outdoor settings and to complement the other furnishing pieces in the collection.
It juxtaposes different shapes and materials: its airy surface in natural teak wood defines its horizontal line, while the curved backrest with interwoven cords gives it a dynamic allure.

The system, composed of pieces that can be used alone or combined together, offers a variety of compositional solutions thanks to the high versatility of its elements. The family is composed of armchair, sofa, end element with or without extending top, chaise-longue, loveseat, daybed with reclining backrest, and square and rectangular coffee tables.

Sunray Meg – Rodolfo Dordoni

Simple coffee table next to outdoor minotti sofa

Image credit: Minotti

With a simple and clean design but a vibrant personality, the Sunray Meg coffee tables add a distinctive splash of colour to outdoor settings.
The Sunray Meg family hosts a series of versatile, practical coffee tables in various sizes and heights that blend in perfectly with the most diverse compositions of the Outdoor collection.

The simple, airy design of the metal tubular structure in polished Bronze finish allows for its combination with all the products in the collection. Its distinctive feature is the colour of the top in stratified HPL laminate, available in glossy lacquered White, Rust and Khaki Green finishes, blending in seamlessly with the palette of the outdoor textile collection.

EDITOR’S PICK: Florida – Rodolfo Dordoni

Luxury outdoor minotti sofa on terrace

Image credit: Minotti

Natural teak is the wood chosen for Florida to complement the mood of the 2020 Collection and design living compositions blurring the boundaries between indoors and outdoors.

The wide range of elements in Florida allows for the creation of many linear or sinuous compositions that meet the increasingly common need to enjoy smaller, more intimate spaces, as well as convivial spaces also in outdoor environments.

The seating system presents itself as a carefully-designed collection of soft and geometric volumes, defined by profiles in eco-leather suitable for outdoor use, available in four colours – Light Grey, Dark Grey, Brown and Sand. The structure of Florida is in metal, appropriately treated to resist corrosion, and it is immersed in a foam padding, then covered in waterproof fibre and fabric, making it weatherproof.

The Florida coffee table features feet in solid natural teak wood and a top with shaped edge in Pietra del Cardoso, in a brushed finish. Due to its mineral composition, Pietra del Cardoso is exceptionally compact and extremely weatherproof.
The backrest cushions are attached to the wooden rear supports thanks to refined Pewter coloured metal frog fasteners, allowing for the quick release of the cushions and consequently an easy removal of the coverings. The feet are made of solid natural teak wood, as are the rear reinforcements that support the padded backrest.

Fynn Outdoor – GamFratesi

Low reclined outdoor chairs by Minotti

Image credit: Minotti

In Fynn, Scandinavian values meet Italian tradition. A contemporary design for outdoor spaces in teak wood, crafted with fine cabinet-making workmanship.

With a completely innovative approach, the fine cabinet-making process used for the manufacturing of outdoor wooden furniture is applied to a family of outdoor furnishing pieces in solid teak, combining sophisticated workmanship with an ultra-contemporary design.

Characterised by an interwoven frame that hosts soft seat and backrest cushions, Fynn has in the armrest its signature element.
Elongated and slightly curved, rounded and smooth to the touch, it is completely handmade: its precise, well-defined line identifies the entire family, composed of armchair, lounge and dining little armchairs, benches, footstools, coffee tables in different sizes and a dining table.

The Fynn Outdoor armchair and little armchairs feature a distinctive ultra-lightweight aesthetic with a simple structure in teak. The frame is interwoven with wicker-effect cords in Mud colour, hosting a padded seat and backrest cushion, designed as a single element. The informal rigour with which Fynn Outdoor hosts the padded element designs a comfortable seat.

The bench completes the family. Its cushions sit on a frame interwoven with wicker-effect cords in Mud colour.
The coffee tables also share the same line as the wooden armrest, which designs a slight curve also found in the rounded sides of the top. The central part of the coffee table is enhanced by the presence of the top in Pietra del Cardoso, creating a sophisticated combination of materials.

Daiki Outdoor – Marcio Kogan/studio mk27

The low-level Daiki outdoor chair by Minotti

Image credit: Minotti

The Daiki seats, born out of the Brazilian architect’s passion for Japanese culture, go outdoors, where the open-air space is conceived and experienced as an extension of the indoor living area: a veritable tribute to Japanese design culture.
The Daiki family includes armchairs with a deep seat, available both with and without arms, a dining little armchair and a footstool.

Created using sophisticated wood crafting techniques, the curved shell in solid teak comprises two elements joined at a 45° angle, with a sloping backrest that guarantees maximum comfort. In the outdoor version the shell offers a snug fit for the stitched cushions, and is set on a stainless-steel frame with Bronze-coloured varnished polished legs.

A design that also explores and reinterprets the American Mid-Century atmospheres, injecting new life into the style of contemporary outdoor furnishing with its clean, bold lines, exquisite teak working technique and balanced proportions.

Block Outdoor – Rodolfo Dordoni

Luxe white Minotti table

Image credit: Minotti

With its sculptural look and frame in solid wood inspired by Brutalist architecture, Block Outdoor stands out for its big personality.
Structured in the form of a block of solid wood, the base of the Outdoor version of the Block coffee table retains its solid volume in the shape of an “L” or an upside-down “T”, but it is proposed in natural teak.

The top, with smooth edges resembling a river pebble, and tactile finish, is available in Pietra del Cardoso or with a plastic look in White glossy lacquer plastic finish.

The Block Outdoor coffee table is available in two different heights, both with rectangular top.

Avery – Minotti Studio

Patterend rug by Minotti

Image credit: Minotti

With its modern vibe and reassuring, sophisticated colour, the Avery rug elegantly furnishes outdoor spaces. The Avery rug stands out for its woven mesh structure, made with special looms that are exclusively custom-engineered for Minotti. It is the result of a semi-artisanal crafting process, which involves assembling strips of material sewn with high tenacity yarn. The acrylic fibre used to make it respects and enhances its characteristics of permeability, breathability and suitability for humid environments.

In conclusion, by using the same designers and styles in both areas of the 2020 collection, Minotti and the masterful designers behind each piece have further blurred the line between indoor and outdoor furniture, and in the process have taken luxury furniture into a new era.

Main image credit: Minotti

How hotels are keeping sustainability front and centre

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
How hotels are keeping sustainability front and centre

To celebrate sustainability in practice, Hotel Designs asks Paisley Hansen to investigate what hotels are doing today in order to preserve tomorrow…

Everyone strives to be as kind to the environment as they can and hotels are no exception. As a matter of fact, with the amount of traffic they receive, hotels going green has been a significant inspiration for other businesses to follow suit.

To keep up with changing times, hotels have implemented many environmentally-friendly practices.

Utilising the power of the sun

There’s no doubt about it–solar energy is hot. If you’ve ever received a money-saving solar quote, or switched over yourself, you know how well it works. Hotels have made the same choice and decided it’s worth their while to invest in eco-friendly energy sources. Solar power is a no-brainer and it’s smart business to implement it now.

Image credit: Pixabay

Doing less laundry

Years ago when you’d book a hotel, you would get clean sheets and towels each day. Many hotels are now frowning on this wasteful practice, unless you specifically request it. Towels can be left to dry and reused the next day. This uses less water, detergent and saves the hotel money.

Lathering up in Bulk

Remember when you were a kid and hotels had all those fun little amenities? Although people loved to collect miniature bars of soap and tiny shampoo bottles, many hotels have opted to install bulk shampoo and soap dispensers. This is popular in Europe where each shower contains a press container that releases gel to be used as shampoo and body wash. These containers mean less packaging and plastic waste.

Economical lighting solutions

Hotels are changing the way they provide lighting to reduce their carbon footprint. Many have decided to install LED lighting throughout the property. You may also come across motion sensor lights that turn on as you walk down a hallway, much like what you see in a supermarket freezer section. You may even find these upon entering your room, which is a big help if you check in after hours.

Image credit: Pixabay

Watching waste

Many hotels offer a continental breakfast and the patrons love the money they save on a meal. In the past, a lot of trash was generated by the use of paper cups and plates, so now, many hotels use glass dishes and coffee mugs with a tub to collect dirty dishes. This reduces an incredible amount of trash. Hotels are also placing recyclable bins around the property to collect plastic, metal and glass items, so don’t throw them in your regular trash can!

Going Chameleon

In many parts of the world, you’ll find hotels that are virtual chameleons. What this means is that they blend in seamlessly with their surroundings for many specific reasons. These hotels have made a conscious decision not to mar the landscape and instead, keep the area looking pristine. This practice is also animal-friendly as it doesn’t disturb, or interfere, with the rhythm of wildlife in the area.

Recycling water

Along with doing less laundry, more hotels are opting to save water through a process called greywater recycling. This procedure allows lightly used water, such as that used in showers or sinks, to be reused again for non-drinking purposes like irrigation or toilet flushing. Other hotels worldwide also collect and reuse rainwater in much the same manner.

Cleaning with a conscience

All these improvements sound wonderful, but what happens at the hotel when you’re not there? Green practices are now taking place at hotels behind the scenes, as well. That’s where environmentally-friendly cleaning products come into play. Hotels no longer feel that they need to use harsh, caustic chemicals when cleaning rooms. Many products have been developed that are made of lemon, vinegar and plant-based sources that still kill germs and sanitise rooms.

It’s everyone’s responsibility

Environmentally-friendly practices in hotels are becoming the norm, as they well should. From solar energy, to water recycling and protecting natural habitats, looking for better options is everyone’s responsibility. Using hotels as an example, find out how you can live greener in your own home.

Main image credit: Pixabay

Hotel Designs LIVE: Technology’s role in tomorrow’s hotel with Jason Bradbury

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel Designs LIVE: Technology’s role in tomorrow’s hotel with Jason Bradbury

On June 23, Hotel Designs hosted its first ever virtual conference. To kickstart Hotel Designs LIVE, sponsored by Technological Innovations Group, editor Hamish Kilburn welcomed tech influencer and the former presenter of The Gadget Show Jason Bradbury to discuss technology’s role in tomorrow’s hotel…

Following a warm welcome from editor Hamish Kilburn to officially launch Hotel Designs LIVE – and quick-fire Q&A round with the event’s headline partner, Technological Innovations Group – Jason Bradbury made a dramatic entrance, on a hover board (we wouldn’t expect anything less). The former presenter of The Gadget Show, who has built an international career as a futurology and tech-trends corporate speaker, took the microphone to start the conference’s debut session entitled: Technology’s role in tomorrow’s hotel.

“The last 10 weeks have defined the next 10 years of innovation.” – Jason Bradbury

Sponsored by Hamilton Litestat, the session started by Bradbury suggesting that the current coronavirus crisis  – and indeed all cultural changes in the past – opened up an opportunity for new technology to be utilised in the hotel experience. Using the case study of Bainland Park, which is a luxury escape just a few miles from his home in Lincoln, Bradbury explained how the resort is redesigning its concept to dissolve the conventional public areas altogether. “Bainland Park is completely self-sufficient, ideal for the post-corona consumer, and the architecture and design really does set the scene,” he said. “Before lockdown, the owners were intending to renovate the public areas. However, as a result of the pandemic, and the change of consumer demands, they are now eliminating the the communal areas completely. What’s most interesting is that this change has been driven in the last 10 weeks alone.”

“Technology that offer peace of mind and wellbeing are going to be central to the buying experience from consumers.” – Jason Bradbury

Another case study that Bradbury referred to when predicting technology’s role in the future hotel experience was Eccleston Square, a tech-savvy  boutique gem that sits in the heart of London. With the aim being to understand where technology is heading in hotel design, in 2019, Hotel Designs asked Bradbury to review the hotel 30 years in the future. “The technology in Eccleston Square is almost invisible, if you exclude the media lounge,” he explained, “which results in a seamless experience for the guests. However, post-pandemic, I wonder if in the future we are going to see more overt instances of technology [when it comes to cleaning], because that will make us feel safer as consumers.

During the seminar, Hotel Designs LIVE featured a PRODUCT WATCH segment, which allowed the audience to hear from key-industry suppliers within within the technology sphere to ultimately find out about the latest innovations and products that have appeared on the hotel design scene recently.

Below is the full seminar (in two parts), with PRODUCT WATCH pitches from Hamilton Litestat, Technological Innovations Group, NT Security, Air Revive and Aqualisa.

In part two (see below), Bradbury continued to explore, through technology lenses, what he believes will likely be the hotel of the future. In addition, he answered some tough questions on which piece of technology he believes should never have been invited, what tech item he simply cannot live without and how long he could go living without technology…

Born in the chaotic realms of the coronavirus crisis, Hotel Designs LIVE, sponsored by Technology Innovations Group, is Hotel Designs’ way to simply, meaningfully and virtually keep the industry connected while keeping the conversation flowing. Bradbury’s future-gazing session, where he predicted technology’s evolution in the hotel experience, kickstarted a full day of insightful talks and panel discussions on topics such as Public Areas, Sleep and Wellness, which will all be published shortly.

CASE STUDY: How Page8 Hotel has made its air cleaner

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
CASE STUDY: How Page8 Hotel has made its air cleaner

The ‘new normal’ in hospitality and hotel design will largely revolve and evolve from a demand for clean environments, which goes beyond wipe-clean surfaces, as Page8 Hotel has learned after installing Blueair purifiers…

In a YouGov survey commissioned by leading air purification brand Blueair, it was found that there is consumer demand for clean air hotels, with 54 per cent of Brits considering air quality to be important when choosing a hotel.

Prior to the government-stipulated lockdown, Page8 had begun its soft launch and was on the front foot thanks to its status as the first ‘clean air’ hotel in central London, a title it claimed by placing a Blueair air purifier in all 138 rooms.

Experts from the Swedish brand Blueair tested the difference in air quality before and after using an air purifier in the rooms of Page8 Hotel. Thanks to the efficiency of Blueair’s unique HepaSilent™ filtration technology, airborne particles were reduced by 96 per cent after using an air purifier for only one hour, making the air in the hotel rooms as pure as the Swedish Archipelago.

Philip Chan, Project Development Manager of Butterfly Hospitality Group explains why Page8 has opted for air purifiers and the importance of clean air for both guests and hoteliers alike.

Every little thing we do is to improve the experience of our guests – even if this is invisible.

Air quality is directly related to the quality of our health and environment. After a long day of activities, Page8 which is located in the heart of London, welcomes urban explorers back to the hotel with the purest air, detoxing them from the pollution of the city and providing a hygienic, clean environment for a quality night’s sleep. All 138 rooms, from single to family rooms, are equipped with a Blueair air purifier to ensure our guests are breathing the purest air throughout their stay.

Our urban explorers travel with a health-concerned state of mind.

By partnering with the best air purifier brand in the world, Page8 promises to provide the best indoor air quality for guests. A cozy well-designed hotel room is essential for a pleasurable trip, while breathing clean air in the room is an added value which is not commonly offered to guests of a hotel. Given now the world’s pandemic, we wish to provide the best confidence to our guests that we are dedicated to providing sanitised rooms with the best possible air quality resulting in less germs. Using a Blueair air purifier that removes airborne pollutants will go a long way towards helping our guests stay healthy by breathing cleaner air.

A great night’s sleep is everything.

Breathing pure air definitely improves your sleep quality and helps you to relax in a new sleeping environment. Blueair works so quietly that you can enjoy the best air quality without even hearing it. We aim to provide every guest with the best night’s sleep in the heart of London.

Page8 Hotel opted for Blueair’s Blue Pure 411 air purifiers. Based on Blueair’s proprietary HepaSilent™ technology, these air purifiers remove at least 99.97 per cent of airborne particles as small as 0.1 microns in size from the air. These compact air purifiers effectively clean the air while taking up little space and the colourful pre-filters can be changed to suit the décor of any hotel room!

Blueair is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this  three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: Blueair

In (Lockdown) Conversation With: Robert Whitfield, GM of The Dorchester

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In (Lockdown) Conversation With: Robert Whitfield, GM of The Dorchester

With the UK hospitality industry drastically adjusting its strategy during lockdown, Hotel Designs takes the opportunity to re-connect with one of the world’s most prestigious hotel brands, Dorchester Collection. Editor Hamish Kilburn speaks to Robert Whitfield, the brand’s Regional Director (UK) & General Manager of The Dorchester

For centuries, Mayfair’s leafy Park Lane has been the epicentre of London’s luxury hospitality scene. At present, though, the streets are bare and the extravagant entrances into opulent lobbies and extraordinary lifestyles remain (for the time being at least) sealed shut – and its not the kind of lock-in one is familiar with.

Among the five-star (currently empty) shells stretched along the east side of Hyde Park is The Dorchester, an iconic place that really does define its destination. Since its grand opening in 1931 – the same year the Empire State Building was completed in New York – the hotel, designed by architects William Curtis Green and Sir Owen Williams, has been setting new standards in premium hospitality.

89 years from when the famous doors first opened, the hotel stands majestically as ever having adapted sensitively to meet the demands of modern luxury travellers while also retaining its illustrious character. However, it, along with the rest of the hospitality industry, is facing unprecedented times, as the COVID–19 pandemic sends hospitality into paralysation.

To learn more about what the hotel is doing during lockdown, as well as celebrating its recent successes, I speak to the man at the helm, Robert Whitfield, who is the Regional Director UK of Dorchester Collection and General Manager of The Dorchester.

Hamish Kilburn: Robert, can you tell us a bit more about how The Dorchester is coping during the global health crisis, and how are you staying connected with your community?

Robert Whitfield: There is no denying that the global crisis has hit everyone hard, and sadly the hospitality industry is one of the worst to be affected. However, what it has re-affirmed for me is the true connection our team members have, keeping morale high and each other in good spirits. If you work in hospitality you have a natural instinct to want to be around people and make them feel at home, it’s in our DNA. So, we have channelled that passion into further helping our community.

Image caption: The living room inside the Harlequin at The Dorchester-

Image caption: The living room inside the Harlequin at The Dorchester

The Dorchester is very proud to have established an ongoing partnership with Manorfield Primary School in East London, working closely with pupils and staff on a number of initiatives since 2019, including helping raise funds to go towards developing their learning kitchen and donating furniture for areas of the school. As part of our continued partnership and as a response to the current global health crisis, we are providing chefs from The Dorchester’s staff restaurant to cook for the faculty and children of parents who are part of the essential workforce. We are also offering recipe classes to the pupils of the school to help keep them engaged and interested in cooking.

Every evening, The Dorchester illuminates in bright blue as a ‘thank you’ to the NHS and essential workers. Employees of The Dorchester, 45 Park Lane, and Coworth Park have pledged their support to the NHS and are assisting in the donation and distribution of food and necessary supplies to those impacted by COVID-19.

Image caption: During the COVID–19 pandemic, The Dorchester illuminates in bright blue each evening as a nod and ‘thank you’ to the NHS and essential workers

Executive chef Stefan Trepp and executive pastry chef Daniel Texter, along with chefs Jordan Champions and Sanjam Nagpal, handcrafted Easter Eggs for distribution amongst patients and staff of Great Ormond Street Hospital to help them celebrate the Easter weekend.

Dorchester Collection has also donated £25,000 on behalf of its UK hotels to Hospitality Action, a non-profit who supports hospitality workers who are in need and to help feed their families. Several colleagues have also signed up to the Golden Friends scheme via Hospitality Action and are making regular check-in calls to hospitality retirees in isolation due to the crisis.

Image caption: The living room inside The Dorchester's Terrace Penthouse

Image caption: The elegant living room that captures a unique London skyline vista inside The Dorchester’s Terrace Penthouse

HK: How do you stay connected to guests when they aren’t able to physically come to visit the hotels?

RW: Several of our team members have fostered great relationships with our guests over the years and are in regular contact with them via calls and email. We are also engaged with our most loyal guests to keep them in touch with news and updates from the hotel.

One of the best ways for us to stay connected to our guests after they have stayed with us is through our social media platforms. We are transferring our team’s talents online, showcasing our chef’s recipes and how-to’s, as-well-as expert tips from our sommelier or florist. This is a fun way for our social community to still see the smiley faces of some of our team members and hopefully learn a thing or two.

Quick-fire round:

HK: What is your favourite luxury item that you own?
RW:
My MGB sports car

HK: What was the last hotel you stayed in and what was the purpose of the trip?
RW:
The Pendry in San Diego meeting up with my kids for the Presidents Day Holiday weekend.

HK: In three words, can you describe the Dorchester Collection family?
RW:
Caring, passionate, fun-loving! 

HK: What superpower would make your job easier?
RW:
Teleporting.

HK: Why is Britain such a hub for luxury hotels?

RW: The hospitality sector contributes hugely to the British economy, with the hotel industry in particular a significant contributing factor. The growth of the hotel market over the last few years here, and indeed looking at what’s to come over the next couple of years, clearly demonstrates how important Britain, and London in particular, is a world class destination for leisure and business travellers.

“You also cannot deny that certain charm Britain has, which lends itself perfectly to hotels at the luxury end of the market.” – Robert Whitfield, Regional Director UK & General Manager of The Dorchester.

It makes sense, then, that some of the world’s most renowned luxury hotel brands are opening their doors in Britain. You also cannot deny that certain charm Britain has, which lends itself perfectly to hotels at the luxury end of the market – travellers are drawn to the rich history and heritage of a quintessentially British experience. Combine that with the fact that Britain occupies a vibrant position on the world stage and it’s a winning destination for the luxury traveller.

It is not just London at the forefront of luxury hospitality; across the country you have the best hotels in the world. Coworth Park in Ascot celebrates its 10 year anniversary this year and from the moment it opened became one of the world’s best country house hotels and remains at the top a decade later.

HK: How does The Dorchester differentiate luxury on the London hotel scene?

RW: There are many hotels that claim to provide the best in luxury, whether it’s the biggest pool, or most expensive wine list, but for The Dorchester our definition of luxury is: service. How do you feel when you come to stay with us? How can we go above and beyond what you were expecting? That is what is most important, everything else is just a given, and for us to be world leaders in service really is a testament our talented people.

HK: How has luxury changed since you started in hospitality?

RW: The biggest change has to be the level of competition, especially in London where all the global luxury players want to have a presence. And that’s a good thing. It has kept London’s hospitality scene at the top of its game.

Luxury used to be about the physical elements of a hotel. The décor, the facilities and this has evolved away from the material to the experiential. Personalised service and recognition is more valued. The guest is also more sophisticated and knowledgeable. Search engines allow access to so much information our team members need to stay up to date and have an intimate knowledge of the very best experiences that might appeal to our guests.

We look for ways to surprise and delight our guests with small and meaningful touches. Often, it is the small things that make all the difference.

“Before I started my role at Dorchester Collection I spent ten years at the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai in Hawaii, and prior to this I worked for the company in California and Nevis in the Caribbean.” – Robert Whitfield, Regional Director UK & General Manager of The Dorchester.

HK: How has travel enriched your life and made you into the hotelier you are today?

RW: I have been lucky enough to work in some of the most beautiful places in the world. Before I started my role at Dorchester Collection I spent ten years at the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai in Hawaii, and prior to this I worked for the company in California and Nevis in the Caribbean. Having that experience, learning how other countries approach service and operate day-to-day, has really helped inform my management style here in London. I was able to travel to a wide variety of locations from Bora Bora, to Bali, to Jackson Hole in Wyoming to the snowy peaks of Whistler.

I have developed an appreciation for different cultures and for diversity and the strength that this can bring to a business. It has also told me that service is about humility and caring for others. I am so proud to have worked with some extraordinary people who have shaped my career and taught me so much. Many lessons have come from my bosses, but also from the employees I have worked with.

HK: There has been a huge buzz around the re-launch of The Grill at The Dorchester. Why did you choose to relaunch?

RW: The Grill has been an integral part of The Dorchester since the opening in 1931, in order to keep the restaurant busy you need to ensure its identity and offering is relevant to your guests. We appointed Tom Booton, who happens to be our youngest ever head chef of The Grill, to lead the next chapter of the restaurant, supported by a fantastic team of fresh talent. The idea of creating an experience that would juxtaposition away from people’s  more traditional expectations of The Grill at The Dorchester was exciting and Tom was the perfect catalyst that made this come to life.

Image caption: Head chef of The Grill, Tom Booton and a few of his  special dishes on the new menu

Our aim was to create a more relaxed dining experience for guests through the development of new menus and a series of interior updates. The most prominent interior change is our statement ‘Pudding Bar’, which adds an element of theatre to the dining experience. Guests are invited to dine here for their final course to watch the pastry chefs in action.

HK: How will the newly adapted restaurant embrace the legacy of the 89-year-old hotel while also reflect the future of luxury F&B offerings?

RW: Our rich past matched with our ability to embrace ‘the new’ is deeply rooted in The Dorchester’s culture, and our guests are charmed by that.

At its core, The Dorchester has always been a hotel to celebrate. The new chapter of The Grill is no exception, and Tom’s dishes alone are a reason to come back to visit. Original features of the restaurant have remained, but new elements such as The Grill Bar, with a cocktail menu by award winning senior bartender Lucia Montanelli, and the Pudding Bar concept offer something new.

HK: You have, for the first time, a physical florist boutique within the hotel. Can you tell us more about this project?

RW: The Dorchester has become world-famous for its floral arrangements, all to the credit of our in-house designer florist Philip Hammond and his fantastic team. It is also a place of celebration. Guests come to celebrate, birthdays, anniversaries and all kinds of milestone moments in their lives. Flowers are a wonderful sign of celebration. We wanted to create a physical space where guests and visitors to the hotel could buy flowers and we found the perfect spot at the entrance to The Promenade.

Image caption: Philip Hammond, the Florist at The Dorchester

Image caption: Philip Hammond, the Florist at The Dorchester

We coincided the boutique opening with the launch of ‘The Dorchester Rose’, which is a really beautiful new variety of rose. The rose took seven years to make and was created by Meijer Roses, a family company with a long tradition of creating the highest quality roses who selected The Dorchester to carry the name of this new variety. The rose now fills the entirety of The Promenade and the colour is perfect to complement the interior tones of The Dorchester.

Main image credit: Dorchester Collection

BREAKING: Independent Hotel Show 2020 forced to cancel

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BREAKING: Independent Hotel Show 2020 forced to cancel

The organisers of Independent Hotel Show Amsterdam have made the difficult yet responsible decision to cancel this year’s physical show in response the global pandemic of COVID–19…

The Independent Hotel Show Amsterdam 2020, which was originally due to take place in March 17 – 18 but was then postpostend until June 24 – 25, has now been cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak.

In a statement, the show organisers said: “It is with deep sadness and heavy hearts that we must inform you that, due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Independent Hotel Show Amsterdam 2020 is cancelled and will no longer take place on 24-25 June at RAI Amsterdam, as planned.

“We hoped that postponing the event until June would have provided enough time for life to return to normal, but unfortunately this has not been the case. We understand the significant impact coronavirus (COVID-19) is having across the entire hotel and hospitality industry and offer our support in these challenging times.

“Please rest assured that all paid for tickets will be refunded in due course so please bear with us as we get these processed.

“We are truly in awe of the resilience, innovation and kindness that we have seen by so many within our industry.”

In order to keep in touch with its audience, the show has said that over the next few months, it will be sharing stories from suppliers and hoteliers that are thinking differently and offering advice on how to stay ahead in this current climate. In addition, on June 24, the date Independent Hotel Show Amsterdam should have taken place, the event will be running a free one-day online webinar series, featuring many of the speakers who were due to speak at the event. If you are interested, you can register your interest on the website. 

Main image credit: Independent Hotel Show Amsterdam 2019

Talks for hotels to be turned into temporary hospitals

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Talks for hotels to be turned into temporary hospitals

Hotels are in logistic talks with the Government about giving up empty hotel rooms to vulnerable groups or medical professions…

The hospitality industry has proved time and time again that it is both adaptable and resilient. Following the recent outbreak of COVID-19 in the UK, major hotel chains are in discussions with the Government about transforming their properties into temporary NHS hospitals, The Guardian reports.

Best Western, Hilton, Holiday Inn, Travelodge and Whitbread’s Premier Inn chain are among the operators discussing  the logistics of closing their hotels to the public so that spaces can be given to vulnerable groups who are at a heightened risk of contracting the virus in the coming months.

The brand Best Western’s first hotel to be turned into a hospital support site is reported to open in south London next week, with every guestroom used to house lower-risk patients and NHS staff.

With 270 properties, Best Western is the largest independent hotel chain in the UK. Although details of the location of the first hotel to open next week are still confidential, The Guardian reported that a Best Western spokesman said: “However we are in conversations with a number of NHS hospitals and local authorities around the country to see if we can do something similar for them, to help provide accommodation for NHS staff, care workers, lower-risk patients and vulnerable people at this time, such as elderly and homeless people.”

The news comes after Stock Exchange Hotel in Manchester, which will host MEET UP North on July 6, opened it’s doors free of charge to health workers, freeing 176 beds for NHS employees and other medical staff. Meanwhile, IHG lit up its empty hotel rooms to display a symbol of love for locals in lockdown.

This is just the latest development on the UK hospitality scene as hotels around the country remain empty, while operators are thinking of resourceful ways to help the community, which after all is what true hospitality looks like.

Main image: Pixabay

Hamilton Litestat announced as Headline Partner for MEET UP networking events

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hamilton Litestat announced as Headline Partner for MEET UP networking events

Recommended Supplier Hamilton Litestat has been announced as Headline Partner for MEET UP London and MEET UP North….

Electrical Solutions and wiring provider Hamilton Litestat will once again support Hotel Designs as Headline Partner at two of its key industry networking events in 2020.

MEET UP London, which will take place on May 13, and MEET UP North that takes place in Manchester on July 6.

Having previously supported Hotel Designs with its annual The Brit List Awards event, Hamilton aims to further increase its business and product awareness amongst the site’s loyal audience.

“We’ve found a supportive partner in Hotel Designs and The Brit List Awards was a great way for us to strike up meaningful conversations within the industry.” – Gavin Williams, Head of Marketing for Hamilton

“A key part of the Hamilton business is engaging with those within the design, architecture and hotel industries, and the Hotel Designs MEET UP events are an ideal way to get face-to-face time with important players,” said Gavin Williams, Head of Marketing for Hamilton. “We’ve found a supportive partner in Hotel Designs and The Brit List Awards was a great way for us to strike up meaningful conversations within the industry. We’re hoping that we can take that one step further with the MEET UP networking events.

Until January 31 (this Friday), EARLY RELEASE tickets to both Meet Up London and Meet Up North are available to purchase for designers, architects, hoteliers, developers and those who supply to the hospitality industry. The regional events, which last year bridged the gap between more than 400 design and hospitality professionals, are regarded as two of the industry’s most established networking events. “We are fully committed to host our networking events in locations and venues that are at the heart of the hotel design community,” said editor Hamish Kilburn. “We hope that Meet Up London and Meet Up North, which include relevant themes and talks at both, help to build seamless relationships as well as inspire the industry to further push boundaries in design and hospitality.”

To book tickets to MEET UP London:

EARLY RELEASE SUPPLIER TICKETS*: £99 + VAT (expires on January 31)  | CLICK HERE to purchase your tickets.
EARLY RELEASE BUYER TICKETS**£10 + VAT (expires on January 31) | CLICK HERE to purchase your tickets.

To book tickets to MEET UP North:

EARLY RELEASE SUPPLIER TICKETS*: £99 + VAT (expires on January 31) | CLICK HERE to purchase your tickets.
EARLY RELEASE BUYER TICKETS**£10 + VAT (expires on January 31) | CLICK HERE to purchase your tickets.

If you would like to discuss various sponsorship packages available, or if you have any enquires regarding tickets, please contact Katy Phillips via email, or call 01992 374050.

Early Release offer strictly ends January 31, 2020.

* Those eligible to purchase Supplier Tickets must be industry suppliers.
** Those eligible to purchase buyer tickets must prove that they are an interior designer, architect, hotelier or developer.

 

Industry insight: What is driving the digital bathroom trend?

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Industry insight: What is driving the digital bathroom trend?

As Hotel Designs continues to put technology under the spotlight, Nick Brown, hospitality channel manger for GROHE UK, explains why digital modern bathrooms are going to be trending for a while… 

In recent years, the hotel guest experience has undergone a mass transformation.

As seen in Hotel Designs’ Year in Review of the most significant products to launch in 2019, digital technology is now commonplace throughout a hotel from app-based digital check-ins to slick entertainment systems providing music, TV and concierge support at the touch of a button.  The hotel bathroom is the natural next step in the evolution of the smart hotel, offering convenience, comfort and relaxation for the customer. Digital or smart fittings in the bathroom are now being specified to help increase functionality and usability in the bathroom, and in many cases, enhance the luxury atmosphere that so many visitors are now seeking from their travel experiences.

As far as interiors go, it is usually the crème de la crème of hotel designs that spark the trends for residential interiors. However, with digitalisation, the roles have been reversed to some extent. The integration of digital and smart concepts in the home is much more readily available now than they were even a few years ago, and with increased understanding as to their benefits and how to use them, the uptake from the mass market has become more profound. As most consumers are now much more in touch with tech and the digital world, hotels can really benefit from integrating smart features and there is even a growing expectation from savvy travellers for these elements to be included as standard.

“In particular, there has been a growing desire amongst hoteliers for infra-red basin mixers in guestrooms.” – Nick Brown, hospitality channel manager, GROHE UK.

The rise of lifestyle hotel brands over the past few years has certainly helped spur on the desire for digital. Designers of these spaces are instilling character and innovations such as smart technology into both guest rooms and communal areas to create an enhanced, unique atmosphere. These experiential hotels are generating enormous appeal particularly with millennial guests and are consequently being shared in abundance on social media platforms. The hotel bathroom already has its own corner of the social media sphere, with the most luxurious and aspirational designs reaching hundreds of thousands of users around the world. Like bespoke design and idyllic aesthetics, digital products offer this same element of aspiration and can really help create a unique hotel experience, a trend which is trailblasing travel experiences for younger generations.

From the perspective of hoteliers and facility management teams, the trend for digital products in the bathroom stems from growing pressure on hotels to reduce their footprint and integrate fittings that will generate more efficient consumption of water and energy, as well as being mindful of how much single-use plastic waste they are generating. In particular, there has been a growing desire amongst hoteliers for infra-red basin mixers in guestrooms which can be monitored via an app as well as set to run for a limited amount of time, helping to reduce on water consumption and costs whilst preventing against water damage from the tap being accidentally left on.

Many of the leading global hotel groups are beginning to implement their own sustainability targets and initiatives and are therefore turning to suppliers for smart solutions that can help them to reduce consumption without comprising performance as well as use app connectivity to monitor and manage their usage. Hotel conglomerates such as Hilton have subscribed to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, a blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all, which encourages the implementation of 17 targets to be in place by 2030. GROHE and its parent company LIXIL can work hand in hand with hotels supporting these initiatives as it too has pledged its support to the programme.

The challenge for meeting this new trend for digital is that bathroom interior fittings must still be beautiful and elegant, as well as functional and innovative. Each aspect is valued of equal importance and is key to creating an aspirational bathroom setting that will create a lasting memory in the minds of the guests, both for its looks and the experience it offers. Of course, sustainability will remain a dominating factor too as digitalisation continues to transform hotel bathrooms. Guests are becoming more and more conscious of the footprint they leave when travelling and will welcome encouragement from their hotel to help them be more eco-conscious during their stay. In 2020, basin mixers with LED temperature displays will emerge on the market, acting as a subtle but impactful reminder that guests can make small changes such as turning the temperature of their water down by just a few degrees to help reduce their energy consumption. Infra-red operated eco-modes will also be available on basin mixers which will see hotels actively offering guests more conscious choices when it comes to managing their carbon footprint and water usage.

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

Main image credit: GROHE UK

UNILIN’s new designs add comfort with nature in surfaces

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
UNILIN’s new designs add comfort with nature in surfaces

UNILIN division panels has unveiled four new decors in its Evola range that work together to bring comforting, calm of nature into commercial surfaces and interiors…

With the growing pressures of a fast-paced world, the need for comforting nature-inspired interiors has surged in popularity, and recently identified in Hotel Designs’ trend forecast for 2020 and beyond.

It is predicted to be a continued key emphasis for designers over the coming months. The light schemes that dominated last year’s trends are eclipsed with the dark and black tones of nature’s varied palettes.

“Using our advanced technology and manufacturing processes, we’ve been able to create an astounding range of calm, nature-inspired ranges that are predicted to be popular for 2020.” – Sofie Coulier, UNILIN division panels.

“Our Evola range, like the fashion, styles and interiors that inspire the range, continues to evolve to satisfy the demands of designers looking to create new frontiers in interiors,” explains Sofie Coulier from UNILIN division panels. “Using our advanced technology and manufacturing processes, we’ve been able to create an astounding range of calm, nature-inspired ranges that are predicted to be popular for 2020.”

Sustaining and refreshing interiors could be attributed to the very practices that UNILIN source their materials. Scratch and stain-resistant, safe from fading and easy to wipe down. All Evola melamine-faced chipboard are made from 100 per cent circular wood, including a minimum 85 per cent recycled content.

Free A4 samples of all Evola decors can be ordered on request from the UNILIN division panels’ website.

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

Main image credit: UNILIN

Checking in: Heckfield Place

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Checking in: Heckfield Place

Former senior stylist for House & Garden and The Brit List Awards 2019 judge, Florence Rolfe, checks in to the award-winning Heckfield Place to discover how the hotel is anything but ‘greenwashing’ in both its design and operation…

I recently received a dream invitation to the highly acclaimed country manor hotel Heckfield Place. Naturally, I obliged.

The Georgian Manor House, which is set within a 438-acre estate, is now a hotel that holds a substantial reputation in the market for its extremely elegant and sophisticated interior style.

Cleverly designed by Ben Thompson (a protégé of Ilse Crawford), a surveillance and understanding of the natural surroundings seem to have inspired a subtle colour palette. Not much pattern to be seen here (which I love), but instead a clever use of varying textures that combine to create a relaxing and peaceful environment for guests.

Located only one hour outside of London, I couldn’t wait to get there. As I approached the spectacular Georgian Manor House I was welcomed by the concierge dressed in a plain, rather cool looking linen pinafore and shirt (designed by cutting edge London based label Egg) who took our bags and offered to park our car for us. We were greeted again in the grand hallway by a member of staff offering a delicious welcome refresher.

Wooden staircase

Image credit: Heckfield Place

No sign of a traditional desk check-in. Instead, we were immediately given a choice of an initial tour of the building or to go straight to our room. Tempted by the sound of murmuring voices at the bar and the smell of a roaring fire, I decided to opt for the latter after arriving in darkness. Corridor walls are lined with carefully curated art works from the owner’s private collection. Windows along the corridor are decorated with delightful white lace sheers for added privacy. Over-sized decorative pots on the window-sills force you to notice their eye-catching shapes and interesting textures.

Every single design element has been so carefully considered. On the approach to our room, the concierge pulled the room key from a small envelope that had my name embossed on it. If that isn’t considered luxury attention to detail,  I don’t know what is! Whilst on the subject of details, the electronic door lock (often very unattractive) has been beautifully disguised behind a plain white linen hoop.

Mustard walls in guest room looking through into bathroom

Image credit: Heckfield Place

As our guide opened the door, an immediate warmth overwhelmed me. I was not only confronted with a few of my favourite interior design comforts, but any amenities that were waiting for us had been so carefully thought about and beautifully styled – a tray of apples and a bag of chestnuts became a work of art. A clear intention to steer away from plastics was consistent throughout the room. Any homemade treats left for us in the minibar were presented in jars (home-made Ribena) or paper bags (containing salted almonds or coconut macaroons).

This was no ordinary minibar: a dark and mysterious, rather chic looking kettle sat on the top with a secret drawer beneath. It cleverly pulls out of the minibar with a connector to hold the kettle.

Coat hooks have been styled with woven baskets that hang ready and waiting for you take to the spa (or to collect any items that you might have foraged from around the grounds). Vases of dried flowers (grown and dried on site) are dotted around the room amongst carefully considered clientele coffee table books – ready for you to fall into a large, comfortable sofa and indulge.

Soft pastel colours on bed and on armchair

Image credit: Heckfield Place

The addition of the Fiddle leaf fig plants are something that I don’t always see in hotel rooms. Effective, as it is now considered that house plants are thought to be a calming influence in a space. A contemporary natural rush woven headboard runs across the width of the bed, creating a back drop that highlights the antique bedside tables on either side. Overall, the bedrooms feel stylish and homely. Everything from the furniture to the lighting to the styling has been carefully thought about with detailed consideration and most importantly with the guest in mind. I really didn’t want leave!

After an extremely peaceful nights sleep, breakfast was only a short walk away. An impressive dining room with full panoramic views of the grounds means that you can sit, relax and enjoy your eggs (collected fresh from the farm earlier) just the way you like them!

After breakfast I took a walk around the ground floor as I was intrigued to explore during the day. Daylight floods in through the main hall and along the corridors bouncing off the grand interior architecture throughout. Two enormous airy yet cosy drawing rooms still adhere to the muted colour palette. Thompson has stuck to linens in soft greys and neutrals on both the curtains and chairs, adding punch here and there with pastel coloured velvet cushions. Fires are lit throughout the day during the winter, making this an ideal spot to sit and enjoy a cuppa after a long country walk.

A wood panelled private dining room with a grand marble fireplace also has full views of the estate. It also hosts an array of beautifully arranged floral arrangements by florist Kitten Grayson, including a stand out dried floral wreath that hangs over an enormous oak dinning table.

I jumped at the chance when I was offered to go on a tour of the farm. Heckfield Place has become well known for its contribution to sustainability and the farm follows biodynamic principles. Guests are advised to wear willies, which are provided for by the hotel –  downstairs you are spoilt for choice with black Hunter wellies laid out for you, in every size possible.

In my opinion good hotel interior design is about creating a home away from home: to feel that you can walk in somewhere and simply fall into bed or onto an extremely comfortable sofa – a peaceful retreat. Heckfield Place seems to have got it just right. The aspirational photography featured on its website and Instagram account is only a hint of the true inspirational experience this place so effortlessly shelters.

Main image credit: Heckfield Place

Electric red led lights in modern and quirky lounge

Most anticipated hotel openings in 2020 (Q3 & Q4)

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

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

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

Electric red led lights in modern and quirky lounge

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

Pendry West Hollywood (Q3)

Render of modern building

Image credit: Penury Hotels

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

Hilton Garden Inn Silverstone (Q3)

Render of modern building overlooking racetrack

Image credit: Hilton Hotels

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

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

The Reykjavik EDITION (Q3)

Render of the exterior of The EDITION Reykjavik

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

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

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

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

Render of hotel

Image credit: IHG

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

Rosewood Hong Kong – Asaya (Q4)

Two sun loungers overlooking bay

Image credit: Rosewood Hotels

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

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

Render of hotel under rocks of Arizona

Image credit: Ambiente

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

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

Main image credit: Hilton Hotels

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

The Luxury Collection arrives in the Seychelles

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The Luxury Collection arrives in the Seychelles

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Marriott International/The Luxury Collection

New study reveals luxury travellers want to ‘ditch the gram’ when discovering a new city

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
New study reveals luxury travellers want to ‘ditch the gram’ when discovering a new city

A study conducted by InterContinental Hotels & Resorts asked more than 7,000 luxury travellers in major cities around the globe how they would like to explore new destinations… 

An independent study, which surveyed more than 7,000 luxury travellers in London, New York City, Mexico City, Dubai, Sydney, Paris and Shanghai, has revealed that travellers are seeking authentic, multi-sensory experiences outside of the ‘insta-lense’.

The study is published as InterContinental Hotels & Resorts launches InterContinental ICons, offering travellers a fresh look at some of the world’s most exhilarating cities. The group is inviting the public to take part in a global conversation on what makes destinations around the world truly iconic.

The brand’s independent study, carried out in Paris, London, New York, Shanghai, Dubai, Sydney and Mexico City, revealed travellers often feel they only scratch the surface of a city. The study revealed that most locals (59 per cent) feel visitors are missing out on the true spirit of the place, while 75 per cent of luxury travellers want to experience cities as a well-informed local. Meanwhile, social media analysis exposes ‘sea of sameness’ with three-quarters (77 per cent) of travellers feeling obliged to walk down the same traditional tourist trail.

Additional analysis of Instagram posts revealed that the Eiffel Tower in Paris is the most posted tourist site, representing 10 per cent of all posts worldwide. Buckingham Palace is the most-tagged site in London (21 per cent) and Central Park is the most-tagged in New York City (20 per cent), highlighting that tourists are often focused on visiting the same “must-see” sites.

These findings were confirmed by locals, with more than half (59 per cent) feeling that tourists miss out on the best their city has to offer.

InterContinental’s new campaign aims to inspire adventurous travellers by rediscovering what makes each city truly fascinating. An online vote, launched today, asks the public to select the most symbolic sights, sounds, tastes, smells and feelings in these cities, that will connect travellers more deeply when they visit.

Some of the multi-sensorial experiences identified by luxury travellers around the world include:

  • Paris – The scent of oven-fresh bread on the boulangeries of Oberkampf, Paris 11e
  • London – The warmth from a roaring fire in an old London pub on a chilly day
  • New York – Smell of roasting chestnuts from a vendor cart on Broadway
  • Shanghai – The warm aroma of Xiaolongbao at the Temple of the City Gods
  • Dubai – Sound of water lapping an abra (traditional wooden boat) as it glides along Dubai Creek
  • Sydney – The feel of the cool breeze on your face on the Manly to Circular Quay ferry
  • Mexico City – The sounds of Mariachi music in Garibaldi plaza

The full list of nominated ICons in London include:

  • The sight of the landmarks lit up as you cross the Thames at night
  • The warmth from a roaring fire in an old London pub on a chilly day
  • The contrasting old and new architecture as you walk through the City
  • The calls of a market trader on Portobello Road
  • The smell of mulled wine at Greenwich market during Christmas
  • Freshly baked sourdough from an artisan baker in East London
  • British strawberries from Broadway Market
  • The smell of thousands of roses in bloom at Queen Mary’s Gardens at Regent’s Park
  • The sound of applause at the open air theatre in Regent’s Park
  • The swoosh of air standing on the platform as a Tube pulls in
  • The cold wind during a morning jog or dog walk on Primrose Hill
  • Spotting the stags at Richmond Park on a misty, autumn morning
  • The botanical notes of gin and tonic made with a South London craft gin
  • The warming smell of coffee roasting at Maltby Street Market
  • The musky smell of old furniture at an antiques market

As a pioneer in luxury travel, InterContinental Hotels & Resorts has always been the gateway to fascinating places and local cultural wisdom, so we understand that travellers are craving a deeper connection to the places they visit,” said Ginger Taggart, Vice President of Global Marketing, IHG Luxury Portfolio. “ With our latest campaign, InterContinental ICons, we’ve set out to discover and celebrate authentic places and moments that might be overlooked by visitors but are truly part of what makes a city special.  Whether it’s the feel of salt air while riding New York’s Hudson River ferry, the melodious bells of the clock tower on the Bund in Shanghai, or the feel of cobblestones underfoot on old Parisian streets, these ICons might include under-the-radar experiences, or well-known tourist hotspots viewed in new and unexpected ways. We want to reignite a sense of fascination for these much-visited cities and encourage discussion around what makes them truly iconic.”

InterContinental Hotels & Resorts has pioneered luxury travel for more than 70 years and now has 208 hotels in 66 countries worldwide. With this heritage and insight, the brand understands that modern luxury travellers are looking for a deeper connection with the iconic places they travel to.

Through social media analysis, the insights of key opinion leaders and independent research, InterContinental has established a long-list of multi-sensory experiences that are representative of each city. Beginning today, InterContinental invites the public to select the experiences they truly feel demonstrate the city or cities they know best at life.intercontinental.com/icons and engage in a conversation across social media using the hashtag #intercontinentalicons

Voting closes on December 31 2019. A global panel of judges, featuring acclaimed National Geographic Photographer Charlie Hamilton James, local influencers and well-travelled members of the InterContinental Ambassador loyalty programme will lend their expertise to curating the top five InterContinental ICons in each city, with the final reveal and celebration in early 2020.

Main image credit: Pixabay

Checking in: Anse Chastanet and Jade Mountain, Saint Lucia

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Checking in: Anse Chastanet and Jade Mountain, Saint Lucia

With his aim fixed on understanding how one jaw-dropping location can harbour two very different – but no doubt both luxury escapes – editor Hamish Kilburn travelled to Saint Lucia to review the wonders of Anse Chastanet and Jade Mountain…

On the western stretch of Saint Lucia, an island that last year welcomed more than 1.2 million visitors, two incredible design gem stones can be found. While the two hotels are very different in style, the experience of Anse Chastanet and Jade Mountain comes as one.

Not only are the hotels two of the region’s most sought-after places to check in to, but they also stand as a permanent reminder of an unforgettable journey, which is full of discovery, challenges and sustainable solutions that is still ongoing for husband-and-wife team Nick and Karolin Troubetzkoy.

“I’m a man that looks for logic,” says the critically acclaimed architect Nick Troubetzkoy as he peers over the evening’s dinner menu to take in the sweeping views of the sun disappearing over the edge of the horizon. The last of the day’s light reflects off the luscious jade-green mountains, which are commonly referred to as The Pitons. Jade Club literally takes the concept of fine-dining to new heights, as it is perched majestically on the hotel’s top floor. It doesn’t matter where you sit, you somehow always manage to catch the postcard perfect perspective of the twin mountains. Nothing here has been designed by coincidence, which is refreshing. “Designing a hotel requires logical and thoughtful steps throughout the entire process,” Troubetzkoy smirks as he leaves a pause in the air for effect. “The game rugby on the hand is not a logical game – you pass the ball backwards for starters” And just like, as England prepares to execute its World Cup campaign, I catch my first glimpse of the legendary architect’s sense of humour, and his dislike for design without purpose.

Image credit: Jade Mountain

For guests checking in, the adventure of both Anse Chasanet and Jade Mountain starts shortly after the plane touches down on the island’s soil. For the Troubetzkoys, though, the adventure started in the ‘70s, when the couple visited the tropical destination and fell in love with the island’s pristine, Caribbean Sea-facing, west coast.

Drivers in Saint Lucia don’t lie. When warned that you’re going to endure a bumpy ride, that’s a cue to buckle up. The exact location of both hotels is the first indication that these magnificent properties have been designed meaningfully, from concept through to completion, in order shelter ultimate and unquestionable privacy and luxury. That kind of treasure comes at a cost, which in this case is an uneven road and a toe-curling drive over a cliff-edge. It’s the only road that has access to the hotels and it’s a thread that connects them from the heart of Soure Friee, a charming and friendly town, which is home to many of the staff – and prevents trespassers.

Anse Chastanet

Anse Chastanet sits at the foot of the mountain and is, in part, hidden within the surrounding forest that covers a staggering 77 per cent of the island. The hotel’s open-air design in both the public and private areas invites nature in at every opportunity. This is where the Troubetzkoy’s quest began, to create and develop the luxury hotel experience. Purchased in the ‘70s, the 49-key hotel was the Troubetzkoy’s debut luxury resort. Their plans to redevelop the hotel was in order make room for a new level of premium accommodation in Saint Lucia, the Caribbean, and indeed the world.

Image credit: Anse Chastanet

B.T. (Before Troubetzkoys), the Anse Chastanet was a collection of a few huts scattered along the beach, reflecting a conventional and arguably unmemorable Caribbean hotel. Years later, the Troubetzkoy family transformed it into a thriving multi-award-winning resort that operates as one of the Caribbean’s most premium destinations – and for good reason. “As far back as when we first opened, I remember asking our guests why we didn’t see very much of them outside their one-with-nature rooms,” says the architect. “I was told by them, that they were simply relaxing, breathing in the air, basking in the surroundings and enjoying a wonderful sense of calm and peace. When you compare that experience to being boxed into a traditional glass enclosed hotel room, breathing recirculated, machine-processed air, the difference is enormous.”

There is no doubt about it, the resort is of its time, but that’s also its charm; a space that feels lived-in with a warming home-from-home character that is amplified further by the caring and considerate staff. A home that has no boundaries between interiors and exterior, designed to reflect the topography of the land. A home that celebrates literally the very definition of nature in design. Anse Chastanet is a wonderful, colourful, playful and unpretentiously luxurious hotel – and it was here where the idea for Troubetzkoy’s next project, Jade Mountain, was born.

Image credit: Anse Chastanet

There are references of the same design ethos in the foundations of both Anse Chasanet and Jade Mountain. The Royal Palm, Anse Chasanet’s most premium suite, is an excellent example of this, and is located half way up the mountain where the two hotels almost meet. The open-air concept carves out an understated premium scene, very much opening up the space to allow for the 260-degree views to do the hard work, while the Caribbean-infused interiors frame nature and sense of place in all its majesty. Famous art pieces by both local and international artists add personality into the space. The walls in the are covered with vibrant paintings by postmodernist German painter, Elvira Bach. But what is most impressive, in my opinion, is how the structure of the suite, including the bathroom, has been carved out in such a way, with a logical eye, so that, just like Jade Club, guests can almost always see The Pitons from each and every corner, which adds scrutiny and challenges to the standard cookie-cutter approach when it comes to designing luxury suites.

“One day, while the plans for the hotel were still in early development, he looked at his collection, turned towards me and commented that ‘Jade Mountain’ had a nice ring to it.” – Karolin Troubetzkoy

Jade Mountain

“Do you know why we called it Jade Mountain?” asks Karolin Troubetzkoy who, as well as being the co-owner of the resort and is very much the brains behind its incredible initiatives, is also the current President of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism. “Everyone always gets it wrong. They think it was simply the views of The Pitons. But actually, for years my husband created and collected these amazing miniature mountains, which were a luscious shade of jade. One day, while the plans for the hotel were still in early development, he looked at his collection, turned towards me and commented that ‘Jade Mountain’ had a nice ring to it.”

Image credit: Jade Mountain

What makes the hotel unique to any other design story – or any other hotel around the world for that matter – is how decisions were made, and quickly changed. “I wanted to create individualised spatial environments that would enable guests to forget about the furniture or the fact that they’re in a hotel room,” explains Nick Troubetzkoy. “In essence, I want our guests to forget about everything but experiencing the psychology of the space on an emotional almost spiritual level.”

Image credit: Jade Mountain

The term ‘jewel of the crown’ feels appropriate when describing its position on site. The magnificent structure of rough concrete imbued with locally quarried stoneappears once guests make it up the stairway to heaven by either foot or complimentary shuttle bus, and walk across the long, suspended private bridges that lead to what the hotel describes as ‘sanctuaries’.

Editor Hamish Kilburn soaking in the views from JD1 Galaxy Suite at Jade Mountain

All 29 sanctuaries frame the unparalleled vistas of The Pitons. While each area has been individually designed, they all share a few common themes. The lack of right angles in the design, for example, removing the fourth wall and creating an open-air concept helps keep the relationship between guest and nature together, while the interior walls are finished in a crushed blush toned coral plaster quarried in Barbados. Because of these indoor and outdoor moments working in harmony, there is a natural rhythm to guests’ stay without the need for clocks or televisions. Almost all sanctuaries feature infinity pools – and, by far, the most impressive spaces are the Galaxy Sanctuaries. JD1, which became my luxe home-from-home (and my handstand hangout) felt like an oversized luxurious penhouse apartment. Following my move up the mountain from Anse Chasenet, it’s the first time during my trip where I recognised luxury manufacturers and suppliers, such as Duravit W/Cs and premium seating by Janus et Cie and Dedon.

And that’s not all. At Jade Mountain, unlike many other luxury hotels that claim to be eco-friendly, sustainability is a core value and not greenwashed simply as a marketing tool. While Anse Chasanet shares the same ethos, the living areas of each sanctuary in Jade Mountain are finished with more than 20 different species of tropical hardwood flooring and trims harvested in an environmentally meaningful way. The resort’s technicians actually visited the Rain Forest of Guyana and personally chose which trees to be used. A multitude of hardwoods have been used including Purpleheart, Greenheart, Locust, Kabukali, Snakewood, Bloodwood, Etikburabali, Futukbali, Taurino, Mora and Cabbage Wood.

The consciousness of the resorts stretches beyond the design. 30 per cent of all produce at both Anse Chastanet and Jade Mountain is grown on site, just a few miles away from the hotels. It’s also here where the resort grows its own coco beans, so that both properties can make their own mouth-watering chocolate for guests to enjoy.

While hotel designers continue striving to cater to the heavy demands of the modern traveller, perhaps there is something to be said in stripping away unnecessary technology and opening up interiors to nature to ultimately allow the natural experience of a pocket of paradise to stand the test of time.. After all, luxury will never go out of style.

Main image credit: Jade Mountain/Anse Chastanet

Conrad Maldives Rangali Island debuts redesigned villas

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Conrad Maldives Rangali Island debuts redesigned villas

Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, the luxury destination resort located on the picturesque setting of Rangali Island in the Maldives, is redesigning a unique set of villas available on the property…

Just more than year after Hotel Designs interviewed the designers and architects behind the world’s first underwater hotel suite, the same hotel, Conrad Maldives Rangali Island has unveiled the design details of its new mix of villas.

By next month, the resort will introduce five new room types including the Two-Bedroom Deluxe Beach Villa, Grand Water Villa with Pool, Grand Water Villa, Two-Bedroom Grand Water Villa with Pool and Two-Bedroom Grand Water Villa, encouraging all travellers – groups, families and couples alike – to find the room best suited to fit their every need and desire.

Yuji Yamazaki, principal of Yuji Yamazaki Architecture PLLC, NYC and design collaborator on the underwater THE MURAKA residence will apply his signature style of simple paired back luxury to the updated accommodations. The design of the villas will feature a clean and minimalist aesthetic, giving the space a natural, bright and airy feel intended to focus on the beauty just outside of the villa. The new design will promote a sense of harmony with the surrounding environment, awakening but not overwhelming the senses and providing absolute privacy and exclusivity.

“Our pioneering innovative hospitality to cater to the passion points and needs of our guests is the cornerstone of this resort,” said Stefano Ruzza, General Manager of Conrad Maldives Rangali Island.“We are thrilled to debut new villa categories to discerning travellers, marking the beginning of the next chapter of Rangali history and our commitment to driving the evolution of travel to the Maldives.”

The Deluxe Beach Villas were refurbished throughout 2018 and 2019. A selection of villas have recently been converted into new luxury Two-Bedroom Deluxe Beach Villas to offer the ideal space for any Maldivian holiday. The Two-Bedroom Deluxe Beach Villas will feature a new design with a private garden and pool, indoor state of art bathroom, a private outdoor rain-shower and floor-to-ceiling glass windows that illuminate the villa with natural light. Set amongst the tropical greenery, the standout feature of the newly designed villa is the addition of the second bedroom adjacent to the main villa, which has been purposely designed to accommodate a twin bedroom with luxurious floor-to-ceiling glass windows.

Image credit: Conrad Maldives Rangali Island

In addition to the Two-Bedroom Deluxe Beach Villas, Conrad Maldives Rangali Island is reinventing the Retreat Water Villas into two villa types – Grand Water Villa and Grand Water Villa with a pool. A popular room category, the Water Villas are set on stilts above the gentle ocean waves where guests can discover the true meaning of indoor-outdoor living. The redesigned villa will greet guests with a large living room, which can be converted into a second bedroom, along with views of the outdoor deck complete with a Jacuzzi or pool. Featuring clean lines and muted natural tones, the villas are located in the Spa Retreat, 100 meters off of the tip of the main island Rangali Finolhu, with vistas across the Indian Ocean to the resort’s second island, Rangali.

The in-demand Family Water Villa will also be transformed into two villa types and renamed Two- Bedroom Grand Water Villa and Two-Bedroom Grand Water Villa with pool. The design of the Two- Bedroom accommodation will be similar to the Grand Water Villas, but will offer two bedrooms, instead of one and can host any group of guests. Set on stilts over the Indian Ocean, the villas offer views of either the lagoon or ocean and a sunset or sunrise view and can sleep a maximum of four persons – two adults and two children, or four adults.

Set across two islands connected by an open-air overwater path, Conrad Maldives Rangali Island plans to announce additional enhancements in 2020 offering guests a Maldivian playground full of possibilities.

Main image credit: Conrad Maldives Rangali Island

Manchester’s Hotel Brooklyn to open in February 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image credit: Bespoke Hotels/Hotel Brooklyn

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

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

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

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

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

Image credit: Bespoke Hotels/Hotel Brooklyn

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

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

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

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

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

Image credit: Bespoke Hotels/Hotel Brooklyn

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

Main image credit: Bespoke Hotels/Hotel Brooklyn

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Simple ways to increase hotel bookings

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Simple ways to increase hotel bookings

TravelDailyMedia in conversation with STAAH uncovers ways technology can help hoteliers increase bookings and maximise revenue, to keep business afloat…

Following the Independent Hotel Show 2019, it seems as if a common concern shared by hoteliers is how to increase bookings and revenue. It’s a huge challenge when you are also hands-on with the day-to-day operations of the property. Regardless of size of hotel – and empire – no one is spared from this challenge, and who can argue with the prospect of more guests?

STAAH, an innovator in hospitality solutions, offers products that put property owners in control by empowering them with technology that helps attract, convert, analyse and maximise online reach and revenue. In layman’s terms, STAAH provides hotel owners with the technology that does all the work for them.

The company offers technology solutions for hospitality distribution, direct bookings and digital marketing services. These are used by all segments of the hospitality industry, from big hotel and motel chains to boutique properties, independent hotels, holiday parks and guest houses.

It’s is a real-time online distribution platform that allows hoteliers to reach a captive global audience through the company’s 200+ hotel channel manager integrations with OTAs, GDS and other booking platforms.

Using STAAH’s Channel Manager, hoteliers can manage the rates and inventory anytime, anywhere. This allows them to make informed decisions to grow bookings. It’s the one system that manages all OTAs using a single log-in. It helps hotels grow direct bookings with real-time and quick updates to all channels, ensuring rate parity. Moreover, customise packages, price filtrations, multiple currency handling, dynamic and seasonal pricing any time.

User-friendly booking engine

Who doesn’t love direct bookings? When bookings are made on third-party channels, hotels have to pay hefty commissions of up to 30 per cent. However, there are times that booking engines of hotels tend to be daunting and not-so user-friendly. Increase hotel bookings with STAAH’s customisable booking engine.

STAAH can completely customise the booking engine to meet the creative and operational needs of your property or chain. Equipped with advanced features such as WatchMyRate (a price compare widget) that allows hoteliers to ensure rate parity while encouraging guests to book direct.

Engaging website is a must

There is no better way to attract guests than to have a beautiful and engaging website. Convert web visitors into paying guests with great content and amazing web design. STAAH makes it easier for hotels to establish web presence using its intuitive content management system that even non-geeks can operate and instant publish of updates that will increase hotel bookings.

Improve your online reputation

Guess what? Your guests’ feedback matters! STAAH’s ReviewMinder is a review management system that alerts owners of new online reviews across multiple sites in one easy dashboard and responds directly to customers.

Manage your online reputation by knowing what is out there. This way, hotels can share or respond to reviews in a timely manner. Using ReviewMinder, hotels can also consolidate ratings as well as sort reviews by keywords, sentiments and channel partners to get valuable insights.

Upsell with gift vouchers

Unleash the true power of gift vouchers with a feature-rich e-shop. It allows guests to buy gift vouchers directly from the website increasing hotel’s revenue. Gift Voucher Engine enhances guest experience by giving them the ability to buy experiences from your existing website with our simple and mobile-friendly design.

Image credit: STAAH

STAAH takes pride that its products are easy to use and the fact that one doesn’t have to be tech-savvy to use them. STAAH focuses on developing products that are intuitive and reliable. STAAH works with 9000+ properties in 90+ countries. The company also works closely with its partner properties to continuously improve their effectiveness and efficiency, helping businesses get closer to their goals.

Whether you own a teeny-tiny B&B or a chain of hotels, STAAH can tailor its technology to increase hotel bookings and serve your needs.

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

Main image credit: Pixabay

MINIVIEW: Austin Proper to open in December 2019

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
MINIVIEW: Austin Proper to open in December 2019

Austin Proper Hotel and Residences offers an artful immersion in lifestyle and well-being. Ahead of its official opening in December, editor Hamish Kilburn took a sneak peek inside..

Following the opening of Santa Monica Proper in July, Proper Hotels has extended its portfolio with the launch of Austin Proper Hotel and Residences.

Also designed by the acclaimed Kelly Wearstler, the hotel shelters 244 rooms and suites; 99 branded residences; four unique settings for dining and drink; a focus on wellness with a dedicated spa and fitness centre; plus a variety of atmospheric spaces for events. And it wouldn’t be Proper without a 5th floor pool deck offering small-batch tequilas and majestic lake views.

This sculptural new construction also integrates the work of award-winning Handel Architects in a progression of atmospheres including two pools, 9,500 square feet of event spaces, and multiple dining concepts by McGuire Moorman Hospitality. In step with Austin’s natural lifestyle, LEED Gold certification minimizes footprint and maximizes sustainability. To promote wellness for those who stay and work with Proper, these rigorous environmental standards extend from water use (reclaimed irrigation systems, in-building chilled water loops, centralized boilers) to low-VOC paints, energy-efficient LED lights, and insulated dual-pane windows that save energy and block UV.

Render of a private pool

Image credit: Proper Hotels

Wearstler’s creative direction for the site-specific design of Austin Proper has unfolded over three years. The layered, individualistic look mines a tradition of artistry and craftsmanship distinct to Austin. The historical influence of Austin’s most stately homes inspires eye-catching details, from a sculptural staircase installation of 60 patch worked vintage rugs, to the lobby’s monolithic wood-and-ceramic grandfather clock. Local artists and materials feature prominently throughout, with every surface adding textural interest: pots, trays and cabinet inlay tiles by ceramicist Rick Van Dyke; locally quarried travertine on the pool deck; Delta wood panelling; native elmwoods; and antique mirror finishes.

With Austin as muse, each of the 244 rooms and suites has been carefully detailed by Kelly Wearstler for refined living and restful evenings. The design is deeply influenced by local craft and material, from raw travertine sourced at nearby quarries, to trays by Rick Van Dyke to original fibre artworks by Magda Sayeg. Well-considered appointments include Aesop bath amenities, Kelly Wearstler x Parachute Home robes and signature Proper beds layering Simmons Providence Mattresses, Fili D’oro and Bellino Fine Linens.

Stylish and chic restaurant with glass barriers

Image credit: Proper Hotels

Leading Austin Proper’s dining front is McGuire Moorman Hospitality, the award-winning team behind many of Austin’s best dining and entertainment spots. At the landmark eatery, guests can savour Mediterranean–inspired foods and flavours. Mezze plates and wood-grilled fare are colourful, healthy and wholesome, paired with house-made pita from the wood-burning oven. On the rooftop pool deck, a coastal Mexican restaurant with raw bar offers wood-fired seafood and fajita offerings. Morning, noon or night, a ground floor Mediterranean coffee shop serves savoury items to-go and tempting treats like soft-serve Greek frozen yogurt, while the sunken bar is an elegant hideaway.

In step with Proper’s commitment to wellness, this urban getaway begins with a private reception to discuss a client’s needs. The facility includes a soothing lounge, five spa treatment rooms, men’s and women’s locker rooms with steam showers, and wellness experts on call. A 2,000-square-foot fitness centre is also on property.

An array of high-end amenities aim to refresh, whether with a challenging workout in the 2,000-square-foot fitness centre, borrowing a bicycle for a lakeside trail ride, or a dip into world-class wellness at the spa. Guests are encouraged to linger on property, perhaps set up your office for the day by the 5th-floor pool. Dining options satisfy a variety of moods, whether cafe grab-and-go, garden cocktails overlooking Shoal Creek; poolside suppers, or a full feast at the landmark restaurant.

From well-appointed ballrooms to music gardens, Austin Proper offers more than 9,500 square feet of thoughtfully designed spaces for indoor and outdoor meetings, weddings and special events, and private dining. Adding distinction to the creative design, the Proper team and McGuire Moorman Hospitality specially curate menus and styles of service to match any occasion.

Austin Proper rises above the waterfront of a 2nd Street District booming with creative offices, world-class design, conveniences and culture. Add in an easy-going lifestyle, and you’ve got a style forward epicentre of pedestrian activity.

Main image credit: Proper Hotels

Logistical challenges you don’t hear about when installing art in hotels globally

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Logistical challenges you don’t hear about when installing art in hotels globally

Kickstarting our time putting Art under the editorial spotlight, Giles Bristow, fine art and logistics specialist at Momentous, lifts the lid on some of the issues you don’t hear about when installing art in hotels…  

Just like every art collection, art installed in hotels is unique. Art comes in all shapes, sizes and mediums. From one-of-a-kind drawings, oil on canvas and complex works, audio-visual, large sculptures or hanging installations.

Especially since the rise of using ‘art outside the frame’ in an interior design scheme, designers, architects and hoteliers are also thinking outside the box to come up with new ways to inject personality within their hotel. Therefore, the install process, which often looks on the outside to run seamlessly, also has to be personalised for the project as well as the building that will shelter it and the works themselves. With the aim to dig beneath the surface on what it actually takes to logistically transport and install art, here are some of the common challenges.

We are commonly required to incorporate the installation of fine art into the hotel logistics and installation programmes we manage for our clients. In these cases, we engage our fine art team who work in close coordination with our FF&E logistics team. Fine art installation requires a unique set of skills, especially when artworks, by their nature are irreplaceable, so having the relevant technicians who understand the medium and the works are able to define the correct techniques and employ these in the art logistics and installation processes is critical to success.

Starting early

Installing art is not like any other part of the project. You are installing unique and one of a kind pieces so there is a lot more that goes into the logistics planning, specifically in the early stages of the project.

The installation is critical but there are many specialist logistical aspects that must be worked through before the artworks are ready for installation.

Image credit: Matetsi Victoria Falls. Each suite includes an abstract art piece that when put together forms a map off the safari reserve the hotel sits on.

“In every case, we work directly with the artist to fully understand the works and define the best form of preservation.”

Where is your artwork coming from?

We generally work in consultation with the party who has commissioned the work, for example the interior designer, curator and the artist. This means that there will be production times and arrangements that we need preparation to be made prior to collection, coordinating transportation, bringing into storage and inventory control. Preparing the works for transportation is key. Many large pieces will require crating which we organise in coordination with the artist making these according to a specific specification set by our technicians. In every case, we work directly with the artist to fully understand the works and define the best form of preservation. If works are being procured, or even on loan, we would normally work with the gallery or collector to arrange for the packing, crating and handling. You need to ensure that your art is protected so it arrives on location in optimum condition. We would normally provide a detailed condition report of the items before packing and transporting.

Transportation

Momentous has transported artwork from overseas galleries, historic pieces and enormous sculptures. In each case, we have to consider the most effective method of transport. Moving art within the UK or across Europe will invariably be by road but it is not the case that it can go on a standard vehicle, it needs a specialist fine art vehicle. Roads often suffer from potholes and city centres have speed control bumps. This means art needs to be transported on trucks with sufficient air-ride suspension and have the necessary anchoring in place to avoid damage, there may also be a need for climate-controlled transportation although this is less common for art installed in a hotel. Even with the best packing and crating methods it is still easy to sustain damage if the wrong transportation method is used.

We also transport artwork internationally, importing unique items for a project from overseas. In these circumstances, managing the customs process becomes critical as there are materials and items that are subject to restrictions and there can be complicated customs and tax requirements attached which we deal with as part of the process of arranging the international shipment by air and sea. I would always recommend consulting with a specialist international art shipping expert to check you have everything covered and don’t get stuck.

Condition reporting, storage and inventory management

Your artworks will be brought in to be held in storage until they are ready for distribution to site and installation. This may require specialist storage with racking and additional security standards to the rest of your FF&E inventory.

Individual artworks would be expected to have a condition report before being packed and moved. The best form of condition reporting is electronic, with photographic evidence and detailed notes that can be referenced. Condition reports are one of the main aspects regarding administration of artwork, this process can be carried out several times during a project from the original collection point, to delivery into our warehouse and to the installation point.

Storage options will need to be assessed as different types of artwork require different types of storage for example temperature controlled, oversized items, heavy sculptures that require bespoke pallets, travel frames and crates.

Image credit: Silo Hotel, Cape Town

“When it comes to the point of installation, having someone on the project who understands your vision and the nature of the artwork is going to make a big difference.”

Understand the medium and space

When it comes to the point of installation, having someone on the project who understands your vision and the nature of the artwork is going to make a big difference. Understanding the materials and the mediums of the works will ensure that the installation process is smooth, and the artwork is displayed to make a maximum impact. Our art technicians will advise on the use of light and any potential environmental factors that could damage the works such as excessive heat, light or moisture. An experienced technician will understand the requirements of the artworks and the space and advise on every aspect to define the best way to install the works and fulfil your project plan.

Specialist technicians, qualifications and equipment

Your project manager will select the best team of Art Technicians to support your project specification and the work package requirements. Some projects also require technicians to have CSCS cards and attend site inductions prior to starting work on site. Technicians will follow the floor plans and the work package that has been agreed by both the project management team and designer.

Certain types of lifting equipment can be required during the installation, for example we use external elevators, cranes, genie lifts, gantry’s and scissor tables. Your project manager would discuss these with you in consultation with the technician.

Considerations when delivering to site

Your logistics project manager will ensure coordination of storage and transport services based on the requirements of your overall project plan. If your installation is phased, then specific items will be selected according to a pick list, then prepared, packed and consolidated as a consignment ready for transport and delivery. They will also need to prepare all the necessary documentation and customs preparations if this is an international delivery.

At location, many hotels, especially in city locations, have access limitations that require assessing early in the project. This should be conducted by your accredited logistics specialist. Risks will need to be assessed expertly, especially taking into account health and safety measures needed to prevent damage to people and the site.

Your project manager will need to define route plans of your site from delivery point to installation point. These need to be checked daily as working hotels can be very busy which can sometimes lead to routes being obstructed.

Always factor for noise levels too. If you have guests or local residents, then noise cancelling measures need to be taken. We also carry out work during weekends or evenings depending on the needs of the project.

On-site installation

All works will be installed as per the project plan set out by the designers, curator and project management team in coordination with the art technicians. A pre-installation survey will check both access and type of material that the works will be installed against. A risk assessment and method of works are often provided depending on the project specification.

The type of surface that the artwork will be displayed on or fixed to will define the type of tools and equipment that will need to be used.  For example, drilling into marble must be handled differently to drilling into materials such as panelled or plaster walls, carpet walls, wallpapered areas and wooden walls.

The type of surface on which the art is being displayed or being hung from should be able to sustain the mass of the artwork. Weight and pull test certificates must be provided for any hanging works or pieces that are considered heavy. We must also consider the age of the building looking if and where required do we need to have asbestos certifications for health and safety reasons.

As your artworks tend to be displayed in locations that are in reach of guests, then health and safety is going to be high on the list and may also want to consider that your artwork is valuable too. Therefore, fixings must be considered. Your project manager and technician should advise on the safety of fixings and special security fittings. They will also provide written method statements where construction and build are involved.

If you are installing artwork, then it is recommended that the installation is conducted by art technicians. The level of experience and skills required will be defined by the medium, size, weight and complexity of the items you require installing and the space you are installing them in; height, access, safety requirements, risks, access and others. Ensuring you have the right skills on-site and a logistics project manager who understands art installation and is able to engage technicians with the correct level of experience will help a great deal.

After all the artworks are installed, the crew will complete an internal snagging report for your team to sign off. They will be able to accommodate and advise on any adaptations that you request.

Anything else?

Bringing fine art into your project opens a whole new range of creative possibilities. Unique works can enrich the customer experience and differentiate your residence from the market.

If you are incorporating art, you are also investing in and creating a collection. You should ensure your works are insured from the point they are collected. Depending on the works, you may need to have valuations, you will also want to ensure you have an updated inventory of what you have on display as well as those you have in storage.

About Momentous

Momentous provides specialist logistics solutions for interior design, events and fine art installations.

  1. FF&E logistics for interior design and hotels
  2. Event and tour logistics for the performing arts
  3. Fine art logistics and installations

Having all these services available through Momentous, means that we can support you with all your specialist packing, crating, condition reporting, storage, consolidation, FF&E inventory management, shipping and installation requirements.

Visit the website for more information

Main image credit: Paradiso Ibiza Art Hotel

Ritz-Carlton to debut in Montenegro

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Ritz-Carlton to debut in Montenegro

Marriott International has signed an agreement to introduce the Ritz-Carlton brand to Montenegro, with the aim to usher in a “new era of elegance” to the chic LuÅ¡tica Peninsula…

Hotel giant Marriott International has signed a “milestone agreement” with Northstar D.O.O. to bring The Ritz-Carlton brand to Montenegro. Under the plan funded by Al Yasra, The Ritz-Carlton, Montenegro and The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Montenegro are scheduled to bring the brand’s unrivalled elegance and legendary service to the country in 2023.

“With its striking views of the Adriatic coast, Montenegro has quickly become a favourite Mediterranean destination for global travellers,” said Carlton Ervin, Chief Development Officer – Europe, Marriott International. “The signing of The Ritz-Carlton, Montenegro highlights the demand for our luxury brands in this exciting region. Combining the country’s serene, natural beauty together with the brand’s legendary service makes Montenegro the perfect destination for The Ritz-Carlton guest.”

Slated to rise in a prime position on the Western tip of the chic Luštica Peninsula, the hotel and residences are expected to boast panoramic views over the glittering Adriatic Sea. Planned to be accessible by car in 30 minutes from Tivat International Airport or two hours from Dubrovnik International Airport, the coastal property is expected to allow guests and residents to make an unforgettable entrance via the sea at a planned private jetty.

Design plans for the hotel’s 120 elegantly appointed guestrooms and suites envision relaxing sanctuaries for guests, with simple local design planned to merge discreetly with contemporary technology, all with the aim of enhancing the natural beauty of the location. The project’s plans call for low-rise buildings that would blend into the terrain while maximizing sea and sunset views for guests, residents and visitors alike.

Plans call for expansive outdoor event spaces with unobstructed views to create ideal settings for hosting memorable gatherings, alongside creative pop-up activations offering seasonal bar and restaurant options. Adventurous activities, such as mountain biking and nature trail hikes, are also being planned for guests to enjoy. Ambassadors of the Environment, a hands-on, educational program developed by Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ocean Futures Society in collaboration with The Ritz Carlton, is expected to offer programming that highlights the extraordinary natural reserves surrounding the property, striving to encourage guests of all ages to understand how their actions can help preserve natural resources for future generations.

“The success achieved on this project, bringing the legendary Ritz-Carlton brand to Montenegro, is a result of dedicated work by all parties involved, both from our company, Marriott International, and the Government of Montenegro,” said Mohamed Al Sager, Chairman, Al Yasra. “This is not only a business success, but a personal accomplishment as well. When I first visited Montenegro on holiday, I fell in love with the natural beauty of the country and knew I wanted to be a part of its future development. What began as just a dream has today become a great project on a clear path of execution.”

The hotel and residences are planned as part of a mixed-use development that is poised to include sprawling villas, manicured gardens, a yacht club and a sparkling beach cove. The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Montenegro is expected to offer 180 apartments and 48 villas and is scheduled to complete the first phase of construction in 2023, with the final phase scheduled for completion by 2028. Residential sales are slated to begin in 2020.

Main image credit: Marriott International

Carlton Tel Aviv reveals new public area interior scheme

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Carlton Tel Aviv reveals new public area interior scheme

Award-winning hotel Carlton Tel Aviv speaks to bleisure trend with infusion of new, contemporary art, stylish lightning schemes, and a circular beachfront lobby bar and beyond…

Carlton Tel Aviv, a The 268-key luxury property that was voted “Israel’s Leading Business Hotel 2019” by World Travel Awards, today officially reveals its newly designed lobby, corridors, business lounge, work spaces and lobby bar.

With the aim to offer guests an infusion of new and artistic decor, lighting schemes, public areas and workspaces, the hotel commissioned interior design studio Yaron Tal to manifest new and fresh renovations as Tel Aviv continues to excel as one of the world’s most attractive destinations for both leisure and business travel.

To make walking through the corridors a more meaningful experience, the new design exists of deep, warm and rich materials. Warm colors such as deep blue and copper are used, and rich materials such as copper and brass. Wallpaper printed with copper accents are to be found throughout the corridors. The unique and reflective, yet romantic lights, gives a sense of lightness in the historic Brutalist building.

The concept in the lobby was to make a lighter, less heavy feel to the lobby that is a blend between business and pleasure. Materials such as oak wood, rich fabrics, glass and brass, allow a more formal atmosphere to mix with young and sophisticated, and with the feeling of a luxury vacation.

In the old floor plan, the bar was somewhat hidden in the back of the lobby. By bringing the bar to the front of the lobby it becomes more inviting, and a central meeting point at the hotel. The design, with ceramic tiles of which both colour and shape complement the view, the bar is now a central area, offering a relaxing environment for breakfast, lunch, dinner and cocktails with a view over the Mediterranean Sea.

Main image credit: Carlton Tel Aviv

REVEALED: Top 20 attributes Brits look for in a hotel room

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
REVEALED: Top 20 attributes Brits look for in a hotel room

A survey commissioned by P&G Professional has revealed that filthy bedsheets, hairy plugholes and unidentifiable room smells are some of the top factors likely to cause Brits to walk out of their hotel and never return…

With the growing pressure on hoteliers to receive positive reviews and feedback, a study has been published that highlights some of the main faux pas that would make a guest walk out.

Research into hotel guests’ experiences shows the importance of cleanliness to improve online ratings and customer loyalty.

A study of 2,000 Brits who regularly stay in hotels has revealed that dirty bedsheets were the most likely issue that would result in a guest refusing to stay, followed by a disgusting bathroom or a smelly room.

Almost everyone surveyed – 97 per cent – was disturbed by evidence of previous guests in their room, with two thirds stating they felt their skin crawl at the thought of old drool marks on their pillow. And 66 per cent can’t handle the sight of a stranger’s hair lingering in the plughole of the hotel shower.

Savvy travellers won’t make the same mistake twice though, with 84 per cent of guests claiming they would not return for a second visit if the accommodation was unclean.

“It is clear from this research that for hotels, the key to guest happiness is maintaining a high level of hygiene,” said Greg Elmore, UK & Ireland country sales manager at P&G Professional. “An unclean experience can damage a hotel’s reputation, from negative reviews to the risk of losing repeat business. It is critical to ensure cleanliness is the starting point of a great guest experience.”

The study also found that while Brits may be horrified by an unclean room, many admit to less than favourable habits when staying away from home.

More than a quarter admitted to dribbling on hotel pillows, 25 per cent leaving hair in the shower, and a fifth dropping food on the carpet.

“Three quarters of those surveyed would leave a bad review online if their hotel stay was unclean.”

Shockingly, five per cent admitted to boiling food like eggs in the kettle and four per cent have let children draw on hotel walls with crayons.

It also emerged that when it comes to looking for a spotless hotel, one third of those surveyed rely on recommendations from friends or family. And three quarters of those surveyed would leave a bad review online if their hotel stay was unclean.

This can be damaging to hospitality businesses though, as 93 per cent read online reviews before booking. For potential guests, cleanliness has been revealed as the most important factor when checking reviews, more than location or service.

Only one in eight of those surveyed would consider staying in an establishment which has received less-than-stellar ratings for its hygiene.

These negative experiences can impact hotels with immediate effect as 55 per cent will want to talk to management if they come across a rude member of staff.

TOP 20 ATTRIBUTES BRITS LOOK FOR IN A HOTEL ROOM

1. A fresh smelling bedroom
2. An immaculate bathroom
3. Fresh smelling bed linen
4. No stray hairs in the bedroom or bathroom
5. Bright, white sheets
6. No dirty ring around the bathtub
7. Comfortable room temperature
8. Natural light
9. A decent sized bed
10. A lovely view from the window
11. A good sized room
12. Stylish décor
13. Fluffy towels
14. A good amount of pillows
15. Plug sockets near the bed
16. Bright, white bathrobes
17. No fingerprints on the mirror or window
18. Good bathroom size
19. Smart TV with plenty of channels
20. Free beauty products in the bathroom

Main image credit: Pixabay

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

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

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

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

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

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

Modern cafe in the lobby

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Millenium Hotels/Orchard Hotel Singapore

1 Hotels to debut in Canada

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
1 Hotels to debut in Canada

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: 1 Hotels

Empty room with various styles of seating

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

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

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

Empty room with various styles of seating

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

[CURTAIN UP]

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

Exterior shot of the hotel, showing a colourful courtyard

Image credit: Ruby Leni

[PUBLIC AREAS ENTER FROM STAGE RIGHT]

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

[GUESTROOMS ENTER FROM STAGE LEFT]

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

White, bright and contemporary guestroom

Image credit: Ruby Leni

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

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

[APPLAUSE]

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

Quick-fire round:

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

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

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

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

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

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

[CURTAIN CALL]

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

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

[CURTAIN CLOSED]

“Alexa, send up my coffee”: It’s here, it’s real and you need to take it seriously

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
“Alexa, send up my coffee”: It’s here, it’s real and you need to take it seriously

Amazon’s Alexa took up the job of hotel concierge with Marriott in mid-2018. It’s done well and is now ready for consideration by your property. STAAH writes…

At first, everyone felt it would be a bit much to expect guests to use Alexa to call housekeeping. But with 65 per cent of 25 – 49-year-olds using voice search at least once a day and 55 per cent of the households expected to own a smart speaker device by 2022, voice is become part of consumer routine. Even when they travel, it seems.

What is Alexa for Hospitality?

For guests staying at Marriott, many rooms have had a minimum occupancy of two since June 2018 when the hotel chain adopted to put Amazon Echo inside to enhance guest experience.

Amazon for Hospitality offers hotels and vacation rentals the opportunity to set up customised versions of Echo products that work like a digital concierge right in your room. These Echos are specialised to answer questions about your reservations, facilities such as pool or spa hours and local amenities. You can order room service or housekeeping too. Basically, anything that might lead you to dial for help on that in-room phone sounds like it will be a job that Alexa can tackle instead.

Guests can benefit from Alexa’s growing skill set. And if they have their own Amazon account they’d like to use during their stay, soon they can actually log in to the device to make the experience more customised.

Having done a good job at impressing guests at the Marriott, Alexa for Hospitality was invited into hotel chains such as Westin, Regis Hotels & Resorts, Autograph Collection Hotels or Aloft hotels.

How it works?

Alexa is powered by the Internet of Things (IoT), using machine learning to deliver an experience that is personalised. In hospitality, this means a seamless integration to a hotel’s back-office systems, housekeeping, the concierge and front desk.

The Alexa for Hospitality system isn’t just the Echo devices in the room, however – it’s a suite of tools for configuring the Echo devices, available via a dashboard where hotels can update their information, enable skills, adjust settings and track usage. Hoteliers can also measure guest engagement through Alexa’s reporting and analytics platform.

The system is easy to install and activate. The device is muted and activates only when a guest’s check-in and activates it for use. It automatically disconnects after every checkout. Alexa for Hospitality is customisable and with its real-time reporting enables you to take actions that will leave your guest happy.

What’s the future?

The concept of smart speakers in hotel rooms is still in its infancy, but early adopters are gaining when it comes to the best measure of a hotel’s success – guest experience.

Alexa for Hospitality is now being trialled by vacation rentals such as Properly. It’s ready for the next phase in its growth, and founded on technology (voice search) that will be the next big thing in the world of internet. Are you ready for it?

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

Main image caption/credit: Alexa for Hospitality/Amazon

Independent Hotel Show 2019 announces this year’s talks

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Independent Hotel Show 2019 announces this year’s talks

Editor Hamish Kilburn will host The Conscious Bedroom Report on the Innovation Stage at Independent Hotel Show 2019, which takes place October 15 – 16… 

As proud a long-standing media partner, Hotel Designs, which recently lifted the lid on which trends will emerge during the event, shares this year’s major topics and sessions that will be explored during the Independent Hotel Show 2019, which takes place October 15 – 16 at Olympia London.

October 15

Innovation Stage

Title: The No Commission Mission, presented by eviivo
Time: 10:30am – 11:15am
Host: eviio
Description: Web tools have levelled the playing field for independent hoteliers when it comes to competing for bookings online, enabling savvy businesses to get more of their bookings direct and save on commission. However, with so many options available, how do you know which are the most effective and how can you ensure that your website is working as efficiently as possible? Ideal for: Owner-operators, Marketing Directors, Business Development

Title: The Conscious Bedroom Report 
Time: 11:30am – 12:10pm
Host: Hamish Kilburn (Hotel Designs)
Speakers Alex Harris (Harris & Harris), Olivia Richli (Heckfield Place), Sue Williams (Whatley Manor), Xenia zu Hohenlohe (Considerate Group)
Description: In line with the emerging trends of modern, environmentally savvy hotel guests, we’re introducing a futuristic and boundary pushing hotel room – The Conscious Bedroom. Here our panel will review the feasibility of this statement room and discuss the accompanying research piece to provide insight on capitalising on the thoughtful guest. Ideal for: Guest Relation Managers, Design Directors, Owner-operators

Three men on the Hotel Vision stage

Image caption: Editor Hamish Kilburn leading panel discussion entitled ‘Designing for Bleisure’ at Independent Hotel Show Amsterdam 2019

Title: Social Media 2020
Time: 12:40pm – 1:20pm
Host: Alison Battisby (Acocado Social)
Description: We all know the world of communication evolves rapidly, so join our session to explore what you need to know to make your social media impactful and economical in 2020. With plenty of best practice examples, we’ll delve in to chatbots, stories and the latest advice on influencers! Ideal for: Marketing Directors, Owner-operators, Sales Managers

Title: Unpacking the Wellness Traveller 
Time: 1:50pm – 2:30pm
Speakers: David Connell (South Lodge), Harry Cragoe (The Gallivant), Nadira Lalji (Inhabit Hotels), Rohaise Rose-Bristow (The Torridon)
Description: As travellers show an increasing desire to maintain a healthy lifestyle whether they’re at home, on a holiday, or on the road for business, catering for guest well-being can also lead to a healthier bottom line for you. Discover how to make wellness a revenue stream without having to open a spa, and learn how guest well-being and customer engagement are intrinsically linked.

Title: Discussing Design with SPACE 
Time: 3:00pm – 3:40pm
Speakers: Can Faik (SPACE Magazine), Russell Sage (Russell Sage Studio)

Hotel Vision Stage 

Title: Mental Health: Breaking the Taboo
Time: 11:00am – 11:40am
Speakers: TBC
Description: Long hours, high-pressure working environments and increasingly worrying statistics, and yet mental health continues to be a largely silent issue across the hospitality industry. Thankfully, people are starting to talk about their experiences. Join us as Mitch Collier recounts his own battle and recovery under the employment of Raymond Blanc OBE. Ideal for: HR Directors, General Managers, Owners-operators

Title: Hotel Dynasties 
Time: 12:00pm – 12:40pm
Speakers: Will Ashworth (Watergate Bay Hotel), Peter Hancock (Pride of Britain Hotels), Paul Milsom, (The Milsom Hotels)
Description: There’s no denying that family businesses carry with them a special essence, unique and distinct from competitors. So, whether you own a family-run hotel or not, make sure to be a part of the discussion, to get access to vital intel on how to create a family culture, gain trust and loyalty from your employees and build a strong company ethos. Ideal for: General Managers, Owners-operators, Front of House, Customer Service Staff

Title: Collaboration is Key: Building Successful Partnerships
Time: 1:00pm – 1:40pm
Speakers: Petra Clayton (Custard Communications), Laura Sharpe (Ham Yard Hotel), Chris Ward (Hotel Makers UK)
Description: Brand partnerships, that’s clever collabs with other like-minded businesses, are a valuable way to accelerate the growth of your brand and uncover lucrative new revenue streams. But how do you find the ‘best fit’ and work together to create value? Our panel will discuss the opportunities, so you’re pre-armed with strategies for your own hotel business. Ideal for: Marketing Directors, Owners-operators, Guest Relations Managers, General Managers

October 16

Innovation Stage

Title: How to Drive Direct Bookings, from those winning on the web
Time: 11:30 – 12:10pm
Speakers: TBC
Description: Our panel of industry experts will provide practical tips on exactly how to present yourself online to maximise your direct bookings, and pioneering hoteliers highlight how taking the theory and putting it in to practice really works. No jargon, nothing too techy, just stuff you can go back and do straight away!’ Ideal for: Owner-operators, Marketing Directors, Business Development

Title: The Dark Art of Digital
Time: 12:40 – 1:20pm
Speakers: Olivia Byrne (Eccleston Square Hotel), Julie Grieve (Criton), Steve Lowy (The Hotel Marketing Association)
Description: Hospitality has long been one of the most underserved industries in terms of digital transformation, but now is the time for change. Join our expert panel to unpick how the hotel industry is embracing new digital products and technologies; from AI and automation, to biometics and virtual concierges, this A-Z of opportunity is sure to leave you inspired. Best for: Marketing Directors, IT Directors, General Managers

Title: The Main Ingredients: Digesting the latest trends in F&B
Time: 1.50pm – 2.30pm
Speaker: Juan Diego
Description: With the dining sector facing its own struggles, it’s harder than ever for hotel restaurants to rustle up the winning formula. We’ll be exploring the top trends in food and drink for 2020, as well as the management styles and mindsets that can help hotel restaurants thrive in the modern age. Best for: F&B Directors, Restaurant Managers, Bar Managers, Marketing Directors

Hotel Vision Stage

Title: Community Business 
Time: 11:00 – 11:40am
Speakers: Nick Davies (Cottage in the Woods), Tim Holloway (The Manor at Sway), Julio Marques (The London Bridge Hotel)
Description: Owners and executives share how supporting and working with your local community can help you be an employer of choice, source talent nearby and support the local economy – and what to do when it backfires! Ideal for: Owners, General Managers, Heads of Operations, HR Professionals

Title: Company Culture
Time: 1:00pm – 1:40pm
Speakers: Liz McGivern (Red Carnation Hotels), Julia Murrell (Firmdale Hotels), Adam Rowledge (Rowledge Associates)
Description: New research by jobs website Glassdoor suggests most people believe a strong company culture will make them happier at work than earning a high salary. But if the solutions to the staffing crisis is as simple as having an engaged company culture, how do you actually creat and maintain one that works for your hotel? Ideal for: General Managers, HR Professionals, Heads of Department

Main image credit: Independent Hotel Show 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dark lit restaurant with modern interiors

Image credit: Ryan Forbes/Rosewood Hotels

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

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

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

Main image credit: Ryan Forbes/Rosewood Hotels

 

Lennox Hotels arrives on Miami Beach

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Lennox Hotels arrives on Miami Beach

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

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

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

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

Exterior render of the hotel

Image credit: Lennox Hotels

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image of courtyard and long narrow pool

Image credit: Lennox Hotels

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Lennox Hotels

DESIGN INSPIRATION: 7 Quirky hotels built into their surroundings

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
DESIGN INSPIRATION: 7 Quirky hotels built into their surroundings

To continue putting Hotel Concepts under the spotlight, leading booking management service STAAH identifies seven quirky hotels that shelter one-off luxury experiences… 

Depending on the type of traveller you are trying to attract or designing for, sometimes a hotel needs to be nothing more than just a place to rest after a long day of exploring the surroundings of your destination.

For others, the right hotel is part of what makes the travel experience an interesting one. We have found some of the quirkiest hotels around to give you, your clients and/or your guests a memorable experience from check in right through to check out.

The Caves Resort, Jamaica

At The Caves Resort, Every room at the caves is unique and bursting with its own character, charm and heart-stopping coastal views. Sitting atop of some of the most incredible sea caves in the world, their 12 custom designed Cliffside cottages act as artful hideaways with all the comforts of home.

ICE Hotel, Sweden

Bed in the middle of iced shelter

Image credit: ICE Hotel

Staying in the largest ice hotel in the world is like living inside a diamond. Each suite is individually themed and hand carved by artists commissioned from around the world and a wide range of disciplines.  Spending a night in Ice Hotel is a surreal experience and a memory for life and in the morning you are awakened with a cup of hot lingonberry juice at your bedside.

Eco Camp Patagonia, Chile

At Eco Camp Patagonia, guests can immerse their in the stunning world of Torres del Paine National Park. Spend your days exploring this fragile paradise with trekking, multi-sport adventures, and wildlife watching, and your nights in harmony with nature in your very own dome.

Poseidon Undersea Resort, Fiji

Image credit: Poseidon Undersea Resort, Fiji/YouTube

At Poseidon Undersea Resort, the entire ocean is a playground. Activities abound for adventurers who wish to explore the unimaginable, like maneuvering a personal Triton submarine through a lagoon, exploring the ocean’s depths as the passenger of a 1,000-foot luxury submersible, and scuba diving in pristine waters. Those who seek solitude will find the epitome of relaxation when indulging in marine-focused spa treatments and meditation under the gaze of only the moon and stars.

Aurora Express, Alaska, USA

Image credit: Aurora Express, Alaska, USA

Hotel and Motel lodging just can’t compare to the breath-taking views and unforgettable memories you’ll have when you stay on this amazing train (or once was)! The décor and majestic views to match will keep you wanting more.

The Aurora-Express is a Bed and Breakfast in Fairbanks, Alaska made out of authentic Alaska Railroad cars renovated to historical periods. Experience Fairbanks, Alaska in this nostalgic Bed & Breakfast overlooking greater Fairbanks, the Tanana Valley, & Alaska Mountain Range.

Singita Sweni Lodge, South Africa

Image credit: Singita Sweni Lodge, South Africa

Situated on the verdant banks of the Sweni River, modern autumnal-coloured furniture springs to life with vivid shades of green in one of the most intimate lodges in the Kruger. Sweni’s seven Suites are perched on stilts above the lush river and blend effortlessly into the surrounding trees.

Suites are open-plan (with curtains for privacy) with deep baths, splendid views of the river and lavish decks with daybeds and outdoor showers.

Hotel Endemico, Mexico

Image credit: Hotel Endemico, Mexico

They always say “good things come in small packages”. These little rooms pack a surprising punch once you step inside.

Hotel Endemico is a rustic retreat in Mexico’s wine country situated on a slope overlooking the Valle de Guadalupe. “Endemico” is a Spanish word meaning “part of the environment” and so each eco-pod is designed to show-off the rural landscape.

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

Main image credit: Singita Sweni Lodge, South Africa

In Conversation With: Fashion designer Jack Irving

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In Conversation With: Fashion designer Jack Irving

Having previously designed statement outfits for many international music and fashion icons, Jack Irving’s alternative style has recently spilled out onto the hotel design scene. Editor Hamish Kilburn joins the fashion designer, in between photoshoots, to understand how two worlds have recently collided…

The brand ‘Jack Irving Studio’ and the creative man behind the logo are two very different things. One is bold, disobedient and you would expect – almost encourage – to cause an outrageous impression in almost any social scenario.

The other orders a lemonade on a hazy Thursday afternoon at a media interview as he catches his breath between work engagements. Opposites do attract, after all.

Made famous by creating outlandish outfits for the likes of Lady Gaga and The Spice Girls for their come-back tour, the talented story-telling designer, Jack Irving, made his mark on the fashion industry by producing items that infused glamour and engineered technology.

His innovative work recently emerged on my radar when he unveiled the result of a collaboration with W London Leicester Square, which has been the designer’s first interior design project to date. “The idea of working with W Hotels was mentioned to us at Pride London last year,” says Irving. “But it wasn’t until November, following my first show at the V&A, when we met the team to really discuss what we could do together.”

Fashion shoot of models on bed with cushion

Image credit: Charlotte Rutherford

Presented by a loose brief to bring a flavour of ‘Jack Irving’ into the hotel, it became clear that that the W brand was willing to give the designer the creative reins in order to produce a statement piece for their newly designed guestrooms and suites. “They wanted a replacement for the current cushions and bed throw that met brand standards,” he explains. “The bed, for us, became the canvas.”

One month after the brief was given, Irving pitched what he explained at the time to the client as a ‘crazy tech idea’ for the concept of new cushions. He wanted the items to be inspired his signature sea urchin style, which became famous by his work with Lady Gaga. Irving then wanted to make the interiors more instagrammable. The spiked pillows’ fabric would appear muted to the naked eye until they are brought to life through the click of a camera flash. Through the lens, the smart fabric would transform into an iridescent masterpiece. “To be honest, we were hesitant as to whether or not the client would see our vision,” explains the designer. “What we pitched was as far away from convention as we could have gone.”

Irving and his partner (in life as well as well as in business), Rhys Beynon, received a call from the client while they were on a yoga retreat in Goa over Christmas 2018. “They wanted to see prototypes the first week of January,” Irving explains. “At this point, the pressure for us was on to meet the deadline.”

QUICK-FIRE ROUND

Hamish Kilburn: What would a Jack Irving guestroom look like if you were to design it?
Jack Irving: It would be ridiculous – think sea urchin chairs and UFO beds. I also have the idea to design a Chesterfield sofa in the rainbow smart material.

HK: What’s been the most challenging part going from fashion to interiors?
JI: It hasn’t actually been that challenging because W Hotels were so on board with our idea.

HK: Where’s next on your travel bucket list?
JI: New Zealand and LA!

HK: How do you switch off from work?
JI: Both Rhys and I are really into techno. Oddly, it’s become our sanctuary.

HK: What’s your biggest bugbear when checking in to a conventional hotel?
JI: When hotels don’t stay in their lane.

HK: What materials are really inspiring you at the moment?
JI: For me, smart fabrics and metallic fabrics are really fun to play around with. I want to experiment more with the manufacturing of the material we have been using. That being said, you can’t rely on the fabric. The shape and structure is just as important.

Models on bed with cushion

Image credit: Charlotte Rutherford

With time depleting by the day, and with fabric supplies on order to be delivered when they returned home from India, the next challenge was to secure a manufacturer. “The word ‘impossible’ landed in our inbox a few times,” explains Irving. “We did receive a lot of kickback at this stage from manufacturers, mainly because of the demand and the order size.” Undeterred, Irving and Beynon’s ‘when there’s a will there’s a way’ approach led them both to source the materials themselves to prove that it could be done. “I remember sitting on the beach with Rhys making a cardboard model of the cushion,” says Irving. “It’s one thing drawing the design, but it becomes very real when designing a 3D model.”

As well as the shape of the accessory being unconventional, so too was the material that designer decided to work with. “We call it rainbow smart fabric,” he explains. “We were worried that it would look to synthentic when not lit up, but in reality it was the perfect material to use for creating that contrast.”

As with all creative projects at pitch stage, there is an air of uncertainty, especially when it comes to unveiling to clients a prototype as futuristic as this one. “I was terrified when it came to pitching because you just don’t know how it’s going to go,” admits Irving. “We hadn’t seen the new rooms that our statement accessories would sit in, so it could have gone either way, as these things often do. But they loved it, and the second prototype we made on the beach in Goa over Christmas became the product that’s in the W London today.”

Irving’s interior design work for W Hotels may be just a dip in the ocean for now, but the designer’s ability to disrupt convention through the use of innovative materials and shapes unquestionably makes him a true innovator on the international hotel design scene.

Main image credit: Jack Irving Studio

Hotel Designs becomes media partner for Hospitality Design Show

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel Designs becomes media partner for Hospitality Design Show

Hospitality Design Show takes place on September 18 – 19 at ExCel London… 

Exciting news – We’re partnering with the Hospitality Design Show, the UK’s ultimate event for the designs behind business growth, taking place on the 18th & 19th of Septemberat London’s ExCeL!

Connecting passionate hospitality professionals with the industry’s leading creatives, the show is free to attend and will feature an unmissable line-up from across the globe, whilst also showcasing the design solutions, tips and techniques that are transforming the world of hospitality!

What’s more, at this year’s unbelievable event, you’ll have the chance to tune in and listen to hundreds of influential speakers, engage in industry-altering panel sessions and get personalised one-to-one advice from the sector’s greatest minds, all whilst you cultivate invaluable new business contacts! With all this and more, you’re sure to return to your business armed with ambition and brimming with ideas and inspiration on how you can take it to the next level!

The amazing features don’t stop there! Running directly alongside the Hospitality Design Show, for the first time ever, is Hotel360, the UK’s leading event fully dedicated to improving all aspects of hotels and increasing their profitability. And the best part? Your free ticket gives you access to both events, with a combined line-up of 500 cutting-edge suppliers, 320 thought-provoking seminars, unmissable innovation awards and much more!

Visit hospitalitydesignshow.co.uk to secure your free ticket, enter the ultimate marketplace for hospitality design and let the world’s leading innovators guide you to success!

luxe marble bathroom

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

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

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

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

luxe marble bathroom

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

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

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

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

Render of luxury bathroom with marble surfaces and overlooking Manchester

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sekers launches new fabric backed vinyl contract wallcoverings

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Sekers launches new fabric backed vinyl contract wallcoverings

The Chenega Collection by Sekers is a new fabric backed vinyl contract wallcovering…

Recommended Supplier Sekers has launched Chenega. Inspired by the delicate textures and surfaces of the polar landscape, the new collection is a versatile mix of six sophisticated designs including a modern interpretation of a classic moiré, an understated metallic effect, and a simple but elegant strie and is available in an extensive palette of 54 colours ranging from refined neutrals to radiant jewel tones, all with a subtle interplay of matte and sheen.

Meeting all relevant UK and American standards for contract wallcoverings and IMO certified, Chenega is scrubbable and available in wide rolls, making it the ideal choice for the commercial hospitality, leisure and marine markets.

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

Main image credit: Sekers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Establishing shot of site against other buildings

Image credit: Ivan Dupont

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

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

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

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

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

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

Exterior shot of the hotel, with irregular details

Image credit: Ivan Dupont

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

QUICK-FIRE ROUND

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Jacopo Spilimbergo

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Styling a hotel for design press

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INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Styling a hotel for design press

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: CitzenM Kuala Lumpar

BIID announces new President

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BIID announces new President

The British Institute of Interior Design (BIID) has announced that Harriet Forde from Forde design has stepped up to become the 2019 BIID President…

The British Institute of Interior Design (BIID) has announced its new president for 2019-20, Harriet Forde, founder of London-based practice Harriet Forde Design. Forde succeeds current president, Gilly Craft and officially took on the role at the BIID Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Thursday July 4, which took place at The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).

Forde, who has recently been confirmed as a Judge for Hotel Designs’ The Brit List, is an experienced interior designer and a long-standing member of the BIID, having previously held the position of Chair of the Membership Committee. An active member of the Institute, Harriet regularly leads talks and discussions at industry events across the country, including participation at the most recent BIID Inside Knowledge Conference.

“As president, I will continue to support our members in providing a high-quality and professional service to their clients.” – Harriet Forde

Having begun her study of interior design at the London School of Furniture, Forde went on to graduate from the prestigious University Central St Martin’s with a degree in textiles.  Following more than 10 years’ experience in the hospitality design sector – working for the likes of Richard Daniels, Richmond International and Areen Design – Harriet eventually set up her own practice, Harriet Forde Design in 1999.

“I am delighted to be president of the BIID, to continue the fantastic work already established by our hard-working BIID council,” she said. “As president, I will continue to support our members in providing a high-quality and professional service to their clients, to educate consumers on the benefits of using a BIID registered designer and to ensure that our talented community of BIID members continues to thrive.”

The designer is influenced by an admiration for architecture, attention to detail and nature, and incorporates this within her designs through pattern and texture. She also has a keen interest in the influences of design on wellbeing and explores the way this can be developed within a space through the careful selection of materials, lighting and space planning.

Forde is experienced in the commercial, hospitality and high-end residential sector and is regularly commissioned to work on projects across the UK, continental Europe and the Middle East. This has allowed her to build a successful business and client base, with an approach centred on the understanding of space and translating it into original concepts and design. Harriet continues to personally lead every client project and it is this commitment that has allowed the practice to thrive, with the studio recently celebrating an impressive 20 years in business.

Main image credit: BIID

 

EDITOR CHECKS IN: Making debuts in international hotel design

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EDITOR CHECKS IN: Making debuts in international hotel design

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Editor, Hotel Designs

FEATURE: Software and technology that is enhancing the overall hotel experience

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
FEATURE: Software and technology that is enhancing the overall hotel experience

To celebrate Hotel Designs putting the spotlight on technology, software and controls this month, the editorial team have compiled together all the latest and greatest technology pieces, both hidden and visible, that have launched to significantly help to evolve the overall hotel experience for the better.  

Edited by editor Hamish Kilburn…

Earlier this month, to celebrate the group’s 100th year anniversary, Hilton Hotels released a report supported by experts to reveal how the growing sophistication of technology and climate change will impact the hotel industry in the future. Using the results of the report as a metaphorical anchor, here is a selection of technology and software that is helping to shape the future of international interior design and, as a result, helping to improve the consumer journey within hotels.

Interactivity before checking in

With travel becoming more accessible to everyone, and the rise in alternative home-from-home accommodation, there has also been a rise of design-savvy guests checking in to hotels. Therefore, hoteliers may be interested to know that there is a range of software out there that actually allows the guest to interactively take a virtual tour of their hotel from behind a computer screen, mobile or tablet.

ACT Studios, Hotel Designs’ official photographer, is an innovative photography service that works with hotels to capture their interiors interactively. The company uses Matterport, a world leader in immersive 3D technology, offering a platform for the built environment that can easily capture, edit and share 3D models of physical spaces. The technology is able to fully capture the interior and the design of properties, including hotels and leisure destinations.

Matterport technology has already captured several spectacular hotels, resorts and travel lodges across the world. An example of this would be the Four Seasons Ty Warner Penthouse – located in New York that has hosted celebrity guests and has its own private spa room. An incredibly unique example is the Underwater Room at The Manta Resort and the Underwater Terrace – a floating underwater room as a private oasis located in the crystal clear waters of a conservation area in the Pemba Islands in Tanzania several hundred metres from shore. And up above in the clouds, Matterport has captured the Clouds Estate at Helshoogte Pass – a boutique hotel overlooking dramatic mountains in South Africa’s wine country.

Hotel Designs’ interactive hotel reviews which use the Matterport software include New Road Hotel, Hotel Gotham, University Arms and most recently Oddfellows On The Park.

Meanwhile, to improve the volume of guest bookings, STAAH is a channel management software, recognised as an innovator in hospitality technology solutions. STAAH has been using cloud-based products to help accommodation providers around the world power their online growth since 2008. Its award-winning products puts property owners in control by empowering them with technology that helps them attract, convert, analyse and maximise online reach and revenue.

Its latest products to emerge includes STAAH ReviewMinder, which follows a recent integration with booking.com API for review collection and STAAH Max App, giving users the ability to manage their property from their Mobile-On the Go. Find out more about the company’s June updates on products here.

Personalisation is key

In order to improve the holistic guest hotel experience, the evolution of behind-the-scenes technology has made a clear path for smart hotels, once considered the future, to emerge in the market. Guests checking in to a modern hotel can now expect to be able to adapt and personalise many elements, such as the AC or order room service using their phones, self check-ins are driving receptionists out of fashion, while smart door-opening solutions such as key cards or even mobile applications are fast challenging convention. Hamilton Litestat is an electrical solutions provider that designs, develops and manufactures innovative electrical accessories of the highest quality. With a vast product range, spanning consumer units, decorative switch plates and sockets, lighting control and multi-room audio, it is a one-stop-shop for all domestic wiring requirements to allow for guests to personalise their own stay.

Image of room with ceiling lights and display of Hamilton's switches

Image credit: Hamilton Litestat

A British manufacturer, Hamilton Litestat has created an enviable portfolio of switch plate and socket designs to please the hotel interiors fashion industry, as well as smart lighting control and audio systems designed to enhance the hotel guest experience. Its DMX control option allows a Red, Green or Blue colour-wash to be used as accent lighting to add drama to a space – ideal for guest rooms and restaurant/bar/public areas.’

Another emerging product that has emerged from the domestic market, and is quickly making its way into the boutique hotel sector, is Nanoleaf. The company’s canvas range allows guests to create their own masterpiece. Designed to add a dash of playful, ambient light to any room, the product, among other settings, reacts to the touch of the user. Via downloading the Nanoleaf app, guests can chose to change the colour of their wall tiles from more than 16 millions colours. What’s more, the product is drill free, easy to assemble and works with other smart devices such as Google Home and Amazon Echo.

Hoteliers interested in investing in a quality experience among high-paying guests may wish to include various portable devices for entertainment purposes. LOEWE’s mini yet mighty Klang M1 portable speaker is an excellent example of how a hotel can offer tech that gives the guests control. Thanks to its compact dimensions, exquisitely finished stainless steel case and genuine leather wrist strap, the Klang M1 is the ideal companion for guests on the go. Whether connecting to a smartphone, tablet or laptop – the Bluetooth signal is quickly detected and the devices are paired ready to stream your music. In the hotel suite, while working out or even exploring a destination on two wheels, the Klang M1 is available wherever, whenever.

Image of portable speaker (rose gold) on handlebars of bike

Image credit: LOEWE Klang M1

Technology in design

Earlier this year, Hotel Designs reported live from Milan the launch of LG’s latest innovation, the world’s first rollable LED TV. Designed in collaboration with Foster + Partners, the TV product evolved after the understanding that the modern TV is omnipresent in most living spaces, and with screen sizes getting bigger it often dominates a room even when not being used. The new LG OLED rollable screen allows freedom from walls and offers a sense of liberation to design interior spaces.

While some companies have decided to compact their technology, others have opted to go big or go home. Samsung, for example, has just announced that the hotly anticipated one-of-a-kind display, ‘The Wall Professional’, is available to order with select partners, as it marches forward with its innovation in LED and large-scale displays. A breakthrough innovation in multimedia content technology, The Wall Professional redefines the category, offering discerning customers the ultimate made-to-measure display solution fit for any business or living space. The Wall Professional is a bespoke display offering premium viewing experiences on a larger, grander scale.

Large TV display on wall with people looking (render)

Image credit: Samsung

Hidden technology

While it would be easy to focus the lens on technology that is only used and seen by hotel guests, it would not be a true reflection on the rise in technology within modern hotels. New back-of-house systems are now available to further provide more seamless service. Solutions from the likes of Infraspeak have been designed and launched for chaotic hotels that would benefit from improved operational efficiency and reduced costs of maintenance.

Image credit: Infraspeak

As well as improving communication between maintenance staff and the hotel, Infraspeak is a communication tool that is now used in other areas of hotel, such as house keeping, F&B and even energy management. Click to here to read Hotel Designs’ interview with the company’s co-founder.

Main image credit: Nanoleaf

Curio Collection by Hilton heats up the Costa del Sol

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Curio Collection by Hilton heats up the Costa del Sol

Higueron Hotel Malaga, Curio Collection by Hilton opens on the Costa del Sol following a €22 million extensive renovation…

Hotel Group Hilton has unveiled its latest Spanish property – Higueron Hotel Malaga, Curio Collection by Hilton. From the city that gave the world Picasso, the 177-key new hotel shelters Malaga’s only sustainable Michelin-starred restaurant and jaw-dropping views of the Mediterranean Sea.

Nestled behind the Montes de Malaga, the hotel is conveniently located near Malaga’s vibrant city centre. Famously known as the heart of the Costa del Sol, the city offers something for guests of all ages, with its unique art districts, pristine sandy beaches and lively nightlife.

“Malaga is one of Europe’s most popular destinations, with 12.5 million tourists flocking to its sunny shores last year,” said Simon Vincent, President, EMEA, Hilton. “With €1 in every €7 generated from travel and tourism in Spain, we are excited to expand our portfolio by 50 per cent in the next three to five years.”

Each of the hotel’s elegant guestrooms feature distinct Spanish touches, such as original lithography made with local materials. It features 24 panoramic suites which boast glass panel balconies and terraces overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, offering 360-degree views.

Boasting the largest conference centre in the region, spanning 2255m² with six intimate meeting rooms and holding up to 1,000 attendees, the hotel is the ideal backdrop for any event, from cocktail receptions to conferences and weddings.

To reflect the vibrant art scene of Malaga, the hotel features two art exhibits showcasing the best of local and international artists, including paintings from Lita Cabellut and sculptures from Francisco Leiro.

“Higueron Hotel Malaga is the latest hotspot in the beautiful Costa del Sol, offering a truly unique experience to wind down and explore everything this remarkable location has to offer,” said Mark Nogal, global head, Curio Collection by Hilton. “As we continue to expand our one-of-a-kind collection of hotels to new and exciting destinations, we are thrilled to have opened in the charming city of Malaga, offering guests and locals alike unrivalled dining, spa and meetings experiences.”

The hotel is set to add an additional 113 premium suites in 2020, bringing the total number of rooms available up to 290.

Main image credit: Curio Collection by Hilton

Tapestry Collection by Hilton to debut in the Caribbean

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Hilton Hotels

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image of the designer flicking through a book on the floor

Image credit: Emily Andrews

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

QUICK-FIRE ROUND:

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

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

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

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

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

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

HK: What was the last hotel you stayed in?
JS: Downtown hotel in Mexico City.

HK: Explain London in three words…
JS: Quiet, polite, multicultural.

HK: What’s your favourite colour this season?
JS: Rust. Something nice about earthier and natural  tones as we move away from sterile palettes.

HK: What’s the last thing that shows up on your credit card statement?
JS: Uber. It is the first item that appears and most of what is inbetween!

As someone as visual as Strauss, the urge the design came as almost a natural instinct. “I think I was always a designer,” he narrates. “My mother says I was always observing my surroundings as a child and I think to this day it’s perhaps one of the reasons that I am doing what I am doing. What I really think makes you a professional designer is being able to process criticism. That you learn over time and does not come naturally.”

“F&B, I believe, is once again thriving in hotels.” – Jacu Strauss

As we converse over cocktails in a rooftop bar overlooking east London, it feels apt to discuss the rise of food and beverage facilities within hotel design. “I think hotels have historically been an important “pillar” in a city or town or community,” he explains. “But towards the end of the last century hotels became massive and exclusive only to its guests, and that meant it became inaccessible to their neighbours. Hotels are unique to their locations and I think guests have become more interested in feeling like they are part of a community even just for a night, than staying at a non-descript hotel that is removed from its surroundings. F&B is a tell-tale sign of how it was once the place to eat and drink, before it then became sterile. F&B, I believe, is once again thriving in hotels – as we’re proving this afternoon – because hotels are opening up to locals as well as guests making it feel less like a “hotel restaurant” and more like a restaurant that happens to be in a hotel.”

In reference to the quick-fire round above, Strauss is a man that believes in detail. “I have realised how important it is to research a new market thoroughly and avoid having a cookie cutter approach,” Strauss explains. “Designing a successful hotel is so much more than just choosing colours and fabrics. It is about the neighbourhoods, the greater contexts of the city and its people, and ensuring the longevity of a product. There are always things to improve on, but we believe you only open a hotel once.”

For the designer who has just as much in the pipeline as what’s already on his impressive portfolio, what makes him stand out his ability to be different. “At some stage,” he adds, “you need to ignore what others are doing and focus on your own task at hand and making decisions based our own hotel and not what others are doing.”

Another distinct characteristic that quite clearly sets Strauss aside from other hoteliers, designers and architects is his ability to effortlessly – on the surface at least – to balance work and life. Living his best life through both travel and work and sometimes a combination of both, Strauss is anything but a one-trick pony, constantly absorbing ideas, concepts and themes that time and time again capture the world’s attention each time the ribbon is cut. And for those wanting a snippet of the inspiration behind his designs, you have only to follow him on Instagram account.

Main image credit: Patrick Meis

100 Years of Hilton exhibition opens in London

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
100 Years of Hilton exhibition opens in London

The London Hilton on Park Lane, which was the first Hilton hotel to open in the UK, has opened an exhibition today for guests and visitors alike to explore the brand’s 100-year history…

100 Years of Hilton exhibition has opened to showcase the iconic history of the the group’s first hotel in the UK, London Hilton Park Lane, since opening in 1963 and explores the history Hilton as a brand and the London Hilton on Park Lane as an institution across the hospitality and London landscape.

A hotel of many firsts, founder Conrad Hilton himself commissioned what was the biggest post-war hotel build in Europe, standing at a majestic 28 floors. Conrad Hilton was noted upon opening the London Hilton on Park Lane as saying:

The hotel is known to have had a significant financial impact on the London economy, cited at around £7 million upon opening in 1963 and the hotel is proud to have helped redefine the UK’s event industry; one valued at an estimated £18.1 billion today and recently overtook Marriott International to become as “world’s most valuable” hotel brand.

“In a city as globally significant and as popular as London,” said Michael Shepherd, the longest serving General Manager of the London Hilton on Park Lane. “Standing out isn’t easy or straightforward; for the Hilton to land here in the 1960’s and immediately set the standard was quite a feat. To still be going strong and remain one of this city’s great hospitality settings is fitting to the work of the hotel staff, and shows that the Hilton brand is still timeless and appealing to guests around the world today.

“As Hilton turns 100, the celebrations will look at the positive, world-altering impact Hilton continues to have on billions of lives and thousands of communities around the globe, pioneering new travel markets and bringing people and cultures together, while expanding new horizons and opportunities.”

The exhibition will be displayed in the lobby area, and is open for guests and visitors to enjoy from Tuesday 28th May to Sunday 2nd June.

Main image credit: Hilton Hotels

Social hotel brand to arrive in Malaysia

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Social hotel brand to arrive in Malaysia

Ormond Group’s new social hotel brand, MoMo’s, will debut in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia in October of this year… 

MoMo’s, Ormond Group’s new playful hospitality concept, will launch its first property in central Kuala Lumpur within the eclectic Chow Kit neighborhood this October. Home to 99 guest rooms, MoMo’s KL will be a newly renovated, exciting hangout in the city, providing a fun and laid-back multi-dimensional space where visitors and locals can collide in harmony.

MoMo’s celebrates creative collaboration whilst offering a design-led lifestyle hotel at a value-for-money price point. Alongside micro rooms, MoMo’s KL will provide guests with a dynamic social space that engage with creative communities and urban nomads. The hotel has been designed to inspire memorable moments, through fun creative programming and a unique food and beverage offering.

MoMo’s hosts will ensure that guests have unrivalled access to Kuala Lumpur’s hidden gems, experiencing the city as a local would. Stepping away from the traditional notion of front-of-house staff, hosts are on hand to greet guests on arrival, make them a coffee or cocktail whilst checking them in for their stay. Embracing Asia’s open house culture, MoMo’s prides itself on its informal environment in which guests are encouraged to relax and have fun, feeling totally at home.

Render of minimalist lifestyle area

Image credit: MoMo

“MoMo’s is bringing a fresh personality to Kuala Lumpur, offering young, culturally driven travellers a design focused and value-concious experience,”  said Gareth Lim, CEO of Ormond Group. “Social interaction is central to MoMo’s ethos and look forward to being part of the regeneration of the Chow Kit neighbourhood.”

On the ground floor, MoMosita’s – a new casual concept from leading Malaysian F&B operators Christian Bauer and Eddie Chew of Troika Sky Dining, is a fun, gritty, self-serve dive bar serving tacos and snacks alongside draft beer and bottled cocktails. Open in the evenings throughout the week, with late night music programming on Fridays and Saturdays, MoMosita’s is the ultimate low-key hangout for guests and locals to let loose and mingle.

Reframing the hotel narrative from being a place to get a good night’s sleep to each hotel acting as a springboard to guests’ city experiences, MoMo’s KL encourages guests to live, play and stay. The traditional lobby is replaced by a social space that acts as the central hub of activity, The Playground. The Playground, located on the ground floor, is the hotel’s main events space which will host a series of weekly events from performance art, workshops and exhibitions to DJ sets and live gigs. The Playground was conceptualized to encourage the best creative minds from the city and abroad to mingle.

Render of minimalist dining area

Image credit: MoMo’s

The micro-rooms feature bespoke amenities, plush beds, smart TVs and a safe with a self-pick-up style room service facility. Inward facing rooms look out onto a large gallery lightwell which provides the rooms with a curated moving image space. The design palette throughout the rooms and the communal spaces are made up of simple, honest materials with raw concrete, laminated timber and combed plaster featuring throughout. Notes of dusty pinks, washed greens and aged brass are consistent throughout the furnishings, fabrics and ornaments that bring MoMo’s design focused, yet approachable, character to the fore.

Sydney based interiors and architecture studio, Akin Atelier, has led the design of MoMo’s Kuala Lumpur bringing founder, Kelvin Ho’s, renowned style to this unique property. The Australia based architect and interior designer has brought MoMo’s KL to life using the multi-faceted and playful character of Kuala Lumpur as the inspiration for the design. The public spaces have been conceptualised to feel like an experiential gallery where food, art and music are expressed in its rawest forms to elevate and juxtapose them from the simple rooms.

MoMo’s will open next door to The Chow Kit – An Ormond Hotel, another new launch from Ormond Group. A second MoMo’s hotel is slated for a 2022 opening in Melbourne, Australia.

Main image credit: MoMo

Hotel Indigo to make its debut in Chester

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel Indigo to make its debut in Chester

Hotel group IHG has unveiled a first glimpse of its much-anticipated new boutique hotel, Hotel Indigo Chester, which is slated to open later this year under a franchise agreement with Castlebridge Hospitality… 

Located at the heart of Chester, Hotel Indigo Chester combines the local character and charm with vibrant colours and textures to give the hotel a residential look and feel. Just as no two places are alike, no two Hotel Indigo properties are the same.

Each boutique hotel draws inspiration from the local neighbourhood, culture and popular trends in food, drink and design to create a warm and vibrant atmosphere.

The 75-key new build hotel has been designed by architects Franklin Ellis taking inspiration from three key elements of the city; the material layers of its architecture, the iconic 1897 Eastgate Clock and the world-famous Chester Racecourse. Guests can expect an eclectic combination of fabrics, wood panelling and references to historic people and dress from the city’s past.

The design of the 96-cover restaurant will nod to the chef’s, award winning 2015 MasterChef champion Simon Wood, signature style to create a relaxed natural environment in which to enjoy his unintimidating fine dining making it the perfect new outlet for locals to dine in.  At the heart of the restaurant will be the chef’s table and theatre kitchen providing the perfect vista for guests to watch Simon and his team as they work. The restaurant will also feature a private dining room that will accommodate up to ten people for a meeting or dinner. Guests will be able to enjoy Simon’s tasting menus as part of any event or occasion.

“At Hotel Indigo we believe in providing more than just a good night’s sleep, we want to create an experience as unique as the neighbourhood in which we are found,” said Bethan Johnston, General Manager, Hotel Indigo Chester. “It’s really important to us that we reflect the community around us and offer a personalised stay that is tailored both to the city and the guest.

“It’s a high end boutique experience but without ever being stuffy, we will offer top quality service that, like Simon’s food, is unintimidating, relaxed and welcoming. We believe we will offer something different to any other hotel in Chester.”

“We have added unique elements to the interiors that are relevant to the area, including artwork of local landmarks and items that are made locally.” – Ben Dudley, Franklin Ellis Architects

Partner at Franklin Ellis Architects, Ben Dudley, commented: “It’s been a real joy to be involved in this hotel and signature restaurant project. Like all Hotel Indigo properties, this one is inspired by the city it’s located in and seeks to reflect the surrounding architecture and character. We have added unique elements to the interiors that are relevant to the area, including artwork of local landmarks and items that are made locally.

“On a personal note, it’s fascinating to work with Chef Simon Wood and see how his attention to every detail ensures his guests have a wonderful dining experience. I’m certain this project will be a fabulous new venue for Chester and a delightful place to stay.”

Main image credit: Hotel Indigo

PREVIEW: Independent Hotel Show Amsterdam

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PREVIEW: Independent Hotel Show Amsterdam

With just days to go until the first ever Independent Hotel Show Amsterdam, Hotel Designs, which will be moderating a panel discussion at the event, shares some of the main events that will be on stage in the city famed for its alternative creativity… 

Designed to support hoteliers with an independent attitude, Independent Hotel Show Amsterdam is setting up to deliver aspirational content alongside practical solutions.

Inspired by the hospitality offered in hotels themselves, the show strives to deliver a guest experience above and beyond that of the typical trade fair. So whether you’re looking for inspiration from our sublime designers, innovation from leading technology suppliers, or simply to discover something new for your hotel, we’re confident you’ll discover the solutions you are searching for.

Here’s what Hotel Designs, an official media partner of the show, is looking forward to…

WEDNESDAY May 8

11.00am – 11.45am: The Year in Review

The big picture of the European Hotel Industry. Our expert panel reviews the last 12 months of the European hotel market, outlining opportunities, implications and possibilities for you and your hotel – (in partnership with STR Global)

Speakers: Samantha Mardkhah, STR; Sander Allegro, Allegro INNovations Hospitality Consultancy; Gabriella Esselbrugge, Hotel De Dames van Jonge; Rene van Schie, Met Region Amsterdam

Stage: Hotel Vision Stage

12.30pm – 13.15pm: The Travel Future Forecast

This insight-packed presentation will navigate the major cultural shifts that are transforming the travel and hospitality landscape. Has the sharing economy gone luxe? How are Chinese tourists spending? Is room service having an existential crisis, and will robot concierges come to the rescue? The Travel Future Forecast is your ultimate guide to the trends defining travel and hospitality in 2019.

Speaker: Holly Friend, The Future Laboratory 

13.30pm – 14.00pm: Trend Tour

Join trend forecaster Vincent van Dijk for a trend tour, featuring a number of hand-selected highlights at the show which tie in with the most important hotel trends of this moment. From technological innovations to special sustainable gadgets that should not be missing in today’s hotel room! Tours will leave promptly from the Hotel Vision Stage.

Speaker: Vincent van Dijk, HBMEO Concepts

Stage: Hotel Vision Stage

14.30pm – 15.15pm: Why Sustainability is Good for Business

Discover the green business practices you need to know now. Join our panel of industry leaders as they outline the direct benefits of taking a transparent, sustainable approach to individual hotels and to the industry as a whole, from influencing customer trust to driving new business opportunities.

Speakers: Marie-Noelle Keijzer, WeForest; Inge van Weert, QO Amsterdam; Finn Bolding Thomsen, Green Key; Marco Lemmers, Conscieous Hotels

Stage: Hotel Vision Stage

15.45pm – 16.30pm: Let’s Get Personal: Attracting, inspiring and retaining your staff

Examining why hospitality is a hot career, This session outlines the new initiatives, opportunities and incentives hotel owners and operators can offer to staff looking to pursue a career in hospitality and how to train and retrain high potential recruits.

Speakers: Joost van Beek, The Student Hotel; Charles van Goch, Mise en Place; Erik-Jan Ginjaar, Postillion Hotels Netherland; Jorn Heikens, Stenden Hotel Management School

Stage: Hotel Vision Stage

16.15pm – 16.45pm Curating Design Through Art

Join Rebecca Wilson, VP of Art Advisory and former Director of the Saatchi Gallery in London, for guidance on selecting the best artworks to ensure you are at the forefront of art as well as design.

Speaker: Rebecca Wilson, Saatchi Art

Stage: Social Business Space

17.00pm – 17.45pm: Designing for ‘Bleisure’

Whether travelling for business or leisure, guests are seeking great experiences from their hotel stay. How is the hospitality and design community reacting to this need and designing spaces for ‘bleisure’?

Speakers: Rob Wagemans, Concrete; Hans Meyer, Zoku; Hamish Kilburn, Hotel Designs

Stage: Hotel Vision Stage

On stage with speakers

Image credit: Independent Hotel Show Amsterdam

THURSDAY May 9

11.00am – 11.45am: How to use Technology and Personalisation to Maximise your Direct Bookings

Industry expert, Frank Reeves explores the journey that hotels should be using to shift booker intent from OTA’s to their own website through revolutionary technology, and move the focus on from ‘direct bookings’ to ‘direct relationships’. This session will explore the changes in buyer booking behaviors, and how a digital guest-centric approach along with the adoption of emerging technology can revolutionise your guest experience from the start.

Speaker: Frank Reeves, Avvio

Stage: Hotel Vision Stage

12.00pm – 12.45pm: Placemaking: Hospitality at the heart of the community

A ‘how to’ for hoteliers wishing to capitalise on their local community’s assets, inspiration and potential.

Speakers: Veerle Donders, Zoku; Sander Allegro, Allegro INNovations Hospitality Consultancy; Gladys Camphuijsen; Annemoon Geurts, Kazerne

Stage: Hotel Vision Stage

13.00pm – 13.30pm: The Smart Travel Challenge

The 5 biggest industry challenges of the next decade and how we could turn them into sustainable growth opportunities.

Speaker: Christiaan Uittenbosch, Smart Travel Lab

Stage: Hotel Vision Stage

13.15pm – 13.45pm: Elevating Guest Experiences through Art

Rebecca Wilson, VP of Art Advisory at the international art gallery Saatchi Art, will discuss how art can transform the guest experience and lead to increased PR and greater social media exposure. Rebecca has curated art programmes for luxury brands such as Nobu, Hyatt, and Royal Caribbean Cruises.

Speaker: Rebecca Wilson, Saatchi Art

Stage: Social Business Space

14.00pm – 14.45pm: Scale Up But Retain Your Independent Spirit

A ‘how to’ for hoteliers looking to expand their portfolio, keeping the guest experience at the heart of the operation.

Speakers: Sander Allegro, Allegro INNovations Hospitality Consultancy; Bram Van Der Hoek, EU Hotels Private Collection; Jan Stuurman, V Hotel; Kevin Rockey, The Hoxton

Stage: Hotel Vision Stage

15.00pm – 15.45pm: The Hotel Room of the Future

What can we expect from the hotel room of the future? Trend forecaster Vincent van Dijk gives us a glimpse into the future of hospitality. Based on both experiences from his living lab, a hotel room where innovations for the hotel industry are tested, and a trend analysis.

Speaker: Vincent van Dijk, HBMEO Concepts

Stage: Hotel Vision Stage

15.45pm – 16.15pm: Trend Tour

Join trend forecaster Vincent van Dijk for a trend tour, featuring a number of hand-selected highlights at the show which tie in with the most important hotel trends of this moment. From technological innovations to special sustainable gadgets that should not be missing in today’s hotel room! Tours will leave promptly from the Hotel Vision Stage.

Speaker: Vincent van Dijk, HBMEO Concepts

Stage: Hotel Vision Stage

16.00pm – 16.30pm: Making a Difference – A Leadership Opportunity

Taking responsibility for the two most precious resources: Your People – Our Planet.

Speaker: Wolfgang M. Neumann, Radisson Hospitality Group AB, Guestline

Stage: Hotel Vision Stage

The Hotel Designs team will be exhibiting at the show on stand number F62

NH Hotel Group to unveil new boutique property in the heart of Rome

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
NH Hotel Group to unveil new boutique property in the heart of Rome

Slated to open during the third quarter of 2019, NH Collection Fori Imperiali in Rome will become the Group’s sixth property in the Eternal City…

NH Hotel Group is preparing to open its sixth property in Rome this summer, the boutique-style NH Collection Fori Imperiali. The upper-upscale property will be located within a stone’s throw of the city’s most famous historical sites, including the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, Spanish Steps, Castel Sant’Angelo and the Vatican.

Built in a magnificent palazzo decorated in 19th Century style, within one of the most important archaeological sites in the world, the hotel will be infused with the hallmark elegance and sophistication of the NH Collection range.

The NH Collection Fori Imperiali will have 42 guestrooms (nine of which will be suites) decorated in a contemporary and luxurious style, with most offering direct views over some of Rome’s most prized archaeological and architectural treasures. The boutique hotel will also feature a rooftop bar on a terrace, from which visitors can admire the Roman Forum and the Vittorio Emanuele II Monument.

The agreement reached with the owner of the historical palace, in which the hotel is located, will allow NH Hotel Group to fortify its benchmark position in the city’s centre, where it will boast six establishments, of which five will be within the NH Collection brand.

The NH Collection Fori Imperiali, which will be operated under a lease regime, consolidates the tremendous growth of the NH Collection brand in Italy where the company has opened 12 hotels under this trademark in the last four years. The opening therefore cements NH Hotel Group’s positioning in the upper-upscale segment in the city of Rome, where it also operates the NH Collection Roma Palazzo Cinquecento, NH Collection Roma Centro, NH Collection Roma Giustiniano, NH Collection Roma Vittorio Veneto and the NH Roma Villa Carpegna. Between them, these establishments offer more than 1,000 rooms located in a range of emblematic buildings which retain their local authenticity and are a source of inspiration for guests looking to discover the ‘eternal city’ from a privileged base.

Main image credit: NH Collection

Rendering of the Wet Deck, one of the hotel's two pools

W Hotels announces second arrival in Bali

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
W Hotels announces second arrival in Bali

W Bali – Ubud is set to bring a new level of W’s bold design to the cultural heart of Bali…

W Hotels Worldwide has announced the signing of W Bali – Ubud, the brand’s newest W Escape, which is being developed in partnership with Indonesia’s Ruang Teknik Group.

The expansion into Ubud marks the second W Hotel in Indonesia, following the opening of W Bali – Seminyak in 2010.

Rendering of the Wet Deck, one of the hotel's two pools

Positioned on a hilltop, deliberately oriented toward the morning sun rising in the east, and southwards over stunning, unobstructed views of the Tanggayuda Valley, W Bali – Ubud is expected to reinvent the dreamy Ubud experience with eclectic, surprising art and design set amongst a versatile vibe that is at once laid back and social.

“Ubud is a hidden destination like no other, where legends and nature intertwine with everyday life to create a magical sense of adventure,” said Anthony Ingham, Global Brand Leader, W Hotels Worldwide. “W Bali – Ubud is an exciting next step for us. We are applying a unique, vibrant sensibility to this hotel, one that has not been seen before on the island. W Bali – Ubud will combine the brand’s boundary-breaking approach to design with the rich cultural, spiritual and artistic influences of Ubud to show off the best of this incredible locale and all we’ve learned in the decade since W debuted in Indonesia.”

The hotel’s design will redefine modern luxury in the destination, taking inspiration from social, historical and physical insights and embedding elements of each into the rooms and public spaces. Upon entering the hotel, guests will be immersed in modern interpretations of traditional Balinese art styles with works from local artists, that lead to breath-taking lounges perfect for soaking in spectacular jungle sunsets as sounds of cool beats drift through the air. The hotel will offer 100 inspired guestrooms, including 10 villas with private swimming pools and an EWOW suite (the brand’s take on the traditional Presidential Suite).

As the brand’s newest W Escape, W Bali – Ubud will bring a bold new take on international cuisine with a Balinese twist to multiple on-site bars and restaurants. Traditional Asian flavors intertwine with international influences at the stylish all-day dining restaurant Morinda. Meanwhile, Synn, a specialty restaurant featuring the finest of Balinese and world cuisines will be an underground sensation, literally. The new restaurant is partially underground, opening towards a jungle cliff.

“Bali’s hotel market continues to see strong growth and it remains a major destination in Marriott International’s footprint,” said Paul Foskey, Chief Development Officer, Asia Pacific, Marriott International. “We look forward to partnering with Ruang Teknik Group in introducing W Bali Ubud, the second W-branded hotel in this market.”

W Bali – Ubud is slated to join the brand’s robust portfolio of more than 50 hotels around the globe, including the recently opened W Dubai – The Palm (February 2019), as well as the soon-to-open W Aspen, W Ibiza and W Abu Dhabi – Yas Island following Marriott announcing that it will add 30 new luxury hotels to its thriving portfolio this year.

Main image credit: Marriott International/W Hotels

BRITISH STYLE: Questioning design like Ilse Crawford

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
BRITISH STYLE: Questioning design like Ilse Crawford

To launch the new chapter of Hotel Designs, Hamish Kilburn investigates how one woman, her editorship and her questions over convention helped to change modern international hotel design by challenging the very foundations it sits on…

Every now and then, the world is introduced to a design icon who, through making their visions into reality, helps to shift attitudes by challenging conventional forms.

For Ilse Crawford, the founding Editor-In-Chief of British Elle Decoration, the design world was somewhat lacking reference of everyday movement when she decided to step into the shoes of her designer readers.

In 1997, a decade on from founding British Elle Decoration, Crawford asked the world to “liberate your senses and change your life” when she published her first book, Sensual Home, which mapped out how the living environment can engage us sensually as well as visually from the perspective of sight, sound, taste, touch and smell. And was, for Crawford, the start of a new journey.  “Writing the book was the ‘ah-hah’ moment, because it wasn’t the current understanding of design,” she explained in the Netflix documentary, Abstract: The Art of Design. “The days of being a two-dimensional person were over.”

The defiant leap from narrator to creator came one year later after she signed off as Editor-In-Chief. Having completed her mission to launch a contemporary magazine for a wide audience, Crawford worked for Donna Karan and getting her hands dirty, she became a maker. Crawford’s first hotel interior design brief was presented to her immediately after she left Elle Decoration when she was asked to convert a stately home for Nick Jones of Soho House into what we now know of as Babington House. “Nick originally wanted this place to look and feel like a stately home, but I was very clear that that’s the last thing it should be,” Crawford explained in Abstract: The Art of Design. “My proposal was that it should be a very informal place where you could just treat as if it was your own, like a family house of a friend where the parents had gone away and left the key the drinks cabinet.” Breaking the rules of the time, Crawford’s design stole the headlines and her journey as an interior design began.

“The project saw the transformation of a former industrial building in the Meatpacking district into a 27-key design hotel.”

From the rural British countryside to the bustling scene of Manhattan, Crawford’s skillful and sensitive approach was called upon to create the first outpost of Soho House outside the UK. The project saw the transformation of a former industrial building in the Meatpacking district into a 27-key design hotel, including bars, a restaurant, cinema and rooftop pool. Soho House New York opened to become the definitive third space for the transatlantic media crowd.

Her aim as an interior designer is to put human needs and desires at the centre of all that she does. Working in commercial and residential design, and blurring the lines between both, Crawford has changed many environments for the better of those who use them. Ett Hem Hotel was a conversion project of a former arts and crafts building. The 12-key guesthouse is described by Crawford as “a place to stay for the modern traveller, a home-from-home, where flexibility of space and function is central to the hotel’s operation,” she says. “There is no division between front and back of house – anything can happen anywhere at any time.”

Residential style in the hotel

Image caption/credit: Ett Hem Hotel. Interiors by Ilse Crawford

As someone who truly lives and breathes the industry in which she used to curate on the pages of Elle Decoration, Crawford wears many hats as a modern designer. In her own admission to Interior Design magazine, she confessed that “the line between my work and life is thin to non-existent.”  Working from her London studio, which is directly below her home, Crawford’s knowledge in interiors has allowed her to extend her portfolio to include product design. The Sinnerlig Collection for IKEA includes 30 pieces of of furniture, lighting and tabletop collection. “They explore natural materials and are simple,” Crawford explains on her website. “They are helpful, background pieces, not showstoppers.” Tactile materials such as cork, ceramic, glass, seagrass and bamboo appealed in the design concept because they felt as good as they looked.

“Maison&Objet awarded Crawford the prestigious title of Designer of the Year 2016.”

The Together Table was another design that challenged existing products on the market. Confronting the design of conventional four-cornered tables, Crawford simply rounded the edges of the table, which as a result naturally invited people to move around it more freely.  The Ilse Sofa was the result of a collaboration with British furniture brand George Smith. The height and depth of the product’s arms and back were calculated and tested to ensure that the sofa supports as many sedentary habits of modern life. “We like to think of it as a room within a room,” Crawford explains when describing the tactile experience.

Beige modern, long, thin table

Image caption/credit: The Together Table by Ilse Crawford

Two years after she was awarded an MBE in recognition for her work in design, Maison&Objet awarded Crawford the prestigious title of Designer of the Year 2016. Since then, the modest designer has continued to evolve the hospitality landscape with completing projects such as The Lounge Plaza 66, Cathy Pacific’s iconic airport lounge in Hong Kong and the warm and inviting home-from-home that is Bukowskis.

Crawford’s philosophical visions to challenge the norm leaves a clear path for young designers who aspire, like her, to make a difference through design. As the founder of the department of Man and Wellbeing at the Design Academy Eindhoven, Crawford’s mission as a visionary is explained on her website as “nurturing a new generation of students to always question why and how their work improves the reality of life.” Her philosophy to improve the future through considered design is what makes her the leader she undoubtably is today. Her work – and her working style – is a simple, effortless reflection of the questions she asks of the designs of today and the possibilities that are garnered by second guessing what the future should look and feel like.

Crawford, an ever-evolving icon of British and international design, has metaphorically cut the ribbon to launch Hotel Designs’ new website by being the subject of the first editorial feature of the title’s new era. The newly launched slogan “defining the point of international design” is a pledge from the editorial team to its readers to cut through the noise to publish conversation starters that will filter into many debates on the hotel design scene that we all know and love. That conversation starts here, with a question that Crawford asks herself when confronted with a new project: “How can design strategically make things better?”

Main image credit: Ilse Crawford/StudioIlse

Elivi Skiathos to unveil new rooms and suites

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Elivi Skiathos to unveil new rooms and suites

Elivi Skiathos has announced that 56 Grace Rooms and Suites, three new restaurants, and a Kid’s Club will be added to the hotel in time for season opening on April 26, 2019…

Opened for the first time last year in June, the father-and-daughter-run luxury hotel is building on the success of its first season by expanding its accommodation offerings.

Elivi Skiathos is comprised of three separate areas, ELIVI Xenia Hotel in the main area of the resort, ELIVI Nest Rooms, Villas and Suites elegantly spread among olive groves, and, as of 2019, 67 secluded ELIVI Grace Rooms & Suites set on the beach.

The Grace area of the hotel will grow from 11 rooms to 67. The elegant, new Double Supreme Deluxe Rooms and Junior Suites will boast either long balconies, hot tubs or private plunge pools.

The hotel, which is perched on a hilltop on the Pounta Peninsula overlooking the Aegean Sea, was developed in collaboration between the family and Vivi Nathanailidi. The property is surrounded by an area of natural beauty beside a wildlife refuge, forest and lagoon – and roaming black swans – which became a large reference in the interior design as well as the branding of the hotel.

“A new beach bar will also take its bar offering up to seven.”

ELIVI Skiathos will also grow its food offering to five restaurants: fine-dining restaurant Leda & The Swan; Hagoromo Sushi Bar and Asian restaurant; the cosy Nest Greek Fish Restaurant serving traditional, fresh Greek seafood and meze; Grace Restaurant serving Mediterranean and Italian cuisine; Nest Breakfast Restaurant reserved exclusive for guests of the Nest area of the hotel. A new beach bar will also take its bar offering up to seven.

With families being a key market for Elivi Skiathos, the hotel is also pleased to introduce a Kid’s Club for 2019 with more details coming soon.

Two outdoor swimming pools on either side of resort stretch into the glistening Aegean Sea below and four of the most picturesque white-sand beaches on Skiathos are all within walking distance, offering mattress thick sunbeds and beach waiter service.

Main image credit: Elivi Skiathos

The need for tip top linen in hotel design

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Recommended Supplier Tip Top Linen explains the need for quality linen in all hotels. Hotel Designs dives a little deeper to find out more about what the company offers… 

The real indication of any hotel is rated on how well its guests’ sleep. As well as considering a decent bed, and comfortable soft furnishings, the overall sleep quality will be factored on the quality of the bed linen. We caught up with recommended supplier Tip Top Linen recently to understand more.

Hotel Designs: What material testing / testing process do you employ to ensure that your linen is of the highest quality for the hotel market?

Tip Top Linen: We have many different style of linen. Selecting which one is suitable for each hotel very much depends on which tier the hotel is. We have 70/30 cotton rich or we have 100 per cent cotton, we have suppliers who serve the likes of The Savoy and have history who have industry knowledge about the quality of the linen products

HD: How long do your linens tend to last in a hotel environment and how often should a hotel replace their linens?

TTL: This question has so many factors from the hotel cleaners and managers to the hotel owner having an input on their own quality, look and feel. linen can be changed on a daily basis which will have an impact on the life span of the product to clients changing weekly basis so one/two washes a week so the product will last longer.

The serviceable lifespan of textiles is not easy to specify as it can depend on a number of factors. The most important being the number and severity of the wash processes along with the degree of abuse by the end user. Stock control also has a significant bearing on the life of the individual product. For example, if the hotel is issued with 50,000 clean sheets in six months and the provider has to purchase 500 sheets to make up for losses, then the average textile life is 50,000/500 = 100 wash and use cycle

HD: What linen colours do you work with and why? And, are some colour fabrics better suited to certain parts of the hotel than others i.e. bedroom vs. restaurant?

We work with only white linen for hotels. And table linen varies on customers choice.

Established in 1988, Tip Top Linen Services Ltd has a track record second to none in meeting the needs of restaurants, hotels, event organisers, catering companies and airlines.

With more than two decades of providing linen of high quality to the hotel and catering industry, meeting the needs of these businesses with particular taste and requirements, Tip Top Laundy & Linen hire has learned that attention to detail is everything, from timely deliveries to ease of ordering.

Tip Top Linen is one of our recommended suppliers. To keep up to date with their news, click here. And, if you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, click here.

Main image credit: Tip Top Linen

TECHNOLOGY FEATURE: It pays to be social

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We are living in an era in international hotel design where it pays to be social. To put social media under the spotlight, digital specialists in social media and web design at Arise explain how to use social media platforms effectively… 

When it comes to generating sales for your hotel, direct bookings are often much more profitable and valuable in terms of returning customers than bookings made via Online Travel Agents (OTAs) such as Booking.com or Expedia. OTA commission rates seem to creep up each year, with some sites charging as much as 30 per cent in commission.

While third party booking sites have their uses, direct bookings are key for maximising your profits and giving your guests a taste of your establishment before they even arrive. Of course, driving your customers to book directly with you is easier said than done…

One of the most effective, but criminally underutilised tools you can use to drive new customers to your website is social media. We often find that the clients we work with are overwhelmed by the prospect of digital marketing, unaware of its potential or unable to devote the amount of time needed to launching and maintaining effective marketing campaigns.

“We managed to increase the revenue generated via their website by an incredible 823 per cent in just four years.”

To demonstrate just how powerful social media can be when used as a marketing tool for hotels, let’s take a look at Losehill House Hotel & Spa. Four years ago, this luxury hotel and spa located in the beautiful Derbyshire Peak District was not present on social media at all. They did have a website, but it was nowhere near the standard that guests could expect from such a high-end, reputable establishment. After creating a new website for the hotel, and giving them a presence on Twitter and Facebook, we managed to increase the revenue generated via their website by an incredible 823 per cent in just four years.

Social should reflect what makes you unique

Setting up social accounts and including a link to your website in your bio/about section is a first step, but this alone does not make up a social media strategy. Each hotel is different, and as such will need a unique approach to social media which not only reflects the hotel as a brand, but also achieves everything they want to in terms of sales and marketing. In the case of Losehill House, we focused our efforts on showing off the unique aspects of the hotel, spa and award winning restaurant, while trying to connect with customers looking to book imminently, and cultivating an audience of potential guests.

Getting potential guests onto your website can be something of an effort, but it’s one worth putting in. The ultimate aim of social media activity is getting the right people onto your website, and converting them into paying guests. Having high-quality and (most importantly) relevant content on your website is a key asset when piquing an audience’s interest, this content could include:

  • Exploring the unique aspects of your establishment
  • Information about the local area
  • Exclusive offers

You’re adding value to the guest experience, you are developing your brand voice and you are giving people another reason to visit your website.

Advertising features are a powerful aspect of social media

Getting the type of customer you are looking for to click on your content is not easy without being able to manage your different social platforms’ built-in advertising functions. Having a social advertising budget is highly advisable, but depending on the size of your hotel, this doesn’t need to be large at all. Providing you have accurate targeting parameters, it’s not difficult to make the most out of a modest budget. Facebook and Instagram in particular allow for highly tailored adverts, enabling you to reach users with the same demographics as your ideal guests. If, for example, you are a luxury hotel , you can target users that have expressed an interest in specific luxury brands and destination travel, narrowing by age, location and profession. This power to put your hotel right in front of the eyes of the exact people you are looking to connect with should not be underestimated.

A strong social media presence allows you to build an audience, and keep them engaged with your brand. This has obvious benefits for new customers, but also helps you to develop a relationship with existing customers in order to capture repeat bookings. This is especially important for destination hotels or resorts, as guests are more likely to choose a hotel based on your brand, reputation, customer service and unique features. Different social channels allow you to work on all of these factors.

Having a clear strategy

Over the past five years we’ve discovered that in this industry a clearly defined social media strategy, when carried out consistently, pays real dividends. If you’re conspicuously absent from social platforms then it’s not too late to jump on the bandwagon, or if you are already on social then make sure you have confidence in your social media strategy and the resource to put (and keep) it in place – this way you’ll be on the path to freedom from unnecessary OTA commission and able to reap the benefits of an engaged social media audience.

Main image credit: Arise/Shutterstock

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HOTEL OPENING: Lincoln Plaza London’s design inspired by London Docklands

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By taking note of the exciting and vibrant spirit of the London Docklands area, RPW Design was the design firm that sensitively designed the 129-key Lincoln Plaza London… 

Based in the heart of Canary Wharf, RPW Design has announced the opening of its most recent project, Lincoln Plaza London. Conveying its location into the hotel, the experienced RPW Design team, led by Nicola Romanelli and Richard Snow, has maintained a unique and luxurious experience through the guestrooms, function and meeting spaces while staying true to the location. RPW Design took Canary Wharf as a treasure trove of inspiration; from the historic shipping and dockland past to the present day, high tech, modern, business, luxury residential living and extraordinary architecture.

When approaching the design for a property in such a vibrant area of the city, RPW Design was inspired by a quote from the design brief for the new Hilton Curio Brand: “Hotels with a special character you can’t duplicate. They’re part of the fabric of their cities: true locals, each embodying the spirit of their home”.

For Richard Snow, Senior Designer at RPW Design, this quote really stood out and inspired the design story for Lincoln Plaza London. “We drew on the rich industrial past of the area using rusty tones and finishes alongside the design of joinery and FF&E pieces with exposed metal framework,” he told Hotel Designs. “At the same time, conscious of the hotel brand and surrounding residential developments, we included quality finishes such as natural stone in the bathrooms and on joinery, as well as statement pieces like the rusty/burnished gold wall covering to the bed head wall.”

Image credit: Main image credit: Lincoln Plaza London/Curio Collection by Hilton

Lincoln Plaza London’s focus on luxurious lifestyle facilities has been seamlessly translated throughout the 129 guest rooms. The layout of the rooms was creatively developed to move away from the standard hotel offering by incorporating the vanity into the main lobby area of the room, creating a sense of space and openness in the room. A decision to remove the traditional hotel room desk was made, and instead RPW designed a multi-use table at the right height for either a work space or dining table whilst seated at the armchair. These changes allow a more residential feel. From the bespoke shelving units made of blackened steel and antique brass, through to the marble rainfall showers, all elements work together harmoniously. The guestroom artwork was carefully curated in collaboration with RPW Design’s Art Consultant, Peter Millard and Partners, in order to show some of the East End’s most famous and unique artists: Gary Hogben; Julian Bray; Kyra Cane; and Tom Clark. Meanwhile, individual sculptural pieces by Simon Bingle, positioned in every floor lift lobby, hark back to the industrial landscape still visible around the hotel. This particular bespoke artwork conveys RPW Design’s attention to details that is inherent in their projects.

Canary Wharf is a more recent business hub for London, and the Hilton Curio offers 465 square metres of event space that is distributed across seven meeting rooms.  With sleek design details, RPW Design implemented a blend of “old industrial” and contemporary design. RPW Design has created a popular new space in this centre of commerce and it is a truly unique destination for the Docklands.

Image credit: Main image credit: Lincoln Plaza London/Curio Collection by Hilton

The reflection of the historical and industrial shipping dock is continued throughout the hotel, from the lower-ground meeting and function spaces to the fitness centre. Lincoln Plaza’s fitness centre is designed to be simple and modern, reflecting the location’s industrial heritage with a concrete reception desk formed out of concrete and rusty metal effect laminate in the joinery.

Lincoln Plaza’s meeting areas can be reached by a feature staircase that is formed of shuttered concrete, poured in situ, with an exposed timber imprint remaining on view, contrasted by a polished concrete floor. The rough concrete is offset by a luxurious brushed brass handrail and stair treads, with concealed lighting to add drama. This is diffused into the pre-function space, with a concrete render-effect wall covering and rich, dark timber doors.

Image credit: Main image credit: Lincoln Plaza London/Curio Collection by Hilton

The function areas are versatile spaces that may be configured dependent on the client’s needs and meeting planners’ specifications. The large function room can be divided into thirds when required and the buffet counters housing TV and tea/coffee facilities in the individual meeting rooms can also be concealed, thus enabling various uses from one space. A central area with a communal work table, features iconic pieces of furniture from Poltrona Frau, Walter Knoll and Porada. The cranes, such a familiar sight in the Docklands, are reflected in the pattern of two large metal work screens, dividing the pre-function area. The walls of the function rooms are designed with contrasting finishes, featuring geometric patterned wallpaper and bespoke lighting, continuing the theme.

Andrew Hart, Chairman of interior fit-out contractor Fileturn, commented: “This project was one which used all the skills of the team on site to incorporate the new designs within the existing structural shell. The fit-out areas designed by RPW included public areas, conference and meeting room facilities as well as bedrooms. The end results have produced a striking hotel in keeping with its surroundings and one the team here at Fileturn can deservedly be proud of”.

RPW Design worked alongside Fileturn to make the design become a reality, creating the perfect addition to the Curio Collection by Hilton.

Main image credit: Lincoln Plaza London/Curio Collection by Hilton

MEET UP LONDON: 3 weeks to go

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Calling all designers, architects, hoteliers and suppliers: Meet Up London takes place on March 28 at Minotti London… 

Designers, architects and hoteliers can purchase tickets here.
Suppliers can purchase tickets here.

There are just three weeks to go until the industry will gather together for Hotel Designs’ Q1 networking event, Meet Up London.

Taking place on March 28 at Minotti London, the evening event is designed to bridge the gap between designers, architects, hoteliers and key-industry suppliers.

Meet Up London will be attended by more than 200 hospitality professionals. As well as providing the perfect networking stage for professionals who are working on the hotel design scene, the event will also pay special attention to young designers as it will unveil Hotel Designs’ 30 Under 30 (the shortlist can be accessed here).

The latest names to the guest list include designers, directors and 30 Under 30 shortlisted finalists from the likes of B3 Designers, Yasmine Mahmoudieh Design Studio, Scott Brownrigg and M Studio.

They will join designers and directors from leading studios such as Richmond InternationalHBA LondonGenslerJestico + WhilesGoddard LittlefairProject Orange and WATG who are among the names that are also confirmed to attend.

Agenda for Meet Up London: 

 

How to attend Meet Up London 

If you are an interior designer, architect, operator or hotelier and would like to attend Meet Up London, click here to book your place.

If you are a supplier to the hospitality industry looking to attend the event, contact Zoe Guerrier on 01992 374059 or on z.guerrier@forumevents.co.uk – or click here to book your place.

For more information about becoming a Hotel Designs Meet Up sponsor, contact Zoe Guerrier on 01992 374059 or email z.guerrier@forumevents.co.uk.

Naumi Hotel Singapore launches Gen-Z design initiative

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With the aim to work with young designers in order to achieve a fresh perspective design, Naumi Hotel Singapore is partnering with local businesses on a new student design initiative to unveil at Singapore Design Week 2019

Naumi Hotel has partnered with local design businesses to nurture the next generation of creatives. The project is a satellite programme partner of Singapore Design Week 2019. Inviting students from local design institutions to compete, the Singaporean owned hotel has tasked interior design students to create a brand-new concept for one of their hotel rooms every quarter. Named Project #210, after the room number, the up and coming talents will have a blank canvas to create their vision. Supported by Goodrich Global, XTRA, Guerilla X and Matsushita, the esteemed local businesses will work closely with the students during the process and provide all the materials required for this project. Set to be the next ‘Instagram-worthy’ space in Singapore, the pop-up room will be in addition to the current inventory of four designer-themed rooms available at the hotel.

Speaking about the project Founder and Managing Director, Naumi Hotels, Surya Jhunijhnuwala said “At Naumi Hotels we have always had an ethos of creating unique experiences through art and design so I am delighted to launch this initiative. We are honoured to give the next generation of aspiring designers the opportunity to transform our hotel. Each design will transport us into the imagination of its creator, offering their own fresh take. Education and giving back to the community are key pillars for all of our hotels, and I can’t wait to see this project come to life.”

As the main partner of Project #210, Chief Operating Officer of Goodrich Global, Yasushi Furukawa said: “As Asia’s leading supplier of interior furnishings, we are delighted to be part of this initiative with Naumi Hotels. Our company philosophy is to be positive agents of change whether it’s supporting education programmes or helping the next generation of designers realise their dreams. With this in mind we are proud to partner on such a fantastic project, which hopes to give nurture Singapore’s newest design talents.”

The first team to win the coveted opportunity is Nurul Hanis, Nia Astira, Nuri Khairiyyah and Tracy Lim, who are final-year Retail & Hospitality Design students from Temasek Polytechnic. The opening concept for Project 210, which will launch during Singapore Design Week (March 4 – 17 2019) and is inspired by Tyler The Creator, a creative personality in music, TV and fashion.

The concept hopes to catch the attention of the next generation of travellers with its bold style using colour-blocking, lightings and designer furnishing from Muuto. Much of Tyler The Creator’s work is taken from 1970s street style, hip hop and skate culture, and a result the designers are looking to create a vibrant, and above all, playful space.

Naumi Hotels was founded and established in Singapore by Surya Jhunjhnuwala and to date, still remains a family business and a brand synonymous with modern luxury and prime locality. The hotels’ USP is in design, focusing on a non- cookie cutter style that reflects each vibrant city. Every hotel from Auckland to Singapore features artwork from local and international talents, creating a living gallery for guests within the hotel.

Hotel Designs will also be bridging the age gap in international hotel design by unveiling its 30 Under 30 at Meet Up London on March 28 at Minotti London. There are limited tickets available and can be purchased here.  

IHG announces voco arrival in the Netherlands

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