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Virtual roundtable: Raising the floor in lifestyle

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Virtual roundtable: Raising the floor in lifestyle

As we enter what is no doubt going to be considered as ‘a new era of lifestyle’, Hotel Designs, in association with flooring brand Milliken, welcomes world-leading designers from around the globe to explore how the lane for lifestyle in hotel design and hospitality is widening. Editor Hamish Kilburn chairs the discussion…

As hospitality plans to emerge from its forced hibernation, Covid-19 is not the only factor that is evolving the hotel design and hospitality landscape. Long before the pandemic was declared, hotel groups globally were launching new ‘lifestyle’ brands that would, we were told, be designed for the modern traveller – the emphasis on ‘experience’ was greater and with this the public areas were given the starring role in the overall hotel production.

But recently, following the cultural shift of the Covid-19 crisis – with public areas coming under scrutiny, specifically in lifestyle hotels, as to whether or not they can shelter social distancing – where we go next in the hotel design chapter of ‘lifestyle hotels’ is somewhat unclear.

With the aim to understand more about the future of this growing sector hospitality, we gathered a handful of the industry’s finest to explore how we can indeed raise the floor in lifestyle.

Meet the panel: 

HK: What was happening in the lifestyle hospitality arena pre-pandemic? 

Damien Perrot: Lifestyle before Covid-19 started in the year 2,000 when lots of new businesses appeared. We can see in the hospitality sector new brands that addressed the evolution of society and how people lived. Since then, a variety of brands have been created which, I must say, are in line with the evolution of technology.

More recently, For Accor, for example, development increased by 22 properties from 2017 to 2020. There is a big demand for lifestyle hospitality!

Igne Moore: The lines between three-star to five-star hospitality have become blurred. I see that as a positive, because now design is just so important. Social media has really made design accessible, and dare I say it ‘fashionable’.

John Paul Pederson: We have clients who ask us where is the Instagram moment is in the design scheme. As we all sit here in our homes, that’s how we are currently connecting to the rest of the world. It would be wrong to ignore social media and its influence when designing lifestyle hotels.

IM: That’s the challenge, to make something stand out without making it feel curated. So many of these words and terms – timeless, effortless, of place – are used by all the other brands.

“I completely believe that this lifestyle hospitality that was emerging pre-pandemic will return after Covid in a stronger capacity.” – Geraldine Dohogne, Founder, Beyond Design.

Sara Duffy: One thing that’s really interesting is that pre-Covid we were seeing the micro room becoming popular. And with Covid that completely changed, because the micro room concept is that you are spending very little time in your room and instead experiencing the public areas. That quickly reversed as Covid-19 entered the world. That was interesting. We never had more work than in 2020. The younger traveller can’t afford to check in to The Ritz, for example, but they do not want their experienced compromised. What’s interesting to me is understanding what luxury means to them, which could be beautiful design, a great interaction with the receptionist.

Image caption: A suite inside Hyatt Regency Houston, designed by Stonehill Taylor

Image caption: A suite inside Hyatt Regency Houston, designed by Stonehill Taylor

“The modern consumer wants to be able to use technology to curate their own experience.” – Rajiv Parekh, Founding Partner, reD Architects

Rajiv Parekh: The spaces that are designed centric are definitely getting more attention and the consumer is certainly now wanting a different experience. The modern consumer wants to be able to use technology to curate their own experience, especially when demands are becoming more specific.

Geraldine Dohogne: Things in the UK are starting to opening up and what I’m noticing is that we want to partake in these hospitality experiences together. I completely believe that this lifestyle hospitality that was emerging pre-pandemic will return after Covid in a stronger capacity.

DP: Even throughout the Covid-19 period, the most successful hospitality brands are the lifestyle hotels, because despite hygiene being more of a focus than ever among consumers’, people just don’t want to be alone.

Wild and funky public areas, full of character and colour

Image caption: A render of Mama Shelter in Rome by Accor

HK: Branding has become savvier than simply slapping a logo across a hotel entrance… How are lifestyle hotels cleverly portraying their brand identity?

GD: As you were saying, branding is an identity and not a logo. It goes more into feeling and the senses. Design has to be linked to scent, atmosphere and the people that bring it all together. We can have the most beautiful building with a powerful brand but if the staff don’t follow then it can all crumble.

John Paul Pederson: In so many ways, brands are becoming ‘anti brands’. With the projects we have worked on, it is becoming less about the brand and more about the service. From Four Seasons to Mandarin Oriental and Moxy Hotels, all of them have brand standards but what we are seeing is that the ‘brand’ is becoming less important – and it is more about the unique, crafted experiences the hotel is able to offer. Therefore, it’s the unique, little touches that we find end up identifying the brand. 

Image caption: Hotel 50 Bowery, designed by Wimberly Interiors

Image caption: Hotel 50 Bowery, designed by Wimberly Interiors

HK: Just how involved do you get to decisions outside of what would be considered ‘design’?

JPP: For us, it’s tricky and depends on the project. We have worked on projects where it is down to the fork, the napkin and the staff’s uniform. For other projects, we are less involved. What we really strive to do as a studio is set the tone at the beginning. When you do this as a designer, it’s then not just about interior design.

SD: We also try to help come up with these experiences. We will set up these strong concepts but also really help the client carry them through in other areas. One project that is a great example of this is the Marriott Renaissance Chelsea here in New York. The hotel had a ‘secret garden’ concept, so we actually incorporated bunnies in the design detail throughout the hotel, either engraved at the bottom of the reception desk or hidden somewhere in the rooms. Those are the projects we all love because then we are engaged in the project from the beginning and can carry it through in the interior design decisions.

HK: Where is the line between luxury and lifestyle?

GD: I do wonder whether lifestyle is not the new luxury, because I believe that the ‘lifestyle/luxury’ consumer checking is younger in 2021 than he/she was 10 years ago. Modern travellers have experienced the world and what they have not seen in person they have seen on social media. Previously, luxury was defined by the price of a room. Now I would qualify luxury as lifestyle and an experience.

SD: I recently stayed in a small hotel in Charlottesville in West Virginia with my family. It was beautiful and not typical ‘luxury’ but everything had been touched. The people were fabulous and the way you moved through the hotel was an experience. Most importantly, we felt it had been paid attention to. It’s that design and service working together which is so important.

“I also want the hotel to have the ability to phase out of Covid.” – Sara Duffy, Principal, Stonehill Taylor.

HK: Sara, you mentioned micro rooms earlier, and how public areas were impacted as a direct result of the pandemic. What do designers need to think about in order to sensitively design zoned areas and create boundaries in public areas?

 SD: I think it’s incredibly difficult because I don’t want to design a lobby with two seats in it, and I also want the hotel to have the ability to phase out of Covid. The key right now is flexibility, and the ability to make these various socially distant solutions work for brands now. We have also tried to create intimate spaces within these wider areas, which is I think the new challenge we are facing this year.

IM: If nothing else, we have learned that you want to be part of a group. You want to be there but also be safe. Furniture layout has become more important than ever before.

“In terms of design, do not change the way in which we design a hotel. I am sure that designing a lifestyle ‘Covid-friendly’ hotel will not work!” – Damien Perrot, Global Senior Vice President Design, Accor.

DP: You will never go to a restaurant to stare at four plastic walls – you would rather stay at home. Let’s just design the hotel and the public areas. Covid-19 is terrible but the best thing to do is something that is protocol-based that feels operational because that, fundamentally, can be lifted easily. In terms of design, do not change the way in which we design a hotel. I am sure that designing a lifestyle ‘covid-friendly’ hotel will not work!

With that said, I would say that designing boundaries and using flooring and lighting to do this is something that we should certainly be looking at. On top of that, creating a specific atmosphere in a space that has no walls is a challenge and what the team at Milliken is doing could really help to support the way we are designing these spaces in the lifestyle sector.

A rose pink carpet with wooden furniture

Image credit: Milliken

“The approach from Milliken around branding is wellbeing.” – Karen Burt, EMEA Strategic Accounts Director, Milliken.

HK: And actually, regardless of Covid-19, it is a clever way to channel the guest through their journeys using these methods. Karen and Kate, can you talk us through this technology that the Milliken brand shelters?

 Karen Burt: Obviously, we would like to be part of that Instagram moment that you were discussing and I think the approach from Milliken around branding is wellbeing. We have taken the ideas from bioiphilic design and nature but also, in terms of our custom capabilities, we can produce custom design on a very small scale which is a result of the patterning techniques that we have. We have been seeing a real uptake in creative flooring – take the 25hours brand for example. We are able to support those hotels having a very bold design in some spaces together with a very tonal scheme in other areas of the hotel.

An empty room with carpet and industrial chairs

Image credit: Milliken

Kate Collier: In terms of wellness, the acoustics comes to play as well. We personally feel as we fit really nicely into this new era of lifestyle because of the flexibility and the global nature of our brand. In the US, we are now seeing our hospitality team introducing more modular design in public areas. We’re also able to be more creative in our ‘vision lab’ so that designers can use our tools to establish the right look for the right project.

HK: Many would argue that technology will have a new role post-pandemic. Will the ‘human touch’ be lost in lifestyle hospitality? 

 DP: There is a lot to say, but I just want to share one example. For me, technology has a role in lifestyle hospitality when technology helps to remove all the transactional aspects and helps to enhance the human contact. Technology can allow hospitality to be much more human.

SD: I also think we’re going to see the opposite. In New York, like the UK, outdoor dining is allowed and I can’t stand having to view the menu on my phone. I miss that human connection of someone handing me a menu! The backlash of all this is that people are going to want to have that connection once more. I admit that ‘checking in’ and ‘checking out’ is not necessary, but it’s a mistake not to have someone welcome guests in and out of the hotel.

IM: If you remove the conventional ‘check in’ desks, it gives us designers more space to design these lifestyle experiences.

RP: I think technology is a huge asset. Technology can remove a lot of the clerical tasks. I regularly check into some hotels where the staff know me and recognise my face from previous visits. Someone will always be there with a personal welcome. A project I am working on called Kings Mansion in Goe will have the lobby areas as a welcoming space, not be fussy in its design where service will set the tone for guests’ experience in the hotel. That to me is the blurring of lifestyle and luxury.

Image caption: A render of Kings Mansion in Goa, which is being designed by rED Architects

Image caption: A render of Kings Mansion in Goa, which is being designed by rED Architects

“We live in a global world. I think taking the best of two difficult cultures and mixing things together has a particular place in the lifestyle sector.” – Inge Moore, Founder, Muza Lab

HK: Will the lifestyle hotels of tomorrow shelter a fusion of cultures instead of a heavy sense of place that we see in traditional hotels in the luxury sector?

IM: We live in a global world. I think taking the best of two difficult cultures and mixing things together has a particular place in the lifestyle sector. We want to design spaces that complement the cultures and experiences.

DP: The mix in lifestyle is key. When this first started to appear in lifestyle hospitality, it was met with feelings of rejection. But soon it became apparent that this was a new style that worked well with what hospitality brands were trying to achieve in their look and feel.

JPP: We try to look at these things as a ‘collection’, which we are always adding to. If you were in your home you would not want it to feel purely Moroccan or Peruvian. Instead, you want there to be memories and special moments. That’s really important and I couldn’t agree more with Inge about hospitality design today being a global perspective.

HK: What pitfalls should designers avoid when creating lifestyle hospitality experiences?

DP: There are no rules in lifestyle – everything can work. It’s actually more about how you mix things together and how you create that tension. By opening possibilities, you will surprise everyone.

IM: You cannot be all things to all people. That’s how design is often diluted, but I think it’s important to appreciate that people can actually adapt to spaces.

GD: It’s maybe not giving too much, but not to overwhelm the consumer with too much information. We’ve all checked in to hotels where there are so many different colours, textures, trends all going on at once. It’s too much. Stay in your lane as a designer and remember who the target audience is you are coherently designing for.

HK: What would you say are the most common demands from modern travellers in 2021? 

IM: To feel and be part of a group. I also feel, largely because of the newly found flexibility around work, people will travel slower, which will allow you to go deeper into the culture you are visiting.

GD: I also think sustainability will be an important point – as has become already. But it will be deeper in its meaning and bringing old spaces back to life in a sustainable way.

RP: In India, people are also looking for better quality, locally sourced food. When your target audience is a global traveler, its critical you cater to these aspects. The 2021 and 2022 consumer will be looking for authentic hospitality housed in well-designed spaces. Gone are the days of the cookie-cutter approach in the lifestyle sector. I also believe that the emphasis will be on smaller curated experiences.

JPP: To travel! For us, more and more what we are finding is that guests are looking for special experiences. In the next five years, I believe there will be a lot of emphasis on new tourism destinations.

This virtual roundtable was held ahead of Hotel Designs LIVE (May 11, 2021), which also focused the editorial lens towards lifestyle. The full recording of the session entitled ‘A new era of lifestyle’ will be available on demand shortly..

Hotel Designs updates in-house events calendar for 2021 & 2022

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel Designs updates in-house events calendar for 2021 & 2022

In the wake of the Covid-19 crisis, Hotel Designs has made a few amendments to its in-house event calendar for 2021 and 2022. Editor Hamish Kilburn explains everything you need to know…

The entire team at Hotel Designs and Forum Events have been working tireless throughout the Covid-19 pandmeic, reacting to the latest government guidelines, in order to organise premium networking events that are safe and effective for designers, hoteliers, architects, developers and key-industry suppliers. In this time, we have launched new events, such as Hotel Designs LIVE, in order to keep the conversation flowing, while amended dates and concepts around our much-loved networking events.

Now that the UK government has given us a clearer indication on when social distancing measures will ease, here are the latest updates regarding all of our events.

Hotel Designs LIVE | May 11, 2021 | Virtual event

Main image Hotel Designs LIVE

The next Hotel Designs LIVE will take place on May 11, and will look at topics such as lifestyle, bathrooms, art and workspace.

In addition to the live seminar sessions – and to ensure that the event is 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.

What’s more, designers, architects, hoteliers and developers attend free of charge – click here to secure your complimentary ticket(s).

The inaugural Hotel Designs LIVE, which took place online on June 23, 2020, defined the point on international hotel design’s most relevant topics with the help of some of design, architecture and hospitality’s leading figures as well as identifying the latest product innovations on the market.

Following this event, Hotel Designs LIVE will return on August 10, 2021 and December 7, 2021 to explore more relevant topics with with world-renowned designers, architects, hoteliers and developers (topics and sessions for future events will be available shortly).

#HotelDesignsLIVE | Participate here.

Interior Design & Architecture Summit | June 30, 2021 | Hilton Canary Wharf

The next Interior Design & Architecture Summit (IDAS) will take place on June 30, 2021 at Hilton Canary Wharf

IDAS is Hotel Designs’ premium meet-the-buyer event for designers, architects and suppliers.

If you are a senior designer and/or architect and would like to attend the 2021 event, please contact Alex King on 01992 374082, or email a.king@forumevents.co.uk. If you are a supplier and are interested in attending the 2021 event, please contact Jennie Lane on 01992 374098, or email j.lane@forumevents.co.uk.

Retail & Hospitality Design Forum | September 6 – 7, 2021 | Radisson Red, London Heathrow

To help the industry enter the new era of retail and hospitality, Forum Events has launched a new meet-the-buyers hybrid event for senior professionals who are directly responsible for the interior design and fit-out of retail stores, leisure and hospitality establishments and those who provide products and services to these industries.

The Retail & Hospitality Design Forum, which takes place from September 6 – 7 at Radisson Red, London Heathrow (virtual attendance options are also available), will be a highly focused event that will consist of one-to-one, pre-arranged business meetings, interactive seminars and valuable networking opportunities over the two days.

If you are a supplier to the industry looking to meet top retail and hospitality professionals, email Courtney Saggers – or click here to request more information. If you are a hotelier and would like to attend the Summit for free, please email Victoria Petch – or click here to book your place.

Hotel Summit |  September 27 – 28 | Radisson Red, London Heathrow

For more than two decades, the Hotel Summit has been bringing together senior hospitality professionals with key-industry suppliers. The meet-the-buyer event include:

  • Pre-arranged, one-to-one meetings between hospitality professionals and suppliers
  • Exceptional speakership programmes
  • Gala dinner

If you are interested in exhibiting at the 2021 event, please contact Jennie Lane on 01992 374098 or email j.lane@forumevents.co.uk. If you are a hotel operator, general manager or procurement manager and would like to attend the event free of charge, please contact Victoria Petch of 01992 374099 or email k.naumburger@forumevents.co.uk.

The Brit List Awards 2021 | November 3, 2021 | Proud Galleries, London

Following last year’s virtual awards ceremony, The Brit List Awards is back for another year to identify the leading interiors designers, architects, hoteliers and suppliers operating in Britain.

This year’s categories are:

  • Interior Designer of the Year
  • Architect of the Year
  • Hotelier of the Year
  • Best in Tech
  • The Eco Award
  • Best in British Product Design
  • Rising Star of the Year (NEW CATEGORY)
  • Outstanding Contribution to the Hospitality Industry

Applications and nominations (free to apply/nominate) will open on May 10, 2021 and will close in August. More information on the event can be found here.

MEET UP London | March 24, 2022 | Minotti London

Sheltered safely inside Minotti London’s premium and spacious Fitzrovia showroom, MEET UP London will welcome designers, architects, hoteliers, developers and suppliers. With the aim to support young talent as we emerge from unprecedented and challenging times, the theme MEET UP London will be ’30 Under 30′ where we will unveil the leaders and visionaries of tomorrow’s hotel design and hospitality scene. Applications/nominations will open shortly.

MEET UP North | May 5, 2022 | Stock Exchange Hotel in Manchester

MEET UP North, which is Hotel Designs’ leading networking evening in the north, will take place at Stock Exchange Hotel in the heart of Manchester on May 5, 2022.

Designers, architects, hoteliers and developers, click here to attend (booking form takes less than 2 minutes to fill out).  Suppliers, click here to attend (booking form takes less than two minutes to fill out).

Considering the vast amount of hotel projects currently on the boards in the north – many of which are slated to complete and open this year – the theme of MEET UP North will be Manchester ‘Inspiring Creativity’. The city, which has hosted the concept since its launch in 2018, will once again welcome leading designers, architects, hoteliers, developers and suppliers for the industry’s leading networking event in the north.

If you would like to discuss or be part of any other our hospitality and hotel design events, please do not hesitate to email Hamish Kilburn and/or Katy Phillips.

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How the hospitality industry is responding to COVID–19 pandemic

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
How the hospitality industry is responding to COVID–19 pandemic

As the world settles in to the realities of lockdown, editor Hamish Kilburn has noticed a number of hospitality brands going above and beyond to help prevent the spread of COVID–19…

The industry may be on its knees financially, with hotels having to remain shut following the outbreak of COVID–19, but the spirit of hospitality around the world has arguably never been stronger.

With borders to nations closed, and new measures being put in place to further extend social distancing, the tourism and hospitality industries have suffered most – hotels, restaurants and other venues have had to temporarily lock their businesses down.

In this time, however, the true spirit of hospitality has led to hotels and hotel chains to do amazing things. Here are just some of the ways in which the hospitality industry is selflessly helping to prevent the spread of COVID–19.

Offering free rooms to the NHS

Image credit: Stock Exchange Hotel

One of the first in the hospitality sector to offer its help, Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs announced that they were temporarily closing their two Manchester-based hotels in order to offer their rooms to the NHS for free. Hotel Football and Stock Exchange Hotel, which will shelter MEET UP North on July 6, have started a trend for other hotels, brands and chains to follow on from.

“The company is working with its team to put a package in place for all staff members for the months ahead, following which the hope is that things would have returned to normal,” they said in a statement. “While health and safety remain the company’s primarily concern the economic situation of each individual team member is also being given utmost priority.”

Lighting up communities with symbols of hope, and offering rooms to the homeless

The meaningful plot thickens daily with the IHG. Firstly, the major hotel group reacted amplified a statement of hope by lighting up many of its empty rooms with signs of love as the world faces prospect of lockdown. In addition, the group then announced that it was going to waive cancellation feels until the end of April. Most recently, though, the hotel group is working with the Mayor of London and the government to offer 300 of its hotel rooms to the homeless to self-isolate during the COVID–19 crisis.

Transforming hotels into hospitals

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.

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, ILUNION Hotels has placed its hotel chain at the disposal of the Community of Madrid’s political and health authorities to take in patients across its three Madrid properties with mild cases of coronavirus, who need to isolate themselves during the coming weeks and cannot do so in their own homes. ILUNION believes that “at this time society needs every institution and company to rise to the occasion.” Moreover, ILUNION Hotels are planning on presenting the same proposal to other regions across Spain, offering a safe place for patients to spend their isolation, without putting friends and family at risk.

Donations of food and space

In order to help local communities to battle through the coronavirus crisis, brands and hotels such as Handpicked Hotels, Michel Reybier Hospitality, Ocean House and Bespoke Hotels have also welcomed in the community by donating food and offering safe spaces for the elderly as the outbreak of COVID–19 progresses.

Ocean House in Rhode Island has said it will deploy its Ocean House Management Food Truck, which will go to the same place three times a week, until May 31.

Meanwhile, back in the UK, Bespoke Hotels’ Cotswolds House, The Lyndene Hotel, Oddfellows Chester, Branston Hall Hotel, Green Dragon on Herford and Ennerdale Hotel are all offering food bans and/or afternoon teas for local care homes. “Given the current circumstances, we cannot let our food and beverage go to waste without helping those in need”, commented Robin Sheppard, CEO of Bespoke Hotels. “We have an active community and local charities in each region – we must work together and be kind to one another during these unprecedented times.”

Please email Hamish Kilburn, or tweet us @HotelDesigns, if you have a story you would like us to share about a hotel or brand that is doing something incredible in order to help fight the spread of COVID–19.

Main image credit: Pixabay

Hyatt to develop design hotel at Japan’s historic racing circuit

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hyatt to develop design hotel at Japan’s historic racing circuit

Plans have been approved for an Unbound Collection hotel by Hyatt to be developed at the Fuji Speedway, marking the brand’s entrance into Japan… 

Hyatt Hotels Corporation has announced that a Hyatt affiliate has entered into a management agreement with Towa Real Estate Co. Ltd., an affiliate of TOYOTA Group, to develop a 120-key hotel at the Fuji Speedway, Japan’s historic racing circuit.

Slated to open in 2022, the project will be the first in Japan under The Unbound Collection by Hyatt brand and the first hotel in the world to be built by Towa Real Estate.

“We are excited to see The Unbound Collection by Hyatt brand in Japan for the first time with a project at Fuji Speedway, an iconic destination for motorsports fans across the globe seeking a luxury experience,” said David Udell, group president, Asia-Pacific, Hyatt Hotels Corporation. “As we look to expand Hyatt’s brand footprint in Japan, we are excited to be entering into a management agreement with TOYOTA group company, Towa Real Estate, as it builds its first-ever hotel.”

Hotel amenities will include multiple fine dining restaurants and bars, as well as indoor pool, fitness center, spa and natural onsen hot-spring bathing facilities. The hotel interior will feature a car museum with an innovative presentation of the site’s attractions that showcase the historic significance of Fuji Speedway. Items such as rare historic automobiles and other museum-worthy collections will provide an unconventional experience that guests would expect from The Unbound Collection by Hyatt brand.

“It is deeply gratifying and encouraging to us to have been able to enter into this agreement with Hyatt, which has a history of providing exceptional quality and service to guests in a wide range of cities,” said Masao Ukai, president, Towa Real Estate Co. Ltd. “This luxury hotel will be an integral part of a motorsports-themed entertainment area with Fuji Speedway at its core. Together, Motorsports Village and The Unbound Collection by Hyatt brand will provide guests with environmentally conscious and unconventional experiences as we aim to make motorsports more accessible and entertaining.”

In the foothills of Mount Fuji, the hotel’s Fuji Speedway location will offer guests convenient access to motorsports events and the upcoming Motorsports Village facility, currently under development by Towa Real Estate in concert with the hotel development.

Situated on the grounds of Fuji Speedway, the hotel will offer unsurpassed views of Mount Fuji, in addition to housing a Motorsports Museum. The site’s immediate proximity to the Oyama Parking Area Smart Interchange, scheduled to open in 2021, will make the hotel’s location accessible to guests arriving from remote areas by car.

The hotel will feature approximately 120 tastefully designed guest rooms and suites of at least 484 square feet (45 square meters) each, a flexible banquet room of 5,381 square feet (500 square meters), and a 2,152 square foot (200 square meter) conference room. These extraordinary facilities will position the hotel as an ideal venue for story-worthy meetings and events.

Main image credit: Hyatt

Water fountains made up by Laufen toilets

Laufen unveils new aesthetic and functional take on the bathroom

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Laufen unveils new aesthetic and functional take on the bathroom

For this year’s ISH in Frankfurt am Main, Laufen put the spotlight on design and hygiene along with highly functional and sustainable bathroom solutions…

Laufen has developed new possibilities for its SaphirKeramik, one of the most exciting bathroom material innovations of recent years. This particularly slim-profile and robust material has revolutionised the conventions of bathroom design, kick-starting a trend towards a lighter styling with a more pronounced graphic aesthetic.

Water fountains made up by Laufen toilets

Laufen is now working with the fourth generation of SaphirKeramik, showcasing in addition to its form and aesthetics some inspiring new possibilities for this material. Now that the Swiss bathroom brand has perfected the industrial process used to manufacture SaphirKeramik, it is able to offer new takes on the humble washbasin and even new applications for it, for example double washbasins in single-washbasin sizes, washbasin bowls with an integral overflow, or freestanding washbasins with a minimal footprint – new ideas that are simply unthinkable with conventional ceramic bathroom products.

To implement its design ideas, Laufen works with internationally celebrated designers such as Marcel Wanders, Patricia Urquiola and Konstantin Grcic. The result? Stunning yet practical everyday products for the bathroom environment that offer designers and architects exciting new opportunities when it comes to creating high-end bathrooms.

Laufen is building on the success of its shower toilets with a new version that focuses very much on the user benefits and concentrates on keeping the user interface as efficient as possible.

Image credit: Laufen

Taking responsibility for the future

It goes without saying that Laufen is also taking responsibility for the company’s impact on people and the environment, because the rational use of water and recycling wastewater are fundamental to our future and represent significant challenges and opportunities. To this end, the bathroom products manufacturer has begun a fruitful cooperation with EOOS to develop the Austrian design company’s revolutionary proposal for a new kind of waste-sorting WC (developed for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation) into a marketable product. At ISH, Laufen presented this ground-breaking innovation that is set to revolutionise the sanitary industry and relieve pressure on the existing wastewater infrastructure in fast-growing cities all over the world.

Laufen has also formalised its responsibility for its use of resources and environmental impact in a new environmental product declaration (EPD). For this, the company has completed certification of the environmental quality of its complete ceramics range across all of its Central European manufacturing plants in accordance with ISO14025, EN15804 and EN16578.

The connected bathroom

Laufen is also busy developing trendsetting new bathroom networking and digitalisation ideas. In this area, the bathroom specialist is focusing on public and semi-public sanitary areas, where networked concepts bring the greatest benefits. The company now offers a complete solution for networking electronic washbasin faucets and urinal and shower controls in public facilities. And when it comes to incorporating elegant and discreet digital functionality in private bathrooms, true to form, Laufen has successfully combined technology with aesthetics.

In addition, the company has been working on improving and expanding its existing range, adding new products and new options in just about every area in its bid to offer bathroom designers more freedom and bathroom users superior benefits and greater choice.

Product innovations

The New Classic by Marcel Wanders

The New Classic is a new bathroom collection by Laufen. The celebrity designer Marcel Wanders was engaged to re-interpret classical styles using the material SaphirKeramik. Every item included in the ensemble brings together the designer’s flair and creativity with Laufen’s mastery of raw materials. The New Classic range encompasses washbasins, bowl washbasins, toilets, a bidet and bathtub, faucets, mirrors and accessories, as well as furniture. This individualistic collection won the iF Design Award 2019 for its sensual combination of aesthetics and function.

Image credit/caption: The New Classic in collaboration with Marcel Wanders

Cleanet Navia

The Cleanet Navia shower toilet focuses very much on user benefits and concentrates on keeping the user interface as efficient as possible. With its compact design, simple functions and attractive price, it is suitable for a very broad market. The Navia features the tried-and-tested intuitive operating concept, with a side-mounted controller for the standard functions plus an app to access the full functionality that Laufen previously developed for its popular Cleanet Riva shower toilet.

Sonar by Patricia Urquiola

When it originated Sonar, Laufen focused in particular on exploring the formal scope for new bathroom solutions afforded by SaphirKeramik. The expressive Sonar bathroom collection thus features novel washbasin designs that are simply not possible using conventional bathroom ceramics. Already the winner of an iF Design Award, the collection now offers even greater variety thanks to the addition of more washbasins, WCs, a bidet, a new bathtub and a suite of bathroom furniture, again created by Patricia Urquiola.

Image credit/caption: Laufen’s Sonar in collaboration with Patricia Urquiola

Val by Konstantin Grcic

Compact and demanding bathrooms call for intelligent equipment solutions, to make best use of the restricted space without appearing cluttered. The new SaphirKeramik washbasins that Laufen co-developed with designer Konstantin Grcic for the Val bathroom collection take on this challenge in a new and innovative way, concentrating particularly on compact and demanding bathroom layouts.

Kartell by Laufen

A 1970s revival is currently sweeping the fashion and furnishing markets – and entering the bathroom as well. But nobody is calling for a renaissance of the harsh colour schemes and frenzied contours that defined the decade – it took many years to rid the world of the final excesses of taste that flourished back then. The modular colour concept and timeless, simple design vocabulary of Kartell by Laufen represents a modern approach to bringing colour into the bathroom while observing the enduring principles of good taste. And with new options available, the possibilities of expression offered by this popular bathroom collection are now greater than ever.


Palace is a timelessly elegant bathroom classic for hotels and architect-designed bathrooms. The collection already enjoys an excellent reputation for problem-solving, flexibility and practicality, and Laufen is consolidating this reputation with the new pre-packed products. These new products include the Palace Slim Packs, comprising a washbasin and vanity unit, and the Palace WC Packs, which bundle every component required for installation in one handy packaged unit.

Base for Ino

Laufen has extended its popular Base bathroom furniture range, bringing out new vanity units for the Ino washbasin collection. The now more extensive furniture range is timelessly simple and graceful. The collection features Laufen’s trademark attention to detail in carefully thought-through functionality, high-quality materials and an up-to-the-minute colour scheme.


With Leelo, Laufen has added to its existing mirror offer to create a flexible collection of mirrors that bring comfort and light into the bathroom. Leelo features a range of sizes and versions, each of which matches individually with a variety of bathroom designs and ambiances. Because of its understated styling, Leelo can be combined with all of Laufen’s bathroom series and bathroom furniture ranges.

The New Classic faucets by Marcel Wanders

In his creations for the new faucet line The New Classic, Marcel Wanders finds the perfect balance between an innovative design and an archetype for a cosmopolitan and diverse lifestyle – and takes the bathroom user on a journey to a bygone age. This versatile and technologically advanced range comfortably covers every bathroom requirement.

Sense faucets

A confident and gracious silhouette is the dominant design feature of the new Laufen Sense bathroom faucet line. With its extremely precise design vocabulary, the complete faucet range cuts an impressive figure, both in the private residential property and in the premium hotel and hospitality sectors.


The Save! waste-separating WC
The Austrian design studio EOOS, Eawag (the Swiss Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology) and Laufen have joined forces to develop the ground breaking Save! urine-separating WC that is set to revolutionise the user interface in sustainable urban water management thanks to a new kind of passive separation technique. The Save! waste-separating WC is the next step in a concept developed by EOOS and Eawag with the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as part of the ‘Reinvent the Toilet Challenge’.

Laufen Advanced Control

Laufen’s Advanced Control concept improves hygiene, reduces response times, enhances services and decreases water and energy consumption, thus saving costs in public and semi-public washrooms. Starting from summer 2019, a cloud solution that networks smart washrooms and transfers data to building management systems will also be available.

Bespoke design

Specially developed tailored products feature precisely the sort of special sophistication in design and functionality that gives high-end interiors their unmistakeably individual character. This is why Laufen has been busy developing its know-how and production capacity to be able to provide bespoke solutions in the bathroom too. To this end, the company works closely with designers and architects all over the world who are looking for a customer-tailored solution for a building project. The most recent example of this is Omniturm in Frankfurt am Main, for which Laufen worked closely with the architects and project managers to develop special bespoke vanity units.

Laufen’s new products and innovations were showcased on its spectacular stand in Hall 3.1, Stand B51, for which the company has employed the talents of internationally renowned Swiss architects Andreas Fuhrimann and Gabrielle Hächler. The two architects have been instrumental in creating a stand that reflects the roots of the Swiss brand while making it clear from the moment one sets foot inside that Laufen is one of the most influential bathroom fixtures and fittings companies in the world.

Laufen 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.

Top stories of 2018 – editor’s round-up

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With more than half a million viewers this year in 2018, Hotel Designs has enjoyed a fantastic 12 months of exclusive stories, features, events and some rather spectacular hotel reviews. Here, the editor of Hotel Designs, Hamish Kilburn, runs us through the top nine articles of 2018…

The age-old saying goes: “Out with the old and in with the new” – and it has never felt more appropriate than it does in this moment as I sit down to write this significant write-up. Our industry is dominated by major shifts in trends and opinions, many of which were created in the number events that we were proudly media partners of this year. Therefore, we, the leading international hotel design website, must continue to remain relevant with our content, while showing that we are ahead of the curve in our own design – everything is about to change. For the minute, though – before we launch our new logo and fabulous website designed to be as visual and interactive as our readers themselves are – let’s take a moment to reflect on what a cracking year 2018 turned out to be.

Since joining the company as editor in May 2018, I have had many overwhelming moments. The first came just weeks into my role when I was whisked up to the stunning Scottish Perthshire countryside to review the mighty Gleneagles. The ‘am I dreaming moment’ came shortly after our excursion up the mountains in 4x4s. Taking in the tremendous scenes that stretched over the horizon, I heard a faint ambiance of buzzing that become louder as a helicopter appeared from the clouds. It hovered for a moment and began its descent. “This is your ride back to the hotel,” said our very helpful PR manager looking rather smug with herself – talk about setting standards as embarked on my editorship.

Another experience that remains etched into my memory is my time at London Design Festival 2018. I will never forget surviving on four hours sleep per night (something I have become accustomed to in my role here) in order to be at every major launch at every event (and after-party). Meeting the leaders and visionaries of our industry is all the thanks we require, as it allows us to be at the core of the hotel design world.

One other unforgettable breakthrough of the year was introducing, for the first time, interactive hotel reviews. Working with ACT Studios has allowed us to give our audience a truly immersive experience when reading our reviews, allowing them to find out exactly which products are in each guestroom and suite and where to purchase them.

The year continued with more exclusive features with international leading profiles from the likes of CEO of Meliá Hotels International, Gabriel Escarrer Jaume, the new Managing Director of WATG, Martin Pease, the Managing Director (EMEA) of Wyndham Hotels, Dimitris Manikis, Creative Director of HBA London, Constantina Tsoutsikou and the Principal of Richmond International, Fiona Thompson, who was also our headline speaker at our inaugural Meet Up North.

And so, as with all good things in life, we come to the end of 2018, but not before remembering our top stories of the year as we are on the cusp of welcoming in a new era in Hotel Designs

1) IHG launches voco, a new upscale hotel brand

Topping the Hotel Designs viewing charts is IHG. I was thrilled to have been one of four journalists who were invited to the exclusive launch of the new brand, where I learnt all about the significance of three logos (finch, owl and flamingo).

Just months after, the hotel brand unveiled their first hotel and it was located in the Gold Coast.

2) Elivi Skiathos to open June 2018

Family-owned five-star hotel will offering private pools, a sea-facing four-bedroom villa, spa and panoramic views.

The Elivi Skiathos Hotel, owned and developed by father and daughter team Elias and Vivi Nathanailidi, opened in June 2018 and marked the first hospitality venture by Elivi Hotels.

The 213,000m² hotel is surrounded by a wildlife refuge and offers direct access to four beaches in Skiathos: Koukounaries, Ambelakia, Banana and Little Banana Beach.

Elivi Skiathos features modern, spacious rooms and suites only a few steps away from the shore, with private pools and courtyards integrated into the area’s existing natural features and walking paths bordered by forests of olive and pine trees.

3) Editor’s round-up of London Design Festival 

Ten design districts, nine days, eight talks, seven parties, six after parties, five exhibitions, four hours sleep between each day, three fabulous media partners, two tired legs and ONE city. This year, an estimated number of more than 450,000 designers, architects and creatives from more than 75 countries visited the 16th edition of London Design Festival – and what a way to remind the world of London’s position as one of the best design hubs in the world than with the installation of a fifth lion protecting the city’s landmark Neslon’s Column in Trafalgar Square. We were ready to hear London Design Festival roar, and with two days still remaining, that roar can still be heard echoing in an around the city.

4) Checking in to Gleneageles, Scotland

Positioned in 344 hectares of land, under Perthshire’s Ochil Hills, is a Scottish jewel. The ever-majestic Gleneaglesfirst soared to be a natural star in the spotlight when it first opened its grand doors in 1924. Its ‘cutting of the ribbon’ was celebrated with Scotland’s first ever outside broadcast, and these moments of the hotel’s many milestones can be found injected into the fabrics of many pockets of the today’s Gleneagles. The hotel’s general manager, Conor O’Leary, was recently awarded ‘Innovation in Design – Hotelier of the Year’ at The Brit List 2018.

5) IN CONVERSATION WITH: Ronald Homsy, CEO and co-founder, Utopian Hotel Collection

In a quiet café just off London’s Sloane Square, which is a pleasant experience itself, something amazing is happening: I am about to meet one of the men behind a new hotel collection that inspires through one-off experiences. The sharp-looking businessman approaches my table and takes off his tailored blazer and rolls up his sleeves to shake my hand, which breaks down all formal barriers. The CEO and co-founder of Utopian Hotel Collection, Ronald Homsy, sits down comfortably and starts to share what I can tell has been a driving passion of his for years.

6) Meet Up North took networking in the North to new heights

More than 200 of the industry’s leaders and visionaries from within the hotel design gathered on the terrace of King Street Townhouse in Manchester for the first ever Meet Up North on July 18, 2018.

Sponsored by Marca Corona, the event, which boasted an unparalleled perspective of the Manchester sunset, welcomed hoteliers, architects, interior designers and key-industry suppliers.

7) Checking in to Hotel Gotham, Manchester’s decadent playground

This year, we sent Hotel Designs interactive by launching our ever-so-popular hotel reviews. The second interactive hotel review (the first can be read here) is Hotel Gotham. Ever since its bold entrance onto the unapologetically loud Manchester scene in 2015, Hotel Gotham’s alluring charm has tantalised many senses of those who have passed through its spectacularly framed automatic doors. I, for one, am one of them, and I hold my hands up proudly to say that I have formed a lust for decadence and luxury since checking in.

8) Chelsom Lighting launches Edition 26

Tapered perforated metal shades, brushed brass rings and even glass icicles were some of the focal trends that were unveiled at Recommended Supplier Chelsom Lighting’s launch of Edition 26 in May 2018.

Two years since the launch of Edition 25, leading designers, procurement experts and friends of the firm gathered at One Marylebone in central London to celebrate the awaited unveiling of the collection.

9) Oscar Wilde’s grandson opens first Wilde Aparthotel in London

Merlin Holland, the only grandson of famous Irish playwright and poet Oscar Wilde, was the guest of honour at the official opening of Staycity Group’s Wilde Aparthotels London [Photograph (from left to right): Jason Delany, Director of Brand, Product & Marketing; Merlin Holland; Tom Walsh, CEO; Keith Freeman, COO; Atul Prakash, GM].

Top five stories of the week: Sleep talking, Shanghai arrivals and peeking into the future

Hamish Kilburn
With the Independent Hotel Show just around the corner, editor of Hotel Designs Hamish Kilburn breaks down the stories of the week…

It’s official, show season is well and truly underway and don’t we all know it. As media partners, we are highly anticipating Independent Hotel Show opening its 2018 doors and I look forward to hosting Power Hour on October 17. In the week we were in Manchester at the AHC, EDITION yet again added to its empire with the opening of EDITION Shanghai, SLEEP + EAT launched its speaker programme and we’re all staring into the future eagerly awaiting for Gilly Craft and Nick Sunderland’s answer to the future of hotel design to be unveiled at IHS.

1) EDITION Hotels arrives in Shanghai

Celebrated designer Ian Schrager brings the celebrated EDITION brand to the metropolis of Shanghai, with an unprecedented blend of leisure and entertainment within one luxury hotel.

Times change, people change, cultures change. Few cities move as fast or adapt as quickly as the city of Shanghai. Ian Schrager, the inventor and innovator of the boutique hotel concept, now brings the modern luxury of the EDITION Hotels brand to Shanghai.

2) Sleep conference programme announced

Taking place on 20 – 21 November at London Olympia, Sleep + Eat promises once again to be packed with foremost influencers shaping the industry today. The free-to-attend two-day Sleep Conference at Sleep + Eat 2018 show will be joined by a new Eat Conference.

3) Independent Hotel Show: Peeking into the future of hotel design 

Looking ahead to new possibilities, the founders of Two’s Company, Nick Sunderland and the President of the BIID* Gilly Craft have combined thoughts to design what they believe could very well be the hotel room of the future. With hidden technology and a ‘WOW’ bathroom, the conceptional representation will be unveiled on The Future stand at the Independent Hotel Show on October 16 – 17 at London’s Olympia.

4) Brown Hotels’ The Lighthouse opens in Tel Aviv

Image credit: Assaf Pinchuk/Max Morron

Brown Hotels, the design-savvy boutique hotel brand born out of Tel Aviv, opens doors today to The Lighthouse, the group’s eighth property in Israel and its largest and most amenity-rich hotel to date…

5) 10 innovative hotel design trends to watch for in 2019 

Today hotel guests have higher expectations than ever. They appreciate exotic textures and personalised experiences and have developed a taste for exquisite materials, even if it’s just an overnight stay – all while feeling at home. With more focus on guest experience than ever before, here are 10 interesting creative trends we expect to be emerging in 2019 and beyond.

Hotel Designs Brit List 2018 welcomes BIID as industry partner

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Hotel Designs has announced that the British Institute of Interior Design (BIID) will be this year’s industry partner for The Brit List…

The British Institute of Interior Design (BIID) has been named as the industry partner for this year’s Brit List.

Announced days after the news that nominations for the Brit List had opened, the event, which launched last year, acts as a platform in order to help amplify Britain’s most influential people in hotel design.

Taking place at BEAT London on November 22, the award ceremony will celebrate Britain’s top 25 interior designers, hoteliers and architects, and also name the winners of the six new awards.

“On behalf of the BIID, we are delighted to be partnering with such an influential awards programme that celebrates leading interior designers, architects and design professionals in the hospitality sector,” said Gilly Craft, BIID President. Many BIID members are very active in this industry, and the Hotel Designs Brit List represents a great opportunity for them to build their business and keep up to speed with the latest innovations in hotel design.”

The event, which is hosted by Hotel Designs, is also an opportunity for leaders and visionaries in the industry to network. “We are proud and incredibly privileged to announce our partnership with the BIID, an association which totally shares our vision to help promote talented creatives in Britain,” explained publisher of Hotel Designs Katy Phillips. “This is the second year we have hosted the event, and with the addition of the six new awards – as well as also celebrating architects in The Brit List – we are convinced that we have raised the bar to provide a totally unique networking event.”

The partnership between the two brands is expected to further encourage and support creativity and competence in the field of interior design in International hotel design.

To find our more information on The Brit List 2018, click here.

Forum Events Ltd launches two new hospitality events

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The leading events company, Forum Events Ltd, has added Catering Equipment & Services and Hospitality Tech & Innovation to its rowing portfolio…

Following the growing demand in innovation around catering and technology in the international hospitality market, the parent company of Hotel Designs, Forum Events Ltd, has launched two new industry events to its annual calendar.

Catering Equipment & Services and Hospitality Tech & Innovation will take place on March 25 – 26, 2019 at Whittlebury Hall, Northampton, England, with the aim to bring together professionals and suppliers in both the catering and technology market.

98 per cent of those who have attended our events say that they are a better way to find new suppliers than a traditional trade show

Both events will comprise of separate one-to-one business meetings, interactive seminars and valuable networking opportunities. The dedicated team at Forum Events Ltd will organise personalised appointments for the professionals and suppliers attending. Each supplier will have a series of 25-minute pre-arranged meetings with key decision makers throughout the two days, over lunch and during our networking gala dinner on day one.

“98 per cent of those who have attended our events say that they are a better way to find new suppliers than a traditional trade show and we are very proud to be ahead of the curve in launching these two highly focused networking opportunities,” said Sarah Beall, Managing Director of Forum Events Ltd. “By launching Catering Equipment & Services and Hospitality Tech & Innovation, we will help to bridge the gap between delegates and suppliers, while encouraging quality business relationships to be formed.”

Forum Events Ltd, which has recently been recognised in the top 25 SME companies for cultural leadership, hosts 27 events in total throughout the year that span across a number of industries. To find out more information, please visit the events page of the Forum Events Ltd website.

How to secure your place

There are limited spaces available for these highly targeted events.

If you are a supplier to the hospitality tech industry and would like to attend Hospitality Tech & Innovation, click here. Alternatively, please contact Craig Ross at c.ross@forumevents.co.uk, or call 01992 376726

If you are a supplier to the catering and equipment industry would like to attend Catering Equipment & Services Forum, click here. Alternatively, please contact Craig Ross at c.ross@forumevents.co.uk, or call 01992 376726

To register your interest as a delegate for Hospitality Tech & Innovation, click here. Alternatively, please contact Liam Cloona at l.cloona@forumevents.co.uk, or call 01992 374089

To register your interest as a delegate for Catering Equipment & Services Forum, click here. Alternatively, please contact Liam Cloona at l.cloona@forumevents.co.uk, or call 01992 374089


Terrace of King's Street Townhouse

Leading design firms, hotels and suppliers to attend Meet Up North

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The inaugural Meet Up North will take place in Manchester’s King Street Townhouse on July 18, 2018…

With less than a month to go until the inaugural Meet Up North kicks off in Manchester’s King Street Townhouse on July 18, Hotel Designs has announced the stellar line-up of designers, architects, hotels and suppliers who will be attending.

Among the many leading design firms attending the evening networking experience will be AEW Architects which led the design project of the venue Kings Street Townhouse that opened in early 2016. Other leading firms, among others, include B3 Designers, DWA Architects, ReardonSmith Architects and JM Architects. Also attending as well as being the headline speaker of the evening will be Principal of Richmond International, Fiona Thompson.

In addition to the designers, representatives from some of the UK’s most recognised and celebrated hotels will also benefit from the exclusive event. These include, among other, reps from The Zetter Group, Hotel Football, AC Hotel Manchester City Centre and The Lowry Hotel.

Completing the mix will be a selection of highly regarded suppliers. Marca Corona, which produces some of the world’s finest Italian ceramics, is Meet Up North’s headline sponsor. Other suppliers attending will be Simba Sleep, Dyson, Molton Brown, Crosswater and Hamilton Litestat.

Meet Up North will commence with an official welcome from the newly appointed editor, Hamish Kilburn, who will briefly talk about the history of Meet Up, it’s purpose and why this year it’s being taken outside of London.

The mic will then be handed over to the award-winning Principal of Richmond International Fiona Thompson, who will speak the audience about past projects, future predictions and the significance of worthy collaborations.

Completing the line-up of speakers will be the headline sponsors of the event, Marca Corona, which will provide the audience with an in-depth industry insight and will be available to answer questions after.

The evening will then continue with all the ingredients for a successful networking recipe. Canapés and complimentary drinks will be served on the balcony of Manchester’s most talked about hotel in 2017 and 2018.

How to get involved

If you are a hotelier, architect, designer or supplier and would like to also benefit from the event, there are very limited spaces available.

If you are a supplier, click here to book your place.

If you are hotelier, interior designer or architect, click here to secure your place.

Brexit is impacting the hospitality industry

Brexit helps hotel insolvencies plunge

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UK hotel insolvencies has dropped by 18% in the post-Brexit market, according to new research by accountancy firm Moore Stephens.

The firm’s study shows that fewer than 1% of hotels in the country are at risk of becoming insolvent, due to the post-Brexit boost in tourism. Likewise, this was coupled with the drop in the value of the pound brought a 9% increase in international visitors in the first half of the year, statistics from the Office of National Statistics showed.

The UK has also seen an increase in the number of people choosing to take staycations and the number of inbound visitors has reached record numbers. Moore Stephens pointed out that despite the boost in tourism, Brexit has lead to uncertainty in the hotel sector with regard to staffing.

A KPMG report commissioned by the BHA earlier this year revealed that 24% of the industry’s current workforce is made up of EU workers.

Vincent Wood, partner and head of hotels at Moore Stephens, told The Independent: “The potential drying of this vital reservoir of staff is a problem hotels have faced for many years and it will be a real challenge for them in the coming period.”

Guest Blog: How VR could transform guest expectations

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Dean Minett, Director at Minett Consulting shares his views on how virtual reality could be changing the expectations of guests…

Try before you buy is an old concept, and it’s been applied to any number of things commercially. Cars, homes, electronics and vitamins — just about every corner of the retail industry has offered no-risk money back arrangements with consumers. People want to know what they’re getting into before they invest. It’s also a powerful statement of confidence on the seller’s (or manufacturer’s) part. It says: You’re going to be happy you own this. You’re not going to want your money back.

Until now, industries that are based in experiences rather than commodities were beyond the pale of “try before you buy” (unless you include Rekall in Total Recall). How are people going to try a surfing vacation before you go? How are you going to try a first class cabin on a train? Multi-media content (images and video) has brought us closer, but there’s still nothing like being there, like actually standing in the space and seeing its dimensions first hand.

Virtual reality has been around awhile, but early iterations made it something of a joke. The graphics were terrible, and the headsets were gigantic.

Now that 360-cameras have become sophisticated and widely available (think about those latest holiday snaps your friends are posting to Facebook), VR technology can vividly put you in real places. You can stand on the veranda of that vacation villa you’re thinking about renting. You can cruise down the streets of a faraway city at night in a Ferrari. You don’t control the accelerator, but it’s easy to let yourself be immersed in the details. Why? Because it’s real detail. It’s actual imagery. Most people who have tried the newer headsets — such as the Samsung unit that makes use of a Galaxy phone — are shocked by how detailed and immersive the experience actually is. Big electronics firms are running, not walking, into the VR space.

Travel is one of the industries most obviously touched by the development of this technology. Effectively, VR means that “try before you buy” is indeed available in our industry — at least to an unprecedented degree. If you’re not sure about which type of room to book at a given hotel, you can be dropped into a 360 degree image or led on a VR walking tour. You don’t have to rely on two-dimensional web site imagery, which rarely gives you an accurate spatial perception and definitely doesn’t provide as much detail.

Travel giant Thomas Cook is among the early adopters. In 2015 they worked with Visualise, a British VR production firm, to produce a series of immersive travel experiences for viewing at Thomas Cook locations around the world. The campaign featured professional filming in diverse locations, including Cyprus, Egypt, Greece, Singapore and New York City. A separate campaign for Thomas Cook Airlines gives the public an immersive experience on Thomas Cook flights to different locations, along with contests and promotional opportunities hidden within the VR content.

There’s little doubt that virtual reality and travel are going to mix even more in 2017 and beyond, which means there are tremendous opportunities — along with fresh new pitfalls. As VR headsets and 360 degree content become more and more common, the big hotels are going to produce more content to pull people in. You’ll be able to put on your headset and be immersed in that upper-floor suite, for example. And the next logical step will be seamless booking functionality.

The problem of expectations
What does all of this mean for hotels? Among other things, it means that when a guest shows up, the difference between real and virtual worlds had better not be stark. While VR promotional content has tremendous potential, it sets the bar higher for hotels. Through this kind of promotion, it becomes even more important to deliver on promises, both in terms of amenities and service. Otherwise, people will feel distinctly misled and the online reputations of such hotels will suffer.(As discussed in a previous post, incongruous photographs have the same impact.)

Some hoteliers will choose to steer clear of VR content for these very reasons. It’s also true that VR content is still relatively expensive to produce, and the pictures themselves will grow old like any video or jpeg image. New content will have to be created.

But what if it becomes cheaper to create and distribute VR content? What if “try before you buy” becomes the rule, not the exception, in the hospitality industry? Using such content to promote your hotel could feasibly become as widespread, or indeed as necessary, as using an OTA.

In the end, VR will be productive tool for hoteliers who use it to set up the right expectations. And they’ll strive to meet or exceed those expectations through strong fundamentals, attention to detail, positive interactions between guests and staff. But we need to ensure we are not too focused on the virtual experience because when you come right down to it, real hospitality experiences will always be what counts.


Graduating first from William Angliss Institute in 1982, Dean took on his first General Management role at the age of 22. Since then, he has worked in, managed or consulted to hotels, motels, resorts, restaurants and casinos across Australia and Asia. He is director at Minett Consulting.

Infographic - Stanley Security

Research: 73% of guests would like to skip the front desk…

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The hospitality industry is becoming more green, however it still has a long way to go.

According to 2016 research from OpenKey, the average 200-room hotel produces approximately 12,000 non-biodegradable plastic key cards each year which is equivalent to 1,300 tons of plastic waste annually.

That is a lot of waste to end up in landfills each year. Consumer demand for ditching the key is higher than ever. According to the infographic below from Stanley Security, 73% of guests would prefer to skip the front desk. Find out more research findings below…

Infographic - Stanley Security



Homestays v. Hotels

Guest Blog: The Future of Hospitality – Homestays v. Hotels

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Nakul Sharma is the CEO and founder of Hostmaker, London’s biggest Airbnb management company – and here he describes why he believes homestays and staying in a hotel are different sides of the same coin…

Over the last few years, homestays have become increasingly popular, with the explosion of companies such as Airbnb making these options a more convenient and cheaper way of staying in the world’s major cities. But does this explosion in popularity of homestays challenge the traditional hoteling industry or rather does it create a situation where the two can help each other?

Having worked in both the traditional hospitality industry and the property sharing sector, I can safely tell you that these two seemingly competing industries are actually more compatible then first glance might suggest. They are two sides of the hospitality coin, catering for different people with different and often complimenting strengths and weaknesses.

The main difference between the two is cost and the space available to enjoy a longer stay. Homestays generally tend to be lower in price than traditional hotels. As a result, they encourage travellers who would have maybe stayed for two-three nights in a hotel to stay longer and experience more of a destination. They are also preferred by a large group of people, or travellers looking for a room for month. Hotels are mainly tailored to the needs of an individual business traveller and aim to be efficient. Couples or groups travelling for leisure have very different needs. Rather than stealing clientele away from hotels, they are filling the gap in the market.

These two forms of hospitality also tackle the complications that come with very short or very long trips. Homestays provide much more flexibility, giving guests the option to stay for 3, 30 or 300 days, depending on their circumstances. Hotels are great for families or individuals looking to stay in one place for a few nights, but it can quickly become cumbersome when you want to move about or stay for an extended period.

By staying with a local through a homestay, travellers get a difference experience of the city. Before you would have had to explore a city with little or no knowledge, armed only with a guide book and relying on the hotel concierge. However, staying with a local offers guests a different perspective on a city and its culture. This is not something that everyone would like to experience as many people are happy to explore the city alone and enjoy the main attractions. Again, those that would have originally stayed in hotels are unlikely to migrate to homestays due to the fact that they are more interested in the comparative comfort of a hotel.

Many often say that they choose hotels for the luxury service and the knowledge that they can come and go without worrying about waking up their hosts or collecting their keys at a certain time. However, it is possible to replicate this service within the homestay market. Management companies, such as Hostmaker, have been able to bridge this gap in the market and provide a Hilton level experience to a regular homestay, offering a 5-star experience for guests and alleviating the pressure from the host.

Homestays often also offer unique properties. Treehouses, caravans and cabins are just a few of the types of accommodation you may find yourself in. For some people, the chance of a unique stay in an unusual location is an adventure, but others may be filled with a sense of dread. When you stay in a hotel, there is a standard that many people expect and more often than not, they receive. With a homestay, however, especially one in a quirky location, it can be very hard to determine. Those with a more adventurous streak may opt to go for a homestay but many people would still feel more comfortable with a traditional hotel.

So, when we discuss the future of hospitality, homestays are certainly part of it and a quickly growing part of it, but the demand for hotels is unlikely to be affected by the growth of this sharing economy industry. Both hotels and homestays occupy similar areas in the hospitality industry but by no means are their target market the same. Homestays do not have the capacity to steal the business of hotels and hotels cannot offer the individual experiences that homestays can. Rather than conflict, the two dovetail to offer customers different experiences to cater to individuals tastes.


Home House Winter Marquee.

Christmas Meet Up: A month to go…

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We’re a month away from the Hotel Designs Christmas Meet Up event, which has already seen some biggest names in the UK hotel and design industries confirm their place for an evening of drinks, canapes and an end-of-year celebration.

Embrace the spirit of the holidays a little early this year and join us all at Hotel Designs as we usher in the end of the year with a bang at Home House in Marylebone, London on 8th November 2017 from 6-10pm.


Home House - Christmas Meet Up

The attendee list is filling up, with some fantastic representatives from across the hotel and design industry making an appearance. Last month we announced Marriott International, Shangri-La at The Shard, Rosewood London, York & Albany Hotel and The Wellesley Knightsbridge. We are now pleased to announce Bermondsey Square Hotel, InterContinental, The Montcalm and The Montague on the Gardens Hotel will also be in attendance.

Home House Winter Marquee.Attendees from firms in the design industry already confirmed to attend included Twenty2Degrees, Areen Design, Atelier Lux and inD Creations. We can now announce Design Clarity, Milan Babic Architects, Harrier Forde Design, Hendry Associates Architects and ReardonSmith.

If you are a suppliers to the hospitality industry looking to meet top names from both industries, contact Jennie Lane on 01992 374098 or on j.lane@forumevents.co.uk – or click here to book your place.

The Christmas Meet Up is completely free for hoteliers and designers; click here to confirm your attendance.

Avvio - Allora

Avvio announces world’s first AI-powered booking engine

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Leading hotel technology provider, Avvio has announced the launch of Allora, the world’s first booking engine powered by artificial intelligence (AI).

Allora is the world’s first booking engine to use artificial intelligence to learn from every online interaction. The first of the next generation of booking engines for hotels and accommodation providers, it focuses on driving direct booking and guest loyalty by orchestrating better online interactions between hotels and guests.

Built over 18 months by Avvio’s expert team of developers, Allora uses Learning Models to analyse large volumes of data and identify which variations will yield the best booking engine configuration.
In an era of exponential data, hotels sit on large tranches of information that they typically do not have the manpower to crunch. Allora does this for them, whilst building on intelligence from Avvio’s network of hotels and accommodation providers across Europe and North America. This means that each property can learn from similar properties to improve their performance much more quickly than if they were to rely solely on their own data.

Frank Reeves, Co-founder and CEO of Avvio, explains: “Hotels can benefit from Networked Intelligence. With bigger data you unearth better patterns quicker, and rapid feedback leads to greater innovation. It enables each hotel to build on insights from across our network and drive precision with their own data. This boosts direct bookings and delivers a more personalised online service that reflects the exquisite experience hotel staff give to guests in-house.”

With Avvio’s proprietary technology, Allora uses learned customer behaviour to create a unique conversation between the hotel and the guest by leveraging AI at the right moment, optimising and personalising their journey. Its sophisticated Recommender Engine moves the booking journey away from the one-size-fits-all model of today by making it dynamic, relevant and tailored to each shopper’s needs and interests. This way, shoppers find what they’re looking for faster and will likely feel a stronger emotional connection with the hotel, increasing their incentive to book direct.

Frank continues: “Ultimately Allora is more than a booking engine, it’s a conversation platform, which is genuinely trying to curate a more refined and more appropriate experience for each website visitor. That may be a conversation about loyalty, a booking or an upsell. We can’t continue to provide all customers with the same conversation.”

Allora will do this by tracking and analysing data across hundreds of properties, based on geography, guest history, booking preferences, interactions on site, conversions and more. Working with any hotel’s existing property management system on a ‘plug and play’ basis, the platform will then curate relevant options based on demonstrated guest behaviour and optimise the booking journey to guide shoppers to book direct with as high a booking value as possible. Always in conversation, Allora learns and evolves with every interaction to deliver the best possible results.

UK hotel investment hits £2 billion in H1 2017

Opinion: UK hotels forecast 2018 – as good as it gets?

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Hotels good fortune continues but as uncertainty weighs in, is this as good as it gets? UK hotels have enjoyed record trading, underpinned by the boom in overseas leisure travel.

PwC forecast a slower pace of growth in 2018 as the stimulus of the weak pound starts to weaken, and new supply kicks in. Add into the mix, global political volatility, an expected deceleration in UK economic growth and continued Brexit policy uncertainty, and we look to a more cautious, but still reasonably strong growth forecast in 2018.

London enjoyed occupancy growth of 2.6% and ADR gains of 6.3% driving RevPAR growth of 9%, compared to the same period last year. The surge in overseas tourism has been boosted by North American visitors, with sterling at the lowest it’s been against the dollar for 30 years. The results are still remarkable against the backdrop of an uncertain corporate and consumer outlook, recent terrorist attacks, and high levels of new supply openings. The tourism boom means that for 2017 as a whole, our revised forecast is now much stronger than we anticipated in March this year. We now forecast year-on-year London occupancy growth of 2.3% and a robust RevPAR gain of almost 6% this year in 2017.

Regional outlook
H1 2017 saw hoteliers in Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast, like London, see a boost from the exchange rate attracting international holiday travellers and this has pushed their RevPAR performance into double digit growth. Edinburgh and Belfast have seen ADR gains alone of 14.8% and 13% whereas Cardiff’s additional hosting of the Champions League Final in June, helped lift occupancy and rates and pushed RevPAR to almost 11% RevPAR growth in the first half of the year. Plymouth, Sheffield, Glasgow, York and Liverpool have also seen robust growth.

Hull has enjoyed City of Culture status in 2017 and hotels are reported to have seen a 13% occupancy lift in Q1 2017. In the first few weeks following the Manchester Arena bombing attack on 22 May, hotel general managers in the city’s hotel association reported a softening demand for hotel rooms. Recent coverage suggests that while there was a lot of uncertainty, that feeling is starting to change now, with tourists, visitors and families returning to stay in the city’s hotels.

What to expect for 2018?
We forecast both overseas inbound and domestic investment into the hotel sector to continue into 2018, with the ongoing growth in investment appetite into the sector by the more institutional and mainstream real estate investors. It will be interesting to see the outcome of the current portfolio deals to see whether vendor price expectations are achieved, and the impact this may have on the strategy for any future portfolio deals running into 2018. It also remains to be seen the longer term effect of the drive by China to limit foreign investment, once any of the larger portfolio deals do return. Considering these factors, combined with forecast slower RevPAR growth across the UK, overall we expect 2018 deal volumes to reach levels c.10% lower than the current year, at around £4.8bn.

Download the full report here. . .


50% Brits struggle to sleep in hotels: how operators can ensure perfect night’s sleep

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Research from Beacon, the UK’s leading purchasing company, has revealed that over 50% of UK hotel guests struggle to get a good night’s sleep when staying in a hotel. With summer holiday in full swing, Beacon, working alongside its leading bedding supplier Fogarty, has pulled together its top tips on how operators can make sure guests get a restful sleep during their all-important summer breaks away.

With a good night’s sleep high on the nation’s agenda, sleep expert, Dr. Sleep from Fogarty, discusses the importance of sleep: “We spend a third of our lives asleep, and evidence proves that the quality of this sleep is essential to allow us to reach our full potential during our waking hours. Small changes can make a big difference in improving your guest’s sleep experience, which in turn will undoubtedly lead to greater customer loyalty.”

SleepingLauren Parker, Buyer at Beacon, continued: “So many of us are struggling to sleep in hotels, but this can easily be improved, and operators should capitalise on this opportunity. Our recent research found that guests would be willing to pay an extra £10 for a larger room, £8 for a choice of pillows, £9 for a larger bed and £10 for an extra bed to help with their sleep in hotels, suggesting there is money to be made in offering sleep related upgrades. This indicates how important sleep is to guests, so considering some small changes could really benefit your business.”

Top Tips with the help of Dr. Sleep and Fogarty

Fresh plants
Consider investing in fresh plants in your hotel bedrooms to help to maintain good air quality. We would suggest choosing flowers such as jasmine or lavender; these scents are known to have a positive effect on the quality of sleep. The display of flowers in a bedroom also creates a more soothing and relaxing atmosphere, putting your guests at ease.

Bedroom thermometers
As you get ready to go to sleep, your body begins to cool down to its optimal sleep temperature. To help this process, use bedroom thermometers to set the temperature in bedrooms to between 15-18 degrees, or by giving guests the option to turn off their heating about an hour before bedtime; which is plenty of time for the room to reach this temperature.

Hotels can be noisy, with this creating disturbances for some sleepers. You can provide your guests with a more peaceful sleep through soundproofing bedrooms, which needn’t cost the earth – thicker curtains, or the provision of ear plugs can help improve guest experiences.

Studies have shown that the scent of lavender has excellent sedative effects and helps to promote better sleep. To reap the benefits of this in hotel bedrooms, you can invest in the plant, a diffuser or pillow sprays. Lavender pillow sprays have become increasingly popular, with one of Beacon’s leading suppliers, Gilchrist & Soames, stating that sales for 2016/17 have increased by 40% over the 2015/16 period.

Anti-allergy bedding
During spring and summer many of us will experience an increase in allergic symptoms. Allergies are one of the most common causes of sleep disturbances and anti allergy bedding helps protect your guests. Fogarty provides an anti allergy range, fully endorsed by Anti-Allergy UK, that has been treated with anti-microbial material, providing you with peace of mind that your bedding is fresh, clean and safe.

For more information about Beacon please visit www.beaconpurchasing.co.uk

Left to right (Keith Matthewa MD Nu Agencies Keith Worral CEO Thames Technology)

Guest Blog: ‘Hotel door access cards can be eco-friendly’

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Thames Card Technology is bringing an environmentally-friendly card material to the UK in an exclusive deal with Nu: Agencies, part of the Nuco International group. Nu: eCard is a ‘green’ alternative to PVC, combining chalk with low levels of high-density polyethylene to create a card with performance and costs to rival traditional plastics, without the environmental impact.

Cards produced using Nu: eCard look and feel virtually identical to other 100% plastic cards and can be manufactured using exactly the same equipment. The cards can supplement the green credentials of the businesses using them, which can give an advantage when the choices in the hospitality industry increasingly include environmental considerations.

Thames Card Technology is the only card producer in the UK licenced to use the Nu: eCard material, and the company will also offer the product to customers in Europe. Tens of millions of cards are already in use in the USA.

The first credible alternative to PVC
“We have been looking for a credible PVC alternative for a number of years, but there has always been a catch,” comments Paul Underwood, Managing Director of Thames Card Technology. “Either costs were much higher or the performance of the card was not up to scratch. Nu: eCard has changed the game with a material that is green without compromise. We’ve done extensive testing on the material to ISO7810 standard and are extremely excited about the possibilities it opens up for ecologically minded companies, without increasing costs.”

Nu: eCard is made from sustainable, reclaimed and renewable materials, and polyethylene has a low ecological impact. The low-energy, low CO2 production process does not require water, acid, alkaline or bleach, which has resulted in a Cradle to Cradle Environmental Certification award.

Answering existing demand for greener cards
“PVC has been at the centre of card manufacture for years and change is not brought about easily,” adds Ian Brown, Director of Nu: Agencies. “We took our time to develop and test Nu: eCard before setting about finding the right partner to bring it to the UK. The decision to work with Thames was an easy one. They’re committed to innovation and have great awareness of the companies that are already crying out for more card manufacture options. We have experienced huge success in the USA and have no doubt that we will receive the same demand in the UK and Europe with Thames as our partner.”

“This partnership with Thames Card Technology is further confirmation that our decision to invest in developing Nu: eCard was the right one,” adds Keith Matthews, Managing Director of Nuco International Ltd. “This product is gaining global momentum through our partners both sides of the Atlantic and it won’t be long now until consumers across Europe also have greener cards in their pockets.”

The cards are already in use for gift, loyalty, membership, marketing and hotel key cards, amongst a range of other uses.

Read more about Thames Card Technology’s work in its latest blogs.

Digital Concierge - Maido

Guest Blog: Maido – Translate luxury service online with a ‘digital concierge’

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George Wiscombe, founder and managing director of award-winning digital design agency Maido, talking about how the hotel sector can embrace digital technology…

Advancing digital technology presents the hotel sector with a huge opportunity but also a challenge. With guests increasingly reliant on mobile tech to carry out day to day tasks, they expect hotels to facilitate this, whether through mobile check-in or room service. But it is tricky for luxury hotels to replicate their bespoke white glove service online.

Developing an effective digital concierge is one solution that can enhance a hotel’s customer service with exciting and innovative technology. Here are the key characteristics to consider when creating a digital concierge.

Be customer-centric
Take a customer-first approach when developing a digital concierge. Simply put, this means prioritising your guests and their needs and wishes above all else. To do this effectively, you require a detailed understanding of customer behaviour, expectations, and lifestyle so use your hotel staff’s broad experience and harness customer data to determine what services will add most value or which queries are most common. Your website, app and other online sales channels should collect and use data throughout the customer journey. Store customer information and use it to personalise online services, offers and communications, based on individual preferences. This way your hotel will not lose its personal service as it moves more services online.

Automate for speed – but do it carefully!
There are many enquiries that can be resolved without the need for hotel staff input, saving staff time and allowing swift responses to simple queries related to hotel hours, policies, directions and more. However when setting this up, hotels must be careful to limit the responses to questions that lend themselves to automated answers. They must also be written in clear personal tones so it does not sound like a robot. When a guest asks for assistance that requires further action, the request can be transferred over to a member of staff.

Ease of use
Not all your guests will be digital-savvy tech lovers so make sure your digital concierge services are accessible and user friendly for all. Virtual assistants, for example, should not require an app to download. They should work with basic SMS, social media, or any messaging app. Everything that a guest could want to do with your online service should be made apparent and simple, with concise messaging and clear ‘calls-to-action’. Don’t overwhelm people with information – make it easy for them to access what they want in as few clicks as possible. Hotels should consider voice-enabled technology like Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa for guests to give instructions or ask questions.

Prototype and test
The digital world allows us to be fast and responsive in how we use new insights about our guests or market. As a result, hotels should not focus on creating a complex digital infrastructure and handing it over completed. Getting a product to market quickly is far more effective — allowing hotels to test and refine it over time. This can be done through tried and tested fast-paced prototyping. This does not mean rushing out an imperfect product. It means releasing an initial version faster, so that we can make future decisions based on real data about how people are using it. For a digital concierge this will provide direction on which services are most popular and need further development, the most frequently ask questions and what is redundant or missing.

Make it fun!
A digital concierge is primarily about the practical assistance it can offer but if a hotel really wants to capture guests’ imaginations it should look for fun and quirky ways to add value and special features using digital technology. Consider where you can add interactive elements that will entertain and engage people such as offering virtual reality tours of the hotel or local attractions or allowing people to adapt their hotel room to suit their mood by changing the artwork, music or lighting tones through a touch pad device or send virtual postcards to their loved ones. Some hotels are now using robot butlers to deliver items to rooms – the opportunities offered by digital technology are endless so let your imagination roam.

Artwork in hotels

Artwork Focus: Renowned ‘art’ hotels

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No more bland landscape paintings for hotel rooms – artwork is a serious aspect of interior design. We look at some of the hotels around the world renowned for their artwork…

Hotel Arts, Barcelona
“Designed by the distinguished architect Bruce Graham of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, the Hotel Arts is part of Barcelona’s recent cultural renaissance, and as modern as the city itself. Built to coincide with the Olympic Games in 1992, this Barcelona luxury hotel is a landmark on the Barceloneta boardwalk: 44 storeys of blue glass and exposed steel soaring high above the seafront. Inside, hard edges and materials give way to an environment of elegance and refinement, filled with luxurious spaces to explore and discover at your leisure.”

45 Park Lane, London
“With its landmark architecture, dynamic interiors, contemporary art collection and with contemporary boutique hotel interiors designed by New York-based designer Thierry Despont, each of the spacious guest rooms and suites enjoys captivating views of leafy Hyde Park. The Penthouse Suite is the ultimate experience with its Art Deco design and wrap-around balcony featuring panoramic London cityscape views.”

Le Royal Monceau Raffles, Paris
“The in-house Art Gallery is the hub of the artistic and cultural life of the hotel. A new venture into the world of contemporary art in Paris, Art District welcomes artists, art connoisseurs and collectors, patrons and art professionals.”

Artwork in hotelsBlumen Haus Lech, Austria
“This hotel in Austria leans heavily on traditional Alpine architecture for its style, albeit with a modern take. Vienna’s Contemporary Art Advisors have chosen works by the likes of Roy Lichtenstein to adorn the hotel’s walls, alongside emerging artists, which will change with the seasons.”

Blumenhaus Lech lounge21c Museum Hotels, Louisville, USA
“Founded by Laura Lee Brown and Steve Wilson, contemporary art collectors and preservationists who believe in the power of contemporary art, each of their hotels exhibits its own collections of 21st century art works by up-and-coming and well-established talents. The line-up in Louisville, for example, includes Yinka Shonibare, Andres Serrano, Kara Walker and Bill Viola. Each hotel additionally puts on a feast of cultural events, from films and music to artist talks and poetry readings.”

Artwork in hotels

Recent research from Beacon Design Services (BDS) has revealed that when it comes to hotel rooms, the most popular design among guests is neutral contemporary

‘Fresh, sleek and stylish’ – nation’s favourite hotel room design

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Recent research from Beacon Design Services (BDS) has revealed that when it comes to hotel rooms, the most popular design among guests is neutral contemporary, with 44% of Brits preferring a sleek and stylish look to more traditional designs. Compact contemporary design came in second, with 29% of hotel guests preferring a no frills and straightforward design that saves on space.

The least popular styles among hotel guests were country designs with tweed and wooden fixtures (10%), modern colourful rooms with bright décor (5%), boutique style with personal touches (5%) and classical design with high quality finishes (5%). Chris Johnson of BDS shares his advice and top tips for achieving the nation’s favourite hotel room design:

The way that guests use hotel rooms is evolving. The requirement for a standard double bed with a pair of side tables is changing to one of multi-purpose furniture, areas for work and relaxation, and increased technology. However this does not mean that the modern hotel room has to be minimalist. The modern traveller is looking for a home away from home and through following these tips, you can create a contemporary hotel room design whilst maintaining a homely ambiance.

Be up to date with your technology offering
Décor is very important in giving a room its style, however the level or age of the technology in the room can have a tremendous effect on how modern the room feels. Out-dated technology, such as CRT televisions, can instantly age an area by 10-15 years. There is an expectation on hoteliers to provide a certain level of modern convenience with smart TVs, digital control over lighting, temperature and entertainment desired as well as ways to charge mobile devices efficiently. Importantly, all of these amenities and features need to seamlessly integrate into the design of the room.

Neutral tones with a pop of colour
We are seeing the trend of natural, neutral colours and mixed metal finishes passing from the domestic market into the hospitality sector as customers seek that homely atmosphere. Rather than creating a bright interior, warmer colours and tones should be considered to provide a relaxing colour palette. Pastels are being used more regularly in hotel rooms, providing a feeling of sophistication and luxury. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a requirement for colour; an item in navy blue combines so well with sage, grey, cream, and coral. Small pops of colour in soft furnishings or statement pieces of bright furniture turn up the interest level in a hotel room, without being overwhelming.

Consider contemporary fabrics with your furniture
A contemporary design can be created through furniture with clean, simple lines. However, just as the shape of the furniture affects its style, so does the fabric. Furniture can easily be used to make a statement by utilising unexpected textures and colours. Upholstering a traditional armchair in a contemporary fabric can completely change its style. For instance, a button backed wingback armchair would look completely different in a non-traditional, bright, textured fabric.

Move away from patterns
Historically, a lot of hotels would have a number of different patterns and finishes across the property, creating an untidy, confused aesthetic. These patterns are now being overlooked in favour of the wide range of textures available in the fabric market to cater for a more contemporary style. Try mixing the neutral interior with interesting fabrics such as slub effect silks, brushed velvets and rough linens so the focus is stimulating the guests’ sense of touch as well as sight.

Layer textiles for a balance between modern and homely
Although a contemporary design is favoured, it is still important to provide a hotel room that is a home away from home. As our survey suggests, guests are moving away from heavily patterned, cluttered hotel rooms and are looking for calmer, more simple interior design. Simply put, layering textiles is the key to creating a warm, well-designed space, and neutral colours allow you to create this space more easily. Scandinavians have had this design style for decades with their use of Hygge style, which is a huge trend at the moment.[1]

For more information about Beacon please visit www.beaconpurchasing.co.uk

Jean-Michel Gathy shares his thoughts on hotel design

Project Spotlight: Jean-Michel Gathy on leading hotel architecture trends

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Master architect Jean-Michel Gathy is the visionary behind some of the world’s most iconic luxury hotels, resorts and landmarks from the Marina Bay Sands swimming pool in Singapore, Cheval Blanc Randheli by LVMH in the Maldives, The Chedi Muscat in Oman, The Setai Miami to many of the most recognised Aman Resorts around the world.

Specialising in luxury hospitality design, interiors and landscape for over 40 years, Jean-Michel Gathy is always one step ahead of the design curve, forging new design trends and inspiring the world with his passion in creating innovative designs which surpass expectations and the imagination.

Jean-Michel Gathy’s “must have” architecture predictions for 2016 and beyond are centred on the themes of romantic resorts, an abundance of pools and water features, sustainability, and always incorporating local cultural elements and traditions.

His signature designs have inspired many leading architectural works which are showcased in a list of some of the most recognised hotels and resorts including the One&Only Reethi Rah, Maldives, St. Regis Lhasa, Tibet, Viceroy Snowmass, Aspen Colorado, Park Hyatt Sanya Sunny Bay, Sanya, The Chedi Andermatt, Switzerland, Aman Canal Grande, Venice, Amanwana, Moyo Island Indonesia and Aman Summer Palace in Beijing.

Romantic Resort Design
Jean-Michel Gathy pioneers the design of romantic wraparound outdoor decks with netted hammocks suspended over water at the One&Only Reethi Rah and oversized bathrooms at The Cheval Blanc Randheli in the Maldives, featuring free standing bathtubs and outdoor showers, also referred to as “Naughty Bathrooms”. He is an expert for inventing romantic designs for couples to be intimate yet comfortable. Gathy shared, “I believe that the perfect hotel in the Maldives is a hotel where you are extremely comfortable with your spouse or partner. A Maldivian hotel needs to encourage an environment of love and life, a place for emotion and togetherness.”

One&Only Reethi Rah

One&Only Reethi Rah

Cheval Blanc Randheli

Cheval Blanc Randheli

Pools and Water Features
Inspired by water, Jean-Michel Gathy redefines hotel swimming pools creating water features as incredible centerpieces. From the world’s largest rooftop infinity pool at the Marina Bay Sands overlooking Singapore’s skyscrapers to the Golden Energy pool at The St. Regis Lhasa in Tibet intricately lined with thousands of tiles plated in 24 carat gold comfortably heated between 28 to 32 degrees Celsius.

Jean-Michel Gathy further shared, “I’m obsessed with water. The reason I like water in hotel designs is that it’s so peaceful and relaxing. Think about how you feel when you’re by a lake or a river – you feel calmer” explained Gathy. “Well that’s why I try to incorporate water into all my designs. It soothes the mind. For me, a hotel without water is boring.”

Marina Bay Sands

Marina Bay Sands

Incorporating the natural environment and indigenous Aspen culture, Jean-Michel Gathy integrates fire, earth, wood and stone elements to the design of the Viceroy Snowmass. All materials used are LEED classified ensuring that local materials were maximised in the construction phase to minimise ongoing energy usage to support sustainability.

The design inspiration behind The Chedi Andermatt by GHM is balanced between Swiss heritage and a backdrop of awe-inspiring nature. The resort is sustainably designed and executed, using locally sourced materials. “Sustainability is one of the major considerations. Each country has different regulations and codes on environmental impact and it is my job to make sure that the project meets the sustainable requirements.” Gathy shared.

Viceroy Snowmass

Viceroy Snowmass

Local Cultural Elements
Having a passion for travel and geography as a child, Jean-Michel Gathy harmonises the local and cultural elements of the destination to his designs. At the recently opened Park Hyatt Sunny Bay, Jean-Michel Gathy designed the Resort to balance the energies of feng shui between the sea “yin” and the surrounding mountains “yang”. Reflecting the Summer Palace’s imperial style, the Aman Summer Palace pays tribute to the Ming Dynasty, traditional touches are evident in both design and décor including period-style furniture, lanterns, traditional fabrics and bamboo blinds.

Park Hyatt Sunny Bay

Park Hyatt Sunny Bay

Whereas the artfully restored, Aman Canal Grande is set in the regal world of the 16th century Palazzo Papadopoli, the textures of the original historical features – ornate cornicing, carved marble, intricate murals and wood panelling blend alongside the modern conveniences, cutting-edge design and contemporary décor.

“I’m always inspired by the location of my projects; I like to honour both the landscape and local tradition. As palaces and hotels, Venice and China couldn’t be more different, yet I set out to achieve a similar aesthetic – to inject a contemporary haven within a culturally rich environment, one that offers guests an authentic yet dramatic experience,” comments Jean-Michel Gathy.

Aman Canal Grande

Aman Canal Grande

Although many designs pioneered by Jean-Michel Gathy are being adopted and mimicked by other hotels, Gathy shared that he is not concerned, he comments that “Making a beautiful hotel is about orchestrating a dance between the landscape, the architecture and the interiors. There’s this wonderful chemistry when it finally works.”

Jean-Michel Gathy and his team at Denniston Architects are currently working on over forty projects around the world, including the upcoming Mandarin Oriental and Jumeirah in Bali and The Andaz Sanya.

Visit www.denniston.com.my for more information on Denniston Architects or Principal Designer Jean-Michel Gathy