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Vienna House Wroclaw hotel to open following bleisure boom in Poland

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Vienna House Wroclaw hotel to open following bleisure boom in Poland

Vienna House plans to open a 240-room hotel in the centre of Wroclaw. The group’s seventh hotel in Poland is slated to open in Q1 of 2022 following a rise in the country’s bleisure market…

Following the acquisition of 17 city hotels from hotel brand arcona, Vienna House has announced plans to open its seventh hotel in Poland, further utilising on the destination’s booming business traveller market.

The new smart-casual city hotel is part of a redesigned building complex which surrounds a historically listed bakery. Vienna House Easy Wroclaw will be a base for business and leisure traveller alike, featuring a vibrant restaurant, lifestyle lobby and bar, modern fitness facilities and spacious conference area. Guests will receive a warm welcome from the famous Wroclaw dwarves’, an insight into the city’s history and unique culture. The complex in which the hotel sits also features a student apartment concept from the BaseCamp brand.

“Wroclaw is an exciting, growing market, and the location in the city centre, near the botanical garden, is ideal, ” said Rupert Simoner, CEO of Vienna House, in a press release. “The combination of the casual, service-oriented Vienna House Easy and the lively student concept fits very well together and will develop into a fresh, lively meeting place.” Vienna House Easy Wroclaw, the Austrian hotel group’s seventh hotel in Poland, underscores the enormous interest in the Polish market.

Rendering of modern guestroom with dark-green wallcoverings and twin beds

Image credit: Vienna House

The hotel will be operated by Vienna House under a lease agreement from ST Wroclaw Sienkiewicza Sp. z o.o., which offers student apartment solutions with BaseCamp in Poland, Denmark and Germany.

Vienna House Easy Wroclaw offers 236 double rooms along with four suites. The rooms come with extra-long, super comfortable beds, modern writing and seating solutions, and bathrooms with walk-in showers. The hotel also has a 360 m² meeting and conference area, ideal for working. The fitness area features state-of-the-art exercise equipment, in addition to a massage area.

Vienna House Easy stands for smart casual design, hospitality DNA within our employees, established analogue services and meaningful digital offerings. These include televisions with connectivity for guest devices, high-speed WiFi, mobile concierge, self-check-in/check-out and much more. The hotel lobby provides a cosy meeting place, inviting reception area, cool bar and lounge all rolled into one.

Main image credit: Vienna House

Hilton’s brand portfolio overtakes Marriott’s as “world’s most valuable”

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hilton’s brand portfolio overtakes Marriott’s as “world’s most valuable”

Despite announcing earlier this year to open 30 new luxury hotels, Marriott’s portfolio drops to second place as the value of its brands in the Brand Finance Hotels 50 ranking decreases by 30 per cent, giving way to Hilton…

As luxury brands scramble over one another in the battle for being the best, there has been a change in the tables. Reporting a 17 per cent growth, Hilton now becomes the world’s most valuable brands in the Brand Finance Hotels 50 ranking.

The hotel group, which owns brands such as Homewood Suites, Double Tree, and Hampton, has extended its lead as the world’s most valuable hotel brand and, according to Brand Finance, has overtaken Marriott’s. Hilton’s brand value growth (up 17 per cent to US$7.4 billion) was largely driven by strong revenue increase over the last year, cementing the brand’s leadership position in the industry.

Meanwhile, Marriott suffered a reduction in brand value (down eight per cent to US$5.0 billion) and its brand strength dropped from AAA- to AA+. Marriott has faced several challenges in the North American market from hacking scandals to persistent problems with its loyalty schemes. At the same time, the combined value of Marriott’s brands within the Brand Finance Hotels 50 ranking decreased by 30 per cent, giving way to Hilton’s brand portfolio to claim the title of the world’s most valuable.

“Hilton’s strategic approach to brand growth has allowed it to extend its lead as the world’s most valuable hotel brand,” said Savio D’Souza, Valuation Director at Brand Finance. “At the same time, endorsement from the flagship brand has rendered benefits across the portfolio as Homewood Suites, Double Tree, and Hampton have seen their brand values sore. In its centennial year, Hilton is well-positioned for another hundred years of success.”

“Hilton’s brand value in the top 50 ranking is concentrated across six brands.”

Hilton Worldwide Holdings achieved overall brand value growth of 41 per cent. Hilton’s brand value in the top 50 ranking is concentrated across six brands, up from five in 2018, all strongly leveraging the valuable Hilton brand name and each recording solid growth this year. Hilton has continually committed to its relentless expansion programme and with thousands of new rooms and hotels in the pipeline, the company shows no signs of slowing down in the coming year.

Marriott has not fared so well, with four of its brands dropping out of the Brand Finance Hotel 50 ranking this year. With one new entrant, Marriott now has twelve brands in the ranking, many of which have nevertheless decreased in value. Marriott’s recent announcement of entering the home-rental market however, is a promising move to take back market share from Airbnb and could contribute to an uplift in brand value in the coming year.

The Hilton and Marriott portfolios remain well ahead of third-ranked Wyndham, which also suffered a drop of eight per cent in brand value to US$7.3 billion.

The three hotel brands to grow the fastest in value this year all come from Hilton’s portfolio, and each contributed to its overall growth. Its impressive performance was led by Homewood Suites (brand value up 99 per cent to US$0.8 billion), followed closely by Double Tree (up 79 per cent to US$2.1 billion) and Hampton (up 78 per cent to US$3.2 billion). This growth allowed the latter two brands to reshape the ranking’s top 10, with Double Tree jumping from 17th to 7th and Hampton rising from 10th to 5th place over the past year.

Aside from calculating overall brand value, Brand Finance also determines the relative strength of brands through a balanced scorecard of metrics evaluating marketing investment, stakeholder equity, and business performance. Alongside revenue forecasts, brand strength is a crucial driver of brand value.

“Mercure has claimed the title of the world’s strongest hotel brand.”

According to these criteria and scoring high in Brand Finance market research, Mercure has claimed the title of the world’s strongest hotel brand, significantly improving its Brand Strength Index (BSI) score from 75.7 to 86.2 out of 100 and recording a brand rating upgrade from AA+ to AAA. Mercure is also the most valuable brand in Accor’s portfolio, with nearly 800 hotels. The brand has continued to make several acquisitions through its scheme of franchise growth.

Alongside analysing the world’s biggest hotel brands, Brand Finance also ranks the top 10 most valuable brands in the wider leisure and tourism industry.

Royal Caribbean International has narrowly retained its position as the world’s most valuable leisure and tourism brand, with its brand value remaining steady at US$3.8 billion. The brand reported strong financial results in 2018, and with demand high in the cruise industry, Royal Caribbean are on course for future growth.

Meanwhile, second-ranked TUI (brand value up four per cent to US$3.7 billion) substantially closed the gap to the ranking’s leader, only just falling short of overtaking Royal Caribbean.

The fast-growing China International Travel (up 70 per cent to US$3.7 billion) has come third this year, up from 5th in 2018. China International saw a significant increase in its valuation due to a surge in forecast revenue in coming years as the Chinese tourism market continues to develop with unprecedented speed and scale.

The fastest-growing brand in the ranking also comes from China. Happy Valley almost doubled its brand value in a single year (up 97 per cent to US$2.0 billion).

The brand portfolio analysis is based on the Brand Finance Hotels 50 ranking and does not take into account less valuable brands which have not been included in the ranking.

Brand value is understood as the net economic benefit that a brand owner would achieve by licensing the brand in the open market. Brand Strength is the efficacy of a brand’s performance on intangible measures relative to its competitors.

Additional insights, more information about the methodology, as well as definitions of key terms are available in the Brand Finance Hotels 50 2019 report.

Main image credit: Hilton Amsterdam Airport Schiphol

Bathroom specialist Utopia Projects rounds up ISH 2019

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Bathroom specialist Utopia Projects rounds up ISH 2019

To kick-start our month of putting bathrooms under the spotlight, Utopia Projects reviews ISH 2019 by sharing its highlights of the show… 

In March, the world’s largest bathroom and heating trade fair, ISH, took place in Frankfurt Germany. With the exhibition taking place every two years, ISH this year attracted around 190,000 visitors all in search for the latest innovations. We took a handful of our clients across for the event to see what some of the world’s leading bathroom manufacturers had on offer.

The most evident trend across many of the manufacturers was digital products with integrated home automation. As with many industries technology is becoming increasingly important, and it is clear that this will be a big feature in forthcoming bathrooms. It was great to see colour feature heavily in many of the displays, with several brands presenting various colour options within their ceramic ranges; Villeroy & Boch, Roca and Laufen ranges were all offering strong and subtle tones for sanitaryware.

Including colour into your bathroom is a fantastic way to put a twist on the monochromatic trend that has been sweeping the interior design world for the past few years. A popular colour choice was black; a bold way to create a sultry and high-end space. Colour accents didn’t stop there either, with many of the manufacturers beginning to increase their special finishes beyond just taps, to shower heads, wastes and accessories. Brands such as Gessi and Victoria & Albert have introduced strong metal finishes within their brassware collections, which will create some drama in public area specifications. Having a wide array of finishes to choose from allows every element of a bathroom to be personalised to specific taste. This is due to the Brassware ranges on offer being now being in such a wide variety of finishes.

“Using large format solid surfaces, such as quartz, is becoming quite popular.”

Seamless design was another trend which we saw beginning to come through, and using large format solid surfaces, such as quartz, is becoming quite popular. These bespoke solid surfaces offer infinite design possibilities allowing every bathroom surface to be manufactured from one material, with minimal joints, creating a visually stunning design.

From all the brands displayed at ISH, a stand that really stood out to us was Gessi. This was due to their fantastic designs, not only for their products. The stand was innovative and eye catching, helping you envision how you can push boundaries for design. Gessi’s themeing for its stand was seemingly avant garde, yet on trend, following the popular outdoor-indoor trend in terms of rain showers, deep basins and large plants to finish.

Dornbracht and Alape took a very different approach to their stand, but was nonetheless as enticing. Both of their approach was subtle in comparison, teasing you into wanting to see and know more about the products. A final stand we were inspired by was by Roca. The company displayed their products as complete rooms allowing us to see variation in products as well as visualise them from a designers prospective. The video demonstration we watched on the stand of one of the mirrors showed us how futuristic and advanced the technology of a simple product can be, which is very exciting from a design point of view. We also saw that Emco is offering a lighting system which can be fully customised, even down to the shaver mirror and mirror cabinet, by one switch, to create mood and ambiance for a totally unique bathroom experience.

A final point we found interesting whilst at ISH was something which is very prominent in society today. Taking the theme of sustainability in its stride was GROHE, which launched products following a close look at consumer behaviour. By launching no less than 500 new innovations, the company’s new collections challenges conventional design of bathroom products and offers sustainable solutions designed to give consumers the ability to take better control. Roca also talked about how it is appealing to make its showers more environmentally friendly. The company plans on integrating digital showers into hotels in order to offer an incentive for users to take shorter showers for discount on future hotel stays. Multiple companies, not just Roca, are interested in monitoring how we consume water in homes, hotels and businesses, resulting in a large impact on the environment.

In conclusion, ISH once again gave an impressive demonstration of its importance for German and international visitors and exhibitors. The next ISH will be held in Frankfurt am Main from March 22 to 26, 2021.

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

Main image credit: Messe Frankfurt/ISH 2019

BRITISH STYLE: Questioning design like Ilse Crawford

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
BRITISH STYLE: Questioning design like Ilse Crawford

To launch the new chapter of Hotel Designs, Hamish Kilburn investigates how one woman, her editorship and her questions over convention helped to change modern international hotel design by challenging the very foundations it sits on…

Every now and then, the world is introduced to a design icon who, through making their visions into reality, helps to shift attitudes by challenging conventional forms.

For Ilse Crawford, the founding Editor-In-Chief of British Elle Decoration, the design world was somewhat lacking reference of everyday movement when she decided to step into the shoes of her designer readers.

In 1997, a decade on from founding British Elle Decoration, Crawford asked the world to “liberate your senses and change your life” when she published her first book, Sensual Home, which mapped out how the living environment can engage us sensually as well as visually from the perspective of sight, sound, taste, touch and smell. And was, for Crawford, the start of a new journey.  “Writing the book was the ‘ah-hah’ moment, because it wasn’t the current understanding of design,” she explained in the Netflix documentary, Abstract: The Art of Design. “The days of being a two-dimensional person were over.”

The defiant leap from narrator to creator came one year later after she signed off as Editor-In-Chief. Having completed her mission to launch a contemporary magazine for a wide audience, Crawford worked for Donna Karan and getting her hands dirty, she became a maker. Crawford’s first hotel interior design brief was presented to her immediately after she left Elle Decoration when she was asked to convert a stately home for Nick Jones of Soho House into what we now know of as Babington House. “Nick originally wanted this place to look and feel like a stately home, but I was very clear that that’s the last thing it should be,” Crawford explained in Abstract: The Art of Design. “My proposal was that it should be a very informal place where you could just treat as if it was your own, like a family house of a friend where the parents had gone away and left the key the drinks cabinet.” Breaking the rules of the time, Crawford’s design stole the headlines and her journey as an interior design began.

“The project saw the transformation of a former industrial building in the Meatpacking district into a 27-key design hotel.”

From the rural British countryside to the bustling scene of Manhattan, Crawford’s skillful and sensitive approach was called upon to create the first outpost of Soho House outside the UK. The project saw the transformation of a former industrial building in the Meatpacking district into a 27-key design hotel, including bars, a restaurant, cinema and rooftop pool. Soho House New York opened to become the definitive third space for the transatlantic media crowd.

Her aim as an interior designer is to put human needs and desires at the centre of all that she does. Working in commercial and residential design, and blurring the lines between both, Crawford has changed many environments for the better of those who use them. Ett Hem Hotel was a conversion project of a former arts and crafts building. The 12-key guesthouse is described by Crawford as “a place to stay for the modern traveller, a home-from-home, where flexibility of space and function is central to the hotel’s operation,” she says. “There is no division between front and back of house – anything can happen anywhere at any time.”

Residential style in the hotel

Image caption/credit: Ett Hem Hotel. Interiors by Ilse Crawford

As someone who truly lives and breathes the industry in which she used to curate on the pages of Elle Decoration, Crawford wears many hats as a modern designer. In her own admission to Interior Design magazine, she confessed that “the line between my work and life is thin to non-existent.”  Working from her London studio, which is directly below her home, Crawford’s knowledge in interiors has allowed her to extend her portfolio to include product design. The Sinnerlig Collection for IKEA includes 30 pieces of of furniture, lighting and tabletop collection. “They explore natural materials and are simple,” Crawford explains on her website. “They are helpful, background pieces, not showstoppers.” Tactile materials such as cork, ceramic, glass, seagrass and bamboo appealed in the design concept because they felt as good as they looked.

“Maison&Objet awarded Crawford the prestigious title of Designer of the Year 2016.”

The Together Table was another design that challenged existing products on the market. Confronting the design of conventional four-cornered tables, Crawford simply rounded the edges of the table, which as a result naturally invited people to move around it more freely.  The Ilse Sofa was the result of a collaboration with British furniture brand George Smith. The height and depth of the product’s arms and back were calculated and tested to ensure that the sofa supports as many sedentary habits of modern life. “We like to think of it as a room within a room,” Crawford explains when describing the tactile experience.

Beige modern, long, thin table

Image caption/credit: The Together Table by Ilse Crawford

Two years after she was awarded an MBE in recognition for her work in design, Maison&Objet awarded Crawford the prestigious title of Designer of the Year 2016. Since then, the modest designer has continued to evolve the hospitality landscape with completing projects such as The Lounge Plaza 66, Cathy Pacific’s iconic airport lounge in Hong Kong and the warm and inviting home-from-home that is Bukowskis.

Crawford’s philosophical visions to challenge the norm leaves a clear path for young designers who aspire, like her, to make a difference through design. As the founder of the department of Man and Wellbeing at the Design Academy Eindhoven, Crawford’s mission as a visionary is explained on her website as “nurturing a new generation of students to always question why and how their work improves the reality of life.” Her philosophy to improve the future through considered design is what makes her the leader she undoubtably is today. Her work – and her working style – is a simple, effortless reflection of the questions she asks of the designs of today and the possibilities that are garnered by second guessing what the future should look and feel like.

Crawford, an ever-evolving icon of British and international design, has metaphorically cut the ribbon to launch Hotel Designs’ new website by being the subject of the first editorial feature of the title’s new era. The newly launched slogan “defining the point of international design” is a pledge from the editorial team to its readers to cut through the noise to publish conversation starters that will filter into many debates on the hotel design scene that we all know and love. That conversation starts here, with a question that Crawford asks herself when confronted with a new project: “How can design strategically make things better?”

Main image credit: Ilse Crawford/StudioIlse

Accor’s Aparthotel brand Adagio arrives in London

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Accor’s Aparthotel brand Adagio arrives in London

Hotel Designs attended the official launch party of Aparthotel Adagio London Brentford last night, which marked the brand’s official arrival in London, UK… 

Adagio has celebrated the opening of its first London property by hosting a show-stopping party that was attended by more than 150 people.

The 100-key Aparthotel Adagio London Brentford, which informally opened in October of last year, is located just a few miles from London’s main airport Heathrow and is the fourth hotel within in the brand to open in the UK, with more in the pipeline.

“This is an important milestone for us, with many more openings in the UK to be announced,” said Karim Malak, CEO of Aparthotels Adagio at the event. “Our target is to have 20 properties in the UK by 2023.”

Aparthotels Adagio London Brentford’s public spaces have been created as an open area for guests to meet and collaborate. Each apartment offers a fully equipped kitchen, spacious bedroom and living area with a flat-screen smart TV. Guests also have access to a bar, virtual concierge, fitness centre, laundry facilities, business services and onsite parking.

Image credit: Accor/Adagio

The West London property is part of Brentford’s Kew Eye Tower GWQ development. The aparthotel is the fourth UK opening for the brand following launches in Edinburgh, Birmingham and Liverpool. The aparthotel brand is planning further properties in London Stratford, Leicester (opening by the end of 2019) and Glasgow (opening by the end of 2020).

The opening of Aparthotel Adagio London Brentford emerges as part of the brand’s strategy to open 10 new hotels this year and to double the amount of properties it has within its portfolio by 2023.

Hotel Designs will be investigating the rise of aparthotels when it puts Hotel Concepts under the spotlight in August. If you would like to contribute to this topic, please get in touch with the editorial team.

Main image credit: Accor/Adagio

Autograph Collection Hotels to grow by 25% in Europe in 2019

800 397 Hamish Kilburn

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Autograph Collection Hotels to grow by 25% in Europe in 2019

Autograph Collection Hotels set to grow in europe by more than 25% this year, debuting in 10 new destinations…

Autograph Collection Hotels, Marriott International’s diverse and dynamic portfolio, has announced plans to welcome 12 one-of-a-kind hotels to its European portfolio this year, each hand-selected for their distinct perspective on design and hospitality.

Hotels set to debut as part of Autograph Collection Hotels this year, include: Aegon, Mykonos, a stunning beach resort complete with harmonious spa and private beach club; Hotel Universo, a sixteenth-century palace in the medieval walled city of Lucca near Florence; Schloss Lieser, a fairy-tale castle in Germany’s Moselle region, an idyllic landscape famed for its wine-growing; Academia of Athens in Greece, with design inspired by Greek Philosopher Plato; and The Shelbourne, the enduringly iconic hotel that’s been at the heart of Dublin society since opening in 1824. Each hotel truly is a product of passion and a personal realisation of its individual founder’s vision, making each one singular and special: Exactly Like Nothing Else.

Launched in 2010, the hotel brand has become a pioneer in the independent hotel space and has rapidly grown from five hotels to more than 160 in nine years. Continuing to grow around the globe, Autograph Collection’s global pipeline comprises nearly 100 properties.

Image credit: Academia of Athens, Autograph Collection_Suite

“With the depth and diversity of Autograph Collection Hotels, we have the unique opportunity to create one-of-a-kind, memorable experiences for travellers,” said John Licence, VP Premium & Select Brands Europe, Marriott International. “The brand’s significant growth momentum throughout Europe solidifies it as an established leader in the independent hotel space, and we are thrilled to welcome 12 exceptional hotels to our European portfolio in 2019.”

At a time when Booking.com revealed that 53 per cent of global travellers plan to take more weekend trips in 2019, Autograph Collection Hotels is offering travellers rich immersive moments that leave a lasting imprint, with five restored architectural gems slated to join Autograph Collection Hotels in Europe this year.

Exemplified by the latest addition to Autograph Collection’s portfolio of London hotels, The Dixon – just opened in January – was originally designed as a Magistrates’ Court and police station in 1905 by John Dixon Butler. The building has undergone extensive restoration to restore its original features, including its spectacular grand courthouse. A stunning interior design concept showcases the hotel’s passion for art with curated artworks set against a backdrop of contemporary and heritage design.

Situated in the Moselle region of Germany, Schloss Lieser resides in a breath-taking castle originally built in 1885. Linked to pivotal moments in both German and Dutch history, previous owners include Clemens Freiherr von Schorlemer-Lieser, a wealthy politician who was related to the Dutch Royal Family. Over the centuries, politicians regularly gathered at the castle to discuss the future of Germany. In 2007, the castle was transformed into the independent, boutique hotel it is now.

Championing Individuality through Distinct Perspectives on Design

Autograph Collection hotels advocate for the original and individual through unique perspectives on design, enabling travellers to make a serious travel statement, even on the shortest of getaways. Academia of Athens, set to become Autograph Collection’s third property in Greece when it opens later this year, is inspired by its namesake, historical landmarks and the vibrant culture of the contemporary city. Global design and architectural firm HOK juxtaposes the heritage of the city of Athens with a bold and modern exterior. Inside there are visual cues from ancient Greek scholar Plato’s Three Orders; Science, Philosophy and Arts, with each principle brought to life throughout various spaces within the hotel.

“Ten of the 12 planned openings in 2019 will mark the brand’s debut in new cities and resort destinations.”

Autograph Collection Hotels Expected to Debut in 10 New European Destinations This Year

Autograph Collection Hotels is set to continue adding to its existing roster of 47 properties across 17 countries in Europe, with new destinations that provide one-of-a-kind hotel stays for even the most discerning global traveller. Ten of the 12 planned openings in 2019 will mark the brand’s debut in new cities and resort destinations, offering more choice and trip inspiration than ever before. New destinations include Lieser, Germany; Athens and Mykonos, Greece; Lucca, Italy; Montreux, Switzerland; Paris and Reims, France; and Seville, Spain.

The planned opening of Sapphire House late in 2019 in the vibrant city of Antwerp will mark Marriott International’s first hotel in the city. Expected to provide travellers with insight into the city’s traditions and fascinating past in gem-trading, Sapphire House will invite guests to discover the quirks of this inconspicuous destination. Occupying the site of the city’s original Royal Exchange, known as Den Grooten Robijn (The Great Ruby), Sapphire House will be a stunning addition to Antwerp’s boutique hotel scene.

Autograph Collection Hotels Leave a Lasting Impression with ‘The Mark’

Ensuring every stay is unique, Autograph Collection Hotels’ handpicked portfolio of properties each offer their own unique ‘Mark’ – a signature moment within the hotel that is bespoke for each property and enhances the guest experience. No two hotels share the same story and therefore none share the same Mark.

Scheduled to join the brand in autumn 2019, Hotel Querencia de Seville, in the Old Town of Seville will perfectly represent the Mark concept. The hotel’s unique offering of music, arts, crafts, creative gatherings and artisanal workshops will bring a flare of Spanish craftmanship and everyday life to visitors, guaranteeing guests a genuine cultural experience.

The anticipated spring opening of La Caserne Chanzy in the heart of Reims will provide guests with an immersive environment to explore the gastronomy of Reims. A restored firehouse will be transformed into a new restaurant – La Grande Georgette – offering reinvented local gastronomy, signature dishes and cocktails using evocative smoke, and even a food truck fashioned from an old fire engine.

Main image credit: Aegon, Mykonos, an Autograph Collection Hotel 

Anantara to debut in Mauritius

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Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas is entering the luxury hospitality sector on the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius with the announcement of Anantara Mauritius Resort – a new luxury property on the South Eastern coast which is scheduled to open in Q4 2019…

Part of an integrated coastal development, a new Anantara resort located near Blue Bay Marine Park will arrive at the end of this year.

Anantara Mauritius Resort will feature 164 guestrooms and suites, with eight luxury pool villas – two with two bedrooms and six with four bedrooms – to be added in the first half of 2020. Facilities at the resort will include Sea.Fire.Salt – a specialty grill and seafood restaurant with courtyard and beach dining, an all-day dining restaurant, private dining with a wine cellar, a healthy wellness-focused cafe, two bars – one by the poolside and one facing the beach, a 30-metre ozone-based swimming pool, a gym and a signature Anantara Spa.

The look and feel of the new resort have been created by award winning Ground Kent Architects,  Australia, in collaboration with the Office of Global Architecture in Mauritius, alongside Abacus Design interior designers of Thailand. The design reflects the melting pot history of the country, drawing influences from the rich architectural heritage seen in the capital Port Louis and around the island. Natural, locally-sourced materials take precedence, harmoniously anchoring the buildings in their natural setting. Taking inspiration from local colonial architecture, the overall effect effortlessly evokes the vibe of a relaxing, tropical beach house, yet one with a distinctly modern feel.

modern guestroom overlooking the beach

Image credit: Anantara Mauritius

The use of scattered light, basalt and volcanic stone, drift wood, wave-and-ripple patterns and neutral sandy colours blur the line between the indoor and the outdoor. Fabrics and art selected for the rooms are a contrasting combination of accents of orange, deep ultramarine and royal yellow as a nod to Blue Bay’s crystal waters, sandy beaches and legendary sunsets.

With the resort’s dining options ranging from traditional creole cooking to fine dining, guests can expect a gastronomic experience rooted in an exotic blend of European, Asian and African influences. Most of the ingredients will be harvested locally since Mauritius benefits from incredibly fertile soil, while the ocean is the source of the freshest seafood and fish.

As part of Anantara’s commitment to sustainability, the resort will incorporate solar technology for water heating in all guest rooms, to reduce the usage on energy. Other green initiatives include planting endemic flora within the hotel landscaping, reusing water for irrigation and cleaning as well as incorporating recycled materials into resort décor. The property will be plastic straw-free, an Anantara standard, and where possible organic farming methods will be encouraged throughout its restaurant supply chain.

An island nation in the south western Indian Ocean, Mauritius is known for its varied flora and fauna, with many species endemic to the island. Famously the only known home of the dodo, an avian species which became extinct back in the 1600s, the island offers nature-centred activities both onshore and offshore. Visitors can charter a boat for deep sea fishing, paddle over serene blue waters in a glass-bottomed kayak to go snorkelling, embark on bird-watching walks on nearby islands, explore botanical gardens and more.

Main image credit: Anantara Mauritius Resort

Mitre Linen launches eco range

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Royal Warrant holder Mitre Linen has launched a new range of eco-friendly bedlinen, towels, duvets, pillows and robes…

The Eco Collection from Mitre Linen has been made to the company’s exacting standards from ethically produced recycled and natural products to create a range of exceptional bedding and towelling products. “With consumers becoming increasingly aware of green issues, responsible sourcing is a vital part of a modern hospitality business.” explains Mitre Linen General Manager, Kate Gough. “The Mitre Eco Collection allows our customers to help protect the planet, without compromising on the ultimate in terms of style and comfort.”

 The launch follows months of research and development during which time the Mitre team has been investigating and sourcing the finest eco-friendly products to ensure that the finished collection is green to its core. This helps deliver on the company’s famous commitment to quality, comfort and durability.

Made from 100 per cent organic cotton and with a 200 thread count, Mitre Eco bed linen is a classic, crisp white range that feels beautiful and soft to the touch. The cotton also conforms to the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certificate which means it is guaranteed to be free from potential skin irritants.

The pillowcases, sheets and duvet covers are all made from organic cotton grown in a sustainable way to help support the bio-diversity of local ecosystems in the countries of origin. The cultivation methods ensure that farmers are not exposed to pesticides and chemicals. The new Mitre Eco soft and generous towels are also made from 100 per cent organic cotton in high quality 500gsm.

The range comes in a selection of sizes and is designed to fit well and launder superbly, making it ideal for all hospitality applications.

Mitre Eco duvets and pillows have fillings made from recycled plastic bottles which are extruded into soft, non-allergenic fibres. This process produces around 70 per cent fewer carbon dioxide emissions, uses 70 per cent less water and 40 per cent less energy compared to standard fibre production, but is as soft and warm as traditionally manufactured alternatives.

The new range is consistent with Mitre’s continuing commitment to reducing negative impact on the environment. This is further highlighted by the new brochure which includes nearly 1000 new lines and is printed on recyclable paper using solvent-free ink and which is wrapped in 100% recyclable oxo-degradable polythene.

With Mitre’s commitment to green issues being part of a growing trend, Gough feels that the range is being launched at a time when businesses are increasingly taking their environmental responsibilities seriously: “There has been a shift in the hospitality industry as a whole, as operators move towards responsible sourcing in response to consumer demand for greater environmental awareness.  We are proud to be able to contribute towards this important trend with the new Eco-Collection which brings quality green products to hoteliers everywhere.”

For further information on the new Eco range, or to download the latest catalogue, please visit www.mitrelinen.co.uk

Mitre Linen is one of our recommended suppliers. To keep up to date with their news, click here. And, if you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, click here.

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Two new hotels with 500 rooms to arrive at Düsseldorf airport.

1024 576 Hamish Kilburn

H-Hotels signs a new contract for H2 Hotel and H4 Hotel at Düsseldorf airport, both slated to open in 2024…

H-Hotels Group is embarking upon the next stage of its dual brand concept by announcing two new hotels at Düsseldorf airport. The hotels will be constructed on Wanheimer Straße, in the immediate vicinity of Düsseldorf airport, and will be of particular interest to business travellers as a conference and congress venue.

The building complex will occupy grounds of around 15,000 square metres, located to the north of the state capital of North Rhine-Westphalia. It will host an H2 Hotel featuring 237 rooms as well as an H4 Hotel offering 264 rooms. A generous conference centre with an area of around 1,000 square metres will be available to guests of both hotels. This will also be the case for the planned fitness centre and ‘sky bar’ on the eighth floor. Around 18,000 square metres of office facilities will occupy the area that is parallel to the hotels. An underground car park with 700 parking spaces will complete the facilities.

Thanks to its unbeatable location in the immediate vicinity of the airport, the terminals can be reached using the SkyTrain in just a few minutes. The ICE long-distance train station is just five minutes away, which means that both the city centre of Düsseldorf as well as the exhibition complex can also be reached quickly using public transport.

“Our dual brand concept with its impressive conference facilities is the perfect response to this exclusive location, right next to one of the largest airports in the country,” said Alexander Fitz, CEO of H-Hotels AG. “This means that travellers can choose between completely different accommodation options depending on their preferences.”

The real estate partners for the project are Nördliche Spitze GmbH & Co. KG, a joint venture between Reggeborgh, Delta Project Development, and Kondor Wessels. Managing Directors Johannes G.S. Hegeman and Lars Stillmann are delighted by the joint project: “In the H-Hotels Group we have found a very experienced hotel operator, whose concept corresponded perfectly with the project and its environment. Future office users will be able to take advantage of all of the hotel’s services within the building.”

Reggeborgh is a family-led investment company from the Netherlands and has also been active as a property business in Germany for more than 25 years. The company is responsible for the fund and asset management of several property funds in Germany and the Netherlands, with which Reggeborgh is also significantly involved. Another of the company’s fields of activity is the development and management of projects for high-quality residential and commercial property projects. In this respect, Reggeborgh stands for the sustainable and innovative development of ambitious property projects, as well as their implementation.

“The fundamental idea behind their property developments is the C2C concept.”

With more than 120 completed projects, primarily within Germany and the Netherlands, the Delta Group is active as a property development company. The fundamental idea behind their property developments is the C2C concept. The intelligent use of all kinds of resources – as well as the possible reutilisation of these resources – is one of the challenges facing the property sector of today and the future. The value of the group’s current portfolio, with a focus on residential and commercial properties, is in excess of €500 million.

Kondor Wessels boasts more than 25 years of experience in the development, planning and construction of residential properties, care homes, and office properties as well as mixed residential districts. With all of its projects, the company takes responsibility for the entire construction process as a partner, as well as delivering added value – all from a single source. Currently, more than 38 property projects with a total value of more than 700 million euros are being supervised by Kondor Wessels in Berlin, Frankfurt and North Rhine-Westphalia.

The project was supervised by Horwath HTL Germany – hcb hospitality competence berlin GmbH, operating as a consultant. The tenants were assisted by GVW Graf von Westphalen lawyers, and the lessors were assisted by lawyers from Bornheim and Partners.

Main image credit: H-Hotels

S Hotel Jamaica opens in Montego Bay

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Making its highly anticipated debut, the new stylish S Hotel Jamaica in Montego Bay is poised as the ultimate trendsetting hotspot overlooking famed Doctor’s Cave Beach…

The inspiration for the newly arrived S Hotel Jamaica is as cosmopolitan as it comes, but the feeling is notably Jamaican as the country’s soul and culture swirl together to create this new multi-experiential hotel. Buzzing bars, a high-spirited pool scene, the Sky Deck for the exclusive use of those booked on concierge floors, an international restaurant, a café, spa, gym and guestrooms with an elevated design aesthetic, thoughtfully combine to create a modern and effervescent sense of place, reinvigorating MoBay’s irie Hip Strip featuring new shops, restaurants, entertainment and more.

Chris Issa, Jamaican entrepreneur and owner of the recently formed Crissa Hotels including Kingston’s iconic Spanish Court Hotel comments, ”We’re creating a new kind of hotel in Montego Bay, one that infuses modern Jamaican culture balanced with the sophistication of an urban hotel and the laidback style of a beach resort, appealing to international travelers and locals alike.”

Award winning, full-service, Miami-based luxury design firm, Antrobus Ramirez directed the interior design of the hotel with Jamaica-born designer Alison Antrobus and design partner Ruby Ramirez, spearheading the project. A towering 25-foot interior lobby walled with coral stone greet guests with a central ‘boardwalk’ made from local Jatoba hardwood physically and visually connecting the hotel’s many water elements from the stunning entryway water feature leading back to the central swimming pool, setting the stage for grand processions of hotel activity.

The main swimming pool is framed by lounge-worthy swim-out cabanas and white sand lines the area around the pool dotted with beach chairs and a sleek wood deck completing the resort-style atmosphere.

Image credit: S Hotel Jamaica

Jamaican historical and cultural design elements are at the forefront woven in with modern interpretations. Artisanal weaving techniques are used in unexpected applications such as the 20-foot screens made with rattan cane panels and “Cut Stone”, typically used in traditional Jamaican buildings, serving as inspiration and adorning the lobby walls. Dotted throughout the property, guests find the works of local Lumber Artist, Tamara Harding, whose pieces feature wood recycled from the trees removed from the property during construction.

Local artists contributed original pieces such as a hand painted mural and a dramatic photomontage of “faces of Jamaica” that adorn the hotel’s dining venues. A 14-foot antique dining table made by Mr. T.T. Jackson, a famous furniture maker in the 1950’s, also serves as a focal point.

A massive investment in Spain-based Dekton flooring by Cosentino is being used throughout and S Hotel is the company’s single largest project outside of Spain. Its durability, resistance to UV rays, scratches, stains, thermal shock and very low water absorption make this progressive surface perfect for the hotel’s outdoor and indoor use.

Clean, linear lines in the guestrooms

Image credit: S Hotel Jamaica

In the guestrooms, sleek interiors with an overarching monochromatic theme give way to gorgeous blue Caribbean Sea or lively city views, while oversized “wicker” wrapped soaking tubs stand out in the Spa Suites. The hotel’s signature Sky Suite soars above the property with 20-foot ceilings while the Presidential Suite features three bedrooms and a living/dining room. Other room categories range from The Essentials to Spa Suites that include various spa amenities while each room features turntables complete with a copy of Bob Marley’s iconic album “Legend”.

The pinnacle of the property is the Sky Deck, exclusive to Sky Club Suite guests. Boasting an enviable rooftop location with a glass enclosed pool surrounded by cabanas and loungers; this is the ideal spot for sunset to enjoy modern cocktails and a decadent tapas menu for refined revelry.

 

Image credit: S Hotel Jamaica

The new S Hotel is centrally located on Montego Bay’s irie Hip Strip, recently re-christened Jimmy Cliff Boulevard, just five minutes from Sangster International Airport and walking distance to nightlife, restaurants and shopping.

S Hotel is the second hotel project from Jamaican entrepreneur Chris Issa, owner of the newly created Crissa Hotels. The term Crissa is derived from the Jamaican Patois word, “Kriss” meaning “excellent.” The group includes the popular Spanish Court Hotel and the Spanish Court Worthington event venue in Kingston, and in Montego Bay, Usain Bolt’s Tracks & Records restaurant outpost located adjacent to the new S Hotel Jamaica.

Main image credit: S Hotel Jamaica

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Kimpton Hotels arrives in Scotland

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Kimpton Charlotte Square Hotel brings a new, approachable luxury hotel offering to historic Edinburgh…

IHG has announced the opening of the first Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants in Scotland, Kimpton Charlotte Square Hotel, as it continues to invest in Scotland as a luxury destination.

Kimpton Charlotte Square Hotel is in one of Edinburgh’s most beautiful squares in the Georgian New Town, a UNESCO world heritage site. With a view of Edinburgh Castle and historic hotspots just a short walk away, the hotel is at the perfect intersection between old and new. The 184 rooms and 15 suites are part of seven interconnecting Georgian townhouses which showcase Kimpton’s bold and playful design.

Last year IHG and Covivio entered an agreement to rebrand and operate 12 hotels (and one pipeline hotel) operating under the Principal and De Vere brands. The Principal Charlotte Square is the second of these properties to rebrand as a Kimpton, following the successful opening of Kimpton Fitzroy London in October 2018. The opening of Kimpton Charlotte Square Hotel marks IHG’s return to the luxury market in Edinburgh, as the first branded luxury hotel in Scotland in over a decade. This year will see a continuation of this momentum with additional Kimpton hotel openings in Glasgow and Manchester and an InterContinental® Hotels & Resorts opening in Edinburgh.

Hotel guests will enjoy Kimpton’s signature perks such as in-room yoga mats and Kimpton’s ‘Forgot It, We’ve Got it’ service offering important guest essentials. Guests can also meet fellow travellers at Kimpton’s daily social hour in the hotel’s BABA Bar, take part in free fitness and wellness classes at the recently refurbished, state-of-the-art gym, or enjoy a relaxing treatment at The Spa.

“Kimpton has built its brand on the belief that heartfelt human connections make people’s lives better. We inspire curiosity and embrace people exactly as they are, creating truly meaningful guest experiences,” said Johan Scheepers, General Manager, Kimpton Charlotte Square Hotel. “Each Kimpton hotel is an escape from the ordinary, and Kimpton Charlotte Square Hotel will offer a vibrant Scottish service full of charm and personality, in one of the world’s most historic cities.”Karan Khanna, Managing Director, UK & Ireland, IHG commented: “We are very excited to build our presence in the luxury market in Scotland as we introduce the Kimpton brand. Edinburgh has a real demand for a lifestyle luxury brand and I’m confident that Kimpton’s relaxed approach to luxury will suit the market well.”

IHG currently has 345 hotels* operating under eight brands in the UK, including: InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, Hotel Indigo, Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts, voco, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express and Staybridge Suites, with another 29 in the pipeline.

*Numbers as at 31 December 2018.

Main image credit: Kimpton Hotels/IHG

20 new resorts slated to open in The Maldives in 2019

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20 new resorts slated to open in The Maldives in 2019

Top Hotel Projects has announced that the region will see a large increase in developments this year as demand for luxury in the Maldives continues to grow…

The President of The Maldives has announced that the tropical region made up of 26 ring-shaped atolls will welcome 20 new resort openings this year. In his presidential address to a sitting of parliament, President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has said with the new resorts, the number of beds in the country will increase to more than 47,000.

“By the end of last year, 1.4 million tourists from around the world visited the Maldives, and there were 145 resorts and 521 guest houses operating with a total of 44,860 beds,” the president said as reported by Top Hotel News.

Tourism and hospitality in the tropical nation has been steadily growing in recent years. Eleven new resorts opened in 2016, followed by at least 15 new resorts in 2017 and 20 new properties last year. Over the past few years, dozens of uninhabited islands have been leased to local and foreign resort developers as well. Several international brands have entered into the market too, increasing the number of resorts in operation to more than 140.

Singapore’s Park Hotel Group has opened its first resort in the Maldives, while major international hotel chains such as AccorHotels have entered the Maldives with three openings, including Mercure Maldives Kooddoo ResortFairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi and Mӧvenpick Resort Kuredhivaru Maldives, with two more in the pipeline.

Brands like Hard Rock InternationalCapella Hotel Group, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, Emaar Hospitality GroupBaglioni Hotels, Emerald Collection and Meliá Hotels International have all announced their own entries to the Maldives as well.

Main image credit: Radisson Blu Maldives

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HOTEL OPENING: Lincoln Plaza London’s design inspired by London Docklands

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By taking note of the exciting and vibrant spirit of the London Docklands area, RPW Design was the design firm that sensitively designed the 129-key Lincoln Plaza London… 

Based in the heart of Canary Wharf, RPW Design has announced the opening of its most recent project, Lincoln Plaza London. Conveying its location into the hotel, the experienced RPW Design team, led by Nicola Romanelli and Richard Snow, has maintained a unique and luxurious experience through the guestrooms, function and meeting spaces while staying true to the location. RPW Design took Canary Wharf as a treasure trove of inspiration; from the historic shipping and dockland past to the present day, high tech, modern, business, luxury residential living and extraordinary architecture.

When approaching the design for a property in such a vibrant area of the city, RPW Design was inspired by a quote from the design brief for the new Hilton Curio Brand: “Hotels with a special character you can’t duplicate. They’re part of the fabric of their cities: true locals, each embodying the spirit of their home”.

For Richard Snow, Senior Designer at RPW Design, this quote really stood out and inspired the design story for Lincoln Plaza London. “We drew on the rich industrial past of the area using rusty tones and finishes alongside the design of joinery and FF&E pieces with exposed metal framework,” he told Hotel Designs. “At the same time, conscious of the hotel brand and surrounding residential developments, we included quality finishes such as natural stone in the bathrooms and on joinery, as well as statement pieces like the rusty/burnished gold wall covering to the bed head wall.”

Image credit: Main image credit: Lincoln Plaza London/Curio Collection by Hilton

Lincoln Plaza London’s focus on luxurious lifestyle facilities has been seamlessly translated throughout the 129 guest rooms. The layout of the rooms was creatively developed to move away from the standard hotel offering by incorporating the vanity into the main lobby area of the room, creating a sense of space and openness in the room. A decision to remove the traditional hotel room desk was made, and instead RPW designed a multi-use table at the right height for either a work space or dining table whilst seated at the armchair. These changes allow a more residential feel. From the bespoke shelving units made of blackened steel and antique brass, through to the marble rainfall showers, all elements work together harmoniously. The guestroom artwork was carefully curated in collaboration with RPW Design’s Art Consultant, Peter Millard and Partners, in order to show some of the East End’s most famous and unique artists: Gary Hogben; Julian Bray; Kyra Cane; and Tom Clark. Meanwhile, individual sculptural pieces by Simon Bingle, positioned in every floor lift lobby, hark back to the industrial landscape still visible around the hotel. This particular bespoke artwork conveys RPW Design’s attention to details that is inherent in their projects.

Canary Wharf is a more recent business hub for London, and the Hilton Curio offers 465 square metres of event space that is distributed across seven meeting rooms.  With sleek design details, RPW Design implemented a blend of “old industrial” and contemporary design. RPW Design has created a popular new space in this centre of commerce and it is a truly unique destination for the Docklands.

Image credit: Main image credit: Lincoln Plaza London/Curio Collection by Hilton

The reflection of the historical and industrial shipping dock is continued throughout the hotel, from the lower-ground meeting and function spaces to the fitness centre. Lincoln Plaza’s fitness centre is designed to be simple and modern, reflecting the location’s industrial heritage with a concrete reception desk formed out of concrete and rusty metal effect laminate in the joinery.

Lincoln Plaza’s meeting areas can be reached by a feature staircase that is formed of shuttered concrete, poured in situ, with an exposed timber imprint remaining on view, contrasted by a polished concrete floor. The rough concrete is offset by a luxurious brushed brass handrail and stair treads, with concealed lighting to add drama. This is diffused into the pre-function space, with a concrete render-effect wall covering and rich, dark timber doors.

Image credit: Main image credit: Lincoln Plaza London/Curio Collection by Hilton

The function areas are versatile spaces that may be configured dependent on the client’s needs and meeting planners’ specifications. The large function room can be divided into thirds when required and the buffet counters housing TV and tea/coffee facilities in the individual meeting rooms can also be concealed, thus enabling various uses from one space. A central area with a communal work table, features iconic pieces of furniture from Poltrona Frau, Walter Knoll and Porada. The cranes, such a familiar sight in the Docklands, are reflected in the pattern of two large metal work screens, dividing the pre-function area. The walls of the function rooms are designed with contrasting finishes, featuring geometric patterned wallpaper and bespoke lighting, continuing the theme.

Andrew Hart, Chairman of interior fit-out contractor Fileturn, commented: “This project was one which used all the skills of the team on site to incorporate the new designs within the existing structural shell. The fit-out areas designed by RPW included public areas, conference and meeting room facilities as well as bedrooms. The end results have produced a striking hotel in keeping with its surroundings and one the team here at Fileturn can deservedly be proud of”.

RPW Design worked alongside Fileturn to make the design become a reality, creating the perfect addition to the Curio Collection by Hilton.

Main image credit: Lincoln Plaza London/Curio Collection by Hilton

LOCATION SPECIAL: Mexico sees significant increase in hotel investment

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Investment management company JLL has released findings, proving that hotel investment in Mexico is sharply on the up… 

Following the opening of Viceroy Los Cabos and the awaited arrival of Nobu Hotel Los Cabos, Mexico’s lodging market is being viewed as more sophisticated and liquid, reflected by a 26 per cent transaction volume increase year-over-year, a study from JLL has shown.

From bustling urban locations to relaxing resorts, Mexico’s lodging market has experienced strong growth over the past six years, averaging an annual compounded revenue per available room (RevPAR) growth of nearly 5.3 percent in U.S. dollar terms, which illustrates the country’s resilient tourism industry and ability to weather unforeseen situations such as hurricanes or travel advisory warnings. Although investors are exercising caution due to the uncertainty regarding the political environment and policies, investors are anticipated to continue exploring strategic lodging opportunities in Mexico.

Light and bright guestroom

Image credit: Nobu Hotels/Studio PCH

“In recent quarters, Mexico’s lodging market has been viewed as more sophisticated and liquid,” says Carolina Lacerda, JLL Senior Vice President, Investment Sales. “The quality of lodging supply has improved and investors, particularly domestic groups such as FIBRAS, funds, and local families, are increasingly active.”

Total transaction volume at year-end 2018 reached $980 million, a 26 per cent increase over the prior year. Additionally, 2018 recorded a price-per-key average of $466,000 – the highest annual average in the past 10 years, driven by several luxury hotel sales, such as the September 2018 sale of JW Marriott Mexico City, which JLL brokered for $183 million.

“Mexico’s hotel market is estimated to deliver nearly 23,000 new, quality rooms over the next five years.”

Travel to Mexico is driving much of the growth, with the majority of visitors heading to locations like Mexico City, Los Cabos and Cancún. According to Tourism Secretary Miguel Torruco Marques, tourists are anticipated to spend approximately US$23.2 billion in 2019, a nearly four percent increase over the prior year. Three hotel assets seem to be the current preferred types among investors and owners:

  • Hotels with a mixed-use component located in cities with a strong corporate presence, such as Mexico City, Monterrey, and Guadalajara. Beyond capturing the business travel segment, having a retail or office component is viewed as a diversification strategy.
  • Hotels located in vacation destinations such as Cancún, Riviera Nayarit, and Los Cabos. Additionally, some of these hotels with a branded residential or rental component allow developers and investors to achieve more attractive returns.
  • All-inclusive resorts in international destinations with a strong vertically-integrated business model.

In response to strong tourism numbers and in turn, strong hotel fundamentals, Mexico’s hotel market is estimated to deliver nearly 23,000 new, quality rooms over the next five years, per Smith Travel Research (STR) data1. Cancún/Riviera Maya, Los Cabos, Riviera Nayarit and Mexico City are slated to see the largest increases in total incoming supply, predominately in the upper-upscale and luxury segments.

“Mexico is witnessing unprecedented growth in branded lodging supply across major resort markets and gateway destinations,” says Wendy Chan, JLL Senior Vice President, Strategic Advisory and Asset Management. “The arrival of new and different-tiered brands to the marketplace is improving the quality and maturing the overall tourism and lodging infrastructure nationwide.”

Chan also points that continued international and domestic route development and infrastructure investment in key gateway cities will be essential, as this will contribute to the further growth of the lodging industry, especially with the anticipated supply increases in the near term. “While the investor sentiment in 2019 is generally cautious given recent changes in the political landscape and growth in incoming supply, the industry should start witnessing RevPAR growth across select markets in Mexico in the coming years.”

“Driven by revenue growth in U.S. dollars and operating expenses in its devalued Mexican Peso currency, investors are able to find attractive high margins,” says Lacerda.

[1] Reflects hotels under construction or final planning only (Jan 2019). 

Main image credit: Viceroy Los Cabos

MEET UP LONDON: 3 weeks to go

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Calling all designers, architects, hoteliers and suppliers: Meet Up London takes place on March 28 at Minotti London… 

Designers, architects and hoteliers can purchase tickets here.
Suppliers can purchase tickets here.

There are just three weeks to go until the industry will gather together for Hotel Designs’ Q1 networking event, Meet Up London.

Taking place on March 28 at Minotti London, the evening event is designed to bridge the gap between designers, architects, hoteliers and key-industry suppliers.

Meet Up London will be attended by more than 200 hospitality professionals. As well as providing the perfect networking stage for professionals who are working on the hotel design scene, the event will also pay special attention to young designers as it will unveil Hotel Designs’ 30 Under 30 (the shortlist can be accessed here).

The latest names to the guest list include designers, directors and 30 Under 30 shortlisted finalists from the likes of B3 Designers, Yasmine Mahmoudieh Design Studio, Scott Brownrigg and M Studio.

They will join designers and directors from leading studios such as Richmond InternationalHBA LondonGenslerJestico + WhilesGoddard LittlefairProject Orange and WATG who are among the names that are also confirmed to attend.

Agenda for Meet Up London: 

 

How to attend Meet Up London 

If you are an interior designer, architect, operator or hotelier and would like to attend Meet Up London, click here to book your place.

If you are a supplier to the hospitality industry looking to attend the event, contact Zoe Guerrier on 01992 374059 or on z.guerrier@forumevents.co.uk – or click here to book your place.

For more information about becoming a Hotel Designs Meet Up sponsor, contact Zoe Guerrier on 01992 374059 or email z.guerrier@forumevents.co.uk.

Sustainable design transforms London boutique hotel

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Each guestroom of the newly renovated Fuller’s Fox & Goose has been consciously designed to allow for the highest degree of sustainable and ethical sourcing…

Interior architects Sibley Grove has completed work on a collection of hotel guestrooms for the brewery, Fuller, Smith & Turner at The Fox & Goose business hotel in Ealing, London.

All products and materials used in the project have been assessed on five fundamental principles: aesthetic quality, build quality, value, environmental impact and social impact. The bespoke joinery has been designed for disassembly making it easier to reuse the materials in the future. Meanwhile, the upholstery and dressing items have been created using fabric with recycled content from mills in the UK or mainland Europe. Cradle to Cradle CertifiedTM products have been used throughout, including suspended ceilings from Armstrong, Tiles from Mosa and carpets from Ege Carpets.

Sibley Grove strongly believes that design should be a vehicle for positive change – both environmentally and socially. “A chair that looks great, is affordable and well made, but achieves this through being manufactured in a factory with poor employment rights and a lack of safety equipment is a failed product,” says Sibley Grove director, Jeremy Grove. “Likewise, a product from a great factory using sustainable materials that is poorly made and overpriced is an equally failed product.”

“We’re making a continuous effort to tackle some of the issues that are rife in the design industry.

“In today’s world, regardless of budget, it’s unacceptable to knowingly create stuff that is harmful to the environment or reliant on an exploited labour market. Cradle to Cradle is a great system for designers to measure and manage the impact of the products they specify as it takes into consideration material health, renewable energy, water stewardship and social fairness.”

Image credit: Sibley Grove

Key materials used in the project:

Major suppliers include Castlebrook (furniture), Mosa, Ege, Hansgrohe, Armstrong and recommended supplier Chelsom Lighting.

Reading lighting on side of headboard

Image caption: Chelsom Lighting were used as a sustainable lighting product for the project

The project uses materials, fixtures and fittings that are considerate of the environmental and social impact, with no additional cost to the client. The guestrooms are light, bright and open space with contemporary detailing. In addition, the space is functional and practical, perfect for business customers.

 

Sibley Grove is an interior design studio founded by Kate Sibley and Jeremy Grove, based in Totnes, Devon. The company has a deliberately open and collaborative approach to design, bringing together local suppliers with global companies and clients who share our commitment and ambition to design things better.

 

Ruby Hotels to open first Nordic hotel

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The 142-room property in Finland’s Helsinki is the latest installment in ‘lean luxury’ hotel brand’s expansion plan…

Ruby Hotels, since unveiling plans for UK and international expansion at the end of last year, has announced plans for its first Nordic property in the Finnish capital, Helsinki, to open in the first quarter of 2021. The new hotel forms part of an expansion plan for Ruby Hotels to unveil a total of nine new hotels by 2021.

Set within a historic 19th-century building, in the same plot which housed Finnish national poet Johan Ludvig Runeberg, the new hotel will be located in Helsinki’s charming Kruununhaka district. Enjoying a central position between the city’s main railway station and the hip district of Kallio, guests will be just steps from hotspots including the harbour and marketplace, Helsinki cathedral and the beating heart of the local nightlife, Tori Quarters.

A collaboration with Finnish project developer ICON Real Estate, the hotel will house 142 guest rooms, ranging in size from cosy ‘Nest’ rooms (13-15m²) to expansive ‘Loft’ rooms (23-38m²), a stylish 24-hour bar and breakfast area, a spacious outside terrace and – in a nod to traditional Finnish culture – Ruby Hotels’ first in-hotel Sauna.

“This works because we accommodate luxury in a relatively condensed space, similar to luxury yachts, and we forego unnecessary services,” explains Michael Struck, Ruby Founder and CEO. “Thanks to proprietary technical innovations, we plan, build and organize ourselves differently from conventional hotels. To be precise, we plan and build in a very modular way and centralize as well as automatize processes behind the scenes wherever possible. This helps us create a luxurious and unique hotel experience at an affordable price.”

A laid-back, contemporary design will take inspiration from the area’s Jugendstil art-nouveau style, with quirky touches such as the inclusion of a Marshall guitar amp in each room. Guests will be able to use the amp with their own guitar or one borrowed from reception, and will enjoy ‘Ruby Radio’, the hotel group’s own internet radio station.

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

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

The Ruby Helsinki development is a part of a half-city-block-sized (10,000m2) real estate project which will revitalise the neighbourhood, with a further 50-60 luxury apartments ranging from studios to 4-bedroom apartments also under construction next door.

Main image credit: Ruby Hotels

CASE STUDY: Furnishing Grand Central, Belfast

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Hastings Grand Central is more than a hotel, it’s an ode to a spectacular city. Recommended Supplier Style Library Contract explains how it helped to style the hotel in Belfast that everyone is talking about… 

Standing tall in Bedford Street, the 22-storey Hastings Grand Central, which opened in June last year, fuses glamour and grandeur with a uniquely Belfast spirit. Comprising of 300 luxurious guestrooms and suites, restaurant, bar, conferencing facilities and retail space, it is a jewel that sits at the heart of Belfast’s Linen Quarter.

RPP Architects was involved in the design of every aspect of the hotel, from the external envelope which involved the design of prominent and distinct signage, a bespoke cladding system to the different bedroom, suites and all of the public spaces. Meanwhile, the interior design was developed with Grahams construction and the Hastings Hotel group during a series of design workshops.

Situated on the ground floor, the Grand Café will catch your eye as you walk by but when you step inside you’ll want to stay. An everyday place with an easygoing elegance, it reflects the whole ambience of being “beautifully simple and simply beautiful”.

Sumptuous suite

Image credit: Hasting Hotels

Quality exudes from every angle of the bar and restaurant space; from the phenomenal cuisine and cocktails to the lavish fabrics and fittings. The art deco nods, high ceilings and sense of space add a distinctive drama and the vibe inside shifts as the day rolls in and the sun rolls round. Located on the 23rd floor, the Observatory is an aweinspiring cocktail lounge with spectacular, unique views of Belfast and beyond. The decadent décor combined with the stunning vistas make the inside feel intimate, and the outside infinite. Each of the 300 guestrooms and suites are designed for absolute comfort and relaxation. Each room has been lovingly created as an oasis of calm; a thoughtfully crafted cityscape sanctuary teeming with touchable, tactile fabrics and state of-the-art finishes.

entrance lobby

Image credit: Hasting Hotels

Mark Higgins, Associate at RPP Architects explains how they selected the materials and craftsmen for this project: “The interior design utilised local craftsmanship where possible sourcing marble and quartz from Ballymoney, specialist joinery and bedroom casegoods from Ballymena, bespoke upholstery and front of house furniture was manufactured in Carrickfergus and bespoke carpet from Portadown.

“We chose to work with Style Library Contract because of the wide selection and high specification of their fabrics and wallcoverings. Being able to specify products from across their brands enabled us to create the look we wanted for each distinct space. Products include: Zoffany curzon belvoir, Zoffany elswick paisley, Anthology veda, Harlequin mesh and sgraffito, Scion toma, Harlequin momentum aves paprika, William Morris snakeshead paper in the bar and various Anthology papers in the suites.”

Carolyn Mitchell, Group Contracts Sales Director at Style Library Contract adds, “We are delighted to have worked with RPP Architects and Hastings on this exquisite project. Our job is to provide clients with the means to create beautiful, design-led interiors. In house manufacturing and design expertise in contract specification fabrics, wallcoverings and paint, means we can be relied on for a complete project solution.”

Style Library is one of our recommended suppliers. To keep up to date with their news, click here. And, if you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, click here.

Main image credit: Hasting Hotels

Moxy NYC Chelsea opens an urban design jungle

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Refined yet playful, hand-crafted yet modern, the 349-key Moxy Chelsea reimagines the urban jungle, blending botanically-inspired design with Italian romance…

Rising 35 stories high into the New York City skyline, Moxy NYC Chelsea, the micro-room, macro-amenity hotel, developed by Lightstone and part of Marriott International’s experiential Moxy Hotels brand, has officially opened. Inspired by the surrounding Flower District, the hotel blends a botanically-influenced design with Italian romance and a touch of playful wit – perfectly timed to welcome guests on Valentine’s Day.

Creating an environment that appeals to both today’s modern traveller and locals, Moxy Chelsea was developed with a collection of public spaces designed to meet the community’s dining, drinking, and co-working needs—while providing guests access to New York City at a neighbourhood level. The 349-room hotel marks the second collaboration between Yabu Pushelberg, Rockwell Group, and architects Stonehill Taylor, the designers behind Moxy Times Square and three of the industry’s most admired firms.

The newly-constructed building’s architecture riffs off the neighborhood’s retro-industrial style and feels harmonious with its location, in the heart of the Chelsea Flower Market. The hotel blends into the lush flower shops that surround it, with a soaring three-story glass atrium revealing the vertical gardens within. Guests enter through the overgrown Putnam & Putnam Flower Shop, designed by Yabu Pushelberg, which is envisioned as a “botanical library,” with planter boxes suspended from the 15-foot wall, reachable by a wheeled ladder. The shop is run by husbands Darroch and Michael Putnam, whose couture approach to floral arrangements over the years has made them a staple at celebrity weddings, including the recent nuptials of Gwyneth Paltrow and Brad Falchuk.

Image credit: Michael Kleinberg/Moxy Chelsea/Marriott International

The guestrooms are drenched in sunlight and feature floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall windows. For the design, Yabu Pushelberg replicates the clever functionality they created for Moxy Times Square, leavened with wit and humanised with a sense of craft. In all three room types — King, Double/Double and Quad Bunk — the furniture, which includes a writing desk and chair/luggage rack, can be folded up and hung up on Moxy’s signature peg wall when not in use. Other space-saving gambits include under-bed storage and a lava-stone sink and vanity area placed outside the bathroom. Tiles in the shower stalls are printed with cheeky phrases like “SOME REGRETS” and “WILD THING,” while a bulldog-shaped beer bottle opener hangs on the door. Additional bedroom features nod to the Flower District, like reading lamps that resemble garden lanterns and faucets that recall hose reels. Unique to Moxy Chelsea is the over-the-top MONDO Suite, an entertainment suite located on the 32nd floor. With soaring, double-height 18-foot ceilings and a wall of industrial-style windows looking out onto the Empire State Building, the room is equipped for entertaining and socialising. The suite can be combined with one or two adjoining king rooms to create a place to party and sleep.

The lobby atmosphere is enlivened by a design that reflects Moxy’s trademark cheekiness, such as classically sculpted figurines making unexpected poses, like twerking, taking selfies, and wearing sunglasses. A life-size, toga-clad Roman statue rests on a column, one arm extended so it can hold a guest’s phone and pose with them for a selfie. Throughout the lobby, ample seating options invite co-working and socializing, including modular meeting studios that morph seamlessly from daytime workplace to evening social space.

Decadent rooftop bar

Image caption: The Fleur Room – credit: Michael Kleinberg/Moxy Chelsea/Marriott International

TAO Group and Rockwell also collaborated on The Fleur Room, Moxy Chelsea’s rooftop lounge, topping off the hotel on the 35th floor with panoramic 360-degree views of the Manhattan skyline, from the Statue of Liberty to the Empire State building. The design features a copper-clad bar, glass chandeliers that resemble giant water droplets, and a massive disco ball salvaged from the notorious 1980s L.A. nightclub Vertigo. The real showstopper: The lounge’s glass walls descend at the touch of a button, transforming the space into an alfresco sky veranda.

“We’ve all read about how the modern traveller wants to satisfy their curiosity with unique experiences and personalised, insider access,” says Mitchell Hochberg, President of Lightstone. “Nobody really expects that at the Moxy price point. With Moxy Times Square, we proved we could flip the script; and with Moxy Chelsea, we’re taking it to the next level: We’ve doubled down on that formula—affordable rates, rooms with character, distinctive public spaces—and made it even more personal, more local, more genuinely New York.”

“With the opening of Moxy Chelsea, the Moxy Hotels brand continues to boldly reinvent the hospitality scene,” says Toni Stoeckl, Global Brand Leader, Moxy Hotels, and Vice President, Distinctive Select Service Brands, Marriott International. “When you walk into a Moxy, you know you’re getting a killer bar experience with fun, playful programming; an in-the-know Crew; stylish and functional bedrooms; and experiential moments you’ll want to share with friends during your trip. Moxy Chelsea offers all of that, with a distinctly bold, New York twist.”

The Moxy brand now has 30-plus experiential hotels open across North America, Europe and Asia. Moxy is expected to open 20-plus more hotels in 2019*, in destinations including Paris, Nashville and Boston.

*subject to change depending on hospitality landscape and market conditions

Main image credit: Michael Kleinberg/Moxy Chelsea/Marriott International

FIRST LOOK: Apex unveils Insta-worthy London suite

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Apex Hotels has unveiled the Temple Suite in London that has been designed with Instagram in mind… 

Following the Hotel Designs’ series, Designing Instagrammable, Apex Hotels has revealed a sneak peek at the fabulous, ‘Instagrammable’ interiors that lie within the £6 million extension to its hotel on London’s Fleet Street.

The Temple Suite is considered the jewel in the crown of the multi-million pound extension, which also boasts four deluxe Grand Suites. Each one is perfect for those looking for a new type of luxury in the capital, and those who want to witness #interiordesigngoals first-hand.

While the Grand Suites are already available to book, the outstanding Temple Suite has been kept under wraps – but now the first images have been released, showing exactly what potential guests can expect when the space opens for booking on March 3.

It includes original fireplaces, bespoke furnishings in rich jewel tones, luxury linens and a bathroom (complete with underfloor heating) that’s just begging for mirror-selfies to be snapped.

Image credit: Apex Hotel

Set within a Grade II listed building on the capital’s Fleet Street, dating back to 1912, the Temple and Grande Suites sit alongside ‘The Amicable Society of Lazy Ballerinas’ – a brand new stylish, decadent wine bar – and private dining rooms to really give guests a taste of the ‘suite’ life.

Guests can cosy up in the coolest of surroundings in the Temple Suite, which features a sophisticated grey colour palette that is injected with warmth thanks to the original parquet flooring and wall panelling.

There’s a chance to relax on Scandi-inspired, bold furniture upholstered in rich velvets and textured wools, whilst snapping away at contemporary features including striking pendant lighting, and the intricately detailed glassware and accessories dotted throughout.

Image credit: Apex Hotels

Before languishing in luxury with access to a personal concierge service, guests can be whisked straight into their suite for a private, queue-free check-in before settling in with a welcome drink, testing out the luxury linens and making the most of the sumptuous surroundings – including a totally personalised mini-bar.

“We’re absolutely thrilled to reveal the striking Temple Suite which, along with our Grand Suites, has come as a result of a meticulous, multi-million pound restoration and refurbishment of the stunning Grade II listed building situated right next door to our original Fleet Street hotel,” Karl Mitchell, General Manager at Apex Temple Court Hotel. “Not only are each of the suites entirely Instagram-worthy, with beautiful furnishings and facilities masterminded by our architects, ISA; each and every guest who stays within the suites will enjoy a totally bespoke stay – from a private check-in and access to a personal concierge, to a mini-bar stocked with their favourite tipples and much more. No two stays will be the same.

“Just imagine lazing in front of the fire with your favourite drink from the personalised mini bar…it’s just one of the blissful ways our guests can spend a stay at our magnificent suites.”

Guests looking for a new type of luxury in London can now book to stay at the 115 square metres of pure, opulent relaxation that is the stand-alone Temple Suite – or at one of the four Grande Suites.

 

5 ways to use storytelling to increase hotel revenue

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As consumers become more and more design savvy when checking in to a hotel, marketing expert Chloe Bennet from UK Services Reviews explores ways in which hotels can increase their profits with the perfect narrative… 

Storytelling is an invaluable component of any hotel marketing strategy. Sharing the right narrative is perfect for content marketing as well as creating a bio that allows hotels to connect with their audience. Here are six ways to use storytelling to increase hotel revenue.

People tell stories, and listen to stories, every day without even realising it. “Stories resonate with customers on a deep, human level. In order to succeed in this industry, your marketing efforts must go beyond simply selling hotel rooms at a certain price. You need to connect with your customer base on an emotional level, so that you can make yourself stand out in an overcrowded and competitive market,” suggests Jose Guenther, storyteller at Academized. The digital age has created a ton of opportunities for marketers to use storytelling, which is fortunate because many customers are wary of conventional marketing tactics.

“It’s all about weaving together the different strands to create an interesting and engaging narrative.”

1) Visual storytelling and hotel marketing online

So how do we go about using online storytelling to increase hotel revenue? It’s all about weaving together the different strands to create an interesting and engaging narrative. Guests checking in are a lot less concerned with basic elements such as amenities and information about the room. It’s not that these things aren’t important, it’s just that in the digital age, guests are looking for visuals of what a hotel has to offer. Whenever you can, tell your story through high resolution photographs, combined with riveting narratives. Hotels should focus on interactive storytelling whenever possible, using things like short videos that shows off the hotel’s best features. It’s hard to go wrong with video content, as long as you keep in mind how short attention spans are online.

2) Shaping your digital story

A hotel’s number one job when crafting its story is to create a connection with its audience. Consumers tend to make purchasing decisions based on how they feel, not how they think. If a hotel wants to connect with its audience in this way, it has to get to know its guests first. Target the right segments, learn what they’re looking for, and create content that appeals to them and their needs. Segments and groups will respond differently to different forms of content, so don’t take a shotgun approach that tries to market to everyone at once. A great story told through the wrong kind of content will not be as effective.

3) Make your stories authentic

A hotel’s stories should feel real and have a natural flow to them. If a hotel can include stories from its guests, then that is even better. There’s no reason for a hotel to make stories up, instead hotels should have a wealth of stories and experiences to draw from. Make the story align with the strongest aspects of the hotel, whatever that may be.

4) Storytelling methods

There are a ton of different ways to tell your story, and you’ll probably find there are multiple ones that work for your situation and audience. Will you take advantage of the two-way communication that using social media offers? Maybe you’ll even put the call out to your audience to create some original content. Each hotel’s methods will depend on its audience and its goals. It’s critical that hotels have a goal that can be measured, so they can determine how effective its storytelling is. Data collecting should work to steer the storytelling strategy back on course if it needs correcting or adjustments.

5) Tell better stories by improving your writing skills

To use storytelling to increase your hotel revenue, you’ll need to be writing at a decent level. A lot of people don’t even realise where their writing weaknesses lie. Thanks to the online age, though, there are a number of effective websites out their to help professionals start writing the first chapter:

  • ViaWriting and MyWritingWay – Use these grammar resources to check over your copy for grammatical errors. Don’t risk leaving in mistakes that can discredit you and make you look like an amateur.
  • Big Assignments and Assignment Help – Check out these editing tools, they’ve been reviewed positively by Revieweal and can make your life a lot easier.
  • WritingPopulist and LetsGoandLearn – Read through these writing blogs and improve your knowledge about the writing process. Even if you’re an experienced writer you can find some helpful suggestions and tips here.
  • OXEssays and AustralianReviewer – These online proofreading tools, recommended at BestBritishEssays, are the perfect solution to leaving typos in your copy. Why risk leaving an error in when there are tools that can help?
  • SimpleGrad and State Of Writing – Try out these online writing guides. If you’re struggling with storytelling, there’s a good chance it’s because you’re rushing out drafts without following the proper writing process.

Guests have a myriad of options when it comes to hotels, so it’s crucial to get creative. Good storytelling can differentiate a hotel from the crowd and allow it to form an emotional connection with your audience by sharing its unique personality.

Main image credit: Pexels

Morgan makes a colourful splash

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New commissions from Morgan Furniture showcase appetite for bold and bright colours ahead of SS19…

With the 1970’s vibe in full swing, designers are looking to colours and patterns that arouse and inspire the imagination. Morgan, contract furniture and manufacture, shares two recent commissions that perfectly encapsulate the current taste for vivid, post-Scandinavian palettes.

A family of Chevy dining and meeting chairs brings the seventies into the 21st century with rich gemstone colours. While the collection itself owes its inspiration to the styling and elegance of an earlier era, its timeless silhouette can adapt to any aesthetic sensibility and contract environment. Turned timber legs and a fully wrapped seat detail combine to create a picture of comfort and simplicity.

The Chevy collection brings together five chairs and seven modish coffee tables, available in three heights.

Image caption: Chevy by Morgan Furniture

A pattern reminiscent of the 1980’s Memphis Group’s abstract geometry and Keith Haring’s pop stylings gives these Goodwood lounge chairs punch. Here the collection piece uses upholstery to showcase the graphic motif from fabric designer GP & J Baker.

With customisable arms and an optional high or low back, the Goodwood range invites guests to sit back and relax. The collection has ten chairs and four tables, available in two heights, three top sizes and a choice of glass, timber or marble inset.

Commenting on the two collections, Morgan’s Design Director Katerina Zachariades said: “When we’re developing the concept for a chair design, we look for inspiration in fashion, nature and architecture. This encourages us to use shapes that are enduring, as opposed to transient styling.

“All Morgan furniture is made to order for clients. Upholstery choices help designers’ visions to be brought to life while scale and base options allow for the chair design to be suitable for a variety of uses.”

Morgan 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.

Image caption: Goodwood range by Morgan Furniture

 

Leading designers and architects confirmed to attend Interior Design & Architecture Summit

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Two months before the inaugural Interior Design & Architecture Summit, the event has unveiled who among the architecture and design community will be attending… 

Following the announcement of the ‘Rising Ceiling of Creativity’ panel discussion at the event, the Interior Design & Architecture Summit (IDAS) has just announced the attendees list for the meet-the-buyers event.

Dexter Moren Associates, EPR Archtiects, Goddard Littlefair, MKV Design, ReardonSmith Archiects and Zannier Hotels are all among the leading design firms that have confirmed to attend IDAS as delegates.

The event, , is aimed to bridge the gap between designers, architects, hoteliers and key-industry suppliers.

About IDAS

The one-day event, which will take place on April 29 at Hilton Tower Bridge London, is designed to connect senior executives working within the sector with product and service suppliers for face-to-face meetings and business networking.

The Summit aims to support the design and architecture sector with a unique platform to help create long-lasting and mutually beneficial business connections.

The design and architecture companies confirmed to attend IDAS are:

Aaron Chetwynd Architect Studio
Abode Architecture
Ana Engelhorn Interior Design Ltd
Anita Rosato Interior Design
Brompton Cross Construction
Burke Rickhards Ltd
Burrell Mistry Architects
CMT Design & Construction
CS Design
Dexter Moren Associates
DesignLSM
EPR Architects
Fiona Barratt Interiors
FL Interiors
Forster
Gauri Dole Design Studio
Goddard Littlefair
GA Design
GA Architect
Gereghty Taylor Architects
Gunter & Co Interiors
Harp Commercial Interiors
Hartmann Designs Limited
Harriet Forde Design
HBA London
Henry Prideaux Interior Design
Hyphen
InD Creations
Je Ne Sais Quoi
JPA Design
JCC
Jo Berryman Studio
Koubou Interiors
Kim Partridge
KCA International Designers Ltd
Lambart & Browne
LDA Design
LXA Projects
Materialise Interiors
Mangera Yvars Architects
MKV Design
Natalia Interior Design
NBBJ
NSI Design Ltd
Nine Yard Club
One Creative Environments Limited
Panache Interiors
Project (SW) Ltd
Rebecca James Studio
ReardonSmith Architects
Run for The Hills
RWD
Sapphire Spaces
Suited ID
Stop and Smell the Roses
Studio Mica
Tara Bernerd and Partners
Toca
Temza
Twinning Design
Wilson Associates
Watson Batty Architects
Woods Bagot
WS Design
Yasmine Mahmoudieh
Virserius Studio
Zannier Hotels

If you are an architect or interior designer and would like to attend the Summit, there are very limited spaces available. Please contact Kerry Naumburger on k.naumburger@forumevents.co.uk – or click here to book your place.If you are a supplier to the hospitality industry looking to meet the top architects and interior designers, contact Victoria Petch on v.petch@forumevents.co.uk – or click here to book your place.

Click here for more information about IDAS.

Media partner: Future Contractor & Architect

In Conversation With: Tom Lindblom, Gensler

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Lifting the curtain to peak inside one of the largest architecture firms in the world, editor Hamish Kilburn heads to Gensler’s UK headquarters to catch up with hospitality leader, Principal and Brit List 2018 finalist Tom Lindblom…

“Designing a hotel is a theatre production,” Tom Lindblom, hospitality leader and Principal at Gensler explains. “If you have ever been backstage at a theatre show, and have seen all the activity that’s going on, you will understand how many strings need to be pulled to ensure that what’s happening on the stage – front-of-house in our case – is going smoothly and flows seamlessly. The magic has to happen without the guests being aware how it is made.” This carefully chosen metaphor used to describe the realities – and often challenges – that modern architecture practices face is my first opportunity to really understand the man behind the vision of many projects in the UK, Europe and in the Middle East.

If we are to continue the theatre theme then I feel as if I have a front-row seat, exclusively invited to the opening night to critique Gensler’s award-winning performance. While the narrative explains how the company came to be one of the largest architecture firms in the world, the lead role is certainly up for interpretation. Lindblom, formally a museum and lighting designer, is one of 15 principals at Gensler and his stage is very much sheltered in the company’s London base in St Katherine Docks, with major plans for expansion. “Our expression is deliberately ‘one firm firm’, which suggests that we, the more than 6,000 employees at Gensler, are one team working across 48 offices around the globe,” he explains. “As a result of this shared mindset, our London office is able to share relationships with others around the world in order to eventually work on projects that would have otherwise gone to other architecture practices – it really is a key element to our global success.”

Gensler_Four Seasons_Kuwait

Image caption: Gensler’s Four Seasons Kuwait

Although the project briefs may change as the demands from operators and owners evolve, one thing remains constant in Lindblom’s eyes; team work really does make the dream work. “As an architect, the sooner you are working with an interior designer on a hotel project, the better the end result will be,” he says confidently. “Many see our industry as a triangle, but in actual fact it is a square,” he says. “That shape is between the owner, the operator, and the two designers – architecture and interiors – everyone needs to be reading off the same script.”

“The landscape of the hotel is as important as the architecture.” – Tom Lindblom

Whether we should design hotels that are Instagrammable is a topic that we are used to debating, I am keen to understand how, in Lindblom’s eyes, social media is dictating the design of the modern hotel. According to him, the pool in a resort hotel tends to be the ‘wow’ moment. “For a luxury resort hotel we designed in Croatia, for example, the ‘wow’ moments are a pool bar and grill and the water-front adult pool,” he explains. “The landscape of the hotel is as important as the architecture, and that’s why we work closely with landscape architects as well. At Gensler, we are very fortunate to have in-house landscape designers, which is often absolutely integral to the success of the project.”

Render of a pool and bar area outside

Image caption: Brizenica Bay Four Seasons Croatia Pool Bar / Credit: Gensler

Some of Lindblom’s most memorable curtain-call openings include St Regis Langkawi, Malaysia and the unforgettable unveiling of Four Season Kuwait at Burj Alshaya. Closer to home, though, since becoming one of the finalists at The Brit List 2018, Lindblom has been working on the interiors for a Hilton hotel project in Woking, Surrey. “There will be a great rooftop bar and restaurant, which is our answer to the operator’s brief, wanting to create certain ‘Instagrammable moments’,” Lindblom explains. “Our aim here was to open up the public areas to amazing panoramic views that can become an attraction for both guests and outside visitors.”

Gensler’s recently published Hospitality Experience Index concludes that hotel public spaces are changing. “Single-use public spaces are dead,” Lindblom claims. The report concludes: “The best hotels know that designing for today’s everything/everywhere customer doesn’t mean being everything to everyone -but it does require a new approach to understanding what guests want that goes far beyond business vs. leisure or millennial vs. boomer.” In response to this, Lindblom says: “Before we start drawing the shape and design of the building, we should be asking what experience we are trying to create.”

Quick-fire round:

Hamish Kilburn: What would you say, in your opinion as an architect, is the best designed city in the world?
Tom Lindblom: I love Paris and New York, but the city that made a big impression on me recently was Ljubljana, the Capital of Slovenia.

HK: What would you be if you weren’t an architect?
TL: A Sculptor

HK: What, in your opinion, is the worst designed hotel?
TL: There are too many to list

HK: What is your biggest bugbear when travelling?
TL: Wheely bags! I hate them!

HK: What is your favourite colour?
TL: Anything with stripes!

HK: Do you have a favourite project?
TL: They are all special, but I am really proud of the Four Seasons in Kuwait – I feel as if we need end credits to list all the people who brought that vision to life, all led by an amazing client.

Exterior shot of the hotel

Image caption: St. Regis Langkawi / credit: Gensler

There is a certain ignorance that comes from reviewing hotels, one that typically completely ignores the foundation of what is, as Hilton Hotels puts it, the heart-of-house. “The back-of-house, or backstage of any hotel performance, has to be designed around functionality,” Lindblom explains. “Our job here is to design an area that will maximise service and overall productivity, which in turn leads to a seamless guest experience. Although these areas won’t have all the finishes that you see in front of the staging, they are a vital part of the production.”

In the backstage access-all-areas interview, I am eager to learn what it takes to be cast as one of the leads at Gensler. “Believe it or not, listening is the fundamental skill to be a good leader,” Lindblom says. “When we are failing, we are not listening, which interestingly is the same for both staff and clients”

For this interview’s dramatic final scene, Lindblom explains how his past experience as a lighting designer has helped him to sketch and create some of the world’s most impressive design hotels. “There is just way too much artificial light in the world,” he explains as he points to the light directly above our heads, which creates glare while we are speaking at the table. “The starting point for a lighting designer should be darkness. Then you build up from there, considering the light sources, the times of day, colours and finishes, and ultimately the intention for the spaces.” And like any hit Broadway or Westend show, the production fades on a cliff-hanger conclusion as we wait to witness the unveiling of Gensler’s next hotel project.

Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi adds new tented jungle villas

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The hotel’s safari-style Tented Jungle Villas, designed by Bushtec Safari are a unique alternative to over-water accommodation…  

With the trend for experiential travel continuing to evolve, luxury travellers are adapting a ‘carpe diem’ mindset, pursuing adventures that allow them to traverse the world in style. Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi has announced the launch of its safari-style Tented Jungle Villas, offering an authentic alfresco experience in the heart of the resort’s inland jungle, to unleash the explorer in every traveller. The Tented Jungle Villas, designed by South African luxury tent specialists, Bushtec Safari, house an outdoor rain shower, roll-top tub and locally sourced, rustic interiors throughout.

simple and luxury interiors

Image credit: Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi

Set in their own private wonderland of wilderness, the Tented Jungle Villas are built to mirror the beauty and diversity of the island’s verdant flora and fauna. Built with wooden frames, amber-toned interiors and walls swathed in white canvas, travellers have the opportunity to get closer to nature. A harmonious balance of space and seclusion, the Tented Jungle Villas house a master suite with Californian king-sized bed and en-suite bathroom, a spacious alfresco lounge, complete with handmade wooden furnishings, and a Sala for communal dining that overlooks the private pool and outdoor bath tub.

For film aficionados, private pop-up cinema screenings can be organised in the Tented Jungle Villas, showcasing cult classics and blockbusters under the stars, while adventurers can set sail to a nearby deserted island for a castaway picnic. Gourmands can head out to sea for a sunrise fishing trip and learn the art of Maldivian line fishing, before heading back to their jungle abode for a private BBQ where they can see how fresh seafood and traditional Maldivian dishes are prepared on the private decking area. Relaxation-seekers can luxuriate in a spa treatment in the privacy of the villa, or simply bask under the swaying palms and sounds of the canopy by the beach.

Opened in May 2018, Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi is the only resort on the pristine atoll offering 112 luxury villas, each with their own private pool. In addition to the luxury Tented Jungle Villas, the Beach and Water Villas are bohemian inspired, with rustic chic interiors, copper bathroom fittings and carved wood detailing.

Main image credit: Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi

Editor’s round-up of Surface Design Show 2019

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Taking place from February 5 – 7 at Business Design Centre London, the Surface Design Show gave a platform to more surface material and lighting specialists than ever before. Editor Hamish Kilburn was there and reports…

More than 5,000 architects, designers and specifiers from 47 countries descended on London earlier this month for the much anticipated Surface Design Show. Over the course of three days, the show provided a packed schedule of insightful and entertaining panel discussions, informative CPDs and talks, trend forecasts and allowed exhibitors to display new products.

Presenters included New London Architecture and RIBA who hosted the Opening Night Debate; Chris Dyson who presented the PechaKucha Evening; Hannah Malein of Colour Hive; Oliver Heath of Oliver Heath Design and Daniel Hopwood representing Design Guild Mark, all kept visitors engaged as they educated on ways of thinking about materials, current industry issues and trends.

crowd gathering around the stand

Image credit: Surface Design Show 2019

There were a number of stand-out motifs among the 150 exhibition stands that displayed a positive look at where surface design is heading. The most prominent themes were:

Acoustic walls 

The surface experts at Armourcoat were at the show unveiling its new Acoustics Plaster System, which is designed with hotels and restaurant designers in mind with the aim to optimise the acoustics of interior spaces. While many acoustic surfaces are often bulky and not stylishly flexible, The Acoustic Plaster System offers a clean and smooth mineral surface that can be applied seamlessly over large expanses such as hotel lobbies or restaurants.

Meanwhile, anne kyyro quinn, which produces bespoke three-dimensional acoustic walls coverings, supplied the backdrop for the main stage. The handmade textile wallcoverings are natural, durable, versatile and are therefore suitable for commercial as well as residential projects.

Sustainability

Ethically handmade by master craftsmen, the premium patchwork cowhide rugs from Mosaic that were displayed on the stand were fabricated with 100 per cent recycled hides. Unlike other vendors which buy in full leather hides, Mosaic only use recycled hides from off-cuts of the luxury furniture and leather goods industry. The result, aesthetically, is a completely unique and customisable rug ideal for boutique hotels seeking characterful floors.

Elsewhere, Friends of Wilson displayed its Tessellate acousitic wall panel, which is made from 100 per cent polyester fibres containing a minimum of 60 per cent post-consumer recycled material (PET bottleflake).

Taking this concept into new territory were you designers Poppy Pippin and Emma Raybould over on the Spotlight Surface Live stand. Pippin’s Moss Tiles product has been designed specifically to encourage moss growth in order to improve air quality in the urban environment by absorbing carbon dioxide. Raybould’s silicastone design, displayed at the show, is an eco-architectural alternative to quarried stone for solid surfaces, which was developed at the University of Central Lancashire.

Since 2013 the Show has hosted the Surface Design Awards, now recognised as one of the most respected events in the design calendar. The 2019 Awards received 197 entries from 22 countries,
including America, Italy, China and India.

In a ceremony held over breakfast, the beautiful new Maggie’s Centre St Barts, London was declared the Supreme Winner, capturing the hearts and minds of the stellar panel of judges from the world of architecture and design. A beacon of design in the charity sector, the building by Steven Holl Architects was shortlisted in the Public Building Exterior category, gaining acclaim from the judges, including architect Christophe Egret of Studio Egret West, who stated “You really feel that a person dealing with cancer might feel elevated in this space”.

The 2019 awards ceremony was presented by architecture and design writer Aidan Walker, who cited the specialist focus of the show as key to its success now and for the future: “Surface Design has become one of the most compelling areas of innovation and imagination in design and architecture in the last few years. Driven by technology on one hand and the imperative for sustainability on the other, the application of new techniques and materials to cladding, walls, floors and ceilings has enlivened practice in a way unimaginable 10 years ago. Surface Design Show is perfectly positioned to express, exploit and support this rich seam of imagination and creativity. I see a great future for both the show and its Awards scheme.”

Hotel Designs was a proud media partner for the event.

Main image credit: Surface Design Show 2019

SHORTLIST ANNOUNCED: Hotel Designs’ 30 under 30

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HD

SHORTLIST ANNOUNCED: Hotel Designs’ 30 under 30

Hundreds of entries have been whittled down to just 40 talented designers and architects under 30… 

Following its search to find the industry’s next rising stars, Hotel Designs has announced the shortlist of its 2019 30 Under 30 initiative…

Nominations, which closed on February 15, came in from many leading design firms such as HBA London, The Gettys Group, WATG, Richmond International, Gensler and many more.

Further to being recognised as rising stars on the international hotel design scene, the shortlisted finalists will also be invited, courtesy of Hotel Designs, to Meet Up London to network among a sea of other leading leading names in the industry.

“Our aim for the 30 Under 30 initiative is really to bridge the age gap between designers, hoteliers, architects and key industry suppliers,” said Katy Phillips, publisher of Hotel Designs. “Our events are often attended by directors and principals of studios, but we would like to extend the invitation now to include the young talented individuals who are shaping the future of our industry.”

The shortlisted finalists are:

Adam Charlap Hyman – Charlap Hyman & Herrero

Adam  Crabtree – Chelsom

Alaa Mohamed – Pallavi Dean Interiors

Ali Bacon – The Gettys Group

Amber Peters – Bluehaus

Andre Herrero – Charlap Hyman & Herrero

Anya Gordon Clark – Dexter Moren Associates

Beatrice Fischel-Bock – Hutch

Catherine van der Heide – HASSELL

Charlotte Roe – WISH London

Daniela Anedda – M Studio London

David Jelensky – M Studio London

Gina Langridge – WATG

Gioia Corrada – M Studio London

Harry Allnatt – Richmond International

Jen Lees – HBA London

Jodie Hatton – Brintons

Jordyn Dickson – The Gettys Group

Josh Piddock – Project Orange

Karolina Samuilaite – Modus

Kate Jarrett – Scott Brownrigg

Kay Jones – Brintons

Lauren McEwen – Goddard Littlefair

Lily Kwong – Studio Lily Kwong

Lisa Liu  – WATG

Mahesh Parekh – ARA Design

Marion Pierru – Wilson Associates

Natasha Ahmed – Lulie Fisher Design Studio

Nicola Brook – Nicola Brook Design

Omar Nakkash – Nakkash Design Studio

Patrick McCrae – ARTIQ

Rasha All-Tekreeti – MMAC Design

Rebecca Quickfall – Jasper Sanders + Partners

Reem Moussalli – Dress The Space F.Z.E

Rosalynn Youdan – Jestico + Whiles

Sarah Murphy – Jestico + Whiles

Scarlett Supple – Soho House Design

Simona Miron – Gensler

Stephanie Riedl – B3 Designers

Yasmin Farahmandy – Gensler

Yosola Akinwumi – HBA London

About Meet Up London

More than 200 hospitality professionals are expected to attend Hotel Designs’ highly anticipated networking event, Meet Up London.

Following the success of previous networking events, such as The Brit list 2018 and Meet Up North, Hotel Designs’ Meet Up London will adopt the theme of 30 under 30. The leading hotel design website has asked its readers to nominate designers, architects and hoteliers of the age of 30 and under who are fast climbing the ranks to become leading practitioners.

The event, which is being styled exclusively by Minotti London, will provide a unique opportunity to network over drinks and canapés with the largest names in hospitality, interior design and architecture.

Address: 77 Margaret St, Fitzrovia, London, W1W 8SY
Time: 6pm – 9pm

For more information about becoming a Hotel Designs Meet Up sponsor, contact Zoe Guerrier on 01992 374059 or email z.guerrier@forumevents.co.uk.

To purchase your tickets to Meet Up London, click here.

Exclusive style partner: Minotti London

Exclusive headline partner: Hamilton Litestat

Mr. C Hotels to unveil first property in Q2 2019

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The new 100-key luxury property, which will be designed in conjunction with architecture firm Arquitectonica and Brit List winner Martin Brudnizki Design Studio, will open in Miami this spring…

The highly anticipated Mr. C Coconut Grove, the first Mr. C Hotel to debut in Florida from the fourth-generation hospitality leaders, brothers Ignazio and Maggio Cipriani, has announced that the property will open in spring 2019.

“It is with great pleasure that we are able to unveil Mr. C Coconut Grove to the community this spring,” said Ignazio Cipriani, Founder/President of Mr. C Hotels at the announcement. ” Our partners and associates have enhanced our vision and helped to bring this exciting project to life in such an iconic neighborhood as Miami’s Coconut Grove.”

Modern guestrom with palette of light blue and light oak

Image credit: Mr. C Hotels

Mr. C Coconut Grove is situated in the heart of one of Miami’s most notable neighborhoods and is set to provide guests with unmatched views of Biscayne Bay and the Coconut Grove skyline.

From its interior, the hotel draws inspiration from Italy’s iconic coastal style and hints at the aesthetic elements of a classic yacht. Interior design includes high gloss timber paneling, leather-upholstered blue and caramel headboards, nautical style dressers, playful and comfortable sofas and armchairs in a range of soft and airy blue, and white and pink fabrics throughout the space. Acclaimed architecture and design firm Arquitectonica, in conjunction with the Martin Brudnizki Design Studio, combined the stylish European glamour and nautical aesthetic Mr. C Hotels are best known for with the tropical surroundings of South Florida.

In addition to its 100 guestrooms and suites with private outdoor terraces, Mr. C Coconut Grove also features the Bellini Restaurant and Bar, on the hotel’s top floor. The restaurant boasts a refreshing new Italian dining concept inspired by Ignazio and Maggio Cipriani’s travels throughout Italy, and offers indoor and outdoor seating that exudes the intimate old-world atmosphere of coastal Italy while embracing a sleek and soothing Miami modern style.

Rooftop pool render

Image credit: Mr. C Hotels

For corporate meetings and social events, Mr. C Coconut Grove offers guests a top floor ballroom with panoramic views of the Biscayne Bay. The space can accommodate a seated dinner for approximately 150 guests and cocktail reception for 300 guests, with an additional pre-function space. A covered event space is also available in the hotel’s ground floor for up to 720 guests.

Other statement features include a rooftop pool and pool deck with private cabanas and a pool bar, state-of-the-art gym equipment with personal trainer and yoga classes available upon request, a Lobby Lounge with indoor and outdoor garden seating, and a private spa suite with a relaxation area, sauna and treatment room which can be reserved through the concierge team.

Main image credit: Mr. C Hotels

GROHE to shape the future of water with record number of innovations at ISH 2019

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GROHE, a Hotel Designs Recommended Supplier, will showcase a record number of innovations at ISH 2019, the world’s leading trade fair for the responsible use of water and energy in buildings…

For the first time, GROHE will position itself as a leading global brand for complete bathroom solutions, kitchen systems and intelligent water management at ISH 2019. The bathroom brand will reinforce its philosophy Water. Intelligence. Enjoyment by bringing the element of water to the forefront of its new innovations.

The event will open with a keynote speech from GROHE CEO Michael Rauterkus sharing his vision of how GROHE actively shapes the future of water; including, amongst other things, digitisation and intelligent water management.

GROHE strives to be a driving force in the sanitary industry’s digital transformation In recent years, GROHE has evolved from a premium brassware expert into a driving force of digital transformation within the sanitary industry, even offering its own Internet of Things (IoT) products. The smart water controller GROHE Sense Guard has arrived in the world of the smart home and secures the brand a place among the Top 100 Insurtechs in the Digital Insurance Agenda1. Digitisation is always impacting new areas of our lives. The change from a smart home to an intelligently connected home will be the subject of discussion at the Intelligent Living Summit, a high-profile ISH panel discussion that will take place on Wednesday 13thMarch as part of the show’s agenda of events. The Intelligent Living Summit will see GROHE partner with German companies Miele and Viessmann to discuss how your home can support your life in various and intelligent ways.

“Visitors to the GROHE booth at ISH 2019 will find inspirations to create their own personal at-home spa.”

New ceramic lines and a vast range of colours and materials The bathroom is being increasingly considered as a ‘living space’; somewhere we relax and unwind at the end of a long day. Therefore, more bespoke requirements and concepts are needed. Visitors to the GROHE booth at ISH 2019 will find inspirations to create their own personal at-home spa. These include minimalist ceramic lines that perfectly match GROHE brassware products in both form and function, as well as the GROHE Colours Collection, a range of GROHE taps and accessories in ten different colours and finishes that allow the utmost possible creative freedom for individualising the kitchen and bathroom.

Simply Universal – GROHE Rapido SmartBox Even behind the wall, GROHE can offer innovations with considerable added value to both installers and end users. The new GROHE Rapido SmartBox provides installers, architects and planners with an infinite number of solutions, using just one flush-mounted unit. It can be used universally for all of GROHE’s final assembly sets, regardless of whether that is a single-lever mixer, thermostat or SmartControl product. The GROHE Rapido SmartBox features three outlets for a wider range of shower options and a tailored showering experience. Installation is easy thanks to inlets for hot and cold water that are connected from below. It also offers subsequent adjustment options by up to six degrees, a minimum installation depth of only 75mm and other benefits that visitors can experience directly at the booth.

GROHE set to inspire visitors with a new booth concept GROHE can be found in the FORUM hall at Messe Frankfurt. Using three themed environments and putting the consumer at the centre of the experience, GROHE will present intelligent and sustainable solutions which have been integrated into a multitude of individual design options for the bathroom and the kitchen. Visitors will be able to experience GROHE products and innovations on all levels of the transparent, elliptical glass construction – live, interactively and with the help of multimedia.

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

Main image credit: GROHE

Top stories of the week: design love from Bangkok, hide and seek architecture and a new hotel chapter

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With architecture and construction firmly in the spotlight, Hotel Designs has witnessed another jam-packed week full of interesting stories that highlights our love in design and architecture. Breaking down these headlines is editor Hamish Kilburn… 

New York, New York! Is there anywhere else on the planet quite like it? In the original metropolis where possibilities soar high above the bustling streets below, the hotel scene is staggering. It’s latest luxury neighbour is situated on 701 Seventh Avenue on the corner of 47th Street, Times Square, and features 452 guestrooms. With four levels of public space, the hotel is, much like the area it surrounds has already done over many decades, evolving with the trends to cater to the modern man and woman.

Changing perceptions has been a theme that has stitched together this week’s headlines – and I have been fortunate enough to be the first to tell many of this week’s main features. From spending quality time in the company of interior designer Celia Chu as she prepares to complete Rosewood Bangkok, to continuing to follow Nicky Dobree on her quest to open her first hotel; it’s been a great week to be part of the industry. To top it off, we are hours away from closing the applications/nominations process for our 30 Under 30 initiative. As a young editor (26 years old), I am personally proud to support this scheme – to support young talent in our industry – with every fibre of my body.

Here are the top stories of the week:

1) EDITION arrives in New York’s Times Square

black armchair infront of black wallcoverings

Image credit: EDITION Hotels

“The Times Square EDITION is an entirely new lens on Times Square. From an aerie above the hubbub below, you can engage, observe or withdraw. The hotel is an oasis of sophistication brought to you through the insight of the incomparable Ian Schrager, my friend and partner. There is simply nothing like it,” said Arne Sorenson, President and CEO, Marriott International.

> Click here to read the full story

2) The interior designer behind Rosewood Bangkok

open and airy suite with peculiar angular architecture

Image credit: Rosewood Hotels

As its highly anticipated opening is imminently on the horizon, the Rosewood Bangkok’s interior design story is one yet to be unveiled in detail. We caught up with interior designer Celia Chu to establish the narrative told within the walls of the soon-to-open 159-key luxury hotel.

> Click here to read the feature

3) Six Senses joins IHG

Aerial shot of a Six Senses hotel in the ocean

Image credit: Six Senses

The milestone moment, where IHG aquired Six Senses happened on Wednesday. As part of the IHG family, Six Senses is expected to expand to 60 properties within the next 10 years. This includes incredible new Six Senses hotels and resorts from a restored 14th-century fort in Rajasthan, to villas on a private island in Cambodia, and the brand’s first hotel in North America – a contemporary duo of twisting towers designed by Bjarke Ingles near the High Line in Manhattan’s West Chelsea.

> Click here to read the full story

4) Camouflaged hotel architecture of the 21st century

glass structure in the woods

Image credit: treehotel

As we continue putting architecture and construction in the spotlight, Hotel Designs reveals some of the world’s most spectacular hidden architectural gems.

> Click here to read the full story

5) From Concept to Completion: Restoring a 19th-century house to create Plaza 18 (part two)

Moodboard of ideas

Image credit: Nicky Dobree

In part two of our From Concept to Completion series, where we are closely following the design story of Plaza 18, Dobree’s first hotel project is beginning to take form. The building’s design is approaching the final stages before the grand reveal this Easter. Meanwhile, interior designer Nicky Dobree is able to step away from the project for five minutes – something I believe the designer is not accustomed to – in order to explain more about her relationship with the soon-to-be hotel.

> Click here to read the feature

Main image credit: Rosewood Hotels

 

The Sound Hotel opens to celebrate all senses in Seattle

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The Hotel Group and Hilton have announced the grand opening of The Sound Hotel Seattle Belltown, Tapestry Collection by Hilton. Woven into the fabric of Belltown, one of Seattle’s most vibrant and centrally located neighborhoods, The Sound Hotel celebrates the sights, sounds and tastes that are unique to Seattle. It occupies the first 10 floors of the 42-story Arrivé tower, one of the first mixed-use properties, featuring rental units, in the market.

“We are thrilled to see The Sound Hotel open its doors as the brand’s first hotel in the Pacific Northwest, particularly in a city like Seattle that is known for innovation, great restaurants and a thriving arts scene,” said Jenna Hackett, global head, Tapestry Collection by Hilton. “Just as Seattle is one of the fastest-growing cities in America, Tapestry Collection continues to rapidly expand as The Sound Hotel also marks the collection brand’s first of many 2019 openings.”

Design firm Hirsch Bedner Associates (HBA) immersed itself into the hotel’s neighborhood, visiting local hotspots and meeting with the community, to create an authentic Belltown experience. Upon arriving at the hotel entrance, guests are immediately welcomed into an artist’s studio as stretched canvases, murals and finished concrete floors flow towards the reception desk. Guest rooms feature warm, wood-toned floors, echoing the feeling of a musician stepping onto a stage. Dark, moody bathrooms are reminiscent of backstage dressing rooms, with microphone lights, plush robes, metal accents and rich black linear tiles setting the perfect backdrop.

Modern guestroom in hotel

Image credit: Hilton Hotels Worldwide

Artistic elements are also featured on the exterior of the hotel. Watkins commissioned Seattle graffiti artist Weirdo, a.k.a. Jeff Jacobson, to paint an original mural on an exterior brick wall facing several of the guest rooms, effectively turning those rooms into some of the most desirable in the hotel. This larger-than-life piece features Jacobson’s signature vivid, post-Internet hyper-realism style and beautifully tells the story of The Sound Hotel through art.

The Sound Hotel features 142 exquisitely designed guestrooms with expansive views of the downtown Seattle skyline and Puget Sound, a ground level restaurant, Currant Bistro.

“The hotel’s design drew directly from the Belltown neighborhood’s deep roots in the arts and local music scene, mixed in with the natural beauty of the Puget Sound region,” said David Watkins, general manager, The Sound Hotel. “Warm, rich textures in our rooms offer visitors an authentic Northwest experience, while the artistic elements reflect Seattle as a bustling hive of creativity.”

Image of modern bathroom with large sliding wooden doors

Image credit: Hilton Hotels Worldwide

The building’s seventh-floor Lupine Room offers 770 square feet of divisible meeting space, ideal for groups of up to 35. Featuring plenty of natural light, it can easily transform into an event space to accommodate an intimate gathering. In addition to the Lupine Room, Sound Bite Lounge is a relaxed, post-meeting gathering spot with a seasonal outdoor sundeck offering stunning views of the Space Needle.

Main image credit: Hilton Hotels Worldwide

 

Maggie’s St Barts awarded Supreme Winner at Surface Design Awards 2019

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13 awards were presented to the winners of Surface Design Awards 2019… 

The winners of the 2019 Surface Design Awards have been announced, hailing the best and most impressive use of materials in, and on, architectural projects from around the globe.

The beautiful new Maggie’s Centre Barts, London has been declared the Supreme Winner, capturing the judge’s hearts and minds. A beacon of design in the charity sector, the building by Steven Holl Architects’ was shortlisted in the Public Building Exterior category, gaining acclaim from the judges, including Christophe Egret, who stated “You really feel that a person dealing with cancer might feel elevated in this space.”

Across 13 categories entrants to the Awards comprised a who’s-who in architecture and design from around the world. Zaha Hadid Architects, Steven Holl Architects, Studio Egret West and Chris Dyson Architects from the UK, Rockwell Group from the USA, and Kengo Kuma & Associates from Japan were among the shortlist.

Contemporary view of the lobby

Image credit: Zaha Hadid Architects

The Surface Design Awards, announced at the annual Surface Design Show, recognise and celebrate the best use of innovative surface materials in architecture and design internationally.

Launched five years ago, the Awards have grown year-on-year to become one of the most respected accolades in the design awards realm. The 2019 shortlist consisted of an impressive 43 projects from 9 countries, each entry an exemplary example of creative and innovative use of materials and lighting in both interior and exterior schemes. Some projects won nominations across several categories, resulting in 48 finalists.

The 2019 judging panel was co-chaired by Christophe Egret, Founding Partner at Studio Egret West, and Paul Priestman, Chairman at PriestmanGoode. The full panel comprised Cany Ash, Partner at Ash Sakula Architects; James Soane, Director at Project Orange architecture & interior design; Jeremy Offer, Chief Creative Officer at future-focused vehicle designers Arrival; Katie Greenyer, Creative Talent & Network Director at Pentland Group; Paul Edwards, Head of Creative Design at Airbus and Roz Barr, Director of Roz Barr Architects.

The Surface Design Awards 2019 winners in full:

Award: Retail Interior
Project: Aesop flagship store
Designer: Snohetta

Award: Retail Exterior
Project: Lava Stone Shopfront
Designer: STAC Architecture

Award: Public Building Interior
Project: Writ in Water
Studio Octopi with Mark Wallinger

Award: Public Building Exterior
Project: Maggie’s Centre St Barts
Studio: Steven Holl Architects

Award: Commercial Interior
Project: The Veil
Studio: Giles Miller Studio & Orms

Award: Commercial Exterior
Project: Morpheus Hotel
Studio: Zaha Hadid Architects/ Isometrix Lighting Design

Award: Temporary Structure
Project: TED Theatre
Rockwell Group

Award: Sustainable Interior
Project: SGS Berkeley Green
Studio: Hewitt Studios

Award: Sustainable Exterior
Project: Cultural Village
Studio: Kengo Kuma & Associates

Award: Light & Surface Interior
Project: Gymbox Mopheus Hotel Atrium
Studio: Zaha Hadid Archtiects/ Lightivity Lighting Design/ Isometrix Lighting Design

Award: Light & Surface Exterior
Project: Black Prince Road Story Wall
Studio: Michael Grubb Studio/ AF Lighting

Award: Housing Interior
Project: Powis Cloud
Studio: Lily Jencks Studio

Award: Housing Exterior
Project: Fajal House
Studio: Mole Architects

Main image credit: Surface Design Show Awards/Maggie’s Centre St Barts/Steven Holl Architects

Nadler Hotels arrives in Covent Garden, London

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The fifth boutique property in the Nadler Hotels Group’s luxury portfolio opens in London’s bustling Covent Garden… 

Overlooking The Strand in a restored Edwardian building, the 57-key The Nadler Covent Garden has opened as the hotel group’s fourth luxury boutique hotel in London.

Architecture firm PJMA designed the hotel over six floors. It’s stylish and thoughtfully designed guestrooms (ranging from Standard Double through to Deluxe) were, meanwhile, imagined by Brit List 2019 winner WISH London. Each guestroom and suite offers chic accommodation that, as per the company’s ethos, delivers on comfort, convenience and aesthetic.

“Each room features bespoke furniture, designed and handmade locally in west London.”

An elegant colourway of deep blues, clay greys and accents of cherry red sit alongside metallic touches of brass and copper. Each room features bespoke furniture, designed and handmade locally in west London, along with luxurious fabrics made from natural fibres woven on the Isle of Bute, Scotland. Upscale touches in accessories, including special edition Paul Smith Anglepoise lamps, echo the focus on quality British design and craftsmanship. Many of the rooms also extend onto balconies, with some boasting private terraces.

Image credit: Nadler Hotels

In addition to high quality pocket-sprung beds, complimentary ultrafast Wi-Fi, HD TVs (able to stream content direct from your mobile device), and versatile dining / work tables with handy USB and power points, each room features the brand’s signature Mini Kitchen, complete with a microwave, fridge, sink with BRITA filter water tap, kettle, crockery and cutlery, and Nespresso coffee machine with complimentary capsules. Spacious bathrooms include powerful showers (walk-in or over bath) and come with luxury Gilchrist and Soames toiletries.

Designed with a refined residential style, The Nadler Covent Garden aims to make every guest feel and live like a local.

Nadler Hotels currently operates three London properties in Kensington, Soho and Victoria, as well as extending the portfolio in the north with The Nadler Liverpool, which suggests a clear focus to pin its attention on the UK market.

Main image credit: Nadler Hotels

The PuXuan Hotel and Spa opens in Beijing

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The hotel and spa in Beijing’s unique architecture form has been designed by acclaimed German architect Ole Scheeren…

Located a stones throw away from Beijing’s Forbidden City, The PuXuan Hotel and Spa has opened with the aim to become a new urban haven in the Chinese capital. The latest Urban Resort Concepts (URC) luxury hotel has been designed by internationally acclaimed German architect Ole Scheeren (formerly with OMA).

In collaboration with Shanghai-based design firm MQ studio, the hotel’s interiors will exemplify URC’s hallmark design principles, integrating luxurious and understated metaphorical design throughout a modern space, uniquely crafted with local, cultural references. The hotel’s artwork, curated by the Guardian Art Centre, will feature some of the finest contemporary Chinese art in the region today.

A collection of immersive half and full day programmes curated by The PuXuan that provides guests exclusive access to local, hidden gems and landmarks alike, ensures travellers to Beijing experience the breadth of the city’s history, culture and gastronomy.

Image credit: PuXuan Hotel and Spa

Comprising 92 guestrooms and 24 suites, each feature handcrafted and artisanal furniture by Hermès-owned Chinese lifestyle brand SHANG XIA and boast awe-inspiring views over either the Forbidden City or one of Beijing’s oldest neighbourhoods, DongCheng District.

A true oasis in the heart of the city, The PuXuan also features URC’s proprietary UR SPA that will offer bespoke treatments by CHA LING – “L’Espirit du Thé”, an LVMH brand that combines traditional Chinese medicine with French beauty, along with organic formulations by one of the industry-leading creators of wellness products COMFORT ZONE.

Set to become Beijing’s definitive dining destinations, Rive Gauche serves up unpretentious French classics with extraordinary savoir-faire whilst Fu Chun Ju serves some of the capital’s finest Cantonese preparations. With direct access on levels two and three of the hotel respectively, the openings of Rive Gauche and Fu Chun Ju are welcome and overdue additions to the culinary scene in Beijing, where guests will discover a new appreciation for local provenance as they enjoy seasonal menus that highlight the unique flavours of the finest, local and heirloom ingredients.

Other spaces include The PuXuan Club, offering a new level of privilege along with round-the-clock exclusive access to a handsome and fully serviced lounge, Tea Room, The Lobby Lounge, a state-of-the-art fitness centre, and a variety of indoor and outdoor venues for both corporate and social gatherings.

Main image credit: PuXuan Hotel and Spa

Hotel Designs closes January with online traffic record

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The leading international hotel design website closes January with a record-breaking 67, 792 readers…. 

By exploring hotel openings and spas as its Spotlight On features during January, Hotel Designs has smashed its online monthly traffic record, which was previously hit in November, by amassing more than 67,000 readers to the website.

Hotel Designs, which last year attracted more than half a million readers, engaged readers with the following most-read stories during January:

Spotlight On: Major hotel openings for Q1 & Q2 2019
Inside the world’s first hotel room that determines room rate based on social media addiction
Nobu Hotels to arrive in Warsaw
In Conversation with Yasmine Mahmoudieh
Hotels at New Heights

“This is a fantastic start to 2019,” said publisher Katy Phillips. “I am absolutely thrilled that, yet again, I am being asked to comment on Hotel Designs smashing another online traffic record. As well as showing that our editorial team have their finger on the pulse when it comes to covering hot topics in our industry, this is a clear indication that this market is engaging positively with the content we publish.

“One area that Hotel Designs has always been strong in is having a face-to-face relationship with our audience. We are therefore looking forward to our next networking evening, Meet Up London: 30 Under 30 on March 28, which are aim will be to bridge the age gap in international hotel design.”

The news comes as the website steers its Spotlight On features to cover Surfaces and Architecture and Construction, two widely debated topics within international hotel design.

Click here to read editor Hamish Kilburn’s ‘Editor Checks In’ where he spends some time reflecting on January as a time when two worlds seamlessly collide.

 

Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts to open nine hotels in 2019

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The luxury hotel brand, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts continues with a steady portfolio expansion with openings in new markets and much-anticipated debut of first-ever standalone Private Residences in London… 

Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts has announced that 2019 will mark significant hotel openings, with the debut of nine new hotels and resorts around the world, plus the continued expansion of its residential portfolio.

“Four Seasons is well positioned for continued success in 2019 with the steady and strategic growth of our global portfolio,” says Christian Clerc, President, Worldwide Hotel Operations, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. “Our portfolio continues to grow at a healthy pace, as we focus on projects of the highest quality, in the destinations where our guests want to be. We remain committed to offering the very highest standards of hospitality as we expand with a diverse collection of properties, including our entry in Greece and Spain, our first resort set within a world class vineyard in Napa Valley, and the opening of our first standalone residences in London.”

Clerc continues: “With a continued focus on our residential portfolio, we are solidifying our market position as the world leader in luxury branded residential offerings. Eight of the nine new anticipated openings this year include a residential component, affirming the growing importance of branded residences to Four Seasons growth strategy as well as luxury consumers who want to live with our brand and make Four Seasons their home.”

Extensive Global Growth: 2019 Portfolio Openings

Now numbering 111 hotels and resorts in 47 countries – including recent openings in Desroches Island, Seychelles; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; and São Paulo, Brazil – Four Seasons is planning to open the following new hotels, resorts and private residences in 2019:

Four Seasons Astir Palace Hotel Athens 

Simple luxury hotel guestroom

Image credit: Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts

This project marks the long-awaited entry of Four Seasons in Greece with the transformation of the famed Astir Palace on the Athenian Riviera. The hotel will offer 303 rooms and bungalows along three private beaches with three pools, a spa and seven restaurants and lounges.

Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences Bangkok at Chao Phraya River 

Skyline of Bangkok

Image credit: Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts

The return of Four Seasons to Thailand’s capital is scheduled to open this year as the fourth property in the company’s Four Seasons Thailand collection. The all-new complex spans 9 acres and 200 metres of prime river frontage with open courtyards, water features and works of art. Ballrooms offer stunning river views and outdoor spaces that are ideal for grand weddings and impressive events while three restaurants and a Latin American inspired social club bring glamour to the riverside lifestyle. With 366 Private Residences and 299 rooms and suites, many with generous outdoor terraces, the property brings the sophistication of a resort to the heart of Bangkok.

Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences Bengaluru at Embassy ONE

Modern guestroom with accents of gold in the carpet

Image credit: Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts

Set in the heart of India’s technology hub as part of the prestigious new Embassy ONE development, the property will feature 230 rooms, 105 Private Residences and prime commercial retail space. Within the hotel, guests will find warm and inviting restaurants featuring interactive live counters and artisanal offerings. The outdoor pool in the lush landscaped private gardens lends a resort-like ambiance and the spa is an uplifting hideaway for modern and holistic wellness solutions. Four Seasons Hotel Bengaluru joins its sister property in Mumbai as the second Four Seasons in India.

Four Seasons Resort and Residences Los Cabos at Costa Palmas 

Bathroom in a suite that overlooks the ocean

Image credit: Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts

The oceanfront resort in the Baja Peninsula will soon be home to the third Four Seasons in Mexico. Located on the East Cape on a stunning, swimmable stretch of the Sea of Cortez, the resort will include 141 rooms as well as a selection of Private Residences with private yacht slips and a Robert Trent Jones Jr. golf course, within the exclusive Costa Palmas development.

Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences Madrid

Guestroom of the hotel with the tops of buildings in Madrid seen in the distance

Image credit: Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts

A meticulous restoration and conversion of several historic buildings in the heart of the city’s famed Canalejas district is entering its final stages, with the 200 room Four Seasons as the company’s first location in Spain. The property will also incorporate 22 beautifully appointed Private Residences.

Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences Montreal

Render of the guestrooms overlooking the skyline

Image credit: Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts

The company’s fourth property in Canada will open in the heart of Montreal’s best shopping neighbourhood, within a development that will mark the city’s very best lifestyle offerings. Guests can look forward to an all-new 169 room hotel and 18 Private Residences connected to the new Holt Renfrew Ogilvy in the Golden Square Mile neighbourhood, as well as the first Canadian restaurant by famed chef Marcus Samuelsson.

Four Seasons Resort and Residences Napa Valley

Render of the guestrooms which feature dark dues in the interiors

Image credit: Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts

Glasses are already being raised in anticipation of Four Seasons first resort immersed within an estate winery, in partnership with acclaimed winemaker Thomas Rivers Brown, that will be part of the all-new resort set among the mountains and vineyards of one of the world’s top wine-producing regions. Its 85 rooms and 20 residences will extend the diverse Four Seasons California Collection as its eighth location in the state.

Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences One Dalton Street, Boston 

Exterior render of the hotel above the skyline

Image credit: Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts

Four Seasons will open its second property in Boston’s prestigious Back Bay neighbourhood, steps from the city’s best cultural, sporting, and entertainment outlets. This sleek, 61-storey skyscraper will be home to 215 hotel rooms and 160 Private Residences and will also include a Zuma restaurant, the renowned Japanese Izakaya with outposts in London, Miami, New York and Las Vegas.

Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia at Comcast Center

Guestroom with white linen and floor-to-ceiling windows

Image credit: Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts

The company’s return to the city will showcase the future of hospitality in Philadelphia’s tallest building. At 60 storeys and with 219 rooms, the property will showcase advanced technologies from Comcast as well as world-class dining experiences by top chefs Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Greg Vernick, and florals by celebrated creative director Jeff Leatham.

Additional future projects recently announced include hotels, resorts and residences in Dalian, China; Makkah, Saudi Arabia; Hanoi, Vietnam; and Caye Chapel, Belize.

Main image credit: Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts

Hamilton litestat confirmed exclusive headline partner for Meet Up London: 30 Under 30

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Hotel Designs has confirmed that Hamilton Litestat will be the exclusive headline partner at Meet Up London: 30 Under 30, which takes place at the showroom of Minotti London on March 28…

Hotel Designs has confirmed that Recommended Supplier Hamilton Litestat has become the exclusive headline partner of Meet Up London: 30 Under 30.

The event, which takes place on March 28 at Minotti London’s showroom, is expected to bridge the age gap between designers, architects, hoteliers and key-industry suppliers by putting the spotlight on supporting young, emerging talent. 30 of the industry’s most inspirational practitioners will be invited with complements of Hotel Designs to attend the networking event.

“Hamilton Litestat is a keen supporter of young, up-and-coming talent and we’re delighted to be working with Hotel Designs to support talent rising through the ranks in interior design, architecture and the hotel industry,” said Gavin Williams, Head of Marketing, Hamilton Litestat. “As an Industry Partner of the British Institute of Interior Design, we’re keen to develop lasting relationships with those that understand the importance of getting the finishing touches of an interiors project just right.

“We hope to build awareness through our partnership with the 30 under 30 Meet Up events and foster long-term collaborations with the next generation of talented industry leaders.” – Gavin Williams, Head of Marketing, Hamilton Litestat

“Through both functionality and aesthetics, quality decorative wiring accessories and lighting control can achieve this. We hope to build awareness through our partnership with the 30 under 30 Meet Up events and foster long-term collaborations with the next generation of talented industry leaders.”

Suitable for all hotels, Hamilton Litestat produces smart lighting controls and multi-room audio systems designed to enhance the hotel guest experience.

Early bird ticket prices for Meet Up London: 30 Under 30

Suppliers: £99 + VAT (£150 + VAT after early bird offer expires after February 7)
Designers, hoteliers and architects: £10 + VAT (£20 + VAT after early bird offer expires after February 7)

To purchase your tickets, click here.

Venue:
Minotti Showroom,
77 Margaret St, Fitzrovia, London, W1W 8SY

Date: March 28, 2019

How to apply for the 30 Under 30 list

If you are/or know of a deserving designer, architect or hotelier who is 30 years old or younger, please send in your application/nomination to: h.kilburn@forumevents.co.uk with the following:

  • 200-400 word bio, which acknowledges achievements to date and why you/he/she deserves to be recognised
  • Name of company you/he/she currently works for
  • Profile image

The final 30 will be confirmed to attend the event with Hotel Designs‘ compliments and the winners will be notified in due course ahead of the networking evening.

How to attend Meet Up London: 30 Under 30

If you are a supplier to the hospitality industry looking to attend the event, contact Zoe Guerrier on 01992 374059 or on z.guerrier@forumevents.co.uk – or click here to book your place.

If you are an interior designer or architect and would like to attend the Hotel Designs Meet Up London: 30 Under 30, click here to confirm your attendance.

Exclusive style partner: Minotti London

Exclusive headline partner: Hamilton Litestat

Top stories of the week: Trending interiors, suites at sea and anti-social hotel rooms

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Following a bustling Maison&Objet and Deco Off, interior trends have been trending throughout this week’s headlines. Hamish Kilburn breaks down the top stories of the week…

Whoever thought that January was a soft landing was seriously mistaken – or didn’t work in the hotel design arena. My inbox over the last 25 days has been inundated with press releases from hotel groups announcing their vast expansion plans. This week alone, Melia Hotels International, Nobu Hospitality and Kimpton Hotels all announced dramatic plans to open new luxury properties in new destinations. Suggesting a serious change in travellers’ behaviour, the hotel industry is not the other luxury market that is adapting its strategy to cater towards the modern traveller. Concluding our series, Hotels at New Heights, I spoke to the hotel designers that have turned their heads towards the cruise industry.

Here are the top stories of the week.

1) Nobu Hotels announces plans to arrives in Poland

Exterior shot of the hotel. a new building located at Wilcza Street, designed by the Polish architectural firm, Medusa Group,

Image credit: Nobu Hospitality

Nobu Hospitality, a global luxury lifestyle brand founded by Nobu Matsuhisa, Robert De Niro and Meir Teper, has announced its continued global expansion into Warsaw, Poland…

On track to have 20 hotels within its portfolio globally by 2020, Nobu Hotels has announced plans to open Nobu Hotel Warsaw.

2) Inside the world’s first hotel room that determines room rate based on social media addiction

Light glowing red next to the bed of a hotel

Image credit: The Check Out Suite, Hotel

That’s right, a hotel in Gothenburg, Sweden, has launched a new policy where the room rate is determined by how much time guests spend surfing on social media…

With the number of social media users worldwide in 2018 reaching a staggering 3.196 billion, up 13 per cent year-on-year according to Smart Insights, it was only a matter of time before hotels would launch schemes in order to help guests reconnect with the world around their screens. With the aim to take this initiative further, a hotel in Gothenburg, Sweden, has actually launched a hotel room where its rates will be determined by how much the guest spends on social media platforms.

3) Top 14 most tagged interior design trends on Instagram

With so many interior design trends, it can be difficult to choose a style that fits a particular space best. While most of these trends intertwine, some are undoubtedly more popular than others.

4) Hotels at New Heights: suites on the high seas

Render from Richmond International of Balcony Cabin

Image caption: Render from Richmond International of Balcony Cabin

To conclude our series, Hotels at New Heights, I investigate why more and more hotel designers are taking to the seas to design the luxury cruise vessels’ suites of the future.

5) Meet Up London: 30 Under 30 launches early bird tickets

Until February 7, designers, architects, hoteliers and suppliers will be able to purchase early bird tickets for Hotel Designs‘ highly anticipated Q1 networking evening, Meet Up London: 30 Under 30.

Main image credit: Image credit: Seabourn Ovation/Adam Tihany Studio

Architects and designers concerned to incorporate flame installations in design

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79 per cent of architects and designers avoid using flame installations in their projects, a study has revealed…

Architects and designers have growing concerns about including flame in their designs, a study has suggested. 

The research, which was carried out by Glen Dimplex Heating and Ventilation, revealed that the majority of respondents (79 per cent) said they had concerns when it came to incorporating fire and flame in their projects, despite the fact that they often form centrepieces of design work.

Health and safety was cited as the main concern (46 per cent), followed by energy efficiency (39 per cent) and cost (32 per cent). However, respondents also said if health and safety concerns could be addressed and the right technology was available, 53 per cent would be more inclined to use include fire or flame in projects.

“The research demonstrates that there is a definite appetite in the market for alternative ways of incorporating fire into the design of commercial spaces, especially methods that are safer and more cost-effective,” says Jonathan Smith, product marketing manager – Flame Technology, Glen Dimplex Heating and Ventilation.

“This is something that we are seeing more of in our own business, where the demand for our flame technology and flame effects products is increasing rapidly, giving architects and designers realistic flame options that add to the visual appeal of a space with none of the disadvantages.”

The study surveyed 250 architects and designers across the UK to gauge their opinions on the state of the industry, technology in the design process, and the use of flame in their projects.

The concerns around using fire are consistent with the industry’s overall challenges; architects and designers identified cost reduction (64 per cent), keeping on top of innovation (48 per cent) and health and safety (41 per cent) as their top issues.

The research also highlighted the use of other technologies in the design process with 62 per cent of architects and designs saying that smart technology was already having an impact or would be in the next six months. Almost one-quarter of respondents (24 per cent) said augmented reality would influence the industry within the next 18 months, while 23 per cent said virtual reality would affect it in the next six months. Robotics, 3D modelling and 3D printing, and the use of drones, were also cited as making an impact in the longer term.

Hotel Designs’ would like to know your opinion on whether you would avoid using flame installations in your design because of health and safety factors. Please tweet us @HotelDesigns to have your say. 

Main image credit: Glamm Fire’s Operetta 

Elizabeth Lane

Introducing RPW Design’s newest partner – Elizabeth Lane

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RPW Design, a leading hospitality interior design practice in East London, is proud to announce its latest partner, Elizabeth Lane. Previously Director of Projects, Elizabeth’s promotion to Partner heralds an exciting new phase of growth for RPW Design.

“Elizabeth has shown herself to be incredibly accomplished and vital in the maintenance of RPW Design’s reputation as an Interior Design studio where beautiful interiors and operational functionality work in complete harmony. We are proud of her progress during her career at RPW Design and excited for the growth and future of the company with Elizabeth as our newest partner,” commented Managing Director Ariane Steinbeck.

Elizabeth joined RPW in 2004 as FF&E Manager and then became Director of Projects. In that capacity, Elizabeth worked on several key assignments including The Marriott Hotel County Hall, London, The Fairmont St Andrews, Scotland and P&O cruise ship refits for both Arcadia & Oceana, due to complete this year.

Elizabeth’s 13-year tenure at the company has included welcoming current Managing Director Ariane Steinbeck and supporting a smooth transition as RPW founder Jan Wilson took a step back from the helm of RPW Design in 2015.

Elizabeth has steadily guided the design teams at RPW to deliver first class outcomes suiting diverse projects. From luxury city hotels, to countryside golfing venues and exclusive private clubs, Elizabeth has an extensive understanding of hospitality operations, having worked on the client’s side for many years.

As the newest Partner at RPW, Elizabeth will continue to lead and undertake key design projects. Exciting RPW focus points for 2018 include a hotel interior design project in Malta and the creation of a stunning Sky Bar in the heart of London, as well as luxury hotels in Eastern European capitals.

Elizabeth commented on her new position, “2018 is an exciting year for the growth of RPW Design and I am honoured to accept the offer of partnership at this inspirational and creative company. I look forward to continuing the reach of our practice globally as well as developing new and innovative design alongside my talented colleagues.”

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.”

Hilton

Hilton recognised as best hospitality company to work for

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Hilton has been named the highest ranked hospitality company on the list of the World’s Best Workplaces by Great Place to Work, joining a group of 25 elite global companies recognized for high-trust, high-performing workplace cultures in 2017.

This is the second consecutive year that Hilton’s employees have placed the company’s workplace culture among the world’s best increasing the ranking to 9 from 17 last year.

“Together with our more than 360,000 Team Members across the globe, we’ve built a truly special culture at Hilton that’s all about exceptional hospitality,” said Christopher J. Nassetta, president and CEO, Hilton. “We know that our people are our greatest asset, and we are committed to showing them this same hospitality by creating an environment where they can thrive and be at their best every day. From back-of-house, to front desk, to our corporate offices – our Team Members are the heart of our success, and I’m incredibly proud of each and every one of them.”

Each year, Great Place to Work compiles the list based on global assessments, asking employees about their jobs, managers, coworkers, culture, opportunities for training and support for work/life balance. Hilton also ranked on 14 of Great Place to Work’s country lists in the past year, including number one rankings in Italy, Peru, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

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
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. . .

Brexit Focus: European hoteliers remain confident in holiday market

Brexit Focus: European hoteliers remain confident in holiday market

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Despite the fact analysts have predicted a decline in travel across Europe from the UK following the Brexit referendum, hoteliers in major European destinations have signalled that the hospitality industry is remaining confident as several cities have seen an increase in hotel room rates in the last year.

Data collected during the summer period and released today by OTA Insight, the leading hotel revenue management solutions provider, reveals that seven out of eight leading holiday cities have seen significant increases in hotel rates since the UK voted to leave the European Union.

In a concerted effort to recover from its financial downturn, Athens has seen the most significant increase in room rates of 20 per cent, followed by Lisbon at 16 per cent. Copenhagen, which frequently tops the recent must-see lists has seen continued growth in tourism and bed nights coupled with an increase in rates on 14 per cent. Madrid came fourth at eight per cent, closely followed by Dubrovnik at seven per cent and the ever popular Madrid and Paris at three per cent. Nice was the only city which saw a decline in rates of one per cent.

Adriaan Coppens, CEO and founder, OTA Insight, said: “There has been a significant increase in hotel rates across Europe at a time when many would expect hoteliers to reduce prices in an effort to Brexit-proof their revenues. It is encouraging to see that there are still high and increasing visitor numbers of destinations across the continent and in turn hoteliers have the confidence to respond to this continued level of demand with an increase in rates. Hotel rates will inevitably decline in some destinations but overall the outlook for revenues is positive.”

Information is based on median best available rate data pulled for 30 June 2016 vs 30 June 2017, from a sample range of 3, 4 and 5 star hotels in Athens, Lisbon, Copenhagen, Madrid, Dubrovnik, Berlin, Paris and Nice for rates from 13 – 21 August 2016 and 12 – 20 August 2017.

Laurence Llewellyn Bowen turns on hotel Illuminations

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TV personality Laurence Llewellyn Bowen appeared at Blackpool’s Best Western Carlton to pull the lever to switch on the hotel’s curated Illuminations display. The star, who has taken part in the iconic Blackpool switch on for several years, collaborated with the Illuminations team to produce a set of dazzling light sculptures as part of the hotel’s first ever display.

The display marks the first ever time that a Blackpool hotel has taken part in the light show, and the team collaborated with Llewellyn Bowen in the hopes of adding an appropriate personality to the event. Meticulously planned, the project features lamps outside the hotel as well as on the roof, with LED lights shooting pastel colours through the hotel’s fountains.

The event is expected to bring both new and returning customers to the hotel, and the famed interior designer was excited to have been part of creating the spectacle, which is expected to run for the next three years.

“They really want to reflect the heritage and sophistication of Blackpool in the 1930s,” explained Laurence Llewellyn Bowen, according to Hotel Owner. “By delving into the illuminations archive we have been able to take inspiration from wonderful art deco designs.”

Brit List 2017

Brit List 2017 Hoteliers Profiles

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In the coming weeks, Hotel Designs will be profiling the 50 finalists in the HD Brit List 2017 – this week, we continue with five more of the top 25 hoteliers…

ROBIN SHEPPARD – BESPOKE HOTELS
Together with his business partner Haydn Fentum, Robin launched the now supremely successful Bespoke Hotels back in 2001 as a management company, which nowadays comprises more than 170 hotels and 8,000 employees in the UK and abroad.

Given his wealth of experience in the sector, earlier this year, Robin was recognised by the government’s Office for Disability Issues as its ‘Hotel Sector Champion’ – a cause close to his heart; and his tireless commitment to ensuring the hospitality industry continues to improve its approach to access and experiences for disabled guests means he is a worthy winner at this year’s Brit List.

ANDREW THOMASON – GRAVETYE MANOR
Andrew’s culinary beginning in hospitality manifested itself in the running of a number of restaurants in Surrey before entering the hotel business. Andrew credits his four Robin Sheppardyears at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons under Raymond Blanc as Resident Manager with instilling him with a passion for luxury hotels and hospitality. He claims managing Gravetye Manor fulfils his true passion for country house hotels.

This passion for the sector has been vital for Gravetye Manor following its multi-million pound refurbishment programme, and his stewardship has seen the country manor become one of England’s top properties in the sector.

TONY TROY – PRINCIPAL HOTELS
Tony acts as CEO of the Principal Hotel Company, operator of more than 45 hotels throughout the UK under the lifestyle brands of Principal and De Vere. A career hotelier with over 25 years in the industry, Tony has helped shape the UK hospitality landscape from his first management buy-out in 1994 to managing a multi-billion pound capital investment and restructuring programme over the course of the last decade, acquiring some of the industry’s most prominent assets along the way.

Tony’s most recent undertaking, the £200m investment in landmark city and country estate hotels supported by Starwood Capital, a private alternative investment company which manages over $53 billion in assets, ensures the restoration of some of the UK’s finest hotels to their former glory.

ANDREW WILDSMITH – WILDSMITH HOTELS
Andrew made a monumental career change when he swapped the laboratory of a Cambridge-graduate chemist for being a hotelier in the stunning, remote landscapes of the Lake District. Since, he has opened three fantastic properties; Hipping Hall in Kirby Lonsdale, Ryebeck in Bowness-on-Windermere and his latest – Forest Side in Grasmere, which has recently been awarded a Michelin star for its superb dining offering.

Following extensive flooding in the winter of 15/16, Cumbrian tourism took a considerable hit. Its testament to Andrew and his team’s hard work that Wildsmith Hotels is now flourishing and quickly becoming talk of the industry.

SUE WILLIAMS – WHATLEY MANOR
Sue WilliamsSue’s storied career in hospitality has taken in the likes of Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons and Bath Priory – with arguably her finest achievement coming at Cliveden House, turning the fortunes of that Berkshire property around. Now hoping to do the same at the Relais & Chateaux property Whatley Manor, Sue’s passion and energy can already be seen in her short time there.

Here tonight at the Brit List, we honour her continued commitment to nurturing young talent in the hospitality industry with the Ten out of Ten programme, now in its seventh year of giving youths a chance to work at some of the UK’s top hotels.

Hyatt Regency

VIDEO: Hyatt Regency brand celebrates 50th anniversary with a new film

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The Hyatt Regency brand is celebrating its 50th anniversary with the launch of a new film titled, ‘Come Together’.

The film celebrates bringing groups together to build community and share unique ideas, which is exactly what the Hyatt Regency brand has done over the past 50 years. The ‘Come Together’ film is an extension of the recently launched World of Hyatt platform, which is built on a simple belief that a little understanding goes a long way and further underscores the incredible things that happen when groups come together.

Featuring spoken word artist Tarriona “Tank” Ball and directed by award-winning director Simon Benjamin, the “Come Together” film is inspired by the brand’s rich history – in 1967, Hyatt Regency Atlanta was among the first hotels in the city to open its doors to civil rights leaders.

Through her poetic spoken word style, Ball tells the Hyatt Regency brand’s story of understanding with grace and care, while encouraging people to come together to share their ideas and perspectives.

www.hyattregency.com

Sleeping

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.

Soundproofing
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.

SleepingLavender
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

Denise Ellis

In Conversation: Denise Ellis discusses ever-changing hotel design

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Head of interior design and conservation at Nottingham-based Franklin Ellis Architects, Denise Ellis, who has worked with the firm for over 24 years, is a heavyweight in the hotel interior design industry.

Having worked with international brands though to independents including Hilton, DoubleTree by Hilton, Best Western, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express and Staybridge Suites, Denise discusses the ever-changing sector and the changes that influence hotel interior design.


“The hotel sector has changed hugely since I began working for Franklin Ellis Architects. Whilst the firm and I have work on projects across a range of sectors, hotels are 90% of what I do and are my passion. Guests reactions to the interior of a hotel is driven by emotion and having worked on over 25 hotel projects, I have a clear vision of the type of emotions and responses I want to gain from people as they step over the threshold of a hotel for the first time.

“Each project is very different and the hotel industry is an extremely competitive and ever-changing market which means the owners are having to up their game and constantly renew their offering. Over the last 10 years, hotel design has changed considerably and this is down to the wider trends that affect our day to day lives; like how we communicate, how we spend our free time, technology and fashion. For example, you won’t find many (good) hotels that don’t have plenty of power points, phone charge ports and fast Wi-Fi in communal areas.

“Unlike 10 years ago, most hotels, large or small, now strive to offer an intimate setting for its guests. Hotels are looking to create an experience that the customers will enjoy but also remember, so they return. Previously hotels were more of a necessity and while they did of course create spaces guests wanted to be, hotels were more focussed on formality and minimalism.

“Today, most hotels try to create a home-from-home with a level of informality and relaxation to cater to a range of customers and their demands. Brands now have a wider food and drink offer to suit more informed palettes, state of the art gyms and spas are much more common place, more communal areas and break-out spaces have been created for people to work as well as quiet spaces for those who want to read or work in a more private setting.


“Hotels are investing much more than they used to in the restaurants and bars, doing all they can to attract not just guests to eat and drink in the hotel but to also non-guests.

“People expect more from their hotel visits now too, discerning customers like to have something to aspire to for their own homes such as high-end soft furnishing, quirky decoration and cool lighting for example. Hotel interior design must take on the many demands of today’s customers and create spaces that are not only functional but awe-inspiring and memorable.


“My inspiration comes from all around me. I believe the element that makes a hotel unique and interesting is its location and sense of place. I try to make sure that the interior design in some way reflects the community around to create an instant connection. Hotels, including large multi-nationals, are adding elements to the interiors that are relevant to that local are; be it paintings of local landmarks or items that are made locally, hotels want to integrate into its surrounding area and be a part of the local community.

Decorex

Decorex announces seminar programme

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Among the most highly acclaimed features at Decorex International, the UK’s leading destination for interior design, is that of the Seminar Programme.

The much anticipated programme of talks will return to Syon House to offer visitors an extensive series of insightful debates that will explore industry relevant topics through detailed discussions hosted by experts from the world of design. A diverse and dynamic array of design experts join this anniversary year to discuss current trends, projects and predictions as well as share their expertise in the Seminar Theatre.

DecorexHighlights include a discussion on the future of design by acclaimed stylist Emilio Pimentel-Reid, Francis Sultana and Kirstie Carey from Cole & Son and on designing for the millennial with multi-award winning Afroditi Krassa. A session on taking your brand global heads Monday’s line up featuring panelists Nina Campbell, Katharine Pooley, Sophie Ashby, Natalia Miyar. Acclaimed interior designer Shalini Misra will be discussing using art within interior design. Discussing modelling a business for design will be panelists Charles Leon, Anna Burles and Lambert and Browne’s Freddy Van Zevenbergen. Design faux pas will be settled once and for all in the much anticipated Design Room 101 with an expert panel including interior designers Simon Hamilton, Sue Timney and Joanna Wood.

For those passionate about interior design or those launching their own successful business Polly Williams, the Designers’ Advisor at the award-winning Camberyard, will host a panel talk along with designers Ana Azevedo, Kay Westmaas, Emma Hooton and Robin Sprong offering expert industry mentoring and advice to interior design professionals. With 12 years of expertly honed knowledge advising an interior design studio Polly will lead the discussion offering key business and marketing strategies for establishing and running your own interiors business.

For colour trends, don’t miss the discussion with ColourHive. Sophie Conran, Beata Heuman, Kim Kuhteubl and Farrow and Ball’s Joe Studholme will partake in a candid charrette about vision, communication and business strategy with women in design Other design sessions include a conversation between designers Martin Hulbert and Jay Grierson with Carole Annett as well as a discussion with leading interior designer Guy Oliver.

To see the full Seminar Programme, visit the Decorex website.

Airbnb

Opinion: NYC’s mistake in attacking Airbnb

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According to reports in the United States, New York’s hotel industry is about to start playing dirty – very dirty – in their battle against the highly successful lodging company Airbnb.

In an advertisement scheduled to run starting on Monday (7th August), funded by the Hotel Association of New York City and a hotel workers union, concerns are raised over links between ‘security’ and the wildly popular home-sharing site. There’s even a reference to the Manchester bombing perpetrator Salman Abedi, and his use of a short-term rental apartment – even though it had not been booked through Airbnb.

Scaremongering text and images are used, including the phrase ‘Are you at risk?’, and lists a phone number to register complaints against the company with a message to ‘stand up for NY’s safety and security.’

Speaking to the New York Daily News, Airbnb spokesman Peter Schottenfels called the ad “an outrageous scare tactic by big hotels who themselves have a long history of lodging people who engage in acts of terror.” He then cited 9/11 and the 2015 Paris attacks, both carried out by attackers who stayed in hotels.

“The fact is Airbnb had nothing to do with the tragic events in Manchester and we are one of the only hospitality companies that runs background checks on all US residents, both hosts and guests,” Schottenfels adds.

Shots fired.

So why are hotels becoming increasingly paranoiac of Airbnb? It’s no secret that the rate of leisure travellers using private accommodation was up a third last year from 2011 and that Airbnb is encroaching on hotels’ bread-and-butter market of business travellers with each passing year.

But these sort of low-blow, questionable advertising campaigns are not the answer for hotel groups. They need to take the game to Airbnb – an ‘if you can’t beat them, join them’ sort of mentality. Whilst Marriott has had a grip on the shared, long-stay market for a while, more and more groups are breaking into this sector and will need to continue growing this portfolio in a bid to compete.

Moreover, the success of Airbnb has come in part through its readiness to engage and instant connection with the so-called ‘millennial’ market. Less uniformity in design, an emphasis on communal spaces, reflection of the locale, embracing ever-changing technology – all of these things inherent in the Airbnb ethos, hotels are now having to play catch-up and are getting better at doing so, albeit slowly. Now that social media is here to stay, it’s one of the most powerful tools at hoteliers’ disposal but it must be about ‘positive engagement’ with consumers – something this advertising campaign will certainly not engender.

Furthermore, the rates of Airbnb has made the hotel industry take an inward look at itself about how it has priced a considerable number of people away from its products, which is why we are seeing a host of ‘budget’ or ‘economy’ brands popping up within hotel groups’ offering. If you don’t want people to use Airbnb, you have to offer a similarly-priced alternative that ticks all the boxes in terms of the things mentioned above.

The steps the hotel industry has taken in the last decade since the dawn of Airbnb has been fascinating to witness and many of the innovations, perhaps spurred on by the demands of consumers loyal to the home-sharing concept, probably have Airbnb to thank for introducing them. This is a much better approach for the industry to take. Smear campaigns based in half-truths and playing on fears is not the right approach and makes the industry look desperate. Airbnb and its ilk are here to stay, the hotel industry needs to learn to live with and compete to win the hearts and minds of the next generation of traveller.

British Hospitality Association responds to UK's EU migrants policy

British Hospitality Association responds to UK’s EU migrants policy

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The British Hospitality Association (BHA) has released a response to Theresa May and the government’s plans to ‘assess the economic contribution of EU migrants’ in the UK.

The Home Office launched an independent review into the impact of EU migrants on the UK economy after suggestions that new rules could be made for different industries.

Ufi Ibrahim, chief executive of the British Hospitality Association, said: “Over 700,000 Europeans work in hospitality and tourism and although we are determined to rely less on EU service workers over the coming years it will take time. In March KPMG published a report, commissioned by the BHA, which showed that in the event of free movement ending and no successor regime being put in its place the industry would need to recruit an additional 65,000 UK workers each year in addition to the ongoing recruitment of 200,000 workers to replace churn and to power growth.

“Our industry recognises that immigration policy needs to change however at a time when unemployment is at its lowest since 1975 we will still need access to the European workforce.

“The BHA has been campaigning for several months for an enlarged role of the Migration Advisory Committee and welcome the government commissioning the MAC to undertake a detailed study on EU workers with businesses throughout the country. We believe this should go further and the MAC should advise government on the number of visas for all strategically important sectors including hospitality and tourism, the fourth largest industry in the UK. Britain needs services workers as well as scientists and engineers and we look forward to having a serious dialogue with the Home Secretary as we get into the detail of a new immigration law,” she added.

trivago

trivago providing hoteliers with travel demand data, over 5 billion room rates

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trivago has now made over 5 billion room rates visible to hoteliers around the world. With its new Rate Insights feature, trivago grants hoteliers access to an unbiased and comprehensive set of data on traveller demand and competitor prices, enabling them to compare room rates from over 250 booking sites as well as official hotel websites on a single dashboard.

Through Rate Insights, which is part of the complete metasearch marketing solution trivago Hotel Manager PRO, trivago is empowering hoteliers to establish competitive pricing strategies.

trivago Business Intelligence data reveals that independent hotels visible on trivago have on average 8,000 rates online a year. Johannes Thomas, Chief Revenue Officer and Managing Director at trivago, said: “We understood how difficult it is for hoteliers to find, monitor, and analyse competitor room rates across hundreds of booking sites.”

He added: “We were quick to realise that the price comparison data we provide to travellers is equally valuable for hoteliers. Therefore, we created a rate shopper that gives hoteliers easy and actionable access to this data, as well as data on traveller search volume that reveals fluctuations in demand. No other rate shopper has this combination of data in this amount and with this granularity.”

Instead of gathering data from just a few booking sites, Rate Insights aggregates rates from over 250 websites and makes it easy for hoteliers to compare them by room type and other variables. It also enables hoteliers to respond quickly to changes in the market and anticipate what upcoming local events can be leveraged to boost RevPAR. Hoteliers overcome the time-consuming challenge of monitoring the market, their competitors’ prices, and their own. They know when and by how much to adjust their direct rates and all those listed with OTA partners to stay competitive online.

“With the Rate Insights feature we’re able to see our competitors’ prices and position ourselves in the market. And the statistics are beneficial when there are sudden changes in the market and we need to adapt accordingly,” said Maximilian Kaufmann, Managing Director, Hotel Alte Krone, Kleinwalsertal, Austria

Utilising data is becoming more and more crucial in making decisions that will lay the foundation for future success. By displaying its rate and traveller demand data on a single dashboard with simple analytics, trivago has made it easier for hoteliers to access, understand, and act on data to increase their competitiveness online.

For more information, click here… 

Shalini Misra to design Champagne Bar at Decorex 2017

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Decorex has an international reputation for showcasing luxury products, so it should come as no surprise that top designer, Shalina Misra, was handpicked to design the show-stopping centerpiece of the exhibition: The Champagne Bar.

Decorex Champange Bar to be designed by Shalini Misra

Inspired by the Great Exhibition of 1851
Misra’s Champagne Bar will take pride of place at the center of this year’s 40th Anniversary Decorex. Misra has based her design on the Great Exhibition of 1851, which has proven to be an inspirational choice.

The 1851 Great Exhibition held in Crystal Palace was undeniably magnificent. Paintings of the time show how the designers of the day created an awe-inspiring glass conservatory, which soon became known as the Crystal Palace. The enormous glass structure was large enough to accommodate full-size trees, as well as hundreds of Victorian inventions and other marvels of the time.

Crystal Palace Inspired Champagne Bar
The original Crystal Palace was disassembled following the exhibition and moved to Sydenham Hill, where it eventually burned down in 1936. Luckily, we have numerous paintings that illustrate how impressive the structure was and Shalina Misra has used these, along with drawings and prints, as her creative inspiration.

Since Decorex International is synonymous with luxury, this year’s design for the Champagne Bar needed to reflect this. Misra understands this perfectly. She has created a hexagonal central bar with four sweeping roof structures, which are highly reminiscent of the 1851 Crystal Palace that welcomed millions of people back in its heyday.

Victoriana Design Influences
A dramatic central canopy hangs over the central bar, which features plenty of ironwork detailing and backlighting. The Victorian Age is linked to the Industrial Revolution, so metal is an apt choice of material. In 1851, the rail network was in an expansion stage and many visitors to the Great Exhibition arrived via train. Misra has incorporated Victorian motifs and detailing into her overall design, along with a decadent color palette that harks back to the 19th century.

Opulent Fabrics and Relaxing Décor
Inside the Champagne Bar, you will find plenty of opulent fabrics, including rich velvets, decorative screens, and potted palms. It’s the perfect place to enjoy a glass of champagne while exploring the Decorex exhibition.

Misra describes her design as “…a contemporary interpretation of a glasshouse infused with graphic pattern, luxe detailing and curiosities.”

An Award-Winning Design Portfolio
Of course, design enthusiasts will know that Shalina Misra is no stranger to masterful, contemporary designs. Her award-winning design practice was first established in 1996 and has since been responsible for a diverse range of projects in London, Delhi, New York, and Dubai. She is well known for her timeless interiors and functional spaces that are full of character and creativity. In fact, Shalina Misra regularly collaborates with many of the world’s leading craftsmen and women, artists, and antique experts to pull together her amazing designs.

The Decorex Champagne Bar is a prestigious design commission and previous creators include the Martin Brudnizki Design Studio, Martin Hulbert Design, and Russell Sage.

Hotel Designs partners with Decorex International for second consecutive year

Decorex 2017: Celebrating 40 years of ‘exceptional design’

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Decorex, the UK’s leading destination for interior design, will take place this September as the opening destination of the London Design Festival celebrating 40 years of design. Many of this year’s talented exhibitors, both established and emerging, have reason to celebrate alongside Decorex with anniversaries ranging from a successful first year of trading to over two centuries of design practice.

Manufactured in Britain since 1877, Lincrusta continues to make its deeply embossed wallcoverings in the UK and this year will be celebrating its 140th anniversary. With heritage skills and crafts that have stood the test of time, the brand is highly desired and admired across the world to this day. From the White House to the Titanic, Lincrusta has graced the walls of some of the world’s most iconic interiors and continues to enhance the walls of the most desirable addresses the world over.

Formed in the late 1980s, Lutyens Furniture & Lighting will celebrate 30 years of quality design at this year’s Decorex. Leading the way in bespoke reproductions of the furniture and lighting designs of Sir Edwin Lutyens, they specialize in fully bespoke and made to order pieces and are increasingly adapting their range by standardising some of Edwin’s own designs, developing a broader portfolio of new designs and moving into both accessories and new materials.

Decorex 2017: Celebrating 40 years of 'exceptional design'
Emerging brand and Manchester based bespoke design studio, BOBO1325 specialises in creating contemporary patterns for home and interior decoration and will be celebrating their first year of trading with their latest collection of bright, playful prints for wallcoverings and textiles. Expect tropical tones, floral motifs and intricate illustrations.

To mark a decade of exhibiting at Decorex, Hyde House bespoke furniture will launch a brand new and exclusive collection at this year’s edition. To celebrate this landmark occasion, three leading interior designers, Staffan Tollgard, Laura Hammett and Chris Dezille, have been invited to create a piece of furniture in their patented and trademarked specialist resin finishing system, Resinate, which will be showcased for the first time at Decorex.

Sofa & Chair Company will present their newest collections at Decorex to celebrate their 15th anniversary. Known for offering a tailored service, the brand creates handmade upholstered furniture for trade and retail, alongside bespoke interior pieces. See their latest pieces including the Sophia sofa from the New Feminine line, their Ottoman with peacock feather motifs and the curvy Mouna sofa attracts attention with its rich, luscious green tones.

For artist turned designer Susi Bellamy, it’s been just two years since she first launched her cushion collection to great success. With artwork based on the landscape and inspired by nature, still-life photos and abstract landscapes provide the backdrop for Susi’s luxurious velvet cushions. This year will mark another milestone for Susi as debuts her first wallpaper and fabrics at the show.


Leading the way in creative floor solutions since it was founded in 1986, Crucial Trading will celebrate 30 years of designing and manufacturing in-house innovative flooring and textiles at this year’s show. Remaining true to its heritage, Crucial Trading relies on artisanal craftsmanship to continuously explore new weaves, textures and patterns using 100% natural materials.

To celebrate their 5th birthday, Jennifer Manners Design will debut their first collaboration with luxury silk bedding company, Gingerlily. Bringing the outside in, Jennifer is inspired by nature in her latest ‘Stone Collection’ with a nod to quartz, marble, morganite, travertine, granite and other previous materials. Each collection pairs tactile materials with elegant twists – think metallics and velvets coupled with rich textured wool and lustrous bamboo silks.

One of the world’s most respected fused glass designers, Jo Downs will showcase her instantly recognisable collections in a celebration of 21 years of business. Expect a vibrant and stimulating body of work featuring a new lighting range with Jo’s signature patterns and colours, in addition to bright and bold glass finish installations, which will be flanked by illuminated samples for bespoke pieces.

Family-run business, Knots Rugs, who specialise in exquisite, hand-knotted floor coverings, will be marking its 10th anniversary by collaborating with three preeminent artists in the UK – Michal Cole, Arthur Lanyon and George Marton-Clark – on a series of abstract carpets that marry age-old production techniques with contemporary art. The new range will be unveiled at this year’s Decorex.

Social enterprise Fine Cell Work, is celebrating 20 years. Known for its needlework projects, it has created heritage pieces for the likes of the V&A, English Heritage, HRH Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall. This year its Founding Director, Katy Emck, was awarded an OBE in the 2017 New Year’s Honours list. The charity has become a national brand for top quality products handmade in British prisons and will be presenting its latest designs at Decorex.

www.decorex.com

100% Design

100% Design announces Kitchens & Bathrooms and Design & Build brands

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100% Design, the UK’s largest design trade show, returns to Olympia London from 20-23 September. Taking place in the burgeoning design district of West Kensington over four days, 100% Design showcases leading national and international exhibitors, many of whom will be launching new products at the show.

Split into five sections, the show presents products across Interiors, Workplace, Kitchens & Bathrooms, Design & Build and Emerging Brands. With a combined spending power in excess of £3.9 billion, the show provides an unrivalled business experience for architects, interior designers and other design and construction specialists. Attracting more than 27,000 professional visitors, 2017 marks 23 years of London’s iconic design show.

100% Design
For this year’s edition 100% Design hosts Dealer Day, a professional programme of networking, seminars and talks for this influential design community.

100% Design

Ceramics feature heavily across both the Design & Build and Kitchen & Bathroom show sections, whether it’s in the form of new flooring ranges from Grestec Tiles, a Portuguese ceramics showcase from Apicer, or Concrete LCDA’s concrete for interior architecture.

Many exhibitors are utilising natural materials in response to growing demand for homes and buildings that demonstrate harmony with the natural world. Design & Build exhibitor Mobilane UK will show their ranges of living walls, while in Kitchens & Bathrooms, Esthec Terrace will launch a 100% recyclable and sustainable terrace system at the show.

www.100percentdesign.co.uk

Brexit is impacting the hospitality industry, so says HBAA

Brexit A Year On: UKinbound demands ‘tourism priority’ in EU negotiations

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A UK trade association has called for the new government to review its approach and consider the importance of tourism to the country in the upcoming Brexit negotiations.

UKinbound says the general election results show that the electorate has rejected Theresa May and the Conservative’s vision of a ‘hard Brexit’.

The travel group is calling on any potential government formed by the Conservatives and Northern Ireland’s DUP to implement a strong sector deal and visa reforms, after 75% of its members stated these as the most important issues in one of its surveys.

UKinbound’s chief executive officer Deirdre Wells, said: “The general election result clearly shows that the electorate is against a hard Brexit, and so is the UK inbound tourism industry. Our members are calling for a continued strong relationship with the EU and the implementation of a sector deal that addresses issues such as the Customs Union, Open Skies Agreement and residency rights for EU workers. For inbound tourism to prosper long-term we need the Conservatives and DUP to champion our industry.”

With negotiations scheduled to begin next week, UKinbound wants to remind the government that the UK’s tourism industry employs more than three million people across the country and in 2016 was responsible for contributing over £22 billion annually to the UK economy.

UKinbound wants the Government to address the following points during Brexit negotiations:
• An immigration system flexible to business needs – residency rights for EU workers
• Continued access to the Open Skies Agreement
• Visa-free travel between the UK and the EU
• A strong narrative promoting the UK as a welcoming destination

Guest Blog: Rob Sykes on the future of hotel design

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As the global hospitality marketplace evolves and travelers’ preferences shift, what are the future trends that hotel designers need to anticipate? And how can we be visionary in our approach to each and every assignment? Rob Skyes, senior associate WATG shares his thoughts…

Our industry constantly yearns for innovation, with each hotel brand and independent operator seeking ways in which they can differentiate themselves to gain their own unique space in a very crowded marketplace. However, ‘out of the box’ thinking must always be balanced with economic pragmatism. Ultimately, hotels, as a real estate asset class, are challenging. Any investment risk must be justified by the requisite financial rewards.

Hospitality industry experts first started talking about brand proliferation in the mid-1990s. Over the years, we have seen a torrent on independent innovators and brand extensions from the major operators. Indeed, today, the big six hotel companies hold an incredible 90 brands between them. With such saturation in the marketplace, our clients are asking us one key question: How can we differentiate to get ahead?

Future of hotel designTrends of the last five years include themes such as the rise of ‘localised’ design, trendy independent ‘lifestyle’ hotels and animated public areas. But what concepts are currently on our drawing boards at integrated hospitality design firm, WATG, that will be entering the market in the next few years?

Hospitality trends and influences: A healthy obsession Across the generations we have become preoccupied with our personal wellbeing – boomers strive to hold back the ravages of time, millennials aim to optimise their personal fitness. Our lives are jam-packed with wearables, apps, healthy-eating blogs, fitness mash-ups and endless pop-ups to lure us into the belief that if we become disciples we can live forever.

Rob SykesYet, the hotel sector, with a few notable exceptions, lags behind such innovations. Hotel fitness facilities remain largely traditional in nature. This has to change. That said, we do have some interesting brand combos and extensions happening. Equinox, the high end fitness operator is moving boldly into the hotel arena with its first property opening in New York in 2018. Likewise, 1 Hotel Miami Beach has teamed up with Soul Cycle to offer popular spin classes’ at the hotel.

But as consumers demand more bespoke fitness and wellness routines and a more experiential approach to the tedium of exercise, hotels and resorts will need to become more experimental and absorb some of the entrepreneurial ideas spinning around the fitness and beauty market.

We do not see a future of robot services and virtual reality experiences. Technology is expensive and quickly becomes dated. First-class hospitality will always require the ‘human touch’. Particularly true of resorts, consumers will increasingly seek to reconnect with nature, spend quality time with loved ones and return to ‘the simple life’. These principles are driving our designs of late; a return to analogue rather than digital. That said, there will of course be ways to utilize technology to enhance the guest experience. But we see these as subtle touches, rather than drastic interventions.

Future of hotel designWe experience ever-growing pressure, from both developers and consumers, for environmentally responsible and ‘resilient’ hotels and resorts. Many land owners we work with have a genuine commitment to stewardship, and we see this as integral to the enduring success of a project. Therefore, we must stay ahead of the curve regarding new construction techniques, the create reuse or ‘up-cycling’ of materials, and landscape design innovations that will help us deliver low-impact, yet beautiful hotels. In essence, we see our role as a master-craftsman of destinations, rather than ‘just another design firm’.

The trend away from the cookie-cutter hotel experience will gather pace. Developers will progressively ask us to define niche hospitality concepts. These will be bespoke to the demands of very specific and evolving target markets. Design concepts will focus increasingly on generational consumer and technology trends and the nuances in habits of specific geographic source markets. Unique, tailored hotel concepts tend to gain industrywide attention and despite their targeted strategy, often end up as part of the mainstream.

Rob Sykes is a Senior Associate on the global strategy team with WATG.  This article consolidates the thinking of WATG’s design teams in London and Singapore, covering architecture, interior design and landscape. WATG designers Tony Menezes, Kevin Scholl, Nicole Hammond, John Paul Pederson, John Goldwyn, Edouard Gillon, Christine McGinnis, and Tom Williams took part in the two cross-functional working groups, along with Rob Sykes.

About WATG
WATG is a leading integrated design firm, ranked second in the world among hotel architectural firms. WATG’s interior design firm, Wimberly Interiors, was ranked 10th by Interior Design Magazine in their 2016 Hospitality Giants survey.

HBAA serviced apartments industry spotlight

Opinion: HBAA profiles the growing Serviced Apartment sector

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The Alternative Accommodation Committee held its first educational event last week at the Park Regis, Birmingham. The event was well attended by 30 agents and 10 suppliers.

Erica Livermore, Alternative Accommodation Chair said: “This was an important event for us, it served to highlight the importance of a growing sector in hospitality and hopefully enlighten both agents and venues on the various buying behaviours and requirements by our corporate clients.”

The event took the form of a panel discussion, included in the panel were; Alex Neale, Head Account Manager for SilverDoor, Gavin Bailey, Operations Director for City Suits and Amy Chapman who is a Senior buyer for Siemens.

Chapman began buy detailing the main benefits for choosing this type of accommodation: “It has the comforts of home but with Hotel touches and flexibility on tenancy.” She went to explain that for long projects their teams need a ‘Home from Home’ base; “guests need a freedom to have a normal life while they are away from home, the ability to cook and relax in a home environment but with services available if needed, like a gym or laundry service.”

Neale explained for SilverDoor their typical users are those relocating, theatre workers, construction, IT, with an average stay of 2 months, he said: “Corporates are really starting to think about wellbeing much more and where there is a stay that is deemed too long to be comfortable in a Hotel and where there is a benefit to looking after yourself the Serviced Apartment is a clear choice”.

Bailey also highlighted the mix of clients, from pure leisure to those on very short projects. City Suites consciously put a minimum 4 night stay into their apartments and Bailey said: “The serviced apartment is a good all round product offering flexibility, short lead bookings, ease of use and transparency of billing”.

As a senior buying Chapman explained: “With serviced apartments we see quality and added value with a high level of service and better rates, we have seen up to 50% savings over hotel stays”. The panel inevitably was questioned over the Airbnb effect and what if any competition this brings to the sector, Chapman responded: “Health and Safety aspects and a record of where and how people are is key to us, we are asking ourselves the question about Airbnb but it’s how we make this work with these fundamental issues.”

Neal responded by saying: “You have on one hand the rigid fully-serviced Hotel product, then on the other someone’s house on Airbnb and sitting in the middle you have the Serviced Apartment with all the home comforts, services, quality assured and Health and Safety checked.”

Top Tips from the panellists were:
– Communication across all parties to ensure the briefs and needs are fully understood.
– Flexibility from both suppliers and agents, appreciating that corporates can’t always be tied into onerous contracts and that ‘one solution fits all’ is no longer viable.
– Choice and understanding the client’s needs, they are forever changing and any type of facility needs to be explored and presented back, the agent support in this area is vital.

Livermore concluded the lively discussion by thanking the panel and taking questions from the floor. She said “The HBAA is really delighted to be having these kind of educational discussions that certainly help us all understand our changing market place much better and in the end helps us give a better service to our clients”.

www.hbaa.org.uk

Faux Creation - Viero

Client Spotlight: Viero UK’s work with Faux Creation

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It’s time for another edition of Viero’s ‘meet the clients’ feature where we enter into the inspiring world of our good friends at Faux Creation.

Led by Jason Ebers, a well-respected artisan in the specialist decoration community for his application, professionalism and fresh perspective on old world techniques, his team offers great creative input into Viero UK’s business.

While based in New York City, Jason spent a number of years working and training with his friend and mentor, the world-renowned artisan Pierre Finkelstein.

We spent time with Jason and his team at their studio in Cambridgeshire to find out more about Faux Creation and their partnership with us.

Q. Tell us a bit more about your business…
A. Specialist decoration is our core business. We are able to offer our clients fully-serviced solutions, delivering both interior and exterior surface finishes using plaster and paint. The business was formed in the late 1990s and operated for many years out of New York and often involved projects globally. It was around 2008 that I focused on moving back to the UK with my family and trying to tap into the design market here. Now, we have a creative studio in Cambridgeshire with lots of painting projects, historic renovation work and a route into London’s design market.

Faux Creation - VieroQ. What projects are you working on at the moment?
A. Our business spans across a wide range of high-end commercial and residential buildings. We work hard to create incredibly unique surface designs for creative agencies. I truly believe that the UK is a fantastic hub for creative talent and that’s very much the circles we like to move in and work within. To pick out a specific project, we recently completed a job at a 17th century manor house. When we arrived, we were faced with all kinds of decorative issues. As a result, we set about a journey to peel back all the masonry and concrete elements and use more breathable lime-based products to restore the finishes. For us, this job was a real noble calling. The work we have done will last through our lifetime and this is truly inspiring.

Faux Creation - VieroWhat do you like about working with Viero UK?
A.We first met Chris and Peter at a Decorex exhibition around three years ago and right from the off they were both very personable. Viero as a global business has a big corporate structure, but these guys bring a family feel to how it works on a day-to-day basis. The support service really is second to none. As for the Viero UK products, they give us a creative toolkit to create unique surface designs. The possibilities are fantastic and we keep finding new, unique characteristics in the products every day. They offer us the scope to imagine and create. In our creative studio, we love to get our hands dirty, work with the products and discover new possibilities. You learn as you use the products and taking time away to work with the products is when the magic really happens.

Q. What do you think the future holds for your business and the surface design industry?
A. From a business point of view, we will be concentrating on developing the full-service element of our offering and creating more cutting edge design for the market. These are the kinds of projects that really excite us in a professional sense. I believe the industry is going in a fascinating direction with some sophisticated, softer surface designs. It’s important we always keep in touch with the changing trends.

www.viero.co.uk

Artificial Intelligence in hospitality industry

Opinion: How Artificial Intelligence will change the hospitality industry

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Michael Toedt, Managing Partner and CEO at TS&C GmbH talks about a fascinating and at the same time scary topic entering our working world: Artificial Intelligence (AI). Many industries are already looking for ways to apply AI. So far, not much activity can be seen in the hospitality industry…

More Individuality through Big Data
Artificial Intelligence is a key element of Big Data – also called the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The rational behind is simple and complex at the same time: to find out as much as possible about a customer by using comprehensive data management to then use the insights in order to meet the customer’s individual needs. Big Bata stands for individuality. The essential resource is data – huge amounts of data. The maxim is the more data, the better.

Machine Learning is an aspect of Artificial Intelligence, which generates valuable information from more or less useless data. Systems like the Profile Engine by dailypoint™ help to draw conclusions from each booking, each click and each movement. This helps hoteliers to create a constantly growing and learning centralized guest profile.

Central Data Management is the Key
The prerequisite for Machine Learning is a centralized system, where all relevant data streams are linked and the data is stored. Many hotels still use isolated solutions without sufficient linkage, which prevents valuable use of the available data. The constantly growing flood of data can only be leveraged when using a CDM (Central Data Management), which is the consequent evolution of a modern CRM.

Machine Learning helps to create a comprehensive guest profile, which can be used to create a unique customer journey and guest experience. Modern consumers expect tailor-made solutions at all touch points – from the first contact to the proposal, during the actual stay and in CRM. To live ones individuality and to make personalized experiences is the new luxury. This is also valid for hotel stays. The better you know your customer, the better you can adapt your offering and personalize the guest experience.

Mass Commodity Products are passé
Such a comprehensive knowledge base can only be created with the support of Machine Learning. The goal is to create unique experiences for all your customers and not just a few! This will give you a clear competitive advantage and will show in positive economic results. Also mass commodity hotel products are passé. It makes no longer sense to gain information about the guest by observation and manual processing of the gained information. Questionnaires or observations are outdated; new approaches using the new technology can bring much more information. Hoteliers will know more about their guests than ever before, more than most people can imagine today. The information just needs to be used in a creative and targeted manner.

The intelligent hotel
Intelligent hotels, where all data streams are linked, are the future. In an intelligent hotel all systems are interlinked, similar to an organism where everything is connected and supplied through veins and arteries. The Internet of Things (IoT) will help to further develop the personalized guest experience. The connection of room control, motion sensors, the integrated TV and voice control systems, such as Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri or Microsoft’s Cortana are developments which will also impact the hospitality industry.

We are facing quite some changes and it’s wise to face them, as this is only the beginning of a huge change process.

Brexit is impacting the hospitality industry

Opinion: HBAA – ‘Brexit is having impact on hospitality industry’

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Just over half (52 per cent) of hotels, conference venues and booking agencies say that Brexit has had a noticeable impact on their businesses, with 7 per cent saying that it has had a major effect.

These are among the key findings of a survey of Hospitality Booking Agents Association (HBAA) members in the run up to the first anniversary of the referendum on European Union membership. The survey also found that 20 per cent of members felt that Brexit had had an impact on their ability to recruit staff while 80 per cent said that it had not had any effect.

Observations from members as they completed the survey give interesting insights into where the impact has been seen. They reveal a range of different issues and both positive and negative results.

HBAA logoDiane Waldron of the QEII Centre in London said; “We have seen an increase in enquiries from international clients as London has become a more affordable destination for their events.” LaiHa Diamond from the Kingsway Hall Hotel echoed this, reporting an increase in business from the USA, as did Jonathan Byrne of the Royal Foundation of St Katherine, also in London, attributing extra business from Europe to the weakness of the pound.

Hotel and venue members outside London did not report such benefits from the exchange rate. Instead several said that it had increased the costs of imported food and beverages. Giving an agency perspective, Penny Banyard of First Choice Conferences & Events reflected the views of many members by saying “Clients are much more cautious.”

Recruitment
Looking at the recruitment aspect, Sally Raith-Riches of Foxhills Country Club & Resort said; “If we can’t recruit from Europe across our Food and Beverage departments this will have a severe impact. But until this is confirmed we will continue with business as usual.” However Rajesh Vohra of Sarova Hotels commented: “Recruitment was a problem area before Brexit, but now it is a major issue, and it is getting materially worse by the day.” Philip Allsopp of Lea Marston Hotels also noted; “Recruitment has been difficult for many years, I think the Brexit debate is masking the problem. We need to look at more creative ways to engage people to want to work in our industry.”

The survey then asked whether members expected to change their recruitment policy in the near future. 12 per cent said they would while 88 per cent replied “No.”

Brexit is impacting the hospitality industry, so says HBAA

Brexit is impacting the hospitality industry, so says HBAA

However, looking further ahead, Mark Jones of Wyboston Lakes commented; “Whilst we have not experienced any notable changes to date, we expect recruitment to become tougher as we end 2018 and enter 2019. At that time we do expect that recruitment policies will have to change and anticipate that if we are to continue attracting sufficient talent from the UK and worldwide, we will have to provide accommodation to facilitate this.”

Summing up the overall viewpoint, several members including Sean Philby of Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group and Marc Webster of Jury’s Inn said that it is too early to know the impact of Brexit as most of the trends so far may be short term and not exclusively attributable to Brexit. Only once the post Article 50 negotiations have progressed will the effect be clearer. Louise Goalen, HBAA Chair and MD of Bela Events commented; “We all have our own different experiences and opinions about the impact of Brexit so it is valuable to have an industry wide ‘snapshot’ with which to benchmark them and to provide an overall view. As our members say, it is early days and the variety of impact even seems to vary regionally. It will be very interesting to ask again them a year and two years from now.”

www.hbaa.org.uk

Brit List

Everything you need to know about Brit List 2017

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Hotel Designs is producing the Brit List 2017, a celebration of the country’s most inspirational and influential hoteliers and designers.

The full Hotel Designs Brit List will be revealed via a glossy print publication this summer, with a party to celebrate the List taking place at Urban Coterie, London on Wednesday July 12th.

We’ve been asking our readers to select who they think should be included in the UK’s top 25 hoteliers and 25 leading design professionals – to nominate those they think are deserving of recognition in both fields. You can also do the same by simply emailing Hotel Designs editor Daniel Fountain via d.fountain@forumevents.co.uk briefly explaining why an individual should be considered for the Brit List. We will follow up with a request for more information at a later date. You can nominate yourself, a peer, a client or even a competitor.

The Hotel Designs Brit List glossy publication will feature profiles of all 50 winners. There are a limited number of advertising and sponsorship opportunities available for this prestigious and influential publication – for more details contact Jennie Lane on j.lane@forumevents.co.uk, or call 01992 374098.

Salone del Mobile

Salone del Mobile Milano at the centre of the creative world

1000 481 Daniel Fountain

“A stand-alone moment at which culture and industry become an international benchmark and an exemplary model for an Italy that works. It’s been an exciting week, full of positivity and enthusiasm from the companies, which showed themselves off to best advantage, from the creative genius displayed by the architects and designers and from the huge numbers of visitors who flocked to Milan to check out the latest innovations at the Salone and experience the buzz of the city”, said Claudio Luti, President of the Salone del Mobile, as the event closed.

343,602 attendees in 6 days from 165 countries
The figures confirm the positive trend evidenced in the Salone del Mobile and the biennial Euroluce and Workplace3.0 pavilions right from the off, marking a 10% increase on the 2015 edition, the last time the lighting and workplace biennials were held.

The results are further confirmation of Italian President Sergio Mattarella’s remarks when opening the 56th edition for the first time in the history of the Salone del Mobile: “This is not merely a display of exhibits, but also of a business culture that symbolises a method of working together with a particular approach to modern manufacturing.”

Salone del MobileMore than 2,000 exhibitors overall, 34% of them from other countries, were split between the Salone Internazionale del Mobile, the International Furnishing Accessories Exhibition, Euroluce, Workplace3.0 and SaloneSatellite. This edition has served more than ever to underscore the Salone’s powerful synergy with the city of Milan.

Salone president Claudio Luti went on to say: “Enormous numbers of visitors, not necessarily with links to design, have made their way to Milan to experience the thrill of this Salone and of the city itself. Thanks to the collaboration of all the institutions working in the city, Milan has been even more beautiful and welcoming than ever. Milan alone can lay claim to the Salone del Mobile and its industrial enterprises with their links to the creative and publishing world and close ties to the city.”

Salone del MobileThis last edition marked the 20th anniversary of SaloneSatellite, in which more than 650 designers and 16 design schools took part, further celebrated by a special exhibition at the Fabbrica del Vapore, which runs until 25th April.

Salone del MobileThe next edition of the Salone, along with the biennial Bathroom, Kitchen and FTK (Technology For the Kitchen) exhibitions, will be held from 17th to 22nd April 2018, in Milan.

Susan Bland - Redefine|BDL

Opinion: ‘Redefine|BDL Hotels will embrace new apprenticeship levy’

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The complexities of the newly-introduced apprenticeship levy shouldn’t detract from the fact that, with careful planning, it can help drive productivity and close the skills gap across the UK, says Redefine|BDL Hotels’ (RBH) Chief Human Resources Officer, Susan Bland.

The UK’s leading independent hotel management group has an expert team of over 110 hotel specialists based in offices in London, Glasgow and Frankfurt – while its portfolio of more than 50 properties unites over 3,000 hotel rooms in the UK alone.

With the apprenticeship levy now in force, RBH and its hotels will contribute more than £75,000 per year to the accounts used to fund apprenticeships across the country.

Susan, who chairs the Hotel Employers Group (HEG) – which represents the majority of the UK hotel industry’s biggest businesses – says that RBH will not simply focus on the levy.

She said: “It’s easy to overlook the fact that 6 April represented a complete overhaul of how apprenticeships in the UK are structured and delivered – not just the introduction of the levy. The latter has become something of a focal point because of the financial implications, but at RBH we are focusing on the bigger picture.

“We have re-structured our existing apprenticeship programme to aim specifically at Level 2 Commis Chef, Level 2 Hospitality Team Member and Level 3 Hospitality Team Leader, in order to help tackle the existing skills shortage for chefs, and to strengthen our pipeline of skilled team members and leaders.”

While the introduction of the new apprenticeship standards, and the levy as a means to fund apprenticeship programmes, have the potential to tackle skills shortages – and drive productivity – Susan warns that businesses will need to revise their recruitment practices to attract a more diverse group of prospective apprentices.

She continued: “Feedback on previous apprenticeships from some employers has been less than favourable but, as the new standards are far more straightforward and stipulate a 12-month minimum learning term followed by a rigorous assessment process, I believe they should result in better trained, more confident, work-ready apprentices ready to step into permanent positions.”

RBH currently has 18 apprentices, with a further 74 having completed qualifications since the beginning of 2016 which have been delivered in conjunction with specialist training partner, Lifetime Training.

The company aims to take on 50 new apprentices by the end of 2018. In putting these new apprentices through their paces, RBH’s internal learning and development programmes can now be mapped against the new standards, with Lifetime Training taking the lead on the remaining areas and the final assessment.

Setting new targets and making the most of the opportunities afforded by the new standards may not be as simple for companies without an existing, robust learning and development framework aimed at apprentices – as the levy will not cover the costs associated with setting up a whole programme.

Susan said: “The levy is quite restrictive on what it can and can’t be used for. For example, it can’t be used for salaries, which could mean a company having to add the full cost associated with adding a new employee to their payroll in order to be able to spend the levy on the person’s development.

“This may lead to some businesses changing permanent vacancies to apprenticeship roles instead, which would lead to no additional payroll cost – but wouldn’t result in an additional job role. Some companies may revise their training budgets and decide to offer fewer learning and development opportunities for others as a result.

“I’m aware of some companies which have decided the administrative, cultural and financial challenges of the levy outweigh the return of having an apprenticeship programme in place and are therefore treating the levy as a tax.”

As well as the administrative, cultural and financial challenges, Susan also highlights additional complexities that businesses have had to deal with in preparation for the levy introduction. She continued: “The connected companies part of the legislation is quite complex, and has led to RBH exploring the multiple business interests of some of its hotel owners in order to establish whether it applies. Where it does apply, it means the £15,000 Government allowance which offsets the levy for payrolls of less than £3 million per annum has to be split between multiple businesses.”

Despite these complexities, Susan and her RBH colleagues are looking forward to rolling out the new standards and ensuring a focus on having robust development plans in place which help nurture talent and achieve business goals.

She said: “We are keen to ensure we create opportunities for growth and career development that attract new people to both RBH and the wider hospitality industry moving forward.”

www.redefinebdl.com

Chester

Chester revealed as number one UK ‘hot spot’ for hotel development

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Chester has reached the top of Colliers International’s latest UK Hotels Market Index, an analysis of 34 locations across the UK, ranked to determine the ‘hot spots’ for hotel development and acquisition across the country. The city’s high position is mainly due to good occupancy levels, an upward revenue per available room (RevPAR) trend and a low active pipeline.

The report uses nine Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to score each of the 34 locations a figure from one to five (one being the lowest and five being the highest). The determining indices include land site prices; build costs; market appetite; valuation exit yields; room occupancy; average daily rate; room occupancy rates; four year RevPAR Trend; active pipeline as a percentage of current supply and construction costs. The ratings are then consolidated into a single figure and ranked to show which markets are hot and which are not in terms of a desirable location for investors to acquire an existing hotel or develop a new one.

Marc Finney, Head of Hotels & Resorts Consulting, Colliers International said: “The data in our second report reveals the ever-changing nature of the UK hotels market. Cities such as Oxford and Cambridge have really upped their game in the last year to make it into the top five, despite failing to score in the top 15 last year. Of course, this is a general market index and site specific factors will lead to significant variances but the data demonstrates that London is not the only city that investors should be watching and offers a credible indication to influence their decision making process.”

Chester

Hot Spots
• York ranks second in the list, moving four places up from last year, owing to good hotel performance indicators and a positive RevPAR trend.
• Oxford positioned third in the index, improving its ranking by 25 spots from last year, due to an increase in buyer demand interest, a low active pipeline in the city and good hotel market performance.
• Other rising stars in terms of markets to watch out for include Cambridge, which has moved up 15 spots from 2016; Belfast, which has improved by 12 spaces; Nottingham is 10 rankings higher and Swindon is 9 slots ahead of the 2016 index.
• London continues to be the largest market and in terms of RevPAR, is still the top performing market. It also has the most active pipeline in terms of rooms expected to come to the market over the next two years (13,499). However, given that the index punishes high land costs, high construction costs, sluggish hotel growth in recent years and a strong active pipeline, some markets rank lower than expected and as such, the UK’s capital city has fallen out of the top 10, having experienced a drop in RevPAR (-1.2 per cent), a large development pipeline as well as high land costs.
• Edinburgh and Southampton have the highest occupancy rates at 82 per cent.
• The top five markets that have shown the most significant compound average (mean) annual growth in terms of RevPAR over the past four years include Swindon, Hull, Birmingham, Milton Keynes and Coventry.

Marc Finney continues: “London is by far the largest market with almost as much supply as all of the other markets combined and has recently been a star in terms of revenue per available room. However, it is now only ranking in position 12 in our index due to slow growth in 2016, high construction costs and high land values.”

Roca springs into action at BCFA Open

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Leading bathroom brand Roca, will be exhibiting at the BCFA OPEN SPRING DESIGN event in London on 28 and 29 March. Organised by the British Contract Furnishing Association (BCFA), Roca will be amongst a range of brands showcasing their collections to professionals in commercial interiors.

Visitors will have the opportunity to meet Roca staff to discuss trends in bathroom interiors and see the latest Roca products. The display includes the new Inspira range, an innovative collection based on three design lines; Round, Soft and Square. Inspira offers products designed for personalised style, the various shapes work together when combined or used individually.


Inspira washbasins are manufactured using FINECERAMIC®, a new high-quality ceramic material exclusive to Roca, and nominated for the BCFA Innovation Award at the event. FINECERAMIC® facilitates precision and sophisticated design details with the added benefits of being 40% lighter and 30% stronger compared to other conventional basins. The soon to be launched Inspira In-Wash smart WC will also be on display as part of this collection.

Featured brassware will demonstrate Roca’s sustainability credentials with the new Atlas basin mixer, which incorporates an innovative cold start system to save energy and water consumption with a flow rate of five litres per minute. The L90 basin mixer; L90-E electronic basin mixer and the Thesis basin mixer will also be on view.

Visit Roca on Stand 24 at the BCFA Open, Old Truman Brewery in London on 28 and 29 March. For more information or to register for a ticket visit: bcfaopen.com/register

www.uk.roca.com

Dave Hart Redefine|BDL Hotels - opinion on business rates

Opinion: Hotel specialists focus on returns and reform after business rates increases

909 597 Daniel Fountain

Keeping calm and focusing on the job at hand whilst lobbying for change should be top of the agenda for hospitality businesses in the wake of increasing business rates, says Redefine|BDL Hotels’ (RBH) Chief Financial Officer, David Hart.

The UK’s leading independent hotel management company oversees a portfolio of more than 50 properties facing business rate hikes averaging 29% – with increases for individual hotels of up to 142% – in the coming financial year.

But RBH’s Chief Financial Officer says the business will be focusing on what it does best – transforming hotels and striving to increase returns for their owners to lessen the impact of increasing costs – while lobbying for change in the background.

He said: “The hotel owners we work with will be directly, and significantly, impacted by changing business rates – just one of many rising costs facing the hospitality industry. It’s not a cost that can be easily offset by directly-related price increases for the end customer, so we’re taking a pragmatic approach and continuing to focus on generating healthy returns for our owners by looking at how we can transform every part of their hotel’s business so that any increases won’t hit them as hard.”

David continued: “All owners – particularly smaller independent properties – are going to feel property rate increases bite, mainly because of what we see as fundamental flaws in the system. The approach to revaluation is very much ‘one size fits all’ in a given region or industry, and doesn’t necessarily account for factors that are important for hospitality businesses, like presence of new hotels and the impact of third party booking agent commissions on net revenue.”

Lobbying for system reform is high on the RBH agenda but, with operating hotels being its area of expertise, it engages third party business rates experts to negotiate with valuation officers, and to make RBH’s views known to the people who matter – the policymakers.

David explained: “Our use of experts to negotiate the business rates position leaves us free to focus on what we do best, while letting our hotel owners benefit from the expertise of those firms.

“This approach has already paid immediate dividends for us with an initial group of hotels having significantly improved on their 40% increases that were originally communicated to a revised average increase of 26%. One hotel in particular had a draft increase of 33% which has been successfully negotiated down to only a 2% increase.”

And while politicians have sought to address the wide-ranging feelings of frustration, this doesn’t go anywhere near far enough.

David said: “The measures announced by the Scottish and UK Governments only offer temporary relief to select groups – or leave the final decision on who gets help to local authorities. While every little helps, it doesn’t address the core issue, which is the perception of the existing system for revaluing business rates as a non-transparent, blanket approach used to impose increasing, unexplained costs on all businesses no matter their circumstances.

“We’re keen to see fundamental reform, with a more bespoke approach taken by evaluators that really takes account of individual circumstances and which gives businesses certainty over their cost base in the longer term.

“In the meantime, we’ll be rolling up our sleeves and focusing on what we do best – transforming hotels and generating superior returns for our hotel owners.”

www.redefinebdl.com

Paris 'hot spot' for hotel investment

Paris revealed as number one ‘hot spot’ for hotel investment in Europe

960 477 Daniel Fountain

Paris has reached the top of Colliers International’s inaugural Hotel Investment Attractiveness Index, an analysis of the investment climate of 20 European cities, despite predictions that investors and tourists would lose faith in the city due to political uncertainty and the perceived threat following various national security breaches.

Paris’ lead ranking is due to its high demand growth, strong hotel performance, high investment returns and market depth from 2012-2016.

Dirk Bakker, Head of EMEA Hotels, Colliers International

Dirk Bakker, Head of EMEA Hotels, Colliers International

Dirk Bakker, Head of EMEA Hotels, Colliers International said: “Investors are regularly requiring the latest information on cities where they will receive high returns, which in a politically and economically uncertain world, is often difficult to predict. Our index provides us with something more than anecdotal evidence through which to advise our clients.

“According to our latest data, Paris scored highly in terms of valuation exit yields and hotel investment volume between 2007 and 2016. Paris also saw over 15 million international tourists visit the city in 2015 and witnessed average hotel occupancy levels of over 77 per cent from 2012-2016.”

The Colliers index uses twelve metric components, weighted to give each of the 20 locations a score of up to 400, including population; GDP per capital; total workforce; commuting workforce; tourist arrivals; room occupancy; Average Daily Rate (ADR); Revenue per Available Room (RevPAR); Land site prices; Building costs; Valuation exit yields and investment volumes. These scores were then consolidated into a single figure and ranked to show which markets are hot in terms of overall demand, their recent operating performance and how this ties into the attractiveness of each market with regards to the acquisition of existing hotels and for the development of new ones.

Here are some of the highlights:
• London and Barcelona came out as the second and third most interesting cities to invest in, closely followed by Amsterdam and Berlin.
• The story for the top two cities, London and Paris, is very similar, but Paris pips London to the top by virtue of having slightly lower development costs. Low development costs is one of the areas in which Barcelona excels, increasing the overall attractiveness of the city ahead of Amsterdam sitting in fourth place. In all other areas, these two cities have very similar performance ratings.
• At the other end of the scale, although the development cost component scores very highly for Bucharest, this is not enough to compensate for low demand appetite and the lack of a hotel investment market, so it has been ranked the lowest.
• Istanbul has been ranked relatively low at number 17, despite the size of the market, helping drive a good overall demand score and low development costs. However, the operational performance lags behind due to low occupancy rates, leading to lower returns on investment. The current political and economic climate is not particularly conducive to a robust investment market.
• Zürich is the most interesting city to watch out for in the future, as its operational performance has been excellent in the last few years, suggesting an under-supply of quality hotel stock. Hotel investment interest is high, and if demand for the city continues to increase, it may become one of the most popular cities for new development and investment, despite the high development costs.
• Manchester and Dublin also perform highly, where hotel performance exceeds demand. The case for an increase in business demand growth in both cities looks very strong in the coming years, which should increase their attractiveness to developers and investors alike.

Damian Harrington, Director Head of EMEA Research at Colliers International adds: “With the Hotel Investment Attractiveness Index, we were able to create a unique analysis of a very dynamic market. By combining the twelve variables, we can generate far more of an insight into the current hotel industry and even predict what could lie ahead.”

Meetings and events - hoteliers looking to meet buyers?

Hoteliers – seeking buyers for meetings and events spaces?

516 385 Daniel Fountain

Hoteliers – are you seeking buyers for your meetings and events spaces? Do you want to connect with key decision-makers in the MICE industry? Forum Events could have the answer…

Both the London Venues Summit and the Destinations & Travel Management Summit are unique events which can match you – as a hotelier – with the people you need to be reaching for a series of pre-arranged one-on-one meetings, numerous networking and peer-to-peer engagement opportunities interspersed with a programme of informative and inspirational seminars.

Don’t have the time to spend at trade shows and exhibitions? The London Venues Summit takes place over one day (3 July 2017) at the Hilton London Canary Wharf and is an excellent platform for collaboration between those working in the meetings and events sector and those providing solutions and services to them. Find out more…

Meanwhile, the Venues and Destinations Summit is held across two days (20-21 November 2017) at the Radisson Blu Stansted, and is ideal for travel bookers to meet with innovative and competitive hoteliers; and includes a gala dinner with evening entertainment, plus other networking opportunities. Find out more…

If you would like to know more about these events and how they can help you, please contact Jennie Lane (D&TM Summit) on j.lane@forumevents.co.uk / 01992 374098 or Sam Walker (LVS) on s.walker@forumevents.co.uk / 01992 374054 for more information….

Hotel Designs Logo brit listV3-01

Announcing the Hotel Designs Brit List – nominate now…

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Hotel Designs is delighted to announce the Brit List, a celebration of the country’s most inspirational and influential hoteliers and designers.

The Hotel Designs Brit List will be revealed via a glossy print publication this summer, with a party to celebrate the List taking place at Urban Coterie, London on Wednesday July 12th.

Venue Partner…
UCLogo_all_stacked_colour

Hotel Designs wants your help in selecting the UK’s top 25 hoteliers and 25 leading design professionals – by asking you, our readers, to nominate those you think deserving of recognition in both fields.

To lobby, simply email Hotel Designs editor Daniel Fountain via d.fountain@forumevents.co.uk briefly explaining why an individual should be considered for the Brit List. We will follow up with a request for more information at a later date. You can nominate yourself, a peer, a client or even a competitor. The closing date for nominations is April 3rd.

Once all nominations have been received, our Advisory Board judging panel – made up of figures from across the hospitality and design sectors – will select the final 50 most inspirational designers and hoteliers.

The Hotel Designs Brit List glossy publication will feature profiles of all 50 winners. There are a limited number of advertising and sponsorship opportunities available for this prestigious and influential publication – for more details contact Jennie Lane on j.lane@forumevents.co.uk, or call 01992 374098.

TowerEight - Hotel Construction facts

Guest Blog – TowerEight: 13 things about hotel construction

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Thousands of new hotel rooms have to be built every year to cater for demand in the UK. More than 7,000 will be built in London in one year alone.

According to PWC, the hotel occupancy rate in the UK’s capital is as much as 84%. With nearly 150,000 hotel rooms in London that is a lot of bookings, and the average room rate is £145. With the hotel market continuing to grow, specialist teams are put in place by developers to ensure that rooms are up to the standards that guests demand in modern, world-class facilities.

The following list from TowerEight highlights the specialist considerations that developers need to think about when building a new hotel, and how both art and science are involved in creating the perfect hotel room…

1. What To Do With Corridors
Corridors are a tricky issue in hotel developments given that they are non-revenue generating, yet still need to feature on almost all levels. A sign of a good hotel architect is the minimal use of corridors wherever possible, without compromising the design, to maximise revenue-generating space. Alternatively, corridors can be used to generate revenue, whether by showcasing artwork that can be purchased by guests or as an advertising space for food and beverage offers.

2. If Everyone Has a Bath at the Same Time…
Most boilers in hotels are oversized and only run at 60% efficiency. Even ‘green’ hotels are only able to handle 75% of the peak demand. So, with average occupancy at 84%, hotels have to hope that guests don’t all choose to have a bath at the same time. Though, with the most popular times for ablution being pre-breakfast, and pre-dinner, it must be close sometimes.

TowerEight - Hotel Construction facts

3. Wear and Tear
Hotel furnishing and fittings are gauged by “rub rate” i.e. the amount of wear they can take. Hotel designers choose a fabric for curtains and carpets by its ability to be hard-wearing. In a top London hotel, cashmere may be used for the curtains, cushions and throws, with a typical rub rate in the low thousands. In cost-conscious hotels, a wool mix carpet would be expected to be trodden on more than 2,000 times!

4. Cost Per Key
Working with hotel developers, you will frequently hear the term ‘cost per key’ as opposed to cost per sqm/sq. ft. as used in commercial/residential sectors.

TowerEight - Hotel Construction facts
5. The Environment

Increasingly, environmentally conscious hotels are utilising ‘greywater’. This is recycled (and filtered onsite) water taken from showers and reused to flush toilets. In these hotels, you have a one in two chance of having come across the same water during a long stay! However, this solution is obviously much better for the environment.

6. How Often to Paint
Hotels are typically refurbished every three to four years, dependent on the level of maintenance they receive and the planned level of fatigue for the room décor at the time of construction. Refurbished does not mean redesigned, a refurb might mean a lick of paint and a deep clean. On average, a budget hotel room may receive more than 20 tins of paint in a 10-year period, compared to more than 40 tins in one of London’s luxury hotels.

TowerEight - Hotel Construction facts

7. Clever Design Tricks
Many guests assume a little undercut to their bathroom door means it is poor fitting, but it’s actually a regular design facet of many hotels, there to help air circulation and extract moisture from the bathroom.

8. Keeping Up With Trends
Tea and coffee making facilities (TCMF) are a bit of a throwback and there is a developing trend of incorporating social hubs into hotel lobbies, receptions and surrounding pop-ups instead. We predict that TCMF will continue to reduce, or evolve into something more personalised.

9. Practical Colour Schemes
It is rare to find a hotel room with solid colours – patterns, flecks and multiple colours are nearly always used to hide wear and tear or stains!

10. Fresh Air
Fresh air to a room either comes through the window, if it can be opened, or is ducted in through the system – typically installed in the lobby. Hotels of more than three stories will rarely ever have windows that can open fully because of the threat of legal action around any unfortunate guest that tries to climb out.

TowerEight - Hotel Construction facts

11. Solving Problems
Hotels are traditionally graded by the views (i.e. sea view) so internal hotel rooms are generally perceived as a lower class and let at lower rates. The aim is to achieve 100% occupancy at maximum rate. To get around this, designers make clever use of light-boxes and light rails in corridors to imitate light, allowing hoteliers to successfully let internal rooms with no natural light. The irony of the situation is that most people check in post 5:30pm when it’s already dark outside.

12. Height Challenges
Hotel signage at high level is often installed by abseilers. A team of between two to three guys can erect a 10-metre hotel sign, more than 10 stories high, in just 48 hours.

13. Tradition
Most hotels don’t have room or floor no.13…superstition still rules!

towereight.co.uk

January Furniture Show – trends for 2017

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A host of fresh, exciting new lifestyle choices went on display at this year’s January Furniture Show (Birmingham NEC Jan 22 – 25) – the UK’s annual furnishing industry’s showcase.

The place to glean all the latest interiors trends for UK homes, the four day trade show plays host to some of the most prestigious names in upholstery, cabinet furniture, beds, lighting, flooring, accessories and fabrics.

And each sector has something new to offer for 2017…

Cabinet
A celebration of wood in all its glorious shapes and forms was evident at this year’s show, representing a marked move away from the sea of oak that has dominated the British interiors market since the demise of pine.

Fall in love with acacia, pine, beech and mountain ash timbers which are set to add a warmth and richness to British homes. Sometimes it’s cross sawn, distressed, etched or even loosely painted for extra interest – or even a combination of several finishes in one multi-tonal piece.

January Furniture Show - 2017 trends

In its more contemporary form, cabinet furniture basks in the subtlety of fine design – whether in classy, high gloss finishes or through allowing the natural beauty of wood to shine through in understated curved designs combined with elements of pure white. But watch out too for an emerging trend in cabinetry – alluring antiquity. Sure to have the fashionistas flocking, this hot-off-the-press look makes classic antique shapes hip again, presented in either mixed wood finishes or audaciously bright paint. Last year’s trend for wood with metal – in both its rawest industrial form, to a more moderated look for urban chic-elites – was once again in evidence, much of the wood being upcycled to offer panache with provenance.

Retro with a twist continues to be another look in its own right. Compact styling with those tell-tale 60s angled legs came together with on-trend finishes and colour in an eclectic nod to the G Plan era.

Upholstery
Signs are that ‘shabby chic’ is making a welcome return, offering a soft and comfy look for the home. Low seats and loose coverings provide the perfect solution for modern yet practical upholstery and work well for family homes and contemporary apartments.

High back chairs in bright, velvet or patterns were popular, combining classic with contemporary style. Designed to maximise unused corners of the home, occasional chairs are perfect for creating mini havens of comfort; or to create a focal point in a room.

January Furniture Show - Trends 2017
Detailed edging, particularly piping in contrasted colours and studs were drawing the eye as were brightly coloured fabrics, particularly teals, yellows and earthy greens. Mixed scatter cushions were seen across the show, creating a playful mix of fabric and colour. Tapestry-style florals, tribal patterns and soft leathers, again combining classic and contemporary, was a clear trend.

Modern retro is still on the scene with updated 60s and 70s style upholstery. Thin diagonal legs and low backs on sofas and chairs featured heavily across the show. With velvet still a big player in furnishings, brands have started to experiment with it, mixing colours and textures. A combination of primary coloured velvets with wool mix plaid fabrics and tartan patterns broadened the appeal and created a cosy and sumptuous look. Light grey and silver velvet sofas added a touch of glamour to the show and worked well with glass furniture and statement mirrors.

Accessories
The industrial look is still big in homeware however, many brands have toned it down. Rustic and reclaimed were mixed with greys and whites, demonstrating a much softer look along with a wealth of chrome, glass and heavy rope. The vogue for mixed wood could be seen across all furniture and accessories while the popular coastal look breezed across the show, accessories completing the themes. Glitz and glam was right out there too with wow factor glass pieces and show stopping mirrors.

January Furniture Show - Trends 2017

Glitter pictures with silver and glass frames brought some Hollywood moments to the NEC adding a touch of pizzazz to home furnishings. High-end hospitality pieces were also there in force offering unique designs for those who love entertaining in style – be it with beautiful champagne, wine and drink holders or stunning culinary show pieces. A fabulous array of choice on the cushion front offered a further way of updating a room with an eclectic mix of fabrics, patterns and colour all there to create layers of texture and wow factor.

Lighting
There was yet more glitz and glamour on the lighting front where two key trends emerged. Focal pendant lighting was shown in the form of extra-large chandeliers or ostentatious floral glass balls while extravagant tripod spotlights in polished metals also made an appearance. Open metalwork lighting – in copper, bronze, silver or even matte black – teamed with giant Eddison bulbs are still on trend for 2017. At the other end of the spectrum, floor lamps took on bright shades, such as citrus yellows, mixed with wood bases which work well for a Scandinavian look.

January Furniture Show - Trends 2017

Flooring
The softer the better, when it comes to cushioning the feet. Polypropylene fibres still lead the way in carpet construction with rich lustrous textures highly sought after. Continuing from last year, greys are still the colour of choice with every conceivable shade of grey on offer – including ones with a lurex yarn to add a completely new dimension. If you want to buck this trend, ‘au natural’ is a big hit – think 100% wools, undyed yarns and sustainability; or why not speak loud and proud with geometric designs and striking shades which continue to pave the way forward in rugs.

Beds
As the rise in popularity of upholstered beds continues to grow, they are fast becoming the most important piece in bedroom décor. From contemporary greys and taupe’s to the 2017 colour of the year – green – upholstered beds are now an attractive centrepiece. Floor standing headboards are still a prominent feature and bring individuality into bedroom design. If you’re into your technology it’s all about electric ottomans for the year ahead.

January Furniture Show - Trends 2017

Fabric
Traditionally at the forefront of new interiors trends, fabric continues to offer almost unlimited possibilities for upholstery and soft furnishings. Velvets, in all manner of styles and finishes, remains a popular choice with moquettes providing the genre with pattern – particularly small scale geometries – colour and decorative texture. Elsewhere, naive handblock-style indianesque prints in knocked back shades of spice and saffron or subtle blues and greys were in evidence. And matching the mood for a more natural environment were chunky herringbones, textured jacquard and ethnic weaves. Traditional British cloth continues to offer the market timeless and classic elegance.

January Furniture Show - Trends 2017

Roca's international design competition 'Jumpthegap' returns

Roca’s international design competition ‘Jumpthegap’ returns

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Roca is encouraging UK students and professionals of architecture, design and engineering to enter an international competition that could win them up to €10,000.

‘Jumpthegap’ was launched in 2004 by bathroom brand Roca in collaboration with BCD Barcelona Design Centre. The competition returns in 2017 and is open to creative professionals and students under the age of 35, to create innovative and sustainable concepts for the bathroom space.

This year’s competition coincides with Roca’s 100th anniversary and offers entrants the opportunity to win two awards of €10,000 in each of the professional and student categories as well as a special sustainability award of €6,000 from Roca’s ‘We Are Water Foundation’ (WAWF).

Shortlisted projects will be selected by an esteemed group of global architecture and design professionals. Patrik Schumacher, Principal of Zaha Hadid Architects (above) will serve as President of the Jury along with Ma Yansong, Founding Principal of MAD Architects, and Royal College of Art design graduate Valentin Vodev. Sophie Thomas, Director of Thomas.Matthews agency in London and practitioner of sustainable design will help select the WAWF award.

Sophie Thomas - Ma Yansong

Sophie Thomas – Ma Yansong

Registration is open until 15 March 2017 at jumpthegap.net, with the final design submission deadline on 19 April 2017. Winners will be selected in the summer and an award ceremony will take place in the autumn. Specific dates to be announced in due course.

Jury members – Professional and Student Awards:
Patrik Schumacher (Jury President) – Principal of Zaha Hadid Architects Benedetta Tagliabue, Architect and Director of EMBT Miralles Tagliabue, Italy
Ma Yansong, Architect and Founding Principal of MAD Architects, China
Vladimir Pirojkov, Designer and President of the Industrial Design and Innovation Centre ASTRAROSSA, Russia
Anjali Srinivasan, Director of the ChoChoMa studios and winner of the Swarovski Designer of the Future Award 2016, India
Valentin Vodev, graduated from London’s Royal College of Art and Founder of Vodev Studio, Bulgaria
Josep Congost, Roca Design and Innovation Director, Spain
Isabel Roig, Managing Director of BCD Barcelona Design Centre and former President of Bureau of European Design Associations, Spain

Jury members – We Are Water Foundation Award:
Xavier Torras (Jury President), Director, We Are Water Foundation, Spain
Sophie Thomas, Designer and Founding Director of Thomas.Matthews Agency, UK
Henk Ovink, Special Envoy for International Water Affairs, The Netherlands

@jumpthegap / @RocaUK / jumpthegap.net

Sabre Technology Report 2017

Guest Blog: Sabre’s Technology Report – trends for 2017

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Technology innovation is changing faster than ever with emerging capabilities like robotics, artificial intelligence and augmented reality on the brink of permeating nearly every aspect of daily life, and travel technology leader Sabre has identified the top trends for the coming year in its 2017 Emerging Technology in Travel Report.

From humanoid robots checking-in guests at hotels to virtual immersive vacations to AI-powered chatbot assistants with unique personality traits, the Sabre Labs Emerging Technology Report explores how new technologies are evolving to shape travel and other industries in the years to come. The travel sector is often an early adopter of new tech, and Sabre has fostered innovation for industry and consumers alike. The Report evaluates the three major technology trends likely to have the greatest impact on the travel industry for 2017 as well as the key technologies anchoring each trend. Identified trends include:

1. Conversational Interfaces – Voice, messaging and the shift to new forms of communication
2. Digital Realities – How virtual and augmented realities are changing the travel landscape
3. Connected Intelligence – The role of bots, robots and location beacons in travel

“Sabre is constantly exploring new technologies to determine how they can best be applied to the travel industry to improve the travel experience,” said Mark McSpadden, director – Sabre Labs. “We continue to discover new ways these technologies can fit into our portfolio and drive innovation for our customers and their travelers.”

The Emerging Technology Report distills Sabre’s ongoing research and exploration to help travel businesses make strategic decisions for 2017 and beyond, and offers more than 40 specific takeaways for agencies, airlines, hoteliers, and travelers.

Sabre Labs is the travel and technology innovation lab of Sabre Corp. and explores the evolving technologies that will impact travel over the next decade. Through research, prototypes and communication, Sabre Labs converts futuristic technology into marketplace innovation for its businesses and customers.

Find the report here…

Donald Trump - US hospitality

Should US hospitality be worried about a Trump presidency?

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The news of Donald Trump’s victory in Tuesday’s US election was met with sheer joy by millions in the United States, and utter despair by millions of others. Globally, the overwhelming feeling was a mixture of shock, nervousness and apprehension.

The echoes of the Brexit vote in this result are numerous. Much like the referendum result in June in the UK, the markets reflected that feeling of uncertainty in the minutes and hours after the announcement was made that the celebrity billionaire had defied the odds and would become the next ‘leader of the free world’.

US stock markets plunged, London markets dropped 2 per cent and Asian markets plummeted in Hong Kong and South Korea. But also very similar to Brexit, it was due to the unpreparedness of those markets of the shock result, or what they believed to be the ‘wrong’ result. However, as the news begins to sink in, the markets are already showing signs of recovery – even if there will be questions from today until January’s inauguration from investors across the globe about the short-and-long term impact of a Trump presidency.

But what does it mean for the hospitality industry in USA? Again, the similarities of the Brexit decision are palpable.

Donald Trump - US hospitality

Much like the UK, the ability to hire people into the industry in America relies heavily on immigration; with a large number of staff in hotels and restaurants coming from outside – not always legally. With Trump’s very visible and audible campaign pledge to clamp down on immigration, if he gets his way this will have a huge impact on the ability to hire in the current vein.

Trade agreements are also a major talking point of this result and Brexit. Donald Trump’s campaign talk has given more than a clue that his approach to trade with China will be ‘difficult’ to say the least. This will make hotel construction and renovation harder – a considerable amount of FF&E goods used in this field are imported, especially from its great rival in the east – if levies on Chinese products are increased, so will the costs of building and renovating.

On the flip side, however, one likely positive for the industry will be the Republican obsession with lowering taxes, which in turn will increase internal spending on travel and tourism within the United States. However, Trump’s campaign figures on tax reduction will need a lot of clarification to actually work, something that might lessen the positive impact. Furthermore, more Americans spending money might only act to counter a drop in external visitors from Europe and elsewhere, as has been predicted by companies like TravelZoo.

We will not know the full extent of Trump’s impact for some time – it will take a while for any policy implementation to truly take shape, despite the now Republican-heavy Senate and House of Representatives. And it remains to be seen just how bullish and brash Trump will be from behind his Oval Office desk in comparison with his campaign rhetoric. Much like Brexit, if international investment can be convinced and remains steady in the long-term, the commercial property market shouldn’t be impacted too much. It will be the impact on the day-to-day lives of the millions of people working within the industry that will have the biggest say in whether or not it suffers.

Watch this space…

Hotel Designs Summit

Inaugural rebranded Hotel Designs Summit a success

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The inaugural edition of the newly rebranded Hotel Designs Summit launched on September 12-13 at the Radisson Blu London Stansted to roaring success.

This unique event matched hoteliers with suppliers and manufacturers for a series of pre-arranged one-on-one meetings. In addition, a programme of informative and inspirational seminars were hosted by Aly Thompson from Trivago, Yasmin Chopin, HD Editor Daniel Fountain, MHNA Studio’s Nicolas Adnet and Peter Ducker of the Institute of Hospitality, with a gala dinner and evening entertainment providing perfect networking opportunities, further business opportunities and peer-to-peer engagement.

One of the headlines of the summit was the news that Global Design Concepts quoted a £1 million project as a result of meetings at the summit. And the success of the event was echoed by delegates and suppliers who attended…

‘The most personally focused and well organised event I’ve attended. An excellent balance between meeting our needs with networking opportunities, thank you’
Edgar House

‘Unique event, great combination of peer to peer engagement, innovative suppliers and information future focused trend setting seminars’
Atheneaum House Hotel

‘A well organised event with a great mix of suppliers and clients. I certain this will aid companies to work together on a long term basis & form continued business relationships’
Dalesauna

‘Fantastic team, very well organised. Great support. Event well managed, friendly and helpful, great contacts, 1-2-1 meetings very effective way of doing business. Great opportunity for your company. Well done and we will be back’
The Light Yard

Hotel Designs is hosting its second ‘Meet Up’ networking event of the year, perfect for hotel and interior design industries. If you are a hotelier, interior designer or architect, you can attend on the 16th November, 6:00-9:00 at the Grange St Pauls, London.

Contact us by emailing j.lane@forumevents.co.uk, or by calling 01992 374098 and asking to speak to a member of the team.

Laufen Bathrooms to show at TENT London Design Fair

Laufen Bathrooms exhibits at TENT during London Design Festival

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The material revolution continues with new experimental projects designed by students at HGK, the Academy of Art and Design Basel/Switzerland, utilising the material capabilities of SaphirKeramik, to be presented inside the Swiss country pavilion at TENT in collaboration with Design Prize Switzerland and Laufen Bathrooms.

For the 10th edition of the London Design Fair, 22 to 25 September 2016, Laufen Bathrooms will be on hand at TENT, Truman Brewery with a special area in collaboration with Design Prize Switzerland, the competition whose goal is to encourage exchange, mediation and promotion of Swiss design.

This area will host a selection of winning projects in the SaphirKeramik contest – a competition involving students from the Academy of Art and Design (Hochschule für Gestaltung und Kunst) HGK of Basel, who were asked to explore the limits and potential of SaphirKeramik through the creation of innovative objects for the bath using the award winning material developed by Laufen. An expert jury, which included the renowned designers Konstantin Grcic and Toan Nguyen, honoured the best designs.

Besides the results of this stimulating competition, the space will feature several products in SaphirKeramik from the VAL collection designed by Konstantin Grcic, which demonstrate Laufen’s ability to also produce items with this material on an industrial scale.

The incessant research continues on SaphirKeramik, the revolutionary material launched by Laufen in 2013, which thanks to the corundum additive in its formula makes it possible to produce ceramics in smaller thicknesses with very strong walls, leading to slimmer lines, a true breakthrough for the world of bathroom ceramics. Started in-house with a long development phase and then pursued in collaboration with renowned designers, this research has now been opened up to students as well, with their ability to bring a different, stimulating approach – fresh, creative ideas, free of the influences generated by years of professional experience.

Experimentation has always been one of the strong points of Laufen Bathrooms, which once again demonstrates its role of leadership in terms of innovation and design, working not only with internationally acclaimed designers but also with talented young creatives.

Decorex 2016

Discover the roots of design: What not to miss at Decorex 2016

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With Decorex just a few days away, the excitement for this year’s event is building. Here’s a preview of just some of what attendees can expect…

The Heritage of Chair Making: A spectacular entrance embracing this year’s theme, the roots of design, curated by renowned British Furniture Designer Tim Gosling. Working with the historic collections from the Victoria & Albert Museum and the Frederick Parker Collection, the exhibition will document the links between interior design, architecture and the exceptional heritage of British craftsmanship throughout the ages. Tim has asked 12 leading British visual creators: Jasper Conran, Michael Craig-Martin, James Dyson, Tim Gosling, Anya Hindmarch, Roger Jones, Robert Kime, Jo Malone, Philip Mould, Sir Paul Smith, William Yeoward, and Andrew Winch, to choose their favourite piece and why it speaks to them.

Crafthouse: A series of interactive roomsets presented by The New Craftsmen, which explores the fundamental characteristics of what makes a home by studying the domestic rituals by which we live. Building upon the strong anthology of British makers, materials and skills, ‘Crafthouse’ will look to reconsider and question craft and how it is used in our lives, with makers taking up residency in each roomset, contextualizing them within a familiar environment and pushing them to the limits of their skills. The New Craftsmen will be hosting daily tours at 2pm.

Crafthouse contributor, Georgia Kemball & Nicky Haslam join the Decorex seminar programme

Crafthouse contributor, Georgia Kemball & Nicky
Haslam join the Decorex seminar programme

120 New Exhibitors: More than 400 brands launching new collections, with 120 exhibitors new to the show. Don’t miss Allyson McDermott’s first ‘ready to hang’ wallpaper collection, Tom Raffield’s range of steam bent furniture and Hand & Eye Studio’s new ‘A-Beam’ terracotta light.

Future Heritage: An exhibition of new works by some of the leading names in contemporary British craft. This showcase of new materials and techniques is curated by renowned design and applied arts critic, Corinne Julius, with a select group of 14 makers presenting new work exclusively for this year’s Decorex.
The works can be commissioned by interior designers and architects for use in their projects, such as lighting, flooring, and sound absorbent, fire resistant textiles.

Talks Programme: An interesting and diverse series of talks in the Seminar Theatre, in association with LuxDeco, offering debates and an insightful exploration around industry relevant topics, hosted by some of the leading names in the design world, including Ben Pentreath, Christine Van Der Hurd, Nina
Campbell and Nicky Haslam. Not to be missed are a series of BIID mentoring roundtables in the Syon Estate Restaurant on Tuesday 20th September at 4:30pm, designed to support new and emerging designers making their way in the interior design profession.

Decorex 2016

Pedro da Costa creates new work for Decorex’s
Crafthouse

Hospitality Offering: A classically inspired Champagne Bar designed by 1508 London, five-star dining at the Syon Estate Restaurant in association with Country Life magazine with scenic views of the Capability Brown landscape, gourmet cuisine from the ‘pop-up’ street food market, an entrance café transformed into a botanical fantasy designed by Nicky Haslam in collaboration with de Gournay, and the main café in association with HK One.

Wool Trail: Supporting The Campaign for Wool, Decorex has teamed up with Homes & Gardens to create a wool trail. Maps will be provided to visitors guiding them around the show highlighting the array of furniture, textiles and accessories made from this natural and sustainable material. Don’t miss the flock of live sheep in the pen at the entrance from ‘The Little Grey Sheep Company’.

Decorex International 2016
Date: Sunday 18 September – Wednesday 21 September 2016
Location: Syon Park, London

Marriott-Starwood merger

Opinion: Spanner in the works for Marriott-Starwood deal?

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Is there about to be a spanner thrown into the works for the Marriott-Starwood merger? Recent reports – albeit very liberally-sourced ones – seemed to suggest that Marriott was feeling a sense of ‘remorse’ about the deal and was looking for a way out to back out.

While the source cited is allegedly ‘close to the deal’, the veracity of their claims and their anonymity remains very much in question.

So, could there be a kernel of truth in the claim? Possibly. The fact Marriott beat out Anbang has led to a ‘transaction review’ from the Chinese which is delaying the closure of the deal. While frustrating, the review is unlikely to stop the deal closing. But as with all merger deals, the longer the closure takes, the more the negative voices grow louder. Seeds of doubt about how good a deal has been agreed will begin to grow in the minds of Marriott executives.

Secondly – and it’s been a talking point since the deal was first announced – the uncertainty in combining the two groups’ reward programmes is proving more of an obstacle than first hoped. Granted, this will be the key in ensuring Marriott have got the best deal for the $12 billion spent. But there’s no reason to suggest such difficulties will lead to a breakdown of the deal.

And, in truth, small hurdles that sour the deal in the short term and could be used by twitchy Marriott executives as justification for pulling out of the deal are unlikely to derail this ‘megamerger’ in the long term – executives on both sides should rest easy that anonymous sources will have to do a lot more to do so.

Marriott-Starwood merger

5 facts to know about… Starwood-Marriott deal

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Marriott International will acquire Starwood Hotels and Resorts in a deal believed to be worth $12.2 billion, and when it was first announced consumers weren’t the only ones taken by surprise by the news. Analysts and investors expressed surprise at the acquisition.

The move will form the largest hotel group in the world, and whatever your thoughts on it, here are five things you need to know about the deal…

– Marriott weren’t the only suitors for Starwood, Intercontinental Hotels and Hyatt Hotels had long been vying to buy out the company.

– The acquisition will offer up thousands more rooms to choose from when booking. Combined, the group will own more than 5,500 hotels worldwide, 30 distinctive chains and more than a million guest rooms.

– Due to anti-competitive issues in China, and at the request of the Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM), Marriott and Starwood have agreed to extend the time period for MOFCOM to complete its review of the merger transaction. This additional review period, known as phase three, could last up to 60 days.

– Starwood and Marriott can actually mutually agree to terminate the merger agreement, even with stockholder approval. The deal’s kill date is open until 31 December of this year. However, there’s the matter of a $400-million termination fee if either side decides to end the deal.

– When Marriott’s takeover of Starwood is complete, the chain will have 30 hotel brands.

Nicolas Adnet

HD Summit speaker profile: Nicolas Adnet, Studio MHNA

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The Hotel Designs Summit takes place on 12-13 September at Radisson Blu Hotel, London Stansted, and as well as fantastic networking opportunities and invaluable meetings, attendees will have the chance to hear talks from influential figures from the hotel and hospitality industry.

One of this year’s speakers is Nicolas Adnet, one half of the Studio MHNA design partnership, alongside Marc Hertrich. The duo have been imagining, optimising and designing solutions for over twenty years. Nicolas said: “After working in the fashion world, I met Marc and he introduced me to the wonderful world of interior design.” He added that his passion for sharing ideas was a key factor in drawing him to the industry.

According to Nicolas himself, via the medium of interior architecture and design, the pair ‘offer a certain vision of elegance, a cultured, respectful and approving look at history, but which is also serene and hungry for new technologies, arts and crafts and culture which transcends all barriers’.

When asked why events like the Hotel Designs Summit are important for the industry, Nicolas said: “It’s so important to share our experiences with the community, and to further our collective knowledge.”

During his talk at the Hotel Designs Summit, Nicolas Adnet will be discussing hotel trends for 2017 and beyond; what makes a trend and how to implement them in the hospitality sector.

hoteldesignssummit.co.uk
If you would like more information on attending the event, please contact Jennie Lane on j.lane@forumevents.co.uk or 01992 374098.

BHA calls for 'Seaside Tsar'

Opinion: BHA calls for ‘Seaside Tsar’ to revive UK coastal towns

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A Seaside Tsar should be appointed to help Britain’s forgotten seaside towns fight back from decades of decay according to new research which paints a grim picture of the problems facing many coastal communities.

The report, commissioned by the British Hospitality Association (BHA), says that people living in seaside towns are more likely to be poorly educated, unemployed, unemployable, lacking in ambition, claiming benefits and living in multiple occupation housing.

BHA - Seaside Tsar

A separate survey, conducted by the owners of Butlin’s and the BHA, found that more than half of the British public have not visited the British seaside in the past three years, and 65% believe that the British seaside is run down and in need of investment. Nine out of the 10 most deprived neighbourhoods in England are seaside communities, according to the Department for Communities and Local Government 2015 Index of Multiple Deprivation.

The collapse of shipbuilding and fishing, the decline of the traditional annual holiday by the seaside, growing drug use, and cutbacks in budgets affecting maintenance of public places, street cleaning, tourism promotion and the providing of education have all contributed to the situation, says the report. Creating Coastal Powerhouses says that businesses in seaside towns are more likely to fail – especially if they provide accommodation – and calls on the Government to create Coastal Enterprise Zones to encourage businesses to move to and invest in the coast.

BHA - Seaside Tsar

The hospitality and tourism industry employs 4.5m people or 14% of the UK workforce. The association, which represents more than 40,000 businesses in the sector, cites the successful regeneration of Folkestone in Kent and along the Jurassic Coast in Dorset and east Devon as examples of how the British seaside can recover

It has produced a seven point action plan to breathe new life into seaside towns which calls on the Government to:

  1. Appoint a Seaside Tsar to coordinate a coherent response across all departments and spending – very much like Lord Heseltine’s work in Liverpool in the 1980s.
  2. Establish Coastal Action Groups, to develop a co-ordinated response and investment strategy to target the specific social and economic challenges that seaside towns face.
  3. Create a progressive tax environment, including a reduction in Tourism VAT, to encourage coastal businesses to invest in themselves.
  4. Create Coastal Enterprise Zones to incentivise investment and encourage businesses to move to the coast and create jobs.
  5. Invest in critical infrastructure and improve broadband, rail and road connections, and protect against the threat of rising sea levels.
  6. Improve education and training provision for young people and adults to ensure that they have the skills for a variety of sectors.
  7. Support Local Authorities to tackle social issues and housing problems which reduce their attraction as visitor destination

Ufi Ibrahim, Chief Executive of the BHA said: “The British public want to enjoy the British Seaside, and those living in coastal communities want a thriving economy. We look forward to working with a Seaside Tsar to unlock the potential of the UK’s 6,000 kilometre coastline.

BHA - Seaside Tsar

“Our members, who invest in and operate hospitality and tourism businesses recognise the problems facing many coastal communities but we also know there are fantastic opportunities to boost these places and help revive the Great British Seaside holiday.

“250 million visits are already made to the UK’s coast each year, generating £17 billion to the economy. But we know there is a lot more to do – and that can only happen with a concerted effort by a committed government and the private sector. Together we can turn the tide and bring a smile back to the seaside.”

bha.org.uk

EquipHotel - Paris

Save the date: EquipHotel – 6-10 November

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For 50 years, EquipHotel has helped French and international hospitality and catering professionals to decipher trends, identify innovations, promote networking – with one goal: to propose new solutions and effective growth levers to every key players of the hotel & restaurant market.

Hospitality and restaurant professionals face challenges every day, especially in this current uncertain climate. EquipHotel represents a source of inspiration for them as well as a means to help their businesses grow.

Show facts and figures from 2014:
– More than 110,000 professionals (including 20% of internationals): hotel and restaurant owners, investors, buyers, prescribers;
– 1,600 exhibitors (including 30% of internationals);
– 30 business sectors;
– 500 chefs including 150 starred-chefs

www.equiphotel.com/en

UK contact:
Jack HASSALL
Tel. : +44 (0) 208 910 78 21
jack.hassall@reedexpo.co.uk

Sales contact:
Rim BELGACEM
 International Sales Manager

 Tel: +33 (0)1 47 56 50 53
 rim.belgacem@reedexpo.fr

Decorex International

Decorex International 2016 seminar programme announced

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Organisers of the Decorex International 2016 show are excited to reveal the leading industry figures who will be taking to the stage at the renowned Decorex Seminar Theatre.

For four days, those renowned for pushing design boundaries; from the use of rare materials; the influence of custom and culture and the art of collecting, retailing and branding will share their insights and experience. Highlights are below, for the full programme click here.

Speakers at Decorex International 2016
As well as a full programme of seminars, on Tuesday 20 September at 4.30pm in the Decorex Restaurant, the BIID will be chairing a series of mentoring sessions designed to support new and emerging designers making their way in the interior design profession.

Each table host boasts expertise within a specific interior design sector and participants are invited to spend 15 minutes with each:
• Residential, BIID President Susie Rumbold, Tessuto Interiors
• Commercial, May Fawzy, MF Design Studio
• Hospitality, Harriet Forde, HF Design
• Retail, Yentl Flo, Househam Henderson

To book a place at one of these sessions, please contact sam.fisher@ubm.com.

Only Decorex visitors can attend, secure your ticket now and benefit from exclusive insights to inspire your latest projects.

Decorex 2016

BIID partners with Decorex to celebrate ‘Roots of Design’

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The British Institute of Interior Design (BIID) is once again partnering with luxury interiors trade show Decorex International from 18-21 September.

Now in its 39th year, Decorex has become a key feature of the London Design Festival and is a must-visit for design professionals and those passionate about luxury design. The four-day event is returning to historic Syon Park, with 400 exhibitors launching new collections.

The theme of this year’s show is ‘The Roots of Design’ which will explore the roots of design; considering the origins of design, the processes involved and examining the influences that have challenged its DNA. The BIID will be hosting a series of engaging talks at Decorex 2016 which will explore this theme.
BIID at the Decorex Seminar Theatre.

On Monday 19th September at 2pm, BIID member Tim Gosling will be discussing “How to design and create the heritage of bespoke furniture using rare materials and the latest technology.’’ In this talk, Tim will be demonstrating the innovative and unusual way he uses a variety of materials in his designs.

BIID President Susie Rumbold will be chairing an engaging and informative panel discussion at the Decorex seminar theatre on Tuesday 20th September at 11am. Panellists include interior designer Staffan Tollgard, bespoke furniture designer Neil Stevenson & textile designer Margo Selby. They will be discussing “The Design Journey: How tradition, custom and culture influences the evolution of luxury design”, sharing their own creative influences and experiences of the design journey.

BIID Mentoring Sessions
On Tuesday 20th September at 4.30pm in the Decorex Restaurant, the BIID will be chairing a series of BIID mentoring sessions, hosted by experienced BIID members and designed to support new and emerging designers making their way in the interior design profession. These informal round-table Q&A sessions will be focussing on specific interior design sectors, including:
• Residential – BIID President and founder of Tessuto Interiors, Susie Rumbold to chair;
• Commercial – May Fawzy of MF Design Studio to chair;
• Hospitality – Harriet Forde of HF Design to chair;
• Retail – Yentl Flo of Househam Henderson to chair;

To book a place at one of these sessions, please email Sam.fisher@ubm.com with the subject line BIID MENTORING SESSION along with your name and company and they will get back to you with confirmation of your place.

BIID President Susie Rumbold comments; “The BIID is delighted to once again be partnering with this exciting and inspirational event, which provides the interior design industry with a wonderfully curated and diverse collection of luxurious products from across the world. From showcasing innovative work by carefully selected independent craftspeople, to seeing new season collections from established luxury brands, Decorex is always one of my go-to destinations during London Design Festival.”

Simone du Bois, Brand Director of Decorex comments; “We’re really looking forward to working closely with the BIID again this year, especially with the additional element of mentoring sessions which we believe will be a great initiative for the next generation of designers. The BIID was an instrumental partner with Decorex when we launched and have continued to be over the last 39 editions. This year, with many of the BIID members involved in the show, they continue to be as influential in our community as ever.”

Decorex runs from 18-21 September for trade visitors, and is open to the public on Tuesday 20 September. Registration for tickets is now open at Decorex.com

Serviced Apartment

Serviced apartment operators looking to ‘broaden appeal’

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The combination of serviced apartments and serviced offices in one building is one way serviced apartment operators are expanding their business and broadening the target audience, according to a recent report.

With operators such as Zoku in Amsterdam teaming up with shared office space concept WeWork and Vision in Switzerland launching its first shared offices in Zürich, the concept of mixed-use development appears to be gathering pace as the borders between work and leisure become more blurred.

‘Mixed-use developments are by no means a new phenomenon in the world of real estate, but the combination of serviced apartments and serviced offices in one building seems a natural fit,’ comments Arlett Hoff, director, HVS London – author of the ‘The Serviced Apartment Sector in Europe – Highlights and Trends 2016’ report.

‘The serviced apartment sector is expanding rapidly and exploring new areas in an imaginative way. While some are teaming with high-end hotels, others are looking at the work/leisure combination. This concept works particularly where the serviced apartments are targeted at the corporate market.’

The report also highlights the number of new brands recently launched in the serviced apartment sector, including The Prem Group’s Premier Suites and Premier Suites Plus; Zoku, the new brand of Hotels Ahead; and Ascott’s The Crest Collection of luxury residences. In addition, BridgeStreet has added aparthotel brand Mode to its repertoire and Apple Apartments has introduced the Exclusive brand.

Growth has been particularly focused on Western Europe, led by the UK, Germany and France. Around 45% of new supply is based in the UK, with 30% in Germany. StayCity Aparthotels is the most active in terms of new openings, along with Residence Inn, Adina, Smartments, SACO and Vision Apartments.

‘Similar to the hotel industry, the serviced apartment industry is seeing a burst of creativity with new brands being introduced or traditional brands reinvented,’ said Hoff.

To download The Serviced Apartment Sector in Europe, Highlights and Trends in 2016 please click here.

Peter Ducker, CEO of Institute of Hospitality

HD Summit speaker profile: Peter Ducker, CEO Institute of Hospitality

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The Hotel Designs Summit takes place on 12-13 September at Radisson Blu Hotel, London Stansted, and as well as fantastic networking opportunities and invaluable meetings, attendees will have the chance to hear talks from influential figures from the hotel and hospitality industry.

One of this year’s speakers is Peter Ducker, CEO of the Institute of Hospitality. Peter was born into a hotel family and has remained in the industry ever since. Ahead of the event in September, he speaks to us about his talk…

Q. What’s your background and career in the industry?
A. Having been born into the industry, I went on to graduate from Oxford Polytechnic (now Brookes…) in Hospitality Management. I then worked in hotel management before moving into sales and marketing. I then held board positions at various hotel companies; both private and public.

With this experience, I then launched and managed a hotel reservations company, which I sold in 2005. Since then, I have advised hotel companies on sales, marketing and distribution before taking my current role as CEO at the Institute of Hospitality.

Q. What will you be covering in your talk at the Hotel Designs Summit?
A. I’m planning to review the important “take-aways” from the conference and draw the themes together for attendees.

Q. What, in your opinion, are the current three most important challenges the industry is facing right now?
A. Undoubtedly the fallout from Brexit. Beyond that, cost inflation for operators as a result of the National Living Wage and the Apprentice Levy and thirdly the recruitment and retention of key staff in important roles.

Q. Where do you see the future of the industry headed?
A. Growth across the sectors is going to be one of the key issues. Also, the ongoing drive for standards will play a big role as well as the ongoing pressure on the independent sector from brands, particularly in the restaurant sector.

Q. Why do you think events like the Hotel Designs Summit are important?
A. With so much change and uncertainty in this current climate, it is vital that hospitality professionals meet in different forums to exchange views and seek inspiration.

Q. And lastly, what piece of advice would you give to hospitality professionals?
A. Make sure you remain focussed on your key metrics, keep investing in upskilling your staff, and always keep your eye on industry trends.

hoteldesignssummit.co.uk
If you would like more information on attending the event, please contact Jade Oliver on j.oliver@forumevents.co.uk or 01992 374054

Brexit is impacting the hospitality industry, so says HBAA

Opinion: Hotel industry faces ‘opportunities, challenges’ post-Brexit

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As the fallout of the UK’s monumental referendum result continues to make its mark, we can start to look at the impact the decision to leave the European Union will have on the country’s hospitality market.

Senior figures from various industries across the economy have been voicing their concerns about what the post-Brexit landscape will mean for them. As one of the top five employers in the country, the hospitality industry will feel an effect – both in the short and long term – likely positive and, depending on the type of deal the UK strikes with Europe, possibly negative.

One instantaneous positive was the increase in international bookings at UK hotels (especially from USA and China) in the immediate aftermath of the result. In York, for example, hotels saw an increase in international bookings with one property recording a 236% increase in bookings from America, while in Cambridge, Chinese bookings increased 6% and in the Lake District a 10% increase in international bookings was recorded at just one property.

It makes sense that this trend will continue; sterling’s weakness against other currencies will encourage tourists from those countries with the best rates to visit the UK, which will benefit the hotel industry. Likewise, with UK holidaymakers getting less bang for their buck (or pound…) on the continent, a rise in staycations will also have a positive impact.

The big fear, however, is the ability to hire people into the industry; with a high percentage of staff in hotels and restaurants coming from EU member states, a possible restriction on the freedom of movement between the EU and the UK could cause difficulties in bringing skilled workers from the continent. Speaking to the Evening Standard, Jeremy King of Corbin & King said: “As many as 94 per cent of EU workers employed in Britain’s hotels and restaurants would fail to meet existing visa entry requirements for foreign workers.”

This hinges entirely on how Britain approaches negotiations with the EU; the current dichotomy facing British negotiators is whether to give up access to the single market in return for tighter controls on immigration, or remain an active member of the single market and maintain current levels of freedom of movement. However, one would assume Britain will ‘extend a hand of friendship’ across the Channel to maintain a steady flow of skilled workers into its hotels. If not, this could mean a positive impact on British workers.

Likewise, construction of hotels could well be hit – both those already underway and future planned projects – with an uncertainty in pricing up labour and materials. However, on the flip side, a weaker pound could be a welcome thing for overseas investors looking to take a punt on some value.

But the hospitality industry has proved itself resilient in the face of uncertainty in the past. It will be again. Hoteliers will have to be smart to ensure revenue predictions are tightly controlled and continue to monitor competition – but not much will change from pre-Brexit. It is, also, in the government’s best interest to ensure the industry not just survives but thrives in the face of new opportunities and challenges.

British Hospitality Association statement on the referendum

British Hospitality Association: Statement on EU referendum decision

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In the light of the result of the EU Referendum vote, Ufi Ibrahim, the CEO of the British Hospitality Association (BHA), has released the following short statement on behalf of the Association’s membership.

Ufi Ibrahim, CEO of the BHA said: “The EU referendum question represented a profound moment for the future of our industry. Hospitality and tourism benefits from a flourishing economy and any level of uncertainty will have an impact. The United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union is the beginning of a process which could take years.”

“On Monday 27th June the British Hospitality Association is convening its members, industry and political leaders to discuss economic and political ramifications in the short term. We will be framing a plan to ensure that we have a seat at the table on all negotiations including taxation, immigration and regulation.”

“As we go through this process, the BHA will call upon every politician in this country to do all they can to guard the strong reputation that our industry has built representing a hospitable and welcoming country all around the world. Our industry is one of the key drivers of exports, prosperity and the fourth largest employer supporting 4.5 million jobs.”

 

www.bha.org.uk

UK hotel property market

Has the UK hotel property market reached a plateau?

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The UK’s hotel market saw its first decline in average RevPAR (rooms revenue per available room) in four years during the first three months of 2016 adding further fuel to the suggestion that the peak of the hotel property market may have been reached.

According to the latest Hotel Bulletin: Q1 2016, published by HVS, AlixPartners and AM:PM, a poor start to the year for hotels in Aberdeen saw RevPAR fall by 37% year-on-year, skewing overall results across the 12 cities analysed. Even excluding Aberdeen’s results, the overall market grew by only 1%, its lowest increase since Q1 2012.

While London remains a popular destination for Russian and Chinese visitors and investment continues to pour into the city, hotels in the capital saw RevPAR decrease by 2% in Q1 2016, their fifth consecutive quarter of flat or declining figures.

“These figures give us a strong indication that the peak of the UK’s hotel occupancy market has been reached and the growth we are seeing now is rate driven rather than occupancy driven,” said HVS chairman Russell Kett.

“For the moment there continues to be strong interest in hotel investment in most parts of the UK, which could continue into 2017, but investors are currently delaying decisions because of uncertainty fuelled by a combination of terrorism concerns, the forthcoming Brexit vote, China’s economic situation and the US elections.

“There is a risk that some operators will cut rates in an attempt to stimulate demand, forcing competitors to follow suit. Once room rates fall across the hotel sector the likelihood is that values will soften. This is a big concern for London’s hoteliers, particularly with the large number of bedrooms due to open in the next 12 months unless demand starts to pick up again,” he added.

According to Hotel Bulletin the best performing city in Q1 was Cardiff, with an average RevPAR increase of 8%, largely due to the World Half Marathon Championships in March. The fact that demand has not been constrained by new supply means that Cardiff has been in the top three best performing cities for the past four quarters. Since December 2011 only 18 new bedrooms have opened in the city.

Birmingham was the second best performing city in Q1, with RevPAR growth of 7%, despite supply growing by nearly 800 bedrooms over the past two years. Investment in Birmingham airport means that this trend is likely to continue as new flight routes come on stream.

The hotel sector has long been seen as a barometer of the wider economy, says Hotel Bulletin, albeit with inevitable regional variances. In recent months there has been a modest but perceptible shift in sentiment, especially in the investment community where a much greater sense of caution is being adopted over future growth prospects.

Download the Hotel Bulletin: Q1 2016 by clicking here…