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Hotel Designs LIVE - speakers

Speakers announced for Hotel Designs LIVE in August

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Speakers announced for Hotel Designs LIVE in August

Following four successful virtual events, Hotel Designs LIVE, which is completely free for designers, architects, hoteliers and developers, will return on August 10, 2021. In order to confront ‘zoom fatigue’ with meaningful content, we have just announced the global line-up of speakers who will appear in a series of four engaging panel discussions throughout the day. Editor Hamish Kilburn, who will host the event at Minotti London, reveals all… 

Hotel Designs LIVE - speakers

Hotel Designs LIVE, the one-day conference which is free to attend if you qualify as a designer, architect, hoteliers or developer, will return on August 10 to serve up a series of online panel discussions with the aim to keep the industry connected and the conversation flowing during the on-going pandemic.

The four topics that have been confirmed for the virtual event, which was recently shortlisted shortlisted in the ‘Best Webinar Series’ category at the Digital Event Awards, are senses, sleep, surfaces and social.

Editor Hamish Kilburn will host the event from the comfort of Minotti London’s Fitzrovia showroom. “For more than a year now, Hotel Designs LIVE has been meaningfully serving the international hotel design and hospitality community by simply keeping the conversation following,” Kilburn explains. “It feels very fitting, considering our previous networking collaborations the luxury Italian furniture brand and its relevant to all of our four panel discussions, to welcome Minotti London as our headline sponsor.”

There are limited spaces available. Simply click here to secure your place in the virtual audience (booking form takes less than two minutes and entry is free for designers, architects, hoteliers and developers).

Meet the confirmed speakers (so far): 

The agenda: 

1st session Hotel Designs LIVE

Click here to participate.

1st Session - Hotel Designs LIVE

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Hotel Designs LIVE - sleep session

Click here to participate. 

Hotel Designs LIVE – surfaces session

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Session 4 - Hotel Designs LIVE

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If you are a designer, architect, hotelier  or developer and would like to secure your complimentary seats in the audience, click hereIf you are a supplier to the hotel design industry and would like to promote your latest product or services to the Hotel Designs LIVE audience, please contact Katy Phillips via email or call +44 (0)1992 374050.

Main image credit: Oladimeji Odunsi/Unsplash

Weekly briefing: Locke’s new home, ‘rugspiration’ & a Four Seasons journey

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Weekly briefing: Locke’s new home, ‘rugspiration’ & a Four Seasons journey

Roll up, roll up, read all about it – Hamish Kilburn here with your weekly briefing. In this week’s round-up we share some of our top stories from the week, including our feature on Tara Bernerd’s journey through Four Seasons, our exclusive on Modieus’ new rug collection and the latest on Omni Hotel & Resorts’ hotel development in Texas… 

For the first time in a long time, the team at Hotel Designs were let out of their homes this week in order to explore hospitality, in person, once more. The moment of euphoria was short-lived, though, after I confidently walked into Carlton Tower Jumeirah – a hotel that has recently completed a full renovation – only to find that it was not opening until July – and we were in fact (unknowingly I would like to add) trespassing. Awkward encounter with security aside, it make me realise that despite many hotels having now opened their doors, it will be a while until we can freely walk into a hotel lobby without having to show proof of reservation. What is reassuring is to see hotel developments that shelter designs that will enhance public areas, connect locals and travellers alike and ultimately share the beauty of interaction – something we will all need after this unpredictable storm passes.

With that in mind, let’s think positively when rounding off another week with our top and most-read stories from over the last few days.

Home-meets-hotel brand Locke opens first hotel outside the UK

Locke Zanzibar lobby

Image credit: Locke

Following what can only be regarded as dominating the home-meets-hotel market in lockdown with several openings of design-led properties in London, pioneering hospitality brand Locke, which joined Hotel Designs LIVE in October last year to explore adding personality in public areas, has opened its first hotel outside of the UK. Zanzibar Locke overlooks Ha’penny Bridge in Dublin…

Read more.

First look: Modieus launches Makers’ Mark rug collection

Spontaneous Mark – Modieus

Image credit: Modieus

Makers’ Mark is a collection by Modieus of unique rug designs inspired by the process of making art. The brand’s latest body of work began with the design team experimenting with a series of traditional artistic techniques – dedicating time to painting, creating collages and drawing. The team then took their original artist work and digitally manipulated the images to achieve an immersive and interactive art experience…

Read more.

Four Seasons through the eyes of designer Tara Bernerd

Image credit: Joe Thomas

From one iconic brand to another, to celebrate the upcoming arrival of Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences Fort Lauderdale, we take a look back at Tara Bernerd‘s design journey with the hotel group – from London to New York – in order to understand how the designer and her team created such interesting design narratives…

Read more.

Construction begins for Omni Hotel & Resorts’ new resort in Frisco, Texas

Guestroom inside the Omni hotel in Texas

Render credit: SB Architects

SB Architects is celebrating the official groundbreaking of the new Omni PGA Frisco Resort, mixed-use development in Frisco, Texas, which will include a 501-key hotel. Scheduled for completion in 2023, the design for the destination golf course, 501-key Omni PGA Frisco Resort and premier golf and retail experience, will usher in a new era for the sport. Let’s take a look as to what we can expect…

Read more.

Since you’re here…

More than 40,000 readers per month enjoy the content we publish on Hotel Designs. Our mission is to define the point on international hotel design, and we are doing that by serving relevant news stories and engaging features. To keep up to date on the hottest stories that are emerging, you can sign up to the newsletter, which is completely free of charge. As well as receiving a weekly round-up of the top stories, you will also access our bi-monthly HD Edit –staying ahead of the curve has never been so easy!

Click here to sign up to our newsletter.

indexPRO founders

indexPRO: A new platform launched to simplify FF&E specifying for designers

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
indexPRO: A new platform launched to simplify FF&E specifying for designers

Launching ‘the future of interior design efficiency’, indexPRO has launched to allow designers to collaborate in real-time on their FF&E specification, with reliable product details from renowned, design-led, International brands held on the technologically advanced cloud-based platform. Editor Hamish Kilburn checks it out…

indexPRO founders

The implementation of interior design projects often looks effortless, the grand opening eagerly presented to the awaiting press whose educated eye absorbs the perfection of the interior. Behind the scenes the extensive team of interior designers, owners, operators and procurement companies collectively breathe a sigh of relief, while their eyes are keenly fixed towards the next project. The implementation of design projects is complex. Beset on all sides with challenges, changes and sometimes even a pinch of chaos! And it is this commonly recognised complexity that led to Murad Saleh and Gail Thompson to launch indexPRO – more, we are told, than a simple FF&E scheduling tool, the cloud-based platform enables interior designers, brands, operators and procurement companies to actively collaborate within the platform on a project by project basis.

Introducing a dynamic new way of working

Whether designers are running a multi-location design firm or an individual design consultancy, indexPRO facilitates the flow of information, with all parties kept up to date with the latest details of the project:  Manufacturers discontinue an item or change product specification? Procurement companies alter their supply chain? Designers tweak the design specification? With indexPRO all changes are visible to everyone on the team, in real-time.

Designers can select from either an extensive selection of pre-approved international brands or add in their own product selection. Projects can be categorised by area, such as lobby, gym or suite and team members can be customised for each area giving users complete control and reassurance of privacy. Once specified within the indexPRO platform, designers can invite project partners to participate within the project.

The consequential productivity boost for time-challenged designers using indexPRO is astounding. With access to the extensive product database, and the networks who manage them, they can effortlessly realise their design vision, reducing the time spent on specification, whether for a luxury villa or an extensive 500-room hotel, by around 80 per cent – making more time available for creativity and ingenuity whilst reducing the potential for error.

A timely evolution in the design process

The launch of indexPro comes at a time when organisations and professionals across the world have been accelerating their digital transformation, a time when it has become critical to facilitate the easy collaboration of remote teams. Historically, following the successful approval of the design concept, architects or interior designers would utilise their Computer Aided Design skills to produce drawings which can be implemented by the build team. However, the ensuing FF&E schedule, where all the products such as fabrics, washbasins, coffee tables and lamps are detailed, has sadly been neglected in any technological advancement, with designers often resorting to an Excel, Word or even Powerpoint file.

The IndexPRO platform allows the user to easily prepare the FF&E schedule, within its intuitive cloud-based structure. By utilising a Big Data Architecture Pattern, the platform can effectively handle the vast quantity of data available on each product, which can include photos and specification text, whilst Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning creates a smart, intuitive environment for designers to work.

“Our team of engineers have designed a robust, future-proof infrastructure which can operate in a dependable and efficient way, facilitating easy collaboration,” says Saleh. “As a skilled procurement professional, we’ve received over the years specifications in many different formats. Providing an up to date platform for collaboration on the FF&E schedule is something which we feel is well overdue.”

“Although exciting, fun and even considered the delicious icing on the cake, the FF&E specification schedule has a dark side; a blend of human error, unnecessary repetitive tasks and lengthy time-frames turns this job of joy into a pressure cooker of panic,” adds co-founder Gail Thomson. “Testing indexPRO on our own design projects has allowed us to develop the platform into one we know really works.”

The launch of indexPRO is the first phase of an extensive development programme. Both Thomson and Saleh are clearly passionate about the online collaboration of project partners in order to streamline the design and implementation process. Their vision? To drive the future of interior design efficiency.

Main image credit: indexPRO

Locke Zanzibar guestroom

Home-meets-hotel brand Locke opens first hotel outside the UK

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Home-meets-hotel brand Locke opens first hotel outside the UK

Following what can only be regarded as dominating the home-meets-hotel market in lockdown with several openings of design-led properties in London, pioneering hospitality brand Locke, which joined Hotel Designs LIVE in October last year to explore adding personality in public areas, has opened its first hotel outside of the UK. Zanzibar Locke overlooks Ha’penny Bridge in Dublin…

Locke Zanzibar guestroom

Zanzibar Locke, the latest property from home-meets-hotel brand Locke, is strategically positioned in Dublin’s city centre. Overlooking Ha’penny Bridge, Zanzibar Locke is the brand’s sixth property and first outside of the UK, featuring 160 studio apartments, an original food and beverage offering, gym, and a locally-led cultural programme. 

Brick wall in lobby in Zanzibar Locke

Image credit: Locke

Locke leads the way in a hybrid travel concept that combines the space and comfort of home with the experience and thoughtful design of a boutique hotel. Each of Zanzibar Locke’s studio apartments come equipped with fully fitted kitchens and living space. Generously-sized rooms create a sense of freedom unique to the Irish market, where guests can enjoy the option of a short stay in a City Studio (average 25sqm) or retreat to a larger premium River Suite (average 40sqm) for a long term stay. 

“We are very excited to finally be welcoming leisure travellers into our first property outside of the UK,” said Stephen McCall, CEO of edyn. “It has been a great experience familiarising ourselves with the local Dublin market – and early indications show that our unique aparthotel concept is something new and exciting that the city needs at this pivotal moment. With a second opening in Dublin later this year, we are delighted to be able to welcome all guests in time for summer.”

The aparthotel will house new food destination BARAZA, operated by Dublin foodie favourites NolaClan (House Dublin, 9 Below and Xico). Located on the mezzanine floor, BARAZA will serve coffee and light bites in the morning, before transitioning into a lively restaurant serving seasonal small plates and craft cocktails.

Situated on Ormond Quay, with views overlooking the River Liffey, Zanzibar Locke draws on its rich architectural heritage to inform its design. Formerly site of the infamous noughties’ hotspot Zanzibar Nightclub – which inspired the property’s name – the Georgian building has been sensitively restored and developed by Dublin-based interior design studio O’Donnell O’Neill Design and C+W O’Brien Architects. Working with local contractors, joiners and artists, O’Donnell O’Neill retained the original character of the building, while combining the stylish design, contemporary fittings and custom furniture synonymous with Locke.

From its interiors to music playlists, the brand has worked extensively with Irish partners and suppliers to create Zanzibar Locke, including O’Donnell O’Neill Design, sustainable fashion brand GROWN, and DJ and founder of creative collective Gxrl Code, Mona Lxsa. In doing so, the brand aims to build a unique, inclusive environment that is deeply embedded in the social fabric of its neighbourhood.

Locke Zanzibar lobby

Image credit: Locke

“Locke’s forward-thinking aparthotel concept has shown resilience throughout the pandemic,” added Osgur Ó Ciardha, Country General Manager. “In an exceptionally challenging year for Irish hospitality, we were able to remain open throughout the national lockdown to house essential stays largely enabled by the self-contained apartments. We are looking forward to welcoming back leisure travellers.” 

Alan Clancy, Founder, NolaClan, commented: “We’re excited to partner with Locke on its food and drink offering in Dublin, and bring our new restaurant and bar concept, BARAZA, to Zanzibar Locke. Our ambition is to create an all-day dining experience in a vibrant, beautiful environment that locals and travelers alike can enjoy.”

As the world continues to navigate travel over the coming months, Locke’s self-contained studio apartments provide safe, clean, and flexible accommodation for business and leisure travellers, as well as short-term residents. Zanzibar Locke’s opening to leisure travellers follows an extended soft launch period where the property housed guests for essential stays and those in need of an interim home during lockdown, which was possible due to the self-contained design of the apartments. As a result, Zanzibar Locke experienced an average of 27 days length of stay, with an average occupancy of 40 per cent occupancy – considerably outperforming the Dublin industry average of 10 per cent.

Main image credit: Locke

First look: Modieus launches Makers’ Mark rug collection

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
First look: Modieus launches Makers’ Mark rug collection

Makers’ Mark is a collection by Modieus of unique rug designs inspired by the process of making art. The brand’s latest body of work began with the design team experimenting with a series of traditional artistic techniques – dedicating time to painting, creating collages and drawing. The team then took their original artist work and digitally manipulated the images to achieve an immersive and interactive art experience…

New from Modieus, the Makers Mark Collection is defined by the lines, dots, marks, patterns and textures they create in artwork. It can be loose and gestural, controlled or neat. It can apply to any material used on any surface: paint on canvas, ink/pencil on paper, scratched mark on plaster, digital paint tool on a screen, a tattooed mark on skin can be a form of mark making.

The end result is nine encapsulating art stories. From colour blurs to graffiti and stylised monochromatic graphic effects, this unique collection of rug designs belongs in an art gallery. The collection launches on Modieus Instagram account on June 16th. In the meantime, here is a sneak peek at what to expect.

Established in 2015, founder, Xander Okhuizen has assembled an expert team to deliver unrivalled commercial flooring solutions. Backed by an extensive global network, Modieus provide exceptional, contemporary flooring throughout Australasia, the Middle East, the Far East and Europe.

Spontaneous mark

Spontaneous Mark – Modieus

Image credit: Modieus

Colour Blur

Colour Blur - Modieus

Image credit: Modieus

Grid and Blocky Arrangements

Grid and Blocky Arrangements

Image credit: Modieus

Feel the Mark

Feel the Mark - Modieus

Image credit: Modieus

Colour Sharp Movements

Colour Sharp Movements - Modieus

Image credit: Modieus

Graffiti Combined with Systems

Minimal scene with podium and abstract background. Geometric shapes. Pastel colors scene. Minimal 3d rendering. Scene with geometrical forms and textured background for cosmetic product. 3d render.

Image credit: Modieus

Collage Colour

Collage Colour

Image credit: Modieus

Collage Black & White

Collage Black & White - Modieus

Image credit: Modieus

Digital Distort

Image credit: Modieus

Modieus is one of our Recommended Suppliers and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

Main image credit: Modieus

Four Seasons Forte Lauderdale, designed by Tara Bernerd

Four Seasons through the eyes of designer Tara Bernerd

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Four Seasons through the eyes of designer Tara Bernerd

From one iconic brand to another, to celebrate the upcoming arrival of Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences Fort Lauderdale, we take a look back at Tara Bernerd‘s design journey with the hotel group – from London to New York – in order to understand how the designer and her team created such interesting design narratives…

Four Seasons Forte Lauderdale, designed by Tara Bernerd

Long-time design collaborators for Four Seasons, designer Tara Bernerd and her team have created a plethora of typologies for the brand, from urban hotels, including the interior design for the hotel’s guestrooms of Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane and also the Empire Suite in Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown, to resorts such as the Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences Fort Lauderdale. Bernerd is currently working as the lead creative for the 148-bedroom property as well as 50 condo rooms and private residences, opening later this year.

Throughout all three hotels, the studio’s aim to embody the aesthetics of the Four Seasons brand whilst simultaneously creating meaning and connection through a distinct sense of place. By balancing the studio’s refined design principles with Four Seasons signature style, Bernerd and her team create something entirely new for each region.

Speaking about the design of each Four Seasons project, the designer says: “It’s very much a part of our philosophy to make every property unique, with its own story to tell. As we create custom projects for each hotel, we try and refrain from bracketing ourselves into a particular style. However, there is a common aspiration found behind all our work through the themes of colour, topography and geography. Fusing these touchpoints, we create individual experiences in each location.”

Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane

Image credit: Philip Vile

Last month, the hotel welcomed back guests to experience its newly renovated, re-modelled Superior and Deluxe Rooms and Junior Conservatories in partnership with British designer Tara Bernerd & Partners.

Designed to bring a freshness to the hotel, the studio’s holistic approach and their use of bespoke design, lighter colours and materials, were specifically chosen to create a more spacious feel for guests on entry. Each room displays Bernerd’s signature handsome style of approachable luxury with a timeless elegance and the Hotel’s prestigious location situated between three of London’s Royal Parks was an immediate source of inspiration for Belgravia-based Tara Bernerd & Partners, with hints of green incorporated into the classic colour palette to add a modern edge.

As with each of the projects Bernerd and her team undertake, the location and geography in which the hotel is set was a key source of inspiration. This thread runs throughout the furniture and finishes, indeed extending to the art. Greeting the guest in the entryway to the deluxe room are two prints created from old tailors’ suit patterns, a nod to the sartorial history of Savile Row which resides in close proximity to the hotel. A triptych over the headboard depicts deconstructed photographs and sketches of London from the turn of the century. Found in old picture books in a Notting Hill antique shop, these pieces are particularly special. 

The art in the superior rooms take inspiration from the iconic views over Hyde Park. Three abstract pieces hang above the bed, one of which loosely explains the layout of the park, with another having been painted by a Four Seasons employee. Not only does the piece fit perfectly within the room’s palette, but the hotel’s connection to the artist creates a meaningful story behind each piece.

Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown

Image credit: Joe Thomas

Having recently reopened, this Tribeca based Four Seasons presents its reimagined Empire Suite by British interior designer Tara Bernerd. In the updated design, Tara and her team focused on optimising the layouts and furniture placement within the suite to take advantage of the unparalleled views across the city, while simultaneously providing larger spaces for entertaining and more intimate, homely cocoons. Providing essential versatility, the home office/study was redesigned to make the most of the natural light and give guests the option of using the space as a second bedroom. The Principal Bedroom was designed to provide the ultimate sleep sanctuary with soft silks and hand painted de Gournay wall panels to add a touch of drama.

Featuring a living room, dining room, media room, study, walk-in closet, two bathrooms, master bedroom and a full catering kitchen, the Empire Suite offers the ultimate sanctuary and comes complete with a $25,000-per-night Empire Suite Experience that includes helicopter airport transfers, limousine transfers, daily breakfast for two, a personal spa retreat and  more.

Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences Fort Lauderdale

Render credit: Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts

Render credit: Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts/ Tara Bernerd & Partners

Opening later this year, Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences Fort Lauderdale sets a new standard in contemporary living, set in a prime location on Fort Lauderdale’s desirable North Fort Lauderdale Beach Boulevard.

Complete with unparalleled views across the Atlantic Ocean to one side and the Intracoastal Waterway on the other, Tara Bernerd and her team have taken inspiration from the natural beauty and quality of light in Fort Lauderdale – the pale silver sands, blue seas and stunning Floridan sunsets. Known for its yachting heritage, the studio have sought to encapsulate the elegance of a previous design era of Chris Craft yachts and Capri pants to create an approachable luxury with a timeless quality.

Main render credit: Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts/ Tara Bernerd & Partners

Lobby Arrival

Construction begins for Omni Hotel & Resorts’ new resort in Frisco, Texas

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Construction begins for Omni Hotel & Resorts’ new resort in Frisco, Texas

SB Architects is celebrating the official groundbreaking of the new Omni PGA Frisco Resort, mixed-use development in Frisco, Texas, which will include a 501-key hotel. Scheduled for completion in 2023, the design for the destination golf course, 501-key Omni PGA Frisco Resort and premier golf and retail experience, will usher in a new era for the sport. Let’s take a look as to what we can expect…

Lobby Arrival

Construction has official started to create Omni PGA Frisco Resort, setting the tone for the future of modern American golf with Texas modernist architecture. “We are thrilled to play a role in the repositioning and modernising of golf in America,” says SB Architects senior vice president and principal, Bruce Wright. “The design goal was to create a destination that could service the elitelevel golfers of the world, as well as make the sport fun and approachable for families, beginners and all levels of abilities. By coupling a hospitalitydriven design, inspired by Texas Modernism, with stateofthe-art golf courses and technology, we’ve created an inviting and accessible resort that will introduce the sport to a whole new generation of golfers and serve as an exciting benchmark for future development.”  

Render of Omni PGA Frisco Resort

Image credit: SB Architects

After PGA of America’s 56 years in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, the move to Frisco, Texas signals an exciting change. Frisco, one of the fastest growing cities in America, is the ideal place for this golf lover’s paradise. Named the “2018 Best Place to Live in America,” Frisco will be transformed with this development, bringing new vitality and economic growth to the local community. The inspiring architecture of the Omni PGA Frisco Resort complements the vision for this bold, state-of-the-art development, set to bring in a new chapter for the future of golf in America. 

Inspired by Texas Modernism, the architecture is timeless, contemporary but signature to the area, to reflect the future-thinking approach of the development. Arranged in a campus-style format, SB Architects, in collaboration with Robert Glazier Architects, has developed an amenity-driven site-plan that focuses on maximising views and capturing the ‘look and feel’ of a destination golf resort.  

To help create a human scale for the architecture, SB Architects created a direct connection to the outdoors, drew natural light and ventilation into each space and used grading, trees and the landscape to break down the scale and reflect an intimate ambience with all the perks of a larger, resort hotel. The landscape and use of local materials are indispensable within the design. The built environment is broken down into a series of courtyards, and an infrastructure of trails and networks respectfully lead guests through the development. A promenade connects the entire development; linking Omni’s resort lobby, all-day dining restaurant and spa and fitness facility; creating a pedestrian-orientated, walkable environment.  

Golf Villas_Ext

Elegant architectural forms and natural materials are utilised to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere. The use of stone, both horizontally and vertically, large overhangs, wood detailing and ironwork all work together to create a modern contemporary feel that is layered, textured and accessible. Every location feels cohesive with a distinct, iconic architectural element to distinguish. With golf as the focus of the design, the rooms at the Omni PGA Frisco Resort are positioned to prioritise views of the championship courses. In addition to the 501 guestrooms, golf foursomes, families and groups who are looking for a more personal, residential feel can stay in one of the resort’s private four-bedroom golf villas located along the promenade, with private putting facilities.  

Guestroom inside the Omni hotel in Texas

Render credit: SB Architects

 The signature development will feature two championship 18-hole golf courses designed by Beau Welling and Gil Hanse; a lighted 10-hole short course and nearly two-acre putting green and practice areas, totalling 46 holes; a clubhouse; coaching centre; a 501-key Omni Resort with seven 4-bedroom golf villas and 127,000-square-feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space; a technologically advanced retail village; parks and open space along with several miles of trails.  

Main render credit: SB Architects

Weekly briefing 4th june

Weekly briefing: Sleep masterclass, award winners & art outside the frame

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Weekly briefing: Sleep masterclass, award winners & art outside the frame

Allow me, Hamish Kilburn, to walk you through this week’s top design and hospitality stories. The weekly briefing was designed with busy on-the-go designers, architects, hoteliers and developers in mind – so kick back, relax and scroll down to read a snapshot of this week’s happenings…

It’s been a turbulent week – in fact year – for the travel industry, as the UK government continues to play chess with tourism boards that rely heavily on UK tourism.

Weekly briefing 4th june

With the latest ‘check’ against Portugal now being moved off the ‘green list’ it’s becoming more and more likely for the industry to lose yet another season due to new variants of Covid-19.

However, that hasn’t stopped or hindered plans for brands to re-open showing solidarity and strength – as can be seen in our latest VIP arrivals story, which takes a closer look at this month’s hottest hotel openings. It also hasn’t affected young designers’ creativity, as seen in this year’s shortlisted entries for the Accor Design Awards, which concluded this week.

To round off yet another week, while the sun is still shining the UK – good news for staycation businesses – here are what we believe are this week’s top stories…

Accor Design Awards – and the winners are…

Overall winner: Nomadish

Overall winner: Nomadish

Our most-read story of the week comes from Accor’s spectacular, global campaign to find the world’s most talented design students. First launched in in 2016, the Accor Design Awards aim to rethink the future of hospitality in collaboration with design students the world over. Their creativity blended with Accor’s know-how, provide unique solutions and new concepts for the hospitality industry. I had the privilege of sitting on this year’s judging panel – and what an experience it was… Finally, we can now announce the winners.

Read more.

VIP arrivals: Hottest hotels opening in June 2021

White room inside OMMA Santorini

Image credit: OMMA Santorini

A few weeks ago, restricted by green, amber and red lists – it’s as if we are at a junction and the traffic lights are broken – we on the editorial desk at Hotel Designs unveiled the best design hotels to visit in Portugal. But, as you know, we are a global platform and have over the last few months been publishing our VIP Arrivals series, which takes a closer look at the latest hotels opening on the hotel design scene.

For the June edition, things are hotting us as the summer season approaches. Although (for the time being, at least) many desirable destinations remain untouchable, we thrown down the metaphorical towels on the sun loungers for you at the new hotels we have recently added to our own travel bucket list. Here’s our editor’s pick of the must-visit hotels opening in June.

Read more.

Judges have been announced for The Brit List Awards 2021

The Brit List Awards judges 2021

Now that the free nominations/applications process is open for The Brit List Awards 2021, it’s time to meet this year’s judges. The 2021 panel consists of respected travel journalists and international experts in the design, architecture and hotel development arenas. The judges will gather to select the winners ahead of the awards ceremony on November 3 at PROUD Embankment, London.

Read more.

EXCLUSIVE // Virtual hotel design masterclass: The science of sleep

Image credit: YOTEL

In a recent article exclusively published on Hotel Designs, Hannah Shore, sleep expert at Silentnight Group, shared an ‘experts guide on the science of a good nights’ sleep’. In this article, she explored the optimum environment to enhance the best sleep performance, which included looking at temperature, lighting and comfort – or ‘TLC’ as she puts it.

Following this insightful piece, it felt natural for us to extend an invitation out to a cluster of designers and hospitality experts to explore with the professionals at Silentnight Group, the science of sleep.

Read more.

(in video) Hotel Designs LIVE: Art outside the frame

Following two engaging panel discussions looking at a new era of lifestyle and bathrooms beyond practical spaces, the third debate virtually sheltered under Hotel Designs LIVE was around challenging conventional portrayal of art in hotel design. Sponsored by Elegant Clutter, which prides itself on offering a professionally different approach to art consultancy, this chapter of the event addressed new demands from public areas and clever ways to inject branding and sense of place in hospitality establishments.

Read more.

M Social arrives in New York

M Social NY terrace night view

Image credit: M Social

Ever since checking in to M Social Singapore, designed by the one and only Philippe Starck, a few years ago, I was convinced that this brand would thrive in the concrete neighbourhood of Manhattan. With the opening of a 480-key hotel located at 226 West 52 Street  –literally in the heard of Times Square to you and I – it’s about time (and it’s better late than never).

Read more.

In Conversation With: Alex Tredez on designing The Lost Poet

Image credit: The Lost Poet

“We felt that there was a gap in the market for accommodation which offers high quality service, attention to detail and professionalism synonymous with the hotel experience – but also offering an authentic local experience which guests love about Airbnb-like residences,” Alex Tredez, lead designer of The Lost Poet, explains to me as we start to discuss one of West London’s most anticipated hotel openings this year.

Read more. 

Since you’re here…

More than 40,000 readers per month enjoy the content we publish on Hotel Designs. Our mission is to define the point on international hotel design, and we are doing that by serving relevant news stories and engaging features. To keep up to date on the hottest stories that are emerging, you can sign up to the newsletter, which is completely free of charge. As well as receiving a weekly round-up of the top stories, you will also access our bi-monthly HD Edit –staying ahead of the curve has never been so easy!

Click here to sign up to our newsletter.

Villa Igiea

Now open: Rocco Forte Hotels’ Villa Igiea

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Now open: Rocco Forte Hotels’ Villa Igiea

Rocco Forte Hotels, the prestigious family-run hotel group, led by Sir Rocco Forte and his sister, Olga Polizzi, has unveiled the newly restored Villa Igiea in Sicily…

Recently included in our VIP Arrivals series, Villa Igia, the historical Art Nouveau palazzo overlooking the Gulf of Palermo, originally designed by Ernesto Basile commissioned by the influential Florio family, returns to its former splendour as a jewel of the Mediterranean.

Villa Igiea

Villa Igiea’s location, nestled between land and sea, makes it a perfect base to discover the extensive cultural heritage of Palermo, which provides visitors with enchanting sights and unique experiences. Built in 1900, the historic palazzo has been meticulously renovated by Olga Polizzi, Deputy Chairperson & Design Director of Rocco Forte Hotels, in collaboration with renowned architects Paolo Moschino and Philip Vergeylen of Nicholas Haslam Studios.

Over the last two years, the intricate restoration process has enhanced the hotel’s charm and renovated the building’s Belle Époque feel. Villa Igiea’s allure has been reinstated, combining the architectural grandeur of the past with contemporary comfort of the 21st century in the design and style of Rocco Forte Hotels.

Image credit: Rocco Forte Hotels

Image credit: Rocco Forte Hotels

“Villa Igiea is an iconic building which, like its original owner Franca Florio, is a grand lady of charm and elegance and a symbol of hospitality,” said Sir Rocco Forte, CEO and Chairman of Rocco Forte Hotels. “It has been the focal point of the city of Palermo for over 100 years hosting artists, emperors and the Hollywood elite, enraptured by the wonders of Sicily. I am so proud to be part of the history of this remarkable hotel and to have had the chance to restore it to its original splendour.”

Creative Director of Food for Rocco Forte Hotels Fulvio Pierangelini will oversee the Florio Restaurant, the Igiea Terrazza Bar and the Alicetta Pool Bar, serving delicious Sicilian flavours with unmistakable expertise. Each restaurant will portray the culinary history of Sicily – “a simple, but not simplistic cuisine, which is sincere and unrestrained; respect for little everyday gestures which perfect the island’s thousand- year-old culinary art, realising au gout du jour marvels; this cuisine embodies family, generosity and femininity” chef Pierangelini comments.

The Florio Restaurant welcomes guests into an elegant and refined, yet joyful atmosphere, typical of seaside Grand Hotels. The muted colours of the interior design, and the large floor-to-ceiling windows which reveal wondrous views of the Tyrrhenian Sea, recall the golden age. Seasonal produce, harvested locally and from the Verdura Resort vegetable garden, along with fresh fish and crustaceans, pasta, fried delicacies and arancini are just some of the ingredients of this natural, authentic cuisine.

Image credit: Rocco Forte Hotels

Suspended between the botanic gardens and the Mediterranean Sea, the Igiea Terrazza Bar, is reminiscent of Edwardian high society and boasts marvellous frescoes by Palermo artist Eugenio (Geno) Morici. A wide selection of Florio liquors and drinks from the “Spirit of Igiea” cocktail list designed by the maestro Salvatore Calabrese, is inspired by Sicilian fragrances and illustrious guests who have honoured hotel the with their presence. Open from lunchtime, the bar serves a range of snacks and main dishes as well as the “Leggero by Fulvio Pierangelini” menu with its many healthy, flavourful delights.

Housed in a pavilion reminiscent of Palazzo Butera, the Alicetta Pool Bar offers a tasty menu of the day with Sicilian specialities as well as raw fish dishes, sashimi, seafood, fresh fish and crustaceans ready to be grilled. Local steamed and grilled vegetables and rich mixed salads will complete the menu, with pizza and filled focaccias baked in the outdoor oven. The tempting sweet trolley offers a selection of fresh fruit and home-made ice-creams.

For the opening of Villa Igiea, the Concierge team has created a series of itineraries, which guarantee unforgettable memories, and allow guests to get to know Palermo, the city of a thousand faces. With its eight UNESCO heritage sites and the intense colours and scents of the local markets, this Mediterranean gem offers endless inspiration for discovering the city’s historical, architectonic and landscape delights. You can choose from the “Jewish Palermo”, “The Leopard Tour”, “Local market tour with cooking lesson”, decide to take the “Florio trail” or explore the island’s coastal roads on a Porsche cabriolet in complete freedom and much more.

Main image credit: Rocco Forte Hotels

Roundtable - sleep

Virtual hotel design masterclass: The science of sleep

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Virtual hotel design masterclass: The science of sleep

In late May, 2021, Hotel Designs invited a handful of designers and hotel experts to speak at a virtual roundtable on sleep performance, in association with Silentnight Group. Editor Hamish Kilburn, who moderated the session that naturally turned into a masterclass, writes…

Roundtable - sleep

In a recent article exclusively published on Hotel Designs, Hannah Shore, sleep expert at Silentnight Group, shared an ‘experts guide on the science of a good nights’ sleep’. In this article, she explored the optimum environment to enhance the best sleep performance, which included looking at temperature, lighting and comfort – or ‘TLC’ as she puts it.

Following this insightful piece, it felt natural for us to extend an invitation out to a cluster of designers and hospitality experts to explore with the professionals at Silentnight Group, the science of sleep.

Key panelists

Also on the panel:

  • Angela Moran, Product Strategy Director, Silentnight Group
  • David Lawrenson, Sales Director, Silentnight Group

Hamish Kilburn: Angela, could you just kick us off please with a bit more context on Silentnight Group and what the brand is currently working on from a product perspective…

 Angela Moran: Where do I start? Silentnight Group is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year. We’re the leading consumer brand in the UK and the largest bed manufacturer in the UK. We mainly operate out of our site in Barnoldswick in England and we also have a partnership with Comfy Bedding – and we can do a whole sleep package with them including air filtration systems within the bedroom.

Sustainability is one of our pillars at the brand, and one of my deep passions in my role. We are really pleased that we make all of our products in the UK and 70 per cent of our raw materials are also come from the UK and many are within two hours of our HQ.

In terms of product design, our key principles are:

  • Comfort – looking at how we can offer the best nights’ sleep
  • Cleanliness – everything from antiviral treatments
  • Durability – we want our products to stand the test of time without a decrease in comfort
  • Sustainability – we do a lot of work in this area. One area we are really focused on is recycling. We have a 97 per cent recycle rate.

In all the research that goes in during product development, we are always balancing those four areas.

HK: Jeremy, given your expertise in this area around sustainability – assembly to dissemble mind-set on all your projects – how difficult has it been in the past with beds at the end of their life cycle?

 Jeremy Grove: We think about that in relation to every product and beds were a problem. Over the last two or three years we have started to find solutions. I think it’s something like 13 million mattresses go to landfill every year. Currently, it’s very limited to what’s out there, but I do see that changing.

Joanna Knight: I think it’s very important. We are working on a large project at the moment where we are changing out 614 beds and mattresses and we are very keen not to send the old products to landfill – and we are working with Silentnight Group on how we best do this.

Emma King: Hygiene and materiality are both so important right now. And by that I mean the whole sleep experience, what is happening when it comes to recycling duvets etc. From a brand point of view, the first thing to be removed when Covid-19 hit was the soft furnishings and cushions because everyone, it seems, wants a clean, white bed right now. I believe the consumer will want to be more informed, from now on, about where materials have come from and what they are sleeping on.

Image credit: Kimpton DeWitt Amsterdam Hotel. Interior Design. Photography. Laure Joliet

Image credit: Kimpton DeWitt Amsterdam Hotel. Interior Design. Photography. Laure Joliet

HK: Does what bed and mattress you specify change depending on where the project is geographically?

Ariane Steinbeck: To a certain extent, yes. Interestingly, we find that the Asian market prefers to specify a firmer mattress. I remember travelling in mainland China not so long ago and wherever we stayed in a non-internationally branded hotel the mattress was rock solid!

Frank Esmeijer: At YOTEL, we call our rooms ‘cabins’ and we believe they are very unique. The bed in each of our cabins takes a leading role. Our model is very different, and our bed has to have the functionality to fold up.

Image credit: YOTEL

HK: So often when we future gaze to what the hospitality and hotel design landscape might look like in the future, the bed is often depicted as something out of a sci-fi movie. And yet we today are grounding the conversation around materials and sustainable methods. Where do you then draw the line between what’s a gimmick and what’s meaningful?

AS: I try to stick to the science and when I am travelling, I would like things to be simple and clean. If we are working with someone independently and we have more of a voice on what gets specified, all the information available is very helpful as decisions are easier to make when they are informed. Personally, I want to know whether or not sleeping on material that is ‘natural’ is better for you…

HS: We always have this argument over natural vs synthetic. Every material that goes into a mattress has its pros and its cons. Natural materials, for example, have really great thermal regulatory properties and are extremely breathable. However, the downsides to natural materials include that they might settle a bit more and generally be less durable. On the other side, synthetic material is probably more durable but does not offer as good breathability. So, as you can hear, it all just completely depends what the end consumer wants.

“The reason why polyester is such a valuable material is that it is arriving as someone else’s’ waste and is approved by the Global Recycled Standards (GRS).” – Angela Moran, Product Strategy Director, Silentnight Group.

Image credit: Silentnight Group

AS: Has it been proven that there is off-gassing by using non-natural materials?

AM: I recently had a call with leaders from the bed industry and we are looking at how to move the industry forward for the societal good. In terms of foam, I have completely changed my view. I initially thought that it may be durable but it is an oil-based product. However, I have now realised, due to the work that Hannah has done, that the mattress is a sustainable option because it just lasts so long. And, at end of life, synthetics are very easy to recycle over the natural materials that, while they are compostable, there is no infrastructure in place to recycle so they are unfortunately going into landfill. The reason why polyester is such a valuable material is that it is arriving as someone else’s’ waste and is approved by the Global Recycled Standards (GRS). In five years, I believe that every mattress material will be able to be recycled, at scale!

“We were finding that many mattresses were passing durability tests in the lab and yet failing in real life scenarios.” – Hannah Shore, Sleep Expert, Silentnight Group.

HK: How do Silentnight test their latest products?

HS: Let me introduce you to Robbie, he is our climate machine who was created as a result of a widespread research collaborations between ourselves, universities and institutions. He heats up to about 75 per cent humidity. We did a bit of research under the duvet, creating our own microclimate. Using Robbie, we can apply heat and moisture in different ways. We can manipulate the settings to match realistic climates in the bedroom. We were finding that many mattresses were passing durability tests in the lab and yet failing in real life scenarios. If you add heat and moisture, as you would have in a real setting, then the fibres were collapsing more. As a result, that can decrease the lifespan of a mattress by up to 30 per cent. So, although we test everything in the lab, we also use Robbie as an in-depth testing method. Another way we can use Robbie is to measure how quickly that heat and moisture goes through the different layers of the mattress. The key finding we found was that the heat and moisture management was in the top five centimeters of the mattress.

Daniel Englender: When it comes to sleep performance, I think everyone has been interested in the science over the last few years especially. What I am interested in understanding more about is the on-going maintenance of the mattress, as in how much they need to be turned etc?

AM: Our learning has been that in a hotel environment it has be easy care and there are a few things to consider. A lot of mattresses these days can come single-sided, so that you don’t have to think or worry about ‘turning’ the mattress continually – and again, that’s where foam really rates highly.

On the other side, the piece of kit that Hannah referred to has allowed us to completely reinvent our fibre specifications. Some of the innovation in the polyester front has been, instead of just horizontally laying fibres, we can now vertically lap them so that they mimic foam more. It ensures that fibres are more long-lasting. From all of this, my conclusion would be that single-sided mattresses are best suited for hotels because you can put more on the top.

Image credit: RPW Design/Marriott International

DE: What’s the magic formula for a zip and link bed to feel like a regular mattress?

David Lawrenson (Sales Director, Silentnight Group): It’s interesting because the zip on a zip-and-link product is a hugely contentious topic in the hospitality industry. Depending on where you have the zip, it can cause the materials to separate and if it is too high up then it becomes uncomfortable for the user. We are working on new technology and products that offer a solution.

“Interestingly for us to fall asleep, our core temperature needs to drop 1 degrees. A lot of people think that wrapping up warm and cosy is the answer, but science has exposed that to the be a myth.” – Hannah Shore, Sleep Expert, Silentnight Group.

HK: Hannah, in a recent article we published from you, you said that 75 per cent of Brits admit to not having good nights’ sleep. 30 per cent of those asked rated their sleep as ‘bad’ Why is this stat so high? 

HS: We live in a 24-hour world at the moment where we don’t shut off with our phones and a zoom call never too far away. These scenarios emit a blue light, which is not conducive for sleeping. It depresses melatonin, which is fundamental for us to fall asleep. Something that I do mention in the article is ‘TLC’, and by that I mean temperature, lighting and comfort. Interestingly for us to fall asleep, our core temperature needs to drop 1 degrees. A lot of people think that wrapping up warm and cosy is the answer, but science has exposed that to the be a myth. Lighting is fundamental, and comfort is a big factor. There are lots of people who are not sleeping on the right mattress. From a hotel perspective, all you have to do is go onto the TripAdviser website to see the amount of comments that reference bad nights’ sleep.

HK: What are your clients’ thoughts, and concerns, when it comes to specifying the bed?

JK: Most of our clients are focused on providing a good sleep experience and it is beneficial to get repeat business. We are led by brand standards, when working for brands such as Radisson Blu and Hyatt, and these standards are generally very high.

HK: When it comes to lighting when talking about sleep performance, there is a lot a talk on circadian rhythm. Are there affordable products out there that offer a quality solution?

JK: I think the price will come down as products become wider developed. To be honest, it [circadian rhythm technology] is not something a lot of the brands who we work with are looking at the moment, but I think it is a very interesting concept. In 20 years alone, there have been a lot of innovations that started being only accessible for luxury brands with deeper pockets that has filtered down into other sectors of the market. So much technology has become widespread now.

Cozy bedroom

Image credit: Silentnight Group

AS: What is the single most element for good sleep, is it the mattress or is the pillow?

HS: You need to get a good combination of both. Both the mattress and the pillow contribute to your spinal alignment. Comfort is subjective – what one person finds comfortable, another will not. So, when we measure comfort, we try where possible lead with objective science. An important factor I look at is spinal alignment. Your mattress provides a lot of support, but if you sleep with the wrong pillow, this can affect your alignment in your neck and down your mid spine.

And that brings me on to talk about Zoning. Working with our partners, we were able to test for optimum spinal alignment. We looked at soft, medium and firm and there were differences. What is more important when looking at a large group of people of all different shapes and sizes to cater to is the zoned part of the mattress. If the centre-third of the mattress is slightly firmer it supports our hips and our lower back. That part of the body needs that little extra element of support. So, a well-zoned mattress with the right pillow is key for sleep performance.

FE: I think there could be an opportunity there. We all remember the days of pillow menus. Ultimately, how do you. There are levels of comfort that you can customise, such as lighting and sound – and as a guest you can optimise your experience. But there are some elements in a room, like a mattress, you cannot customise.

EK: I think we need to bring the pillow menu back. If we are specifying an average mattress (depending on brand), then we can make the pillow the individual differentiator that I had not necessarily thought of.

JK: Does the base and having a sprung base have any baring?

AM: Yes, because it affects the softness. Whatever you are specifying you should always try it on the base that is also being specified.

HK: How do you create a cosy and calm setting in bedrooms that are awkwardly sized?  

JG: We’ve never been a company that really disrupts the conventional bed. It’s an element within the room that is generally based on comfort rather than appearance, depending on the hotel. In awkward spaces, it’s about trying to sprit back to the bare minimum so that you can have a bed that doubles up to be a bedside table. It’s about making these spaces easy to navigate. For mid-level brands, it’s about getting the basics right such as full black-out curtains. These are the annoying details that end up on trip advisor if not thoughtfully implemented.

FE: Space has become a premium these days and I think it’s important to draw out the important elements of the design and try to inject them in first. We are constantly trying to figure out new ways to utilise the space without compromising on comfort and experience.

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

Hotel Designs LIVE - art outside the frame

(in video) Hotel Designs LIVE: Art outside the frame

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
(in video) Hotel Designs LIVE: Art outside the frame

In the second session of Hotel Designs LIVE on May 11, 2021, we looked at art outside the frame. In an exclusive panel discussion, editor Hamish Kilburn welcomed Harry Pass, Creative Director, Elegant Clutter; Rob Wagemans, Founder, Concrete; Federico Toresi, Global Vice President Design – Luxury & Premium Brands, Accor and photographer Mel Yates to explore unconventional ways to portray art and branding in the hotel design process…

Hotel Designs LIVE - art outside the frame

Following two engaging panel discussions looking at a new era of lifestyle and bathrooms beyond practical spaces, the third debate virtually sheltered under Hotel Designs LIVE was around challenging conventional portrayal of art in hotel design. Sponsored by Elegant Clutter, which prides itself on offering a professionally different approach to art consultancy, this chapter of the event addressed new demands from public areas and clever ways to inject branding and sense of place in hospitality establishments.

Editor Hamish Kilburn welcomed a mix of designers, architects, art experts and even a leading photographer to capture the topic through a slightly different lens,to join him on the virtual sofa. Taking what was learned in the early conversations, the panel looked holistically at art’s role in hotel design.

On the panel:

Here’s the full video of the panel discussion (on demand), produced by CUBE, which includes Product Watch pitch from Elegant Clutter.

We have also published the full recordings of session one and session two from Hotel Designs LIVE . The full recording of the final session on workspace design trends will be available on-demand shortly.

SAVE THE DATE: Hotel Designs LIVE will return for a fourth edition on August 10, 2021. The topics explored will include surfaces, sleep, senses and social and speakers will be announced shortly. Once these have been announced, tickets for Hotel Designs LIVE will be available. In the meantime, if you would like to discuss sponsorship opportunities, focused Product Watch pitches or the concept of Hotel Designs LIVE, please contact Katy Phillips or call +44 (0) 1992 374050.

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Accor Design Awards

Accor Design Awards – and the winners are…

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Accor Design Awards – and the winners are…

During the Accor Design Awards – a global campaign – design students pushed conventional boundaries to redefine the services and guest experience that will ultimately shape the hospitality landscape of tomorrow. Editor Hamish Kilburn, who was on this year’s judging panel, has more about this year’s winners…

First launched in in 2016, the Accor Design Awards aim to rethink the future of hospitality in collaboration with design students the world over. Their creativity blended with Accor’s know-how, provide unique solutions and new concepts for the hospitality industry.

Accor Design Awards

For the fifth edition, candidates’ brief was to “redefine the services and guest experiences that will shape the hospitality of tomorrow”. Respected visionary designer Beth Campbell, founder and CEO of Campbell House, presided over this edition, while the international jury of experts had the task to select the top three projects across many submissions from design schools around the globe. After establishing a shortlist of 10 projects, the jury gathered online on May 25 to select top three projects and from them an overall winner. Finally, on June 1, the winners were announced in an online award ceremony.

“I’m very impressed by the level of this edition contest,” said Damien Perrot, Global Senior Vice President at Accor, who recently took part in our roundtable that explored lifestyle hospitality in 2021 and beyond. “I would like to congratulate the winners but also to thank the 150 students who participated to this contest and who are the students we would like to work with in the future. The future is definitively today because when we work on projects, we always think of what could be the world in the next 10 years.”

Manon Figuier, Victoire Datchary, Mathéo Maurel, Harold Loquillard from L’Ecole de Design Nantes Atlantique, whose project NOMADish provided an innovative solution that hit the three key goals: overall guest experience, element of surprise and delight, and consideration for social, economic, and environmental responsibility, won the first prize. They also won the Public Choice Award, voted for by the general public via our bespoke online award voting platform.

Overall winner: NOMADish

They will spend a five-day experience between Barcelona and Basel offered by Roca and Laufen, the campaign’s official sponsors, to discover the brands centre of innovation, see Art Basel and spend a wonderful time in these two beautiful cities.

The second prize was awarded to Ashley Ulm from Berlin International University for her Relove Hotel project, a sustainable and deeply locally conscious concept that goes beyond a biophilic design scheme. Ulm will enjoy a three-day stay in Basel offered by sponsors Roca and Laufen brands.

The Waterwalk project was awarded the third prize. The concept of the world’s first ‘floating and flying cruise’ inspired the judges to look outside the conventional perimeter in order to unlock something quite spectacular. As a prize, Fanny Jalet, Nolwenn Arhuis, Julie David and Lucie Vallée from L’Ecole de Design Nantes Atlantique will spend three days in Barcelona with Roca teams.

Third prize: Waterwalk

Last but not least, this year’s entries were of such a high standard, that the judges insisted on awarding an extra Special jury prize to the Cocoon project. The hotel presented to the judges catered to the rising demand of bleisure travel. Forget the typical corporate shell, though. This hotel suite concept – made from biopolymer and local wood – would become a one-off travel experience in Africa.  Yasmine Bennani, Solène Percie Du Serf, Nicolas Alibert and Alexandre Albert-Picquet from L’Ecole de Design Nantes Atlantique were offered a Jo&Joe experience in Paris, and Hotel Designs will catch up with the team shortly to learn more about how the project would come to life.

In addition to the prize winners, the shortlisted finalists included hospitality concepts in space, suspended on the side of a mountain and even on the bottom of a cliff, which used the natural tides as a way to naturally and effortless change the guests’ setting. Innovative sustainability solutions were evident in all projects, as was the sensory experience.

Supported by Hotel Designs, the Accor Design Awards will return next year. 

Main image credit: Accord Design Awards

Bette launches BetteAir Design Competition

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Bette launches BetteAir Design Competition

Bathroom manufacturer Bette is calling on creative minds to design ‘the walk-in shower bathroom of the future’ featuring BetteAir, the world’s first glazed titanium-steel shower tile. Architects, designers, bathroom planners and students have the chance to give free rein to their creativity and win a personal feature on Bette’s social media channels, as well as a free BetteAir shower tile…

With BetteAir, Bette completes the evolution of the shower tray into part of the bathroom floor and opens up unprecedented possibilities in bathroom design. Like a conventional tile, it can be glued directly onto the screed, making the shower area an integral part of the bathroom floor and seeming to merge with it. With a choice of 31 colours, there are virtually no limits to creativity – whether colourful, contrasting or barely seen..

To participate in the competition, submit a design  for the “walk-in shower bathroom of the future” as a PDF, JPG or PNG. Real bathroom projects are also welcome. The deadline for entries is June 28, 2021. A jury, including Dominik Tesseraux (Tesseraux & Partner, Potsdam), the designer of BetteAir, will select the most exciting, unique and creative design concepts from the entries. The winner will be decided by a community vote on Bette’s social media channels from July 5, 2021. In addition, direct voting is possible on the website, where the CAD downloads and entry conditions can also be found.

As well as being a Recommended Supplier, Bette was a Product Watch Pitch partner at Hotel Designs LIVE, which took place on May 11, 2021. The next Hotel Designs LIVE will take place on August 10, 2021

Main image credit: Bette

M Social arrives in New York

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
M Social arrives in New York

“It’s about time,” editor Hamish Kilburn reacts to Millennium Hotels & Resorts opening of M Social New York, which marks the brand’s understated yet very dynamic arrival in the United States…

“Ever since checking in to M Social Singapore, designed by the one and only Philippe Starck, a few years ago, I was convinced that this brand would thrive in the concrete neighbourhood of Manhattan,” says editor Hamish Kilburn. “With the opening of a 480-key hotel located at 226 West 52 Street  –literally in the heard of Times Square to you and I – it’s about time (and it’s better late than never).”

M Social NY terrace night view

Image credit: M Social

The hotel’s distinctive, contemporary rooms are designed for all types of travellers to rest and re-energise in style with guest’s practical needs in mind. We’re told that each room has unparalleled Times Square, river or city views and each comes equipped with modern workspaces and ergonomic chairs, Serta mattresses and streaming-capable 4K smart TVs.

Guestroom inside M Social New York

Image credit: M Social

A hub for explorers, M Social features spaces that are designed to be accessible, comfortable and practical, including outdoor venues with some of the best views of the city. M Social New York is home to the vibrant bar and lounge, Beast & Butterflies, a private oasis perched above Times Square boasting unobstructed views of the city and the perfect vantage point for the iconic Times Square Ball Drop. Guests of Beast & Butterflies can indulge whilst eying New York City’s sparkle on a 7500 square foot wrap around terrace adjacent to an indoor glass perch. Beast & Butterflies is designed to be a vibrant space with a highly curated cocktail menu and light bites.

The hotel is adorned with an eclectic art collection and pairs its unique architecture with contemporary, avant-garde designs that illustrate a story based on New York City’s main characteristics. The lobby showcases a digital art installation which combines architecture, contemporary art and technology to create an unexpected and dynamic experience. 32 digital screens continuously display a curated library of digital art, transforming the space into an immersive living narrative that incorporates elegant display pieces throughout the area. Specialised art consultants also helped inject their own quirks throughout the hotel with installations such as the 600 sq ft lobby art wall, designed to enhance the aesthetic and spatial designs of the Times Square property.

The M Social brand was launched in Singapore in 2016. Millennium Hotels and Resorts is exploring ways to grow the brand in more cities, to capture diverse stories and build up a community that shares itself with authenticity, an open mind and giving heart.  M Social New York will be the third location for the brand with other outposts in Singapore and Auckland. 

Main image credit: M Social

Inciso by Gessi

INCISO by Gessi – an “American design in an intersection of history & dynamism”

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INCISO by Gessi – an “American design in an intersection of history & dynamism”

Thanks to the professionalism and inventiveness of two complementary realities, INCISO by David Rockwell has been created, marking Gessi’s first exclusive collaboration with an American designer…

INCISO is the result of a meaningful collaboration between bathroom brand Gessi and architectural visionary David Rockwell. It was was born from a deep curiosity for the world and a continuous search for perfection. A unique collection that reveals on one side the genuine emotion of ancient Italian craftsmanship and on the other the most innovative technologies used for working brass.

Inciso by Gessi

INCISO was a tough but exciting challenge for Gessi, a great opportunity to capture and then communicate, through an object, the American soul with an Italian touch thanks to a new aesthetic language in the contemporary bathroom.

Inciso by Gessi

Image credit: Gessi

“INCISO’ is not only the name of the new collection, but also its main feature, an engraving hidden in the spout that confers a strong personality to this piece of art, giving Inciso an elegant and refined profile. The collection embodies strength, integrity and quality, with the aim of conveying the emotion and authenticity of ancient manufacturing in perfect harmony with the technological processing of materials.

Taps from Gessi

Image credit: Gessi

An all-American asset with an Italian soul, for a contemporary furnishing where revolution, history and dynamism are dominant. The distinctive and decisive style of the collection is inherent in the Gessi design as well as in the American industrial chic flair. A new aesthetic code characterised by modern shapes and meticulous details, where the ancient soul is enlightened by a contemporary light, in details and finishes.

Thanks to the various finishes and surface treatments available, such as brushed black, brushed brass, gold, bronze and finox, each space will be customised and made unique, truly special. David Rockwell has instilled to Inciso his typical modern charm, characterised by fine and elegant “industrial” details. Meanwhile, Gessi has given shape and life to an explosion of styles and finishes, once again successfully surprising and making a difference.

In Conversation With: Alex Tredez on designing The Lost Poet

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In Conversation With: Alex Tredez on designing The Lost Poet

In an exclusive interview, editor Hamish Kilburn meets Alex Tredez, the lead designer of The Lost Poet, a new boutique hotel that shelters oodles of quirky and local personality. Ahead of it opening as a ‘modern interpretation of a traditional guest house’ on London’s Portobello Road, we took a sneak peek inside…

“We felt that there was a gap in the market for accommodation which offers high quality service, attention to detail and professionalism synonymous with the hotel experience – but also offering an authentic local experience which guests love about Airbnb-like residences,” Alex Tredez, lead designer of The Lost Poet, explains to me as we start to discuss one of West London’s most anticipated hotel openings this year.

Deeply rooted in its surrounding area, The Lost Poet, a hotel that is expected to open its doors this month following much anticipation, comes from the team at Cubic Studios – a local property design studio, born and bred in Notting Hill. The townhouse, located at Number 6, Portobello Road in London’s quaint Notting Hill neighbourhood, is a poetic love letter to the area, celebrating its creativity and dynamism through four individually designed bedrooms. The design harnesses the colour and playful curiosity of Portobello Road and takes inspiration from the market, mixing the old with the new. I was lucky enough to see beyond the colourful sketches to get a sneak peek and interview with the project’s lead designer.

The Lost Poet illustration

Image caption: An illustration of the exterior of the hotel

Hamish Kilburn: How will the hotel’s design challenge conventional London hospitality?

Alex Tredez: The Lost Poet is a modern interpretation of a traditional guest house. As far as we know, there is nothing quite like it. 

We felt that there was a gap in the market for accommodation which offers high quality service, attention to detail and professionalism synonymous with the hotel experience – but also offering an authentic local experience which guests love about Airbnb-like residences. 

It’s a concept that we thought is perfect for a city stay as it gives the traveller the best of both worlds. The guest house is an experience / destination on its own but it’s also very much rooted in the local area. The idea was to create accommodation for those who want to explore and experience the neighbourhood but also want a comfortable and characterful space to retreat to and relax in. Notting Hill is such a lively area with so much to offer we’d like to think we can encourage guests to explore it and enjoy. 

The small scale of the property and technology used through-out give the guests maximum privacy and flexibility. For example, the online check-in feature allows the guests to submit necessary information ahead of their stay, keyless access enables them to open the accommodation simply using their mobile phone. No matter what time the guests arrive at the property they are able to just walk in straight into the room. The receptionist and online support are there to answer any queries and provide assistance. The guests are free to have as little or as much face to face contact with the guest house staff as they choose. 

 We believe it is The Lost Poet’s unique mix of qualities is what will challenge the conventional hospitality. 

HK: With so much history in that area of London, how did you narrow down the interior design scheme?

AT: Embracing the rich history and character of the area was a huge part of the brief and a challenge we very much enjoyed. We felt it was important for this rich mix of culture and history to translate into the interiors. Our other objective was for the scheme to feel coherent and polished and have the same attention to detail that we strive to achieve on our residential projects. Having worked in Notting Hill for many years, this project is close to our hearts.  

The iconic pastel terraces of Portobello and nearby roads definitely inspired us. For this we drew from the classic proportions and timeless elegance of Georgian buildings in Notting Hill. Their construction uses a limited palette of materials such as yellow brick, stucco and stone and is what gives these streets coherence and harmony. However, instead of using a complex multi coloured palette throughout the property we decided to use different palette for each room. Our objective was to convey the vibrancy and playfulness of the area in The Lost Poet as a whole but have each bedroom feel more tranquil creating for the guests a welcome break from the surrounding bustle.

Using the colour as the tool adding individuality to the rooms also allowed us to use same architectural features and a similar overall design approach in each room so that they all feel like they belong in the same property but also have individual character. 

“We opted for mid tone and dark wood to add warmth and really tie the antique and retro furniture together.” – Alex Tredez, lead designer, The Lost Poet.

For eclectic and layered interior we used a mix of elegant classical inspired detailing and proportions, luxury traditional materials, modern forms as well as contemporary patterns. We opted for mid tone and dark wood to add warmth and really tie the antique and retro furniture together. Reclaimed and natural  materials add comfort and create domestic/ informal feel. Asymmetrical balance adds playfulness, visual interest and relaxed vibe. 

HK: How do you predict the pandemic will change the way modern travellers explore? 

AT: The pandemic has made many people really think about the way we travel and why we travel. We suspect it will change the way we explore. For starters, customers will put extra value on smart solutions such as online check-in and keyless access which can add the feeling of safety as well as flexibility. Travellers are looking for a more personal connection which values quality over quantity. Bespoke and meaningful experiences will be even more valued and by a wider portion of the market – the discerning traveller will make conscious choices, people having to really research and plan, less impulse decisions. Travellers may be willing to stay in one place for longer. For us this means longer stays, taking things at a slower pace which in turn means more time to explore the area. Guests are more conscious about sustainability, and we expect to see an increase in eco and wellness tourism.

I also think that we may see an increase in last minute bookings – still considered plans but confirmed shorter lead times than what the industry standard was in 2019.

HK: What’s the scene like on Portobello Road? 

At the moment? We are happy to see many restaurants and bars are and have been adapting well. We are seeing increased number of al-fresco dining and dining options. Some businesses have been burned though the pandemic and have since blossomed (just one example is Buns from Home). 

In general? We love that there are so many small businesses and restaurants on the street. You can wine and dine here for a week and not have to go to the same place twice. You can find everything from Moroccan sweets, through to Michelin starred restaurants as well as highly specialised vendors (vintage glasses, unique blends of tea, bespoke perfume etc). 

HK: Now more than ever design and service must answer each other. How is this the case inside The Lost Poet? 

AT: The Lost Poet thrives on its attention to detail. Since the inception of the design phase of the project to the thought put into the guest experience, the devil has been in the detail. The Lost Poet is Cubic’s love letter to Notting Hill, it’s part of the community, in the coolest neighbourhood in London. We want our guests to experience that, to feel and love the quirkiness and the friendly embrace of Portobello. The design of the rooms is intended to feel like home, we want our guests to be able to come ‘home’ to The Lost Poet and the end of their day. The service will be reflected in that. We only have a few rooms so which allows us to provide a much more personal experience and adapt to ever-changing guest needs. Everything from toiletries to our seasonal breakfast offering has been carefully considered.  

“We know how we arrived at the name but feel that just like with poetry sometimes it is best to leave these things open to interpretation.” – Alex Tredez, lead designer, The Lost Poet.

HK: How do the bathrooms inside the property go beyond just being practical spaces

AT: We have put a lot of thought into making sure they are very special, each bathroom is as unique to the room (different finish on the sanitaryware, different wallpapers, different layouts). We have closely considered how guests would get ready and added seating where possible and wall lighting to help elevate this experience, creating a beautiful space where you can still enjoy your daily rituals. We wanted to create that ‘wow’ moment and the special feel you’d expect from a luxury spa with loads of added character to match the feel of the property.  

HK: Who is ‘the lost poet’? 

AT: Notting Hill is said to have had an artistic association since the end of 19 century, we feel it’s still very prominent. You can feel it in the area and we love it and think it is one of the things that makes it so special. We know how we arrived at the name but feel that just like with poetry sometimes it is best to leave these things open to interpretation…  

Main image credit: The Lost Poet

The Brit List Awards judges 2021

The Brit List Awards 2021: Meet the judges

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The Brit List Awards 2021: Meet the judges

Now that the free nominations/applications process is open for The Brit List Awards 2021, it’s time to meet this year’s judges. The 2021 panel consists of respected travel journalists and international experts in the design, architecture and hotel development arenas. The judges will gather to select the winners ahead of the awards ceremony on November 3 at PROUD Embankment, London…

The Brit List Awards judges 2021

Right on cue – and continuing tradition – the next step after nominations and applications have opened for The Brit List Awards is for us to announce this year’s judging panel.

This year, as well as continuing our firm relationship with the British Institute of Interior Design (BIID) by welcoming both the President and the Past-President as judges, we have also included an award-winning travel journalist and a cluster of respected hospitality and hotel design experts to join this year’s panel.

(Free to apply/nominate) To nominate/apply for The Brit List Awards 2021, click here.

Without further a due, the judges for The Brit List Awards 2021 are:

Lindsey Rendall, President Elect, BIID

Image credit: Rendall & Wright

Lindsey Rendall is the soon-to-be President of the BIID. After graduating Lindsey Rendall worked for Designers Guild, the internationally renowned home furnishing brand before continuing her design career with Cameron Broom, based in south London. During her five years with the company, Rendall became principal designer and designed a wide range of projects including more than 90 domestic properties, five offices, three commissions for The Hurlingham Club and the complete renovation of 28 Portland Place, a beautiful historic building dating from 1775.

Rendall enthusiasm, attention to detail and ability to identify with her clients has ensured repeat business and many recommendations and referrals. In 2010 Lindsey was granted full membership of the British Institute of Interior Design. Lindsey joined forces with Helen to set up Interior Design practice Rendall & Wright in 2006. This dynamic duo, bring together design expertise and seamless project management, providing a personal and professional service.

Lester Bennett, President, BIID

Image credit: BIID

As a registered interior design with more than 30 years’ experience, Lester Bennett will be the Past President of the BIID during the judging process of The Brit List Awards 2021. Joining the panel for a second year, Bennett has covered many areas of design from running his own practice to being Design Director for the residential development company Westcity. He has built up a stunning portfolio of high profile residential developments both in the UK and overseas.

Lisa Grainger, Deputy and Tavel Editor, Times Luxx magazine

Image credit: Twitter (@LisaGrainger4)

Viewing this year’s entries from a different perspective over the likes of design and architecture professionals, Lisa Grainger is an award-winning travel journalist who has worked for The Times – from the arts and news desks to The Times Magazine and LUXX – since 1995. Grainger, who has become a well-known figure on the luxury travel scene and an influential voice which is amplified regularly in her authentic reviews, is a regular contributor to panels on conservation and luxury travel.

Frank M. Pfaller, President, HoteliersGuild

Image credit: Frank M. Pfaller

Image credit: Frank M. Pfaller

Frank M. Pfaller, the Founder and President of Hoteliers Guild joins the panel with his ‘no two people are alike’ attitude. Impressed by the accessibility of The Brit List Awards 2021, Pfaller believes that  while every property must meticulously reach and maintain highest standards of quality and personalised guest services, none should have to bear the dull stamp of conformity. HoteliersGuild was created with this mentality, and has become a private and independent society of active luxury hoteliers with the aim to connect the best of the hospitality community in a place that encourages the exchange of ideas and personal friendships.

 

Dereck & Beverly Joubert, filmmakers and owners, Great Plains

Image credit: Great Plains

Dereck and Beverly Joubert are world-renowned wildlife filmmakers and are the founders of Great Plains, an authentic, unique and iconic leading tourism conservation organisation. The pair will capture this year’s entries through their unique lens to capture, hopefully, the hotel projects that push boundaries in architecture, design and hospitality. Great Plains consists of 16 prestigious owned and partner safari properties in Botswana, Kenya and Zimbabwe – and offers exceptional safari experiences built around bespoke, caring, meaningful and considerate values.

Ngahuia Damerell, Senior Design Project Manager – Premium & Luxury Brands Design Solutions, Design & Technical Services, Accor

Image credit: Accor

Ngahuia Damerell, on the Board of Directors for the NEWH Paris Chapter, will join the panel to assist in the judging for the Rising Star Award, following Accor’s commitment to support young talent with the Accor Design Awards.

Damerell earned a bachelor’s degree in textile design with a focus on interior textiles from Massey University in Wellington, New Zealand. Her professional journey has taken her to Sydney, London, New York and now, Paris, where she works as the Global Senior Design Project Manager for Accor’s Luxury & Premium brands, including Raffles, Sofitel, Pullman and Movenpick.

Hamish Kilburn, Editor, Hotel Designs

Editor Hamish Kilburn headshot

Image credit: Hotel Designs

Completing this year’s panel, Hamish Kilburn, editor of Hotel Designs, will return for a fourth consecutive year to act as head judge for The Brit List Awards.

In his role on the leading online publication, Kilburn sensitively narrates the industry’s development. As well as travelling the globe, to far-flung destinations, in order to review some of the world’s most impressive hotels, he has also interviewed the masterminds behind their creations. “The Brit List Awards has become a valuable tool for the industry to understand who the real leaders and visionaries are among us,” he said. “In our meaningful search, we are looking for people and brands going beyond what is conventional – and in the four years I have held this position, the industry has never disappointed in showing us projects that are, quite simply, incredible.”

Most recently, Kilburn become the host of DESIGN POD, a new podcast for the A&D community and was also part of the team who masterminded Hotel Designs LIVE, a series of virtual online conferences for designers, architects and hoteliers in order to keep the industry connected and the conversation flowing. As a result, he has gained a detailed understanding as to what it takes to be at the forefront of the industry’s development and evolution.

So there you have it, your judges for The Brit List Awards 2021.

You can now purchase your tickets to attend the live awards ceremony, which takes place on November 3 at PROUD Embankment (designers, architects, hoteliers & click here. Suppliers, click here).

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

Headline Partner: Crosswater

VIP arrivals: Hottest hotels opening in June 2021

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
VIP arrivals: Hottest hotels opening in June 2021

From re-imagined landmarks to Portobello boltholes and new hospitality hotspots, here’s your ultimate guide on the hottest, must-visit hotels that are opening in June 2021, just in time for the summer season to start. Editor Hamish Kilburn continues our VIP Arrivals series as international travel and hospitality open up once more…

A few weeks ago, restricted by green, amber and red lists – it’s as if we are at a junction and the traffic lights are broken – we on the editorial desk at Hotel Designs unveiled the best design hotels to visit in Portugal. But, as you know, we are a global platform and have over the last few months been publishing our VIP Arrivals series, which takes a closer look at the latest hotels opening on the hotel design scene.

For the June edition, things are hotting us as the summer season approaches. Although (for the time being, at least) many desirable destinations remain untouchable, we thrown down the metaphorical towels on the sun loungers for you at the new hotels we have recently added to our own travel bucket list. Here’s our editor’s pick of the must-visit hotels opening in June.

Proper Downtown LA

Proper Downtown LA: Hotels opening in June

Proper Downtown LA

The visionary herself, Kelly Wearstler, is preparing to unveil her latest masterpiece. With city lights and vintage brick as backdrop, Proper re-imagines and updates a landmark in the heart of the Fashion District into a 148-key destination hotel. Here, the creative vision of Kelly Wearstler seamlessly blends past and present with compelling design, vintage influence and local art. Essentials include two restaurants led by James Beard Award-winning L.A. chef Suzanne Goin and Caroline Styne (Lucques, AOC, Tavern); an intimate lounge, and a city-view rooftop pool and lounge-bar-restaurant. Especially Proper are two singular, one-of-a-kind suites fashioned from the basketball court and indoor pool of the building’s sporting club past.

Moxy Bergen, Norway

Moxy Bergen interior public areas - Hotels opening in June

Image credit: Moxy Hotels

Located in Norway’s striking Bergen, a World Heritage City with picturesque outdoor life, Moxy Bergen’s prime waterfront location offers unbeatable views overlooking Norway’s famed fjords. Moxy is an energetic alternative to the typical hotel experience in Bergen, proving that choosing affordability doesn’t mean sacrificing style and comfort. The hotel’s playful design is inspired by its destination; the exterior is coated with rails in a pattern mimicking the surrounding waves, and inside there is a focus on natural elements with wooden furniture and installations. Fun hunters can soak up local scenery throughout their stay with each of the hotel’s 199 guestrooms providing Instagram-worthy fjord or mountain views. Down in the lobby guests will find quirky creations by local artists, including a Norwegian folklore figure from the forests of Norway. The Now Lounge has pulled the hotel’s harbour setting inside with anchor ball lamps and rope decorations, telling the story of local life. Moxy Bergen also holds leading sustainability certificates, a perfect match for the eco-conscious traveller.

Kuda Villingili, the Maldives

Arival jetty Kuda Villingili – Hotels opening in June

Image credit: Kuda Villingili

Recently published on Hotel Designs as one of the most highly anticipated hotels opening in June, Kuda Villingili is a Maldivian jewel. Conceived with nature in mind by the Maldivian architectural firm GX Associates in collaboration with the Singapore-based interior design company URBNarc, Kuda Villingili boasts 95 luxury villas – 36 overwater and 59 beachside. All are inspired by the sprawling nature of the Maldives and offer panoramic views of the pristine ocean, allowing for the natural sounds of the sea to awaken the senses.

The resort’s interiors authentically reflect the natural beauty that surrounds the island. Traditional Maldivian art pieces and textiles are dotted throughout, and the expert use of natural materials enhance the harmony between water, light and wind. Inspired by the ocean and local fauna, interiors feature custom, eco-friendly furniture and fittings (including carpets manufactured from recycled plastic bottles). This mixed-use resort development also offers a variety of accommodation types to meet the needs of all – groups, couples, solo travellers and families.

The Lost Poet, London 

The Lost Poet - Hotels opening in June

Image credit: The Lost Poet

Deeply rooted in its surrounding area, The Lost Poet comes from the team at Cubic Studios – a local property design studio, born and bred in Notting Hill. The townhouse, located at Number 6, Portobello Road in London’s quaint Notting Hill neighbourhood, is a poetic love letter to the area, celebrating its creativity and dynamism through four individually designed bedrooms. The design harnesses the colour and playful curiosity of Portobello Road and takes inspiration from the market, mixing the old with the new. Guests will find modern art, bold wallpapers and bespoke furniture sitting in juxtaposition with antique trinkets and reclaimed wood panelling created from old school science labs.

Accessible to guests arriving at any time of day or night, the concept offers the independence of rental property with the design, housekeeping and concierge elements synonymous with a luxury boutique hotel. 

OMMA Santorini

White room inside OMMA Santorini

Image credit: OMMA Santorini

Epoque Collection, a new luxury boutique hotel management company, is opening the brand’s first meticulously selected five-star property, the beautiful and breathtaking OMMA Santorini. After a soft opening in 2019, the much-anticipated stunning and secluded hilltop hotel with no surrounding properties in sight, is set to officially open in June. From the outside architecture to the interior design, OMMA Santorini offers a journey of discovery through all the senses. With just 25 intimate rooms and suites and five villas, organised amphitheatrically around the element of water, OMMA Santorini provides an intimate hideaway for couples and families alike. Each of the five beautiful villas is blessed with a private swimming pool and sprawling sea views overlooking the Aegean Sea. The contemporary and timeless style throughout the hotel balances crisp white walls and clean-cut spaces against charcoal sun loungers and furniture to create a design that oozes luxury and elegance. Cycladic white buildings surround the extraordinary double infinity pool which is set across two levels and is amongst the largest pools in Santorini. For that reason, it makes our top picks of hotels opening in June.

Hotel Lou Pinet

A yellow stripped vibrant public area

Image credit: Hotel Lou Pinet/Mr Tripper

Just like its sibling hotel, Le Cou Cou in Meribel, Hotel Lou Pinet is a piece of art, if you like, painstakingly designed to celebrate something different on the hospitality scene in Europe. And although it’s not new – the hotel first opened in 2019 – its style is as fresh today as it was then. Taking design cues from the rich Mediteranian gardens, the hotel, which re-emerges in June from its forced closure, is a peaceful abode away from hustle and bustle of Saint-Tropez. While its design remains timeless – and flawless, if we do say so ourselves – Lou Pinet has introduced a new offerings and treatments in the spa, as service and design work in harmony in what is a modern treasure. Lou Pinet is an intimate hideaway echoing the vintage Saint-Tropez spirit of the 60’s and 70’ where loved-up couples will dance the night away in the magical gardens, as the live music transports them to this vintage era.

Since you’re here…

More than 40,000 readers per month enjoy the content we publish on Hotel Designs. Our mission is to define the point on international hotel design, and we are doing that by serving relevant news stories and engaging features. To keep up to date on the hottest stories that are emerging, you can sign up to the newsletter, which is completely free of charge. As well as receiving a weekly round-up of the top stories, you will also access our bi-monthly HD Edit –staying ahead of the curve has never been so easy!

Click here to sign up to our newsletter.

Main image credit: OMMA Santorini

Hotel Designs: round up 27 may

Weekly briefing: Maldives opening, bathroom trends & IDAS line-up

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Weekly briefing: Maldives opening, bathroom trends & IDAS line-up

Editor Hamish Kilburn here – right on cue – to round off your week with a low-down of the most-read hotel design stories from the past few days. This week’s edition of the Weekly Briefing includes our sneak peek inside the Maldives’ latest design-led hotel about to open, a video panel discussion on bathroom trends and our in conversation with the wonderful Noami Heaton, CEO of The Other House…

Hotel Designs: round up 27 may

Where do we start? The challenge this week, now that UK hospitality is on the mend, following a rather bleak coma, has been sifting through press releases to select the most interesting and impactful stories for the international hotel design scene. In addition, of course, we have published a handful of our own crafted features and interviews that we believe answer questions regarding new challenges for the future of hotel design landscape.

So, before the weekend – a long weekend if you are based in the UK – can official start, here are our top stories from the week.

Island life: Kuda Villingili in the Maldives prepares to open

Arival jetty Kuda Villingili

Image credit: Kuda Villingili

In just a few days time, luxury travellers will be able to check in to Kuda Villingili, a much-anticipated luxury island retreat in the Maldivian archipelago. The remarkable five-star property located in the North Male Atoll, Kuda Villingili is the Maldives redefined; a unique, experience-driven concept, home to an impressive line-up of gourmet dining options, an idyllic beachfront spa, and an azure, spacious 150-metre pool, encircled by stylish sunbeds, cabanas and bars – take it from us, it’s stunning! 

Read more.

(in video) Hotel Designs LIVE: Bathrooms beyond practical spaces

Following the opening seminar on ‘a new era of lifestyle‘, which was no doubt the session that set the tone for the rest of the day’s panel discussions, session two of Hotel Designs LIVE was sponsored by bathroom manufacturer Grohe. For this chapter of the one-day conference, Hotel Designs decided to focus the lens on an area of the hotel that has been at the centre of the wellness conversation over the last year.

Welcoming leading designers and architects to join him on the virtual sofa, the panel looked at all five senses to understand how bathroom design and wellness areas are evolving in order to cater to new demands from modern travellers. Understanding bathroom spaces in all colours, shapes and sizes, the panel started to ultimately establish trends and major talking points for wellness spaces in 2021 and beyond.

Read more. 

In Conversation With: Naomi Heaton, CEO, The Other House

Naomi_Heaton_CEO_TheOtherHouse

Image credit: The Other House

Having just unveiled The Other House, a new lifestyle hospitality brand that is said to ‘revolutionise hospitality’, Naomi Heaton’s two new hotels that are planned to open in the next few years are expected to make unapologetic and bold statements on the hotel scene in London. But what else has Heaton got planned? We caught up with the visionary herself to find out more.

Read more…

Interior Design & Architecture Summit: Speakership line up finalised

Speakers for IDAS and projects they have worked on

There is still time for designers and architects to sign up to attend the Interior Design & Architecture Summit (IDAS) on June 30 at Hilton Canary Wharf, London. The one-day event, which launched in 2019, is designed to dynamically bridge the gap between senior designers, architects and key-industry suppliers.

The Summit includes pre-arranged face-to-face meetings, a networking lunch. In addition, Hotel Designs has curated a captivating seminar programme that will run throughout the day, inviting leading industry figures to discuss a range of relevant and thought-provoking topics.

Here’s what to look forward to…

Read more.

What we know about Britain’s largest cruise ship, designed by Jestico + Whiles

Britain’s largest and most environmentally-friendly cruise ship is named in a record-breaking virtual ceremony. Britain’s largest and most environmentally-friendly cruise ship, P&O Cruises Iona, has been officially named in a very contemporary ceremony with a record-breaking virtual audience. Iona, powered by liquefied natural gas, ground-breaking for the UK cruise industry and one of the cleanest fuels in the world, arrived for the first time into her home port of Southampton this morning ahead of tonight’s official naming ceremony. The ship was officially named tonight by Dame Irene Hays, chair of Hays Travel, Britain’s largest independent travel agency, in a glittering quayside ceremony by the bow of the ship. The event, held at sunset, was hosted by Jo Whiley and broadcast to a “virtual” audience of over 25,000 guests. The highlight of the show was a rousing set from Iona’s music director Gary Barlow performing two iconic Take That hits “Greatest Day and “Rule the World” against the backdrop of a spectacular laser show. A specially produced Nebuchadnezzar (equivalent to 20x 750ml bottles) of Alex James’s Britpop cider smashed against the hull of the ship in spectacular style to bring it good fortune in the future. There was also a special performance by The Commonwealth Youth Orchestra and Choir and Mica Paris singing Believe, a song which was composed by Simon Haw MBE and was dedicated to Her Majesty The Queen, head of the Commonwealth, for its 70th anniversary in 2019. Picture date Sunday 16th May, 2021. Picture by Christopher Ison. Contact +447544 044177 chris@christopherison.com For further press information please contact: Michele Andjel, michele.andjel@carnivalukgroup.com 023 8065 6653 / 07730 732 072 Laura Tattam, laura.tattam@pocruises.com 02380 656651 / 07771 283 845 Jenny Hadley, jenny.hadley@pocruises.com 023 8065 6650 / 07825 120 088

Image credit: P&O Cruises

Britain’s largest and most environmentally friendly ship, powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG) will accommodate up to 5,200 guests. Iona was named in a spectacular ceremony broadcast to a virtual audience on Sunday May 16 and the ship’s maiden voyage will be on August 7, sailing the UK coast and up to her namesake island.

The award-winning interior design and architecture studio, Jestico + Whiles, which recently took part in a panel discussion on the new era of lifestyle at Hotel Designs LIVE, has designed most of the food and beverage spaces throughout the ship and the most spectacular space of all, the soaring triple-height Grand Atrium which captures unprecedented panoramic views across the ever-changing seascape, as far as the horizon.

Read more.

The role of wellness in the new era of ‘lifestyle hospitality’

Image credit: The Cottonmill Spat at Sopwell House

Image credit: The Cottonmill Spat at Sopwell House

Following on from the virtual roundtable: ‘Raising the floor in lifestyle’ and our Hotel Designs LIVE session entitled: ‘A new era of lifestyle’, it’s safe to say that we are putting a lot of emphasis on understanding lifestyle hospitality in 2021 and beyond. To continue the theme, we asked Beverley Bayes, Creative Director at Sparcstudio, to look at the role that spa and wellness has to play in the new chapter of hotel design.

Read more.

Since you’re here…

More than 40,000 readers per month enjoy the content we publish on Hotel Designs. Our mission is to define the point on international hotel design, and we are doing that by serving relevant news stories and engaging features. To keep up to date on the hottest stories that are emerging, you can sign up to the newsletter, which is completely free of charge. As well as receiving a weekly round-up of the top stories, you will also access our bi-monthly HD Edit –staying ahead of the curve has never been so easy!

Click here to sign up to our newsletter.

 

Sparcst Mottram spa cafeFleur Challis Photography-122

The role of wellness in the new era of ‘lifestyle hospitality’

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The role of wellness in the new era of ‘lifestyle hospitality’

Following on from the virtual roundtable: ‘Raising the floor in lifestyle’ and our Hotel Designs LIVE session entitled: ‘A new era of lifestyle’, it’s safe to say that we are putting a lot of emphasis on understanding lifestyle hospitality in 2021 and beyond. To continue the theme, we asked Beverley Bayes, Creative Director at Sparcstudio, to look at the role that spa and wellness has to play in the new chapter of hotel design…

Sparcst Mottram spa cafeFleur Challis Photography-122

Long before the pandemic emerged in 2020, global hotel groups began to reveal plans for experience led design. There was a raft of new ‘lifestyle’ brands that would, we were told, be designed for the modern traveller – the emphasis on ‘experience’ was greater and with this the public areas were given the starring role in the overall hotel production.

Spas and wellness play a key role to play in the new lifestyle hotel offer we look at how spa design will evolve to fulfil this. Traditionally a hotel spa largely comprised of a series of 3m x 4m treatment rooms located off a darkened corridor (often in a basement) where guests would enjoy a largely solitary treatment experience before being led to ‘deep relax room’, again a darkened often solitary hushed experience.

an outdoor pool in hotel in countryside

Image credit: Center Parcs Aqua Sana Longford Forest Ireland.

Reflecting the elevated status of the modern spa, a spa can now command a key position in a hotel (with great views) as well as larger area within the overall hotel footprint. Must-haves now tend to include a rooftop pool/or ground floor location linking to a spa garden and a series of natural experiences. The pandemic has made these options even more important as many guests demand space, privacy and access to nature.

Social spaces and shared treatment experiences have also become a key element of a spa offer, perhaps more akin to the social experience that was a key part of a traditional Roman bathing experience. We have seen this emerge from the pandemic and lockdown, as those not wanting total privacy, expect to visit the spa with their friends and family, to enjoy social time in a relaxed wellness environment.

As a result, we are now designing more spas with treatment suites, which can be a flexible space that opens onto a small thermal private suite and relaxation spaces for small groups.

Spaces for the finishing touches like manicure/pedicure/makeup serve as great spaces for parties and intimate group. Most recently we designed the Ridgeview Beauty Bar at South Lodge Spa, dispensing premium award-winning English sparking alongside express spa treatments in a social space. Much like private dining rooms in restaurants, we often design these spaces with part glazed timber/glazed screens so that there is still the social connection between users and avoid reverting back to the corridor of doors syndrome.

“Hospitality matters”

Spa hospitality which includes the whole selection of food and beverage offered within the spa is evolving massively as hoteliers recognise the opportunity that a spa restaurant can add to the hotel’s existing food and beverage offering overall. Guests want the option of dining casually in the spa in their robes, but also like to have the option to eat before or afterwards, in a smart casual, yet modern environment. This is a huge opportunity for hotels and one that we expect to grow in the coming two – three years.

Image credit: Champneys Spa Mottram Hall

A spa can support a number of food and beverage offers, such as Champneys Mottram Hall, which has the relaxed spa café lounge and Rafaella’s Restaurant with healthy and nutritious options during lunch and dinner.

Spa F&B design is a great opportunity to create a very different look and feel to the other F&B areas within a hotel. It’s possible to create a relaxed casual, barefoot luxury vibe overlooking a pool or linking onto a spa garden or terrace. This is also where wellness can inform the menu with healthy, nutritious, vegetarian and plant-based options.

Image credit: The Cottonmill Spat at Sopwell House

Image credit: The Cottonmill Club Spat at Sopwell House

Going one step further, wellness hospitality can create a farm to fork concept, drawing on local suppliers and seasonal ingredients where possible. At South Lodge Botanica, the spa restaurant draws on the South Downs as a larder for fresh and seasonal ingredients. Although not exclusively vegetarian, the menu features a plethora of plant-based plates influenced by Mediterranean dishes. The Watershed serves a selection of drinks and light bites for those relaxing by the natural swimming pond throughout the day, during the summer months.

Thermal suites

Across the UK (and Europe) there has been a resurgence in thermal experiences, which in addition to providing huge health benefits, they are also great spaces for social spa-ing. Sparcstudio always design these as unique environments bespoke to the particular spa and we aim to connect the thermal cabin spaces with nature by bringing the outside in thanks to floor to ceiling glass walls looking across nature. Some excellent examples of this include the Spa at South Lodge and The Cottonmill Club at Sopwell House.

Image caption: Modern sauna inside Cottonmill Spa at Sopwell House

Image caption: Modern sauna inside Cottonmill Spa at Sopwell House, designed by Sparcstudio

We have noticed a definite trend towards spas enhancing the thermal suite offer with small group experiences. These can include a Russian Banya, an ‘Aufguss Sauna Meister experience’ where the ‘Sauna Meister’ uses towels to agitate the air and lessen the intensity of the heat, essence-infused air or group Hammam with billowing clouds of bubbles adding to the sense of theatre.

We anticipate that group treatment experiences will become more common such as those experienced at the Retreat Spa at the Blue Lagoon in Iceland where spa users can visit a series of heat experiences and apply mineral salt, or lava scrubs to themselves and their partners.

Lifestyle hospitality

Lifestyle hospitality is also seeping into all areas of our lives as we re-evaluate them post-Covid,;- there is a blurring of the lines between leisure, work and fitness – workspaces such as Fora & The Ministry offer yoga studios and fitness spaces and no doubt fitness clubs will also begin to provide informal work meeting spaces . The Global Wellness Summit identified that the trend for wellness and meetings to become blurred will continued beyond the pandemic. Expect to see hotel teams entering the spa for meetings or combining yoga, mindfulness and breathwork in the studio or on the terrace with their weekly meetings.

Fitness experiences, group exercise, group cycle/trail walk in the grounds or surrounding countryside are set to expand too – linking to the return to nature mentioned earlier.

Image credit: Champneys Mottram

Image credit: Champneys Mottram Hall

Spa and wellness experiences are also permeating into all areas of the hotel – in room fitness, yoga decks in garden, biophilic design in the rooms. Kimpton Blythswood Square has just launched a collaboration with CBD brand La Rue Verte, leading horticulturalists Benholm and award-winning DJ Brian D’Souza, on a multi-sensory experience combines the biophilic principles, plants in the bedroom with CBD rituals, meditation and sound therapy.

Creating a ‘luxury’ lifestyle-led experience – this is not about the opulence of the materials, or price of treatments, but new luxury is all about personal service, and the unique crafted individual touches that  spa is able to offer (hoteliers have so much to bring to spas in that they innately understand this).

As spa designers we need to have a deep understanding of the complexities of the spa operation to enable spa staff to provide this – unglamorous but operationally essential things like towel dispense and disposal needs to be carefully considered – routes in and out and storage points where they are needed for dirty and clean towels – (I am sure like me you might have experienced a huge rattling trolley being wheeled through a guest space and ruining an experience, because this hasn’t been addressed!).

Similarly wading through pools of surface water or seeing staff squeegeeing away stagnant pool water, because there are inadequate falls in wet/thermal zone, and the inexperienced designer might not appreciate the amount of water emanating from a steam room, this certainly doesn’t add to the luxury spa experience!

And then there’s the Instagram moment. The ‘wow’ factor. Lifestyle is the new luxury and wellness is at the centre of almost every hotel and hospitality conversation. Hoteliers wanting to ensure their offering is at the cutting edge of this, need to seamlessly blend wellness into their lifestyle offering so that the wellness journey begins before the guests arrive. It should be so effortless that the guest barely notices the attention to detail that has gone on behind the scenes, but immerse themselves into the wellness lifestyle from reception, to room and beyond.

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

Image credit: Champneys Mottram Hall

Image credit: RAK Ceramics

Hotel lobbies: “Let there be light,” says RAK Ceramics

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel lobbies: “Let there be light,” says RAK Ceramics

Hotel lobbies are the first sight that greet a guest when they arrive for their stay, so striking the right chord and creating that all important good first impression is vital here, explains Ben Bryden, Sales and Marketing Director at RAK Ceramics UK

Image credit: RAK Ceramics

Creating a good first impression, even when floor space may be at a premium, is crucial and whatever design and embellishments are chosen also needs to be in line with the hotel’s brand values, which from lobby to guest rooms will echo throughout the building no doubt.

Surfaces offer the ideal solution in this regard, being in and of themselves already highly visible.

Proving itself to be a stunning centrepiece for any hotel design concept, Luce by RAK Ceramics simply amaze when enhanced with backlighting technology, creating a striking effect that makes the right impression not only in hotel lobbies, but bar and restaurant areas too.

Image caption: Luce features a stunning marble-effect to make areas of the hotel such as bars and lobbies really stand out.

Image caption: Luce features a stunning marble-effect to make areas of the hotel such as bars and lobbies really stand out.

The new Maximus Translucent extra-large format slabs are a novelty that inspire creativity, with the range including seven different graphics and colours in marble and onyx effect, that replicate the natural ability of the stones to filter the light. The translucent body of Luce is made with a very high purity of raw materials containing special and high-quality clays and minerals. When illuminated, Luce’s special body gives a soft glow and really transforms the design from a plain tile to a soft natural marble. This of course taps into trends for nature-inspired designs, creates a real feeling of luxury and plays with light in an incredibly creative way.

Image caption: When illuminated, Luce’s special body gives a soft glow and really transforms the design from a plain tile to a soft natural marble, perfect for gently lighting up public spaces within the hotel after dark.

Image caption: When illuminated, Luce’s special body gives a soft glow and really transforms the design from a plain tile to a soft natural marble, perfect for gently lighting up public spaces within the hotel after dark.

In 6mm thick slabs measuring 120 x 260cm, Luce can be chosen in Onyx White, Onyx Harlequin, Onyx Ivory, Onyx Arco Red, Onyx Green Jade, Marble White and Bahia Azul.

Such solutions can be used by designers to enhance the guest experience, giving a good first impression and creating spaces that are beautiful with quality products.

RAK Ceramics is one of our Recommended Suppliers and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

Main image credit: RAK Ceramics

Island life: Kuda Villingili in the Maldives prepares to open

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Island life: Kuda Villingili in the Maldives prepares to open

Located in the North Malé Atoll, in the Maldives, Kuda Villingili is preparing its international entrance with what we are told an impressive line-up of gourmet dining options – including a take on the famous Singaporean Hawkers street food market – an idyllic beachfront spa, and world-class facilities for those with a penchant for an adrenaline rush. As demand for hotel development in the region soars, let’s take a look…

In just a few days time, luxury travellers will be able to check in to Kuda Villingili, a much-anticipated luxury island retreat in the Maldivian archipelago. The remarkable five-star property located in the North Male Atoll, Kuda Villingili is the Maldives redefined; a unique, experience-driven concept, home to an impressive line-up of gourmet dining options, an idyllic beachfront spa, and an azure, spacious 150-metre pool, encircled by stylish sunbeds, cabanas and bars – take it from us, it’s stunning! 

Conceived with nature in mind by the Maldivian architectural firm GX Associates in collaboration with the Singapore-based interior design company URBNarc, the resort boasts 95 luxury villas – 36 overwater and 59 beachside. All are inspired by the sprawling nature of the Maldives and offer panoramic views of the pristine ocean, allowing for the natural sounds of the sea to awaken the senses.

The resort’s interiors authentically reflect the natural beauty that surrounds the island. Traditional Maldivian art pieces and textiles are dotted throughout, and the expert use of natural materials enhance the harmony between water, light and wind. Inspired by the ocean and local fauna, interiors feature custom, eco-friendly furniture and fittings (including carpets manufactured from recycled plastic bottles). This mixed-use resort development also offers a variety of accommodation types to meet the needs of all – groups, couples, solo travellers and families.

Gastronomy

The diversity of cultural expression is celebrated throughout the resort’s gourmet offerings. With views of the idyllic beachfront, the resort’s signature dining establishment – The Restaurant – serves the freshest, handcrafted food for breakfast and offers three menus at dinner: Fire, Earth and Ocean. Inspired by the traditional American Steak House experience, Fire explores the art of grilling meats to perfection. Earth is an Asian-inspired concept that celebrates organic ingredients to enhance classic dishes like noodles and dim sum creations, and Ocean is a fine-dining experience championing seafood specialties, prepared with a European sensibility.

Arival jetty Kuda Villingili

Image credit: Kuda Villingili

Relaxed, flavoursome and social, The Hawkers is an upscale three-stall street food market that sits poolside and serves up soulful, sharing style options. The open kitchen dishes up Indian-Arabic inspired flame-grilled kebabs, charcoaled tandoor, and mouth-watering shawarma, along with Thai-Japanese delicacies such as robatayaki grill and sushi, and Italian-Mediterranean favourites like savoury wood-fired pizza.

A South American take on the classic lunch beach menu is available at The Beach Club, together with daily live DJ sets and an extended list of refreshing frozen cocktails and rosé wines. The resort’s two bars, the Main Bar and the Poolside bar, both offer classic cocktails, mocktails and hand-crafted beers. And overlooking the lagoon, the resort’s cosy Cigar Lounge offers the finest international whiskies and cognacs and a wide selection of premium cigars in a warm, sophisticated and sumptuously leather-decorated ambience.

Over in the spa

Featuring oversized stone baths, organic and plant-based products by VOYA, the spa at Kuda Villingili is rooted in self-love, self-discovery and wellness. Boasting eight self-contained oceanfront spa villas, each promises a holistic journey to reclaim self-connection, self-care and balance through an array of therapeutic and mindful practices.

Image credit: Kuda Villingili

Restorative leisure pursuits include an elevated yoga pavilion, Technogym and a recreation centre with table tennis, billiards, karaoke & table games. There are two state-of-the-art tennis courts, beach volleyball and island excursions that range from surfing, scuba and stargazing to wildlife encounters, sandbank dining and big game fishing.

The hotel opens on June 6. As the Maldives continues to be on the ‘amber list’ for UK travellers, the opening has given modern travellers something to look forward to when non-restricted travel opens once more.

Main image: Kuda Villingili

Render of luxury rooftop property

Industry insight: Transforming leisure spaces with innovative tile design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Industry insight: Transforming leisure spaces with innovative tile design

As public spaces begin to re-open, now more than ever business owners are looking for new ways to entice potential visitors. In addition to high-performance and functionality, aesthetics are key to designing a stylish pool or spa environment fit for purpose. We speak to CTD Architectural Tiles to learn more about the brand’s latest tile design collections…

Render of luxury rooftop property

When it comes to designing spas and leisure spaces, tiles can have a real visual impact on the overall look of the space. An integral part to any scheme, tiles allow designers, architects and specifiers to experiment – to create eye-catching designs for all to enjoy.

From marble-effect finishes to industrial inspired porcelain, CTD Architectural Tiles’ expansive collection of tiles not only looks impressive, but it also conforms to the highest technical standards to provide a solution for any leisure design brief.

Provide peace of mind with aesthetic anti-slip tiles

Health and safety is of utmost importance in any commercial sector, especially high-traffic leisure spaces or swimming pools, where excess surface water is likely. These spaces demand a tile solution that offers peace of mind, with anti-slip properties that meet the necessary safety regulations in order to deem the environment safe for public use. Yet, functionality doesn’t always mean compromising on aesthetics, CTD Architectural’s tile collection is specially designed to deliver on both style and performance.

Petra exudes a classic appeal and combines the beauty of natural stone with the benefits of an anti-slip ‘Class C’ porcelain surface. With three colours available, Petra allows designers to create a cohesive scheme, from swimming pool surrounds to outdoor patio flooring – the design possibilities are infinite.

For a more timeless look, business owners should opt for Milan, this beautiful tile can be specified in three soft tones: Sand, Grey or Marengo. Pairing natural beauty with the hardwearing properties of porcelain stone, these tiles are ideal for achieving a calm and tranquil ambience whilst fulfilling all of the anti-slip properties required for safe pool environments.

YDRAY-AMBIENTE-MILAN-GRIS-PISCINA

Image credit: CTD Architectural Tiles

A forward-thinking antibacterial surface solution

As our attention turns to hygiene and the importance of safely re-opening hospitality spaces, antibacterial tiles have increased in popularity. The perfect surface option for heavy footfall areas, antibacterial tiles benefit from groundbreaking Microban® technology in the form of a specialist coating applied directly to the tile surface.

Anthology is available in five muted colours; the porcelain wall tile is suitable for application on both the wall and floor and aims to depict the natural shade variations and inherent veining of stone and marble. With its enhanced antibacterial coating and high-quality visual appeal, Anthology is the perfect tile to breathe life into spa environments and luxurious poolside areas.

Comprehensive tiles designed for swimming pools 

When designing for a swimming pool there are extra considerations that need to be accounted for – stairs, overflow systems and even a skimmer need to be factored into the design scheme to help create a seamless surface throughout.

CTD Architectural Tiles’ Opera collection skilfully blends concrete and stone to create a range of industrial-looking porcelain tiles. Developed in large format, with surface finishes for both indoor and outdoor use, the stunning avant-garde slab can be specified in four colourways: Ivory, Light, Iron and Silver. An ideal choice for the leisure industry, the Opera range is supported by specialist pieces designed exclusively for swimming pool use.

As the leisure industry continues to evolve and bounce-back after a year of uncertainty, it’s clear that by creating stylish yet functional schemes, business owners can deliver unique swimming pool environments that guests will want to spend time in.

CTD Architectural Tiles is one of our Recommended Suppliers and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

Main image credit: CTD Architectural Tiles

Naomi_Heaton_CEO_TheOtherHouse

In Conversation With: Naomi Heaton, CEO, The Other House

760 565 Hamish Kilburn
In Conversation With: Naomi Heaton, CEO, The Other House

Having just unveiled The Other House, a new lifestyle hospitality brand that is said to ‘revolutionise hospitality’, Naomi Heaton’s two new hotels that are planned to open in the next few years are expected to make unapologetic and bold statements on the hotel scene in London. But what else has Heaton got planned? Editor Hamish Kilburn caught up with the visionary herself to find out more…

Naomi_Heaton_CEO_TheOtherHouse

In a place like London, where quintessentially British tradition seems (on the surface, at least) to take precedence, anything new and disruptive to what convention on the hospitality scene needs to arrive fully packed with substance if it is to survive, let alone thrive. For Naomi Heaton and her team, there was no other place in the world to set the scene of a new brand that has been brewing for what, I am told, has been seven years in the making.

Heaton, who recently joined me in a panel discussion at Hotel Designs LIVE to debate the topic of a new era of lifestyle, is now ready to share the details of her new brand, which is expected to “blur the lines” that pre-exist in hospitality, in order to instead create a cutting-edge type of new accommodation. The Other House – ‘your home for as long as you’re in town’ – will disrupt the traditional sectors of hotels, serviced apartments and private rentals, effortlessly and elegantly combining home comforts with hotel style facilities, whatever the length of stay.

The plot thickens, as Heaton and her team recently shared that The Other House will launch with the bold opening of two hotels that will be sheltered in two very different but equally majestic buildings in London – one in Kensington (opening in 2022) and other in Covent Garden (opening in 2023).

“Our aim was to create a second home for our residents for as long as they were in town – quite simply to be their other house.” – Naomi Heaton, CEO, The Other House.

To understand more about how The Other House was born, and what we can expect next, I caught up with Heaton…

Hamish Kilburn: We love the new branding – can you tell us a bit more about the creative journey to finalise the name?

Naomi Heaton: We have been on an amazing journey which started many years ago when we first recognised the need for a whole new approach to hospitality. This all started to become a reality when we teamed up with our joint venture partners APG, the Dutch pension provider and acquired our first asset in South Kensington in December 2019. One of our early appointments was the award-winning branding agency Design Studio who we had enormous fun with, working out exactly who our target audience was, what their aspirations and convictions are and the kind of environment they wanted to live in.

The core plank was to provide a sense of place that was in tune with our guests needs coupled with an ability for them to access hotel style services 24/7 but only as and when they wanted. We came up with literally hundreds of possible names but the answer was very simple. Our aim was to create a second home for our residents for as long as they were in town – quite simply to be their other house. It was just a short step from there to arrive at the The Other House!

Image caption: The exterior image of the Wellington property, which will shelter The Other House's Covent Garden hospitality offering.

Image caption: Prime location. The Wellington property, located in Covent Garden, will shelter The Other House’s second hotel, expected to open in 2023.

HK: Covent Garden and South Kensington shelter very different vibes. Why did you choose these locations for the first two properties?

NH: As a company we have always specialised in central London generally acquiring assets which are in need of refurbishment and reorganisation. This way we can create exactly what we want as well as minimising the environmental impact.  We also love the heritage architecture and the relative scarcity of such buildings. It is probably a harder task than building new but the end result is something unique with embedded history.

Central London is made up of many ‘villages’ with distinct personalities and as you say vibes. They are all convenient but different people want to be in different locations and have different requirements. Covent Garden and South Kensington are poles apart but equally attractive and exciting and we have managed to acquire beautiful properties in both locations. Our intention is now to fill in the ‘gaps’ between them in equally exciting places such as Mayfair, Sloane Square, Notting Hill and Marylebone. We are always on the lookout for opportunities but have set a high bar.

“We have approached The Other House through a residential lens rather than a conventional hotel perspective.” – Naomi Heaton, CEO, The Other House.

HK: You recently joined our panel on ‘the new era of lifestyle’ at Hotel Designs LIVE. How does The Other House open the door for a new era of lifestyle?

NH: The Other House aims to disrupt the traditional sectors of hotels, serviced apartments and private rentals, combining home comforts with hotel style facilities, whatever the length of stay – from a day to a year (or even longer).

We recognised that the needs of travellers in these sectors are merging. Our background is private rentals (the PRS). We could see they were all looking for a real sense of place and space that this sector provides combined with the services offered by traditional hotels but only as and when they want them.  Technology will play an important role in delivering this but making a positive social and environmental impact and ensuring health and wellbeing will be at the core of the offer as well.

We have approached The Other House through a residential lens rather than a conventional hotel perspective. The brand will be a ‘second home’ for its guests – their other house – and they can live like a resident, for as long as they are in town. As a new hospitality concept, we are creating a new sector of Residents Clubs.

It will be a club of likeminded people who know what they want, seeking style, positive social impact and experiences to remember, without a hefty price tag. One of our principal design requirements is to provide micro apartments throughout – club flats not bedrooms – and private areas for residents to enjoy a quiet glass of whisky or relax in their favourite chair – as well as public destination areas. It is a club which is inclusive, that everyone is a member of, for as long as they are staying.

Our guests also want to be in control of their stay and limit touch points. The brand connects guests with on-demand services through an exciting bespoke tech platform and App from the moment they book and check in to when they check out and pay.

HK: How important is tech in this new era and how will The Other House properties use it meaningfully?

NH: Extremely important. In many ways the pandemic has served to accelerate the move towards technology that was happening anyway, albeit at a slower pace. Guests are increasingly seeking to be in control through technology with a seamless journey from booking, checking in to managing their stay with limited touch points and human interaction.

Our bespoke app which is in development will enable guests to manage their entire stay and experience, from booking, checking in, room entry, room cleaning, laundry, messaging, booking and paying at any of our restaurants, bars and other amenities.

The good use of technology will enable many of the mundane interactions to be kept to a minimum. This means however that the human touch has to be much more nuanced and sensitive, recognising guests are independent and discerning rather than just visitors or tourists. We are giving residents the tools and the space to  organise and manage life their way.

Tech is important too in expanding the sense of community far beyond the stay itself, by creating a platform which shares common interests, news and views about what is going on at the Other House and beyond, so people can always feel like a local.

HK: Can you give us an indication on the interior design schemes for both properties?

NH: Design studio Bergman Interiors, winners of course of your eponymous The Brit List Awards 2020, have been appointed and will showcase the best in British design at both properties. Bergman is creating iconic designs cleverly combining a sense of home with stand-out exciting spaces in our club flats and in the public and private residents’ areas. There will be bold interiors, with a contemporary twist and rich colours and textures combined with carefully designed lighting. Spaces will be original but relaxing and individual.

Image caption: The property that started it all. This building, Harrington Hall, will shelter The Other House’s debut hospitality offering, and is slated to open in Spring of 2022.

HK: What will The Other House offer that isn’t already available in lifestyle hospitality? 

NH: The residents’ clubs will combine the strengths of hotel offerings with the sense of place and place-making residents get from the private rented sector. It is a far more embracing offering than serviced apartments, hotels or the private rental sector as they exist today.

As well as an entirely new concept, where you can stay for as long as you want, there will be seamless technology through our bespoke app, which means guests are in control, an integral part of the new way of living we have all adopted.

The Other House takes a sustainable approach to renovating existing buildings and is committed to making a positive impact on the community, our employees and the environment. Our residents will be a part of our environmental journey so they can make a measurable personal difference.  There will be a focus on health and wellbeing at all the guest touchpoints and we will be using, for example,  recyclable packaging, healthy, sustainably produced food and British made furniture.

HK: Where are you in the design stage at the moment?

NH: We have had a fantastic journey with architects Falconer Chester Hall and Bergman Interiors creating exactly the right product for our guests. It has been a real period of learning as we rethink the use and look of the space to complement our offering.  Works in the South Kensington property are well underway – having been completely stripped out behind the historic façade and the reconfiguration now taking place, with a planned opening late Q1 2022.

The Wellington block, an island site close to Covent Garden’s famous piazza is now fully designed architecturally and at planning stage. We have started working on the interior design concepts for all the spaces, inspired by Covent Garden’s rich and vibrant history. We intend to start work towards the end of 2021, opening in 2023. The story will of course continue with further acquisitions in central London and then internationally. Watch this space!

Main image credit: The Other House

Hotel Designs LIVE - session 2

(in video) Hotel Designs LIVE: Bathrooms beyond practical spaces

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
(in video) Hotel Designs LIVE: Bathrooms beyond practical spaces

In the second session of Hotel Designs LIVE on May 11, 2021, the editorial lens focused in on the hotel bathroom. In an exclusive panel discussion, editor Hamish Kilburn welcomed Nick Hickson, Co-Founder and Creative/Technical Director, THDP; Gabriele Chiave, Creative Director, Marcel Wanders Studio and Christos Passas, Director, Zaha Hadid Architects, to explore bathrooms beyond practical spaces (scroll down to watch full video)…

Hotel Designs LIVE - session 2

Following the opening seminar on ‘a new era of lifestyle‘, which was no doubt the session that set the tone for the rest of the day’s panel discussions, session two of Hotel Designs LIVE was sponsored by bathroom manufacturer Grohe. For this chapter of the one-day conference, editor Hamish Kilburn decided to focus the lens on an area of the hotel that has been at the centre of the wellness conversation over the last year.

Welcoming leading designers and architects to join him on the virtual sofa, the panel looked at all five senses to understand how bathroom design and wellness areas are evolving in order to cater to new demands from modern travellers. Understanding bathroom spaces in all colours, shapes and sizes, the panel started to ultimately establish trends and major talking points for wellness spaces in 2021 and beyond.

On the panel: 

Here’s the full video of the panel discussion (on demand), produced by CUBE, which includes Product Watch pitches from Grohe, Christopher Hyde, Crosswater, Schlüter Systems, Laufen and Villeroy & Boch.

We have also published the full recording of session one from Hotel Designs LIVE. The full recordings of the other two sessions (‘Art outside the frame’ and ‘Workspace design trends’) will be available on-demand shortly.

SAVE THE DATE: Hotel Designs LIVE will return for a fourth edition on August 10, 2021. The topics explored will include surfaces, sleep, senses and social and speakers will be announced shortly. Once these have been announced, tickets for Hotel Designs LIVE will be available. In the meantime, if you would like to discuss sponsorship opportunities, focused Product Watch pitches or the concept of Hotel Designs LIVE, please contact Katy Phillips or call +44 (0) 1992 374050.

Since you’re here…

More than 40,000 readers per month enjoy the content we publish on Hotel Designs. Our mission is to define the point on international hotel design, and we are doing that by serving relevant news stories and engaging features. To keep up to date on the hottest stories that are emerging, you can sign up to the newsletter, which is completely free of charge. As well as receiving a weekly round-up of the top stories, you will also access our bi-monthly HD Edit –staying ahead of the curve has never been so easy!

Click here to sign up to our newsletter.

Weekly round-up of the latest stories on Hotel Designs

Weekly briefing: Portugal’s finest, London unveils & going Gaga for DESIGN POD

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Weekly briefing: Portugal’s finest, London unveils & going Gaga for DESIGN POD

Editor Hamish Kilburn here, rounding off your week with a throwback to the hottest stories published over the last few days. In this edition of the Weekly Briefing, we amplify Portugal’s best design-led hotels, go Gaga for episode 4 of DESIGN POD, tease you with the latest London unveils and share the full recording of our panel discussion on ‘a new era of lifestyle’ that was filmed at Hotel Designs LIVE. Enjoy…

Weekly round-up of the latest stories on Hotel Designs

What a week – we’ve product news from the likes of hansgrohe, Ideal Standard, Atlas Concorde and Bette as well as keeping our ears to the ground on the latest news in the hotel development arena. In addition, we dropped episode 4 of DESIGN POD which welcomes Jack Irving as our special guest. In fact, why not read this round-up while listening to that episode, to here myself and Irving discuss fashion highlights, collaboration goals with Lady Gaga, Paris Hilton and The Spice Girls and the result of his debut interior design project.

Here are your top stories of the week: 

“Shoreditch’s hottest unveil of 2021.” What we know about Mondrian Shoreditch

Mondrian Shoreditch Bar view_Daytime - Credit_ Goddard Littlefair (1) copy

Image caption: A render of the bar sheltered inside Mondrian Shoreditch London. | Image credit: Goddard Littlefair/FRAMED Visualisation

Considering the building’s reputation for sheltering a vibrant, modern and contemporary hospitality space, the pressure was on for interior design firm Goddard Littelfair when they were asked by Accor to completely redesign the hotel for when it reopened as the Mondrian Shoreditch. But as always, following the deep design narrative that was unveiled in their latest project, The Mayfair Townhouse, the design firm has delivered and we are excited to share with you our sneak peek inside what we are calling Shoreditch’s hottest unveil of 2021.

Read more.

(In video) Hotel Designs LIVE: A new era of lifestyle

To kickstart Hotel Designs LIVE on May 11, editor Hamish Kilburn invited James Dilley, Director, Jestico + Whiles; Naomi Heaton, CEO, The Other House and David Mason, Head of Hospitality at Scott Brownrigg for a panel discussion entitled: A new era of lifestyle.

Read more.

A new level of wellness: The Spa at 45 Park Lane

Image of the pool and relaxation area at The Spa at 45 Park Lane

Image credit: Dorchester Collection

Leaping into a new era, the hotel has launched The Spa at 45 Park Lane as part of guests’ hotel experience. And unlike other London hotels that’s spas are the size of oversized shoeboxes, the new wellness facility inside the 45-key boutique hotel is, by all accounts, expansive compared to some of its London neighbours. The 10,000 sq. ft. spa features Park Lane’s longest pool at 20 metres, as well as a personal training room and spacious state-of-the-art gym.

Read more.

An expert’s guide on the science of a good nights’ sleep

A modern and minimalist room

Image credit: Silentnight Group

With 75 per cent of Brits admitting to not having a good nights’ sleep and 30 per cent of people rating their sleep as “bad”, chances are you know what a bad nights’ sleep feels like. We’ve all had one, and most of us will have had at least one nights’ bad sleep in a hotel, but why? Sleep experts from Silentnight Group Hospitality, Hannah Shore and Angela Moran, explores your ultimate sleep guide.

Read more.

Miniview: Inside The Carlton Tower Jumeirah – now open!

Contemporary lobby inside The Carlton Tower Jumeirah

Image credit: Jumeirah Group

We have waited an agonising 18 months, but we can finally celebrate the opening of The Carlton Tower Jumeirah, a masterpiece the international design studio 1508 London that has allowed what was a tired and worn down hotel to prosper in London’s Knightsbridge neighbourhood. We have been following the story since day dot.

Read more.

And finally… the best design hotels to visit in Portugal

Rooftop bar in Portugal

Image credit: Lumiares, Lisbon

With Portugal being on the ‘green list’ when it comes to travel from the UK – for now, at least – Hotel Designs shares some hotel gems, from Lisbon to Porto and everything in between, that you may or may not be familiar of.

Read more.

Since you’re here…

More than 40,000 readers per month enjoy the content we publish on Hotel Designs. Our mission is to define the point on international hotel design, and we are doing that by serving relevant news stories and engaging features. To keep up to date on the hottest stories that are emerging, you can sign up to the newsletter, which is completely free of charge. As well as receiving a weekly round-up of the top stories, you will also access our bi-monthly HD Edit –staying ahead of the curve has never been so easy!

Click here to sign up to our newsletter.

The Carlton Tower Jumeirah lounge

Miniview: Inside The Carlton Tower Jumeirah – now open!

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Miniview: Inside The Carlton Tower Jumeirah – now open!

We have waited an agonising 18 months, but we can finally celebrate the opening of The Carlton Tower Jumeirah, a masterpiece the international design studio 1508 London that has allowed what was a tired and worn down hotel to prosper in London’s Knightsbridge neighbourhood. Editor Hamish Kilburn has followed the story since day dot

The Carlton Tower Jumeirah lounge

For a hotel group that shelters the Burj Al Arab in Dubai, which is a internationally recognised jewel of luxury, the challenges that are associated with designing other hotels in the portfolio are some what obvious. Operating a luxury hotel in London, however, is a different task altogether that requires a sensitive and dynamic approach from concept right through until completion.

For whatever reason, despite Jumeirah being one of the world’s most reputable luxury brands globally, its portfolio in Europe and the UK is somewhat lacking. In 2015, I was invited to one of the group’s press days, which started with meetings with GMs from hotels around the globe in the contemporary atrium of the brand’s Grosvenor House Suites. Disappointingly, though, the day ended with drinks at The Carlton Tower Jumeriah. I say ‘disappointingly’ because the hotel was, unlike the brand’s reputation, tired and was in desperate need of a makeover!

Cue the arrival of 1508 London, the design studio that saved the day. Following an 18-month closure for refurbishment, the hotel has undergone the most extensive – not to mention, most timely – transformation in its history, at a cost of more than £100 million.

Every nook of the 17-storey building, that sits majestically in the Knightsbridge neighbourhood, has been redesigned, creating a new foyer and reception, 186 new guestrooms and suites (reduced from 216 to offer larger accommodations), a fresh health club and spa with London’s largest naturally lit swimming pool, a restaurant, lobby bar and lounge, ballroom and meeting rooms.

The term ‘modern classic’ springs to mind when entering the building that was originally designed by Henry End, also responsible for the interiors of the Plaza Hotel in New York. The design team have drawn on the hotel’s glamorous heritage and location to create a modern classic with a timeless, refined interior and sense of grandeur.

Contemporary lobby inside The Carlton Tower Jumeirah

Respectful of the building’s original, clean modernist style, 1508 London has layered the eclectic mix of the architecture of the surrounding mansion blocks and homes, adding soft curved edges, pops of bright colour and organic inspired forms throughout.  The hotel’s enviable position overlooking Cadogan Gardens, the private gardens designed in 1804, is further reflected throughout the hotel, reminding guests of their unique access to this covetable green space and tennis courts, normally only open to residents.

Heralding its arrival and marking the hotel’s position as an important modernist building in London at its opening was the commissioning of a large external sculpture by Dame Elisabeth Frink (1930-1993), a sculptor at the beginning of her career in 1961 and now acknowledged as one of the most important English artists of her era. This sculpture has been retained and restored, a highlight of the ‘porte cochere’ entranceway that continues to the redesigned turntable glass doors. Through these doors the design echoes a classical British grand hall with the creation of a striking double-height space.  Within it is suspended a bespoke fluted chandelier which incorporates an abstract interpretation of a chrysanthemum, inspired by Cadogan Gardens’ history as a botanical garden.  Accessed from the lobby is ‘The Chinoiserie’, the hotel’s much-loved all-day dining area, now transformed with an elegant and light design. With the innovative Cake-o’clock concept serving patisserie all day, as well as a wide range of international favourites and an extensive beverage list, this lounge will reclaim its rightful place in Knightsbridge’s social scene. Additionally, a newly created lobby bar offers a refined experience in glamorous surrounds.

The 186 beautifully appointed guestrooms have all been renovated to the highest standard, designed to offer a sense of tranquillity with an emphasis on light and space. Almost 50% of the keys at The Carlton Tower are suites, reflecting the hotel patrons’ historical preference for increased space and longer stays.

87 of the rooms and suites have the fantastic benefit of a balcony, taking advantage of the stunning views across London. Combining a modernist aesthetic with minimal style, the accommodations feature textured wall panelling, furnishings in softer forms and accents in a warm colour palette influenced by British heritage hues in deep blue, green and maroon as well as floor to ceiling marble bathrooms with toiletries by Grown Alchemist. Newly created is the Royal Suite, the hotel’s most exclusive residence featuring three bedrooms with the option to privatise the entire floor for the utmost in security and discretion.

The hotel’s destination restaurant ‘Al Mare’ offers a sophisticated, welcoming dining experience imbued with all the charms of Italian cuisine, both familiar and luxurious.

Restaurant that is stylishly designed by 1508 London at The Carlton Tower Jumeirah

Image credit: Jumeirah Group

The restaurant allows a convivial, gastronomic experience, taking guests on a journey through Italy and features a theatre kitchen, private dining room and al fresco dining. The hotel’s Executive Chef and Al Mare’s Head Chef is Italian native Marco Calenzo, who joined the hotel from Zuma where he was Executive Chef. Prior to this Marco worked for Four Seasons Hotels internationally as well as the Lanesborough in London.

Elsewhere, the hotel’s famous health club ‘The Peak Fitness Club & Spa’ is uncommonly enormous compared to other wellness scenes in other London hotels. Set across three floors, the whole areas has been completely redesigned. New treatment rooms have been created at the Talise Spa on the second floor and the swimming pool area revitalised. The pool is London’s largest in a hotel with natural daylight and its bright interior is complemented by views through its double height glass ceiling, lined with poolside cabanas for relaxation.  

Large pool inaside the Jumeirah hotel in London

Image credit: Jumeirah Group

Additionally, The Peak offers studio classes, and a gym featuring bespoke ‘Technogym’ equipment on the ninth floor which overlooks The Peak’s light-filled cafe with breath-taking panoramic views across the capital.  With its new design and features as well as a strictly limited membership, The Peak looks set to retake its position at the forefront of London’s luxury wellness world. 

Welcome back to London, The Carlton Tower Jumeirah – you look fantastic!

Since you’re here, why not read our interview with 1508 London’s Hamish Brown?

Main image credit: Jumeirah Group

(In video) Hotel Designs LIVE: A new era of lifestyle

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
(In video) Hotel Designs LIVE: A new era of lifestyle

To kickstart Hotel Designs LIVE on May 11, editor Hamish Kilburn invited James Dilley, Director, Jestico + Whiles; Naomi Heaton, CEO, The Other House and David Mason, Head of Hospitality at Scott Brownrigg for a panel discussion entitled: A new era of lifestyle (scroll down for full video of the discussion)…

On May 11 – while UK hospitality took a long stretch and awakened from its forced hibernation – designers, architects, hoteliers and developers from around the globe tuned in to watch the latest edition of Hotel Designs LIVE. The event, which first launched in June 2020 to keep the industry connected while keeping the conversation flowing, took place virtually and included four engaging panel discussions with world-renowned hospitality and design experts on the following topics:

  • A new era of lifestyle
  • Bathrooms beyond practical spaces
  • Art outside the frame
  • How workspace trends will impact hotel design

The first session of the day was designed to look beneath the surface of a topic that has sparked much debate recently in the hotel design and hospitality arenas. “Backed up by a recent roundtable, it is conclusive that lifestyle in hospitality is mutating, partly as a result of the pandemic but more accurately in order to meet ever-evolving demands of modern travellers.” explained editor Hamish Kilburn who hosted the session entitled ‘A new era of lifestyle’. “With brands merging into one, boundaries in design and architecture being stretched further than ever before and modern traveller demands now meaning that experience is key, the lane for lifestyle in hospitality worldwide has widened. But what does that new era look like, and just what are tomorrow’s modern traveller demands? That’s exactly what we are going to explore in this session.”

On the panel: 

  • James Dilley, Director, Jestico + Whiles
  • Naomi Heaton, CEO, The Other House
  • David Mason, Head of Hospitality, Scott Brownrigg

The conversation began with Kilburn asking the panel to explain when it become desirable for travellers to use the term lifestyle. “I think it’s all aligned with the concept around experience,” James Dilley said. “It’s when hospitality providers were looking beyond simply beds and showers… we are hunters and collectors of our experience now (we upload them onto our Instagram channels) and it [the hotel stay] becomes the thrill of discovery and memorable experiences.”

To do the topic justice, it was important to look beyond how the recent pandemic has impacted hotel design and hospitality, and instead cast back to what was happening before Covid-19. “Pre-pandemic we were looking at urban resorts and the activation of city centres,” added David Mason. “A lot of the hotels we were working with were making their guests part of the experience where you could become part of the story.”

Perhaps one of the biggest unveil of the session came from Naomi Heaton, who used the platform to unveil the new brand, The Other House, which will shelter two new hotels in London, with hints that more properties will join the portfolio at a later date. The two new hotels, one inside Harrington Hall in Kensington and the other inside the Wellington block at Covent Garden, will open with the aim to disrupt hospitality and conventional luxury/lifestyle, drawing on her experience in the private residential sector launch something totally new. “What we see is a convergence between the tradition hotel offering, the serviced apartment offering and the high-end residential,” she said when explaining the DNA of the new brand. “What we want to do is bring them all together to create a completely new category in the market. We want our guests to feel like residents so that they feel local and part of the community.”

In addition to exploring the depths of ‘experience’ in the lifestyle sector, the panel also debated thoughtful hospitality, authentic design solutions for the luxury/lifestyle sector, safety as the industry emerges from the pandemic and the demand for meaningful social interaction in what is the new era of lifestyle.

Here’s the full video of the panel discussion (on demand), produced by CUBE, which includes Product Watch pitches from Hamilton Litestat, Atlas Concorde, Bette, Mosaico+ and hansgrohe.

The full recordings of the other three sessions (‘Bathrooms beyond practical spaces, Art outside the frame and Workspace design trends’) will be available on-demand shortly.

SAVE THE DATE: Hotel Designs LIVE will return for a fourth edition on August 10, 2021. The topics explored will include surfaces, sleep, senses and social and speakers will be announced shortly. Once these have been announced, tickets for Hotel Designs LIVE will be available. In the meantime, if you would like to discuss sponsorship opportunities, focused Product Watch pitches or the concept of Hotel Designs LIVE, please contact Katy Phillips or call +44 (0) 1992 374050.

Since you’re here…

More than 40,000 readers per month enjoy the content we publish on Hotel Designs. Our mission is to define the point on international hotel design, and we are doing that by serving relevant news stories and engaging features. To keep up to date on the hottest stories that are emerging, you can sign up to the newsletter, which is completely free of charge. As well as receiving a weekly round-up of the top stories, you will also access our bi-monthly HD Edit –staying ahead of the curve has never been so easy!

Click here to sign up to our newsletter.

The swimming pool at The Spa at 45 Park Lane

A new level of wellness: The Spa at 45 Park Lane

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
A new level of wellness: The Spa at 45 Park Lane

Designed by Jouin Manku with the aim to shelter an elevated sense of wellbeing and luxury, The Spa at 45 Park Lane has opened and features the longest pool (20 metres) on Park Lane. Editor Hamish Kilburn has the story…

The swimming pool at The Spa at 45 Park Lane

Park Lane has long been regarded London’s ultimate address for unparalleled luxury. Among the quintessentially British hotels that sit on the fridge of Hyde Park, The Dorchester, which recently celebrated its 90th anniversary, is arguably the most famous, with its classic English residential design stylishly seeing it through many decades. The 250-key hotel may be London’s ‘Mother’ of hospitality, but it is the younger sibling in the Dorchester Collection portfolio, which incidentally is situated just a few doors down from The Dorchester, that has raised eyebrows recently on the hotel design scene.

45 Park Lane, which opened 10 years ago, radiates a different kind of style to that of its older family member. Throughout the intimate-sized hotel, luxurious and contemporary interiors by New York based designer, Thierry Despont, provide a club-like feel offering all guests – international and locals alike –  a smart, central environment from which to enjoy London.

Leaping into a new era, the hotel has launched The Spa at 45 Park Lane as part of guests’ hotel experience. And unlike other London hotels that’s spas are the size of oversized shoeboxes, the new wellness facility inside the 45-key boutique hotel is, by all accounts, expansive compared to some of its London neighbours. The 10,000 sq. ft. spa features Park Lane’s longest pool at 20 metres, as well as a personal training room and spacious state-of-the-art gym.

“The wellness space has been specifically created to bring a sense of the outside in.”

Image of the pool and relaxation area at The Spa at 45 Park Lane

Image credit: Dorchester Collection

The wellness space is part of Mayfair Park Residences, the recently completed development delivered by ultra-prime developers Clivedale London located next door to, and serviced by, 45 Park Lane. Guests of the hotel have full use of the facilities as part of their stay experience, which include separate sauna and steam rooms, a hydrotherapy pool and private changing and shower rooms.

Designed by Jouin Manku, the wellness space has been specifically created to bring a sense of the outside in, referencing artistic flora using traditional Roman style mosaics from Venetian artisans. Taking design cues from the rest of the hotel, natural timbers and light coloured stone bring a sense of calm and tranquillity; while timber slatted ceilings have been integrated to create better acoustics within the pool, gym and relaxation lounge. The entire space has been generously arranged to maximise the sense of spaciousness.

Timber changing room at The Spa at 45 Park lane

Image credit: Dorchester Collection

With the hotel’s strong tie to the world of art that goes beyond its four walls, 45 Park Lane’s art curator Lily Ackerman has selected works by American fine art photographer Jin-Woo Prensena and British sculptor Jill Berelowitz to adorn the space.

The relaxation lounge connected to the pool allows guests to unwind before or after a work-out, spa treatment or swim. Within the lounge is an open fireplace with a menu of healthy dishes by 45 Park Lane’s Executive Chef Jamie Shears.

Tailored personal training programmes can be created for guests, with both one-to-one and family group sessions available to book in advance. The expansive gym features the latest Technogym equipment with dedicated ‘cardiovascular’ and ‘strength’ areas.

John Scanlon, General Manager of 45 Park Lane who was recently profiled in The Brit List, comments: “For almost a decade, 45 Park Lane has stood amongst the best hotels in London. As we look towards our next chapter we are thrilled to be introducing luxury wellness into the guest experience to create one of the finest spa facilities in the capital.”

Christopher Cowdray, Chief Executive Officer of Dorchester Collection, adds: “Marking our first venture into private residences, the completion of Mayfair Park Residences is a pivotal moment in our company’s history. Our heritage focuses on the best of design in prime locations, making Clivedale London a natural partner with shared values. These new residences will benefit from the services of  The Dorchester and 45 Park Lane, while the proximity of Park Lane and Hyde Park further elevate the location to one of the best real-estate sites in the world. We look forward to offering Dorchester Collection’s treasured way of life to the new residents.”

With the addition of the hotel’s new spa and wellness facilities, 45 Park Lane continues to stand as a vibrant, luxurious and welcoming ‘club-like’ hotel that is the London home of an international crowd.

Main image credit: Dorchester Collection

Pool and outdoor terrace overlooking Portugal's River Douro

Best design hotels to visit in Portugal

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Best design hotels to visit in Portugal

With Portugal being on the ‘green list’ when it comes to travel from the UK – for now, at least – editor Hamish Kilburn shares some hotel gems, from Lisbon to Porto and everything in between, that you may or may not be familiar of… 

The floodgates into Portugal have opened (kind of). International travel is no longer a wanderlust dream and we are able to unlock hotel design wonders, in person, once more.

Pool and outdoor terrace overlooking Portugal's River Douro

With few countries on the ‘green list’ considered ‘travel hotspots’, Portugal is among the few places UK travellers are allowed to visit to without having to isolate upon their return – it’s also, without question, the most popular place to visit since travel restrictions were slightly lifted.

To mark this moment as a small celebration, we thought we would share with you a handful of our favourite hotels in Portugal, from boutique boltholes in Lisbon to something new in the Algarve, and not forgetting the one-off travel experiences in other towns and cities in between.

Six Senses Douro Valley

From its postcard-perfect setting in the UNESCO World Heritage listed Douro Valley, to the elegant and innovative decor within, Six Senses Douro Valley has a lot of untamed charm. Surrounded by ancient vineyards (this area of Portugal is the oldest demarcated wine region in the world), the hotel’s contemporary personality is camouflaged by its location. From the beautiful chandeliers made of wine bottles to the unique Wine Library & Terrace; this is the place to sample some of the world’s most rare and entrancing vintages. Throughout all guestrooms, suites and villas decor is chic and modern with large windows to take in the most of the spectacular views on every side. This contemporary elegance continues throughout the hotel, which has a unique character and feel.

As you’d expect from a Six Sense property, the spa is a statement feature, which includes an expansive indoor pool and 10 treatment rooms.

Throughout the hotel, the decor is chic and modern and there is an emphasis on sustainable luxury. Innovative use of cork flooring and beautiful chandeliers made from wine bottles lend a sense of place, whilst also ‘upcycling’ in an environmentally conscious style. This attention to detail characterises what is a truly special Portuguese hotel.

Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon

A smart and well-designed room inside Four Season Ritz Lisbon

Image credit: Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts

Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon has recently unveiled a new renovation to its guestrooms, suite, as well as unveiling a new outdoor swimming pool and an outdoor bar and terrace. Portuguese architecture studio OITOEMPONTO was appointed in 2019 to breathe new life into the guest rooms and suites at the iconic Hotel. Design duo Artur Miranda and Jacques Bec were reticent to ‘modernise’ the classic Hotel, so set about re-imagining the past for the present, to evolve the Hotel’s roots in style, aesthetics and ambience. 

The room and suite redesign follows the launch of new restaurant CURA (opened September 2020), where Chef and head culinary curator Pedro Pena Bastos meticulously selects ingredients, drawing from Lisbon’s rich regional palette to create seasonal, artisanal dishes such as squid with hazelnut, bergamot, roasted seaweed butter and Ossetra caviar. 

Pestana Palácio do Freixo

The last time I visited Pestana Palácio do Freixo was in 2014, and I bet since then nothing has changed – at least I hope that’s the case. Located just 3 km west from Porto’s city centre, the Palácio do Freixo, classified in 1910 as a National Monument, is a unique example of Baroque architecture, with about 10,000 square metres of gardens and green spaces offering breathtaking views of the River Douro.

The setting of a stunning example of an Urban Resort, it is a member of the exclusive consortium The Leading Hotels of the World and provides guests with an unparalleled experience that marries traditional values with contemporary comfort. The Pestana Palácio do Freixo is characterised by its sumptuous eighteenth century architecture. It was built by Nicolau Nasoni, one of the most important architects that helped Porto become a World Heritage Site.

Lumiares, Lisbon

The Lumiares, Lisbon is a five-star boutique bombshell, where the style is personal, not “corporate”, relaxed not “stuffy”, gives an authentic nod to Lisbon’s colour, culture and patterns.

The fully renovated hotel, which is housed in a former XVII century Palace in the heart of the city, has all the key amenities and facilities for business and leisure travellers who want to feel at home when away from home.

The Lumiares’ philosophy is to highlight the authenticity and personality of Lisbon by collaborating with local Portuguese businesses to showcase ‘the best of Portugal’. Almost every item of furniture, artwork, textiles and room accessories has been conceived, designed and manufactured in Portugal, some within 500m from the hotel, which transcends a new take on ‘living like a local’.

The starting place for design and artwork within the 47-key hotel was the location. Perched on the central edge of Bairro Alto, the hotel is situated in a Lisbon quarter home to a bohemian mish-mash of everyday residents, artists and merchants’ studios, restaurants, quirky shops, lively bars and cafes; a warren of asymmetrical buildings with mismatched facades of varying heights and hues, its narrow streets and pavements cobbled in Lisbon’s iconic square paving stones.

Douro41 Hotel & Spa

Douro41 Hotel & Spa, which has just been accepted into Virtuoso’s exclusive portfolio of luxury travel partners, is located on the bank of the Douro River, and as such frames unparalleled views of the natural landscape. With 61 rooms and suites, the hotel that underwent renovations between 2018 to 2019 features modern, minimalist lines, while celebrating the comfort and elegance of a true luxury property.

The location and the architectural characteristics of the building enhance the connection to the surrounding landscape and the sense of an escape from reality: built in schist and glass on a terraced hillside stretching down almost to the water’s edge, the Douro41 had, at the heart of its foundation, various environmental concerns and the desire that the hotel should be coherent with its surroundings.

The hotel’s design is simple and it’s clear that human construction is unobtrusive, merging harmoniously with the river and the mountains surrounding it – a prime example of this are the two outdoor swimming pools, both infinite, where guests almost feel part of the landscape.

W Algarve 

Guestroom concept inside W Algarve

W Algarve, which is expected to arrive onto the European hotel design scene this summer is the first resort commission for design studio AB Concept outside of Asia which has been working closely with Divercity Architects to introduce something new to the Portugal’s bustling Algarve.

The new lifestyle hotel shelters 134 guestrooms and 83 residences – ranging from one-bedroom apartments to a four-bedroom penthouse. Ab Concept, led by Ed Ng and Terence Ngan, has taken the region’s rugged coastlines, green meadows and vineyards as inspiration for the interior design scheme, using sandy neutrals, greens and blues throughout the hotel.

“We worked closely with landscape designers Scape and interior designers AB Concept to develop a strong narrative theme and eye-catching aesthetics for the resort,” Divercity Archtiects explains on its website. “Exploring the local landscape, culture, and cuisine, we identified the arch as a common thread, evident in the Algarve’s sea caves, the arcades and archways of traditional Portuguese architecture, and the fish scales in the fishing communities along this dramatic coastline.”

The new W resort on the Algarve coast is tipped to become Portugal’s new ‘it’ destination – watch this space, Portugal!

Main image credit: Douro41 Hotel & Spa

Editor checks in: Tomorrow’s themes in hotel design and hospitality

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Editor checks in: Tomorrow’s themes in hotel design and hospitality

In his latest editor’s letter, Hamish Kilburn addresses the four S words that will help us when exploring and understand tomorrow’s hotel design and hospitality landscape – and in the process, he unexpectedly comes up with the themes that will be put under the spotlight in four engaging panel discussions at Hotel Designs LIVE

As I write this, I am on a train for the first time this year. It’s May. The sun is struggling to flex through the clouds and, to be honest with you, I would rather be working from home. My mandatory mask is fogging up my glasses, so what I am thinking and what is appearing on the screen could be two completely separate things entirely.

I’m on my way into London, having just pressed the green light to launch The Brit List Awards 2021 application process. I’m heading to Shoreditch, home of some rather interesting hotel development projects, to record our next episode of DESIGN POD – it’s a big moment for the brand as it’s the first time we are recording the podcast in person as opposed to over Zoom with a struggling Wifi connection.

“If anything, we gained access into new studios and made new long-lasting relationships with brands.”

We could have waited until now to launch our podcast but I feel it would have taken an entirely different lane if we did. There was something organic and exciting about launching a new brand in the middle of a pandemic – while we were all locked up in our houses and the idea-generating process was incubated.

Since you’re here, why not read the rest of this article while listening to our latest episode of DESIGN POD, which welcomes designer Jack Irving as our special guest?

We can look at the current situations in both positive and negative ways. Yes, it has been frustrating not boarding a plane to actually review the projects we have followed for years. But it didn’t stop us. In this time, we utilised our contacts around the world and still reviewed hotels in person. If anything, we gained access into new studios and made new long-lasting relationships with brands. Our viewpoint over the industry became more meaningful and by zooming out (see what I did there) we are able to establish which topics are the most impactful.

Following now four successful Hotel Designs LIVE virtual conferences, it brings me great delight to share with you our next four topics that we will explore at Hotel Designs LIVE in August.

These themes are:

  • Senses
  • Surfaces
  • Sleep
  • Social

Senses

Following our successful session at Hotel Designs LIVE (in February) on sound’s role in hotel design and after reading a mountain of press releases recently that all reference sound, touch and even smell to evoke a deeper meaning of wellness and wellbeing, it feels fitting to position the editorial spotlight on the sensory experience for our next event. It also comes as the industry, albeit slowly, is starting to reopen and reconnect.

Sleep

For those of you who have joined us on this journey, you will know that we have already hosting a panel discussion on sleep performance at our inaugural event. But we feel as if, given the role of sleep in any hotel experience, we have only just scratched the surface of this topic. With new innovations and technology taking bold leaps as each day passes, we will explore the science behind getting the best nights’ sleep.

Surfaces

More than ever, as a direct result of the Covid-19 crisis, surfaces have come under question in the debate around hygiene. But, in our exclusive panel discussion, we will go beyond the clinical to explore interesting and vibrant surfaces that we hope will give all areas of the hotel more personality and meaning.

Social

It took a while and a few thesaurus searches before we eventually found our fourth and final panel discussion title. Following several failed brainstorm attempts, an email pinged into my inbox from our publisher Katy Phillips with the subject line ‘found it’. The email was just one word, ‘Social’. With all the noise around ‘social distancing’ and regulations against human interaction, we and many of the industry’s leaders believe that tomorrow’s hotel scene will be a celebration of human connection. While we are at the T-junction on the road out of Covid-19 lockdowns, we will invite world-renowned designers, architects, hoteliers and developers to understand challenges and considerations to bear in mind as we move to open the doors of hospitality, to be social, once more.

Like many of the decisions we make on the editorial desk at Hotel Designs, we have found that these sessions work not only as individual sessions but also as a cluster of talking points – with sessions on senses, sleep, surfaces and social – that together really challenge conventional thoughts around hospitality and will, we hope, clearly define once more the definition of international hotel design.

SAVE THE DATE: Hotel Designs LIVE will return for a fourth edition on August 10, 2021. The topics explored will include surfaces, sleep, senses and social and speakers will be announced shortly. Once these have been announced, tickets for Hotel Designs LIVE will be available. In the meantime, if you would like to discuss sponsorship opportunities, focused Product Watch pitches or the concept of Hotel Designs LIVE, please contact Katy Phillips or call +44 (0) 1992 374050.

Since you’re here…

More than 40,000 readers per month enjoy the content we publish on Hotel Designs. Our mission is to define the point on international hotel design, and we are doing that by serving relevant news stories and engaging features. To keep up to date on the hottest stories that are emerging, you can sign up to the newsletter, which is completely free of charge. As well as receiving a weekly round-up of the top stories, you will also access our bi-monthly HD Edit –staying ahead of the curve has never been so easy!

Click here to sign up to our newsletter.

Mondrian Shoreditch The Rooftop. Credit_ Goddard Littlefair copy

“Shoreditch’s hottest unveil of 2021.” What we know about Mondrian Shoreditch

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
“Shoreditch’s hottest unveil of 2021.” What we know about Mondrian Shoreditch

One of Shoreditch’s most bohemian and quirky hotels, the Curtain Hotel, will re-emerge from the pandemic in July under a new brand. Mondrian Shoreditch (owned by Accor and sbe) will open in July following a major overhaul by leading interior design firm Goddard Littlefair. Here’s what we know…

Mondrian Shoreditch The Rooftop. Credit_ Goddard Littlefair copy

Considering the building’s reputation for sheltering a vibrant, modern and contemporary hospitality space, the pressure was on for interior design firm Goddard Littelfair when they were asked by Accor to completely redesign the hotel for when it reopened as the Mondrian Shoreditch. But as always, following the deep design narrative that was unveiled in their latest project, The Mayfair Townhouse, the design firm has delivered and we are excited to share with you our sneak peek inside what we are calling Shoreditch’s hottest unveil of 2021.

Image caption: Exterior image of the hotel. | Image credit: Accor/sbe

The lifestyle hotel, owned by The Reuben Brothers, will open its doors July 2021. The news comes on the heels of Accor’s acquisition of sbe’s hotel brands in Q4 2020 and its planned joint venture with Ennismore, which will see the creation of one of the world’s largest and fastest growing lifestyle operators later this summer.

“We are very proud to collaborate with Jamie Reuben and his family in bringing the iconic Mondrian brand back to London,” sbe Chief Operating Officer Chadi Farhat said. “The city has been and will continue to be a thriving hub for our lifestyle offerings, and myself and my team are excited to re-establish Mondrian as one of London’s most innovative destinations for lifestyle, hospitality, culinary and mixology experiences for locals and travellers alike.”

“Mondrian Shoreditch will be a go-to luxury lifestyle brand for culinary and culture-seekers from all over the world.” – The Reuben Brothers.

Reuben Brothers added: “We are delighted to be partnering with Accor and sbe to open a European flagship Mondrian hotel which will enhance Shoreditch’s already thriving artistic contribution to our capital. Mondrian Shoreditch will be a go-to luxury lifestyle brand for culinary and culture-seekers from all over the world.”

The 120-key property – including 13 suites – will sit in the midst of Shoreditch, East London’s creative and cultural hub: an area that captivates the energy and playful DNA of the Mondrian brand. As a leading lifestyle brand, Mondrian recognises the cultural vibrancy of a place and elevates it – intertwining guest offerings with local highlights and bringing the essence of East London to the hotel and vice versa. Mondrian Shoreditch will collaborate with local personalities and brands to highlight their lifestyle approach to hospitality, via partnerships including artistic pop-ups and live performances in The Screening Room, a private room and bar. The property will also offer a premium co-working space, visionary dining and mixology concepts and boasts a rooftop pool and lounge by an award-winning team, just in time for the summer – a rarity for Londoners and always in high demand.

Mondrian Shoreditch presents a host of truly enriching and elevated experiences via its portfolio of diversely distinct luxury brands. On the lower ground, world-famous chef Dani García introduces BIBO, a Spanish kitchen serving tapas with courtyard seats and Garcia’s first outpost in London. Mondrian Shoreditch will also be host to a new all-day café and cocktail bar – Christina’s Shoreditch. Christina’s Shoreditch will only source products from local independent suppliers (farmers, growers and community bakeries), start-ups and brands with social impact. Guests will also have access to the exclusive Altitude Rooftop for breakfast. The space will otherwise be exclusively for members of The Curtain, the hotel’s private members club. Mondrian Shoreditch’s culinary venues are a testament to the hospitality hallmarks of the Mondrian brand.

“It is an honour to open our first UK based restaurant alongside our amazing partners Accor and the Reuben Brothers, and we are excited to establish the property as the heart of the Shoreditch food scene,” said García. “I have always been fascinated by the vibrant energy of London and look forward to welcoming guests to our restaurant in the Mondrian hotel which is sure to become a true icon in the district of Shoreditch.” 

The Curtain Members Club

The well-known Curtain Members’ Club will re-open at the hotel. A co-working space will also be available for members on the ground floor – The Design Studio – and will provide a world-class offering with a newly scheduled and diverse range of weekly events – from panel discussions, to live music and club nights with local talent. The Design Studio will be a prime location for corporates and local creatives looking for a luxury day-office away from home-working. Members also enjoy exclusive access to Altitude Rooftop, The Lounge, Rose Bar, and the event space.

Image caption: A render of the F&B area in the hotel. | Image credit: Goddard Littlefair

Image caption: A render of the F&B area in the hotel. | Image credit: Goddard Littlefair/FRAMED Visualisation

Goddard Littlefair led design for Mondrian’s guestrooms, public spaces and food and beverage venues. The hotel has been significantly refreshed in line with the upbeat and individual spirit of Mondrian hotels. The reception and lobby are playful and reflective with significant artwork installations for guests to discover, typical of the Mondrian design portfolio. The double height ground floor bar showcases large-scale artwork hand-painted onto concrete by Fred Coppin and the rooftop bar dressed with striped and festooned shade structures will appeal to the guest and locals alike. The new BIBO restaurant by chef Dani García was also designed by Goddard Littlefair who dovetailed the identity of Mondrian spirit with García’s culinary legacy. The guestroom refurbishment encapsulates a luxurious, theatrical aesthetic with fresh white brick walls and artwork selections that invite witty appreciation. Dakota Development, a subsidiary of sbe, led by President Joe Faust, provided technical service support for the entire development process.

Image caption: A model room inside Mondrian Shoreditch London. | Image credit: Goddard Littelfair/FRAMED Visualisation

The opening follows the company’s recent launch of Mondrian Seoul Itaewon, and announcement to open Mondrian Bordeaux and Mondrian Cannes in 2022. The return of the Mondrian brand to London reflects the continued strategic expansion of the brand’s international footprint, which will include soon-to-be announced Mondrian properties in Australia, the Dominican Republic, Germany, the Maldives, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Main image credit: Goddard Littlefair/FRAMED Visualisation

Lobby-Bar crop Hyatt House Tampa

In pictures: Inside Hyatt House/Hyatt Place Tampa Downtown

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In pictures: Inside Hyatt House/Hyatt Place Tampa Downtown

Tampa in Florida welcomes a new dual-branded development, which shelters Hyatt Place and Hyatt House, to its thriving hospitality scene. Editor Hamish Kilburn takes a look inside both hotels that were designed and recently unveiled by Stonehill Taylor

Lobby-Bar crop Hyatt House Tampa

In the heart of Tampa, directly across the street from its historic City Hall sits the new  dual branded hospitality development that features the 230-key Hyatt Place and the 115-key Hyatt House. In addition, the complex encompasses 3,200 square feet of ground-floor retail space and 4,000 square feet of meeting space. All public space is shared by the guests of the two brands, and guestrooms are integrated throughout the new 17-story building.

Leading architecture and interior design firm, Stonehill Taylor, which recently took part in Hotel Designs‘ latest roundtable, was charged with the design of the guestrooms and public spaces. Using a complementary colour scheme of jewel tones and citrus shades, the hotel features bright, sun-kissed spaces, and high-contrast patterns that create an ambiance that is uniquely Tampa. The design pillars explore concepts of indulgence; exoticism; and majesty—believed to capture the city’s longstanding allure to travellers looking for a tropical, yet culturally diverse escape.

Since you’re here, why not read Stonehill Taylor’s thoughts on the new era of lifestyle?

As soon as guests enter the lobby, they are greeted by an oversized gold textured piece depicting an abstract scene with birds and leaves. Panels line the wall behind the reception desk and feature tropical leaf-infused patterned artwork, while the reception desk is decorated in tropical leaf tiles.

Image of lobby in Tampa Florida Hyatt House/Hyatt Place

Image credit: Taggart Sorenson

Adjacent to the reception area is a bar and lounge complete with a mix of citrus colours and blue tones. The bar’s backsplash features an array of bohemian tiles. The surrounding dining areas have tables with metal detailing and a range of seating from banquettes to freestanding chairs. A series of vintage Cuban movie posters grace the space.

The ground floor also includes a business centre with a gallery and pre-function space, and several meeting rooms. The art throughout this area includes a wall sculpture made with rattan circles in varied sizes and a series of embroidered vintage postcards from Florida.

The business centre has pendant lighting and eclectic inset floor patterns and partitions the space using screens. The adjacent gallery space, meanwhile, has plush love seats, side chairs with ottomans that double as tables and acoustical ceiling panels. The carpet in the meeting rooms depicts leaf patterns—a theme also echoed by the leaf patterned walls with wainscoting. Custom geometric pendant lighting illuminates these ballroom-like spaces.

At the elevator lobby is a custom artwork featuring cubed versions of Florida maps mounted on a linen background and framed in a shadowbox frame. The elevators further provide an artful moment with bold black-and-white tiled flooring, blackened steel door frames, as well as a back-lit ceiling concept. Guestroom corridors have carpets with hidden tropical elements, such as bees and panthers. A graphic printed map of Tampa covers the walls familiarising guests with the city’s focal points. Hidden elements also surprise in the Hyatt House guestrooms. When lit, these rooms show a violet-hued wall with tone-on-tone patterns. Furnishings are all custom and feature two-colour finishes and extra trim to elevate their aesthetic. A kitchenette with decorative tiles accentuates the layout of these rooms.

Close up of bed and floral artwork in guestroom

Image credit: Taggart Sorenson

In the Hyatt Place rooms, there are exuberant green tones. Similar to the Hyatt House rooms, there is a tone-on- tone wall covering, this time featuring light leaf patterns. The carpeting similarly plays with the fun colours of Tampa.

Pool at Hyatt House in Tampa

Image credit: Taggart Sorenson

On the fifth floor is the outdoor pool with tangerine and lime-coloured furnishings and neutral tiling—the pool deck is framed by a painted mural. A fitness centre, located on the fourth floor, has a playful custom mural featuring bold, brightly coloured patterns with a motivational text component that forms of a centrepiece of the room.

Main image credit: Hyatt Hotels/Taggart Sorenson

The Other House in Covent Garden

The Other House: The new luxury/lifestyle brand ‘revolutionising hospitality’

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The Other House: The new luxury/lifestyle brand ‘revolutionising hospitality’

Naomi Heaton, CEO of The Portfolio Club, dropped the name of the company’s new lifestyle brand and residents’ clubs during a panel discussion at Hotel Designs LIVE. The Other House will launch in the Spring of 2022 with a stunning property in South Kensington. Then, in 2023, London’s famed Covent Garden neighbourhood will welcome the brand’s next hotel. Editor Hamish Kilburn has more…

The Other House in Covent Garden

During a panel discussion at Hotel Designs LIVE, aptly themed ‘the new era of lifestyle’, Naomi Heaton revealed the name of her new residents’ club brand. To an engaged virtual audience, the developer announced that The Other House will launch in Spring of 2022 and will “blur the lines to create a cutting-edge type of new accommodation.”

Heaton, who is arguably most known for the acquisition of Harrington Hall Hotel in South Kensington, explained that the brand will disrupt the traditional sectors of hotels, serviced apartments and private rentals, effortlessly and elegantly combining home comforts with hotel style facilities, whatever the length of stay.

The brand, which refers to itself on the website as ‘your home for as long as you’re in town’, positions itself as a ‘second home’ for its guests – their other house. It will provide a unique experience for the discerning traveller who knows what they want, seeking style and experiences to remember, without a hefty price tag.

Interior design studio, Bergman Interiors, which won Interior Designer of the Year at The Brit List Awards, has been appointed to create iconic interior schemes for both the South Kensington and Covent Garden properties, led by co-founder, Marie Soliman. Soliman and her team are working alongside award-winning architects, Falconer Chester Hall on both projects.

“The Other House caters to consumers looking for flexibility, style and greater personalisation and who embrace responsibility and slow travel,” explained Heaton in a press release. “Our mission is to create spaces that enhance the overall guest experience and completely reinvent how people stay, providing a renewed sense of space, place, ownership and engagement. The concept paves the way for a new era of smart travellers.”

Each Club will offer around 200 ‘club flats’ with a beautifully designed living area, sleeping area and kitchen. There will be boldly stunning private spaces, bars and spa with fitness studios for residents and private members. A whimsical destination bar and a bistro-style kitchen with a constantly changing seasonal menu will welcome the public.

Moving away from large scale banqueting and conference facilities, each residents’ club will offer amenities that augment the club flats and guest experience such as private dining rooms, bookable meeting rooms and screening rooms.

The brand connects guests with on-demand services and limits touch points through the club’s bespoke tech platform and app. Features include automatic check in, keyless room entry, remote room controls, fingertip access to services, as well as booking and ordering at any of its restaurants, bars and other amenities.

Rolling out in prime central London neighbourhoods initially before expanding globally, The Other House highlights the best in British design, utilising green technology, with sustainability and positive social and environmental impact at its core.

Heaton added: “Now, more than ever, we need to embrace the travel revolution we see ahead of us – we look forward to opening our doors in 2022 and welcoming this new chapter of hospitality.”

The new brand is yet to release interior design renders of the projects, but rest assured that Hotel Designs will be ready and waiting as soon as we know more. For now, welcome to your other house, London and travellers alike.

Main image credit: The Other House

VIP arrivals: Hottest hotel openings in May 2021

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
VIP arrivals: Hottest hotel openings in May 2021

From brand debuts to a boutique bombshells and local gems, here’s your ultimate guide on the hottest hotel openings to expect in May 2021. Editor Hamish Kilburn explores…

While unrestricted travel the way we knew it may be somewhat of a hazy dream at the moment, it has not stopped brands and hotels from around the world bookmarking the summer of 2021 as their cue to re-emerge onto the international hospitality stage.

As we prepared to write the fifth article in our year-long editorial series, VIP arrivals, we are reminded of what makes a hotel incredible. And as such, in this chapter of our series, we searched for hotels that are opening that ooze personality, style, character and that will shelter unconventional yet extremely meaningful ways to connect locals and travellers alike with local culture.

Opening with the fierce aim to tease travellers to explore once more, here are some of the most interesting hotel openings that the editorial team at Hotel Designs have identified are set to take place this month.

Villa Igiea in Palermo, Sicily

Hotel openings: The Villia Igia's guestrooms

Image credit: Rocco Forte

If this hotel isn’t already on your radar, it should be! The 72-key boutique gem is situated in stunning Sicily – and is sheltered under the Rocco Forte umbrella. Villa Igiea was acquired by the brand back in 2019, a beginning of a new era for this opulent coastal resort. Rocco Forte Hotels’ Director of Design Olga Polizzi has collaborated Paolo Moschino of Nicholas Haslam Studios to carefully restore this Grade I-listed landmark, preserving its unique heritage features whilst reimagining and updating neglected areas. Polizzi and Moschino have sought to blend period features with a contemporary flair to exquisite effect. Furnished with classic antiques and sumptuous fabrics in serene shades, each of the 72 rooms and 28 suites is fresh, light, and inherently Sicilian. Locally crafted elements pay homage to the villa’s extraordinary setting and the walls are covered with artwork evoking Sicily’s beauty and heritage.

Villa Dagmar, Stockholm

Carefully renovated and rebuilt under the direction of the Tengbom architectural firm, the 70-key Villa Dagmar is located in a well-preserved Art Nouveau property, next to the newly renovated Östermalmshallen (Food Market). The property has been transformed into a beautiful boutique hotel with the modern feeling of an international villa – a city home for personal meetings, with excellent service, exceptional food and drink experiences, and relaxation. The hotel’s interior, which was inspired by European travels, was designed by Anna Cappelen, design architect Per Öberg and interior designer Helena Belfrage. Villa Dagmar is an eclectic home filled with carefully selected details, Scandinavian design elements, international furniture classics as well as exclusively designed furniture by Per Öberg. The interior provides an inspiring experience and conveys the feeling of visiting someone’s unique city villa and a place one longs to return to.

INNSiDE Newcastle

INNSiDE Newcastle

Image credit: INNSiDE/Melia Hotels

Designed by Faulknerbrowns Architects, INNSiDE Newcastle will take architectural inspiration from iconic local landmarks such as the Tyne’s bridges, whilst the hotel’s interior will showcase a light, minimal and versatile space, featuring modern and comfortable furnishings. The 161-room hotel will be located in the heart of the city on the historical Quayside, offering breath-taking views across the River Tyne and an eclectic home-from-home feel for guests to explore Newcastle’s city centre.

Each stay will be enriched with music, art and literature curated by the hotel’s local experts. The Open Living Lounge will act as the beating heart of the hotel, with the open plan lobby offering the ideal transitional space to allow guests skip seamlessly from work to play. The Open Living Lounge will serve food throughout the day with local DJs providing the perfect soundtrack for guests and visitors to relax and unwind over a post-work cocktail.

The Grove, Hertfordshire

A loud lounge with biophilic walls

Image credit: The Gove, Hertfordshire

In just a few days time, on May 17, The Grove, which is a quintessentially British countryside retreat in Hertfordshire, will reopen its doors with a perfectly timed unveil of its most recent renovation to transform what was a tired interior design scheme into a light, bright and playful modern hotel experience. The complete redesign, which was masterminded by interior design studio Martin Hulbert Design, incorporates all three dining spaces – The Glasshouse, The Stables and The Lounges – as well as the lobby area and all 189 West Wing guestrooms.

The Marmorosch Bucharest, Autograph Collection, Romania

Europe, Romania, Bucharest, The Marmorosch

Image credit: Marriott International

Located in the Romanian capital of Bucharest the hotel is set on the site of a former palace and bank built at the end of La Belle Époque, reflecting the era’s dynamic, optimistic and creative edge. This energy and rich heritage is pulled through in its 217 rooms and suites, which will begin welcoming guests in early summer 2021. 

The Apartments by 11 Cadogan Gardens, London

Located just a stone’s throw away from the hotel, the six one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments that are sheltered under the iconic 11 Cadogan Gardens brand have been designed by luxury residential and hospitality design studio, Atellior to become sanctuaries for guests to make their home in this most quintessentially English neighbourhood of central London.

Main image credit: Rocco Forte

Sneak peek: The Apartments by 11 Cadogan Gardens

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Sneak peek: The Apartments by 11 Cadogan Gardens

Luxury residential and hospitality design studio, Atellior, has completed the interior redesign of an imposing property in Kensington and Chelsea, creating six new apartments that will be serviced by 11 Cadogan Gardens hotel. Let’s take a look inside, shall we? 

Located just a stone’s throw away from the hotel, the six one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments that are sheltered under the iconic 11 Cadogan Gardens brand are designed as sanctuaries for guests to make their home in this most quintessentially English neighbourhood of central London.

The aesthetic is elegant and contemporary, combining residential style elements, such as contemporary lighting by Chelsom, luxuriantly thick bedroom carpets from West End Carpets and pale Havwoods timber flooring in the living areas, with marble topped tables, over-size bed headboards from Circus 25 and an exquisite selection of textured wallcoverings by Arte in the bedrooms depicting a leaf pattern – a connection with the gardens outside and a reference to the Royal Borough’s long association with things horticultural.

Lounge in 11 Cadogan Gardens appartment

Image credit: Bruno Rondinelli

The colour palette is intentionally quiet, bringing together pale greens, warm greys and white, the bathrooms are clad in white and grey tiles and kitchens have white composite stone tops. Breaking away from this neutral envelope, modern abstract artwork brings pops of vibrant blue and green in a nod to nature and the guest cloakrooms with their Calacatta Viola splashbacks and darkly painted walls are a moody contrast to the rest of the apartments.

“It was a privilege to work with Cadogan Estates on this very special project and give the late 19th Century property new purpose as The Apartments by 11 Cadogan Gardens,” says Una Barac, Executive Director of Atellior. “The apartments happen to be opening at a time when social distancing means that they are likely to be in great demand but I am sure that their timeless design will ensure their continuing popularity well into the future.”

Each apartment is differently configured; some enjoy floor-to-ceiling windows, others especially generous bathrooms with free-standing bathtubs, while the top floor apartment is opened to the rafters, creating a cosy pied-à-terre for two. All the lounges feature a restored fireplace and one apartment has a restored original ceiling. 

The apartments now stand elegantly in a neighbourhood that has become synonymous with luxury and quintessentially British hospitality standards. The narrative continues…

Main image credit: Bruno Rondinelli

Fameed Khalique: “I have no formal training in design”

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Fameed Khalique: “I have no formal training in design”

From luxury leathers to experimental luxury surfaces, Fameed Khalique’s career path is anything but conventional. To understand more about Khalique’s journey in surface design, Editor Hamish Kilburn catches up with him from his London-based studio…

He was described by the Financial Times as “the go-to supplier of exotic and experimental surfaces for walls, floors, ceilings and furniture.” Fameed Khalique, since launching his own brand in 2008 has proven to the world that there are limitless possibilities in luxury surfaces and interior design.

The world-renowned designer, who is arguably most respected for his ‘eye’ and ability to curate exceptional techniques to crete unexpected results, started his journey in design with a five-year stint working with luxury leather merchant Alma Leathers. Striking out on his own, Khalique’s solo business began with just one leather collection, growing exponentially to the point where his showroom in Chelsea’s Furniture & Arts Building now contains the world’s largest selection of luxury surface material samples under one roof, and his client list includes the cream of interior design companies both in the UK and internationally.

Custom green semi-aniline leather with a smooth finish by Fameed Khalique used at The Hoxton Rome to create statement headboards.

Image caption: Custom green semi-aniline leather with a smooth finish by Fameed Khalique used at The Hoxton Rome to create statement headboards. | Image credit: Fameed Khalique

I caught up with the designer in his London-based studio to find out more about the man behind the surfaces…

Hamish Kilburn: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your what you describe as an ‘extremely traditional’ background?

Fameed Khalique: As a child I always wanted to be a pilot for British Airways (which I couldn’t do because I was short-sighted) and subsequently I’ve had quite the eclectic career – producing fashion shows, sales, marketing, PR, logistics and publishing. I never really felt that I had found a home as far as my work life went. But that started to change when I became the Sales Director at Alma Leather and had my first foray into the interior design industry. This is not only where my interest in design and interiors developed but I was also able to broaden my skill set by observing and understanding how architects and interiors designers think and work.

“We now have what I believe is quite possibly the world’s largest collection of surfaces materials under one roof anywhere.”

I then went onto launch Fameed Khalique back in 2008 with the aim of selling leather and, as time went on, that expanded into other surface finishes. We now have what I believe is quite possibly the world’s largest collection of surfaces materials under one roof anywhere. What I do now is really about two things: identifying and developing materials I know our clients will love and finding solutions to the challenges that designers face every day. That can cover many things; be it a bespoke finish that seemed impossible to find or creating/finding a material to suit a time or a particular budget constraint. A lament I often hear in the industry is: “I never see anything new” and what we do in our showroom is challenge that through our extensive collections of surfaces and techniques that are all curated to ensure there’s something for every project and budget from hospitality and commercial to marine, aviation and residential sectors.

Image caption: Richloom collection specified in a hotel project. | Image credit: Fameed Khalique

HK: What are the different luxury surfaces one will find when visiting your showroom?

FK: The showroom is often described as a treasure trove of surfaces; people are always surprised by the many different finishes and techniques that you can find here. You will find thousands of different surface finish options here – everything a hospitality designer specifies day in and out like fabrics, leathers and wallcoverings through to the more exotic such as semi-precious stones, exquisite hand embroideries and jacquard woven copper textiles. In between there are woven leathers, wood veneer, ceramic and marble tiles, resins, acrylics and so much more. And if there’s something else specific that a designer is after, we will work out a way to create or innovate a particular technique or a material to rise to the challenge. Yes, we work with the world’s leading design studios at a premium end of the market, but not every project is a super prime residence or yacht. I think a lot of people don’t realise that almost half of our business comes from hospitality and therefore we look for new techniques to deliver materials in ways that offer value for money or are more durable. We are always finding cost-effective solutions to budget challenges. And I very much see our role as being to help the designer deliver their vision without compromising on their design or quality.

HK: How have you utilised your experience in fashion and PR in design and the luxury surfaces sector?

FK: Once I knew that being a pilot was out of the equation, I chose to study PR and events. I originally wanted to work in fashion, which is something I’ve had an appreciation of for as long as I can remember. This still inspires me to this day and it can be seen in our collections, particularly our leather and embroidery collections which really allow me to experiment with the level of detailing seen in couture fashion. I’ve always had an eye for detail and something that I love is taking the finishes that I see in fashion or accessories such as a crochet detail on a dress, or the woven technique used on a bag and translating them into our surface collections. This passion has also led me to develop a collection of lifestyle accessorises where we develop our amazing techniques to create a truly unique collection of woven and laser cut leather scarves and luxury cushions for the home. It felt like a natural progression and allows us to reach a different type of customer and make our materials available to a far wider audience.

HK: You are renowned in the industry for your ‘eye’ and ability to curate exceptional techniques. What inspires you? What is your favourite or most iconic product?

FK: My inspiration can come from anywhere really. I do love travelling and being able to meet the artisans that we work with, being inspired by their work and vision and seeing how we can translate that into something new. With the pandemic that obviously hasn’t happened over the past year! However, it has opened up a new opportunity for me which has been to cycle around the city I have lived in for more than 35 years and discover it in a way I haven’t been able to before. The architectural details and something as simple as the magnolia trees in bloom are magical.  I also love Art Deco and Hollywood Regency – who doesn’t? The opulence and decadent details are something I try to translate into some of our product offering, but with a contemporary twist. I love discovering new techniques and finishes, which a lot of the time are influenced by the challenges our clients face. As they say necessity is the mother of all invention! I have no formal training in design and have in the past suffered from imposter syndrome but, what I have come to understand, is that having a deep passion and understanding for the products that we create, has given me the confidence to continue to grow the company. I really do get very excited about every new product we discover or develop so it’s hard to pick a favourite – it would be like picking between your children!

Image caption: Wood Veneer SHINE Aureole Wallcoverings. | Image credit: Fameed Khalique

Image caption: Wood Veneer SHINE Aureole Wallcoverings. | Image credit: Fameed Khalique

Embroidery, leather and semi-precious stones are three categories that I really enjoy, mainly because there are so many different techniques and applications to experiment with. I’m particularly proud of the water moulded leather panelling we have recently created; it’s a contemporary twist on fibrous plaster ceilings and is completely unique. It has a wonderful matt finish and looks incredible in contemporary as well as more traditional interiors. I’m also in love with black resin which is hand inlaid with mother of pearl and abalone shell in a foliage pattern – it truly is breathtakingly beautiful and catches my eye every time I’m in the showroom. Equally I am loving the simple life with a new collection of contract velvet that has a great colour palette and is super durable – it’s been specified left, right and centre by hotel designers.

HK: What are major pitfalls designers should avoid when specifying luxury surfaces?

FK: First and foremost, I would say don’t be scared of using them and secondly don’t immediately rule them out on the basis of cost or durability without finding out more information. For example, we are now digitally printing glass to look just like our semi-precious stones or we are weaving faux leather to look just like the real thing.  Whichever supplier you are working with should offer you the appropriate product information to let you make an informed decision. But that also works both ways – it’s equally as important the supplier is advised of how you are intending on using a finish so they can advise accordingly. A good example is when I see something like a soft lambskin leather specified for hotel bar stools which is not fit for purpose. By asking the right questions on both sides, we can find the appropriate and cost-effective solution. Lastly luxury bespoke surfaces need time to be developed and this has to be allowed for. I also find that if we are brought into the design process early on, not only are we able to provide exactly what the designer wants but we can ensure it will meet any budget and performance criteria from the outset.

Image caption: Richloom collection featured in a hotel suite. | Image credit: Fameed Khalique

Image caption: Richloom collection featured in a hotel suite. | Image credit: Fameed Khalique

HK: What are some of the recent projects you’ve been working on?

FK: I really love the fact that we work on all types of projects from hotels to cruise ships to private homes and yachts. Over the past few years we’ve worked on many a hotel in London (and further afield) including the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, The Ned, Grosvenor House, IHG, Soho House and Hoxton Hotels. No day is ever the same! Recently, I’ve loved working with Fabled Studio on the Baccarat Bar in Harrods. The interior is lavish and absolutely stunning (as one would expect from Harrods and Baccarat). We’ve also worked with David Collins Studio on the Nobu Hotel which I can’t wait to see. I have really felt for the hospitality sector over the past year and I’m really looking forward to it reopening so I can return for a cocktail or two or even an overnight stay!. As far as upcoming openings or launches go, we have also been working on the new Peninsula Hotel at Hyde Park for a couple of years now, which I’m very excited about. It’s been a real challenge getting the vision of designer Peter Marino right and working to meet the super high design standards of the Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels Group. But it has paid off as we are supplying the wallcoverings and fabrics for the guest rooms, suites and public areas. We’ve also worked on the Nomad Hotel in Covent Garden, the Hoxton in Rome and P&O’s new cruise ship, the Iona amongst many others.

Image caption: Dutch Walltextile. | Image credit: Fameed Khalique

HK: What trends are you noticing at the moment?

FK: We are seeing a general focus on hand made and more natural materials. People want to understand the provenance, they want to see the craft, the hand of the artisan in a material, but they also want innovation and modernity. It is the collision of these two ideas that is producing new and interesting materials. Our collection of wood veneer wallcoverings, which we developed as an alternative to straw marquetry for a hospitality project is proving to be extremely popular, as well as our 3D-engineered wooden tiles, woven leathers and raffia collections as clients are searching for noble materials and more textural detailing for use in their interiors. Clearly there is a big movement towards understanding the sustainable credentials of materials and within the cruise sector, clients are demanding IMO inherent materials. We now have an ever-growing repertoire of sustainable materials and, over the past year, we have introduced a comprehensive collection of IMO finishes.

Main image credit: Fameed Khalique

Optix 10 Pivot door & side panel Brushed Stainless Steel

Luxury shower goals: Crosswater launches new 10mm walk-in solutions

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Luxury shower goals: Crosswater launches new 10mm walk-in solutions

Meeting new modern traveller luxury shower demands, the OPTIX 10 and GALLERY 10 ranges by Crosswater provide a superior quality and versatile design, resulting in a serene bathroom experience…

Optix 10 Pivot door & side panel Brushed Stainless Steel

Weeks before Hotel Designs LIVE invites expert designers to discuss ‘bathrooms beyond practical spaces’, Crosswater has unveiled OPTIX 10 and GALLERY 10, which is the brand’s latest collections of 10mm enclosure and walk-in shower solutions.

Showering has become more than just a daily routine – it has become a ritual, with homeowners and hotel guests alike now recognising the positive effects that can come from a relaxing showering experience. Subsequently, the bathroom industry has started to design products that promote wellness within the bathing space, as well as innovation.

Crosswater is already recognised for their holistic approach to showering, with the brand providing a choice of trend-led brassware, including shower valves that will deliver the perfect flow of water, and a variety of indulgent 6mm and 8mm shower enclosures which were strengthened in 2020. Crosswater is looking to continue this success in the 10mm shower enclosure and walk-in shower solutions category with the new additions of OPTIX 10 and GALLERY 10.

“OPTIX 10 and GALLERY 10 are the newest addition to Crosswater’s Home of Showering programme and enable the brand to offer luxury and every level of specification,” said Stephen Ewer, CEO of Bathroom Brands Group (Crosswater, Burlington, Clearwater, Britton). “Crosswater have been working intensely to bring this offer to market whilst ensuring expected levels of design, quality and value for both our retail partners and consumers.”

A luxury solution for all generations, OPTIX 10 and GALLERY 10 are extremely versatile, offering numerous possibilities to align with the needs of the consumer such as Crosswater Clear which enables easy cleaning, slimline wall profiles to create a beautiful interior scheme and availability in a variety of finishes that have been specifically designed to match the colour of Crosswater’s bestselling MPRO brassware range.

Featuring premium 10mm toughened glass, the innovative design of the new 10mm ranges are built to last, with a lifetime guarantee available to add additional peace of mind. The impressive construction which includes durable PVD coating and high-quality components, allows for a seamless transition when opening and closing the shower door, providing the ultimate showering experience.

“Crosswater’s introduction of 10mm enclosures and walk-in solutions is a significant step on our journey to enhance our cohesive design and colour offering across all categories, creating increased sales opportunities for our customers,” added David Button, Crosswater Retail Sales Director UK & Ireland.

As modern travellers continue to prioritise wellness and self-care, Crosswater are meeting the demand for holistic shower solutions with an impressive and extensive range of luxury shower enclosures for all generations.

Crosswater is one of our Recommended Suppliers and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

Main image credit: Crosswater

Interior visualisation of ADP's new hotel in Kyiv

Should hotels do a better job of reflecting their communities?

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Should hotels do a better job of reflecting their communities?

To conclude our editorial series with ADP Architecture, Studio Director Amrit Naru looks at how a hotels and their design can sensitively reflect a locations local culture…

Interior visualisation of ADP's new hotel in Kyiv

Ask someone to name a place they’re looking forward to visiting once lockdown eases, and there’s a wide range of answers you might hear. They might mention a local pub or café. They might be looking forward to getting back to the gym, seeing a sports team play, or popping in to see a friend. They’re unlikely to mention a hotel.

And there’s a perfectly good reason for that: hotels aren’t typically designed for their local community. They’re arguably designed for everyone but the local community: tourists, business travellers, visitors for one reason or another. In contrast with the back-and-forth of a transport hub, we look at hotels as a one-directional interface between a specific locale and the wider world, where the wider world touches down for a few days before returning home. The only transport hub that seems to bear comparison here is a docking station for UFOs.

This kind of view fits the traditional way of looking at hotels – but of course, it neglects the wide range of purposes that hotels can actually serve. Very few hotels are simply places to stay: they can include bars, restaurants, conference centres, spas, and plenty more. It’s easy to look at these facilities simply as added value for guests, but they’re just as likely to be used by locals.

Explore these opportunities further, and you open up a whole new way of thinking about what a hotel can be. Far from a semi-private site with clearly defined boundaries – like a house or an office building – it becomes permeable, integrated with its community, with spaces which are as much defined by their surroundings and local flavour as by the people who travel to them. This kind of approach can reverse the (un)popular image of a hotel, making it the beating heart of a neighbourhood that benefits everyone.

Take, for example, a recent ADP project on a former industrial site in Scotland. When several plants closed in the 70s and 80s, hundreds of local workers lost their jobs, and the area lost key places that had given it purpose. It’s the sort of post-industrial community that’s been crying out for regeneration of the genuinely beneficial kind, providing spaces that benefit and support an existing community rather than driving them out. So when we were appointed to design a new hotel there, we saw an opportunity to create real value for local residents and businesses.

Our public consultations confirmed this: many locals voiced their worries that a hotel of the traditional sort could detract from the area, and that a radically different approach was needed. We took these concerns on board, asking consultees what sorts of facilities would be useful to them, and designing a scheme which is as much a community hub as a hotel. The proposals include a range of spaces open to the community, such as a gym, restaurant and bar. Public realm was also key to our designs, and we explored various ways to bring local residents onto the grounds, giving the landscape an open, accessible feel that interacts sensitively with the riverbank bordering the site.

The very flexibility of this approach means that it can work for any community, in any location. We’re currently delivering a hotel for Radisson in Kyiv, Ukraine, which includes a hybrid lounge/coffee/restaurant space with an open design – reflecting a wider openness to the surrounding neighbourhood. By breaking down the boundaries between types of spaces – and using the ground floor of a hotel as a fuzzy threshold – it’s possible to encourage the kind of unplanned interactions and sharing of spaces on which communities thrive.

Of course, embedding a hotel in its locale isn’t just down to the architects and engineers who design it. Marketing teams have to strike a careful balance between promoting the hotel’s brand and responding to the spirit of a place, the unique “vibe” that defines a district. The most effective way to do this is to make flexibility central to your brand: Hotel Indigo, an IHG brand that I’ve worked with in the past, does this particularly well by using the sights and sounds of their urban locations to inform every detail of the hotel’s design, from public spaces to private rooms. IHG is certainly not the only client I’ve worked with to take this approach, with companies such as Radisson and Hilton offering similar “lifestyle” brands.

The risk here is that a design can simply mimic its environment, becoming a pastiche rather than a reflection. Again, engagement with the community is key. It’s impossible to tap into what makes a city like Newcastle or Marrakech, Sydney or New York special without taking cues from the people who call those cities home – especially when clichés about “the typical New Yorker” are so widespread. Our redevelopment of Oxford Castle – including a Malmaison hotel converted from a Victorian prison – is a classic example of this, reflecting a part of the city’s culture and history which has very little connection to the more famous university, and integrating hospitality with bars, restaurants, shops and a visitors’ centre.

Getting this right means paying attention to the details, and taking a holistic approach. Employees aren’t just brand ambassadors: they’re community ambassadors too, trained in the kind of local knowledge that adds serious value for guests looking for hidden gems nearby. A local hiring policy takes this a step further, ensuring that your staff have a genuine connection to the hotel’s surroundings while creating jobs that support the area’s economy. Bookable spaces for businesses and a local supply chain complete the picture – transforming an out-of-place visitor from out of town into a place in its own right, with the town’s blood running through its veins.

“Staying local” has taken on a whole new meaning in the last year, and it’s sure to be a phrase that resonates with us for many years to come. By bringing hotels into a deeper, richer conversation with their surroundings, we can help give a much needed boost to communities which have suffered through lockdown. It’s also a surefire way to protect our industry from relying too greatly on travel – making it stronger, more adaptable, and better equipped to deal with an uncertain future.

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

Image caption: Interior visualisation of ADP’s new hotel in Kyiv. | Image credit: ADP Architecture

VIP arrivals: Hottest April hotel openings

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
VIP arrivals: Hottest April hotel openings

The industry is gearing up for a summer of hospitality, is the feeling the editorial desk at Hotel Designs has as it selects the most exciting hotel openings expected in April 2021. Editor Hamish Kilburn writes…

Blink and you will miss it! With vaccine updates, hotel re-opening strategies being across social media and conversations moving towards re-engaging with the post-corona consumer, all signs on the editorial desk lead to a summer of hospitality – whether that be abroad or enjoyed domestically.

This prediction follows a flood of press releases, together referencing hope, optimism and prosperity for international hotel design and hospitality. Regardless on whether we will be allowed to travel ahead of the summer boom, hotels are being developed in preparation for the travel demand that is shortly inevitable as we reach the one-year anniversary since many nations closed their boarders in order to fight against the spread of Covid-19.

We have been sharing our VIP arrivals now for four months, but it seems as if many brands have waited until now when it comes to unveiling new arrivals. Following an in-depth look at the landscape, here are our VIP arrivals for April.

Iniala Harbour House & Residences

Image of bar in curved tunnel-like structure

Image credit: Iniala Harbour House & Residences

Spread across four exquisite Maltese townhouses and their ancient vaults, dating back to the 1600s, Iniala Harbour House & Residences has 22 uniquely designed rooms and suites, and will be the latest opening from philanthropist Mark Weingard. The hotel, which overlooks the famous Grand Harbour, will set new standards for eye-catching urban design.

Iniala Harbour House & Residences, which is slated to open its doors in April, mixes tradition with more contemporary touches offering an eclectic mix of design concepts that subtly reflect Valletta’s unique heritage and charm. Created by three world-class design studios – Autoban from Turkey, A-Cero from Spain, and Malta’s DAAA HAUS – the hotel’s historical details will be beautifully preserved, with each townhouse having a distinctive identity. Using three different designers offers a true variation of interiors for all guests’ tastes.

Kalesma Mykonos

An image of infinity pool in Mykonos hotel that is opening this April

Image credit: Kalesma Mykonos

Set to elevate the desirable island of Mykonos to new heights, Kalesma is a 25-suite and two-villa luxury hotel, which is expected to open in late April. ‘Kalesma’, meaning ‘inviting’ in Greek, is perfectly suited to the ethos of this boutique, privately-owned property. The whitewashed collection of houses have been created to resemble a charming Mykonian village, tumbling down a slope to Ornos Bay, just a short walk from the beach. The look and feel of a traditional village is deliberate, as Kalesma is all about making guests feel at home and encouraging a neighbourhood vibe, enhanced by laid-back weekly supper clubs. Inspired by Cycladic architecture, combining tradition with contemporary elements, Kalesma is a design aficionados dream – offering sleek and minimalist interiors using locally-sourced materials, evident at every turn.

Ca’ di Dio, Venice

Ca’ di Dio, which is expected to open in April, is located in a unparalleled position, at the entrance to the Arsenale area, known as the Contemporary Art District of Venice, a place linked to the prestigious Biennale. The fascinating history of the building dates back to 1272, and the project has been curated by the studio of the internationally renowned architect Patricia Urquiola, with the aim of creating an original and distinctive concept: a Venetian “house”, linked to the history of the city. 

Although contemporary in style, which is unusual for Venice, when strolling through the common areas, guests will be able to admire the bright travertine and perfectly preserved frescoes. The hotel features many places for guests to relax whilst staying in Venice; an ‘altana’ – covered roof-terrace, common in medieval Venice, which is the perfect place from which to admire the sights of the city, two internal courtyards, which will be home to one restaurant serving light and quick snacks throughout the day, and a spacious reading room. There will be a second, outdoor restaurant overlooking the lagoon, towards the island of San Giorgio Maggiore. 

Mandarin Oriental Ritz, Madrid

Sophisticated deluxe room inside Mandarin Oriental Madrid

Image credit: Mandarin Oriental Ritz, Madrid

Following the most ambitious and extensive renovation to take place in its 110-year history – it took three years for Spanish architect Rafael de La-Hoz and the French designer duo Gilles & Boissier to complete their collaborated masterpiece – Mandarin Oriental Ritz, Madrid is ready to serve its guests. The 153-key luxury hotel is expected to appeal to both local and international guests, while preserving the striking Belle Époque character of the original building in keeping with the original spirit conceived by Cesar Ritz.

In addition to the Spanish arrival, Mandarin Oriental will also be opening properties in Luzern, Switzerland and on the Bosphorus in Istanbul in 2021.

W Algarve – look out, Portugal!

Render of private pool overlooking Algarve in hotel that opens in April

Image credit: W Hotels

W Hotels is about to land in the Algarve, which marks the brand’s debut in Portugal. Located just outside of Albufeira and perched on the iconic cliffs overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, the hotel is a combination of urban glam meets beach life in a region famous for its beautiful, secluded coves, year-round sunshine and enticing cuisine. Guests can expect pulsating beats, vibrant flavours, and bright contemporary design.

The hotel will shelter 134 guestrooms and suites plus 83 residences, all ocean facing and boasting spacious balconies. Atlantic colours and asymmetrical forms that mimic the nearby cliffs define the design; it is the Algarve reinterpreted by W. 

Facilities will include a state-of-the-art fitness centre ‘FIT’ and an ‘Away’ Spa with seven treatment rooms, plus outdoor pools. To refuel and replenish there will be an authentic Portuguese Algarve-inspired dining restaurant, plus a classic and modern Italian restaurant.

Taking the luxury up an additional notch are the ‘Extreme WOW Suites’ with a rooftop terrace where luscious gardens surround an elevated lounge seating spot, DJ booth, dining and bar area, and an infinity pool from which guests can soak up the incredible sunset views over the Atlantic Ocean. The bedroom design is inspired by the beautiful Benagil cave and the picturesque Algarve fishing villages.

Berkeley Park Hotel, Miami 

On April 1, 2021, Berkeley Park Hotel will rise as the newest member of the MGallery Hotel Collection, and the first MGallery property in Florida. A highly anticipated four-star boutique hotel, the 80-key property sits along one of Miami Beach’s most coveted sectors known by locals as the Collins Park “Arts Corridor” for its direct access to world-renowned art institutions, and just steps from white sand beaches. With a timeless Mediterranean façade from 1936, the hotel pays homage to the city’s architectural roots with all the modern amenities that discerning travellers expect.

“We are thrilled to continue expanding our North American portfolio with the addition of the Berkeley Park Hotel – MGallery,” said Heather McCrory, CEO, Accor North & Central America. “With its ideal location, striking architecture, and vibrant spirit, the hotel is a tremendous addition to Accor’s Miami portfolio, which also includes Faena Hotel Miami Beach, SLS South Beach, SLS Brickell, SLS LUX Brickell, Hyde Midtown Miami, Mondrian South Beach, Novotel Miami Brickell, and Pullman Miami Airport.”

Main image credit: Iniala Harbour House & Residences

*Some dates as listed above may be subject to change due to travel restrictions following Covid-19 and national lockdown developments.

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Image of villa overlooking sea from bathroom

MINIVIEW: Finolhu, where Ibizan style meets Maldives hospitality

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
MINIVIEW: Finolhu, where Ibizan style meets Maldives hospitality

Hotel design goals! Following a show-stopping kaleidoscope-inspired transformation, Finolhu emerges from the pandemic with a new status: the first member of the Design Hotels in the Maldives. Editor Hamish Kilburn explores what sets this hotel aside from its distant neighbours…

Image of villa overlooking sea from bathroom

There is something comforting and familiar about the Maldives. One has come to expect a barefoot luxury experience on each of the various islands that are dotted around the Indian Ocean. It is fair to say, I think, that is is one of the few places you can travel to on earth where you feel as if you have totally escaped from life as you know it.

The region is naturally stunning, and has over the years attracted luxury hospitality brands to arrive in order to shelter sanctuaries by the water’s edge. And as beautiful as these hotels are, there are few that stand out from the rest.

Finolhu, which first opened in 2016, is a unique jewel that is one of the few exceptions in the region and has, as such,  become a travel bucket list destination in its own right  – international model Cara Delevingne and singer Rita Ora are among celebrities and influencers who have previously raved about the destination’s playful spirit. It is therefore no surprise that the five-star hotel recently became Design Hotels’ first member in the Maldives.

Image of beach-side reception in the Maldives

Image credit: Image credit: Finolhu/Brechenmacher & Baumann

For many reasons – one of which being it sheltering a distinct european-style energy – the hotel is what modern travellers have come to expect when checking in to to the post-pandemic hospitality scene – think casual beach club vibes with an exceptional entertainment programme in one of the Indian Ocean’s most stylish settings.

The naturally beautiful private island of Finolhu, which translates to “sandbank”, was acquired by Germany’s Seaside Collection in 2019, and is guided by a distinctively European-style hotel philosophy that embraces the types of carefree, beachside get-togethers that we know from the likes of Ibiza and Mykonos. Pairing European hotspot nostalgia with cool contemporary surroundings on a paradise island, Finolhu is the ultimate hangout – and it is this effortless, non-curated style and energy that sets it apart from other hotels in the same region.

“Each Seaside Collection property celebrates individuality, and Finolhu is no exception,” explains Gregor Gerlach, owner and Managing Partner of Seaside Collection.

Image of luxury pool in the Maldives

Image credit: Image credit: Finolhu/Brechenmacher & Baumann

The hotel, which was already a luxury travel hotspot, has recently undergone a transformation in order to further blur the line between luxury and lifestyle. This refurbishment was overseen by award-winning London-based design studio, Muza Lab, which has previously designed interiors for brands like Belmond and Ritz Carlton. Founder Inge Moore created a kaleidoscope design concept, taking inspiration from the fragmentation of light on the blue-toned water and the many purple, pink and apricot colours of the sunset. “In translation, the word ‘kaleidoscope’ means ‘seeing beautiful forms’,” explains Moore. “This playful alternation of patterns, geometry and colours is what guests will now experience when they visit Finolhu.”

Image credit: Image credit: Finolhu/Brechenmacher & Baumann

Each of the 125 guest villas have been redesigned, embracing the kaleidoscope concept that is featured throughout the resort, characterised by a mesmerising blend of colours and symmetrical patterns that complement the island’s natural beauty.

The two spacious two-bedroom Rockstar Villas, which are the most sought-after villas on the island, are bright and colourful, and are perfect for large families or groups of friends. They come equipped with their own private wine cellar, bar and a guest experience host.

Image of stylish Ibiza style suite in the Maldives hotel

Image credit: Image credit: Finolhu/Brechenmacher & Baumann

The Beach Villas and the new Beach Pool Villas are a great option for those seeking more space and privacy; all of the villas have their own beautifully landscaped gardens, and many have now been upgraded to feature their own private swimming pools.

Another distinguishing feature of Seaside Finolhu is its iconic Beach Bubble. The first of its kind in the Maldives, the bubble is located in a secluded spot along Seaside Finolhu’s marvellous sandbank, and is exclusively available for guests wishing to enjoy a uniquely romantic night under the stars.

The freshly designed Fehi Spa (Fehi meaning green), consists of 10 treatment rooms, each surrounded by the lush greenery of the island. Guests can expect to journey back to nature with treatments that use local ingredients, such as coconut oil and coconut milk, which can be found on the spa menu, including Fehi’s signature Maldivian Healing Treatment, that involves a coconut oil massage, a warm sand poultice and a coconut milk polish.

Fehi’s east-meets-west approach includes a range of holistic treatments, like crystal chakra balancing, Ayurveda treatments and singing bowl massages, which can be found alongside more traditional restorative treatments.

The hotel’s newly appointed Michelin-trained chef, Memo V. Hernandez, will lead Finolhu’s culinary experiences across each of the resort’s four restaurants, where every table comes with a spectacular view. The culinary team brings an exquisite mix of artisanship, individuality and international flair with fresh produce and ingredients being a key focus behind the cuisine.

Image of western style interiors inside restaurant in the Maldives

Image credit: Image credit: Finolhu/Brechenmacher & Baumann

Guests are taken on a gastronomic journey with modern Japanese and Asian cuisine at Kanusan; flavours of the Middle East and North Africa at the Arabian Grill; Italian, Asian, Maldivian and fresh seafood dishes at Beach Kitchen; and fresh seafood platters at Crab Shack.

The Beach Bar is the heart of the resort, bringing European beach club vibes, where laid-back beats and exotic cocktails can be enjoyed throughout the day and late into the evening, and weekly white parties, DJ sets and monthly full-moon parties take place along the sandbank.

By injecting Maldivian-inspired touches with ultra-luxury modernity, Moore and her team were able to redesign the hotel in order to showcase contemporary design mixed with a distinct organic edge. Natural raw materials such as ropes, clay and timbers are being incorporated into Seaside Finolhu’s refreshing new colour palettes to create a visual harmony that enhance the hotel’s unique style.

Main image credit: Finolhu/Brechenmacher & Baumann

Image of luxury Marriott f&b arae

Marriott signs agreement to bring three new hotels to Saudi Arabia

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Marriott signs agreement to bring three new hotels to Saudi Arabia

Among the anticipated new hotels that Marriott International will be opening include the debut of Renaissance Hotels in the Kingdom, the world’s largest Aloft Hotel, and a Courtyard by Marriott in Makkah…

Image of luxury Marriott f&b arae

Marriott International, which recently celebrated the opening of one of its brand’s 100th property as well as opening its 800th hotel in the Asia Pacific region, has signed an agreement with leading real estate company Al Saedan Group, to open three hotels by 2025 across Saudi Arabia. The multi-project agreement includes the country and territory’s first Renaissance Hotel, the world’s largest Aloft Hotel and a Courtyard by Marriott in the Holy City of Makkah.

“We are pleased to build on our fantastic relationship with Al Saedan Group and further expand our portfolio across Saudi Arabia with these milestone signings,” said Satya Anand, President for Europe, Middle East & Africa, Marriott International. “These agreements underscore Marriott International’s commitment to supporting the growth of the Kingdom’s tourism sector and reinforces the continued demand we are seeing for our portfolio of brands across the country.”

“As a company, we are focused on developing projects that support the growth and development of the Kingdom,” said Sultan Al Khudair, CEO of Al Saedan Group. “We are excited to collaborate with Marriott International to open two new properties in the Holy City which will be ideal destinations for those visiting for Umrah and Haj, and to debut Renaissance Hotels in the country. These three new agreements were signed in line with our commitment to bring the highest standards of quality and design to our assets and to provide a premium experience to our guests.”

Marriott International is one of the largest hotel groups in the world, encompassing a portfolio of more than 7,600 properties under 30 leading brands spanning 133 countries and territories.

Main image credit: Marriott International (no images or renders of the three new properties have yet been released)

An armchair in front of glass window

Product watch: ILIV launches the Kelso & Harlow textiles collection

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Product watch: ILIV launches the Kelso & Harlow textiles collection

The Kelso & Harlow textiles collection by ILIV has been woven in a charming village on the border of Lancashire and Yorkshire and draws on the centuries-old tradition of British textile weaving…

An armchair in front of glass window

The Kelso & Harlow collection by ILIV has been born out of traditional craftsmanship. Manufacturing to high ethical standards, from all-natural, wool fibres without the use of harmful chemicals, the brand proud to be using many traditional machines that do its fine work in the time-honoured way.

Despite its traditional manufacturing process, the new collection is completely suitable for modern-day commercial use. With its highly durable make-up natural dirt repellence, acoustic absorbance properties and its superior fire resistance, Kelso & Harlow is the environmentally friendly choice for all types of furniture and interiors, offering a sophisticated and organic look.

Image caption: The Kelso collection is available in 51 colours. | Image credit: ILIV

Image caption: The Kelso & Harlow collection is available in 51 colours. | Image credit: ILIV

“We are committed to minimising the impact of our business on the environment from our energy consumption and carbon emissions to our waste management and recycling facilities,” explains the ILIV in a press release. “By weaving our 50 per cent British wool collection, Kelso, here in the UK, we have reduced our carbon footprint, whilst offering our support to local British farmers.”

Kelso & Harlow is available across 51 colours, constructed using a mix of melange and greige woven yarns from commercial greys to corporate greens and vibrant blues to striking yellows and oranges.

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

Main image credit: ILIV

Image of Riggs Wet bar

Hotel review: Checking in to Riggs Washington D.C.

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel review: Checking in to Riggs Washington D.C.

Sheltered in a former bank in the capital city, Riggs Washington D.C. is emerging from the pandemic as a statement hotel that offers a new kind of luxury on the east coast. Writer and cine​matic storyteller Ollie Wiggins checks in to the Caroline Harrison suite and interviews interior design legend Jacu Strauss in order to understand the hotel design narrative that is not what it first seems…

Image of Riggs Wet bar

The highly anticipated Riggs Washington D.C. opened its doors in early 2020, but considering the unforeseen circumstances around the pandemic that shortly followed, the hotel’s grand opening period was cut short as hospitality worldwide hunkered down for a turbulent year. So, for the sake of this review, I am prepared to erase 2020 from our memories in order to instead celebrate the arrival of what has already become one of Washington’s most exciting hotel openings of the decade. This 181-key hotel aims to offer unparalleled luxury and a breath of fresh air to the thriving and modern metropolis. 

Sitting down with Jacu Strauss, the Creative Director of Lore Group and the brainchild behind Sea Containers London and Pulitzer Amsterdam, it becomes immediately apparent how important the setting was and is to him – he is clearly passionate about DC. “It’s just a really beautiful city,” he says. “Great architecture, and noticeably lacking skyscrapers, it has a certain rhythm to it.” With Jacu’s projects across the world, he’s famous for putting time, energy and resources in to research an area and its needs. Keen to avoid what he describes as a “cookie cutter approach”, it is about the neighbourhoods, the greater contexts of the city and its people. With D.C., he felt he’d found a real gap in the hospitality market. “You have lifestyle brands as well as more traditional, institutional luxury hotels that are really established here and do what they do perfectly,” Strauss explains. “But we wanted to bridge that gap between lifestyle and luxury and become an institution that sits alone.”

It would have been all too easy to make this imposing gothic building into another institutional hotel. And there is no escaping the fact that it is sheltered in what used to be a bank – the ceilings are enormous for starters. The name of the hotel is synonymous with banking throughout DC; many presidents banked with the brand and it even provided the bank loan the US government needed to buy Alaska. Strauss freely admits that he is not the first to turn a bank into a luxury hotel, citing The Ned in London as a prime example. It is perhaps for this reason that he is keen to make sure the building is not tied to its former use. “We really wanted to depart from banking and make it about other things as well,” Strauss explains. “We wanted to celebrate both the legacy of the building and history of the city through unexpected details and a thoughtful approach to guest experience.” So it is perhaps no surprise then that he says he wants to evoke the spirit of the bank, preserving and restoring much of the beautiful old building with playful nod’s to it’s rich and storied past. It is in this way he hopes that the building will reflect a sense of timelessness, which he hopes will give the hotel longevity. 

Upon entering the hotel on F street, I am immediately struck by how authentically period the building feels. Whilst Strauss said he was keen to avoid the sense that the building was stuck in the past, it is hard to imagine the entrance hall has changed at all in the 130 years since it was built. The original marble floors and columns, for example, have not lost their shine or luster. The intricate recessed carvings on the arches of the barrelled ceiling have been meticulously restored and the gold trim on the American eagle that presides over the entryway is as bright and splendid as one would hope.

Image caption: The lobby/reception area has been designed to give a sensitive nod to the building's past. | Image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

Image caption: The lobby/reception area has been designed to give a sensitive nod to the building’s past. | Image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

To the right, the commanding entrance hall is replaced with a warm and welcoming check-in area. There is still the impressive sense of space and grandeur from the high-vaulted ceilings and federalist columns, but the marble floor has been replaced by a luxurious blue carpet. Comfortable arm chairs and soft furnishings help temper the building’s stark gothic feel without taking away from the majestic first impression. On the wall hangs an enormous medallion of Juno Moneta, the Roman goddess of money, modelled on an insignia Strauss discovered when first exploring the building. It gives the impression of inventing without betraying that the designer was keen to create; whilst a new addition to the building, the medallion feels timeless and totally in keeping with the property’s past. Behind a desk and a gold trimmed screen are the friendly reception staff. Whilst a new safety feature for the current pandemic, the gilt edged dividers feel true to the former use of the building and one can imagine the bank’s customers standing in front of them as they discussed the handling of their finances.

“The wooden parquet flooring gives the air of a stately home, where marble would have felt too austere and carpet too subaltern.”

Upon checking in, I am taken first to the Riggs suite, once the boardroom of the bank, now an impressive function room with enviable views of the city. Here, a room that could have felt stark with its hard lines and gothic arches has been made to feel luxurious and comfortable. The wooden parquet flooring gives the air of a stately home, where marble would have felt too austere and carpet too subaltern. Upholstered chairs around a long dining table reinforce this feeling of luxury and recall the room’s former use. On the walls of this room, no doubt once occupied exclusively by men, now hang the portraits of inspirational looking women in a variety of styles and from different cultures. In fact, the room is full of feminine touches including the soft green carpet, delicate oak furniture, copious plants and plush velvety sofas and cushions. It is part of Strauss’ efforts to neutralise what he sees as the overly masculine world of banking with feminine touches.

“Riggs is the only hotel in the area that has chosen to name its suites them after first ladies.”

I am fortunate enough to be staying in the Caroline Harrison Suite. The general manager proudly explains that whilst many hotels in the city have suites named after presidents, Riggs is the only hotel in the area that has chosen to name its suites them after first ladies – yet another example of the way Strauss has injected elements of femininity into all aspects of the hotel’s design. The room is a rich blue with sumptuous, heavy-velvet curtains, a sofa and pillows with a design that calls to mind the ornate patterns of the dividers that separated customers from tellers. The carpet, whilst pristine, has been made to look distressed as though it is itself part of the building’s history.

Image caption: The living room inside the Caroline Harrison Suite. | Image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

Image caption: The living room inside the Caroline Harrison Suite. | Image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

Throughout the room are an eclectic collection of objets; lampshades in the form of dogs, contemporary takes on classical urns, a porcelain lantern with an Asian feel. Strangely, they help anchor the building in its Washington location by creating the sense that these pieces may have been gifted to the first lady by visiting dignitaries on some state visit from long ago. This feeling is complemented by the Jasperware plates and medallions hanging on the wall that celebrate significant events in the nation’s history; the signing of the declaration of independence and the start of JFK’s ill-fated presidency. Behind the luxurious four-poster bed is a feature wall with fun and quirky wallpaper that calls to mind the illustrations in a children’s book or the work of Ken Done. It contrasts aptly with the block colours and bold design choices in the rest of the space. 

The other three first lady suites, named after Ida McKinley, Louisa Adams and Angelica Van Buren have their own distinct styles and decor. The Van Buren is particularly striking with its rich red walls and velvet curtains complimented by ornate gold furniture. Of particular interest, too, are the classical busts that adorn the shelves, all of classical female deities, as well as contemporary artwork inspired once again by the profile of Juno Moneta. 

Each of the hotel’s other rooms are designed to offer something personal and unexpected. Whether it’s the colour of the wall or the shape of the space, each one feels different and offers something unique to the guest so that no two stays are ever quite the same. 

Image caption: Jacu Strauss collaborated with longtime friend George Benson to create the unique headboards in the guestrooms. | Image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

Image caption: Jacu Strauss collaborated with longtime friend George Benson to create the unique headboards in the guestrooms. | Image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

Perhaps most striking in each room are the custom made headboards, the shape suggestive of the ripples of theatrical curtains. To achieve this unique style, Strauss collaborated with longtime friend George Benson to create these stunning pieces. The abstract swirling pattern used on both the headboards and wallpaper is inspired by a detail on a painting Jacu saw whilst at the Met Gallery in New York and was created by Benson’s company Voutsa specifically for the hotel. It adds a fun and cheeky dimension as well as a sense of movement to what were once the bank’s offices. Eagle eyed guests may spot that the pattern is also used on the inside of the bespoke umbrellas that are provided in each room. 

Next to the bed are small oak bedside tables with green leather inlay designed to feel like the writing desks that would once have been used in this building. To achieve a strong and timeless lighting scheme, Strauss collaborated with bespoke lighting brand Chelsom in order to ensure that each space was effortlessly lit in order to radiate the hotel’s luxe style and distinct personality. For example, gilt desk lamps sit on top of the bedside tables to reinforce the writing desk association and invite you to imagine the bank clerks hunched over their work in the previous century. Each room also contains a replica bank safe complete with the insignia of Juno on the outside and housing the minibar and room’s safe inside. It is the most overt reminder of the building’s former life as well as a fun talking point for guests. 

Since you’re here, why not read about Chelsom’s Edition 27 lighting collection

“I can’t help wondering if the powerful rain shower head is a nod to Obama’s request that one be added to The White House for the duration of his incumbency.”

Inside the bathrooms, the Italian Carrara marble tiles on the floor and walls create a sense of grandeur and security. Even the shape of the shiny metallic taps is reminiscent of the handle of a safe and reinforces the idea that one has walked into the bank’s impregnable strong room. The deep free-standing bath makes for a luxurious bathing experience and I can’t help wondering if the powerful rain shower head is a nod to Obama’s request that one be added to The White House for the duration of his incumbency. 

Image credit: Luxurious bathrooms inside the hotel. | Image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

Image credit: Luxurious bathrooms inside the hotel. | Image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

Strauss said that he wanted each of the rooms to feel like a safety deposit box, with the contents of each being unique and valuable. This certainly comes across and is particularly evident from the door to each room. Every door features the front of a safety deposit box, complete with a non-working keyhole and golden circular medallion bearing the likeness of Juno Moneta. On the walls and floor, the sumptuous, rich, red carpets evoke a feeling of warmth. They contrast directly with the imposing lobby of the building and give the sense that you are exploring a more intimate and sequestered part of the hotel. On the walls of the corridors are a collection of paintings, some depicting classical figures and others in a more contemporary style as if these pieces have been placed here by customers trusting the bank to protect their artistic investments. The lifts too are worthy of note, featuring marble floors and mirrors covered in silver leaf, which gives them an opulent antiquarian aspect. 

In the bar and restaurant it is clear that Strauss has attempted to bring something new to the city. “There may have been a certain standard of food and beverage outlets here that became quite institutionalised, and not necessarily in a good way,” he admits to me.  “So, it didn’t have much diversity, and going against that convention – especially in an area of the hotel that is typically most criticised – was really changing. DC is becoming a real foodie city.” Strauss’ aim was to provide something “bright and elegant, inspired by the grand cafes of Europe,” and that is certainly case here at Riggs. The high-vaulted ceilings provide a massive sense of space and the circular marble tables together with the trendy wooden and velvet chairs would not feel out of place in a continental eatery. It is no coincidence that the chairs themselves are the colour of money, in America at least. It would have been easy to use an overabundance of green throughout the hotel for its pecuniary associations and the decision not to do this in the rest of the development feels remarkably restrained. 

The luxury of space in the bar area has provided one of the largest  challenges in converting this part of the building. With the huge height of the room, Strauss and his team were keen to make sure the scope of the space was being fully utilised. To that end, Strauss installed massive velvet curtains, so weighty that their use necessitated reinforcing the wall. He also commissioned a bouquet of oversized fabric flowers from Ukraine – its bright colours and whimsical design are suggestive of the works of Lewis Carroll or Edward Lear. Yet despite their sheer scale (they come in at an eye-watering two storeys high) everything in the room feels perfectly in proportion. Even the six foot four inch gilt chandeliers that Strauss designed himself help to make the space feel intimate without taking away from the sense of grandeur. 

Image caption: Jacu Strauss commissioned a bouquet of oversized fabric flowers from Ukraine, which has become a statement piece in the public area of the hotel. | Image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

Image caption: Jacu Strauss commissioned a bouquet of oversized fabric flowers from Ukraine, which has become a statement piece in the public area of the hotel. | Image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

I journey downwards to the subterranean Silver Lyan bar, described by the hotel manager as an adult playground. It’s not hard to see why, the theming is fun without being gimmicky and the low ceilings, dark lighting and deep red chairs give the air of that most uniquely American thing: a speakeasy. There are also an array of fun little touches around the bar; secret messages hidden as optical illusions in the wall panelling, lighting inspired by classical Asian designs and hundreds of sporting trophies in cases across the walls, which Strauss is quick to tell me were all won by female athletes. 

Across the hall is the gym and fitness area, which perhaps rather tauntingly has an oversized gumball machine outside, which feels uniquely American and once again helps to play with the sense of scale and disrupt the sense of solemnity in the building. Despite the restrictions currently in place due to Covid-19, I can’t resist sampling one or two. The gym itself has enough equipment to ensure that even the most ardent of fitness fanatics can ensure they get a good workout and the marble pillars hardwood floors provide a sense of decadence as you sweat your way towards your fitness goals. There are also fun touches around the room, like the leather punching bag, that invites one to imagine a circus strongman with a handlebar moustache hard in training. There is also the door to what once would have been the bank’s strongroom, with its intricate mechanism, bolts and rivets on display.

As I check out, I am reminded of something Strauss said to me, that a hotel should provide an elevated experience rather than simply being “a home away from home” and Riggs Washington D.C. is certainly not that. It is a building that has always been about showmanship that has left lasting impression of strength and security.

Strauss’ next project, the Lyle in D.C., will be much more about calm and comfort – think mattresses like marshmallows that he describes as the “most comfortable” he has ever slept on. Yet here, the way The Lore Group has managed to turn what could have been a stark and austere building into something welcoming without losing any of the sense of grandeur is impressive. To summarise, Riggs DC embraces its past whilst remaining pitch perfect for its current use, ensuring its future place in the city for years to come. 

Main image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

Image of tiger on walls in warehouse

Wallpaper goals: Adding personality in public spaces

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Wallpaper goals: Adding personality in public spaces

With all this talk around hygiene and reassuring the post-corona consumer, to avoid spaces looking too clinical we need to start talking about how we inject personality back into the public areas. Cue the arrival of Arte’s latest wallcoverings collections that give off some serious haute couture vibes and a splash of wallpaper goals…

Image of tiger on walls in warehouse

Many hotel spaces have now evolved to become community hubs, appealing to not only business guests and tourists, but equally people looking for an experience, whether that be a spa day, a business breakfast or a social lunch. Consumers are savvier and more informed, looking for something more substantial than a comfortable stay, so it’s important to ensure any public space is decorated in a way that appeals to all senses and creates a unique, stand out interior.

Gone are the days where a hotel lobby was acting merely as a transitional space for check-ins; this is the first place guests will see when they arrive and the last place they will see before they leave, therefore it’s important to make a lasting impression. This is an area with the highest traffic in the entire hotel; it’s one that guests will move through many times, therefore it needs to be both functional, but also stylish, atmospheric and vibrant.

Hotels are recognising the value in utilising and maximising their large spaces to attract footfall above the guests staying at the hotel. Interior designers are experimenting with different aesthetics and textures to add interest to these spaces, elevating not only the design, but also the common perception of what a hotel should like; dreary walls, covered in a singular paint colour or outdated wallpaper are being swapped for statement designs, playful patterns and distinguished textures.

From small boutique hotels like the art deco inspired Hotel Victor Hugo in France, with interiors by Laurent Maugoust featuring the gorgeous, hand-embroidered Crane pattern in their lobby to larger hotel groups such as the Hilton Tanger City Centre in Morocco, designed by Jaime Beriestain Studio featuring the geometric Sapphire Maze in one of their restaurant spaces, Arte’s designs have been expertly used by interior designers in hotel lobbies, bars and restaurants around the world for over 40 years to transform public spaces into places with character and personality.

Wallpaper is one of the simplest ways to refresh and add interest to a space, yet, it can be one of the most impactful. With materiality and texture at the heart of Arte, many of their wallpaper designs push boundaries of what is known as ‘traditional wallpaper’ and incorporate innovative techniques and finishes from heat embossed 3d fabrics, printed textiles and natural materials including silk, raffia and sisal to denim, velvet and leather, the possibilities in both texture and design are endless.

Lush and rich, jungle and tropical foliage designs such as Palmera, Abanico, Java or Silk Road Garden, as well as the more paired back florals of Wildflower or Grow will work equally well for an all-over scheme or a statement wall to give a sense of comfort by bringing the outdoors in through motifs and colours seen in nature, adding life and light to a space and allowing us to maintain that connection to nature.

Image caption: Java | Image credit: Arte

Many interior designers are abandoning the traditional rules of decorating and embracing the idea of combining different wallpaper designs in the same space, mixing textures and bolder designs with different colours across the walls, layering with other decorative items in the space, for a dramatic, maximalist scheme. Arte’s collections are designed in a way that offers a comprehensive palette of colours, ranging across a wide range of textures, prints and patterns – allowing for designs to be combined and mixed in a way that results in a playful, but cohesive scheme.

Intreguing and interesting textures can be found across the collections, including heat embossed 3d patterns as seen in Intrigue, Enigma and Eclipse, as well as the rich velvet, suede and leather textures of Velveteen, Les Cuirs and Lush. The 3d, heat embossed Caisson design from the Eclipse collection was used by designer Gensler to dress the walls in the Baton Rouge Hotel, resulting in an interior that not only looks elegant and gives the illusion of French panelling on the wall, but one that feels warm and comforting. Aside from being extremely durable and long-lasting (with the added bonus of acoustic qualities), these heavier textures are a great way to add both flair and warmth to a space, be it a restaurant or a hotel bedroom; creating a relaxing, yet stylish space.

Arte’s wallcoverings are not only creative and innovative, but each collection offers a myriad of possibilities for transforming a public space, be it through colour, pattern or texture, making it easy for designers to create spaces that are sophisticated, impactful and engaging.

Arte is one of our Recommended Suppliers and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

Main image credit: Arte

Main image for virtual roundtable on bespoke possibilities in luxury design

Virtual roundtable: Bespoke possibilities in luxury design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Virtual roundtable: Bespoke possibilities in luxury design

To specify or not to specify, that was the initial question that editor Hamish Kilburn put forward to our expert panel of designers and lighting masterminds for our latest roundtable, in association with bespoke lighting brand Dernier & Hamlyn, on bespoke possibilities in luxury design…

Main image for virtual roundtable on bespoke possibilities in luxury design

There are a plethora of well-documented benefits linked to selecting bespoke products in a luxury brief – it eliminates the need to flex or drastically change the interior design scheme, for starters. Bespoke is therefore, in many if not all scenarios, the best and most preferred solution among leading designers where budget is no barrier. Or is it? In association with the bespoke lighting experts at Dernier & Hamlyn, we recently invited a cluster of leading interior designers and world-renowned lighting experts in order to explore the bespoke possibilities in luxury design. As well as understanding today’s perception of ‘luxury’ among clients and guests alike, we were intrigued to also understand the pitfalls designers should avoid when deciding to go bespoke.

Meet the panel: 

Hamish Kilburn: How have hotel operators’ perception of luxury design changed over the past few years? Is what used to be considered luxury now standard? And what does this mean for designers in ensuring their schemes exude luxury?

Justin Wells: We pontificate over luxury so much – it’s just like defining colour! Firstly, it’s very important to know your audience – and that includes understanding cultures and demographics. In our experience, luxury in North America has been around legacy brands. In more perhaps progressive markets, such as South East Asia, for example, they are certainly trying to reposition luxury to be more lifestyle. In the region of the Middle East, which is where I am now, the perception of luxury is to make up for lost time. Elsewhere, in more mature markets, such as Europe, there’s certainly a reinvention happening at the moment, which is very exciting.

HK: You talk about perception, which makes me want to bring in social media and this demand for ‘accessible luxury’ into the conversation. Has that damaged the integrity of luxury hospitality?

Simon Rawlings: It’s interesting, we’re finding that luxury is becoming more standardised, certainly when it comes to peoples’ expectations of luxury. With many brands and experiences that are global, we’re really seeing that each region’s differences are disappearing, which is actually quite boring when you want to emphasise differences.

 “Authentic luxury has to be very particular to that project, and to standardise luxury is dangerous.” – Simon Rawlings, Creative Director, David Collins Studio.

Luxury is a difficult thing to pinpoint and it can be as simple as beautiful service in an ordinary space. Authentic luxury has to be very particular to that project, and to standardise luxury is dangerous.

Also, we will never get a brief that says ‘we want to be a luxury hotel’. Instead, it will be the ideas and thoughts around sustainability, aims to stand out from the crowd that, combined, lead spaces and projects to look and feel more luxurious. The idea that luxury is lavish and excessive is an outdated mindset. For us, it’s been an interesting and exciting time recently because a lot of the briefs we have received in the last few months show that people are really willing to invest in good design.

“The luxury element 10 – 20 years ago would have been more around the materials and finishes, but it’s less and less about that now.” – Kirsten King, Design Director, Bergman Interiors.

Image caption: Interiors inside Nobu Hotel London Portman Square, designed by David Collins Studio, which features bespoke lighting from Dernier & Hamlyn | Image credit: Jack Hardy

Image caption: Interiors inside Nobu Hotel London Portman Square, designed by David Collins Studio, which features bespoke lighting from Dernier & Hamlyn | Image credit: Jack Hardy

Kirstin King: For us, the luxury element 10 – 20 years ago would have been more around the materials and finishes, but it’s less and less about that now. Instead, it has become much more about lifestyle. We have to think more intelligently to really understand the local craftsmen, and in doing so we need to pair things back to allow the ambiance to naturally reflect luxury.

Paul Nulty: For us, luxury lighting design is something that fires all the senses. Whether it’s visual or a composition. If it’s heightening the senses and the emotional connection with that space, then it feels luxurious.

HK: Similarly, how have guests’ perceptions of luxury design changed over the past few years?

Hamish Brown: We have always worked with private clients, and our understanding on what luxury guests need and demand stems from experience in residential. The key difference that consumers are expecting now is that sense of place. Across all brands, the industry went through a brief moment of standardisation, but now we are seeing brands really understand and celebrate cultural difference. For example, if you take two Four Seasons properties in two locations within one country. By both capturing the local flavours of their unique destination, it sets them aside from each other. That in itself becomes luxurious, bespoke and individual. And then, what happens is that the brand’s DNA gets threaded into the design scheme through consistent service – it’s no longer a look or an aesthetic but much more a feeling.

HK: With the sheer number of options that suppliers offer in their standard ranges these days, why is the demand for bespoke design in luxury projects still growing?

Jo Littlefair: I think that bespoke design, both in hospitality and high-end residential, gives you the flexibility to respond to a project individually – it’s a great way to bring in local vernacular. It’s really important for us to give a strong identity. In our studio, nothing is a cookie-cutter approach. Instead, we respond to everything individually – and I think bespoke design gives you that ability to scale and size things perfectly. It allows us to really craft interiors as opposed to just select them.

Mayfair Townhouse peacock entrance

Image caption: a 67-inch peacock sculpture adorned in 25,000 Swarovski crystals sits inside the Mayfair Townhouse, designed by Goddard Littlefair | Image credit: Iconic Luxury Hotels

SR: We’ve started specifying more than we have ever done. Yes, of course, there’s still the demand for bespoke, but there are so many incredible designers who are creating some really awesome things that we love to embrace and collaborate with them on. With the Nobu Hotel London Portman Square, for example, one of our goals was to specify as many statement pieces as we could. As someone who has always championed bespoke everything, I don’t think by specifying you get a lesser product, and I don’t think the clients think anything less of it either. It’s changing, and there are a lot of us who have our own collections so we will specify our own products for certain projects.

“The quality of the end bespoke product is not necessary as high as something that has been crafted over many years.” – Tina Norden, Partner, Conran and Partners.

Tina Norden: I would say that there are regional differences. Particularly in Asia, clients may believe you can get the product cheaper but sometimes the quality of the end product is not necessary as high as something that has been crafted over many years. Therefore, you have to be extremely careful as an interior designer. You need the right manufacturer you can trust that allows you to see the prototypes – we have all been there when that simply isn’t an option.

With the late Sir Terence Conran traditionally being a furniture designer, we have always had – and shown huge respect for – the work that furniture designers do. I guess that sometimes people don’t appreciate how much time specifiers take to get products just right.

HK: You’re right, Tina! Trust is vital – and the relationship now between quality suppliers and designers is stronger than it has ever been, is it not?

Mark Harper: We are seeing and contributing to more artisan people who are being specified. For us, as a bespoke lighting manufacturer, we do what we do to the highest level of quality.

HK: At what point in the design process do you decide bespoke is the best option?

PN: Designers go bespoke when they cannot find a product on the market that achieves the look, feel and quality that they are looking for. Perhaps the bespoke product will give a slightly different glow, but for me it comes back to the senses. It’s relevantly simple, and yet extremely complex at the same time.

Shayne Brady: At the end of the day, it is a case-by-case basis – and it depends on different factors. We often have clients come to us with a specific vision. In Bob Bob Cite, for example, the client wanted to create a full suite of bespoke wall and ceiling lights. Bespoke is great when you are working in a space that has high volume because you can customise each product to fit the space.

Image caption: Bob Citi Citi diner, designed by Brady Williams Studio, which includes bespoke lighting from Dernier & Hamlyn | Image credit: Bob Citi Citi

Image caption: Bob Bob Citi diner, designed by Brady Williams Studio, which includes bespoke lighting from Dernier & Hamlyn | Image credit: Bob Bob Citi

HK: Do bespoke projects always have to be the statement design pieces?

TN: In lighting terms, quite often it is. Ultimately, it is really coming down to the client and the location. Quite often in Europe, making something bespoke can actually feel a lot more special. Whereas in Asia, it feels more luxurious to select something from a high-end brand as a feature piece.

HK: And surely if you have a really ambitious idea that is pretty unconventional, bespoke becomes your best and sometimes only option – and Kirstin I am thinking about your project, The Engine Room…

KK: It was a really interesting project for the team here. The idea was an indoor rowing club that was sheltered in a converted church. The budget was low and therefore we recycled a lot. For example, the juice bar was made out of church pews. I would say 60 per cent of that project was lighting. As the guests were working out, the lighting would move and react in order to enhance performance. We worked very closely with the lighting designers to create that effect.

Image caption: The Engine Room, designed by Bergman Interiors | Image credit: The Engine Room

Image caption: The Engine Room, designed by Bergman Interiors | Image credit: The Engine Room

HK: That is a great example of using the demographic of where you are and thinking outside the box, and elevating the five senses. Are designers now approaching projects more holistically with sound and smell in mind?

“For me, sound and lighting are very closely linked – maybe that’s me going back to my clubbing days.” – Tina Norden, Partner, Conran and Partners.

TN: Yes, very much so. A few weeks ago, at Hotel Designs LIVE, we discussed how sound was being used in experience. For me, sound and lighting are very closely linked – maybe that’s me going back to my clubbing days. It’s all enhancing the overall ambiance.

PN: Multi-sensory lighting and design is the future! We started offering sound design in some projects. Going beyond acoustics, we are very interested to understand how sound can help enhance the consumer journey and we are seeing this now in hospitality. The third element of that is smell, which is becoming really important. Lighting, sound and smell work together, almost as a set of sub-consultants in design and architecture.

A bespoke lighting scheme by Nulty Lighting for the Earth Hotels concept at Downtown Dubai | Image credit: Nulty Lighting

A bespoke lighting scheme by Nulty Lighting for the Earth Hotels concept at Downtown Dubai | Image credit: Nulty Lighting

HK:  That’s extremely difficult to get right when all of those elements are very personal.

PN: Absolutely, and that’s why you have to really understand the brand from the outset of the project and what you want that user experience to be.

TN: That’s the key, it’s about being specific and designing for the demographic. You are not trying to please everyone.

“There will be dialogue about creating separation – which removes barriers and planning. In many ways, that’s allowing brands to reinvent themselves.” – Justin Wells, CEO, Wells International.

Blue co

Image caption: The Maximilian Hotel in Prague, designed by Conran and Partners

SR: I was doing an interview recently where I was asked when we come out of this pandemic whether or not people are going to struggle with noisy areas, and it’s an interesting point. At the same time, I met a sound identity designer. There are so many people listening in on podcasts these days. Ultimately, it made me realise that you can close your eyes but you cannot close your ears.

JW: We are trying to create thriving spaces and there were a lot of social collisions in these areas before the pandemic. However, now there will be dialogue about creating separation – which removes barriers and planning. In many ways, that’s allowing brands to reinvent themselves.

“Our clients reported that spend was greater on the tables that had more space.” – Shayne Brady, Director, Brady Williams.

SB: In between the second and third lockdown here in the UK, the guests were really appreciative and enjoyed the restaurants that had more space – not from a Covid perspective, but more from a luxury point of view. Actually, our clients reported that spend was greater on the tables that had more space. Perhaps we don’t need as many covers as we used to have.

HK: Do you therefore think that F&B spaces will be larger and take up more space?

SB: It will be more of a dialogue, for sure. There are more questions around capacity and what the sense of luxury means. Not being confined is luxury to me because that makes the experience far better.

“When we come out of this, there will be a need to decompress even more.” – Jo Littlefair, Co-Founder and Director, Goddard Littlefair.

JL: Pre-pandemic we were thinking about de-compression. We are very aware that people need that disconnect. The pandemic has definitely amplified that. When we come out of this, there will be a need to decompress even more.

Image caption: W Abu Dhabi Yas Island, designed by Wells International | Image credit: W Hotels

Image caption: W Abu Dhabi Yas Island, designed by Justin Wells | Image credit: W Hotels

HK: And now for a word that brings shivers down our spines: trends… what are the topics and movements that are dominating your conversations at the moment?

MH: We have seen an increase in enquires and requests for natural materials and clean lines with a traditional twist. What we are going to see now is the bigger picture; it’s about longevity and sustainability. Also, you cannot ignore the fact that LED technology has come on leaps and bounds and I expect that to evolve further and faster than perhaps ever before.

SR: LEDs are a nightmare, though, because the colour temperature on every single LED is different. So, trying to marry the interior design is very difficult. We still end up using filament bulbs because you just can’t rectify it.

PN: One big trend we are seeing is towards wellness – certainly towards business hotels and using lighting to mitigate jetlag. Lighting using circadian rhythm has a huge role to play in that. There’s a hotel in Reykjavik where the lighting is tied in to the alarm clock, and it illuminates before the sound of the alarm clock goes off in order to wake the guest up gently.

HK: Is that extremely expensive? For me, the benefits of circadian rhythm in lighting is so obvious, so why is it therefore not in more hotel design schemes?

PN: It’s more expensive and of course if you’ve got a 300-key hotel then it adds up. However, the benefits of that technology are being more and more proven.

HK: Do you worry about suppliers copying a bespoke design after seeing it in your projects? Does anyone have any examples of this they can/would like to share?

HB: Yes, you see that in parts of Asia and it’s not ideal, but it’s unfortunately part of our work that is always there.

 TN: I think there’s an opportunity there. If we work together with the manufacturer on a product going forward then it beats them at their own game.

HK: The ‘Norden’ chandelier, you heard it here first! Other than the ‘Norden’ collection, what’s lacking in lighting at the moment?

HB: Being able to visual prototypes in lighting is very important and be able to adapt and mold them in that creative process allows us to do more things.

SR: I agree. The first thing we want to know is what type of light the product will give off. If there was a tool to establish that, it would help us understand which light a fixture will give. For me that comes before what the product looks like. Some way of understanding the type of light the fixtures give off would be so invaluable.

“The issue is that designers love the materiality of stuff. It’s trying to engage with the intangible stuff.” – Paul Nulty, Founder, Nulty Lighting.

SB: That is interesting. We are working on a project at the moment where they have that already for furniture, but something similar in lighting would be very helpful.

PN: I agree with you. The issue is that designers love the materiality of stuff. It’s trying to engage with the intangible stuff. So many people disregard the quality of light. Quality of light and quantity of light are independent and are, I believe, misunderstood.

KK: From my experience, this should happen before we get fully into a project. Maybe it should happen even earlier!

striking bar with marble surfaces featuring distressed mirrors

Image caption: Worlds away from the hustle and bustle of London life above, The Spa at The Lanesborough was sensitively designed by 1508 London | Image credit: 1508 London/The Lanesborough

HK: Let’s finish by talking tech. The advancement of render software is incredible; it has given designers a tool to be more accurate and as a result allowed them to make informed decisions ahead of purchasing. However, it does also mean that clients now expect to see sharp renders in pitches. Does this ever narrow the window for new ideas to come into the project once it has been won?

HB: It’s such a hot topic at the moment within our studio and we have invested in a lot of technology at the moment to really confront this. You are correct in terms of narrowing down the window – and there is always a debate in our minds as to how far you go in the pitch. Right now, I think renders should happen later in the process and there has to be a visualisation tool that is a half-way house. That journey has to be a process – and that’s how you get a perfect space.

HK: And you are all competing against each other to win projects… Does it require across the board, designers stating that they will only present sketches?

HB: It would be amazing to have a conversation with designers to establish how far we should all be going in a pitch.

HK: It’s catch 22. As tech improves and the clients and consumers’ knowledge of design expands then so too does the demand for wanting to see more in a pitch.

KK: I agree totally. Sometimes the client demands a minimum of three renders in the pitch and it is a huge cost. You want to win the project and you know that everyone else will be producing renders.

SB: It depends on the client. Some clients do not understand the concept of your pitch unless it is a perfect CGI. More and more, these days, the client is very involved and there is a collaboration from start to finish. If you can hook a client with a great idea that is where it should be won.

JW: We always go quite analogue in our pitches. We use vignettes to highlight certain areas. We then, during the pitch, talk about these spaces and elements, which become frameworks. The aim of the pitch is for the client to establish how we think and how we work. If we win a pitch, we will then produce more emotive non-photo realistic renderings. The next set of renders will be marketing quality.

Dernier & Hamlyn, the sponsor of this roundtable, is one of our recommended suppliers. To keep up to date with their news, click here. And, if you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email  Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Promo image of Ep 2 of DESIGN POD

DESIGN POD episode 2, with Director of Zaha Hadid Architects, has landed

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
DESIGN POD episode 2, with Director of Zaha Hadid Architects, has landed

LISTEN NOW: For episode of two of DESIGN POD, in association with Bathrooms Brands Group, editor Hamish Kilburn and co-host Harriet Forde invite Christos Passas, Director of Zaha Hadid Architects, to discuss architecture beyond boundaries…

Promo image of Ep 2 of DESIGN POD

Hosted by editor Hamish Kilburn and co-hosted by designer Harriet Forde, DESIGN POD’s latest episode, entitled ‘Architecture Beyond Boundaries’, is now available to listen to all major podcast platforms such as SpotifyAmazon Music and Acast – and welcomes Christos Passas, Director of Zaha Hadid Architect (ZHA), as the guest professional for the episode.

As well as discussing how ZHA stretches what is possible in design and architecture, the episode also dives deep into the legacy that the late Zaha Hadid left behind, whose outstanding contribution to the architectural profession has been acknowledged by professional, academic and civic institutions around the world, including (but not limited to) the Forbes List of the ‘World’s Most Powerful Women. “It is no coincidence that this episode has been released in the wake of International Women’s Day,” explains Kilburn. “Hadid’s vision was one that captured the imagination of more than industry professionals; her unapologetic, pioneering mindset continues, to this day, to resonate with every individual on the planet who believes in and strives for equality in all sectors.”

“When it comes to younger generations, I always look for people who are not afraid to work hard.” – Christos Passas, Director, Zaha Hadid Architects.

Passas, who first joined the international architecture and design studio 23 years ago and recently won Architect of the Year at The Brit List Awards 2020, agreed to be interviewed by Kilburn who was keen to understand more about how the studio has changed since the passing of Hadid as well as getting the low-down on the studio’s latest project, The Opus in Dubai, which Hotel Designs exclusively reviewed the design of last month. In addition to this, Passas describes what he looks for in  the young talent that walks through the ZHA doors. “The collaborative nature within our team is something to be learned from,” explains Passas in the interview. “We have always found a certain amount of pride and encouragement to be a company that is very much proactive on an individual level. When it comes to younger generations, I always look for people who are not afraid to work hard and for those who are able to test their ideas with others while working for the good of others.”

Listen to DESIGN POD on SpotifyAmazon MusicAcast, Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts.

Image of luxury design hotel guestroom at MarBella Elix in Greece

Early check in: MarBella Elix, a design hotel inspired by the sea

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Early check in: MarBella Elix, a design hotel inspired by the sea

The latest design hotel to arrive in the MarBella Collection portfolio, MarBella Elix, which is about to open on the mainland of Greece, is the brainchild of Konstantinos Kydoniatis and Dimitris Thomopoulos…

Image of luxury design hotel guestroom at MarBella Elix in Greece

MarBella Elix, which Hotel Designs first took a sneak peek of early last year,  is an inspirational and to many extends a timeless design hotel situated in a previously undiscovered area of Greece. As the third hotel to join the MarBella Collection portfolio – and the brand’s first property outside of the island of Corfu – MarBella Elix is perched above the beautiful Karavostasi Beach in the Parga region, looking west towards Corfu and Paxos.

Arial view of MarBella Elix design hotel

Image caption: MarBella Elix is unique to the current MarBella Collection properties as it uses typical Epirus traditional architecture, where the buildings follow the natural landscape. Image credit: Heinz Troll

The 146-key design hotel was built into the sloping mountain with every room looking out over the uninterrupted sea. The architecture is designed to reflect the natural location, mirroring the sandy cliffs and the surrounding area of astounding natural beauty. The interiors meanwhile lend themselves to a family-friendly resort, with expansive communal and dining areas and comfortable resting places, perfectly situated to admire the unspoilt surroundings.

The project was spearheaded by Konstantinos Kydoniatis whose idea was to blend the existing landscape into a premise built with tiered levels.

The architectural inspiration behind the design hotel was to create a hotel with contemporary simplicity, paired with breathtaking views. The project was spearheaded by Konstantinos Kydoniatis whose idea was to blend the existing landscape into a premise built with tiered levels suitable for couples and families alike. The existing traditional Greek building was radically redesigned, in order to serve the contemporary needs of a five-star hotel. The designers used high-end technology to ensure the building was constructed with the needs of a luxury traveller in mind, whilst at the same time achieving a high level of sustainability.

The overall brief for Marbella Elix was to redesign and recreate a traditional Greek property into a luxury, modern resort for families and couples, upgrading both premises and amenities seamlessly transition between the traditional and modern.

The transformation has been meticulously planned to play on the outstanding views of the Ionian Sea, ensuring the property is fully equipped for for its guests who expect premium luxury standard. Designed and created by Dimitris Thomopoulos and Kydoniatis, the style focuses on three key elements; the breathtaking, sea-view scenery; the proximity to the once-inaccessible vast coastline, which is now easily reached by a small path and the local architecture elements of stone, marble and wood.

“The inspiration behind the design comes from the breath-taking view of the infinite sea and the surrounding environment,” explained Thomopoulos. “The design of this five-star hotel is now a reflection of the existing materials and styles of traditional Greece, combined with a constant reminder of the beauty of nature.”

The lobby and dining area was conceived as a viewpoint. An uninterrupted line of vision flows directly from the entrance of the restaurant to the vast sea views, with a green filter created through a structure of plant life, to emphasise the natural synergies and surrounds.

Lounge/lobby inside design hotel by the sea

Image caption: The lobby and public areas carefully injects biophilic design into a contemporary space. | Image credit: Heinz Troll

The main restaurant follows the design approach of the lobby area, with natural light and plant features throughout. The à la carte restaurant is unique with its luxurious and distinctive darker tones, creating an elegant and authentic feel.

The distinct nod to nature continues in the guestrooms, with the entire design scheme including, floor-to-ceiling windows, working around and framing the unparalleled views of the Ionion sea. The designers have added a twist of something rare and unique to the area by redefining the traditional architecture of Epirus through minimal and clear lines.

Image caption: The use of natural elements adds a sense of place throughout the 146 spacious and contemporary guestrooms and suites. | Image credit: Heinz Troll

MarBella Elix is unique to the current MarBella Collection properties as it uses typical Epirus traditional architecture, where the buildings follow the natural landscape. Marbella Elix blends into the surroundings using built-in tiered levels that appear to come out of the steep slope landscape. This creates unobstructed views to the forest and Ionian sea. The rooftops have been used to create large 25 – 30 square-metre private pools for guests staying in upper-level rooms, tying in natural elements such as stone claddings to reflect the architecture of nearby towns.

Image of sunset from luxury pool

The hotel’s coastal location makes it an ideal spot to catch the sunset. | Image credit: Heinz Troll

The MarBella Collection currently boasts two unique properties in their portfolio, the iconic family 5* resort, MarBella Corfu Hotel located and in Agios Ioannis Peristeron and its adjacent sister, adult-only suite hotel MarBella Nido Suite Hotel & Villas which opened in May 2018 and is a proud member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World. In 2021, the highly anticipated MarBella Elix will be added to the collection, a design hotel curated for travellers seeking true luxury experiences.

Main image credit: MarBella Collection

Birdseye view of Private Pool Residences Collection residence

In pictures: Inside the largest overwater residences in the world

640 426 Hamish Kilburn
In pictures: Inside the largest overwater residences in the world

Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas, located on the Baa Atoll, has launched the largest overwater residences in the world with a major renovation of the resort’s two-bedroom over water pool residences…

Birdseye view of Private Pool Residences Collection residence

Setting a new precedent in naturally inspired design and luxury living, the renovation of the seven residences at Anantara Kihavah sees a careful preservation of the element of space while marrying a light and airy interior refit with smart technology home comforts.

Each overwater residence is generously spaced at 1,500 sq. m. and comes with the addition of a new fully equipped gym, a couples’ spa treatment room, a fully equipped professional kitchen with wine fridge, expanded outdoor decks and larger swimming pools. This follows a multi-million-dollar redesign of the two-, three- and four- bedroom beach pool residences in 2020 just before lockdown, with the four-bedroom residence at a commanding 2,000 sq. m. 

Anantara Kihavah Two-bedroom Over Water Pool Residence Spa Treatment Room View

Image credit: Anantara Kihavah

Two-bedroom overwater pool residences

The two newly completed two-bedroom overwater pool residences feature floor-to-ceiling windows across its entirety, guaranteeing vast views of the ocean. Fitted with a professional working kitchen in the living and dining room, each en-suite bedroom at either end features ample individual outdoor living space, whilst the extended infinity pool tiled in natural Sukabumhi stone and shaded outdoor dining sala is the ideal hangout for shared leisure activities.

Anantara Kihavah Two-bedroom Over Water Pool Residence Exterior Aerial

Image credit: Anantara Kihavah

With fitness and wellness being a bigger focus than ever in the modern-day traveller’s needs, the redesign of these residences sees the addition of a gym, fully equipped with the latest in TechnoGym machinery, and a couple’s spa treatment room. Both rooms are fitted with retractable blinds, allowing for natural sunlight by day and unfiltered stargazing at night. Whilst relaxing with a signature Anantara Spa massage, a view of the marine life just beneath the residence, is made possible with the strategic placement of glass panels underneath the spa treatment beds. Glass-bottomed whirlpool bathtubs have also been fitted in each bathroom, providing therapeutic massages even during bath time.

Staying true to the heritage of the Maldives, each residence features Kajan thatched palm roofs and Balau hardwood flooring spanning the entire length of its expansive outdoor deck, accompanied by netted hammocks suspended over water.

Two-, three-, and four-bedroom beach pool residences

Anantara Kihavah’s beach pool residences start from 1,330 sq. m for the two-bedroom option to 1,770 sq. m for the three-bedroom residence and 2,000 sq. m. for the four-bedroom pool sanctuary.

Surrounded by foliage and bright bougainvillea accents, occasional sights of coconut trees jutting through floors or ceilings is testament to the resort’s commitment toward preserving the natural beauty of the island, whilst optimising each residence’s space.

Anantara Kihavah - Guest Room Three Bedroom Beach Pool Residence Exterior View

Image credit: Anantara Kihavah

Like the over water pool residences, the architecture of each beachfront residence reflects Kajan palm roofs and Balau decks. The newly extended swimming pools are now fitted with massage jets, whilst an outdoor Sala Thai provides shaded relief for lounging and dining.

A light neutral palette uplifts a previously dark wood scheme, presenting an atmosphere that is at once comfortable and relaxed, yet modern and luxurious. Rattan details, woven straw carpets, Maldivian motifs and teak wood furniture further accent the distinctively tropical vibe of each room. Floor-to-ceiling doors of the main living and dining area effortlessly slide open for views of the tropics.

Further embodying island living at its most luxurious, a water feature wall designed to mimic that of a real waterfall, is the highlight in each revamped bathroom newly fitted with intelligent toilet technology. Wellbeing and fitness are also not forgotten – with each residence fitted with its own private double-bed spa treatment room and gym featuring a complete range of fitness equipment.

Anantara is a luxury hospitality brand for modern travellers, connecting them to genuine places, people and stories through personal experiences, and providing heartfelt hospitality in the world’s most exciting destinations. The collection of distinct, thoughtfully designed luxury hotels and resorts provides a window through which to journey into invigorating new territory, curating personal travel experiences.

 

Main image credit: Anantara Kihavah

Render of lounge inside Soho Beach House in the Caribbean

Soho House: A sneak peek of upcoming openings

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Soho House: A sneak peek of upcoming openings

Soho House, which shelters members-only Houses targeted towards ‘creative souls, has unveiled renders and details of projects that are expected to open this year. Editor Hamish Kilburn explores…

Render of lounge inside Soho Beach House in the Caribbean

Following a challenging year for all sectors in hospitality, Soho House, which was founded in 1995 by Nick Jones, has emerged from the pandemic with a teaser that showcases an optimistic year – with six new Houses that will soon become part of the members-only brand’s ever-growing footprint.

Aside from opening its first property in 1995, key milestones include the brand’s first countryside property (Babbington House in 1998), its arrival in the US (with the opening of its first property in New York in 2003), the brand’s venture into Europe (with the opening of its Berlin property in 2010) and the brand’s first opening in Asia (both in Mumbai and Hong Kong in 2019).

Fast-forward to the present day, and as the brand’s 27 Houses are awaiting the return of modern travellers, we take a look at the new destinations and Houses that are expected to open this year.

The Strand, London – coming soon

Just down the road from the original House – 40 Greek Street, Soho, London – 180 House, which will be located on The Strand, will become the brand’s 10th property in London. Just a short walk from Somerset House, the property will shelter a club, three floors of co-working space, and a rooftop pool with views of Westminster and St Paul’s Cathedral.

Canouan – opening Q1, 2021