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    Renovation

    COMO Cocoa Island reopens in the Maldives

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    COMO Cocoa Island reopens in the Maldives

    The iconic resort in the Maldives makes a powerful statement about luxury to enhance simplicity, wellness and balance…

    COMO Cocoa Island will reopen to guests after a substantial renovation on January 9 2020. The resort’s 2019 renovation emphasises the island’s natural elegance, while giving guests even more space and time to focus on their wellbeing. “The moment I first encountered Cocoa, something about its spirit snagged me,” says Christina Ong, owner of COMO Hotels and Resorts.

     “When I walked to the end of the island, and looked back along its sandbank, it felt so graceful and healing — an effect I wanted to amplify for every guest when I first created the resort in 2002.”

    The island had previously belonged to a German photographer called Eric Klemm. Since the 1970s, Klemm had let the palms grow. The wild hibiscus was thriving. The lagoon was so healthy, its waters were favoured as a breeding nursery by the islands’ marine life.

    A new Pilates studio has been added. The yoga studio, which sits in an elevated position to take in the 360-degree lagoon views, is open-sided to allow for the natural flow of sea breezes. The hydrotherapy pool is now among the most significant such facilities in The Maldives, and is used for specialised water-based treatments, including joint-mobilising massage and injury- free exercise.

    Image credit: COMO Hotels and Resorts

    The Retreat’s spa manager, with the company since 2002, will continue to design every guest program from the moment of arrival. This is made possible by the intimate size of the resort: just 34 overwater villas, all of which have been recast top-to-bottom with clean-lined, contemporary interiors by Singapore-based Lekker Architects.

    “Natural materials have been used throughout: kajan thatch roofing, Maldivian coral-rock walls, and wood.”

    Clean villa that uses natural materials in its design

    Image credit: COMO Hotels and Resorts

    Natural materials have been used throughout: kajan thatch roofing, Maldivian coral-rock walls, and wood. The clean-lined, light-soaked aesthetic makes for meditative spaces to relax, sleep and recover. Some rooms have pools; all have platforms from which guests can step directly into the lagoon.

    To complement the wellness experience, COMO Shambhala Cuisine is available on all menus, allowing guests to pursue vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, nutritionally-rich and additive-free wellness diets during their stay.

    “The Maldives have become a highly competitive market,” says Olivier Jolivet, CEO of the COMO Group. “Luxury hotel companies keep raising the ante, from building ‘reclaimed islands’, to tunnelling out underwater wine cellars. Sometimes we forget that nature is powerful, and simplicity has a very important role to play in modern luxury. COMO Cocoa Island is like a jewel in the COMO Group portfolio: it has a unique soul, which we strive to match with the grace and passion of our staff.”

    When it opened in 2002, Cocoa Island became COMO’s first private island in the Maldives. In 2014, the company expanded into Thaa Atoll with the opening of COMO Maalifushi. This is a much larger, family-oriented resort, and the first five-star property in this more remote area, which is a 60-minute seaplane flight from Malé.

    Main image credit: COMO Hotels and Resorts

    Surface Design Show brings back ‘New Talent’ to support emerging creatives

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    Surface Design Show brings back ‘New Talent’ to support emerging creatives

    Back by popular demand at Surface Design Show, ‘New Talent’ supports emerging creatives, specialising in producing interior and exterior surface materials and lighting design…

    Surface Design Show, which takes place from February 11 – 13, will bring back New Talent, with the aim to support emerging talent in surface materials and lighting design. The area offers attendees the chance to see the next big innovations in surface design.

    New Talent is curated by Chief Creative Director at Trendease International Jennifer Castoldi. All of those chosen to exhibit in New Talent have been in business for five years or less, and with 37 exhibitors showcasing, compared to 16 last year, the section has grown substantially.

    “We are thrilled to have collaborated with Trendease International; Jennifer has brought togethersome of the most exciting new designers with the freshest ideas in material design to New Talent,” said Christopher Newton, Director of Surface Design Show. “We can’t wait for visitors to immerse themselves in New Talent’s designs, textures and materials.”

    Many of the New Talent exhibitors are using traditional craft techniques and combining them with contemporary design. Charlotte Relf is an experimental embroidery artist who uses exaggerated stitches to add detail and energy while Royal School of Needlework graduate Frances Stone uses various experimental embroidery techniques such as gold work, crewel work and beading to create her range of foot stools, chairs and cushions. Charlotte Clayton Design, meanwhile, combines knitting with automotive interior design for her surface designs and Farr Designs marries photography and contemporary design using hand screen prints and digital technology.

    The sheer wealth of approaches to surfaces is one of New Talent’s strengths from Janine Partington’s emphasis of carving and hand painted leathers to Trifold, a company which has designs constructed of thermal and acoustic layers, folded via means of a traditional origami tessellation to research-based designer Megan Cowley, who creates mild steel moulds using water jet technology, which are then transferred onto glass.

    Wallcoverings are well-represented in New Talent this year, Olenka’s luxury British wallpapercollection features natural motifs of leaves and flowers whilst Catherine Griffiths’ work takes in boldwallpaper designs as well as fabric and cushions with inspirations as eclectic as Celtic mythology, the Renaissance period and European architecture. West by Design specialises in intricate hand-painted wallpaper inspired by the English countryside and King Kong Design creates site-specific corporate wall art and custom wall panels for retail, public and residential installations.

    It’s no surprise given the current climate emergency that exhibitors in New Talent are focussed on nature or sustainability. This focus is reflected throughout the whole of Surface Design Show with its theme of Close to Home: looking beyond aesthetics and designing with a conscience. Jonel van Schalkwyk uses a painterly style to create surface designs featuring human-sized plants while designer Paula Nerlich has a strong focus on circular biomaterials and exploring vegan compostables

    and foams from industrial and household food waste. Atticus Durnell, the brains behind the That’sCaffeine brand, has created a material made from recycled coffee grounds, that imitates granite stone. Brussels-based Studio Gilles Werbrouck also takes a novel approach to material reuse, making knitted textiles from unconventional material such as video tape or dead stock from fashion designers.

    Tickets are free to professional and trade visitors. Register here.

    Main image credit: Surface Design Show/King Kong Design

     

    CASE STUDY: Designing the carpets for Tewkesbury Park

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    CASE STUDY: Designing the carpets for Tewkesbury Park

    Brintons Carpets, together with ADS design, have designed stunning, high-performance axminster carpets for independent luxury country resort, Tewkesbury Park…

    The resplendent 18th century manor house, Tewkesbury Park, with some later additions, sits proudly above the historic riverside town of Tewkesbury, which is famous for its battle in 1471. Over the last couple of years, under new ownership, the hotel has undergone a major renovation and refurbishment, resulting in a wonderfully intimate yet stylish space for guests torelax and unwind.

    The modern glass fronted extension by Bristol architects Childs & Sulzmann with interior design overseen by ADS Design, includes a £3 million suite for conferences and events such as weddings. Built in just under a year, it was the fourth stage of the independent hotel’s £9 million investment. ADS Design worked on the new Cotswolds Suite and Berkeley Bar. The overall brief was to design a timeless yet luxurious and welcoming hotel. Brintons was commissioned by the design firm to create bespoke carpets for the new conferencing areas. “Our aim was to create an exciting, multi functional space for events, appealing to both corporate clients and weddings,” said interior design at ADS Design, Rachel Eaton. “The large conference room with full height glazing has amazing views of the Gloucestershire countryside and features a Cotswold stone wall to add texture and depth, these tones are reflected in the carpet design. The space can be divided into smaller spaces for a variety of functions and works well with the adjoining Restaurant and Bar which feature deeper colours, subtle plaids and rich velvet upholstery, the flexible lighting changes to create a daytime or evening atmosphere.”

    The Cotswolds suite is a large function room and exclusive-use bar accommodating both wedding and business functions. It is a largely glass structure that provides panoramic views of the countryside. The design theme is classic and timeless incorporating a colour palette of steely blues and golden honey hues, reflecting the generous sense of light and space.

    “The pattern has Gothic undertones helping to link the story back to the old manor house.” – Senior creative designer at Brintons, Jane Bradley-Bain.

    “We selected Stacey Garcia Dark Fairy Tale for its classic design but treated in a contemporary way, by using a modern neutral colour scheme it combined the two areas giving a flexible interior that spans classical and modern themes equally suitable for all events,” said senior creative designer at Brintons, Jane Bradley-Bain. “The pattern has Gothic undertones helping to link the story back to the old manor house.”

    Brintons worked alongside Eaton to create an inviting and opulent atmosphere supplying bespoke carpet for the recently refurbished function rooms, meeting rooms, corridors and Berkeley bar. Sumptuous designs from the Stacey Garcia Dark Fairytale collection were selected to complement the upscale interiors. The collection offers designs embellished with shadowy imagery, forest tones and dark feminine motifs which complement the history of the surrounding area and are reflected in subtle elements of Tewkesbury’s medieval past.

    Manufactured using Brintons signature axminster blend of 80 per cent wool 20 per cent nylon to provide a durable and stylish carpet that will withstand footfall over a prolonged period of time. Brintons’ carpets contribute to the intimate and welcoming ambience that ADS Design aimed to create.

    Main image credit: Tewkesbury Park

    INDUSTRY INSIGHT: How to safely specify slip-resistant tiles

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    INDUSTRY INSIGHT: How to safely specify slip-resistant tiles

    Specifications Sector Manager for CTD Architectural Tiles, Andrew Sadler, explains how to practically and safely specify non-slip tiles… 

    From lobbies and front of house to hotel bathrooms and bar areas, there are a number of practical considerations to consider when specifying floor tiles within the hospitality sector; one of the most important of which is slip resistance. Ensuring a tile provides the appropriate level of slip resistance whilst meeting both the practical and aesthetic requirements for a project is of paramount importance to the specifier, so what do they need to consider?

    Firstly, it is important to understand that the slip resistance of a floor depends upon many factors, for instance: whether it is wet or dry when in use, the roughness of the surface, whether the floor finish comes into regular contact with liquids or other contaminants, how the floor will wear over time and if there a suitable cleaning and maintenance schedule in place. Each of these factors will affect the performance of the tile and therefore must be carefully considered when making a final flooring choice for a hotel.

    Image credit: CTD Architectural Tiles

    If we look at the bathroom environments then based on recommendations from the HSE, the correct specification should use floor finishes that achieve Pendulum TRL (slider 55) of 36+ for wet barefoot areas, to achieve a low slip potential environment. CTD Architectural Tiles suggests using a structured tile with Pendulum TRL (slider 55) of 40+ for wet barefoot areas as good practice. This is due to possible slight variations from tile to tile and possible cleaning and maintenance issues. The Tile Finder on the CTD Architectural website allows the specifier to be able to filter product ranges along these lines.

    The table below illustrates how the HSE categorises the results from the Pendulum test:

    ClassificationPTV
    High slip potential0 – 24
    Moderate slip potential25-35
    Low slip potential36+

    Surface Micro-roughness

    CTD Architectural offers test results for another method for establishing slip resistance –  surface micro-roughness. Whilst this method is subject to ongoing research and subsequently is not a subject of a British Standard like the Pendulum Test, when the data is used to supplement pendulum data, research has shown it gives a good indication of slipperiness in water contaminated environments.

    Maintaining slip resistance of floor finishes

    The two main factors that affect the ongoing slip resistance performance of a floor finish are wear resistance and surface contaminants. In respect of wear resistance, this can be addressed by recommending unglazed porcelain tiles to the client. This is opposed to a glazed floor tile where the glazed surface finish is subject to wearing away over time. Correctly specified and installed unglazed porcelain tiles would be expected to last the lifetime of the building. The slip resistant characteristics of an unglazed porcelain tile are maintained with the implementation of a suitable cleaning regime.

    Surface contaminants

    Areas subject to expected surface contaminants should incorporate the use of slip resistant floor tiles. The degree of slip resistance changes with the predicted contaminant – for example water as a contaminant has less of an effect on slip resistance than gear oil or margarine. There is proven relationship between slip resistance and cleanliness, specifying an appropriate post-installation cleaning regime is crucial in maintaining the performance and look of the original design.

    For more information on the CTD Architectural Tiles portfolio and team, please see www.ctdarchitecturaltiles.co.uk

    Main image credit: CTD Architectural Tiles 

    The Brit List designers of 2019 (Part 1)

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    The Brit List designers of 2019 (Part 1)

    In the coming weeks, Hotel Designs will be profiling the individuals who made it into The Brit List 2019. We start by profiling The Brit List Designers of 2019 (in alphabetical order)…

    The Brit List 2019 is Hotel Designs’ annual nationwide search to identify the top 25 designers, top 25 architects and top 25 hoteliers who are operating in Britain. The Judges, which are made up of experts in all pockets of the industry, gathered to decided who was eligible to make this year’s list.

    The industry’s leading figures then gathered on November 21 at Patch East London, where The Brit List 2019 was unveiled and the individual winners were announced. 

    Here are The Brit List Designers of 2019…

    Akram Fahmi, Design Director – 1508 London

    Following seven years at ReardonSmith Architects (four years as an associate project architect), Akram Fahmi joined 1508 London earlier this year as the London-based studio’s design director, bringing with him his expertise in high-end hospitality and residential projects.

    Fahmi is predominantly focused on luxury hotel design, space planning, brand standards, feasibility and viability consulting, technical design and delivery in the UK and abroad.

    Amanda Rosa, Director – Amanda Rosa Interiors

    Having created award-winning design concepts for hotels including One Devonshire Gardens, Malmaison, Gleneagles, Columbus Monaco and Aviator, Amanda Rosa has recently completed Dakota Manchester, a 137-key luxury hotel in the heart of the city. With sophisticated interiors,and the city’s largest and boldest penthouse suite, the hotel has injected a subdued atmosphere inbetween the Nortern Quater’s ever-evolving hotel scene.

    Ariane Steinbeck, Managing Director – RPW Design

    With an award-winning career that has spanned throughout the United States, Asia and Europe, Ariane Steinbeck, managing director of RPWDesign, has built on the studio’s considerable worldwide recognition since her appointment in 2015. Steinbeck is an active contributor to the hospitality and interior design industry, serving as a frequent elquent speaker and mentor to many.

    Completed projects in 2019 include Lincoln Plaza London and Mezemiso, London, and ongoing projects include: the guestroom refurbishment at InterContinental London Park Lane, Four Seasons Hampshire, the Marriott Tbilisi, Les Ambassadeurs Casino, London and Malta Marriott Hotel & Spa, all under construction at the time The Brit List 2019 went to print.

    Caroline Smith, Founder/Head of Creative – WISH London

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

    Architecture rm PJMA designed the hotel over six floors. Meanwhile,its stylish and thoughtfully designed guestrooms were imagined by The Brit List 2018 winner Caroline Smith of WISH London. Each guest room and suite offers chic accommodation that, as per the company’s ethos, delivers on comfort, convenience and features aesthetically dynamic spaces throughout.

    Charlie North, Design Director – Ennismore

    Charlie North is the design director of Ennismore. His position involves leading the efforts of the interior design studio at the premium developer/operator firm. His portfolio includes working with the likes of David Collins Studio and Alexander Waterworth Interiors, among others.

    The multifaceted approach to his design style has led to the completion of recent projects such as Gleneagles Strathearn (following the unveiling of Ochil House) and Hoxton Portland.

    Christopher Ash, Director – Project Orange

    Christopher Ash is currently designing new residential projects in the UK and Russia, as well as working to complete nhow’s first hotel in London.

    Ash chairs the RIBA Premises Committee, was a member of the RIBA Finance and Operations Committee and has organised and contributed to the annual RIBA Guerrilla Tactics Conference promoting small practice.

    Constantina Tsoutsikou, Creative Director – HBA London

    Constantina Tsoutsikou joined HBA London 14 years ago and has since led many prestigious and internationally acclaimed hotel projects from concept to completion.

    As well as completing an awe-inspiring set at Sleep & Eat 2018 in collaboration with the Natural History Museum. One of her recently completed hotels is situated in Zagreb, Croatia. Amadria Park, which previously served as a bank, features bespoke interiors that combine the original and the new with a deft touch, embracing the building’s historiccharacter as a signi cant example of Secessionist architecture.

    David Mason, Director of Hospitality – Scott Brownrigg

    Just three years after joining the studio, last year David Mason was promoted to director of hospitality at Scott Brownrigg.

    Among other hotels that have launched this year, Scott Brownrigg completed the interior design of Hard Rock Hotel London in Marble Arch, which provided London with its latest destination venue. Mason and his team designed all the public spaces for the hotel and worked closely with both Hard Rock International and glh Hotels in order to create a unique concept tailored for the UK hospitality market.

    Edward Davies, Managing Director (London) – G.A Group

    Working as the managing director at G.A Group (London), EdwardDavies is a dynamic and energetic individual who runs the day-to- day management of the 100-strong London-based studio, whilst also acting as Principal across a number of high-profile interior design andarchitecture projects worldwide.

    Current projects overseen by Davies include a 184-key hotel in Mayfair, which will have a distinct focus on laid-back luxury and sustainability, with all materials and suppliers being sourced from the UK. In addition, he is also working on a number of new designs for Corinthia Hotels, following a long-standing relationship with the group that started when the rm designed its flagship hotel in London.

    Henry Reeve, Director of Interior Design – IHG (Highly Commended: Interior Designer of the Year 2019)

    The sharp and charismatic Henry Reeve has reshaped and redefined the upper upscale boutique Hotel Indigo brand for IHG, taking it to anenvious position as a brand with multi-award winning hotels that define and go on to lead in the local market in which they sit.

    Working collaboratively with numerous design agencies across the European region, Reeve creates a partnership between interior designagency, operator and owner to create brand-defining and truly uniquehotels. In addition to work on Hotel Indigo, the designer has successfully launched Kimpton in Europe with iconic openings, such as Kimpton De Witt Amsterdam, Fitzroy London, Charlotte Square Edinburgh, Blythswood Square Glasgow, and more to come in Manchester, Paris, Rotterdam and Frankfurt.

    James Soane, Director – Project Orange

    As well as being a director at Project Orange alongside Christopher Ash, James Soane is also the director of Critical Practice at the LondonSchool of Architecture. Soane’s projects include the €60m fit-out of the new Raddisson Farnham House Hotel in Ireland and the Park Hotel in Navi Mumbai, India. Recently, he completed the dining rooms for the Whitechapel Art Gallery in London and a concept room for the Hoxton Hotels. Busy as ever, Soane is currently working on an exciting new concept hotel in India, a new-build house in Moscow and a large housing project in London.

    Jeremy Grove, Director – Sibley Grove

    Rather than perpetuating the waste problem, Jeremy Grove strongly believes that designers need to rethink their role and be a vehicle for positive change.

    The Fox & Goose is an excellent example of an eco-hotel, which was completed by Sibley Graven November 2018. Sheltering 73 rooms, the hotel features environmental and social benefits without compromising cost, style and guest experience. All products and materials used in the project were assessed on five fundamental principles: aesthetic quality, build quality, value, environmental impact and social impact.

    Jo Littlefair, Director and Co-Founder – Goddard Littlefair (WINNER: Interior Designer of the Year 2019)

    Layering inspiration from her travels into the studio and sharing her passion for new and exciting dining, dwelling and hospitality experiences, Jo Littlefair is a naturally born design leader with an effortlessly focused eye. Leading from within the pack, her curious and observant nature quickly recognises coming evolutions in consumer, industry and design trends, which is evident in the stuido’s impressive portfolio.

    Recent completed projects include the Presidential Suite at The Lowry Hotel Manchester and Juliet Rose, a new striking destination bar sheltered inside Hilton Hotel Munich.

    Kate Jarrett, Senior Designer – Scott Brownrigg*

    Kate Jarrett, who was named in Hotel Designs’ 30 Under 30 this year, is a young creative designer who thrives in all elements of the design process, from initial concept to project management and site installation. Having joined Scott Brownrigg in 2016, she has excelled in winning the respect of every client she works with. Jarrett has worked closely with glh Hotels and Hard Rock in delivering the public areas for the exciting new hotel located in London’s Marble Arch. She has also been intrinsic in creating afun, young and Instagramable hotspot and destination 10th- oor bar onthe edge of Leicester Square. A key strength is Jarrett’s all-round ability to communicate extremely well with clients, design team, consultants and contractors, with an end goal to produce an exceptional and innovativenal product.

    *Kate Jarrett has recently joined David Collins Studio.

    Katie Edgar, Designer – SpaceInvader Design**

    This year, Katie Edgar has been an invaluable member of the SpaceInvader team and a key designer within the hospitality, leisure andresidential sectors. With a wealth of knowledge and experience, Edgar headed up the hospitality division, working on projects that include the development of a new hotel brand in the UK, development of new scheme for hotels in Europe, as well as several F&B projects across the UK. The fresh-thinking designer has worked with most of the major hotel brands nationally and internationally and has a deep understanding of these sectors.

    **Egdar has recently joined Qbic Hotels.

    To read The Brit List 2019, click here.

    Checking in: Anse Chastanet and Jade Mountain, Saint Lucia

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

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

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

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

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

    Image credit: Jade Mountain

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

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

    Anse Chastanet

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

    Image credit: Anse Chastanet

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

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

    Image credit: Anse Chastanet

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

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

    Jade Mountain

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

    Image credit: Jade Mountain

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

    Image credit: Jade Mountain

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Main image credit: Jade Mountain/Anse Chastanet

    New hotel opens to put Germany’s answer to the Hamptons firmly on the map

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    New hotel opens to put Germany’s answer to the Hamptons firmly on the map

    Holistic architect and designer Yasmine Mahmoudieh has injected new life into a building in Usedom, Germany, by completing the restored Strandhotel Atlantic & Villa Meeresstrand. Editor Hamish Kilburn writes…

    Germany is not known for its islands, nor is it famous for its sugar-white sandy beaches.

    However, on the northern tip of the country sits the island of Usedom. The coastal escape is blessed with untouched coastline, a royal history and recently a new boutique design-led all-suite hotel.

    As the modern traveller seeks adventure to untapped new locations, the island’s secret has been unveiled, drawing in more crowds than ever before. The increase in visitors has been the driving influence to restore a building on the Bansin stretch to become a luxury boutique hotel, known today as Villa Meeresstrand.

    Barely adrift on the Baltic Sea, where Germany meets Poland, Usedom stretches about 30 miles from end to end and has been a popular summer resort since the late 19th century. Nicknamed Berlin’s Bathtub, its connection with Germany’s capital is as legendary as that of Brighton to London, and the Hamptons to New York City.

    Yasmine Mahmoudieh, a well known designer on the international hotel design scene, was tasked to work on the project that became a labour of love following extensive research. The designer and architect delved into the lives of people of its past to add just the right amount of sense of place, while merge the impressive history between the current and modern time. “I took portraits of famous writers such as Maxim Gorky and Leo Tolstoi and imprinted them in a pixel like fashion on wallpaper in the rooms and their positive quotes are printed on suspended ceilings above the hotel beds.” The result of this adds a deeper nod to the building – and island’s – past becoming, which has become the motif of the overall design concept.

    In order to mindfully design areas to retain the location’s charm, while also blending in one-off experiences, Mahmoudieh has played on more than just the sense of two-dimensional sight to explain the building’s past. “Once you enter the hotel there is a projection of a video artist,” she says, “commissioned to tell the story about the rich past and this is projected against a three dimensional entrance wall, that distorts the viewing and melts past and present once more.”

    Subtle hints of bringing nature indoors run throughout the hotel. For example, the lighting above the bar is imitating the seagulls seen all over outside which are part of the natural landscape to be found everywhere on the island.

    Meanwhile, a three dimensional wall of bottles from the French company Elitis defines the fine dining area and seating benches are diving the restaurant between the a la caret and general restaurant.

    The lounge area, which also includes a magnitude of books from other celebrated Russian writers, also picks up on the spectacular sunsets outside, by a touch of violet to be found in fabrics, melted with the rather natural colour scheme that depicts all hues directly from nature.

    Going forward, the hotel owner, which currently owns 16 hotels on this island, in reaction to the crisp design scheme. “We are going to redesign three more hotel buildings for the same owner and like to give this area a sense of a new identity that will attract once more an international crowd of hotel guests,” explains Mahmoudieh.

    Villa Meeresstrand is located on the beach promenade, and is regarded among those who stay there as ‘a real gem on the Baltic Sea’.

    Main image credit: Strandhotel Atlantic & Villa Meeresstrand/Yasmine Mahmoudieh

    A developer’s glance at why Edinburgh is the city of investment

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    A developer’s glance at why Edinburgh is the city of investment

    Just hours ahead of The Brit List Awards 2019, Edward Webb, Director of Development Management, Edinburgh St James, UK – and judge for this year’s awards, tells Hotel Designs why Edinburgh is the most investible city in the UK… 

    As 2019 draws to a close we reflect on another successful year for the tourism and hotel industry in the Scottish capital.

    Last year, Edinburgh by Numbers, a document produced by the City of Edinburgh Council (CEC), concluded that the Scottish capital draws in over 15 million visitors per year. Combine this statistic with a hotel occupancy rate of 83.7 per cent, and it paints an impressive picture of the tourism and hospitality scene in Edinburgh.

    Things have not slowed down, and this year has been another exciting one for the city. There’s a wealth of hotel development underway in some of the capital’s most iconic areas and major schemes like Edinburgh St James are set to be a game-changer for the city’s retail, leisure and hotel scene. The 1.7 million sq ft development will open its retail phase in a year’s time – the largest retail-led development in Scotland and one of the most significant regeneration projects currently underway in the UK.

    Offering a wide-range of new shops and leisure facilities, Edinburgh St James will be home to a flagship John Lewis, Next, Zara, a five-screen Everyman Cinema, W Edinburgh – the city’s first W Hotel – 152 unique apartments, 30 restaurants, and a 75-room Roomzzz aparthotel. In addition, the development is set to deliver brand new public squares and event spaces.

    We started on site three years ago, with a vision to create a destination which is integrated into the wider city – physically, socially and culturally. With this vision, we discovered new and exciting opportunities.

    The W Edinburgh will be the centrepiece of the whole development – providing the most luxurious and fun hotel accommodation in Edinburgh and reinforcing the city’s reputation as a cosmopolitan European capital. As a hotelier, the team at W shares our vision for the future of Edinburgh and sees promise in how much the city has to offer – through fashion, design and music. It is three buildings with a centrepiece featuring a unique façade crafted from a winding steel ‘ribbon’ – all designed by Jestico + Whiles. Visitors will be able to make the most of the city’s views too, as the vision for the interior includes a lofty bar, lounge and restaurant space boasting 360-degree panoramic views over Edinburgh.

    Traditional hoteliers are not the only ones to join us either. Roomzzz, the aparthotel which already offers accommodation in London, Chester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Manchester, will add 75 rooms, and will open alongside W Edinburgh in 2021.

    Both hotels are a fantastic addition to the line-up of brands setting up shop at Edinburgh St James. With us, they are building a development fit for the future. Edinburgh St James will incorporate a vibrant blend of retail, entertainment, leisure and residential apartments, contributing to the city’s reputation as a booming cosmopolitan capital.

    Edinburgh’s economy is expected to benefit too. The development is predicted to increase the city’s catchment area by 13 per cent when it opens, reaching 1.9m people with £4.5bn of available spend.  It will also benefit from the city’s £1bn visitor economy, where tourists spend an average of £236 per visit, compared to £162 in European benchmark cities such as Stockholm and Amsterdam. The development will offer consumers something different and enhance their experience of Edinburgh.

    I am excited for what’s to come and to open the doors of Edinburgh St James next year. It is time we showed the world what a great, pan-European, opportunity city Edinburgh is.

    Main image credit: Nuveen Real Estate

    Conrad Maldives Rangali Island debuts redesigned villas

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    Conrad Maldives Rangali Island debuts redesigned villas

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Image credit: Conrad Maldives Rangali Island

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

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

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

    Main image credit: Conrad Maldives Rangali Island

    New report reveals impact of washroom design of wellbeing

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    New report reveals impact of washroom design of wellbeing

    A new study, commissioned by Armitage Shanks and led by chartered architect and academic at the Belfast School of Architecture, Dr Saul Golden, has looked into the wellbeing impact commercial washroom design can have on user experience…

    Bathroom manufacturer Armitage Shanks has published a new report that has concluded that wellbeing is the number one social factor that designers think will impact washroom design over the next five years.

    The report, ‘Creating better washrooms’, found that nine in 10 office washroom designers believe this space can have an impact on end users’ wellbeing – a view that is shared by three quarters of office workers themselves. Sixty-four per cent of office workers surveyed even said that workplace washrooms affect their general job satisfaction.

    The findings of the report demonstrate a strong link between commercial washrooms and employee health and wellbeing – an increasingly vital asset for organisations looking to attract and retain the best employees and improve their brand image.

    “In the UK, around 73 per cent of designers agreed that washrooms are the most difficult rooms to design and plan in commercial projects.”

    As one of the leading manufacturers of private and public bathroom solutions, Armitage Shanks commissioned ‘Creating better washrooms’ as part of its commitment to working across urban development, architecture and residential design to provide washroom solutions that shape the future of modern living. In the UK, around 73 per cent of designers agreed that washrooms are the most difficult rooms to design and plan in commercial projects.

    The report was launched in front of media and customers during the company’s ‘Washroom Week’ – a series of insight-led events aimed at the architecture and design communities. The launch event featured an expert panel talk examining the findings and their implications on the world of washrooms. The panel comprised Dr. Saul Golden, renowned ceramics designer, Robin Levien, leading architectural consultant, Hsi Sung Thomas and design historian, Libby Sellers. The group, chaired by London Design Guide editor, Max Fraser, discussed the conclusions and focused on changes around sustainability, gender, social media and technology within the washroom space.

    The unique study surveyed 2,000 office workers and 400 commercial washroom designers from across Europe on a range of topics, including wellbeing, gender, sustainability, technology and social media. This data was then compared with global studies to outline how designers can deliver more effective and impactful spaces that meet the needs of end users – now and in the future – in light of changing work-life patterns, demographics and technological innovation.

    Uses of workplace washrooms

    The study highlights that the global trend towards urbanisation and flexible working patterns means people are using workplace washrooms for a wider range of reasons, with them spending an increasing amount of time in these so-called ‘backstage microspaces’ to prepare for their ‘front stage appearance’.

    When comparing designers’ and end users’ priorities, the study found that, while there are broad similarities, end users rate aspects such as privacy and space more highly than designers think.

    Commenting on the findings, Dr Golden said: “With commercial washroom quality increasingly acknowledged as an important contributor to people’s workplace satisfaction and consumer choice, this research provides timely insights for washroom designers to better adapt their projects from short-term trends to longer-term shifts in user demand.

    “The findings offer new insights into people’s views on washroom hygiene, health and comfort, as well as a holistic view of the environmental, economic and technological aspects of washroom design. They therefore aim to help designers deliver value-added washrooms that not only act as more competitive comfort-driven, accessible and inclusive spaces, but also contribute to company brand image and potential ROI.”

    “The way people use commercial washrooms is undoubtedly changing as society becomes increasingly centred on city-based living, working and leisure activities,” said Stephen Ewer, Managing Director of Ideal Standard UK (Armitage Shanks’ parent company). “Given the evidence linking washrooms to improved job satisfaction and productivity, it’s also clear that there must be a move away from design that focuses solely on hygiene and utilitarian features, and towards design that considers personal comfort and other factors that affect wellbeing.

    “This study forms part of our wider commitment to positively impact the future of modern living through evidence-based design and provides a clear demonstration that there needs to be a greater focus on washroom quality in line with end user expectations. The key to achieving this is through sustained collaboration; only by working closely with architects, designers and construction companies, as well as end users, will we be able to deliver impactful washrooms that go beyond mere function and rightfully play a central role in improving wellbeing and enhancing the lives of those who use these vital everyday spaces.”

    Main image credit: Armitage Shanks

    EXCLUSIVE ROUNDTABLE: Meaningfully differentiating luxury in hotel design

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    EXCLUSIVE ROUNDTABLE: Meaningfully differentiating luxury in hotel design

    To continue Hotel Designs’ series of articles to put sustainability under the spotlight, editor Hamish Kilburn chairs an exclusive editorial roundtable, in collaboration with Minotti London, to understand how today’s leading designers are sensitively working to create a more meaningful luxury hotel design landscape. Joining us on the Minotti sofa to discuss this topic:

    With the aim to conceive and design meaningful luxury hotels, there is undoubtedly a question mark on how designers and architects can differentiate their projects to stand out as timeless jewels. With the rise in technology and social media, competition for hotel operators and developers is no longer limited to a single neighbourhood; we have very much entered a global arena. But how are today’s leading designers confronting the evolving hospitality landscape, and just how significant is sense of place when approaching sensitive luxury projects? We invited a handful of the industry’s most distinguished innovators to Minotti London‘s alluring showroom in Fitzrovia to find out more.

    Hamish Kilburn: What are the largest misconceptions when it comes to designing luxury?

    Jo Littlefair, Director and Co-Founder, Goddard Littlefair: Travelling globally, and understanding global attitudes towards luxury is so important. We have clients that have huge misconceptions to whatever project they are developing. We still struggle when clients associate harsh golds and marbles with luxury, for example. I find it really disheartening, because for me, a non-material object like ‘time’ is a luxury. When approaching the design of any luxury hotel, it’s really important to keep in mind the attitude you are trying to create.

    Hamish Brown, Partner, 1508 London: There are a few buzzwords that keep coming up in the studio. We don’t have a ‘house style’ as such, therefore we are really trying capture and create sense of place within each projects. It’s not about fashion but about style. If you look at the great Hollywood movie stars now and compare them to images of themselves 30 to 40 years ago, quite often they will look as relevant now as they did then. That is certainly to do with style over fashion. We look at ways in which classical details and proportions can manifest themselves within a design.

    David Mason, Head of Hospitality, Scott Brownrigg: The definition of luxury is not the same for everyone. Some may see luxury in technology, while others believe it is in the foundations of a hotel. In our studio, we don’t necessarily design the ultra six-star luxury hotel, but many of our clients are interested in ‘luxury’, which can come from anything from the service down to the attention to detail. What is luxurious to one person is different to another.

    Constantina Tsoutsikou, Creative Director, HBA London: I think luxury is also about being generous as a designer. You always give more than what is expected and make sure that the spaces are comfortable and also have longevity. Where I can, I try to avoid anything too shiny. It’s becoming more apparent that the days of clients wanting to the interiors to show off wealth are behind us. Instead, well-designed luxury interiors are more honest and truthful. That in itself is a luxury mindset.

    “We have realised that clients want luxury but almost on a shoestring budget.” – Constantina Tsoutsikou, Creative Director, HBA London

    Image caption: (centre) Hamish Brown, (right) Jo Littlefair

    HK: When did your clients start accepting a shift in consumer demands when it comes to luxury?

    HB: I think it massively goes back to what that hotel means within its location as well as the characteristics of the building. There is certainly more of an acceptance from both sides. Some clients believe that what they want is a grand, sweeping entrance, whereas to really differentiate themselves and to make their hotel work within its location and to be relevant to the building, we suggest to park pre-conceived ideas and think about what would work for that particular hotel.

    CT: We have realised that clients want luxury but almost on a shoestring budget. If you compare it to a good few years ago, budget expectations are certainly getting lower. Perhaps it is a sign of the times. At the same time, palettes are becoming more concise, that’s a good thing because designs are cleaner. There’s still a layering there, but the money that was being spilled into a hotel project before the 2008 crisis is not there anymore. However, the expectation certainly is. So, as designers, we have to work out how to manage that.

    JL: Also, you cannot ignore the noise and influence of social media – it has a lot to answer for. That inaccurately convinces clients and developers that design is easy and disposable, and that it doesn’t take five minutes to produce a moodboard. But in reality, especially when considering sense of place, you’re thinking about a building and a brand. Putting these elements together requires a real curation of things. Otherwise, I have seen it when people go off on tangents and throw details into the canvas. Nothing ends up gelling and it becomes a messy clash of ideas.

    “Trying to get the balance between the soft, the elegant while making these spaces feel comfortable places to work, sit and socialise is a challenge.” – David Mason, Head of Hospitality, Scott Brownrigg

    HK: One of the most obvious changes in hotel design, and in the demand from guests, is in the public areas. How has this changed the way in which you specify furniture?

    CT: Everybody is working from everywhere. We have a beautiful resort project, which is currently on the boards. As a result of the direct demand from modern travels, we are thinking about putting USB charging sockets on the day beds next to the pool. Generally, I think this is a positive step forward for hotels, which have a life on their own. I think it’s wonderful – and a real stamp of approval from the community – when the neighbourhood becomes part of the life inside a hotel. After all, nobody likes a dead public space.

    “All of our furniture is designed at a deliberate height so that each piece can gel with other elements. As opposed to creating one iconic piece, we wanted to create a design DNA.” Digby Summerhill, Director, Minotti London

    DM: It’s a hard balance to strike. When our commercial interior designers get asked create these multifunctional spaces, the way in which they design is very task oriented. Trying to get the balance between the soft, the elegant while making these spaces feel comfortable places to work, sit and socialise is a challenge.

    Digby Summerhill, Director, Minotti London: We’ve always had modular systems that are flexible. All of our furniture is designed at a deliberate height so that each piece can gel with other elements. As opposed to creating one iconic piece, we wanted to create a design DNA; something that runs through an interior design scene. It’s not a coincidence that no individual item stands out in our collections. One thing I think is interesting is that we didn’t design any of these pieces with hospitality necessarily in mind. Instead we very looked at consumer behaviour and understood the demands of consumers within public areas.

    HB: We are often trying to design public spaces to not look like public areas. The idea of a lobby/lounge going against what people would expect in a conventional hotel, to shelter intimate spaces, private nooks where people can work, is very appealing to me. I agree that idea of the community coming in and using the hotel is huge, but perhaps this is something that London has not got right in the past. In other cities there is much more fluidity and it works beautifully. Allowing furniture to adapt to how people are using is a big part of this, and an idea that is really exciting.

    Image caption: (Left) David Mason, (Right) Jo Littlefair

    HK: Let’s talk about sustainability. A study recently showed that 76 per cent of guests believe that hotels could be greener. Is consciousness the new luxury, as I suggested in my recent editor’s letter?

    JL: We’ve been really encouraged recently to have had two projects come to us with sustainability at their hearts. Absolutely every decision has to have a sustainability angle. What we hope is that it continues through to the final touch points, because there will be financial implications along the way. Having filter taps in the room so that hotel guests can refill water bottles is a fresh approach that I love. The design utilities recycled parts of the existing building, giving a whole new meaning of injecting life back into a hotel. We are really thinking about those elements, including timelessness. I agree that it is about style. For us, it’s not about having a hemp interiors, it’s about creating luxury that has a slight assured sense of elegance and quality that has a higher purpose.

    DM: The best way to differentiate luxury when it comes to sustainability is to be clever. Having a brief like this is rare, let alone working on two. So, designers, it is our responsibility to educate our clients and specify materials and items that don’t harm the environment or the end user. Behind this, it’s therefore so important that we understand the products and materials and what sets them apart from others in the market.

    “Luxury is not just about design, it is about service as well and so many other things that are intrinsically layered on top.” – Hamish Brown, Director, 1508 London

    HK: To me it’s very transparent when hotels use words without actions when it comes to sustainability. Is it the designer’s responsibility to ensure clients avoid greenwashing?

    CT: You have to remember, we are designing spaces that will open in three years time. It’s a long time, and things change very quickly. You have to be ahead of the game and lead in that way so that the hotel is relevant when it opens. You have to ensure that the strategy you have in place is looking ahead and avoids the need for significant last-minute changes. On the other hand, as designers, we have a responsibility to influence the clients. But I think soon, it will become a necessity across the entire industry. I predict this will happen faster than we think, and it’s already started with wider conversations with local suppliers.

    HK: What are you all doing at the moment to try and differentiate your luxury projects from others?

    CT: I am always asking myself, how do I position this hotel in the current market, or in a wider sense, how do I position this hotel for an international clientale? This is because the competition is no longer just the hotel’s neighbour, it’s a global arena.

    DM: I suppose it is now about experience. People desire luxury experiences. A hotel group has just bought the Fort of India. How incredible would that be; to stay and experience something totally unmatched like that. Travellers want authenticity and they consider that to be luxury.

    HB: Sense of place cannot be underestimated. The definition of luxury differs from place to place and demographic to demographic, and you have to respond, beneath the surface, to understand what is happening in those locations. Luxury is not just about design, it is about service as well and so many other things that are intrinsically layered on top. When those elements and concepts interlock, that’s when you have a seamless luxury experience when service and design sit side by side and are harmoniously linked.

    HK: Consumer demands of public areas have spilled out into outdoor spaces. Has this changed the way in which you design these areas together?

    JL: We love integrating the outdoor areas so that they becomes a seamless flow where we can. I would say this is especially the case in food and beverage sector. We have recruited designers that only specialise in those areas so that we can get the operational flow right. That connection to the outdoor is integral to our overall wellbeing. Humanity is an element of luxury that we have not touched upon, because our disassociation with human relationships is becoming more enforced by our use of technology. I feel that human touch – it can be as simple as eye contact, and/or just being understood in a different country – is really important that we deliver with hospitality. And first and foremost, design and architecture should enable this.

    “Usually I will use the sustainability angle as an added value and not the primary reason why we are specifying, unless the brief has an eco-friendly thread in its core.” – Jo Littlefair, Director and Co-Founder, Goddard Littlefair.

    HK: Sustainability is becoming a buzzword that some would argue is losing its meaning. What makes a piece of furniture sustainable for you?

    JL: At the end of the day we, as designers, have to ensure that the furniture looks fantastic – and it meets all the needs and demands from our clients as well as regulations. But it really does come down to how we communicate this with the client. We do have to choose our words carefully, but that’s the same as when pitching any idea to the client. Usually I will use the sustainability angle as an added value and not the primary reason why we are specifying, unless the brief has an eco-friendly thread in its core.

    DM: Different cultures are going to be more interested than others, that is for sure. It is all about baby steps, and we do as much as we can.

    Technology and manufacturing has been a massive help. Sustainable products and materials are now at a price point that works for a client and a luxury brief. To then specify a product that is eco-friendly and longer lasting than another becomes a no-brainer. I really believe it is changing. Clients are more aware of the value of reclaimed or reupholstered furniture. Having said this, it is also a balancing act. I am working on a hotel at the moment with the aim to reupholster the casegoods and the beds, and sadly it is actually almost as expensive as buying new pieces.

    “I think if you can justifiably explain how a decision adds value, then cost can sometimes be reconsidered.” – Hamish Brown, Director, 1508 London.

    HK: In regards to luxury, do you believe value outweighs cost?

    HB: It’s a lovely idea, and my view is that value does outweigh cost. If you look at today’s market and the economy, there is a huge sense of getting value. It’s not always about cost. I think if you can justifiably explain how a decision adds value, then cost can sometimes be reconsidered.

    JL: We get closer to understanding the deal that the developer has struck and the budget that has driven the deal, which underpins the whole project. Basically, our client has a figure that they cannot deviate from. So yes, it is common sense, and I do value beautiful furniture, and we do have to be ambassadors that push for quality so that these pieces don’t end up in landfill, but there is a bottom line figure discussion. As a designer, you are the piece of magic in the middle having to constantly and consistently value engineer the project.

    HB: The most successful projects that we work on are the ones where everyone involved is upfront and honest with cost and there is a real transparency there.

    HK: Has the weight on where the budget is spent in the hotel changed?

    DM: It’s always in the ceiling!

    CT: I have seen that generally, not enough budget is left for the finishing touches.

    JL: For me, it’s artwork.

    Following the exclusive panel discussion, the leading designers and architects were able to browse the showroom, which showcased, in an apt setting, Minotti’s 2019 collection of timeless indoor and outdoor furniture.

    Minotti London will be the venue of Hotel Designs’ Meet Up London, which will take place in Spring 2020. More details will follow.

    If you are interested in hosting our next editorial roundtable, please email Katy Phillips or call +44 (0)1992 374050. 

    MINIVIEW: Balancing heritage and playful design inside Maximilian Hotel

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    MINIVIEW: Balancing heritage and playful design inside Maximilian Hotel

    Known locally as one of Prague’s most established boutique hotels, redesigning the 71-key Maximilian Hotel called upon experienced minds and skilful to sensitively reimagine and redesign the hotel’s interiors. Editor Hamish Kilburn checks in for a sneak peek…

    Situated on Haštalská Street facing the Haštal Church – close to Prague’s Old Town Square, Maximilian Hotel was first opened in 1995, and was last last renovated by Czech architect Eva Jiřičná in 2005.

    Since then, an evolving demand among international savvy travellers has called for a new kind of F&B areas. Combine this with the rise of the urban ‘hometel’ hotel, the hotel was in drastic need of tender, love and meaningful care.

    Commissioned by the owners, Christian and Rudolf Ploberger, Conran and Partners was given the task to sensitively restore the hotel to its former glory, adding a modern mix of personality and character without diluting its charm – something that, considering the architectural shells of the hotel, was easier said than done.  “Maximilian presented us with interesting challenges,” says Tina Norden, Partner, Conran and Partners. “It consists of two different buildings with different architectural styles, which are connected on the ground floor by a linear series of previously underutilised public areas. Our challenge was to open up and unify these spaces to create a coherent and engaging journey for guests and visitors.”

    Previously, only a limited food and beverage offer existed in the front-of-house areas. The design team have added a café and bar at the main entrance, which animates the building’s façade and engages with the adjacent streetscape, including a small tree-lined paved area directly in front of the church opposite.

    In addition, the ground floor spaces were re-worked to include a brasserie within the new living room hub at the heart of the hotel, providing social spaces for guests and visitors. The Plobergers have teamed up with innovative Austrian restauranteur Marco Simonis to create the F&B concepts for the hotel.

    Martina Honcikova, Maximilian’s Creative Director, adds: “The new brasserie is a wonderful additon to the Prague gourmet scene and the reconfigured spaces within the hotel will allow us to host a range of private and public events. The design approach is highly creative – yet practical – and has helped to confirm Maximilian’s position as one of Prague’s leading hotels.”

    Conran and Partners’ design approach for the 71-key hotel reflects the cultural and architectural heritage of its urban context, referencing Czech modernism and the progressive art movement influenced by famous avant-garde artist and architectural writer, Karel Teige. Teige developed a version of the modernist principle that was based on much softer elements than many of his peers; his poetic modernism embraced elements such as texture and colour as well as more playful elements also represented in his many surreal collage works.

    The design team wanted to retain a strong element of Teige’s poetic modernism while creating sense of place rooted in the city and the neighbourhood. This involved drawing upon the iconic pastel colour palette of Prague’s architecture and local crafts – including weaving and glass-making – for the materiality of the design.

    “By respecting the heritage of the original building and through an inspiring collaboration with Conran and Partners, we have created a chic, contemporary urban dwelling that brings together the best of Czech tradition, culture and design with brasserie-style food,” says Rudolf Ploberger, co-owner of Maximilian. “The new design will allow us to focus on the needs of our guests to ensure that they experience a truly memorable time while in Prague.”

    “Each area of the hotel is highlighted in a different pastel tone.”

    Bold use of colour is the defining element of the design approach. Each area of the hotel is highlighted in a different pastel tone, referencing the colourful architecture of Prague’s inner city. This ranges from light green tones on entry, to pinks in the historic stairwells and a deep blue for the guestrooms. Overlaid on this are elements of local craft, made bespoke for the hotel, and a carefully curated selection of contemporary and classic furniture pieces in similar soft and colourful shades.

    Bespoke lighting elements designed by Conran and Partners, and made by Czech manufacturer Sans Souci, feature throughout the public areas and a contemporary chandelier crafted from handmade Czech glass was created for the living room and library spaces. The popular basement spa has been optimised and refreshed throughout using gentle pastel paint colours, bespoke artwork murals by local design company Lavmi and warm ambient lighting to promote relaxation.

    “The bespoke headboards reference the local craft of basket weaving.” Tina Norden, Partner, Conran and Partners

    “We have created an approach which is playful, provocative but also functional,” says Norden. “Colour features very strongly in the rooms as well, combining a deep blue with softer highlights and warm oak joinery, textured glass, mirror and brass details. The bespoke headboards reference the local craft of basket weaving, while the artwork celebrates the Czech avant-garde movement, including photomontages by Karel Teige. The terrazzo in the bathroom areas is both decorative and functional. Each room has a window bench seat – some looking out onto the church opposite – to offer guests a direct connection with the city and outside. Our aim was to redefine Maximilian with a clear and compelling personality which is grounded in the local context and re-establish it as a prime design destination hotel for the city.”

    Image credit: Matthias Aschauer

    Artwork plays a key part in the design, based on pieces the owners had already, combined with prints of iconic Teige collages and contemporary works inspired by his playful, surreal and intriguing works. The Teige pieces were sourced through the Czech archives with the new pieces curated with Dais Contemporary in London.

    Conran and Partners’ design approach for the rooms has sought to optimise the spaces across various guestroom layouts, which include quirky rooms with curved ceilings within the roof space, and give them a contemporary yet warm and residential feel.

    Main image credit: Matthias Aschauer

    Chelsom to exclusively preview Edition 27 at Sleep & Eat 2019

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    Chelsom to exclusively preview Edition 27 at Sleep & Eat 2019

    Chelsom will once again be exhibiting at the annual Sleep & Eat event, which takes place at Olympia London on November 19 -20, 2019…

    Lighting manufacturer Chelsom will be at Sleep & Eat 2019, Europe’s leading trade events for interior hospitality products providing an annual meeting for those at the forefront of hotel design, development and architecture.

    This will be Chelsom’s2ndconsecutive year at the eventand this year they will be exhibiting a selection of stunning products from the latest collections, Edition 26, created specifically for the international hospitality and marine sectors.

    In addition, Chelsom will also be providing an exclusive preview of brand-new pieces from the upcoming collection, Edition 27, as designed entirely in-house by Robert and Will Chelsom and will be available from May 2020 onwards.

    “Sleep & Eat is the numberone UK show in terms of interior design for the hospitality market and we are very pleased to be back again,” said Will Chelsom, Managing Director of Chelsom. “Being able to see what the wider market is up to is really inspirational and it’s a great environment for companies to showcase their latest product designs and innovations. The show has become a key date in the diaries of many leading hospitality professionals so it’s exciting for us to be promoting a selection of new pieces from what is undoubtedly set to be our most eclectic collection to date.”

    Chelsom 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.

    FIRST LOOK: Inside Riggs Washington D.C., a new level of unrivalled luxury

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    FIRST LOOK: Inside Riggs Washington D.C., a new level of unrivalled luxury

    Ahead of the highly anticipated opening of the 181-key luxury hotel in Washington D.C., Hotel Designs takes a closer look inside…

    Lore Group, the international hospitality company behind renowned hotels, such as Sea Containers London and Pulitzer Amsterdam, has released model images of Riggs Washington D.C.. The new luxury hotel is the latest hotel development to hit the headlines, and is the brainchild of The Brit List 2019 judge Jacu Strauss, designer, architect and Lore Group’s creative director.

    In concepting and designing the property, Strauss, invoked the spirit of the former bank while preserving and restoring much of the property’s original design features to reimagine the storied building for the modern traveller. The 181-room property features playful nods to the building’s rich past, drawing on the parallels between the activities that take place in banks and at hotels to offer something personal and serendipitous around every corner.

    The hotel’s development, which was first explored by Hotel Designs in a exclusive interview Strauss when he described the Washington D.C. as: “a city with a particularly strong and quirky evolving hotel and F&B market.” As such, the design of Riggs has paid particular attention to the public areas of the hotel, with the aim to add sensitive statement on the hotel design scene in the US capital. In the original barrel-valuted lobby and cafe, restored expansive ceilings, corinthian columns, classic stonework and custom furniture set the scene for an eye-catching arrival experience. A medallion of Juno Moneta, the Goddess of Money, presides over the room, while original features have been given a new lease of life and the grandeur of the building embraced to create a welcoming and inspired hotel that is deeply rooted in D.C. and its impressive history.

    Image credit: Lore Group/Riggs Washington DC

    Upstairs, the 181 guestrooms – including 15 bespoke-designed suites are full with flair and personality. The marble-patterned headboards and wall coverings by Vousta blend together to create a thoughtful motif in each room. The interiors, balanced to create a romantic, sophisticated and calming oasis, have been inspired no doubt by Strauss’ love for travel.

    Image credit: Lore Group/Riggs Washington DC

    Catering to Washington DC’s ever-evolving social scene, the hotel’s 2,500 soft rooftop will offer panoramic views over the capital, and also feature a number of meeting, dining and events space.

    “Lore Group continues to explore ways to deliver inspired and approachable hospitality concepts to interesting places around the world,” said Billy Skelli-Cohen, group CEO. “With Riggs Washington D.C., we have created a hotel and F&B concepts that celebrate both the legacy of the building – and the history of the city – through unexpected details and a thoughtful approach to guest experience.”

    The arrival of Riggs comes an interesting time for Penn Quarter, which has been rejuvenated over the last two years. The new hotel is expected to further raise the level of luxury, creativity and innovative hospitality in the area – and Hotel Designs is keen to follow its progress.

    Main image credit: Lore Group/Riggs Washington DC

    MEININGER Hotels signs for second hotel in the UK

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    MEININGER Hotels signs for second hotel in the UK

    The hotel group, MEININGER Hotels, will open 87-key hotel in Liverpool in 2021…

    MEININGER Hotels, which currently operates 29 hybrid hotels in Europe, has signed a contract for a new hotel in Liverpool, reinforcing its aim for further growth in the UK. “Our new hotel property in Liverpool is an existing building that will be converted into a typical MEININGER Hotel according by spring 2021,” says Thomas Hagemann, COO of MEININGER Hotels.

    “On a gross floor area of 36,049 sq ft (3,349 sq m), the result will be a state-of-the-art accommodation with 87 rooms and 277 beds spread over six floors, a lobby, reception, guest kitchen, bar, lounge, game zone as well as a breakfast area and luggage room.

    “Our guests can also look forward to sufficient social spaces for shared community experiences as well as to our flexible room concept, which is unique in the industry. The MEININGER Hotel Liverpool will appeal to individual, group and business travellers with its room structure consisting of two, three and four-bed rooms.”

    The MEININGER Hotel Liverpool will be located on Union Court, right in the heart of the city. Most of the main cultural, architectural and gastronomic attractions of the city are within walking distance of the hotel: from the UNESCO world heritage buildings around the Royal Albert Dock, Liverpool One, the Tate Gallery or the Cavern Club. Thanks to the excellent public transport links via the nearby train and bus stations, both Anfield and Goodison Park are also within easy reach for football fans.

    This will be the MEININGER Group’s second hotel in the UK after the opening of the MEININGER Hotel London Hyde Park in 2006. A MEININGER Hotel Manchester is also underway and expected to open at the end of 2021.

    Hannes Spanring, CEO of MEININGER Hotels commented: “Together with openings planned for this year in Paris and Lyon as well as next year in Washington D.C., which will mark the respective market entries in France and the U.S., Liverpool is an important milestone in MEININGER Hotels’ goal to operate approximately 34,000 beds internationally by 2024.”

    “There is no doubt that the UK capital is very popular with visitors, and we had a 94% occupancy rate last year at our Hyde Park hotel,” he added. “But the UK is very rich in attractive destinations with enormous development potential elsewhere too. We are therefore delighted to have signed the contract for a new MEININGER Hotel in Liverpool.

    “In Liverpool, the figures for overnight stays and hotel offerings have shown a sustained upward trend in recent years, and the forecasts are also very positive,” Spanring continues. “The current range of rooms consists mainly of four-star and budget hotels, hostels account for only one percent of all accommodation in Liverpool to date. Our goal is to become the UK market leader in this segment with our unique hybrid hotel concept, which combines the service and comfort of international budget hotels with the exceptional amenities and flexible room structure of hostels.”

    Main image credit: Xtravagant

    Checking in to a urban landmark: The Edwardian Manchester

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    Checking in to a urban landmark: The Edwardian Manchester

    The Edwardian Manchester, which joins The May Fair as Edwardian Hotels London’s second Radisson Collection property, has recently completed a £12m renovation. Editor Hamish Kilburn was invited to exclusive review the 263-room hotel… 

    A coherent blend of old and new is my first impression when, stood under a glass box that divides two buildings, I check in to the modern and contemporary The Edwardian Manchester.

    The Grade II listed The Free Trade Hall plays an integral role in the UK’s history and has long been an important spot for Mancunians. From the political, the Free Trade Hall was constructed in 1853–56 on St Peter’s Fields, the site of the Peterloo Massacre, to the cultural; a range of  iconic names have either performed or spoken at the property, from Charles Dickens to the Sex Pistols to Winston Churchill, the hotel embodies a sense of community and union.

    Edwardian Hotels London’s Design Team, led by Creative Director Rob Steul and Product Design Manager Krishma Singh-Dear, has successfully created a dynamic destination through smart, intuitive architectural design. Guests are drawn to a series of connected focal points throughout the building, with each location serving as a distinct purpose to enhance their visit. Their refusal to compromise on quality, and consistent attention to detail is apparent through the use of robust, yet luxurious materials and subtle highlights that consciously link spaces together.

    “The top-to-bottom renovation allowed the opportunity to marry the modern bedroom tower with the important heritage of the Grade II* listed original building,” says Steul. “The ground floor public rooms now create a coherent guest arrival leading to a varied and memorable flow of elegant spaces – layering materials, colour and lighting in a clear spatial sequence with texture and drama. It was critical in this building to get the balance of old and new right, allowing the memory of the Free Trade Hall, with its heroic façade, to live on as part of a confidently modern yet comfortable hotel. For me, the great surprise is the spa, gym and pool found below the entry level – a true urban resort in the heart of Manchester.”

    The lobby’s design is an excellent place to start. Balanced to reflect both the building’s heritage as well as the modern soul of Manchester. A large contemporary chandelier hangs in the entrance under a carefully curated mix of relaxed public seating. Meanwhile, above the long check-in desk, deliberately hidden from view upon arrival, are crests of honour, which reference the properties previous life.

    Peter Street Kitchen

    The ground floor restaurant, Peter Street Kitchen, serves hotel guests a fusion of Japanese and Mexican cuisine under a quirky and thoughtful design concept that aims to bring people closer together. The design team created a sequence of four distinctive spaces; a heroic scaled bar, an intimate circular dining room, a shared table area, and a relaxed lounge running the length of the barrel-vaulted colonnade overlooking the nightlife of Peter Street.

    “A varied palette juxtaposes smooth and textured materials to further define the space.”

    The unique menu inspired design features such as shared bench tables, a Hibachi inspired fire pit, and sumptuous leather-clad booths. Highly dramatic mood and feature lighting complements the stylish textures of natural woods, river stone, and sleek steel, with the historic carved stone arches and highly detailed plasterwork serving as a rich backdrop.

    A varied palette juxtaposes smooth and textured materials to further define the space. Circular marble mosaics and wood planking is used on the floors with historic stone with hand-crafted plaster framing circular mirrors and reflecting the shape and light of the arches opposite. The rough, raw timber exterior cladding of the bespoke dining banquets gives way to a supple white leather interior, further enhancing the powerful, circular form of the dining area.

    Image caption/credit: Peter Street Kitchen/Edwardian Hotels

    The Library

    Also situated on the ground floor, The Library has been curated by Assouline and is nestled adjacent to the welcoming lobby. The chic and contemporary dining concept includes neon lighting and considered bookshelves to create subtle boundaries. What is arguably most impressive, though, is the style of the menu. Designed around the theme of a recipe book, a clean image of the dish is the left of the page, while a precise list of ingredients is on the right page.

    “Mirrored nickel lamps project a warm glow over the navy velvet and dark woollen charcoal grey armchairs.”

    Complete with stunning, limited-edition books, the area, especially during the day, is a sophisticated space that encourages guests to sink into leather sofas and wingback armchairs to truly relax. Mirrored nickel lamps project a warm glow over the navy velvet and dark woollen charcoal grey armchairs, whilst the baby grand piano greets guests with a luxury setting to eat, drink and relax in, simultaneously capturing Manchester’s ties to art and culture. The property’s birch tree wallpaper has been used to mirror the exterior birch trees that line South Street entrance, bringing a connection and synergy between the two spaces.

    Wellness and wellbeing

    The lower floor of the hotel features the hotel’s gym and spa, which has been completely reimagined to manipulate ceiling heights, remove the appearance of walls and barriers, and create an open and fluid floor plan that provides clear sight lines between the defined spaces. The entire pool area is encompassed by a neutral palette of wood, concrete, marble and white flooring which aesthetically contrasts with the 12-metre pool’s aqua blue stone lining, creating an alluring lagoon. Crittall glass dividers are used to open the space and maximise light, while the swimming pool is further enhanced as a destination space with seven low cabanas creating a truly relaxing escape for guests.

    “The project allowed us to combine modern design influence with the property’s classic heritage.” – Product Design Manager, Krishma Singh-Dear

    Image caption/credit: The spa/Edwardian Hotels

    Guestrooms and suites

    The hotel’s guestrooms and suites have also been transformed, aligning with the contemporary design used throughout the property’s ground floor. Modern, yet relaxed and inviting, a pallet of greys mixes with black leather, smart dogtooth, marble, walnut and brass.

    Iconic images of Manchester and its history adorn each room, bringing flashes of colour alongside bespoke graphic prints designed exclusively for the hotel, while quirky details, such as the same checkered armchair seen in the lobby, add personality and form to each room.

    Image caption/credit: Modern guestroom/Edwardian Hotels

    “Aside from our ongoing work on the group’s first Super Boutique hotel The Londoner, the refurbishment of The Edwardian Manchester has been our largest and most complicated in-house designed and managed project to date,” explains Singh-Dear. “The project allowed us to combine modern design influence with the property’s classic heritage. I am very proud of the result and enjoy seeing our guests enjoy the spaces we have created.”

    Combining luxury, style and a rich history, The Edwardian Manchester has become one of the most established five-star hotels in the region as the brand prepares to open what is said to become one of the most environmentally friendly in the UK, with sustainability at its core.

    Main image credit: Edwardian Hotels

    Anantara to make its debut in Ireland

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    Anantara to make its debut in Ireland

    By rebranding The Marker Hotel in Dublin, Anantara will open the brand’s first urban hotel in Europe…

    Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas will make its debut in the upcoming months in Ireland with the rebranding of The Marker Hotel in Dublin, one of the Irish capital’s most modern and luxurious buildings. The addition of the property in Dublin will represent the expansion of the luxury brand’s footprint into northwest Europe for the first time and also the first urban Anantara hotel in Europe.

    The hotel is located in the Docklands, one of the most attractive and dynamic areas of the Irish capital, in the heart of Silicon Docks, a nod to Silicon Valley on account of the high concentration of multinational high-tech companies located in the area. Close to the International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) and the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, the hotel is a perfect cultural and business epicentre for travellers’ keen to experience Ireland’s famous hospitality at its best. The Marker is the only five-star hotel in the area, which has recently emerged as one of the most vibrant and modern parts of the city for living, working and socialising.

    Image credit: Anantara

    Owned by Deka Immobilien, one of Europe’s leading real estate investment managers, and a member of Leading Hotels of the World, The Marker Hotel has a futuristic design and style and offers 187 contemporary guestrooms over six floors (166 deluxe rooms, 18 executive rooms and three suites) plus eight state-of-the-art event and meeting facilities.

    Image caption/credit: The Marker Hotel Dublin: Corner Suite/Anantara

    Services such as an award-winning spa, named Irish Tatler Dublin Spa of the year several times, and stylish rooftop terrace with stunning panoramic 360º views and the restaurant La Brasserie, recently named Best Hotel Restaurant in Dublin by the Restaurant Association of Ireland (RAI), are part of the experience of The Marker Hotel.

    “We are thrilled to announce the expansion of our luxury Anantara brand into northwest Europe in the fair city of Dublin,” commented Dillip Rajakarier, CEO of Minor Hotels, parent company of Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas. “The Marker Hotel is already known as one of the city’s leading hotels and bringing the reputation and luxury touch points of Anantara to the property will further elevate the guest experience.”

    In the surrounding area visitors to the city can enjoy a walk through the culture and heritage of the Docklands, which dates back to the eighteenth century, a wide range of options for foodie travellers, including extravagant cafés and high-end restaurants, shopping on nearby Grafton Street, boat rides along the river and in Dublin Bay or sporting activities from a relaxing yoga class to watching a game of Gaelic football at renowned Croke Park.

    “This agreement will enable us to bring a truly different value proposition to the Irish market for the first time,” comments Ramón Aragonés, CEO of NH Hotel Group, operators of Anantara in Europe, under the guidance and brand oversight of Minor Hotels. “The Anantara brand will connect travellers with genuine experiences in a privileged location in the city of Dublin.”

    The Dublin hotel will be the third Anantara in Europe, joining Anantara Vilamoura Algarve Resort in Portugal and the Anantara Villa Padierna Palace in Marbella, Spain.

    Main image credit: Anantara

    GROHE to showcase ground-breaking 3D printing concept at Sleep & Eat 2019

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    GROHE to showcase ground-breaking 3D printing concept at Sleep & Eat 2019

    GROHE will return to the Sleep & Eat 2019 exhibition for its 14th year in November, delivering continued commitment to the hospitality sector with new product innovations…

    GROHE will showcase its most eclectic and diverse product offering yet including the ICON 3D which has received international recognition since its launch in March 2019.

    This will be the first time the 3D printing concept will be on display in the UK, having already received multiple award-nominations including the Blueprint Awards 2019, plus specification in exciting European projects such as the new Under restaurant in Norway.

    With the launch of another ceramics collection earlier this year, GROHE will use Europe’s leadinghospitality design event to cement its status as a complete supplier of coordinated bathroom fittings offering a seamless and hassle-free way of working with specifiers in the hospitality sector.

    “This is an exciting time for GROHE as we mark our evolution from a sanitaryware brand to an all- encompassing bathroom brand that can offer hoteliers and specifiers a complete and coordinated design from one single, world-recognised supplier,” said Raj Mistry, Marketing Director at GROHE UK. “Sleep & Eat is a key event for us and one which has helped us to build very strong industry contacts over the years. As its founding partner in 2005 we continue to push the boundaries of innovation at the show.”

    GROHE will once again have fantastic placement and visibility within the exhibition space and its carefully curated stand can be found at M50. The stand will include new launches first seen at ISH 2019 earlier this year in Frankfurt, many of which will be showcased in the UK for the first time at the event.

    GROHE are 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, email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

    Main image credit: GROHE

    In Conversation With: British designer Bim Burton

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    In Conversation With: British designer Bim Burton

    Following the unveil of his latest collaboration with bathroom manufacturer Kaldewei, Bim Burton sits down with Hotel Designs to discuss sustainability in design and the inspiration behind ‘those bath chairs’… 

    Bim Burton is an innovative modern furniture maker and designer, creating timeless design with space saving ideas. Taking this year’s themes of (Re)act at designjunction, Bim and Kaldewei worked together to create, exclusively, for designjunction, a series of recyclable, sustainable unique bath chairs in three different styles.

    These were showcased within the Installations area, located in Lewis Cubitt Park, Kings Cross, London, throughout designjunction, which was very well attended and hosted cutting-edge designers, breakthrough brands, an unrivalled talks programme and unique design experiences.

    Kaldewei steel enamel baths are 100 per cent recyclable, made from Kaldewei’s ownsuperior steel enamel and have been ingeniously crafted to Bim’s unique design -creating beautiful, designer chairs for designjunction’s visitors to relax in.

    Hotel Designs: Why did you want to be part of designjunction?

    Big Burton: I was really flattered to be asked to take part in designjunction this year. I was recommended by British Designer Steuart Padwick, the creator of the breathtaking sculpture “Head Above Water’ also on show in London. Designjunction is one of the best destinations during the London Design Festival (LDF), so obviously, I just couldn’t say no.

    Image credit:: Bim Burton/Kaldewei

    HD: Where did the idea to create bath chairs come from?

    BB: The theme this year is (Re)act and renew so when designjunction asked me what I would design, I immediately thought of the bath chair as it’s an object which is notonly functional but has the chance of a second life. The Kaldewei bath makes a great exterior for seating and I thought this was relevant today with the theme re- use as well as being great for an outside seating area.

    HD: Why is sustainability so important to you?

    Sustainability should be important to everyone. Kaldewei’s baths are 100 per cent recyclable so perfect for this product. During my time as a designer, I have recycled many objects into practical and interesting pieces of furniture.

    “I’ve found Kaldewei to be very enthusiastic when working with their baths.” – Bim Burton

    HD: Why Kaldewei?

    BB: Again, this was a recommendation, this time from designjunction. I’ve found Kaldewei to be very enthusiastic when working with their baths. I couldn’t believehow well made and strong they are, I would definitely recommend them as a bath for their design and durability alone. Kaldewei were very generous in providing me with the chance to realise my design idea of turning baths into chairs – to reuse baths as seating. Kaldewei provided their steel enamel baths for me to cut and workout different ways to use the parts as chairs. I turned them up, sideways, and discovered how many variations I could make. I am very grateful for them trusting me and my imagination.

    HD: How did you find working with steel enamel?

    BB: Cutting the steel wasn’t nearly as difficult as I had imagined, cutting the steel with the right tools is very forgiving!

    HD: What was the biggest challenge?

    In a word – “time”. There just isn’t enough of it. Time is so precious, I usually havevery little of it to bring a project together.

    HD: What was the most enjoyable part of the project?

    BB: I’ve enjoyed working with the challenge of the bath shape and its material, as well as having the freedom to use my creativity bringing to life my design – transforming the baths into bath chairs!

    HD: What’s happened to the bath chairs now that the event has passed?

    BB: Good question! They will probably go for sale. I already have a list of people who would like one… so let’s see.

    From Inside to Out is in collaboration with – Kaldewei, AJ Wells, Agua Fabrics & AHEC.

    Main image credit: Bim Burton/Kaldewei

    100% not-for-profit luxury safari, Lepogo Lodges, opens in South Africa

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    100% not-for-profit luxury safari, Lepogo Lodges, opens in South Africa

    The safari Lepogo Lodges, joins the ‘Not-for-Profit Conservation Tourism’ Movement and pledges to offset each and every guest’s carbon footprint…

    Lepogo Lodges, one of Africa’s few entirely not-for-profit high-end safari lodges, has opened its very first lodge in South Africa’s Limpopo Province, Noka Camp, which is set within the 50,000-hectare, malaria-free Lapalala Wilderness Reserve.

    Lepogo Lodges is the very first luxury camp in Africa to offset the carbon footprint of every visiting guest, from the time they leave their home to the moment they return. Family-owned and operated, the project has been developed as part of a life-long dream to create a sustainable conservation legacy in Africa, with 100 per cent of any financial gains made re-invested back into the reserve for the benefit of wildlife, conservation and the local community.

    Image credit: Lepogo Lodges

    Noka Camp consists of five stilted villas, including one villa especially designed for families. The villas are joined by a main lodge comprised of dining room, bar, lounge area and sprawling outdoor terrace, all perched atop a 100ft cliff overlooking the winding Palala River below and the endless bush ahead. The camp is entirely off-grid, with all energy self-generated by a bespoke, 250msolar walkway.

    Lepogo Lodges have worked with award-winning Japanese Architect Yuji Yamazakion Noka Camp and its five stilted villas, designed to offer the highest level of luxury while bearing the lightest footprint on the surrounding environment. A glass-fronted design for the main lodge and villas maximises the incredible panoramic views seen at every turn, while the entire property has been built on small concrete pads, which ensure that no scars are left on the land.  Each villa is complete with heated plunge pool, unique ‘sky bed’ with glass floor over the ravine, sunken bathtub and underfloor heating.

    Lepogo Lodges have collaborated with Sarah Ord Interiors on the interior design of Noka Camp. Reputed for her use of colour and eclectic designs, Sarah’s vision was to enhance and reflect the natural colours of the reserve. Noka’s light-filled interiors were inspired by the vast horizon of turning leaves on the terracotta-coloured cliffs, where the sky meets Africa. Walls disappear through the use of expansive glass panes, with each vista becoming a framed work of art on a grand scale. Sarah has made use of sustainable and South-African products, crafts and textiles wherever possible.

    Lepogo Lodges will consist of two lodges, with a second property, Melote House, set to open in 2021. Ideal for multi-generational travel, Melote House will be an exclusive-use property sleeping up to 16 guests.

    Entirely energy self-sufficient thanks to the property’s very own solar walkway, Lepogo Lodges will be the first luxury lodge in Africa to offset the carbon emissions from all guests’ travel, from the time they leave their home to the moment they return. Guests can also participate in conservation efforts, community outreach, school visits and more.

    The owning family of Lepogo Lodges is committed to supporting community projects. For example, the Montebello Design Centre in Cape Town was founded by a close relative as a centre to support the disadvantaged, where students can learn valuable crafting skills and generate income to support their livelihoods. It flourishes today and has produced some remarkable talent, some of which Lepogo is proud to be able to showcase. Lepogo Lodges are also working closely with local communities, who have created bespoke soft accessories for the lodges, toys and clothing for the on-site curio shop and custom amenities including hydrating hair oil made from the fabled Baobab and Moringa trees.

    The family is particularly passionate about the conservation of cheetah, pangolin and rhino, having been attracted to Lapalala as one of the leading private rhino sanctuaries in Africa. Lepogo Lodges have funded research and are working with Lapalala to establish the reserve as a centre of excellence for the release of wild captured cheetah in conjunction with The Endangered Wildlife Trust. A pangolin re-introduction programme will also begin in the coming months and the family look forward to supporting and working with the world renowned Lapalala Wilderness School.

     Main image credit: Lepogo Lodges

    MINIVIEW: The Pig at Bridge Place

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    MINIVIEW: The Pig at Bridge Place

    Following its hotly anticipated opening in April, The Pig at Bridge Place marks the hotel brand’s sixth authentic boutique hotel within its portfolio. Editor Hamish Kilburn heads back to his home county in Kent to explore the countryside gem… 

    With its welcoming red brick façade and ornate Jacobean interior, Bridge Place is an intriguing old building with an usual rock-n-roll vibe. Over the past four decades, this musical honeypot in Bridge, Kent, has been home to some renowned parties and gigs playing host in the ‘70s to Led Zeppelin and The Kinks.

    The property houses a wealth of period features, which are most noticeable in the public areas, including large fireplaces, secret stairways, panelled walls and endless nooks and crannies. In the refurbishment, all of these structural nuances have been respected and enhanced to create seven bedrooms along with numerous cosy bars and sitting areas.

    But now, the building has turned the page to a new chapter, The Pig at Bridge Place is a 31-key boutique hotel that oozes effortless style thanks to the acclaimed designer Judy Hutson, whose signature style has given The Pig its unique brand of laid-back chic, which has been beloved by guests to date.

    The Pig, Bridge Place, Canterbury, Kent, hotel, boutique hotel, gardens, restaurant, bar

    Attached to the main building a new, carefully detailed Coach House contains a restaurant with open kitchen. Within The Coach House are 12 bedrooms; four on the ground floor and eight on the first floor. Over the brook via a hand crafted wooden bridge are seven fitting Hop Pickers’ Huts created from reclaimed materials all dotted along a meandering wooden walkway. Each hut houses a double bedroom with cosy bathroom and wood-burning stove. Next to the kitchen garden is The Barn; a large upstairs/downstairs room with vast bathroom and bedroom views across the garden.

    Worlds away from the building’s former existence of being an illustrious party scene in the ’70s, the rooms inside The Pig at Bridge Place are a calming oasis reflecting countryside bliss. Overflowing with character and style, each key unlocks its own personality. Original details can be found in each room, which are finished effortlessly with carefully curated artwork and an array of personally chosen vintage features.

    “We’ve had a great couple of years, with customers seeming to love what we do. Occupancy is in the mid 90 per cent in our rural locations and we know from our guests and their invaluable feedback that they want more PIGs,” said CEO of Home Grown Hotels Robin Hutson. “After searching far and wide for truly unique properties, we really are over the moon about our new hotel in Kent.”

    If the design wasn’t impressive enough, as with every other PIG, the kitchen garden and restaurant sit at the beating heart of this property; anything that can’t be supplied by the gardens are impressively sourced from Kent’s best producers within a 25-mile radius of Bridge.

    Main image credit: The Pig at Bridge Place

    CASE STUDY: Carpeting Studley Castle during £50m renovation

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    CASE STUDY: Carpeting Studley Castle during £50m renovation

    Brintons supplied carpets for key public areas within Studley Castle, a Grade II* listed gothic revival house set in 28 acres of countryside in Warwickshire…

    Studley Castle re-opened in March 2019 after undergoing a £50 million transformation. Brintons worked on this project alongside design practices Newman Gauge, Leisure Concepts and Blueprint Interior Architecture.

    Studley Castle, close to Stratford-upon-Avon, marks the 14th hotel in short-break company Warner Leisure Hotels’s portfolio. It is the first hotel the company has opened in nearly 20 years and, stands as the group’s flagship. The investment has taken three years from purchase to re-opening and has included building an entirely new hotel wing, revamping and rearranging the pre-existing interiors, and creating a spa in the original stables block.

    The interior designers have taken their inspiration from Alice in Wonderland, the classic fairytale is anything but ordinary as it takes visitors down the rabbit hole through an interior design plan that is as colourful as the original story and its characters, from rabbits to clocks, to mini armchairs and crowns, the design scheme features many quirky and regal details.

    “Newman Gauge were appointed by Warner Leisure Hotels for the refurbishment of the existing period buildings including the Stables, Brintons worked closely with us to understand the scheme and interpret the design brief until we realised our vision – and brought it to life on time and within budget,” said Aniela Sweeney, Associate Director, Newman Gauge.

    Brintons senior creative designer Jane Bradley-Bain worked with the Interior Designers to create several bespoke, contemporary carpet designs for key public areas within Studley Castle as part of an extensive refurbishment programme.

    Brintons 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.

    Seven-figure refurb begins at City Quay Hotel, Dundee

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    Seven-figure refurb begins at City Quay Hotel, Dundee

    Work has commenced on a £1.4 million refurbishment programme at Apex City Quay Hotel & Spa in the heart of Dundee…

    Over the coming months the Apex City Quay Hotel & Spa‘s public spaces – including the reception and conference areas, as well as the hotel’s Metro Bar & Brasserie and Yu Spa – will be transformed, bringing a spectacular new look and feel to the hotel. The significant investment comes less than one year after the completion of a £2.4 million bedroom refurbishment.

    The full programme of improvements is set to be completed in the New Year, with the hotel operating business as usual throughout the period.

    “We’re absolutely thrilled to see work starting on the latest round of refurbishment work at the hotel,” said Ronnie MacKay, the general manager at Apex City Quay Hotel & Spa. “The feedback from guests following the bedroom refurbishment has been exceptionally positive and, given that the plans in place for the public areas look absolutely fantastic, we’re confident our guests will be impressed with the finished result.

    “The significant investment in the hotel over the past twelve months or so really underlines Apex’s commitment to constantly raising the bar and ensuring first-class standards for guests across the board. We’ll keep our guests informed of our plans every step of the way, but as the works continue over the coming months, we fully intend to operate business as usual until we unveil the finished product.”

    Since late 2017, Apex Hotels has invested approximately £12 million in refurbishment works across its 10 UK hotels.

    Main image credit: Apex Hotels

    4 reasons why hotels should consider 3D photography

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    4 reasons why hotels should consider 3D photography

    In a response to the industry insight on styling a hotel for design press article, Hotel Designs’ official hotel review photographer, ACT Studios, argues that 3D photography is where the future of hotel marketing is heading…

    Predictions for trends over the next couple of years in the hotel and hospitality sector abound. But there is general consensus that technology will continue to play a greater role in both the stay of a guest as well as the booking process itself.

    Virtual tour photography has an essential part to play here, enhancing the anticipatory experience of the traveller in advance of their stay, as well quickly and easily answering guest’s questions and concerns about location, layout and facilities.

    So just how exactly can virtual tour photography enhance the guest experience? And what value can it add to your website?

    What is virtual tour photography?

    Virtual tour photography is essentially an immersive, three dimensional digital means of bringing a room to life for the viewer. 3d tours are created using a special type of Matterport camera, which produces a 360 degree image of a room, which users can then browse online at their leisure.

    Users simply click on the image itself to then ‘step in’ to the picture, with the option to turn in any direction to explore a feature in more detail. Want to view the room from the other side of the bed? It’s Easy. Using your mouse (or a touch screen) you can simply click (or tap) on the picture and spin the view in a direction to suit you. Fancy a peek in the bathroom? Maybe to check if it has a walk in shower? Again, just click or tap on the direction you would like to take.

    3D photography even lets you leave the room to explore different rooms on another floor. And essentially look round the whole property, which can be really helpful if you need to check if the bedroom is on the ground floor. Or see if the bathroom has a shower over it. Or where your nearest fire exit is.

    The real beauty of 3D virtual tours is that they are incredibly simple to use. And extremely intuitive.

    4 ways in which 3D photography can help your hotel business

    1) 3D photography can improve your guest experience and ratings

    Image credit: Hotel Designs’ interactive hotel review of Oddfellows On The Park. Read full review here.

    Positive feedback and ratings count and anything that helps improve the customer journey for a guest deserves serious thought. And when it comes to the hotel guest’s customer journey, 3D photography can play a pivotal role in the consideration phase.

    Once a customer is aware that you exist – perhaps via a touch point such as a post on social media or an article in a third party publication – the next phase in the customer journey is consideration. This is when they arrive at your website and look through it in detail before deciding to make a purchase.

    It is well known how financially competitive the hospitality industry is and not every accommodation provider wishes to differentiate on price. Therefore, having the ability to see a building in all its dimensions – from a floor plan, to a dollhouse view to stepping into any of the key rooms – can positively influence their decision to buy in your favour. And most importantly, take them away from your competitors.

    2) 360 photography can refresh your brand image

    Image credit: Hotel Designs’ interactive hotel review of University Arms, Cambridge. Read full review here.

    “The quality of the imagery is second to none.” – Mario Ovsenjak, General Manager, Hotel Gotham.

    Guests have long come to expect well composed, professionally taken, high resolution photography when it comes to browsing both on and offline.

    Which is why the supply of high quality hospitality photography remains a core service for ACT Studios, taking us throughout the UK and Europe to photograph some of the most incredible accommodation providers.

    But brands that already have great photography are rightly asking “what’s next?” when it comes to updating their brand image, differentiating their offering and setting themselves apart from the competition.

    The answer is 3d photography. Offering guests the ability to virtually ‘step into’ a hotel bedroom, dining room or lounge. To explore an area in minute detail. Or just get an overall feel for what they are about to book.

    “Adding a fully immersive experience by adding virtual tour photography can increase occupancy by 14 per cent.”

    3) 360 virtual tour photography can help improve your occupancy rates

    Image credit: Hotel Designs’ interactive hotel review of Hotel Gotham. Read the full review here.

    Recent research by TripAdviser shows that having at least one photo of your property on a property page actually increases the likelihood of a booking enquiry by 225 per cent. And that for properties with at least 100 photos, engagement levels rise to 151 per cent and likelihood of a booking inquiry rises to 238 per cent compared to properties with no photos

    In addition, a study by Matterport concluded that adding a fully immersive experience by adding virtual tour photography can increase occupancy by 14 per cent and yield a 15 per cent increase in online engagement.

    4) Virtual tours are an honest complement to photography that encourages trust

    By offering guests the option of seeing and freely exploring a given room or area in its entirety before they buy, guests can more easily and more quickly judge for themselves how suitable (or not) a hotel is for them. There is therefore genuine honestly in a 3d virtual tour. And as marketers know, honesty breeds trust, which then sees guests returning time after time.

    If you would like to find out more about how 3D photography can work alongside your existing photography – or perhaps how you can refresh both your still photography and your virtual tours, to produce a more consistent brand image – then contact ACT Studios here.

    Main image credit: ACT Studios

    Editor Checks In: Home comforts in hotel design

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    Editor Checks In: Home comforts in hotel design

    In August 2019, editor Hamish Kilburn concludes that trends are overrated when a project close to his heart reaches its highly anticipated conclusion…

    I can’t quite believe it has been almost one year since we first started following the award-winning designer Nicky Dobree on her journey to complete her debut hotel design project. Before now, her undisputed talent was recognised for designing the interiors of 007-esqe luxury mountain retreats (Kevin McCloud’s words, not mine unfortunately).

    But this year, she has injected her effortless style to restore a 19thcentury building in Vejer, Spain, which is known as Plaza 18 – and Hotel Designs has been there every step of the way.

    Now that the season has ramped up to reach its peak, there’s no better time to put down the measuring tape, take a step back and reward Dobree’s “labour of love” as we cut the ribbon. More than 1,300 miles from Andalucia, the team in the London office are gathered around my computer screen as they impatiently wait for the folder to download, of which contains the final images of the new boutique hotel. Until now, you see, we have had to settle for shakey behind-the-scenes, unquestionably raw, photographs taken on location, as well as renders and sketches, which merely tease the luxury home-from-home concept in the making.

    You’d be wrong to assume it’s an easy task working on a project of this scale. What the hotel lacks in the number of guestrooms (six to be precise) it makes up for in personality. And if anyone could sensitively re-establish the heritage property in order to give it a new lease of life, it would be Dobree.

    “All that is missing is a luxury design-led hotel,” I think to myself as I run past the colourful beach huts (place your bids).

    ‘Home comforts’ feels like an appropriate theme for this month’s column. Four years after capturing my first solo metropolis memory, which then drove me to chase my career in a number of cities in the UK, I’ve hit a crossroads and have decided to take the right-hand turn, which has result in me hurtling back towards my hometown of Whitstable in Kent. Nestled on the north-east tip of the Garden of England, where home comforts – think sea views that stretch over the horizon and unparalleled sunsets – are never in short supply, this feels like ‘home’ to me. “All that is missing is a luxury design-led hotel,” I think to myself as I run past the colourful beach huts (place your bids).

    It seems I am not alone in chasing home comfort. Last year, a study published by Forbes showed that in the 10 cities with the largest Airbnb market share in the US, the entry of Airbnb resulted in 1.3 per cent fewer hotel nights booked and a 1.5 per cent loss in hotel revenue. But as damning as this statistic may seem, hotels are fighting back to offer more home-from-home comforts married together with one-off experiences to capture travellers’ attention.

    Examples of this can be found all over the Hotel Designs website this month, from our Miniview of room2’s ‘hometel’ concept in Southampton to a new ‘private members’ bar’-styled hotel that will open in London next year – and not forgetting the exceptional Plaza 18. Perhaps subconsciously, my year-long project with Dobree has led me to positively seek comfort in timeless style as opposed to chasing the short-term thrills of seasonal trends.

    Main image credit: ACT Studios

    Meet the design team behind Monkey Island Estate and Raffles Singapore

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    Meet the design team behind Monkey Island Estate and Raffles Singapore

    Following the opening of both Monkey Island Estate (review coming soon) and Raffles Singapore, Hotel Designs spends time to get to know the world-renowned design team who led both visions into reality…

    Based in New York City, Champalimaud Design is an award-winning multi-disciplinary firm recognised for its visionary concepts, which span both hospitality and residential projects.

    Founded almost 30 years ago by Lisbon-born Alexandra Champalimaud, the studio is now run by five Partners who are all specialists in their respective fields. In addition to Alexandra Champalimaud, Partners include CEO Ed Bakos, Jon Kastl, Winston Kong, and most recently, Anna Beeber.

    Celebrated for creating luxury environments for a global client list which includes the likes of The Plaza New York, the legendary Troutbeck hotel in Upstate New York and The Gainsborough Bath Spa, Champalimaud Design was approached in 2013 by Raffles Singapore and tasked with the monumental goal of a complete redesign of Singapore’s oldest and most iconic hotel. The studio was presented with a unique challenge of maintaining an ambience intrinsically tied to the hotel’s unique 130 year long history, whilst at the same time taking the hotel in a renewed design direction through a meticulous update and refresh.

    The newly restored property offers a reinvigorated and charming environment familiar to the original Raffles Singapore hotel, but which now introduces renovated dining options, updated accommodations, and a new suite category. By incorporating local influences throughout and remaining true to its heritage, Champalimaud Design thoughtfully layers a memory of old Singapore with a contemporary and artful approach.

    As a national monument, special attention was paid to the preservation of the original colonial architecture throughout the renovation. All of the public areas are re-planned to increase social engagement and create an ease of flow between spaces. With a sensibility that is much more contemporary than its previous design iterations, there’s an emphasis on maximising scale through the careful curation of custom furniture in sumptuous shapes, ornate screens, locally sourced heritage antiques, and impactful lighting. The new reception and lobby lounge – once iconic places frequently visited by dignitaries and diplomats – is transformed into an elegant reception with a curated dining menu and now serves as the gateway to the hotel’s alluring spaces for dining and imbibing: Tiffin Room, Writer’s Bar, La Dame de Pic, Long Bar, and Butcher’s Block. The palate is composed of the original black and white contrasts juxtaposed with caramel, shades of green, and creamy neutrals. Light floral references and gilded trimming along with a bejewelled chandelier add a layer of refinement to the overall vision.

    The coming year will see Champalimaud Design take on a number of high profile openings. In addition to Raffles Singapore, the studio has recently unveiled its highly-anticipated design for Halekulani in Okinawa, Japan; a hotel that fuses luxury with the island’s energy, as well as the Monkey Island, a picturesque retreat with a charming history in Bray-On-Thames, England. Other projects include One Waterline Square, a luxury high-rise development on the Hudson River in Manhattan which represents an unprecedented approach to urban living, as well as Su Casa, a private retreat nestled in Puerto Rico’s most exclusive resort which has undergone a complete renovation by Champalimaud Design following Hurricane Maria which ravaged the island in 2017.

    Main image credit: Champalimaud Design

    Empty room with various styles of seating

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

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

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

    Empty room with various styles of seating

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

    [CURTAIN UP]

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

    Exterior shot of the hotel, showing a colourful courtyard

    Image credit: Ruby Leni

    [PUBLIC AREAS ENTER FROM STAGE RIGHT]

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

    [GUESTROOMS ENTER FROM STAGE LEFT]

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

    White, bright and contemporary guestroom

    Image credit: Ruby Leni

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

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

    [APPLAUSE]

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

    Quick-fire round:

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

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

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

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

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

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

    [CURTAIN CALL]

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

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

    [CURTAIN CLOSED]

    INSIDE THE FACTORY WITH: Hamilton Litestat

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    INSIDE THE FACTORY WITH: Hamilton Litestat

    Celebrating half a century of being the trusted, reliable and high-quality brand for switch plates and sockets, Hamilton Litestat’s is, without a doubt, an industry leader. The company’s Head of Marketing, Gavin Williams, invites editor Hamish Kilburn along to its headquarters in Bristol to share some of the tools behind its esteemed reputation and ongoing legacy… 

    For more than 50 years, Hamilton Litestat, one of the first companies in the world to produce dimmable products and USB charging sockets, has been leading an innovative path.

    Following large investment in both equipment and people – from the factory floor right through to the sales and marketing teams, the company remains one of the leading manufacturers for switch plates and sockets.

    As a result of its ability to be ahead of the curve when it comes to product innovation without diluting the quality of its products, Hamilton has attracted and retained the attention of large chains such as IHG, Marriott, Millennium Hotels and Radisson among many others, as well as leading independent hotels.

    Situated on the fringes of Bristol, the company’s headquarters, and workplace for over 100 employees, stands as an ever-evolving hub of innovation, technology and shelters a driving force that ships out roughly 200,000 products per month most of which are dispatched within 24 hours.

    As the majority of hotels on the boards continue to strive to create more personal interiors, it is now more important than ever before for suppliers to offer a variety of products, all of which are stamped with the same quality – and no brand understands the value of this than Hamilton. “The interior designer is one of the key cogs in the chain,” said Gavin Williams, Head of Marketing at Hamilton Litestat. “Therefore, that has created a demand for adding a statement within fixtures and fittings.”

    The factory itself is a well-operating formula balancing both practical facilities and creative break-out areas. The space on the ground floor has been designed to create a swift, seamless and free-flowing manufacturing process. The raw materials – metal and plastic sheets – are pressed on one side of the building using state-of-the-art technology. By laser cutting, one sheet takes an average of 30 minutes to cut, producing roughly 150 plates, which are then ready to be wired. This process, as well as the stringent quality control that follows, still to this day is carried out by a dedicated workforce.

    “Quality is our number-one priority.” – Gavin Williams, Head of Marketing at Hamilton Litestat

    If the lower level of the factory is where the components are cut and fitted together, then the upstairs is then reserved for innovation and fresh ideas. Housed inside a standalone chamber is the result one of Hamilton Litestat’s latest investments. Following popular demand and feedback gathered at international trade shows and from talking to loyal customers, the company has introduced its Paintable Range. With a new high-tech machine and colour expert to operate it, the company can now colour-match the products in the collection to replicate any tone or shade that an interior designer is working with. “Quality is our number-one priority,” says Williams. “So despite innovating, we will always over check the quality before releasing any product to the market. We have fantastic test facilities here in Bristol, which allows us to test the product continuously to and above the British standards.”

    With lifestyle and people’s behaviour being a large factor and driver behind the launch of the company’s latest products, Hamilton Litestat’s headquarters also stages an area that assembles together new concepts. Inspired largely by trends – and in an effort to create a conversation with its customers – the product development team often share their vision on the company’s growing Instagram channel. “Having a full-time focus [on social media] allows us to follow trends, key words and connect with new clients from the many shows we attend,” adds Williams. “It also allows us to circulate in the wider world, engaging with perspective clients who would have otherwise never heard of us.”

    With a reputation that spans across more than half a century for delivering quality products and a reliable service, Hamilton Litestat is equipped to handle almost any interior design brief. The company’s friendly team will be showcasing its breadth of products at upcoming trade shows, such as 100% Design, The Independent Hotel Show and Decorex International.

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

    Main image credit: Hamilton Litestat

    Sensitively carpeting Grade-I listed Hawkstone Hall Hotel

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    Sensitively carpeting Grade-I listed Hawkstone Hall Hotel

    Brintons’ sensitive approach to hotel design was required when sensitively creating the timeless interiors inside Hawkstone Hall Hotel, a 37-key luxury abode that has emerged following a two-year restoration…

    Grade-I listed 18th century Hawkstone Hall, which is owned by The Distinctly Hospitable Group, has been sympathetically restored over a two-year period and has now opened as a hotel for the first time in its 550-year history.

    Located in the beautiful Shropshire countryside and set within 88 acres of gardens, the country mansion, which was originally built as a stately family home, features ceilings gilded with gold, sweeping staircases, four-poster suites and a private Chapel.

    The Distinctly Hospitable Group decided to undertake a multi-million renovation of the building and re-open it as a luxury boutique hotel, with designer Kay Petrouis overseeing the renovation. The interior styling results at the newly- opened hotel have been breathtaking, Kay used an English heritage colour palette throughout the property to suit the listed period details and the Georgian manor has been restored to its original splendour, with many original features being reinstated.

    The main hall hosts 12 sumptuous suites, all of which are named after British artists, writers, poets, and playwrights. Adjacent to the main building, The Orangery Wing has also undergone complete renovations, encompassing a further 25 bedrooms. Inside the rooms, colour tones mirror that of the main hall using the soft hues of duck-egg blue and calamine pink.

    Jane Bradley-Bain, Brintons senior creative designer created bespoke, contemporary carpet designs for the Guest Suites within Hawkstone Hall featuring a warm grey and blue colour palette. The chosen designs capture the latest trend by taking a traditional design form and then giving it an abstract treatment to create a distressed classic elegance. Jane also developed a timeless classic motif design for the Library room using a cool neutral palette, the custom designs complement the sophisticated and contemporary interiors bringing a modern element that harmonises with the period of the building.

    Amber Kashan from Brintons Renaissance stocked collection was selected by designer Nasim Köerting at Studio Köerting for the Byron Suite, the intricate large-scale design in bold, rich opulent colours is inspired by the golden age of Persian art and literature and compliments the mansions grand interiors. The design was also used in hotels bar area and snug.

    “It was an absolute pleasure to design in a exceptional Grade-I listed building like Hawkstone Hall,” said Köerting. “We were able to create a real fairytale space. Brintons were flexible and could work within our building constraints like creating beautiful edged rugs to protect the original timber plank flooring.”

    Traditional trellis patterns from Brintons QuickWeaveTM collection were chosen for key public areas including the Ceremony Room, corridors and reception, the trellis designs treated with texture provides a modern but contemporary feel.

    The designs throughout the hotel vary, so each fitted carpet suits the specific finished space accordingly. Designs are classic patterns which harmonise with other interior surfaces and materials.

    Main image credit: Aubadecreative

    In Conversation With: Unidrain’s Kenneth Waaben on modern bathrooms

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    In Conversation With: Unidrain’s Kenneth Waaben on modern bathrooms

    Hotel Designs exclusively sits down with innovative head designer at Unidrain, Kenneth Waaben, to understand more about the process behind the brand’s design of the modern bathroom… 

    With the aim to “create aesthetic and functional designs that enhanced the company’s existing portfolio,” Kenneth Waaben started working for Unidrain in 2014. Since then, his clear methodical way of thinking when it comes to balancing practicality and good design has led to the launch of many of Unidrain’s hero products, including the dynamic Reframe Collection. 

    For Waaben, who graduated from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, design is an iterative process that is based on a specific problem, as we find out in our exclusive Q&A.

    Hamish Kilburn: What made you want to take on the challenge of designing for Unidrain?

    Kenneth Waaben: In my view, good design has to be durable, a design that makes a difference, both aesthetically and functionally. Unidrain wished for products that stood out and solvedproblems in amore elegant and intelligent ways than other products in the market. I was able to design these products, so it was a fine match.

    As a designer it is my mission to improve what already exists. Unfortunately, these days many new products are created with no real focus and are not designed to improving anything.

    In these days of eco awareness and sustainability this is neither an interesting nor effective approach to product development. As a designer I feel we have to do everything we can to make a positive difference.

    “One should dare to be critical of general practice, see possibilities and be open and brave enough to try new things.” – Kenneth Waaben, Unidrain

    HK: What is your motto?

    KW: Improve the existing – the devil is in the detail!  One should dare to be critical of general practice, see possibilities and be open and brave enough to try new things.

    HK: What is the process behind your designs?

    KW: I like to look at the things we use and find out where there is room for improvement, and then generate ideas around this.  It can be a challenge to connect the aesthetic with the functional. The process requires repeated tests and adjustments, it’s important to be aware of even the smallest details, since it is often these that make all the difference.

    The road towards the goal, the actual design process, is to a great extent an iterative process where inspiration, the idea, the form and function is developed in a constant interactionbetween mind and hands.

    It is all collaboration between drafts in 2D and 3D on paper and drafts shaped in cardboard and foam,as well as 3D printing and CAD. Through the entire process it is extremely important to use your experience and intuition.

    HK: What was your most recent project?

    KW: The Reframe Collection has been taking up my thoughts most recently.  One of the designs that have been under the design microscope is the Reframe corner shelf. I wanted to give new life to an everyday product, improve on the design.

    Two other products in the Reframe Collection,the toilet brush and shower wiper, were also being re-framed and re-designed.    We looked at each item; the new toilet brush has been designed with a splash collar that eliminates the accumulationof bacteria between the inner and outer containers.

    There is a small, integrated handle, so that you can easily empty the container without coming into contact with any bacteria.  The actual brush head has also been designed to collect as little water and paper as possible, to reduce unwanted dripping.

    The shower wiper is a difficult product to keep tidy in the shower space so we designeda way of integrating the shower wiper with the soap shelf.  It is held in place by hidden magnets, which avoids having the wiper standing on the floor or hanging on the mixer tap.

    HK: Do you design your products to be long lasting?

    KW: Products have to be durable, this is important, plus time has proven that well-designed, long lasting products are also often the most popular.

    As a designer, it’s important not to focus on what’s popular right now, as you risk designing a product that quickly becomes irrelevant.  It’s far more interesting to take a long-term approach. Many of the design products that are now celebrated around the world were often created many years ago and not on the basis of contemporary fads and trends.

    Unidrain 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.

    CASE STUDY: Furnishing Hard Rock Hotel London

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    CASE STUDY: Furnishing Hard Rock Hotel London

    Curtis Furniture explains its role on the first ever Hard Rock Hotel in the UK to bring the brand back to its British London roots…

    When Curtis Furniture was tasked to work on the UK’s first ever Hard Rock Hotel, we had to understand the heightened importance of accuracy in order to bring to life the designer’s vision. Key to this was our ability to clarify accurately the requirements in advance, working as partners to the architects, Unwin Jones Partnership as we developed an on-site sample room and rolled this out through the whole hotel.

    Benjamin Harvey, Category Buyer at glh Hotels explains: “Shipping supplies from outside the UK carries a risk to the quality of materials and timings of deliveries. To avoid these risks, we wanted to select a British Manufacturer, and Curtis are one of the few with the capacity to supply bespoke case goods for 1,000 rooms over a 12-month project.

    Our relationship with them goes back more than 20 years. We needed to choose an expert partner we could trust to turn around the room refurbishments in a timely manner and with minimal disruption, as the hotel remained fully operational throughout.”

    “The newly refurbished rooms buzz with the energy associated with the Hard Rock brand.”

    Ultimately the success of the project was due to the accuracy and quality of materials supplied by a responsive, client-focused team. The newly refurbished rooms buzz with the energy associated with the Hard Rock brand. Hard Rock Hotel London is no longer simply somewhere to stay while experiencing all that London has to offer, it is now part of the London experience.

    Main image credit: Hard Rock Hotel London/ ROBERTO LARA PHOTOGRAPHY

    Singita Kwitonda Lodge and Kataza House opens in Rwanda

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    Singita Kwitonda Lodge and Kataza House opens in Rwanda

    The new hotel in Rwanda, designed by GAPP Architects in collaboration with the interior design teams Cécile & Boyd and Hesse Kleinloog (HK) Studio, opens to uniquely provide sanctuary for 320 endangered mountain gorillas on 178 acres of land… 

    Multi-award winning conservation brand Singita has officially opened its doors to Singita Kwitonda Lodge and Kataza House in Rwanda.

    Set on 178 acres of lush land on the edge of Volcanoes National Park, Singita Kwitonda Lodge is home to eight luxurious suites and resides alongside Kataza House – an exclusive use four-bedroom villa.

    For the past 26 years, Singita has operated iconic ecotourism lodges and camps across three regions in Africa. The brand’s expansion into Rwanda supports the company’s 100-year purpose to preserve and protect large areas of African wilderness for future generations. To this end, Singita has committed to extensive reforestation initiatives in Rwanda, helping to increase the range and numbers of endangered mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park. The presence of Singita Kwitonda Lodge on the park border will help to create a natural space between agricultural plots and the habitat of the estimated 320 mountain gorillas that find sanctuary here. The property itself has been named after named after a legendary silverback gorilla known for his humility and gentle nature – Kwitonda.

    Singita has been inspired by the warm and welcoming spirit of the people of Rwanda which embodies a sense of goodwill and encapsulates their remarkable recovery from a painful past – this energy has driven them forward in their country’s rebirth. For this reason, Singita feels enormously privileged to open just ten minutes from Singita Volcanoes National Park and will contribute significantly to conservation, community partnerships and ecotourism. The lodge’s on-site nursery, Akarabo has to date provided approximately 250,000 indigenous forest shrubs, bamboo shoots and trees for an extensive reforestation initiative.

    The design of Singita Kwitonda Lodge was conceptualised by GAPP Architects in collaboration with the interior design teams Cécile & Boyd and Hesse Kleinloog (HK) Studio. The design takes its cue from Rwanda’s cultural heritage and the enormous responsibility of protecting the strong, yet vulnerable gorillas. Bold, striking interiors, which are simultaneously nurturing, reflect the duality of the gorillas’ nature; and this is also seen in the interplay of surprisingly strong art and furniture with pared-back modernity.

    “It’s an absolute dream to expand our conservation footprint in Rwanda – a beautiful country with a remarkable conservation success story,” said Singita Founder and Executive Chairman, Luke Bailes. “Contributing to the Government’s enormous efforts to protect the country’s wildlife is both a privilege and a serious responsibility. We’re thrilled with the elegant, exceptionally sustainable lodges we’ve created here. They allow guests to connect deeply with nature in the heart of Africa, after a humbling encounter with the gorillas.

    Image credit: Singita

    Guest suites are made up of cosy living spaces, indoor and outdoor fireplaces and heated plunge pools, with breath-taking views of the Sabyinyo, Gahinga and Muhabura volcanoes. Travellers are encouraged to enjoy soothing massages on return from their adventurous excursions. Natural elements like earth, mist, rain and lava are cleverly integrated into furniture pieces and linear artwork. Meanwhile the vivid colour palette of lava black, khaki green, ‘greige’ and fiery orange echo the surrounding landscape which flows in through large windows throughout the lodge. It’s an inherently African sophistication that is long-lasting, polished and earthy.

    The property itself is made up of a collection of small buildings laid which follow the natural contours of the ground. Each element of the design and construction of the lodge and villa follow Singita’s which informed every detail from site design and materials used to energy and water systems as well as overall interior design. The team worked closely with the local community to locally source most building materials from the immediate Musanze district – a majority of the elements that make up the property have been made in Africa and handpicked by the interior designers.

    More than 500 local artisans and builders were involved in the project crafting volcanic walls, impressive woven ceilings and hand-fired terracotta brickwork, ensuring an authentic translation of local culture into key elements, adding a significant boost to local employment and businesses.  The overall effect is strong and captivating, yet soothing, enhancing the serious, soul-centering experience of encountering gorilla families in their natural habitat.

    The food and beverage offering at the lodge takes a farm-to-table-approach featuring largely vegetable-based dishes and local Rwandan favourites, the on-site herb and fruit garden supplies the lodge kitchens with an array of fresh ingredients. Other highlights of the food journey include tailor-made trekking lunchboxes, flexible mealtimes and a signature “bar-deli” which offers fresh fruit and small snacks, enabling guests to help themselves throughout the day.

    Main image credit: Singita

    Mitsis Hotels lifts the lid on redesign story behind Greek gem

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    Mitsis Hotels lifts the lid on redesign story behind Greek gem

    Architecture and design firm WATG completed the renovation and redesign of Mitsis Summer Palace on the Greek island of Kos… 

    Uniquely positioned on an elevated site above a Blue Flag-awarded beach, the newly renovated Mitsis Summer Palace boasts 360-degree views across the Aegean Sea towards Nissiros Island and the Bay of Kardamena, and offers a stunning direct line of sight all the way to the coast of Turkey. Tasked with the evolutionary renovations was the multidisciplined design firm WATG.

    Showcasing the full suite of of the firm’s services, the project – which included upgrades to thesite’s restaurant and pool amenities – incorporated strategy, planning, architecture, landscape architecture and Wimberly Interiors to achieve a fully integrated, considered space that celebrates the stunning surroundings while aligning perfectly with Mitsis Hotels’ commitment to creating one-of-a-kind travel experiences.

    “The hillside situation of the hotel, with expansive views across the Aegean, was theinspiration for creating a space which seamlessly connects the guest with the horizon,” said Georgina Langridge of WATG’s London Landscape Architecture team who was awarded a Hotel Designs’ 30 Under 30 earlier this year. “From a design perspective, it was all about connecting visitors with the surrounding sea and celebrating the Kos sunset. In contrast to other pools on the island, we made a bold move with the colour palette and opted for a dark tile – something that is quite unique to the property, which has bold features throughout including teal sun lounges and coralaccents in the restaurant.”

    On working with Mitsis Hotels, WATG London Associate Vice President and Architect Nick Carrier commented: “WATG is thrilled to have an ongoing and exciting relationship with a company like Mitsis Hotels. We’re grateful to them for placing trust in us to make bolddecisions and contribute to their vision of creating unique, customer-centric spaces.”

    Mitsis Summer Palace reopened in April 2019 following the highly successful renovation and reopening of Mitsis Norida Beach in April 2018, which featured five new pools, a pool bar, three restaurants and a beach bar – also a WATG multidisciplinary design project.

    Main image credit: Mitsis Hotels

    In Conversation With: Versa’s Paul Gibson on sustainable wallcoverings in EMEA hotels

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    In Conversation With: Versa’s Paul Gibson on sustainable wallcoverings in EMEA hotels

    As part of its expansion plans for 2019 and beyond, Versa Wallcovering has recently turned up the volume in amplifying its products in Europe. Hotel Designs editor Hamish Kilburn sits down with the company’s new Business Development Manager (EMEA), Paul Gibson, to understand more about his vision and the latest sustainable wallcovering products on the market… 

    Having worked with the likes of Marriott International, Hilton Hotels, IHG and Four Seasons, among many other brands, Versa Wallcovering is currently at a crossroads in its journey. Known in the US as one of the go-to contract surface brands, it has recently added a new element within in its strategy in order to expand in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA).

    The individual who has been tasked to direct the traffic forwards in the EMEA regions is Paul Gibson. With more 15 years’ experience in the sector, Gibson is, in Versa Wallcovering’s eyes, the ideal industry expert for the job. “This is very much a clean page for Versa,” he says. “The company has always had an element of a presence in the UK through distribution, but they decided about a year ago to do a full-on sales attack in Europe.”

    What seems to set the company aside from other conventional wallcovering brands is its sustainability qualities – not only in designing durable products that are built to last but also considering materials at manufacturing stages. “We have the technology to recycle and recover used vinyl and factory waste,” explains Gibson. “We cover it to be used in new products, which is a completely unique process. We have a range called Second Look, which is created using recycled materials. There are recycled materials in all of our products with no sacrifice in appearance, durability and quality. The other thing we have launching later this year is a PVC-free vinyl.”

    Image caption: Paul Gibson, Versa Wallcovering’s Business Development Manager (EMEA),

    Quick-fire round

    Hamish Kilburn: A trend you hope to never return?
    Paul Gibson: Artex on walls. It’s hideous.

    HK: What is the wallcoverings market as a whole really focusing on at the moment?
    G: I want to say sustainability, but more needs to be done first. I guess innovation of design.

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

    HK: What is the number-one item you can’t travel without?
    PG: My phone

    HK: What’s the last transaction that will show up on your statement?
    PG: Probably an ITunes download, or coffee!

    HK: How has technology changed since you entered the market?
    PG: I started in 2004, and there were silk vinyl copies that were plastic and shiny and it didn’t look real. Now, you can’t really tell the difference because they are so realistic. Just how far tech has come in a relatively short period of time is incredible.

    One area in the hotel that benefits more than others from innovative and creative wallcoverings is the lobby – and a fairly simple way to give these public areas personality is to inject colour in them. “The days of having one tone of colour on a vinyl are almost over,” explains Gibson. “We have a very sophisticated printing process where we can print multiple layers.

    “What people couldn’t achieve a few years ago they now can because tech allows them to. Digital wallcoverings is now moving more towards achieving more intricate detailed. Now are using digital printing methods in standard wallcoverings where we can print on a texture or print over a colour to create more varied effects.”

    Versa Wallcovering’s latest collection, which includes Caba, Capri and Crush, is proof in the pudding that the company’s focus remains on hotels within all levels and its inspiration comes from nature – think stones, peacocks and floral aesthetics but with a modern twist. “Our design team are very good at looking outside our direct industry for inspiration is key,” adds Gibson. “They are visionaries who are thinking outside the box and I am very proud of the new collection that has been a result of that method.”

    Keeping brand values close to home, the company’s ‘everything we sell, we manufacture’ policy keeps its products and service seamless and absolute. In addition, and as an incentive for designers to select more sustainable products at affordable costs, Versa Wallcovering promises competitive prices and endeavours to deliver samples the next day (where possible even same day).

    Now that Versa Wallcovering has turned the page to enter a new chapter on a prosperous journey, its global reach of eco-sourced products has inspired designers, architects, owners and operators to think more about the materials used when designing the hotels of our future.

    Versa Wallcovering 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.

    MINIVIEW: room2 Southampton, the debut hometel

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    MINIVIEW: room2 Southampton, the debut hometel

    Claiming to be the world’s first hometel brand, room2 Southampton shelters the best of both worlds in 71 rooms. As Hotel Designs continues to focus the Spotlight On Hotel Concepts, editor Hamish Kilburn spoke to design firm Project Orange to understand the design story…

    With the aim to create a home-from-home hotel on England’s south coast, room2 Southampton opened to float above the surface in a sea of competition among other sub brands sitting under larger groups to stand out as a lifestyle hotel.

    Tasked to redesign the hotel experience as we know it, the design team at Project Orange were briefed by Lamington UK to conceptualise and create the ultimate apart-hotel. “We believed that there are a lot of tired, soulless, corporate hotels out there, and we wanted to inject fun, energy and life into peoples stay,” says Robert Godwin, the Managing Director of Lamington UK. “The design brief was to take inspiration from the local surroundings, and so the ‘golden age of cruise lining from Southampton’, was our design starting point. We wanted to make a place which would put a smile on someones face, not make them feel stiff, because if a guest was relaxed, they would rejuvenate better, and be their best version of themselves the next day (whether for work or play).”

    Steering clear of gimmicks, which too often creep in to plans when innovating hotel concepts, the project started to convert a block of 1980s offices into the 71-key ‘hometel’. “The concept of room2 is neither conventional hotel nor conventional Apart-hotel,” says Christopher Ash, Director at Project Orange. “It is a space between a hotel and Airbnb.”

    Image credit: room2

    Before creating the modern, compact but well equipped kitchens and proper spaces to dine, eat sleep and relax, the design team faced a common challenge of planning restrictions. “The main challenges involved taking an un prepossessing 1980s office building in a fantastic location and transforming it into this new brand of hometel,” explains Ash. “Planning restrictions severely limited external changes to the main part of the building so we focussed on the ground floor and creating huge Edward Hopper type picture windows that drew the gaze into the room2 Living Room, married with a bold new entrance design. Incorporating new M&E services, especially as bedrooms include kitchen areas also presented challenges.”

    “Guests ‘get it’, they rave about the concept for us.” – Robert Godwin, Managing Director, Leamington Group

    In creating something new and aiming to make a marked improvement on conventional hotel and apartment-style accommodation, a new term has been created – the ‘hometel’ – and it’s the perfect way to describe the interiors, the feel and the overarching concept that is housed inside. “It has been our biggest achievement to date, because it is not a fad, or buzz word,” adds Godwin. “Guests ‘get it’, they rave about the concept for us, and what’s very special about ‘home’, is it means something special and personal to everyone, so therefore guests get an instant connection with the brand and their stay experience.”

    The extremely flexible accommodation has clearly been designed with purpose in order to suit both long and short stay, full or part self-catering and mixed/family groups. Many of the rooms, for example, include an iconic second loft-like sleeping deck area, ideal for families travelling with kids. “Everyone one loves a well-designed hotel room, cleaned daily and with fresh towels and linen, air conditioning and (generally) a big TV you can lie and watch in bed,” explains Ash. “And lots of people love a good hotel breakfast too. But sometimes you want a bit of flexibility, especially with extended stay guests.  – a chance to enjoy your favourite breakfast cereal in your room, or to cook up a quick pasta in the evening. Or you may want the chance to rustle up something simple for the kids whilst they’re glued to the TV. These are things more associated with home, or an Airbnb. But then you have to do your own housekeeping!

    “You can be as plugged in or as zoned out as you like.” – Christopher Ash, Director, Project Orange.

    “room2 is the perfect half-way house. An informal hotel with lots of personality you can enjoy but won’t be beholden to. There is no restaurant or bar in the traditional sense, just the room2 Living Room which is part hang out space, laid back working area, café, bar and meeting area. Likewise there are no designated reception staff, waiters or bar staff – the room2 Roommates are easy going jacks of all trades. You can be as plugged in or as zoned out as you like.”

    Drawing on extensive industry experience, room2’s design considers all people and checking in and all possible scenarios. The result is a rule-breaking design-led abode, full of personality and attitude that allows its guests to experience the hometel on their own terms.

    Main image credit: room2 Southampton

    Franklite is the only UK company that is equipped to offer complete photometric files – and here’s why

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    Franklite is the only UK company that is equipped to offer complete photometric files – and here’s why

    Franklite, which believes it has the product to fit any lighting requirement, also one of the very few decorative and soft commercial lighting companies that has their own photometer and spectrometer and the only UK company which owns a Rigo 801-1500 near-field Goniophotometer – a cutting edge device used for measurement of light emitted from an object at different angles.

    This investment now enables the company to offer complete photometric files compatible with designer’ssoftware in ELUMDAT .(ltd) and IESNA (.ies) formats.

    Wojciech Miller, Franklites Technical Specialist states: ‘The Photometer allows us to gather information about the quality and quantity of light being produced by our luminaires. By utilizing this information, we are able to design and produce quality lighting products which also offer excellent energy saving credentials. In recent years lighting technology has evolved at a tremendous pace and with this investment it enablesFranklite to lead the field.”

    Franklite 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.

    DESIGN INSPIRATION: 7 Quirky hotels built into their surroundings

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

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

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

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

    The Caves Resort, Jamaica

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

    ICE Hotel, Sweden

    Bed in the middle of iced shelter

    Image credit: ICE Hotel

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

    Eco Camp Patagonia, Chile

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

    Poseidon Undersea Resort, Fiji

    Image credit: Poseidon Undersea Resort, Fiji/YouTube

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

    Aurora Express, Alaska, USA

    Image credit: Aurora Express, Alaska, USA

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

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

    Singita Sweni Lodge, South Africa

    Image credit: Singita Sweni Lodge, South Africa

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

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

    Hotel Endemico, Mexico

    Image credit: Hotel Endemico, Mexico

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

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

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

    Main image credit: Singita Sweni Lodge, South Africa

    Violet armchairs by the window

    Laura Ashley Hotel The Iliffe, Coventry opens

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    Laura Ashley Hotel The Iliffe, Coventry opens

    Laura Ashley Hotel The Iliffe, Coventry, formerly known as Corus The Chace Hotel, has opened its doors to reveal to reveal a quintessentially British and timeless transformation… 

    As part of the hotel group’s aggressive expansion, Laura Ashley Hotels has opened the doors to its second property, Laura Ashley Hotel The Iliffe, Coventry. The 17-key boutique hotel is sheltered in a stunning example of Victorian architecture surrounded by three acres of attractive landscaped gardens.

    Violet armchairs by the window

    The new design, led by the company’s in-house Commercial Designer, Kay Cullen, takes inspiration from the grand sweeping staircase, leading upstairs to the new guestrooms, which evokes the splendour of the past.

    The land, which the property is located on, boasts a colourful history dating back to 1257 and was once owned by King Henry VIII. Laura Ashley Hotel The Iliffe, Coventry is named after the family the property was constructed for in the late 1890s, Dr Charles Webb Iliffe, a well-respected figure in the local medical community, and his wife, a young debutante, Mary Ann Soden.

    Every part of the hotel has been redesigned drawing inspiration from the hotel’s Victorian heritage, with carefully selected rich colours which complement each other and luxurious furnishings to create an elegant space to entice comfort & relaxation.

    “To pay homage to the decadence this image portrays, I decided to bring back a sense of the past and to embrace the beautiful detail within this magnificent old building.” – Kay Cullen, Commercial Designer, Laura Ashley Hotels.

    “I was charmed by the beautiful building which once a grand manor house of late Victorian origin,” said Cullen. “The beautiful sweeping staircase takes you on a journey through the owner’s past with a portrait of the glamorous lady Mary Ann Soden as a debutante in the mid-eighteen hundreds. To pay homage to the decadence this image portrays, I decided to bring back a sense of the past and to embrace the beautiful detail within this magnificent old building.”

    The boutique hotel’s superior and deluxe Laura Ashley bedrooms have been designed to infuse a sense of tranquillity with an effortless style. Classic Laura Ashley design adorns every surface, from plush cushions, to Laura Ashley Glenmore chairs in marine velvet, floor-to-ceiling drapes to statement lighting and stylish Laura Ashley Constellation Champagne and Gold Constance Mirrors.

    Classic leather Hudson button back sofas add a touch of luxury and are a nod to the gentleman’s library that would have been cherished in a grand house by the Iliffe family. While a bespoke bookshelf separates the bar from the lounge space, with a secret pocket door which opens to connect both spaces when required. In the main restaurant there is a hand painted mural to reflect the surrounding grounds and to add a little country manor house romance to the space.

    The Laura Ashley Hotels portfolio, which also includes The Belsfield Hotel, Windermere, and is soon to include Burnham Beeches Hotel in Buckinghamshire, aims to offer guests an authentic home from home experience against the backdrop of the Laura Ashley Home range in characterful properties in the UK.

    Main image credit: Laura Ashley Hotels

    PRODUCT WATCH: Wellness & wellbeing in the open air

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    PRODUCT WATCH: Wellness & wellbeing in the open air

    As Hotel Designs focuses its lens on Hotel Concepts, editor Hamish Kilburn learns how Gessi is leading the way in launching innovative bathroom products inspired by nature and the great outdoors… 

    Internal and external, closed and open, domestic and nature scale: ideally designers can eliminate all barriers with the Gessi Outdoor line in order to create a single grand dimension of physical and mental wellbeing. The free-standing shower columns of the Gessi Outdoor Wellness Sy- stem were specically conceived for outdoor spaces.

    They offer innovative combinations of materials, nishes and treatments, with the goal of recreating the stylistic and functional pleasure of the Gessi Private Wellness System outdoors, for a private oasis of wellbeing or in public spaces such as spas and resorts.

    The rened and discreet lines of the Gessi Outdoor Collections are naturally inserted into the landscape, creating a continuity and happy union between interior and exterior, a harmonious fusion with nature.

    With an elegant, modern and discreet appearance, the Gessi G01 outdo- or shower gives spaces a re ned and contemporary style. Self-standing and created in stainless steel, this model is a winner thanks to its slim and essential design, and gives a special atmosphere to terraces, gardens and pools, the geometric angled tubular structure terminates with a directional showerhead equipped with special holes for a rich rainfall jet. The showerhead is available with a smooth surface treatment or in four different knurled patterns, while the vertical tubular body is equipped with elegant ring-shaped controls in tone-on-tone or contrasting nish, available in smo- oth or knurled texture. For greater practicality, this model features a design handshower with magnetic attachment. Also for the outdoor world, Gessi offers customizable details and coordinating elements.

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

    Main image credit: Gessi

    A legend reborn: Raffles Singapore reopens

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    A legend reborn: Raffles Singapore reopens

    Raffles Singapore has announced its highly anticipated reopening. With interiors by the acclaimed Alexandra Champalimaud, the hotel’s sensitive design heralds an exciting new chapter in the iconic property’s rich history and heritage…

    The infamous Raffles Singapore is now open, following the iconic hotel’s careful and sensitive three-phased restoration, which first began in February 2017. The meticulous restoration project, led by acclaimed interior designer Alexandra Champalimaud, was also supported by Aedas.

    “There are few hotels in the world whose names have become virtually synonymous with the cities in which they are located – and none more so than the Raffles Hotel in Singapore. The newly restored Raffles will provide an experience like no other,” said Christian Westbeld, General Manager, Raffles Singapore. “It is our wish and desire that our guests will continue to create treasured memories at the hotel, while rediscovering what makes it so special – the distinctive architecture, heritage and legendary service.”

    Discerning travellers can expect new levels of unrivalled comfort and inimitable service with enhanced suite experience, brought to life by the fabled Raffles Butlers, while enjoying the new and reimagined spaces at Raffles Singapore.

    “Raffles Singapore reinvents emotional luxury.” – Jeannette Ho, Vice President, Raffles Brand and Strategic Relationships, Raffles Hotels and Resorts

    Striking chandeliers hang down in modern nd contemporary restaurant

    Image caption: La Dame de Pic. Credit: Raffles Singapore

    “We are very pleased to be part of the reopening of the iconic Raffles Singapore officially returning to the city, refreshed, reimagined and revitalised,” commented Jeannette Ho, Vice President, Raffles Brand and Strategic Relationships, Raffles Hotels and Resorts. “This is where it all started and faithful to its roots, Raffles Singapore reinvents emotional luxury. As the hotel concludes its restoration and embarks on the next chapter, the return of this flagship property to Raffles Hotels & Resorts paves the way for the expansion of the brand as we deliver this same level of unparalleled service and sublime experiences to new destinations in cities such as Udaipur, London and Boston.”

    The revitalised hotel offers luxurious all-suite accommodations, across nine distinct suite categories: State Room Suites, Courtyard Suites, Palm Court Suites, Personality Suites, Residence Suites, Promenade Suites, Studio Suites, Grand Hotel Suites and Presidential Suites. Residence, Promenade and Studio suites, are the three latest additions to the hotel’s existing line-up. The total suite count increases from 103 suites to 115 suites.

    The Raffles Arcade has been newly outfitted with a charming Raffles Boutique and various bespoke retail brands. Guests and locals will also delight in exploring the worldly restaurants and bars at Raffles Singapore, including restaurant collaborations with Chef Anne-Sophie Pic, of the three-Michelin star Maison Pic in Valence, France; venerable French Master Chef Alain Ducasse; and Chef Jereme Leung, known for his innovative Chinese cooking. At the refreshed Long Bar, travellers will continue to enjoy the hotel’s most famous cocktail, the original Singapore Sling, along with the timeless tradition of tossing peanut shells on the floor.

    Westbeld further added, “Raffles Singapore is one of the few remaining great 19th century hotels in the world and its restoration has been carefully designed to preserve its unique historic charm, while creating extraordinary experiences for our esteemed guests – a dedicated commitment from all of us at Raffles Singapore and also from our owner, Katara Hospitality.”

    First opened in 1887, and declared a National Monument a century later by the Singapore Government in 1987, Raffles Singapore has through the years, gained both local and international recognition as an oasis for the well-travelled. It is a national treasure among Singaporeans who deeply value its historical significance and unique heritage. The last restoration was conducted from 1989 to 1991 where the hotel closed for two and a half years.

    Main image credit: Accor/Raffles Singapore

    SNEAK PEEK: Inside Hinode Hills Niseko Village, Japan

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    SNEAK PEEK: Inside Hinode Hills Niseko Village, Japan

    Nestled at the south base of the 1308m Mount Niseko Annupuri, the design-led 79-key boutique hotel, Hinode Hills Niseko Village, operated by YTL Hotels, will open in Japan on December 1…

    Named to pay homage to the rising sun, the elegantly furnished luxury all-suite Hinode Hills Niseko Village hotel is designed with a wabi-sabi aesthetic, unveiling its fine beauty through authenticity, natural forms, and the appreciation for nature.

    Blending warm contemporary style with authentic Japanese aesthetics, and complemented with luxury hotel services and amenities, guests’ choice of multiple room and suite configurations up to three-bedrooms, provide a host of opportunities suitable for any type of merriment, from romantic getaways to large family vacations.

    “The hotel is also strategically located adjacent to the Upper Village Gondola.”

    Situated at the base of Mount Niseko Annupuri, Hinode Hills occupies a prime position at the heart of Niseko Village with stunning Mount Yotei views, ski-in, ski-out access, an in-house onsen, and a host of ski services available on property. The hotel is also strategically located adjacent to the Upper Village Gondola, which provides guests with the convenience of mobility around the mountain with easy lift access replacing the need to walk, drive or take a shuttle bus.

    Services at Hinode Hills are held to the usual high standards of YTL Hotels, with concierge facilities and priority privileges at guests’ doorstep. Being part of an integrated resort managed by Niseko Village, all-mountain operations and experiences are designed to be seamless and guests are spoilt for choice with the variety of convivial social settings across diverse dining and retail venues, world-class facilities, indoor and outdoor attractions at The Green Leaf Niseko Village, Hilton Niseko Village, and at the heart of the village itself.

    Image credit: YTL Hotels

    “Hinode Hills raises the bar for luxury developments in Niseko and is committed to providing guests with a truly integrated and seamless experience,” says Luke Hurford, Senior Vice President of Strategy at YTL Hotels.” You will have the luxury of having your ski school instructors meeting you at your door, to ski-out directly to the ski area and lifts beside the hotel, the convenience of on-site gear rental and the advantage of the gondola beside the hotel to whisk you away to the village dining and shopping area.”

    The highly anticipated hotel opened for reservations in April, and will officially open in December, adding to the strong portfolio of YTL Hotels.

    Main image credit: YTL Hotels

    NYC-based design firm uses technology to re-imagine the hotel bar

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    NYC-based design firm uses technology to re-imagine the hotel bar

    A sculptural “Cubic Sky” inside La Concha, one of San Juan’s most iconic technology hotels, takes spatial design, sound, and lighting to the next level…

    Design firm Cactus transforms club Fifty Eight inside La Concha Renaissance Resort from an underused space into a must-see design destination using the latest innovations in digital technology and architecture.

    A sculptural, full-ceiling, architectural installation which is capable of creating electrifying patterns and reacting automatically to live music and programmed controls. Created from hundreds of individual, custom-made light boxes, Cubic Sky combines architecture and technical innovation for a jaw-dropping display.

    Each light box of the chandelier is capable of creating a wide range of color and brightness individually. The ‘cubes’ are networked together and utilize custom-built software that visualises data using a combination of graphic design, algorithms, and animation.

    Cubic Sky can generate natural, ambient patterns, react automatically to live music, or be controlled with a custom, tablet-based interface which allows DJ’s, artists and hosts to adjust light patterns and create ephemeral and bespoke experiences.

    During the day, subtle changes in light color and brightness create beautiful ambient patternsin the room, mimicking the passing clouds of the Caribbean right outside. In the early evening, the colors of the sunset from that day are reflected by the light colors and natural patterns on the ceiling, evoking the beauty of the surrounding area. At night, the lounge area transforms into one of the region’s most unforgettable nightclubs. The ceiling can react to the live music below, using inputs from the audio system to change thepattern, color and intensity of the lights.

    Cactus is an experiential design studio that creates work at the intersection of physical architecture and digital technology. The studio works for visionary clients across a range of industries including media, fitness, medicine, entertainment, automotive and financial services. All client work is united by one objective – to imagine, design, and build what is next.

    In Conversation With: Fashion designer Jack Irving

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Fashion shoot of models on bed with cushion

    Image credit: Charlotte Rutherford

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

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

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

    QUICK-FIRE ROUND

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Models on bed with cushion

    Image credit: Charlotte Rutherford

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

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

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

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

    Main image credit: Jack Irving Studio

    NEW FOR DESIGNERS & HOTELIERS: Bisque debuts new online platform

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    NEW FOR DESIGNERS & HOTELIERS: Bisque debuts new online platform

    Pioneering British design brand Bisque has announced a new online platform for interior designers, specifiers and architects…

    A new section of Bisque’s website has been developed specifically to cater to the demands of designers, specifiers and architects in order to provide this audience with all the information it may need to specify Bisque products in new projects and developments.

    For more than 40 years, Bisque has been the brand of choice for interior designers thanks to its class-leading selection of designer radiators. In fact, Bisque has been specified in a wide range of projects, from big budget hotels to independent, boutique outlets. These include the The Savoy, Shrangi-La at the Shard and Chewton Glen. Whatsmore, Bisque is also an accredited partner of SBID, the Society of British Interior Designers, founded by Vanessa Brady OBE, who was also a judge for The Brit List 2017.

    “For a long time Bisque has enjoyed fruitful relationships with some of the UK’s finest interior designers, from both established names to up-and-coming talent,” explained Brand leader Ellie Sawdy. “The launch of this new section on our website signifies our ongoing commitment to providing designers with all they need to specify our products, and make the entire process as seamless as possible.”

    Bisque provides a range of services for interior designers, which can be accessed via the new platform. This includes: an online resource library with downloadable images and CAD files, bespoke sizes and finishes, bespoke brackets and fittings, and a dedicated technical service team to assist throughout the entire process, from design to installation.

    Main image credit: Designer – Edwina Boase/Bisque

     

    More than 70% of Brits believe hotels can be more eco-friendly

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    More than 70% of Brits believe hotels can be more eco-friendly

    A survey has revealed what Brits really think when it comes to hotels’ efforts to be eco-friendly… 

    76 per cent of British holidaymakers feel hotels can play a larger role than they currently are in being ‘greener’, a study has found. The survey, carried out by Taxi2Airport, also concluded that most Brits will seek to walk, bike or use public transport to explore the destination around the hotel.

    Meanwhile, 71 per cent have a strong desire to pack as light as possible. In turn, this will have an indirect positive effect on their flight, because if a plane weighs less – it increases fuel-efficiency and decreases the carbon emissions it produces. 66 per cent of the 1,468 respondents stated they will make a conscious effort to turn off the TV, lights, heating and air conditioning (AC) when not in use or present in the room.

    Interestingly, since toiletries such as toothpaste, shower gels and shampoos are provided on a complimentary bases in a majority of hotels – it can be easy to use them wastefully as they are ‘free’. Bearing this in mind, 54 per cent will only throw away and/or ask for new toiletries once they have finished their existing set.

    Fascinatingly, 67 per cent believed hotels should take the initiative to include a recyclableas well as non-recyclable bin, so they can separate any rubbish in their room between the two. Surprisingly, a sizeable 55 per cent of travellers would be happy if their hotel bathroom had a low flow shower head and toilet – both going a long way towards reducing water consumption.

    Main image credit: Zuri Zanzibar

    Checking In: Down the rabbit hole in Devon’s Glazebrook House Hotel

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    Checking In: Down the rabbit hole in Devon’s Glazebrook House Hotel

    In search for English eccentricity, editor Hamish Kilburn checks in to Glazebrook House Hotel to explore the Alice-in-Wonderland meets Rule Britania interiors, designed by Timothy Oulton

    When Peter and Fran Hamman, the owners of Glazebrook House Hotel, originally embarked on their tremendous journey to open a statement luxury boutique hotel in South Devon, they were faced with several key decisions to make.

    The first, and arguably the most important: who was going to design the interiors of the hotel to help turn bring to life their vision of an Alice-in-Wonderland-themed hotel? If there was anyone who qualified in sensitively making this dream a reality it was internationally renowned British revivalist designer Timothy Oulton, a somewhat obvious choice considering his quirky portfolio of work.

    Oulton’s alternative, somewhat edgy charm can be felt immediately upon entering the hotel’s lobby. Two statement chandeliers hang from the tall ceiling above a deliberately distressed-looking rug. On one side of the room, past a striking chesterfield sofa, is a white sculpture of a young Queen Elizabeth. On the other side, past two clashing metallic armchairs, and above the mantelpiece are the hulls of mini boats hang on wall, injects a subtle sense-of-place. Meanwhile, an oversized, eye-catching union jack curtain hangs behind an understated check-in desk.

    Image caption: The lobby | Image credit: ACT Studios

    Since opening in September 2014, the hotel has become as famous for its food and beverage offering as it has its award-winning design. The elegant, intimate F&B area is balanced precisely with refined parquet flooring and reclaimed British oak tables, which adds an element of welcome authenticity. Fun details such as British-made china and shining silverware trays create a bold yet brilliant choice of wallcoverings. Across the hall, an equally impressive bar area spills out onto a sun-trap terrace and connects to the cigar room, which features a sculpture of Winston Churchill smoking an illuminated cigar aptly positioned next to the liquor cabinet.

    While corridors in some hotels naturally become a dead space that lack design and inspiration, Glazebrook House the hotel embraces the unconventional. Bizarre artefacts hang proudly on the walls, such as traditional horns and Oulton-style bowler hats. The landing is also a clash of ideas working together in harmony. A feature wall of traditional street signs reflects the main staircase, while furniture designed to be a nod towards Britain’s equestrian style – think upside-down saddle-inspired armchairs – create a relaxed yet refined feel.

    “My nest for the evening, The Mad Hatter Suite, is full of idiosyncratic moments.”

    Nine individually designed en-suite guestrooms, all designed in homage to Lewis Carroll’s most famous work, have been given apt names, such as White Rabbit (the hotel’s design-led disabled access room) and the twin room Tweedle Deez to reference further the overarching theme down the rabbit hole. My nest for the evening, The Mad Hatter Suite, is full of idiosyncratic moments, which include topsy-turvy dollhouses on the walls above a brown studded-leather headboard and low-hanging chandeliers tied with thick rustic rope, which juxtaposes solid marble side tables that sit underneath. The spacious ensuites in each room offer minimalist luxury, complete with Geberit WCs, Villeroy & Boch basins and Pura shower units.

    Voted, among other award wins, as the best boutique hotel for 2018 by Visit England, the converted Georgian Manor house is full to the brim of personality and charm at every corner. Combining the best in British design with one-off quality elements thoughtfully thrown in to add new layers, the design story of Glazebrook House Hotel has been a methodical one. On the surface it seems that arbitrary objects have been paired together. But the realty is that every item sheltered in the shell of the building helps to create a seamless and unforgettable hotel guest experience for all.

    Main image credit: ACT Studios

    CASE STUDY: Lighting and wiring a Grade II listed boutique hotel

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    CASE STUDY: Lighting and wiring a Grade II listed boutique hotel

    Hamilton Litestat reports on its lighting and wiring work inside The Lime Tree Hotel, a family-run business in a Grade II-listed building, located in south Belgravia, London…

    Packed with original character and grandeur, The Lime Tree Hotel’s high ceilings, open fireplaces and original cornicing have been painstakingly preserved for almost two centuries, providing guests with a charming, elegant and warm welcome.

    The hoteliers sourced quality designer accessories and refurbished the guest rooms, with each suite featuring different wall coverings to create a high-end designer boutique feel. To unify the varied design scheme, they wanted to standardise the style of lamps used, hand-selecting Astro and Pooky lamps, and continue this consistency with coordinated electrical wiring accessories. They needed a solution that would work throughout the property, complementing the look and feel of each room and providing that sought-after high-quality finish.

    To be in-keeping with the rich heritage of the Grade II listed property, the Goodsalls wanted to avoid large multi-functional control plates that felt too modern. Instead they were seeking a solution that would give a more traditional, boutique feel with single and double plates of a standard size.

    During the research process, the Goodsalls came across Hamilton at a major independent hotel trade show. The sleek, sophisticated profile of Hamilton’s Sheer collection of switch plates and sockets, which fit almost flush to the wall, interested the hoteliers and they enlisted Hamilton to support in the hotel refurbishment.

    Image credit: Hamilton Litestat

    The Solution: Hamilton advised the Goodsalls on plate styles and finishes to suit the Astro lamps that were to be installed on either side of the bed in each guest room. Featuring a built-in reading light, the Astro lamps are a shade of bronze with crisp white shade. Hamilton developed a bespoke solution for the project, manufacturing its Sheer collection of plates in Etrium Bronze, a finish not typically available in this plate design but was an almost identical colour match to the finish of the Astro lamps. The minimalist flat plate Sheer design provides an elegant and understated designer solution.

    Although deeply respectful of the building’s original features, the Goodsalls were well aware that guests expect modern functionality, such as USB charging, so Hamilton supplied 2.1A/1A dual USB double switched sockets for each side of the bed. A separate rocker switch was also installed alongside the USB plate that controlled the corresponding Astro bedside lamp.

    For the main lighting in the guest rooms, a one-gang rotary dimmer acted as the master light switch, with a two-gang rocker switch to control the en-suite lighting. Both were finished in the sophisticated and on-trend Etrium Bronze finish for a coordinated look.

    A matching 2.1A/1A dual USB double switched socket was also installed above the writing desk to support business guests that use the working area. Meanwhile, to keep functional wiring hidden away and the desk area clear, a double switch socket and telephone plate was installed under the desk.

    The Result: Hamilton’s quality products, developed and manufactured in the UK, provided the perfect finishing touch to the Lime Tree Hotel. The design and finish of the switch plates and sockets match effortlessly with the hotel’s designer lighting accessories, while complementing and coordinating with the décor in each of the individual room designs. The hotel owners are delighted with the finished result.

    “The quality and finish of the solutions supplied by Hamilton is exquisite and we’re proud to be able to offer this setting to our guests,” said Matthew Goodsall. “Throughout the process we have felt thoroughly supported, with the Hamilton team going the extra mile to supply samples that helped us to quickly reach a final decision on products and move forward with the refurbishment. The team’s enthusiasm, interest in the project and getting the finer details spot on has really added something extra to our final interior design scheme.

    “Wherever possible, we wanted to source British manufactured products and support the UK industry, and we’re pleased to have been able to do this with Hamilton,” adds Matthew.“The team was big enough to take on our bespoke request but small enough to care; I don’t think we would have received this level of support from a larger company.”

    Gavin Williams, Hamilton’s Head of Marketing, added: “This refined period property needed careful handling to ensure that the electrical wiring solution met the needs of guests while also adhering to the age and charm of the Grade II-listed building. We feel we found the perfect design and finish, and we’re delighted that hoteliers Matthew and Charlotte feel the same way.”

    Main image credit: Hamilton Litestat

    The Brit List 2019 Awards: Meet the judges

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    The Brit List 2019 Awards: Meet the judges

    Now that nominations have opened for The Brit List 2019 Awards, we would like you to meet our fabulous judges, handpicked in order to make this year’s process to find the most influential British designers, hoteliers, architects and suppliers the biggest and best yet… 

    The Brit List 2019 is back, once again launching its nationwide search to find Britain’s leading interior designers, hoteliers and architects. Nominations are now open (until August 9) and, what’s more, the process in which to apply remains completely free.

    This year’s judges, who have all individually been hand-selected, each come from a different sectors of design, architecture and hospitality in order to keep the process fair, creative and open to all.

    The judges for The Brit List 2019 Awards are:

    Harriet Forde, British Institute of Interior Design President (Industry Partner)

    Harriet Forde, BIID President

    Harriet Forde, who was recently interviewed by Hotel Designs,  is the founder and director of Harriet Forde Design, which provides a comprehensive range of interior design services predominantly based in the commercial property and hotel industries, as well as the high-end residential housing market. “The BIID are the UK’s leading professional body for interior designers and we are delighted to partner with the Brit List for 2019,” said Forde. “Our past president Gilly Craft had only good things to say about the process of judging the event and I am excited to participate this year.”

    Hamish Kilburn, editor of Hotel Designs

    Hamish Kilburn, who will also be hosting The Brit List 2019 Awards on November 21, is the editor of Hotel Designs, which is the leading international hotel design website.

    In 2014, Kilburn started his career in the industry when, as features editor, he helped launch a new international hotel design publication into the market.

    Since then, he has traveled the globe and has reviewed some of the world’s most impressive hotels. In his day-to-day role, Kilburn is responsible for curating the content for Hotel Designs, bringing his readers the latest happenings, reviews, and features in the world of international hotel design.

    Jacu Strauss, founder and creative director of LORE Studio

    Jacu Strauss, Founder of Lore Studio | Image credit: Emily Andrews

    Jacu Strauss, who was recently interviewed by Hotel Designs, is the creative director at LORE group and founder of LORE studio.

    A qualified architect with a demonstrated history of working in the design industry, Strauss’ portfolio of projects includes The Pulitzer Amsterdam and Sea Containers London among many others. The architect and designer is now dipping his toe into the world of hospitality and will soon be opening his first hotel in Washington D.C.

    Florence Rolfe, Former Deputy Decoration Editor, House & Garden

    Florence Rolfe, Former Deputy Decoration Editor, House & Garden

    Florence Rolfe, who is a regular contributor to Hotel Designs, is an interior stylist and art director based in London. Her career began with Condé Nast on House & Garden Magazine where she spent several years producing their monthly features, leaving after seven years as Deputy Decoration Editor. Since then she has worked with some of the most renowned interior photographers, producing & directing imagery for some of the biggest luxury brands including The One & Only Resorts, Nobu Restaurants, Heal’s, Habitat, Marks & Spencer, And So To Bed, Ballymore Homes, TH2 amongst others, and has had her work published in various national magazines including Vogue, GQ & Brides. With a background in publishing, Florence knows exactly how to style an image to make it appealing to editors and consumers alike.

    Edward Webb, Director of Development Management, Nuveen Real Estate

    Edward Webb, Director of Development Management, Nuveen Real Estate

    Edward Webb is the director of development management at Nuveen Real Estate, which is a premier global investment manager that has been helping clients meet their goals for more than 100 years, making the world a better place along the way.

    Mel Yates, Photographer 

    Mel Yates, Photographer

    Starting out as a portrait photographer working with a long list of subjects such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Javier Bardem, Jude Law, Keira Knightley, Tom Hanks, Mel Yates began to change direction and reconnect with his design background (originally trained as a product designer at Central St Martins) and now works internationally both as a stills photographer and video maker for numerous design related clients. In addition to photographing or filming designers such as Sir David Adjaye, Philip Treacy, Philippe Starck, Ron Arad, Tom Dixon, Yates shoots environments, people and objects for advertising, books, brochures, editorial and hotel clients, as well as interior and architectural projects. Hotel clients include The Four Seasons, ME and One & Only Resorts.

    The judges will select the final 75 most inspirational and influential people in British design, hotels and architecture, as well as selecting this year’s individual winners of the following awards:

    • Interior Designer of the Year
    • Architect of the Year
    • Hotelier of the Year
    • Best in Tech
    • The Eco Award 
    • Best in British Product Design – NEW CATEGORY FOR 2019
    • Outstanding Contribution to the Hospitality Industry

    On November 21, the shortlisted finalists of designers, hoteliers, architects as well as key suppliers to the industry will gather at Patch East, London where The Brit List 2019 will be unveiled along with the individual winners.

    Early-bird tickets for the award ceremony are now available to purchase: 

    Suppliers: £99 + VAT (£150 + VAT after early bird offer expires after August 4)
    Designers, hoteliers, developers and architects: £10 + VAT (£20 + VAT after early bird offer expires after August 4)

    Please click here if you are a supplier to the industry to secure your ticket NOW!

    Please click here if you are either a designer, hotelier, developer or architect and secure your ticket NOW!

    Headline Partner: Crosswater

    Event Partner: Hamilton Litestat:

    Industry Partner: BIID:

    Eccleston Square Hotel unveils major tech upgrade

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    Eccleston Square Hotel unveils major tech upgrade

    Known widely for being one of the most technologically advanced luxury boutique hotels in the world, Eccleston Square Hotel London becomes even smarter following its recent tech renovation… 

    Eccleston Square Hotel London, which was  the setting for a unique Hotel Designs hotel review carried out by tech expert Jason Bradbury, has unveiled its latest technology upgrade, complete with Artificial intelligence and the 3D television.

    Olivia Byrne, Company Director of Eccleston Square Hotel, sophisticatedly integrated a number intelligent, and A.I. cloud-based technology systems. Her smart strategy to automate as much of the business as possible saw her investing in more sophisticated systems based on modern technologies and machine learning. Why? Says Byrne, “Artificial intelligence and the integration of technology, done well, saves time so that energies can be spent on the guest experience rather than dealing with manual work behind a computer.”

    Using a unique combination of A.I. and cloud-based technologies including MEWS, ATOMIZE, AIRWAVE and 4K Google Chromecast for screen mirroring – the hotel offers a very slick, A.I. incorporated solution for guest information, entertainment and property management. It is one of the first hotels in the world to exclusively provide 4K TV content to all guests, with the technology for everyone to enjoy their own personalised content like Netflix and YouTube – offering a continuation of the tech luxuries and conveniences guests enjoy at home. Eccleston Square Hotel is also the first hotel to exclusively use Sonos Beam soundbars in all the guest rooms offering the ultimate in sound quality.

    Guests control their rooms using VDA’s Vitrum glassware collection. The touch-sensitive keypads have etched icons for each room function and are totally intuitive to use. Interfaces with the hotel’s building management systems mean that hotel staff can automatically set the rooms to a dormant mode, whereby unnecessary items are switched off and the heating/cooling turned down when the room is vacant to save energy. Digital convenience is everywhere. UK, US and European power sockets are provided within the rooms. Portable players, iPads, iPhones and PC’s can be easily charged or connected to the room TV via in-wall docking points. Thought has even been given to providing charging points on either side of the bed; these remain active even when the guest leaves the room and when other systems are switched off. A complimentary mobile smartphone provides unlimited free calls to British and international mobile and landline numbers – a great bonus for UK inbound guests. The smartphone also features an in-built concierge and butler service for hassle-free room service and requests for assistance. To be used both inside and outside the hotel, it also offers 4G for unlimited and complimentary browsing, plus handy shortcuts to recommended shopping, dining and transport links. Rooms also feature UK, European and US power sockets – and if that isn’t enough, there is always a handy supply of free-to-borrow adapters and chargers. Wi-Fi in the hotel is super-fast and complimentary.

    Eccleston Square Hotel is the epitome of affordable luxury. To add to the comfort of the guest, every bedroom offers the ‘world’s best beds’ sourced from the acclaimed Swedish manufacturers, Hästens, which are handcrafted electronically adjustable beds are gift wrapped in the finest Italian sheeting and luxury non-allergenic bedding.

    Guests can also enjoy a ready supply of complimentary Nespresso coffee, freshly made pots of tea, and drinking water – and those who book directly also enjoy a daily re-stocked free mini bar. Eccleston Square Hotel’s media lounge is ideal for meetings and events, it boasts an impressive (and huge) Media Wall. Super high-speed Wi-Fi and modern technology allows for the screen to be used for presentations as well as private cinema screenings. When not in use for business, guests like to watch their favourite 3D television and sporting events and films in cinematic glory.

    Something particularly unique to Eccleston Square hotel is that guests may use the incredible private residential gardens which offer a calm, botanical oasis away from the prying eyes and stimulation of this capital city. The beautiful mature gardens feature a variety of picnicking spots, a tennis court and lots of dappled shade, it’s little wonder the BBC recently declared them as one of the best kept garden squares in London.

    Some of the hi-tech treats include:

    • 4K Smart TVs
    • Complimentary smart phone with free regional and international phone calls and data
    • Superfast Wi-Fi
    • International power sockets
    • Smart Glass walls
    • Hästens electronically adjustable beds
    • Automatic front door
    • Screen mirroring
    • Sonos Beam soundbars
    • VDA Vitrum glass touch sensitive control keypads
    • A.I chatbots
    • Integrated Cloud Based Hotel PMS
    • Smart automated revenue management system

    Main image credit: Eccleston Square Hotel London

    INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Styling a hotel for design press

    1024 768 Hamish Kilburn
    INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Styling a hotel for design press

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Main image credit: CitzenM Kuala Lumpar

    PRODUCT WATCH: Sekers launches new collection of faux wool plains

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    PRODUCT WATCH: Sekers launches new collection of faux wool plains

    Recommended Supplier Sekers launches ARCADIA – Brodie & Glenmore…

    Sekers introduces ARCADIA, a collection of faux wool plains including a melton and a broken twill texture suitable for contract upholstery and accessories. Available in a versatile palette of refined heather tones ranging from soft sophisticated neutrals to saturated jewel tones, Arcadia is an ideal choice for the designer specifying for the hospitality, leisure and marine markets.

    With a high abrasion performance and supplied with a crib 5 flame retardant backing, Arcadia is ideal for the contract market, from pubs and hotels to cruise ships, meeting all relevant UK, US and IMO standards for upholstery.

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

    Main image credit: Sekers

    Concept to completion: Stock Exchange Hotel, Manchester

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    Concept to completion: Stock Exchange Hotel, Manchester

    As the opening date draws ever nearer, Stock Exchange Hotel in Manchester is starting taking form. Hotel Designs caught up with architecture firm jmarchitects to understand how the company restored a historic city building so that it can shelter Manchester’s new kind luxury hotel… 

    The Manchester Stock Exchange building is a Grade II listed, fine example of Edwardian Baroque architecture.

    Built between 1904 and 1906 and designed by Bradshaw, Glass and Hope, this historically symbolic institution has been lovingly extended and refurbished to create a new boutique hotel with a restaurant headed by Chef Tom Kerridge and a luxury penthouse residence.

    When co-owners Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs first purchased the building, it comprised of three floors of office space which were converted in the 1980’s. These sat above a previously popular ground floor restaurant housed under a magnificent domed ceiling. Several trees had rooted themselves on the roof and had spread through the drainpipes, unfortunately causing water and material damage to the historic asset.

    Stripping the building back to its bare bones, retaining only historical features and carefully preserving rooms of historical significance was the necessary starting point for the restoration and refurbishment. This process provided the opportunity to sensitively strengthen the existing structure in preparation for a two-storey roof extension.

    Architect studio, jmarchitects began the design process with a thorough appraisal of the building and a brief to create a unique boutique hotel and restaurant with a luxury penthouse residence; focussing on the guest’s experience through the building while paying homage to its history.

    Artist impression of public areas

    image credit/caption: Artist impression of public areas,/Autoban

    “Several schemes to extend the building were explored with the client in virtual reality, arriving at an extrusion of the existing mansard roof form, set back from the building frontage and clad in monolithic zinc.,” says Laura Turner, Architect, jmarchitects. “A contemporary insertion routed into the building via a seven-storey sculptural staircase in place of the former 1980’s circulation core.”

    The complex nature of the historic building fabric was unveiled during the strip-out, which necessitated an ever-evolving design approach in adaption to the building’s needs. This was executed by working in close collaboration with a design team of engineers and specialists.

    Artist impression of guestroom/

    Image caption/credit: Artist impression of guestroom/ Autoban

    The interiors are designed by internationally renowned, Istanbul-based, multidisciplinary design studio Autoban. The finished designs are opulent yet elegant, drawing on the building’s material palette of original marble, brass and woodwork.

    “After three years testing and developing designs with the team we are thrilled to see this 100 year old building repurposed for modern use; bringing it up to date with current standards and technologies to see it through the next century,” adds Andrew Rogers, Director, jmarchitects. “We are confident that this sensitive, yet extensive refurbishment and extension will see The Stock Exchange become the first choice for hotel accommodation and dining in this fantastic city. We eagerly await the November opening and the excitement it will bring to those who visit.”

    The Stock Exchange will be welcoming guests once again on November 15,  2019 as the first ever Relais & Châteaux member in Manchester.

    Main image credit: jmarchitects/Stock Exchange Hotel Manchester

    Designing Beijing’s newest destination bar

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    Designing Beijing’s newest destination bar

    The social hotspot bar Union, which is sheltered in The Opposite House  has been inspired by simple elegance and seamless hospitality in mind…

    The Opposite House has announced the launch of UNION – a bar exuding eleganceand comfort, the free spirit of an artist’s studio infused with hospitality that curates the guest’s experience. With a 20th century modernist sensibility, showcasing artwork and objects in an environment reminiscent of International Expos and drinks inspired by the ancient Silk Road, the space responds to the versatility ofguest’s needs through time.

    UNION was designed by leading, New York-based design firm, AvroKO. Since its launch in 2001, AvroKO hasearned a reputation as one of the most innovative design firms in the field, due in large part to the group’sintegrated design process and focus on creating emotionally connected experiences. Seemingly whimsical in nature, UNION was strategically designed to have a clear social flow; copper architectural frames and metal mesh sheets showcase artwork, sculptures and objects, drawing in and engaging guests, whilst hidden elements such as the bar trolley, spicery wall and DJ booths enable a seamless transition from day to night.

    Designed by AvroKO’s Bangkok studio, the interiors were inspired by potter, Lucie Rie’s, 20th century modernist studio – a beautiful, yet versatile, space that was suited to living, working and socialising. With the simple elegance of well-executed hospitality in mind, they created a space that enables exceptional levels of service and functionality, without compromising the guest experience.

    UNION aims to create a sense of belonging and discovery, evoking the sense of witnessing something for the first time. A balance of ceremony and warmth create a personal, authentic experience, whilst a carefully curated soundtrack allows the bar to seamlessly transition through day to night with the perfect eclectic mix of tempo, BPM, energy levels and genres.

    UNION offers a refined experience that celebrates the flavours, ingredients, customs and drinking traditions of the Silk Road. A sophisticated drinks menu consists of an extensive wine list made up of 60 bins that are all available by the glass as well as selection of signature cocktails and alcohol-free drinks. The wine list changes monthly and whilst it features some well-known wineries the list is carefully curated to provide representation for lesser known producers, hard to find bottles and biodynamic wines

    As for the signature cocktail list, it encapsulates a diverse range of flavours inspired by international tastes; non-alcoholic creations include Spring breeze (a representation of Eastern Chinese flavours) which haspear, vanilla, coconut, citric acid and sea salt , whilst the traditional cocktail menu includes highlights such as Genghis Khan Martini (Mongolian representation) with French Gin, Mongolia Milk Wine, Dry Vermouth, Elderflower, Coconut and Sea Salt.

    The Opposite House, located in the Sanlitun district is an intriguing urban hotel designed by eminent Japanese architect, Kengo Kuma. Its contemporary style and abundance of space perfectly complement the refreshingly individual service. More new spaces will be unveiled throughout the remainder of 2019.

    Main image credit: The Opposite House

    Hotel Summit 2019 bridges the gap between hotel buyers and suppliers

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    Hotel Summit 2019 bridges the gap between hotel buyers and suppliers

    Forum Events’ premium meet-the-buyers event, Hotel Summit, put on yet another spectacular event with guest speakers including representatives from The Lanesborough, Great Hotels Of The World and Areen Design, among many others…

    Settling in a new home, located in the quintessentially British surroundings in the Oxfordshire countryside, Heythrop Park welcomed hoteliers, designers and suppliers alike for this year’s hotly anticipated Hotel Summit.

    More than 60 procurement professionals from leading hotels around the UK such as The Lanesborough, The Beaumont Hotel and The Gainsborough Bath Spa and 30 supplier partners attended The Summit that was sheltered within the 18thcentury hotel, which combines both elegant heritage design with contemporary areas, making it the perfect venue for one of Forum Events’ leading meet-the-buyers concept for the hotel industry.

    The two-day kicked off with an opening presentation with Rita Alves Machado, VP of sales and marketing for Great Hotels Of The World who joined editor Hamish Kilburn for a live interview on the topic of blesiure. “There should be more focus on public, intelligent areas when it comes to designing for bleisure guests,” Machado said. “For me, it’s about personalization, we look for that in our members, what they can do that will differentiate from others in an authentic way.”

    Andrew Linwood, Head of Hospitality Design at Areen Design, aptly followed with a presentation entitled: How Design Adds Value To A Hospitality Brand. “Branding is not only the name above the door,” he said to the audience. “It’s about good design and good service working together.”

    Meanwhile, Francisco Macedo, Operations Director for Clivedon House stood up in front of the audience to explain how to create a winning team, using personal anecdotes to explain how he has curated his army of staff in order to offer a seamless service within the hotel.

    After a morning of face-to-face meetings with suppliers, delegates joined to attend a speaker session with Marco Novella, Managing Director of The Lanesborough, followed by a short live interview where Kilburn delved into what it takes to be at the helm of one of London’s most prestigious luxury hotels. “It’s been important to react to the right trends,” explained Novella. “Wellness, for example, is a very important factor for The Lanesborough, and our aim with the club and spa was very much to lead wellness and wellbeing.”

    Following a lavish gala dinner and entertainment, delegates and suppliers gathered for a second day of pre-scheduled face-to-face meetings.

    Partners:

    ADI Trading Ltd, Airwave Europe, Alchemy House of Design, Birchall Team, Brushbox, Castrads, Discover Kangen Water, Elavon, Fortune Brands, Gallant, Good Energy, HCI, Hotel Champ, iBal Designs, Landmark Specialist Solutions, Ligne Roset Contract, Matrix Fitness, Mitre Linen, Out of Edan, Parkside, Phillip Jeffries, Portable Floormaker & Barlock Bars, Project Blinds, Riskmonitor Limited, Samsung Electronics, Tevalis Ltd, Timage, Toothbuckle, Virdor, Zennio

    Next year’s Hotel Summit will take place in April 27 – 28 at Five Lakes Resort, Colechester. If you are interested in exhibiting at the 2020 event, please contact Jennie Lane on 01992 374098 or j.lane@forumevents.co.uk.

    Checking In: Zafiro Palace Hotel Palmanova

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    Checking In: Zafiro Palace Hotel Palmanova

    Past the old town of Palma’s cobbled streets sits a newly designed timeless hotel, Zafiro Palace Hotel Palmanova, which was designed by Marga Rotgeron. Chantal Borciani checks in to review… 

    With almost guaranteed blue skies and sunshine for an average of more than 300 days per year year, it comes with little surprise that Zafiro Palace Hotel Palmanova on the island of Mallorca has been designed to make the most of natural light so that it floods in to the guest areas at every possible opportunity.

    Upon entering the lobby, a double-height atrium with floor to ceiling glass ensures the connection between the interior scheme and the outdoors is seamless. Overlooking the hotel’s central garden and pools, as do all suites, restaurants and lounge areas, first impressions are that of a open and airy design scheme.

    Located on the south west coast of Mallorca, 15 minutes from Palma Old Town’s cobbled lanes, Zafiro Palace Hotel Palmanova marries contemporary style with home-from-home comforts.

    “The Zafiro hotel is imbued with a deep sense of connection to the island of Mallorca throughout.”

    Run by the Mallorcan Plomer family, initially by Tomeu Plomer and now headed up by his daughter Antonia, the Zafiro hotel is imbued with a deep sense of connection to the island of Mallorca throughout. Native Mallorcan plants, for example, dot the gardens amid myriad swaying palms and the artwork, photography, fixtures and fittings have been selected from Mallorcan and Spanish purveyors.

    Image credit: Zafiro Palace Hotel Palmanova

    Opened in 2017, Antonia Plomer worked with Mallorca-based interior designer Marga Rotgeron on the hotel design, with an aim to deliver a Mediterranean look that is modern and stylish, ornamental yet not overloaded and practical for guests.

    “Down the sweeping staircase from the reception, the cocktail bar takes centre stage.”

    Down the sweeping staircase from the reception, the cocktail bar takes centre stage. This octagonal centrepiece is hewn from black marquina marble purchased from local suppliers and imported from Italy. Commissioned by the Plomers, a sculptural 3D art installation occupies the double height wall adjacent, imagined to reflect Mallorca’s foliage, nature and land. The pleated trellis is made from acebuche olive wood, and textured cottons, harmonised by gold and ochre tones. Designed and produced by Palma-based ABA ART LAB and F. Schalekamp, its form deploys branches, some bare and naked, others adorned by texture, and adds a note of drama to the bar area.

    In a hotel ‘made for families, by families’ these rich artistic touches add intrigue and a sense of refinement that is usually the preserve of adult-only establishments. The choice of Edison light bulbs, large spherical white orb lights to illuminate the gardens, modernist wire chandeliers and sleek lighting in the a la carte restaurants, alongside the bespoke art afford this hotel a welcome contemporary edge and leave a long-lasting impression.

    The hotel’s 240 suites range from spacious junior suites to penthouse suites, the latter equipped with a bedroom, lounge, roof terrace with private Jacuzzi and cabana daybed – the ultimate option for an adult getaway.

    My room, a ‘swim up suite’, is on the ground floor and boasts a private garden terrace with direct access to the adjacent pool. There are a whopping 11 pools so guests opting for a swim up suite can largely find themselves in blissful solitude though the pool is not categorically private. A bali-style day bed sits snugly in the corner of the private garden area – a perfect spot to read and then pad down to the water’s edge.

    Inside, the rooms are airy, bright and spacious, and can be configured to accommodate cots and beds for children. From a super-king bed, the restful view out drifts across the private terrace to the sapphire pool. The bathroom and bedroom in all suites are open-plan and offer both a shower and bath with high-end and pleasingly tactile fixtures and fittings. “The colour scheme that we chose is natural as we wanted to create a cosy and warm ambience throughout,” says Plomer. “We felt it created a nice contrast to more commonly used minimalistic white.”

    image credit: Zafiro Palace Hotel Palmanova

    Nature infuses the hand-picked art in the rooms – locally sourced framed art includes fern leaves mounted on manuscript backdrops while geometric mirrors and quality soft furnishings add a touch of luxury. All fabrics and linens are also locally sourced on the island and handy touches include microwaves in most rooms and USB chargers by the bedside.

    At its heart, of course, this is a holiday destination and Zafiro Palace Hotel Palmanova doesn’t skimp on the attractions. Alongside the main pool, there are a multitude of smaller pools scattered around the gardens, giving guests a sense of space and exclusivity.  The children’s playground, bouncy castle and pirate ship are set away from the main gardens and pool area, meaning adults can relax in peace if desired. An adult’s only Oasis pool is also located on a raised terrace for ultimate seclusion and is lined with cabana beds. The delightfully squishy cabana day beds line many of the poolsides around the complex and are free to use for all guests, adding a feel of beach club luxury to proceedings. Complete with a swim-up bar in the main pool, and the al fresco poolside restaurant, the F&B areas have been created to enhance the overall guest experience.

    The island connection continues in the lounges and restaurants where large artwork has been acquired from Art Mallorcan art studio & Gallery ABA Art, while photographic art throughout the hotel has been sourced from local artist Joan Sastre.

    In the five a la carte restaurants, the interior design offers a nod to the cuisine or region of each dining concept, without (mercifully!) venturing into some theme feel.

    El Olivo, for example, is the a la carte Mediterranean restaurant and adorned with foliage, which trails down from planters above the tables and has an airy, al fresco feel inspired by the Med. Meanwhile the Tastes & Sushi Bar Restaurant gives a hint of the east with hummingbird print wallpaper, blush seating, and gold accent mirrors.

    It’s no mean feat to effectively cater for adults and families in the same establishment, but perhaps it’s the family hand on the tiller that steers Zafiro on the right course. The Plomers collaborate on every facet of the hotel’s design and operation and the result is all the better for it. Located in the busy Palmanova resort, the hotel will certainly suit families looking for a convenient haven close to the beach and hustle and bustle of Palmanova and nearby Palma. For vast vistas and a heightened secluded feel, the north of the island and perhaps the larger Zafiro Palace Alcudia will provide a restful alternative.

    This is a hotel with proud family heritage and a deep-rooted Mallorcan connection. Be sure to take advantage of the on-site concierge – the owners are keen to share the beauty of the island with their guests and the concierge is a font of great authentic recommendations. Some of our favourites include tours of the small island wineries of the town of Binissalem and the best tapas and vermouth bars in nearby Palma Old Town, both activities offering that secret gem, local feel.

    Zafiro Palace Hotel Palmanova is a hotel where adults can getaway and the kids can have lots of fun to boot. A step above many other family friendly hotels, this resort strives to deliver luxury with a home from home edge.

    Main image credit: Zafiro Palace Hotel Palmanova

    Four Seasons Hotel Singapore unveils botanical twist

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    Four Seasons Hotel Singapore unveils botanical twist

    Four Seasons Hotel Singapore goes botanical, unveiling reinvented interiors, including luxury suites, F&B and wellness areas…

    Nestled within a city/country that is widely known as a modern metropolis that is leading the way in sustainable design and architecture, Four Seasons Hotel Singapore has lifted the lid on its newly completed interior design renovation, celebrating the natural, verdant flora that the island is unmistakeably known for.

    Somewhat becoming a major source of inspiration for the design team, the hotel is situated amidst lush foliage on the fringe of one of the world’s largest shopping street, Orchard Road, a mere five minutes away from the a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Singapore Botanic Gardens. With the creative direction of celebrity Floral Art Director Nicolai Bergmann since April 2019, guests are greeted fresh florals in the Grand Lobby at arrival.

    “Replacing deep, rich palettes are now contemporary interiors that feature a natural colour palette of dusty cool blue tones and lime green accents.”

    The guestrooms and luxury themed suites alike were revamped in the last six to twelve months in preparation for the hotel’s Silver Anniversary. Replacing deep, rich palettes are now contemporary interiors that feature a natural colour palette of dusty cool blue tones and lime green accents, inspired by the water and tropical lotus leaves of the Singapore Botanic Garden’s Swan Lake. Each room also features a mural wall composition of traditional Peranakan tiles, adding an artistic touch and reminiscent of Singapore’s rich and multicultural heritage. Peranakan culture represents the union between two or more major ethnicities of the Straits Peninsula – a result of Singapore’s historical significance as a major trading port. Large floor-to-ceiling windows provide sweeping views of the city and surrounding greenery, while white-colonial style doors and windows with plantation shutters, reminiscent of Singapore’s once-agricultural history, allowing for the natural light to brighten the rooms.

    Comprising four distinctive residences – the Royal Suite, Governor Suite, Ambassador Suite and the Presidential Suite – the quartet of luxury suites unfurl Singapore’s legacy through subtle design motifs, natural textures and serene palettes of subtle sophistication that portrays and acknowledges the Garden City’s dynamic, cosmopolitan storied history.

    The passion for a nature-enlivened, tropical ambiance continues from the private areas to the restaurants and bar at the Four Seasons Hotel Singapore.

    Relaunched in March 2019 after a month-long revamp, One-Ninety, the breezy, botanical modern Asian brasserie teases with its Asian twist on wholesome Provençal cuisine. The adjourning resort-style alfresco Terraza is perfect for unwinding with a classic in hand and weekend tete-a-tete over a tri-terraced Floral Afternoon Tea that intrigues with flora-infused treats, launched in end-May 2019. Embodying the concept of “Xiang Le Zhu Yi,” or the principle of enjoyment and happiness, newly minted Michelin-starred restaurant Jiang-Nan Chun is not only evocative of the pastoral lifestyle of Jiang Nan region’s traditional river villages through its rustic décor, but also through its authentic Cantonese cuisine.

    Main image credit: Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts

    Four Seasons Resort Nevis enters final phase of sustainable renovations

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    Four Seasons Resort Nevis enters final phase of sustainable renovations

    TAL Design Studios’ two-year reimagining of Caribbean luxury sheltered within Four Seasons Resort Nevis is slated to complete by Q4 of this year.. 

    Situated on the undisturbed shores of a Caribbean island like no other, where regulations state that no building should be taller than a palm tree, Four Seasons Resort Nevis has officially commenced the final chapter of its multi-phase enhancement project.

    The two-year enhancement plan, which has already seen the launch of re-envisioned guestrooms and suites, an updated look for the Great House lobby and the opening of new food and beverage outlets, EsQuilina and crowned monkey RUM BAR, is expected to be completed this autumn.

    “We are excited to bring the entire resort enhancement full circle to fulfill our vision of a luxury Caribbean playground” – Gonzalo Güelman Ros, General Manager.

    The latest chapter of renovations will include the redesign of the resort’s main signature pool, construction of a new restaurant concept – On the Dune – that extends out on to the sand and the unveiling of additional improved spaces around the property for guests to enjoy a variety of new experiences and amenities.

    Raw luxurious dining experience in shack-like structure

    Image credit: Four Seasons Resorts

    “These new areas will continue to evoke the fresh take on a timeless Caribbean experience that we began rolling out in 2018,” says Gonzalo Güelman Ros, the Resort’s General Manager. “We are excited to bring the entire resort enhancement full circle to fulfill our vision of a luxury Caribbean playground, offering infinite perfect places in one perfect paradise.”

    The resort’s signature pool will be completely reconstructed and raised to create one long sight line from the Great House lobby straight out to the Caribbean Sea horizon. Surrounded by lush new landscaping, the 3,300 square foot infinity edge pool will be the centerpiece of the resort, featuring 86 new loungers and four luxury pool cabanas fully-equipped with comfortable seating and furnishings, wi-fi connectivity and power. The pool’s 5,350 square foot hardwood deck will be made from fully-sustainable US grown resources, highlighted by a new feature fire pit that will be installed to the west of the pool, towards the beach.

    Render of beach and pool

    Image credit: Four Seasons Resorts

    “The traditional Caribbean-style structure will utilise many natural materials”

    Replacing the existing Cabana restaurant, On the Dune will be a 7,300 square-foot outdoor restaurant with 138 covers and additional capacity at the bar. The traditional Caribbean-style structure will utilise many natural materials, including heavy timber construction and, as much possible, sustainably-sourced resources.

    The final stages of the redesign will sensitively enhance the island’s luxury offerings, while further rooting the destination as a place where love, harmony and its soulful spirit is ever-present. With 189 spacious rooms and suites and more than 50 luxurious villas, the resort has been delivering authentic Caribbean hospitality for more than 28 years.

    The design chapter continues…

    Main image credit: Four Seasons Resorts

    Grecotel Group embarks on 42 million euro expansion plan

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    Grecotel Group embarks on 42 million euro expansion plan

    Grecotel Group’s expansion plans begin with the opening of  Casa Marron in the Peloponnese, and will include the renovation and expansion of five other luxury hotel complexes…

    Greece’s largest luxury hotel chain, Grecotel Group, has implemented a 42 million euro business plan that begins with the unveiling of Casa Marron, which has been transformed into the ultimate destination, changing the game for summer holidays.

    Grecotel’s renovated “third generation” hotel complex, combines modernity with the classic Mediterranean style, and takes inspiration from local architecture, both traditional and contemporary with exquisite exotic embellishment. The design displays the high aesthetics of the complex, whilst highlighting the beauty of Greek nature. Casa Marron borrows its name from the colour of the fertile Peloponnesian land contrasted against the blue waters of the Ionian Sea.

    “We have invested in creating a special resort in one of the most enchanting places and favourite destinations throughout the Peloponnese,” said Mr. Vasilis Minadakis, Grecotel’s General Manager. “The radical renovation of the well-known Lakopetra Beach, brings together bohemian ambience and magical scenery.”

    Image credit: Grecotel Hotels

    On the golden beach of Lakopetra, in an area of ​​80,000 sq.m, set against a unique landscape surrounded by exotic palm trees, olive trees and colourful gardens complete with impressive swimming pools, Casa Marron is upgraded to a top tier choice for your summer holiday, harmoniously combining safety and freedom for the whole family.

    The 172 guestrooms and suites in the main building and the 92 spacious bungalows with two bedrooms, terraces and private gardens with outdoor shower allow Grecotel guests to connect with nature and take in unobstructed views of the vibrant gardens. Here, indoors becomes one with the outdoors, creating a distinct zen aura.

    After 45 years of dynamic presence in the country, Grecotel has grown to support 12 tourist destinations in Greece. Each of Grecotel’s 32 luxury hotels and resorts is a unique architectural experience and a paradise of opulent amenities, gourmet restaurants and elegant details embodying the essence of Greek hospitality.

    Main image credit: Grecotel Hotels

    The rise of tile trends in international hotel design

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    The rise of tile trends in international hotel design

    Celebrating art outside the frame, CTD Architectural Tiles identifies tile trends that are emerging for 2019 and beyond…

    From texture and pattern to size and the increasing need for sustainable solutions, the hotel industry has become an exciting creative arena for tile and surface trend developments. The desire for creating spaces that stand out, delivering on both aesthetic and practical qualities, has driven the demand for tiles that make unique and memorable design statements.

    From wood and marble-effect flooring to new generation mosaics and botanical-inspired patterns, architects and designers have never had so much choice when it comes to specifying ceramic and porcelain tiles in hotel projects.

    Nature-inspired patterned tiles

    A celebration and seamless marriage between rustic handmade influences and the trend for contemporary biophilic design, the new Amazonia collection from CTD Architectural Tiles is guaranteed to bring any hotel project to life.

    Jungle-inspired interiors showcasing various tones of surfaces

    Image credit: CTD Architectural Tiles

    Versatile and unique, Amazonia combines botanical patterns with a pared-back, nature-inspired palette to enliven spaces of all sizes. Suitable for both walls and floors, the tiles are available in two shapes: a small square format (138 x 138mm) and a larger hexagon format (320 x 368mm), in five colourways and designs. Offering endless opportunities to combine and mix the distinctive tiles, designers are able to choose from the subtle geometric patterns of Ethnic or the delicate leaf prints of the Tropic designs to create a standout space. From the lobby and hotel bars and restaurants to even the swimming pool areas, Amazonia offers a truly versatile tiling proposition to designers, specifiers and architects for the hotel industry.

    3D textured tiles

    From bold patterns to structured 3D shapes and designs, tiles have become an increasingly popular format of creative expression within hotel interiors. Advances in tile manufacturing have led to reinventions of trends and tile styles such as bohemian, baroque and mosaics. An increasingly popular choice, mosaics are extremely versatile as they are able to be applied to flat or curved surfaces as well as being suitable for dry and wet areas on both walls and floors. Offering a variety of colours, sizes and materials, the return of mosaics has seen the introduction of new finishes such as metal or wood-effect designs as well as striking hexagon and geometric patterns, ideal for those designers or architects looking to make a true style statement.

    Image credit: CTD Architectural Tiles

    Colourful Marble-Effect Tiles

    Combining an urban aesthetic with trend-led designs, the Diesel Living tile collection delivers truly eye-catching tile solutions for contemporary hotel spaces. The ideal range for designers wanting to achieve a truly statement scheme, the Diesel Cosmic Marble collection is an exquisite marriage between marble-effect tiles and a cosmic-inspired colour palette. Suitable for both walls and floors, the aptly named range is guaranteed to leave a lasting impression. From the deep blue and gold hues of Venus to the radiant red swirls of Mars, Diesel Cosmic Marble is available in eight polished porcelain colourways and will work perfectly in lobbies and reception areas.

    Wood-Effect Floor Tiles

     An effortlessly stylish addition to any space, wood flooring is renowned for its beautiful, natural finish. Although undeniably a popular choice, natural wood isn’t always practical in high footfall areas in hotels. With some ranges offering up to 40 per cent recycled content, wood-effect tile collections celebrate the unique beauty of the natural material and combine the importance of a realistic finish with the practical benefits of ceramic or porcelain tiles.

    Image credit: CTD Architectural Tiles

    An on-trend and practical solution for hotel spaces, a wood-effect tile allows you to evoke the natural character of timber, whilst promising a low maintenance and practical product that is ideal for modern environments. Complete with the distinctive knots and markings of organic wood, each and every tile is different to ensure an authentic look. Not just limited to floors, the wide range of glazed porcelain and ceramic tiles are suitable for a number of applications including walls, exteriors and wet areas, meaning that the design of a project is not restricted by the limitations of real wood.

    By their very nature, hotels are stunning examples of unique design and luxury living. When it comes to product selection for a hotel project, designers want to be working with the very latest trends and innovative products to ensure that they’re able to achieve a statement scheme to remember.  From beautiful lobbies to carefully designed guest suites, CTD Architectural Tiles’ extensive product portfolio is guaranteed to provide the ideal surface solution no matter what the application. Offering unparalleled expertise and technical knowledge, the Specification Team at CTD Architectural Tiles works with industry leading, innovative manufacturers to offer a complete portfolio of ceramic and porcelain tile ranges to suit the boutique hotelier, architect, interior designer, developer and specification professional.

    SPOTLIGHT ON: Inspirational design hotel bars and restaurants in London

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    SPOTLIGHT ON: Inspirational design hotel bars and restaurants in London

    To round off our Spotlight On topic of Bars & Restaurants, Hotel Designs headed into London to pick out the best F&B facilities that are serving up a treat on the international hotel design scene… Editor Hamish Kilburn edits…

    Since hotels became much more than simply a bed for the night, the in-house food and beverage scene globally has taken off. Here are a few London bars and restaurants that have emerged to be statement F&B areas within hotel design.

    GMT Bar –  Hard Rock Hotel London 

    Image credit: Roberto Lara Photography

    Incorporating the Hard Rock “mantra”, which includes the global brands’ range of memorabilia, artwork, installations and lyrics, design firm Scott Brownrigg was tasked to complete the 900-room Hard Rock Hotel London. As well as designing quirky and edgy guestrooms, the design team, led by Senior Designer and Hotel Designs’ 30 Under 30 Kate Jarrett, also created what is now London’s latest Instagrammable statement bar, which acts as an inviting cocoon from the rest of the city.

    The Monkey Bar – Monkey Island Estate

    Image credit: Monkey Island Estate

    Monkey Island Estate is located in Bray-on-Thames. The island, with its intriguing history dating back 800 years, has been the haunt of monks, monarchs, aristocrats and writers alike. Visitors from London and beyond are transported to their own private countryside escape steeped in stylish yet laidback luxury. Designed by award-winning Champalimaud, complete with its beautiful garden terrace, The Monkey Bar is elegant, contemporary and relaxed – just like the rest of the hotel.

    Sloane Place Hotel London 

    Long dining table with hanging pendents above

    Image credit: Sloane Place Hotel

    The 50-seat café-bar in the hotel, designed by JSJ Design, required extensive structural works to open up the space, making it more accessible for guests and local clientele alike. The interior design scheme combines bold teals,timber panelling, glass and brass, maximising light and space.

    45 Park Lane

    modern quirky bar in 45 Park Lane

    Image credit: 45 Park Lane

    While the world is all too familiar of the iconic bar inside The Dorchester, its younger sibling, 45 Park Lane, located next door, is the contemporary answer to luxury in the city. The hotel’s modern-chic bar, which serves London’s finest negronis, is described as: “the vibrant beacon of contemporary culture in a luxury hotel.” It is an invigorating blend of art and landmark architecture in the middle of classical London.

    InterContinental London Park Lane

    Once more, RPW Design strikes again on London’s leafy iconic Park Lane. The design firm’s latest refurbishment of the guestrooms and The Capital Suite in the InterContinental Park Lane compliments the work of David Collins Studio in the hotel’s restaurant, Ella Canta.

    Hotel Cafe Royal London

    Image credit: Hotel Cafe Royal London

    Designed by Piero Lissoni and Atelier 27, the new F&B areas sheltered in Hotel Cafe Royal London are contemporary yet timeless. The Green Bar’s cocktail list is an invitation to explore tastes throughout the ages, divided into four eras spanning over 100 years. The interiors masculine, with hues of emerald green creating a dark and moody atmosphere to compliment the cocktails served.

    Main image credit: Roberto Lara Photography

    Kimpton EPIC Hotel in Miami undergos major renovation

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    Kimpton EPIC Hotel in Miami undergos major renovation

    Kimpton EPIC Hotel in Miami is about to embark on an extensive renovation inclusive of its guestrooms and suites, lobby, and pool area…

    Situated in the heart of Downtown Miami, with unparalleled views of Biscayne Bay, Kimpton EPIC will be fully reimagined with Miami-inspired elements, while maintaining its beloved sophistication and high-end feel. The finishes, furniture, and amenities will be acutely refined, and elegantly minimal with an organic sensibility.

    High-impact artwork will evoke several elements including the natural components of the Earth while speaking to the Miami landscape and personality in a modern and abstract manner.

    “Hues in wheat, gray and white, with a layer of soft harbor blue, offer a modern and high-end beach palette in the arrival and reception area.”

    Upon arrival, guests will experience a different approach to minimal and sophisticated elegance in the hotel’s reimagined lobby area. Hues in wheat, gray and white, with a layer of soft harbor blue, offer a modern and high-end beach palette in the arrival and reception area. Black and bronze metals, woven linen, marble and custom hardware featured throughout will exhibit the luxurious feeling that Miami evokes within.

    Close up of modern furniture above abstract blue art piece in white suite

    Image credit: Kimpton Hotels

    Featuring eco-friendly materials, travellers checking in will notice driftwood-inspired slatted headboards, wood-look tile flooring throughout the guestrooms, marble base table and chairs and private patios with custom furniture, all overlooking Biscayne Bay. Art featured within the guestrooms will be local sourced, with a specific focus on highlighting Miami’s flourishing art scene.

    Two EPICally detailed suites – a Hospitality and a Presidential, will both reside on the corners of hotel’s 30th floor. Complete with wrap-around balconies and sweeping views of the city lights, the bay, and ocean – both will feature curated, one-of-a-kind furniture, collected art and various functional considerations for entertaining and hosting.

    “As with all Kimpton properties, the approach is a bespoke design.”

    The high-end sophisticated feel of the property will extend into the hotel’s expansive 16th-floor pool terrace, with new European furnishes and a clean and modern color palette that has playful touches for an energetic pool vibe.

    As with all Kimpton properties, the approach is a bespoke design. Virtually all furniture, lighting and artwork are custom and proprietary to the hotel. The hotel’s redesign, expected to be completed by the end of September, is masterminded by the talented in-house Kimpton design team under the helm of Ave Bradley, Creative Director & Global SVP of Design, and Diana Martinez, Senior Design Director at Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants.

    Main image credit: Kimpton Hotels

    Hyatt Centric brand to enter into Greater China

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    Hyatt Centric brand to enter into Greater China

    Located on the eastern side of Hong Kong Island, the hotel will mark the Hyatt Centric brand’s entry into Greater China…

    Following China being identified as a major international hotel design hotspot, Hyatt Hotels Corporation has announced that a Hyatt affiliate has entered into an agreement with an affiliate of Sun Hung Kai Properties Limited to rebrand the 665-key Hotel VIC on the Harbour to Hyatt Centric Victoria Harbour Hong Kong by the third quarter of this year.

    The newly branded property will be the first Hyatt Centric hotel in the Greater China region, joining the brand’s inaugural property in Asia, Hyatt Centric Ginza Tokyo which opened last year.

    “We are delighted to grow our relationship with our anchor owner Sun Hung Kai Properties with this exciting project in Hong Kong after our successful collaborations with Park Hyatt Hangzhou and Hyatt Centric Minhang, Shanghai,” said Stephen Ho, president of Greater China, global operations, Hyatt. “We look forward to introducing the Hyatt Centric brand to Hong Kong and providing more distinctive experiences to our guests. With the hotel’s convenient waterfront location and proximity to cultural and leisure hotspots, Hyatt Centric Victoria Harbour Hong Kong will be an ideal base for savvy, in-the-now guests to explore all that this dynamic gateway city has to offer.”

    Tailored for socially connected guests seeking shareable moments, the hotel’s social areas and food and beverage concepts were designed by Hong Kong-based architect and interior designer, Andre Fu while the 665 harbor-view guestrooms feature designs from Hirsch Bedner Associates.

    “We decided to work with Hyatt after careful consideration and are excited to debut the first Hyatt Centric hotel in Greater China,” said Tasos Kousloglou, chief executive officer of the Hotel Division of Sun Hung Kai Properties. “The Hyatt Centric brand’s young and dynamic profile will fit perfectly with the vibrant neighborhood. The hotel benefits readily from the landmark integrated development with the premium residential towers of Victoria Harbour and the retail complex of Harbour North, which, together with the hotel’s retail space has a total area of over 200,000 sq ft. Guests will also enjoy the new magnificent waterfront garden promenade and the lifestyle offerings within the hotel’s quintessential Hong Kong neighborhood. By joining hands with Hyatt, we will be able to leverage its world-class knowledge, excellence in food and beverage, wealth of hospitality experience, and global marketing and sales network to make Hyatt Centric Victoria Harbour Hong Kong the preferred choice for socially-connected travelers and locals. We will also reach a broader audience of savvy travelers worldwide and elevate guest experience.”

    Following the brand ethos to connect guests to the heart of the action so they never miss a moment of adventure, the hotel is located in the dynamic North Point district on the eastern side of the Hong Kong Island.

    Main image credit: Hyatt Hotels

    Hotel Group IHG has signed a hotel in London’s Clerkenwell

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    Hotel Group IHG has signed a hotel in London’s Clerkenwell

    The 151-key Hotel Indigo property is slated to open in London’s most-talked-about design district, Clerkenwell, in 2021…

    Following the opening of Hotel Indigo Stratford Upon Avon and ahead of the openings of both Hotel Indigo Bath and Hotel Indigo Chester later in the year, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has signed a Management Agreement with Omenport Developments Ltd for Hotel Indigo London – Clerkenwell.

    The 151-room hotel will be the fifth Hotel Indigo in London and is expected to open in early 2021. Located in the heart of the city, Hotel Indigo London – Clerkenwell brings a brand defining property to IHG’s pipeline.

    Established in 2004, the Hotel Indigo is IHG’s upscale boutique brand and has more than 100 hotels across more than 15 countries around the world. The brand is set to double its portfolio presence over the next three to five years and continue its growth as one of the largest boutique brands.

    The decision to arrive in Clerkenwell comes as the neighbourhood, arguably most known for its annual Clerkenwell Design Week, has strong travel links with Farringdon station, Barbican and Old Street all within walking distance, making it an increasingly popular location for both business and leisure travellers.

    Just like no two neighbourhoods are alike, no two Hotel Indigo properties are the same. At the Hotel Indigo London – Clerkenwell, the current historic listed building of the Hat & Feathers pub will be added to by two newly-built modern wings. When it opens in 2021, the hotel will feature well-appointed guestrooms, an all-day restaurant and five meeting rooms, as well as incorporating the existing pub into the hotel.

    “We are excited to bring Hotel Indigo London – Clerkenwell into portfolio,” said Jon Colley, Head of Development, UK&I at IHG. “We are seeing strong growth in the boutique market in the UK and this hotel strengthens our position in the capital. This signing will join the newly opened Kimpton Fitzroy London and Hotel Indigo London – 1 Leicester Square to build out our boutique presence in the UK’s capital.”

    IHG has 15 Hotel Indigo properties in the UK and a further seven in the pipeline*. There is a strong momentum behind the brand as part of IHG’s UK growth strategy.

    In total, IHG currently has 349* hotels operating under eight brands in the UK, including: InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, Hotel Indigo, Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts, voco™ Hotels, Holiday Inn®, Holiday Inn Express® and Staybridge Suites, with another 26 in the pipeline.

    *Numbers as at 31 March 2019

    Main image credit: Hotel Indigo

    How colour is making a comeback in the bathroom

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    How colour is making a comeback in the bathroom

    To conclude our time putting bathrooms under the spotlight, Crosswater explains why colour is making a comeback in the hotel bathroom… 

    The interior design of a hotel guestroom is extremely important. After all, this is effectively a home-from-home – a place of security to rest after a busy day. Just as universal as the concept of resting and relaxation, is the concept of colour to evoke a particular atmosphere or create a particular environment.

    Colour is also one of the most visible aspects of hotel interior design, which has the ability to create a fantastic first impression. The options to do so are seemingly endless – from wallpaper to paint to accessories.

    While certain colours usually evoke certain reactions in most people, shade and saturation can also dramatically change the aesthetic of a room. Generally speaking, light colours can make rooms feel lighter and bigger, while dark colours can create a mood of sophistication and intimacy. Blues evoke calmness and serenity, while green creates a vibrant, natural space. Yellow creates a sense of energy, while red can be warm and comforting if used well.

    “Consumers are now being drawn to a strong and striking bathroom design.”

    The trend for colour isn’t limited to hotel bedrooms, either. Increasingly so, colour is making a comeback in the bathroom too. The all-white bathroom scheme has been a safe and popular option over the years but, after such a long phase of beige, neutral and earthy tones, consumers are now being drawn to a strong and striking bathroom design – one which is more bold, personal and attractive.

    Sleek, chic and opulent, a hotel bathroom should be synonymous with modern glamour. A place to relax and unwind in style.

    Gold, platinum, brass and copper are being included as metallic accents and design highlights, while black is being used on its own, but also to create a contrast to richer tones.

    Close up of tap fitting

    Image credit: Crosswater

    The key to taking the bathroom to the next level lies in the small, often overlooked, details. Focusing on accessories, taps, showerheads and rails can often create a great impact with a minor amount of bold colour.

    The MPRO collection from Crosswater delivers the very best in brassware engineering and is available in a Brushed Brass finish, along with Chrome, Stainless Steel and Matt Black options. Combining superb function and precision design, the result is a complete collection of bathroom mixers, valves and showerheads that meets the exacting standard of today’s modern bathroom.

    Close up of marble and gold fittings

    Image credit: Crosswater

    Celebrating simple lines and an on-trend brushed gold surface, MPRO brings a stylish update to any contemporary bathroom scheme.

    A developing theme is that several colours are being used in coordination with each other that might appear, at first glance, to contradict one another in a mixture of styles. In this way, all traditional rules towards interior design and aesthetics have been overruled.

    “Crosswater’s new Italy collection is offered in 49 colour combinations and gives life to true customisation in the bathroom.”

    People are getting more adventurous and mix-and-matching in their homes, creating individual and bespoke schemes. One of the great things about this approach to hotel design is that it is extremely flexible, providing guests with the luxury of a variation of finishes within one room – plus the idea of mixing materials adds a special interest, richness and depth to a design scheme.

    Crosswater’s new Italy collection is offered in 49 colour combinations and gives life to true customisation in the bathroom. Modern forms of the 1920s inspire this brand new range, which combines metals, natural stone and marble – creating a unique character. Designers are able to choose from eight base finishes and seven handle options, and the collection is available in a range of deck, wall-mounted and floor-standing basin, bath and shower mixers.

    In this way, when it comes to hotel bathroom décor, designers can combine colours, materials and patterns to create an effect that reflects the hotel’s personality and unique style. Using colour can still be applied to the fine finishes, elegant fittings and timeless accessories to create that luxurious hotel-feel that guests desire – think big and these fearless design choices will help your hotel achieve a unique designer bathroom look.

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

    Main image credit: Crosswater

    New destination bar opens at revamped Hilton Hotel Münich City

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    New destination bar opens at revamped Hilton Hotel Münich City

    While Hotel Designs continues its Spotlight On Bars & Restaurants, Hilton Hotel Münich City opens Juliet Rose, a new destination bar…

    Interior design firm Goddard Littlefair has completed a striking new destination bar called Juliet Rose at the Hilton Hotel Münich City. The city’s new place-to-be bar was inspired by the F&B concept of unusual botanical extracts and the importance of process in the creation of its singular drinks.

    The scheme was inspired by the F&B concept of unusual botanical extracts and the importance of process in the creation of its singular drinks, which includes a range of signature cocktails and what is said to be the best coffee in Munich. The result is an exciting and theatrical zoned space with an alchemical, laboratory feel; a perfect back-drop for outstanding drinks to be made and delivered. The scheme both stands out from and also works subtly in harmony with the overall hotel, which has also undergone a thorough revamp by the Goddard Littlefair team.

    The bar’s name, Juliet Rose, is taken from one of the most elite roses in the world, developed over a 15-year period by renowned rose breeder David Austin. As well as lending the concept connotations of craftsmanship and the long-term pursuit of perfection, the ‘Rose’ reference will also be easily understood by a local audience as a nod to Rosenheimer Strasse, the street onto which the bar’s dedicated entrance faces, as well as the Rosenheimer Platz metro station, on top of which the hotel stands.

    Modern restaurant and bar

    Image credit: Gareth Gardner

    The generously-apportioned, 90-seat, 180 sq m bar is located on the hotel’s ground floor, with easy access from both the hotel’s spacious new reception, as well as via its own dedicated Rosenheimer Strasse entrance, introduced to maximise passing trade. Customers can additionally access the hotel and bar directly from the metro station and an adjacent car park below, arriving via a special circulation route through the ground floor of the hotel, offering intriguing glimpses of the back of the bar through semi-opaque windows, so that the bar is referenced and announced from every possible angle.

    Juliet Rose is made up of four different seating zones, each with different stand-out features, plus two bars. The main ‘ceremony bar’ is a stunning, monolithic U-shaped design that guests coming from the hotel entrance see as soon as they enter the space, at the far end of a central approach. A second, smaller-scale coffee bar is made of the same dramatic moss-green and highly-polished granite, with the choice of material referencing the earthiness of botanical ingredients. The granite for the main bar has been book-matched to ensure dramatic textural veining from the front. Above and behind the main bar, the gantry structure is made up of brass sections, with an industrial/lab feel, underscored by an apothecary-style bottle display. The barman prepares cocktails at its centre, making full use of dry ice, bell jars and a sense of reveal.

    ‘The overall design approach for the space was based on form and order, with drama, freedom and an opposing sense of randomness created by the furniture and accessorising’, architect David Lee Hood, Associate at Goddard Littlefair, explained. ‘When it came to structure, we added a number of new elements to the space to give a feeling of overall order and symmetry, whilst also ensuring playful visibility between zones via glazed screens offering varying privacy levels.’

    As visitors arrive from the hotel down the entry circulation route for example, they pass between two large-scale, floor-to-ceiling screens (with added ‘peep holes’), where a brass-effect structure features ribbed glass OLED panels with a striking inset palm print. The screens were bespoke-manufactured for the project and are just one of many bespoke items that ensure design integrity and exclusivity for the project. A second highly striking screen-wall faces the hotel entrance lobby, passed by guests on their way to either the bar or front reception, and is made up of a brass shelving structure with glass backlit panels where a textured opaque manifestation gives the impression of a linen-style finish and plays with light. The structure is decorated on the inner side with judiciously-placed planting.

    Image credit: Gareth Gardner

    As the existing columns in the space are quite dominant, the design team made a feature of them by using new cladding and mirroring. An existing ceiling was removed so that the space’s full height could be used, with a dramatic new lighting structure that uses brass pipes and large, exposed lamps to add to the geometric, laboratory feel. Inset mirrors within the ceiling area reinforce the structure, as well as adding reflection and sparkle. Architectural lighting for the scheme was created together with DPA Lighting, whilst the stand-out decorative pieces were all bespoke-designed by Goddard Littlefair, with advice from DPA, and manufactured by Peters Design. As well as the overhead grid structure, these include a stand-out ‘test tube’ style pendant light located over the main bar and a number of vertical, glass-clad wall lights, which refer to the test-tube decorative light in style. A number of mid-wall lights throughout feature a circular fitting with a pole attachment to each side. These add layering and create a lower-level light source to bring light to the tables. Flooring throughout features stained oak timber surround and inset panels, made up of a geometric pattern of small white mosaic areas, plus larger slices set at interesting angles.

    The four main seating zones include a casual drop-in area, directly to the left of the entrance, primarily for daytime use for coffee and cakes. Further casual seating is to the right, whilst the two sections further back and along both sides of the bar, for day or evening use, feature a mixture of seating types, as well as a communal high table, for groups, cocktails evenings and special events. Planting is used throughout, both for biophilic appeal and to underline the ‘botanical ingredients’ bar concept.

    Furniture throughout includes sofas in bottle green leather and loose seating upholstered in pale oyster pink or else in deep orange leather with thin brass upstands and dark turquoise seat backs. Tables are either a marble-effect silestone, a brass-edged timber-topped design or, for the higher communal table, a series of easily-conjoined tables featuring a print taken from a magnified gold-veined leaf print, supplied by Fameed Khalique and manufactured by the lead contractor on the scheme, Engels.

    luxurious bar with pendent lighting

    Image credit: Gareth Gardner

    Four windows which look directly out onto Rosenheimer Strasse, alongside the bar, feature a special chain-mail curtain with a clip detail, playing once again with light and screening, whilst effectively obscuring the busy street view and ensuring customers are enveloped by the bar’s atmosphere.

    Located behind the street entrance to the bar, on the other side of a draft lobby area, are two stand-out pieces of bespoke-designed joinery: a waiter station and a moveable cocktail bar, both in high-gloss lacquer with blue-green tones to work well with the planting and moss-green granite bars. The cocktail bar has a removable top with ice and a sink inside so that it can be moved around to cater to guests anywhere in the space.

    The hotel reception lobby that connects with the bar features a design treatment in keeping with the overall hotel design scheme, inspired by German Expressionism and particularly Der Blaue Reiter art movement, which had its origins in the city. Stand-out design features in the reception area include feature lighting loops, designed by Goddard Littlefair and manufactured by LED-C4; a high-gloss hexagonal mosaic-fronted reception desk with brass edging; a striking reception back-wall with a pale grey wallcovering and bronze effect vertical dividing strips; a marble fireplace area and artworks chosen by art consultants ARTIQ, taking a cue from the dynamism and strong colour of early 20th century German Expressionism, but updating that for today’s context, with new artworks commissioned for the hotel from contemporary artists. The artworks that lead towards Juliet Rose are partly-abstracted paintings which reference a more natural theme, in keeping with the F&B concept, with bold and interplaying curved lines.

    Main image credit: Gareth Gardner

    The value of considered materials in bathroom design

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    The value of considered materials in bathroom design

    Bathroom specialists Utopia Projects explains why designers and architects should select materials that can be used for any and all surfaces…

    It’s becoming increasingly popular among clients to create bathrooms which are fluid in design, using materials which can be utilised for any and all surfaces within the room. Cosentino, a parent company for many own brand materials, have introduced a Bathroom Collection using two of their brands.

    The first, Silestone, is the world’s leading quartz surface manufacture. This is mainly due to how durable it is, making it perfect for high traffic areas such as Kitchens and Bathrooms. Dekton is a revolution in stone surfaces, defined as ultra-compact this man made material is highly resistant to stains, impact, heat, pretty much anything.

    One of the key characteristics that makes the Silestone & Dekton Bathroom Collection concept unique is its large format. Both materials allow for the creation of a complete bathroom in one single material, giving the space better harmony with aesthetic lines. The nature of these stone materials is low porosity, this combined with minimal joints ensures each surface is extremely hygienic; perfect for a bathroom.

    Its collection triumphs with exclusive and revolutionary design in the world of bathrooms, offering custom-made shower trays and basins that fit like a glove into any available space. The sandblasted or soft sandblasted finishes ensure the shower trays’ anti-slip properties, making them completely safe. Silestone and Dekton offer a wide range of colours, enabling your customers to choose a shade that fits in perfectly with their colour scheme and to match their wash-hand basin.

    The possibilities of design are endless as most colours are also available in large format tiles for wall and floor cladding, as well as matching niche inserts, shelves, vanity tops, window sills, bath perimeters; pretty much any surface you can think of can be made to match.

    Modern, sleek and clean lines in a contemporary white bathroom

    Image credit: Utopia Projects

    Whether it’s for a single suite bathroom or communal WC, they have the perfect product to transform any bathroom into a warm, welcoming space.

    We recently specified one of Cosentino’s basins for our client Hartford Homes, property developers based in the Isle of Man. Its homes are prestigious and completed only using luxury products. As with all Cosentino basins, each is custom made to order, to fit the customers space and design. The company’s specification for Westham Court was nothing less than opulent. With double vanity and walk in spa shower, as well as a freestanding bath which took centre stage in the room, this bathroom was something you would expect in a hotel suite. The specially designed double Reflection basin vanity, produced in Silestone Lyra quartz is seamlessly stunning.

    Silestone and Dekton offer a wide range of styles, allowing your customers to choose the colours and textures they love from the 100+ range, whilst enjoying the peace of mind of knowing that the materials fulfil all of their requirements for quality, durability, and hygiene; a minimal number of joints, anti-bacterial protection, and low porosity.

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

    Lighting contemporary bathrooms with Vaughan

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    Lighting contemporary bathrooms with Vaughan

    The Vaughan bathroom wall light collection offers a wide selection of carefully designed and engineered IP44 rated wall lights in a variety of decorative styles…

    Whether a project requires contemporary designs either side of a wash basin or a more classic decorative scheme – the Vaughan wall light range offer designs to cover all schemes. The Sudbury bathroom wall light, available in brass, nickel or chrome is a popular design from the Vaughan range.

    Defined by its classic scroll arm and oval fluted and scalloped backplate, this wall light is designed to be used with a lampshade to achieve a soft, diffused light.

    The Sudbury has recently been chosen for bathrooms in two leading London hotels, The Ned and The Goring, and also internationally in the Hotel Sacher in Salzburg and Le Bristol in Paris.

    The Art Deco inspired Olympia bathroom wall light has also featured in many recent hotel projects, such as the Blakeney Hotel in Norfolk and Hotel d’Angleterre in Geneva.   Available in nickel or chrome, both designs have opaline frosted glass to diffuse and soften the light.

    To view the entire bathroom wall light collection, please visit the website.

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

    BESPOKE DESIGN: Italian boutique hotel inspired by natural elements

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    BESPOKE DESIGN: Italian boutique hotel inspired by natural elements

    Design studio Boxx Creative has completed the interior design of Miramonti, a 21-key boutique hotel in the Italian mountains. Editor Hamish Kilburn writes…

    Inspired by its natural surroundings, Miramonti, meaning mountain view, draws its name and design from nature. A deep terracotta facade, which dates back to 1958, evokes the changing seasons and rich natural Italian colour palette.

    When it first opened just over a decade after the second world war, the five-storey Albergo Miramonti was the first building in town to feature hot water in every room and it quickly gained in popularity among tourists as well as locals as a place for ultimate relaxation. The new guestrooms, which are divided into five categories over three storeys, feature – in true Miramonti spirit – calming green and blue colour schemes, punctuated with deeper accents.

    Design firm Boxx Creative’s first step in its transformation was to maximise every square foot to increase guestroom numbers, providing flexibility of room use and creating defined room types for couples and families. The Deluxe Doubles provide an appealing space for couples to relax in comfort inside the room or outside on the balcony. The spacious Family Suites meanwhile have the option to connect through to en-suite bunk-bed rooms, which comfortably accommodate a family of six.

    “Materials were selected for their authentic properties and link to the surrounding environment.”

    The firm redesigned each floor of the hotel and created the interior schemes; drawing on the elements of: earth, fire, air, water, wood and metal. Materials were selected for their authentic properties and link to the surrounding environment and feature in the natural stone wash basins, carved wooden bedframes, solid trunk coffee tables, round metal bedside tables and soft natural fabrics.

    “We always focus on quality and environmental impact in our work,” said Nicola Keenan, interior designer and Co-founder of Boxx Creative. “All design details have been fully considered across the hotel. Carpet made from recycled fibres line the corridors and is inlaid within the sustainable, hand-crafted wooden flooring. Locally sourced and sustainable materials were used wherever possible and the build contractor was chosen for his energy saving principles and employment of workers within the area.”

    Understated living area of the guestroom

    Image credit: Mariell Lind Hansen

    The majority of the furnishings were made completely bespoke by a talented artisan in his local workshop. The bedrooms feature wooden headboard panelling, metal framed open cabinetry storage and sturdy desks, each thoughtfully hand-crafted. The unique hand-made wooden flooring with individually controlled underfloor heating system, adds warmth and grounding to each room. Beautiful reeded glass panelled doors with curved frame detailing provide privacy to each en-suite and rippled wooden under-sink cabinets hang beneath attractive natural stone basins.

    “Lighting was incredibly important to the client,” added Nicola Lindsell, also an interior designer and Co-founder of Boxx Creative. “We chose Italian designed, Flos feature pendants in each of the en-suites and Scandinavian inspired adjustable wall lights to create an appealing focal point in the bedrooms.”

    Soft, minalist lobby area. Natural materials, such a stone, used in the casegoods and furniture

    Image credit: Mariell Lind Hansen

    “When we decided to redesign the hotel we were conscious of finding a suitable partner that matched our values and design style,” said the owner of the hotel. “We loved working with Boxx Creative as they had a great knowledge of suppliers and longterm sustainable options. Throughout the redesign they presented options which reflected our sustainability goals as well as our overall artistic vision for the hotel.”

    The hotel has always been within the family and today the management has passed on to the third generation, with strong hope to continue and build upon that original idea, creating an authentic escape for locals and travellers alike.

    Main image credit: Mariell Lind Hansen

    Edinburgh boutique hotel unveils completely new look

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    Edinburgh boutique hotel unveils completely new look

    The 49-key The Bonham Hotel in Edinburgh has received a multi-million pound makeover led by designer Nigel Howard… 

    Following Edinburgh being named the UK’s number-one spot for hotel investment and development, The Bonham Hotel in the city centre has unveiled the result of a complete renovation.

    Led by design firm Nigel Howard Creative, as well as the 49 guestrooms, the refurbishment also included the public areas. The hotel is now complete with and newly branded restaurant – No. 35 at The Bonham.

    As well as the lobby and library, the snug – which is perfect for private dining and small events – has been fully refurbished to showcase many of its original features including wood panelling and stained glass windows as well as a stunning hand-painted ceiling.

    “Old buildings tell us where we came from – both architecturally and socially,” said Bonham owner Richard H. Driehaus.  “Preserving their beauty enhances our lives, our environments and respects our heritage.  So it is with The Bonham.”

    Exterior shot of the gothic-like hotel

    Image credit: The Bonham Hotel

    The interiors reference both the architectural heritage of the hotel and the soft highland hues that are typical of Scotland’s landscapes.  The colour palette is complemented with a rich choice of materials – including oak, brass, leather and velvet – to create some of the finest accommodations Edinburgh has to offer.

    Douglas Campbell, general manager at The Bonham Hotel, said: “This multimillion pound refurbishment has seen our already stunning hotel transformed into a truly sophisticated property combining modern styling with our original Georgian architecture.

    Image credit: The Bonham Hotel

    “Guests staying in the newly refurbished rooms are already giving us great feedback and we look forward to welcoming even more visitors from near and far to experience a taste of elegance here in the West End of Edinburgh.”

    Since the early 1980s, Driehaus has been a vocal advocate for the application of humanistic values in the built environment. International recognition includes receiving the INTBAU Visionary Supporter Award from HRH Prince Charles, being the first U.S. citizen inducted as an honorary member of the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando in Madrid, and receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Institute of Architects.

    Main image credit: The Bonham Hotel, Edinburgh

    Leading designers and architects spoke at the inaugural IDAS

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    Leading designers and architects spoke at the inaugural IDAS

    Taking place yesterday at Hilton London Tower Bridge, the Interior Design & Architecture Summit sheltered some interesting debates for designers and architects – all of which looped back to the elephant-in-the-room topic, sustainability in our hotels and cities…

    The sold-out inaugural Interior Design & Architecture Summit (IDAS) took place yesterday at the Hilton London Tower Bridge.

    The event, which allowed visionary designers and architects the ability to meet face-to-face with key-industry suppliers, included a speakership programme curated with the aim to put relevant topics under the spotlight.

    IDAS 2019 started with an engaging presentation by Constantina Tsoutsikou, the Creative Director at HBA London, who discussed ‘Playfullness & Personality in Hospitality Design’. In addition to referencing key projects to exemplify her points, Tsoutsikou made reference to creative boundaries of modern designers. “Many designers have forgotten how to sketch by hand,” she told the audience. “If we rely on computers then we have forgotten a skill that is very valuable.”

    “The reality is that the brief from hotels, investors and operators is never – or very rarely – to build a sustainable hotel.” – Constantina Tsoutsikou, the Creative Director at HBA London

    Joining the visionary on the sofa, editor Hamish Kilburn followed the presentation with a live Q&A and it became clear that sustainability was to be a dominating topic to be explored throughout the day. “The reality is that the brief from hotels, investors and operators is never – or very rarely – to build a sustainable hotel,” Tsoutsikou explained. “When consumers start choosing hotels on this credential then developers will follow, and this is happening slowly.”

    The designer explained how an ‘open window’ approach during projects – ensuring that the hotels on the boards evolve with ideas and themes throughout from concept to completion – has allowed her and her team to really inject each property they touch with ample personality and, of course, apt sense of place. “Take Hilton Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, for example. It has a dutch soul,” she explained. We enriched the level of comfort in the atrium by creating ‘islands’, each providing a distinct experience within the Axis Lobby: reception, lounge library, tech lounge and cocktail bar. Each area is defined by a carpet with a design inspired by the sediment-laden islands and waterways between coastal dunes on the southern coast of the Netherlands.

    From one inspirational creative to another, Yasmine Mahmoudieh was invited to take the second speaker session of the day, exploring Hotels of the Future. Following extensive research into the changing behavior of modern hotel guests, Mahmoudieh explained how she has seen – from both a design and an architecture point of view – a large demand in creating intelligent flexible spaces. Mahmoudieh explained that the hotels of the future will house all facilities – for working, living and socialising – under one roof. “New ways of living and working are being developed all over the world,” she said. “Therefore, the need for social interaction has never been as prevalent. It is partly due to social media and the alienation and the loneliness, especially young people feel.”

    Returning back to the theme of responsible design, Mahmoudieh, when joined on the sofa by Kilburn, started to highlight the importance of sustainability in architecture and explained the value of finding new eco-friendly materials. “I-MESH, for example, is an innovative material invented to assume a leading position in the field of solar protection indoors/outdoors,” she said. “Its physical, technological, formal characteristics together with its high aesthetical potential makes it eligible as a proper architectural material. It outclasses metallic grids for its design versatility and sustainability; it’s an easily custom made mesh in line with the architectural thought, with the story of the commissioning client, with the brand.”

    Following an afternoon of face-to-face meetings with suppliers from the likes of Marco Corona, Hamilton Litestat (recommended supplier), Mitre Linen (recommended supplier), Gessi (recommended supplier), Cole & Sons and many more, the audience gathered for the final session of the day. In the panel discussion entitled ‘The Rising Ceiling of Creativity’, Kilburn was joined on the sofa by Moritz Waldemeyer (lighting designer and recommended supplier), Charles Leon (architect and Past-President, BIID), Gilly Craft (interior designer and President, BIID), Yasmine Mahmoudieh (interior designer/architect) and Robin Sheppard (CEO of Bespoke Hotels). Looking at the creative boundaries faced currently by the industry as well as ‘futuregazing’ towards the hotel room of the future, the panel debated consumer behavior, sustainability in design and how to create authentic installations within hotel design.

    Following the success of yesterday’s event, details around next year’s IDAS will be announced shortly.

    Media Partner: Future Constructor & Architect

    Media Partner: Treniq

    GESSI launches bathroom showers inspired by ’90s Hi-Fi systems

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    GESSI launches bathroom showers inspired by ’90s Hi-Fi systems

    Hi-Fi by Gessi unites design and technology in a contemporary and original collection, perfect for furnishing the bathroom as a room of wellness, beauty and living well, according to the brand philosophy…

    With the creativity that distinguishes it, Gessi has created a product to “play” with the water in the search for its rhythm, through a selection system of functions, flow and thermostatic shower mixer that has the aesthetic of a 1990s stereo system.

    A bit vintage, a bit futuristic, the new button operated embedded or external Hi-Fi systems are the right compromise between sophisticated technological research, minimalism and functionality. Pressing “play” allows guests to do just that – play, and with the product. Gessi brings its sound, its lightness and vitality to the home-from-home hotel with a pinch of irony that is already a promise of happiness.

    The stereo-inspired shower unit

    Image credit: GESSI

    The Gessi Hi-Fi System shower columns, with its linear design, overturns the concept of the column, hybridising it with the typical form of the shower panel, but with totally external installation, without embedded elements. The column/panel section, in 4 mm thick glass, like the shelf, is offset from the latter, and contains the thermostatic controls, with a highly sophisticated architectural effect. Available with rainfall, waterfall and directional shower kit functionality, these sculptural wellbeing objects are also equipped with a handshower attacked with a magnetic and variable position system.

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

    Main image credit: GESSI

    Floral interior design trends to fall in love with for SS19

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    Floral interior design trends to fall in love with for SS19

    Ahead of the inaugural Interior Design & Architecture Summit next week, VIP Buyer Delegate Partner TRENIQ has identified some of the major SS19 floral interior design trends…

    2019 has announced floral maximalism as an emerging trend and a big favourite among designers. In the wake of such verdicts, we can’t help but rejoice. What’s not to love about lovely and luscious floral designs stealing the limelight in what could otherwise be a boring set up?

    To commemorate this trend, TRENIQ has put together a few big ways in which you can bring this trend into hotel design projects. Be it a cosy nook in a living room or a large splash in a dining area, there is a floral design for everyone, it seems.

    Floral interior decor available only on Treniq

    Quintessentially speaking, cutlery is the most effortless item in every household. Everyone finds comfort in the good old white China, while some are adventurous enough to opt-in deeper hues of cobalt, teal and mustards. But floral cutlery? Now that’s a trend setter right there! We love this Spring inspired brunch tableware in Mandarin rose, for it is both elegant and classy while being fun and quirky.

    Floral interior trends on Treniq

    One of the easiest tried and tested ways to bring in the trend is by piling on printed cushions on a neutral sofa. Not only does it bring to life the whole room and the sofa itself but it also adds a fun and refreshing touch to any decor plan.

    Binge on floral luxe

    Floral interior trends on Treniq

    Not all florals are bold, quirky and effervescent, some are regal, royal and elegant too. This room is a delightful blend of fun colours against soft Persian floral designs that are a classy variation to a usual bold look. The soft prints are an ode to a palatial interior set up.

    A carpet of flowers

    Floral interior trends on Treniq

    We love how rugs have taken on a rather interesting personality off late. These floral variants to the otherwise classic looks are absolutely refreshing and a tad bit unusual. Pair these with gorgeous floral artwork on the walls and you have for yourself a winner of an interior design.

    Treniq  is an international interiors network where you can buy or sell luxury interior products, discover design professionals, connect and build relationships, trade using easy and efficient tools. Create your free trade account today or contact us for more information at customercare@treniq.com.

    Main image credit: Pexels

     

    Sofitel Rome Villa Borghese unveils hotel design by Jean Philippe Nuel

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    Sofitel Rome Villa Borghese unveils hotel design by Jean Philippe Nuel

    The redesign of Sofitel Rome Villa Borghese is said to be an elegant Roman retreat, fusing La Dolce Vita heritage with modern French art de vivre…

    Located in the heart of Rome, Sofitel Rome Villa Borghese will reopen on July 1 2019, unveiling extensive renovations by contemporary architect and interior designer, Jean-Philippe Nuel.

    Situated on a quiet street in the epicentre of Rome, this former 19th century Roman palazzo lies within walking distance of some of the city’s best-known cultural landmarks and parks, including the Trevi Fountain, Villa Medici and the Spanish Steps. Evoking the feel of a Roman home, guests will appreciate the hotel’s relaxed and laid-back atmosphere and the sense of being truly immersed in the essence of this picturesque Italian city.

    The hotel will offer 78 guestrooms and suites, with the unveiling of larger suites, a new fitness centre and new well-being programme, and three large event rooms. Sofitel Rome Villa Borghese will also be home to Settimo, an elegant rooftop lounge and restaurant, offering panoramic views overlooking the picturesque Villa Borghese gardens and St. Peter’s Basilica. Adorned with eclectic furnishings and lush green interiors, Settimo will provide a botanical escape on the seventh floor and will serve contemporary Roman cuisine using locally-sourced ingredients. Paying respect to local mastery and heritage, while highlighting the personality of the hotel’s Executive Chef, Giuseppe D’Alessio, signature dishes will incorporate traditional Roman culinary styles such as ‘cucina povera’ and ‘Tripolina’.

    Image credit: Accor Hotels

    Jean Philippe Nuel’s chic redesigns will combine the heritage and classicism of ‘La Dolce Vita’, with the modernism and design of French ‘art de vivre’. The hotel entrance will feature an iconic display of chromatic counterpoints and vibrant colours, creating a modern lounge with a classical feel. Guest rooms will also exhibit an iridescent ceiling masterpiece, creating the illusion of the bright sky above.

    At Sofitel Rome Villa Borghese, guests will feel instantly at home, with dedicated and personalised attention through thoughtful gestures and delightful surprises. The hotel will feature a dedicated candle ritual, inspired by the lighting of the streets of Paris during the reign of Louis XIV, which provided citizens with a sense of welcoming and safety. At sunset, the hotel will light giant candles outside the entrance to welcome guests back from their evenings out touring the city, accompanied by atmospheric music.

    The ‘home away from home’ atmosphere with personalised wellness and fitness therapies with the SofitelFIT Wellness Programme, and the Sofitel MyBed Sleep Menu, a signature in-room service, transform the bathroom into a private sanctuary with luxurious options for relaxation. Guests can choose between two complimentary baths – a therapeutic Soothing Bath that invites a lazy soak with calming essential oils, or a Bubble Bath that injects fun into the bath time experience. Sofitel Rome Villa Borghese also provides guests with personalised bathrobes to enhance the bespoke nature of the experiences.

    The French ‘joie de vivre’ and the Roman ‘carpe diem’ of the renovated hotel will create a uniquely sophisticated, yet simple and contemporary experience where desires are magnified after a day of exploring the historical Roman streets.

    Main image credit: Accor Hotels

    Laura Ashley guestroom

    Coventry hotel to rebrand as a Laura Ashley Hotel

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    Coventry hotel to rebrand as a Laura Ashley Hotel

    The Chace Hotel, in Coventry, will after major refurbishment become a Laura Ashley Hotel…

    Laura Ashley Hotels today announced it is expanding its portfolio with the addition of The Chace Hotel, in Coventry.

    The 66-key hotel is undergoing a major refurbishment to bring it in line with Laura Ashley brand standards. The elegant new interiors will showcase the Laura Ashley Home range and its exquisite, high-quality inherently British fabrics and furnishings throughout.

    Laura Ashley guestroom

    The Chace Hotel is a striking example of Victorian architecture, surrounded by three acres of attractive landscaped gardens. Original features of the building, such as the ornate fireplace and mullioned windows, create a sense of grandeur in the oak-panelled reception area. The grand sweeping staircase leads upstairs to the new beautifully designed Laura Ashley bedrooms.

    The deluxe Laura Ashley bedrooms are designed to infuse a sense of tranquillity and with an effortless style, drawing inspiration from the hotel’s Victorian heritage. Carefully selected colours and fabrics complement each other to create an elegant space in which to relax and unwind. Classic Laura Ashley design adorns every surface, from plush cushions and floor-to-ceiling drapes to statement lighting and stylish mirrors.

    The portfolio, which also includes The Belsfield Hotel, Windermere, and is soon to include Burnham Beeches Hotel in Buckinghamshire, aims to offer guests an authentic home from home experience against the backdrop of the Laura Ashley Home range in characterful properties in the UK.

    Chris Bowron, Hotel Manager of The Chace Hotel, said: “We’re delighted that The Chace Hotel will be joining the Laura Ashley Hotel portfolio. A thorough refurbishment is underway using the Laura Ashley Home collection’s beautiful range of décor, fabrics and soft furnishings. It is an exciting time for the hotel, and we are excited to offer our guests a whole new experience.”

    The Chace Hotel is already home to the Laura Ashley The Tea Room, which opened in October 2018 and is the newest addition to the tea room portfolio.

    The Lowry Hotel, Manchester, unveils images of new presidential suite

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    The Lowry Hotel, Manchester, unveils images of new presidential suite

    The £700,000 renovation of the luxury hotel, The Lowry in Manchester, was led by The Brit List award-winning design firm Goddard Littlefair…

    Amidst the increase in luxury hotel development in Manchester, The Lowry Hotel is upping the ‘luxury stakes’ once again by unveiling the first look at its newly renovated Presidential Suite, designed by Goddard Littlefair and the largest both currently available or planned in the city.

    The renovations totalled £700,000 and include a complete reconfiguration and redesign of the space, an enlarged dressing room and a new bespoke marble bathroom. The suite also includes a fully equipped kitchen, large bathroom with a double steam shower and free-standing bath, super king size bedroom, a walk-in dressing room and lounge plus a dining room for up to eight people. There is also an additional second bedroom and with adjoining bathroom.

    Image of stylish, modern guestroom. Geometric headboard and views over Manchester

    Image credit: Gareth Gardner

    The floor-to-ceiling windows offer views across the river Irwell and Manchester’s skyline, and the room also comes with a mini grand piano, two in-room bars, two smart TVs and an Amazon Alexa. As well as complimentary valet, luggage management, personalised welcome drinks and in-suite check in, guests can take advantage of a butler, on-site hairdresser, endless beauty treatments, Tesla hire, private chef or personal trainer whilst staying in the luxury suite.

    “We drew inspiration from Manchester’s industrial history and in particular from cotton, weaving and the city’s industrial forms, geometry and heritage.” – Goddard Littlefair

    Renowned interior designers Goddard Littlefair, Interior Designers of the suite, commented on the inspiration behind the design: “‘This was a special and prestigious project for us, showcasing the first of our new designs for The Lowry Hotel. We drew inspiration from Manchester’s industrial history and in particular from cotton, weaving and the city’s industrial forms, geometry and heritage, including the shape of Trinity Bridge over the River Irwell, directly outside the hotel. We were also inspired by Lowry’s own colour palette, as the artist famously kept to a base palette of only five colours, mixing them to achieve tonal shades that nonetheless stayed within a distinctive overall range.

    Marble-lined shower area plus freestanding bath

    Image credit: Gareth Gardner

    “The new design has a residential feel, with light and bright tonal colours used for the walls, curtains and carpets, offset by darker joinery, geometric-patterned fabrics used for cushions and curtain trims for added visual interest. Colours range from rich bronzes and burnt oranges to off-whites and textured blue-greys. Special joinery features include four sets of double screens around the living and dining areas to help zone the space and a bespoke dining table for eight with a feature veneer inset pattern.

    “The bedrooms and bathrooms feature timber slatted walls, which mirror on the opposite wall, whilst the bathroom also has feature walls in luxurious, richly-veined marble. The main bedroom features a bespoke, contemporary version of a four-poster bed, in a room where the colours become softer, more muted and restful. The stunning dressing room, with a large, anthracite velvet ottoman at its centre, is dominated by a tiered feature light, made of threads and inspired by Manchester’s cotton production history.”

    Soft interior decor. Geometric wall partitions within the suite and a baby grand piano on the right.

    Image credit: Gareth Gardner

    In homage to the hotel’s namesake, L.S Lowry, a selection of art has also been chosen for the room by ARTIQ. Kate Terres, Head of Operations at ARTIQ, commented: “The collection at the Lowry presented an exciting opportunity for us, because it is rare for hotels to be named after celebrated artists.  In curating the collection with Goddard Littlefair, ARTIQ pulled specifically on L.S. Lowry’s recognisable palette of charcoals and dark reds against pale smoky backdrops. Alongside these distinctive tonal elements, the curation draws on the shapes evoked by Manchester’s solid industrial architecture of the twentieth and twenty-first century – examples of which can be viewed from the Presidential Suite – as well as heavily abstracted figures that draw on Lowry’s matchstick figures.

    “The collection is comprised of painting, sculpture, photography and print, with an emphasis on varied and rich textures that range from highly polished stainless steel – representing the industrial subject – to thickly modelled paintings incorporating found elements. Examples of large format photography depicting an abstracted industrial narrative contrast with the delicacy of the works by artist Kelly M. O’Brien. Kelly’s mixed-media practice involves burning paper and layering with inserts of gold leaf and, for The Presidential Suite, focuses on a linear radiating pattern that recalls the bridge architecture viewed from the window as well as playing with a high/low contrast of material. Also in the collection is work by artist Laetitia Rouget, whose playful series focuses on simplistic line drawings of the human in thickly pulled paint – a modern interpretation of Lowry’s matchstick men.”

     The luxury Lowry Hotel also boasts six Riverside suites, an additional 164 guestrooms, a spa, bar and The River Restaurant.

    Main image credit: Gareth Gardner

     

     

     

    Accor’s Aparthotel brand Adagio arrives in London

    800 534 mattd
    Accor’s Aparthotel brand Adagio arrives in London

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

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

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

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

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

    Image credit: Accor/Adagio

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

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

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

    Main image credit: Accor/Adagio

    SPOTLIGHT ON: IHG pilots new lighting technology

    800 534 Hamish Kilburn

    HD

    SPOTLIGHT ON: IHG pilots new lighting technology

    The new lighting technology that is being piloted by IHG is designed specifically to help guests sleep better…

    InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has partnered with Healthe® by Lighting Science, a global leader in innovative LED lighting solutions, to pilot the use of state-of-the-art circadian lighting to help guests sleep better while travelling.

    Crowne Plaza® Atlanta Airport will be the first IHG property to install the JOURNI™ Mobile Task Light in guestrooms. Designed using Healthe®’s patented GoodDay® and GoodNight® spectrum technologies, JOURNI allows access to the alertness and focus-enhancing spectrum during the day, and then easily change to the warm, sleep-enhancing spectrum at night. This versatile, dual-spectrum luminaire can help you to effortlessly bring energy-efficient, circadian lighting right to your hotel room.  Ultimately, JOURNI also helps to regulate the body’s circadian rhythm or 24-hour internal body clock which effects important biological functions such as sleep, hormone levels, body temperature and metabolism.

    Committed to investing and leading the way in the latest innovations and technologies to help guests sleep better, IHG already has programs in place across its brands based including:

    • Crowne Plaza® Hotels & Resorts Sleep Advantage™ Programme has been designed to improve the quality of sleep during hotel overnights, improving the quality of the following day. The bed linens provide unbelievable softness and the programme’s unique This Works aromatherapy line contains pure essential oils that help the customer to recover from the day’s stress and to sleep more soundly.
    • EVEN® Hotels lighting profiles allows guests to change the colour of the lighting in their rooms to blue, red, green or yellow to either energise or relax
    • The Holiday Inn® Pillow Menu gives guests the option to choose between a varied range of pillows, from firmness to type and even filling

    “At IHG, we want to make sure our guests are getting the best night’s sleep possible across our 5,600 hotels and portfolio of more than 15 brands,” said Brian McGuinness, Senior Vice President of Global Guest Experience Shared Services, IHG. “We are continually testing ways we can enhance the guest experience, loyalty and ultimately, owner value. Our circadian lighting technology pilot is the latest example of the work we are doing to innovate the guest experience. We’re excited to be the first hotel company to pilot Healthe®’s JOURNI product and are already working on what’s coming next.”

    Main image credit: IHG

    In Conversation With: Damien Perrot on defining ibis Hotels’ new design era

    800 533 Hamish Kilburn

    The world’s most iconic budget hotel brand is undergoing a major redesign following the growing demands of the modern traveller. To understand all the design details of the new generation of ibis Hotels, editor Hamish Kilburn sat down with Damien Perrot, Senior Vice President, Design Solutions for Accor, to find out more about how the new ibis was conceived in three separate designs…

    With more than 1,170 economy hotels open worldwide, ibis has become somewhat of a trailblazer in the congested budget sector of the hotel industry. Opening up in neighbourhoods that before the ‘70s may well have not existed for the modern traveller, the company’s aggressive expansion into tier two cities bridged the gap between travellers and the freedom to explore the world while on a budget.

    With the aim to ‘shake up budget hotel standards’, the brand, which is known for its basic and standardised design, is now in the process of reinventing itself to become more flexible to cater to a wider demographic. Using interior design as its tool, Ibis’ latest face lift includes new guestrooms, F&B areas and living spaces. “Its transformation is primarily based on customer behaviour and how guests instinctively use the spaces,” said Steven Taylor, Chief Brand Officer at Accor in the official statement from the brand. “Today, the brand is a truly vibrant place where travellers and non-staying and local customers alike can dine, sleep, work and feel welcome.”

    Leading the extensive brand renovation is Damien Perrot, Senior Vice President, Design Solutions for Accor. “I wanted to achieve a design that was living, vibrant and real,” he told Hotel Designs. “The objective, in terms of design, is to attract people and allow our guests to have a great experience that will naturally encourage them to return.”

    “Perrot launched competitions in America, Asia and Europe in order to garner inspiration from all corners of the world.”

    The design, marketing and brand team came together with the ambition to rethink ibis as if it was created to