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Renovation

“COVID-19 pandemic will put sustainability on hold,” experts warn

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
“COVID-19 pandemic will put sustainability on hold,” experts warn

Analysts at GlobalData have predicted that the global outbreak of COVID-19 will steer the UK consumer’s attention off sustainability…

Sustainability was the buzz word of 2019 and would have continued to increase in prominence in 2020. However, the COVID–19 pandemic will bring progress to a halt, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

“Making changes to materials, logistics and production processes to improve the sustainability of products and operations will slow, as sustainability is no longer top of retailers’ and consumers’ agendas,” commented Emily Salter, Analyst at GlobalData. “This is due to long-term adjustments being costly and many non-food retailers will be financially unstable as they emerge from this crisis after a significant period of low or no sales.”

Sustainability and single-use plastic will be less important to many consumers in the short term where hygiene and cleanliness is more of a priority to prevent the spread of the virus. Prior to the outbreak, shopping habits were starting to shift – 74 per cent of nationally representative UK consumers surveyed in 2019 said they would prefer to shop at a retailer that has more loose fruit and vegetables. However, the prioritisation of health over the environment has led to a drastic increase in sales of anti-bacterial gel and hand wash in plastic bottles, with little regard for plastic-free alternatives or refills that may be available.

Salter continues: “Another issue is the problem of unsold stock that retailers will be stuck with, as all non-essential stores and some websites have ceased trading temporarily. Some items and ranges could be able to be sold at a later date, but this may not be the case for highly seasonal and trend-led pieces, raising questions about how these items will be disposed. Given Burberry came under fire for burning stock in 2018, retailers must be careful how they deal with this issue. Acting quickly, Kurt Geiger has announced it plans to donate some of its stock to NHS staff, clearing through the excess while also generating positive press.”

Additionally, during the outbreak consumers will be less likely or unable to buy second hand items – sales via some Facebook neighbourhood groups for instance are being discouraged or stopped, and willingness may decline after the crisis is over due to lingering concerns about the hygiene of used products.

Salter concludes: “Although sustainability will slowly become more important again once the spread of COVID-19 has ceased, the increased awareness of cleanliness and germs is likely to remain at the forefront of shoppers’ minds and will continue to hinder the growth of sustainability initiatives, such as refill stores.”

Image credit: Pixabay

Getting a sense of Hotel Indigo’s new explorer initiative

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Getting a sense of Hotel Indigo’s new explorer initiative

IHG’s Hotel Indigo recently launched a new initiative to allow travellers to unlock the best experiences in Hotel Indigo destinations. To explore more, editor Hamish Kilburn caught up with Meredith Latham, Vice President, Global Hotel Indigo at IHG and Henry Reeve, Interior Design Director at IHG.

Hotel Indigo, which currently has more than 100 properties worldwide, has launched Clues to the Neighbourhood, which is a new concept that allows guests and locals to discover authentic experiences.

The new hospitality concept is a collection of items and artefacts that have been curated in partnership with historians, creative directors and artists, which are brought to life through artfully presented installations integrated into the hotel’s design. The clues allow travellers to explore a neighbourhood’s off-the-beaten-path experiences, whether that be a local museum, an unparalleled view, a music venue, a local boutique or a place where locals eat and drink.

Image caption: Clues to the Neighbourhood co-curated by Hotel Indigo Laura Mvula, Cloudy Zakrocki and other musicians, artists and local experts to provide off the beaten path experiences

To get more of an understanding into the new approach, and to find out more about the brand’s expansion plans, we sat down with Meredith Latham, Vice President, Global Hotel Indigo at IHG and Henry Reeve, Interior Design Director at IHG.

Hamish Kilburn: Can you explain how this concept marries up to Hotel Indigo’s brand values?
Meredith Latham: The purpose of Hotel Indigo is to ‘discover the world within the neighbourhood’, and each and every neighbourhood has a unique story. We deliberately launched Clues to the Neighbourhood in Stratford-upon-Avon, the birthplace of one of the greatest storytellers of all time, William Shakespeare.

HK: Henry, I know the depth of research that goes in to designing new Hotel Indigo properties? Is Clues of the Neighbourhood a way of giving guests that same information?
Henry Reeve: As you know, we spend a lot of time learning about cultures and what makes a destination special when designing a new hotel. We do want to ensure that those stories are relayed to our guests authentically. Therefore, we spend a lot of time in the design department explaining to the front-of-house staff why we have made certain design decisions, such as the lighting, the carpets and so on. Also, we want to create these hotels not just for our guests, but also for locals, because we want to create spaces that truly reflects the destination they are built in.

HK: How is Hotel Indigo ensuring it keeps its boutique status during the huge expansion?
ML: We have a tremendous amounts of new openings on the horizon. Each time we renovate or create a new hotel, we look at the local culture to ensure that everything is coming to life in the right way.

HK: Why is it so important for a brand like Hotel Indigo to ensure that design and service work in harmony?
HR: You simply can’t have beautiful design with terrible service, and design will only get you so far. Ensuring the two elements to work together is critical. I believe we have some of the best staff in the business that really truly reflect the brand and the area.

HK: When you are scouting for new properties, what are you looking for in an neighbourhood?
ML: We are looking for a place that will allow us to provide a Hotel Indigo experience, that allows our guests – the explorers – to find curated and special details. Generically speaking, city centres tend to have very rich stories.

HK: What’s been the most interesting thing you have learned so far about a Hotel Indigo neighbourhood?
HR: Stratford is fascinating, and not just for Shakespeare. For example, Pashley Bikes were made here, and we have taken the vernacular of the bike and integrated it into the hotel’s design.

ML: For me, the internet aborts the opportunity to find things out in person. We are hoping to take our guests the extra mile to learn something new about the area.

HK: What’s the most challenging part of curating something like this, on this scale?
HR: For all of our neighbourhoods, we want to go deeper into the community to find something that perhaps stands out, such as a local distillery or authentic craftsmanship. This obviously requires a lot of detailed research, which can perhaps be challenging but also equally rewarding.

Main image credit: Hotel Indigo

Outstanding Property Awards’ 2020 winners announced

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Outstanding Property Awards’ 2020 winners announced

Outstanding Property Award London (OPAL), which Hotel Designs is a media partner of, has announced the winners of this year’s international awards…

Outstanding Property Award London (OPAL)’s global search to find the best architecture, interior design and property development projects from around the world has come to a close as the winners have been announced.

With entries from all over the world, each project was anonymously peer-reviewed by the distinguished OPAL jury panel comprised of international industry experts, rating each project according to their individual merits. The final winners were chosen based on the overall score of all the Jury votes.

“Being on the judging panel for the inaugural OPAL has been an enlightening experience from beginning to end,” commented editor of Hotel Designs and OPAL jury member Hamish Kilburn. “The quality of projects that were submitted this year, in all categories, is a true reflection of the boundless creativity that our industry is famous for. As a result, OPAL has emerged as a prestigious international award that celebrates mind-blowing and functional design, which will inspire designers and architects around the world to reach new heights.”

OPAL’s ‘Project of the Year’ trophies were awarded to who the jury voted to be the single best projects in three categories:

Architectural Design of the Year: The Shed
Design/architecture by: Diller Scofidio + Renfro / Rockwell Group

Image credit: The Shed/Diller Scofidio + Renfro (lead Architect) And Rockwell Group (collaborating Architect)

Image credit: The Shed/Diller Scofidio + Renfro (lead Architect) And Rockwell Group (collaborating Architect)

The Shed is dedicated to commissioning, producing, and presenting original works of art, across all disciplines, for all audiences. The building is designed to physically transform to support artists’ most ambitious ideas. Its eight-level base building includes two levels of gallery space, a versatile theatre, a rehearsal space, a creative lab, and a skylit event space. A telescoping outer shell can deploy from its position over the base building and glide along rails onto an adjoining plaza to double the building’s footprint for large-scale performances, installations, and events.

Interior Design of the Year: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Designed by: Shenzhen Wanjing International Design Consultant Co., Ltd.

Image credit: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon/Shenzhen Wanjing International Design Consultant Co., Ltd.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is located in Suichang, Zhejiang Province. It is a tea garden village with a thousand-foot cliffs of Jiulong Mountain. The minimalist design of the property was inspired by the local culture and craftsmanship, using natural materials to enhance a strong sense-of-place.

Property Developer of the Year: One Manhattan West
Developer: Brookfield Properties

Render of glass skyscraper

Image creditL Brookfield Properties/
One Manhattan West

Manhattan West is a seven-acre mixed-use development located in the heart of Manhattan’s Hudson Yards district. The 2,117,000 Sq Ft project completed in 2019 demonstrates our multi-faceted development capabilities – site assembly, master planning, development, leasing and operations. The site sits directly between the busiest train station in North America and New York City’s first subway extension in decades.

Speaking about OPAL’s award program, Jesper Thomsen, OPAL’s co-founder, commented: “Our esteemed jury members have worked hard to select the best projects. We are proud to present the winners of our inaugural year, celebrating the creativity and talent of incredible design projects from around the world, giving them the global exposure they deserve.”

Each winner receives the coveted OPAL Winners Seal to promote their award, a Winner’s Certificate, and a permanent profile on the OPAL online Winner’s gallery. OPAL has decided to postpone the Awards Ceremony due to the unfortunate Covid-19 situation until further notice and hope all are staying safe during these troubled times.

The full list of winners can be accessed on the OPAL website.

Main image credit: The Shed/Rockwell Group

In Conversation With: Interior Designer of the Year 2019, Jo Littlefair

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In Conversation With: Interior Designer of the Year 2019, Jo Littlefair

Securing her place in the history books, Jo Littlefair came out on top last year at The Brit List Awards 2019, spectacularly winning the coveted title, Interior Designer of the Year. A few months later, she welcomes editor Hamish Kilburn into the Goddard Littlefair HQ to give him a glimpse into studio life…

“Jo, can I borrow you for just a second,” says senior associate and architect David Lee Hood as Jo Littlefair and I walk through the studio. “This archway,” he says pointing to a life-like rendering on his monitor, “what are your thoughts on adding in a line of colour here?” As he shows the before and after, it is a game of ‘spot the difference’ to the untrained eye. But for the multi-layered studio Goddard Littlefair, where the devil is so often in the detail, it could be the difference between winning a pitch or losing it, as any design practice operating on today’s international scene will confirm.

“We have made a few changes to encourage people to come and talk to us more.” – Jo Littlefair, co-founder, Goddard Littlefair

The short but important moment is proof, if ever I needed it, that Littlefair likes to naturally lead from within her team. And as we walk through the open-planned office that is flooded with natural light towards her workstation, I notice also that there is no door, and no boundary, between herself and everyone else in the building.

Image caption: The Lowry Presidential Suite, designed sensitively by Goddard Littlefair

Image caption: The Lowry Presidential Suite, designed sensitively by Goddard Littlefair

“We got to the point last year when, as we reached 60 employees, we decided Goddard Littlefair was too big as a studio,” she confesses. “We have made a few changes to encourage people to come and talk to us more, because I would rather know about something – and be able to comment at a point where it is possible to comment – rather than get further down the line and it be too late. At the end of the day, leading this design studio with Martin Goddard has always been a collaboration, not just between himself and I but also our team.” As the designer is explaining, I notice that there’s a cordial and relaxed atmosphere in the Clerkenwell studio, and the strong relationship between the co-founders and their team is apparent.

Image caption: The bar inside Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik, designed by Goddard Littlefair

“We look at the finer details, as you have just seen, that perhaps make a space look and feel more residential,” the designer explains. “Things like tabs on the curtain pole having a little leather strap and a metal rivet, and it’s those elements that give it quality and detail. It’s important that someone has thought about it in that much detail, and there is a reason why it’s leather and why it’s embossed, or whatever.”

“What’s most important is that it has to be right for our client, the property and the location every time.” – Jo Littlefair, co-founder, Goddard Littlefair

Recently completed projects within the studio’s portfolio include The Biltmore Mayfair  London, Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik , Sheraton  Grand Warsaw , the new F&B areas inside Hilton Munich City, The Lowry in Manchester and the Kimpton Charlotte Square. Having followed many, if not all, of these projects from concept through to completion, it’s fair to say that the studio believes that variety is the spice of life. “We don’t like being pigeon-holed,” explains Littlefair. “We have a great variety of style, which is fantastic. Also, we are not divas when it comes to our personal taste. What’s most important is that it has to be right for our client, the property and the location every time.”

Modern award-winning bar

Image caption: The award-winning Juliet Rose at Hilton Munich, designed by Goddard Littlefair, has become the city’s new destination bar.

Despite the studio clocking up the air miles with unavoidable trips abroad for site visits and account management, in order for the team to understand the culture and fabrics of new destinations, the studio’s HQ is positioned slap-bang in the epicentre of the design community in London, just a few streets behind some of the city’s major design showrooms in Clerkenwell. “There is always a corner of London that you can find a narrative to that is really individual,” says Littlefair. “Whether  When? you are living, working and breathing in London, like many of our designers, the city becomes a fantastic place. I think that’s because it is made up of villages that have, over time, morphed together. As a designer working on a project here, the identity of what those villages were can really shine through.”

“I literally had to work my way around the world, and it made me a different person.” – Jo Littlefair, co-founder, Goddard Littlefair

Despite London having its place in the designer’s heart, Littlefair mostly finds inspiration in design from nature, and decompresses daily from city life, after a hefty commute, in Buckinghamshire where she lives. “It’s a very open community, close enough to London for work, but full of fresh air,” she explains. “My kids love it there, and so do I!”

But where was Littlefair’s inquisitive nature born, I wonder? “When I left university and went travelling, technology as we know it now didn’t exist; email had just come out for crying out loud,” she admits. “I used to pay to sit in a café to type an email home to say I’m alive. For me, that was about really cutting off from the world. My mum didn’t think I was going to come back,” she laughs, “I did some crazy things; I worked out on boats and I threw myself into experiential travel, albeit on a shoestring. I literally had to work my way around the world, and it made me a different person. Experiencing places and learning about people and cultures.”

Image caption: The Principal York's luxe, residential look and feel was designed by Goddard Littlefair

Image caption: The Principal York’s luxe, residential look and feel was designed by Goddard Littlefair

QUICK-FIRE ROUND

Hamish Kilburn: What trend do you hope will never return?
Jo Littlefair: Rag-rolled walls and transitional furniture.

HK: What’s next on your travel bucket list?
JL: Chile , Argentina and Egypt.

HK: What would you say is the number-one tool for success?
JL: Hard work, and you can’t teach taste. I learn something new every day, nobody can know everything!

HK: Who was your inspiration growing up?
JL: The reason I made it into interiors is because I used to work on super yacht designed by Terence Tisdale. I couldn’t believe that somebody got paid to put this together and design with  all those beautiful timber veneers and mirrors everywhere, which I had to clean! I spent four months in the Med working on this 64m Feadship  . It had everything and gave me an insight into luxury and interior design.

HK: What is the one item you cannot travel without?
JL: This is ridiculous but my cashmere jumper, which is so not me. You will always find a lightweight cashmere jumper in my flight bag!

HK: What is the last item that will show up on your bank statement?
JL: Whole beans for my coffee machine. Always buy a small bag because you want the freshest roasted beans for your coffee.

HK: What has the last year taught you?
JL: To keep everyone in the studio on one floor, so that we are working together. Also that quality far outweighs quantity.

“Think of it as the destination’s answer to The Ned.” – Jo Littlefair, co-founder, Goddard Littlefair

Back to today, and the studio is currently hard at work with a number of projects on the drawing boards. The studio is currently working on designing four restaurants and bars inside the soon-to-open 360-key Villa Copenhagen. “Think of it as the destination’s answer to The Ned,” Littlefair teases. “But it’s so not about men and women in suits. Instead, the whole project has been about understanding the Danish vernacular, the locals’ way of life.”

Other projects that the studio is working on include five star resorts on the Mediterranean coast line, the repurposing of a beautiful Viennese building to a 150 plus bedroom five star hotel and what may be the future best spa in London.

Image credit: The atmospheric restaurant Cucina Mia inside Shertaton Warsaw, designed by Goddard Littlefair

Image credit: The atmospheric restaurant InAzia restaurant in Sheraton Warsaw, designed by Goddard Littlefair

As two people who are, parallel to others in the industry, so thoughtfully leading interior design forward in terms of meaningful innovation, Goddard and Littlefair both feel pressure to adapt sensitively with the times while also maintaining a fundamental quality. And their approach to evolution is enlightening.  “Someone once told me that everything in life is a phase,” explains Littlefair. “I have learned to embrace change and see it as a positive. It is intrinsically scary to human nature, but when you learn that it is necessary to be a little bit cathartic about things, life runs smoother.” I would argue that it is this breath-of-fresh-air attitude that led the designer to win The Brit List Awards’ Interior Designer of the Year 2020.

“You have no idea how much the award means to me.” – Jo Littlefair, co-founder, Goddard Littlefair

“I just can’t believe it,” she said fresh off stage at the event in November when her new-found title was revealed in front of a sea of leading designers, architects, hoteliers and developers. Months later, and the reality of ‘that win’ hasn’t quite sunk in. “You have no idea how much the award means to me,” she says now. “The line-up of people you had there was fantastic, they are my peer group and I am very respectful of what everyone else is doing. So, that people within this industry consider what we are doing here to such high regard means everything!”

Image caption: Interior Designer of the Year, Goddard Litterfair's Jo Littlefair with editor Hamish Kilburn at The Brit List Awards 2020

Image caption: Interior Designer of the Year, Goddard Litterfair’s Jo Littlefair with editor Hamish Kilburn at The Brit List Awards 2020

In a recent roundtable discussion that Littlefair attended, it was mentioned that all designers are having to work harder than ever before in order to differentiate from other styles and common motifs. As I sit around the table in the hub of her studio, I wonder how Littlefair and her team approach this topic when it comes to designing future hotels. “We are getting to the point where people have not seen a beautifully letter-pressed card before,” she says. “The ‘tech revolution’ has changed everything that we do and the way our work is perceived, but we can’t lose touch of humanity in the process.”

“We crowned a really worthy winner,” I can’t help by think to myself after I’ve said my goodbyes to the  Goddard Littlefair team. For me, it’s not necessary  necessarily? Littlefair’s work that is the most inspiring thing about but  the designer, but more her incredible journey, which was fuelled by hard-work, passion and determination, that I believe every single designer can learn from – or at least be energised by.

Main image credit: Goddard Littlefair

Taylor’s Classics unveils new furniture for 2020

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Taylor’s Classics unveils new furniture for 2020

Contract furniture company Taylor’s Classics has launched a number of new chairs into its Modern seating collection…

Recommended Supplier Taylor’s Classics has launched a number of new chairs into its Modern Seating collection.

New products include Benchairs 700 armchair (Benchairs collection), Sunburst dining chair (available in two different options: Straight leg and turned leg – Collection: Traditional Classics) and the Alex armchair (available in two options: Beech and Oak.

Selection of cut outs of seating

Image credit: Taylor’s Classics’ selection of new seating

The full list of products are below:

Max Side Chair

Based upon a classic design of the 1930’s our Max chair has a chrome frame with upholstered seat & back. Ideal for restaurant or bar seating it is a great combination of style and comfort.

Max Armchair

The Max armchair is based upon a classic design of the 1930’s. It has a chrome frame with upholstered seat, back and arms. Ideal for restaurant or bar seating, it is a great combination of style and comfort.

Max High Stool

The Max high stool is based upon a classic design of the 1930’s. It has chrome frame with upholstered seat & back. Ideal for restaurant or bar seating, it is a great combination of style and comfort.

Luna Side Chair

Our oak framed Luna chair provides a really comfortable seating option for restaurants, lounge areas & bars. The chair can be upholstered in a fabric or leather of your choice and the frame polished in one of the standard Taylor’s Classics stains.

Sol Tub Chair

The Sol Tub chair is manufactured in oak and provides a really comfortable seating option for restaurants, lounge areas and bars. This chair can be upholstered in a fabric or leather of your choice and the frame polished in one of the standard Taylor’s Classics stains.

Benchairs 700 Armchair

Our new Benchairs 700 armchair has a beech frame and upholstered seat. It is a really comfortable chair with a relatively small footprint which means that it could be used for dining, bar or lounge areas. The chair is not a Benchairs original but we feel it fits in with the rest of the collection. The chair was designed by Kasper Meldgaard of design studio ‘Says Who’ in Denmark.

Manufactured to meet with contract furniture standards makes this chair suitable for dining or bar locations with heavy day to day use. This piece is one of many from our retro pub chairs collection and is available in a choice of finishes.

Alex Armchair

The Alex chair is available in two different frame options: Oak or Beech. The armchair has a small footprint but provides great comfort and is ideal for use in bars, cafes or restaurants.

Sunburst Dining Chair

We love Art Deco so are very pleased to introduce the Sunburst chair. We think a restaurant full of these chairs could look wonderful. It is a very comfortable dining chair and is available with either straight or turned front legs.

Taylor’s Classics 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: Taylor’s Classics

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Sensitively lighting the bathroom

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Sensitively lighting the bathroom

The lighting experts at Vaughan talk us through how the brand successfully lit the bathrooms in prestige projects such as Gleneagles, The Ned and St. Ermins…

Lighting brand Vaughan was one of the first companies to provide bathroom lighting that was both functional and refined when they began designing lights for this purpose more than 15 years ago.

Although bathroom lights need to be equipped with an IP44 rating, the company recognise that clients require a product that kept in line with their visual aesthetic.

Throughout the past 15 years, Vaughan’s bathroom lights have been featured in numerous hotel projects – from the Soho House Group to Firmdale Hotels, as well as stand-alone projects including Claridge’s and Grantley Hall. In the past year alone, Vaughan have provided lighting for more than 50 hotels across the United Kingdom and Europe. And here are just a a handful of them.

Nestled in the centre of London, the Ned is architecturally more than 100 years old – and was originally known as the Midland Bank building. Now renowned for being a hotel, the Ned is the shared project of Nick Jones, founder of Soho House & Co., and Andrew Zobler, CEO of New York’s Sydell Group. Thanks in part to its longstanding relationship with the Soho House Group, Vaughan supplied the Ned with the Sudbury Wall Light for a number of their bathrooms.

Made from solid cast brass, decorated with a scalloped edge and given an antique brass finish, it is one of Vaughan’s early designs – one which is more traditional in style yet still stands the test of time. Featuring a distinctive, ribbed, scroll-shaped arm, and beaded detailing, it showcases the variety of texture that is made possible thanks to the lost wax casting process.  Placed on each side of the whimsical oval-shaped mirror, the Sudbury Wall Light subtly complements the brass accents that Jones has implemented – from the door handle, to the bathroom taps, and the towel rack too.

Located in Perthshire, Scotland, Gleneagles formally opened its doors in 1924. Described as “a Riviera in the Highlands”, it was initially conceived thanks to the vision of Donald Matheson, General Manager of the Caledonian Rail Company, whose railway line ran through its picturesque terrain.

Following a refurbishment from 2015 – 2017, Hotel Designs reviewed the hotel, and noticed  Vaughan’s Seaton Storm Wall Lights feature in a number of suites.

Based on a traditional ‘hurricane lamp’ that was originally designed for candles, it comes with an elegant glass shade and is pictured here with an antique brass finish.  A delicate combination of hot forged brass and glass, the Seaton is a simple design, with minimal decoration, yet is executed with precision and care.  Similar to the bathroom interior at the Ned, the Seaton Wall Lights continue the theme of brass, and neatly unite themselves to the taps, mirrors, and drawer handles to create a cohesive room set.

The bathroom at St. Ermin’s offers a departure from the brass theme previously discussed, in a decidedly more contemporary interior with pink wallpaper, mother-of-pearl mirrors and sleek, black marble. Situated just around the corner from St. James’s Park in London, St. Ermin’s is an independent hotel yet is also part of Marriott International’s ‘Autograph Collection’.

Image caption: Vaughan’s Norfolk Wall Light can be found in the bathrooms at St. Ermins Hotel

For this bathroom, Vaughan provided the Norfolk Wall Light in a sleek chrome finish. Placed either side of each mirror, the wall lights are topped with a square fabric shade which softly diffuses the light.  Like the Seaton Wall Light, the Norfolk is a simple design and form – featuring a rectangular backplate, square candleholder and angular arm.  When combined with the oval sinks, cylindrical worktop legs, and rectangular mirrors, it creates a satisfying, playful interior – one that is predominantly focused on the relationship between different geometric shapes.  Made with a base metal of hot forged brass, the Norfolk is available in a number of finishes – from the chrome one pictured here to antique brass and nickel too.

Variety, as well as quality, are two central components to Vaughan. Product design is meticulously developed and lead by Lucy and Michael Vaughan, co-founders of the company, and their shared background as antique dealers is without a doubt an underlying influence in their creative process. “Our creative process is very much cyclical, updating and reflecting on products we’ve already made and antiques, which we have seen throughout our time as dealers,” said Lucy Vaughan.

For Vaughan, bathroom lighting is no exception – with a variety of styles, finishes, metals and shapes available to both retail and the trade, and a clear alignment with the brand’s existing lines. Ranging from the more subdued Beverley Wall Light to the more ornate, glass-art beauty of the Morillon Wall Light, Vaughan offers a wide selection of bathroom lighting to choose from, while remaining committed to their pursuit of quality and craftsmanship.

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, please email  Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image caption: Bathroom lighting by Vaughan inside The Ned

Hotels that are self-isolating in style (Part 1)

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotels that are self-isolating in style (Part 1)

While the entire world is feeling the effects of COVID-19 pandemic, Hotel Designs is here to start your week with some stunning hotels that are naturally self-isolating in style. Editor Hamish Kilburn emerges from his quarantined slumber to write part one… 

In uncertain times, it can become easy for designers and architects to lose focus on a creative vision.

The outbreak of the recent coronavirus COVID-19 is taking its toll on all creative industries, and has resulted in a number of major events, such as Independent Hotel Show Amsterdam, Hotel Summit and Salone Del Mobile Milan, to postpone all activity until later in the summer.

With the aim to simply lift spirits and steer those who are lacking Monday motivation back on course, here are a handful of remote hotels that will allow you to escape from the madness, even if it’s for just a minute.

Lepogo Lodges’ Noka Camp, Limpopo Province, South Africa

Large bedroom overlooking the African wilderness

Image credit: Lepogo Lodges’ Noka Camp

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. Just a short air transfer or a three-hour drive from Johannesburg, Noka Camp enjoys a remote spot within the 50,000-hectare, malaria-free Lapalala Wilderness Reserve, home of the ‘big five’.

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% of any financial gains made re-invested back into the reserve for the benefit of wildlife, conservation and the local community. 

Jade Mountain, St Lucia

walkway to suites

Image credit: Jade Mountain St Lucia

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. 

Zannier Hotels Sonop, Nambia

Image credit: Zannier Hotels/Tibod Hermy

Arnaud Zannier’s inspiration for Zannier Hotels Sonop’s design was conceived during his very first trip to the site and first view from the top of the boulders. Arnaud recognised that he had been fortunate enough to discover somewhere very special, likening the feeling to an old explorer discovering a destination for the first time – hence the property was designed to resemble a 20th Century tented camp for explorers.

The construction process was challenging due to the hotel’s remote location and protected surroundings. All building materials and interiors were manually transported up the huge boulders, by expert craftsmen from Namibia. Zannier Hotels only used a limited number of existing roads to the site, to ensure the human impact on the fragile flora was minimal. In addition, each piece of furniture, including twelve 30kg handcrafted four-poster beds, had to be carried by hand over the rocks and boulders thereby avoiding the use of disruptive machinery.

Hotel Chais Monet, France

Image of old and new architecture blending into one frme

Image credit: Hotel Chais Monet

The project was reported to have cost €60 million, and was the brainchild of chief architect Didier Poignant of Ertim Architects. But the result of the sensitive restoration to transform the traditional Cognac trading house site into a 15,000m2 luxury spa hotel, offering what it was described back then as a “modern take on traditional French luxe”, has given the buildings a new lease of life.

I would go one step further in saying that it has reopened up the destination’s history books, perhaps to a different chapter. In the process, it has added a new contemporary architectural jewel ­­– a rare find in and around the low-level city ­– one that is sensitive to its surroundings.

Four Seasons Nevis

Recently, the Four Seasons hotel underwent a complete renovation, which was led by TAL Studio. The hotel is situated on the pristine beaches of the remote Caribbean island where building regulations state that no building is allowed to be taller than a palm tree.

The hotel’s latest chapter of renovations includes 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.

The Farm at Cape Kidnappers, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand

Image of restaurant overlooking green countryside

Image credit: Cape Kidnappers

The Farm at Cape Kidnappers is just that: a working farmstead of arable land and sheepherding, poised on the edge of a scenic bluff on North Island’s east coast so dramatic, idyllic and untouched that the views – and best enjoyed from the outdoor swimming pool or Jacuzzi. The hotel’s design is one that is considered to blend in harmony with the natural beauty of the area. 

Image credit: Zannier Hotels

CASE STUDY: Designing minimalist bathrooms for Nobis Hotel Copenhagen

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
CASE STUDY: Designing minimalist bathrooms for Nobis Hotel Copenhagen

The recently refurbished Nobis Hotel in central Copenhagen specified Unidrain in the luxurious bathrooms of its 100 hotel guestrooms…

When renovating Nobus Hotel in central Copenhagen, attention to the detail was imperative. Each of the bathrooms within the hotel have been created with Scandinavian elegance; as this chic minimalist design ethic helps to create an environment where there is a space to pamper oneself and relax whilst exuding a sense of wellbeing.

One of the main characteristics of each of the 100 bathrooms is a large bathtub surrounded by marble tiles. A large single mirror is positioned above the dark framed washing area and wash basin reflecting light back into the room. The shower cubicle maintains the minimalist feeling, as it is enclosed by a sleek sheet of glass. The water falls from the oversized shower head bouncing on the tiles beneath, before disappearing into the bespoke single drain.

At the architect’s request Unidrain created and supplied designer drains for the shower cubicles in the entire hotel. The drains for 80 bathrooms were fitted with Unidrain’s linear drains each with the customised solution option.

Here the classic steel Unidrain grating has been replaced with exactly the same marble as the rest of the bathroom, making the drain almost invisible to the eye. It is elements such as these Unidrain custom-designed solutions that make these stylish bathrooms completely unique.

At the Nobis Hotel, Unidrain worked in conjunction with its architectural advisor Dennis Bagge, to ensure that the clients every detail was met. For example twenty of the bathrooms in the hotel are particularly large and needed extra-long drains. This required a single drain to cover an expanse of more than two metres. Unidrain were able to create bespoke extra-long drains made to the client’s specific dimensions.

“When liaising with the architect on this project the bathroom solutions were easier to create. This was due to Unidrain’s reputation and ability to craft and install a single drain which would run from wall to wall covering a length of over two metres ” Unidrain Architectural Adviser Dennis Bagge.

These tailor-made solutions add the finishing touch and help to create the coveted wellness experience wanted in a bathroom today. This room has evolved more than any other in the home, from an outdoor WC, it transferred inside, initially as an enlarged broom cupboard, now it is no longer a room we have for practical reasons, but a space we want to spend time in to pamper and relax; be it in a home or a hotel.

Unidrain is a Hotel Designs’ Recommended Supplier. 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: Unidrain/Nobis Hotel Copenhagen

In Conversation With: Hamish Brown, Partner at 1508 London

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In Conversation With: Hamish Brown, Partner at 1508 London

Following some major global project wins, 1508 London’s entrance into hospitality was one that was led by a burning desire to reference local culture, unique design and organic materials in a new generation of luxury hotels. Editor Hamish Kilburn joins one of the firm’s Partner, Hamish Brown, in the London-based studio to learn more…

“There’s a real desire at the moment for brands not to be completely dictatorial about what their hotel should look like,” comments Hamish Brown, Partner at 1508 London, who warmly welcomes me into the studio moments before arriving himself having just walked off the red-eye flight from New York to London. “There are operational and functional standards, for sure, but in terms of design and aesthetics, there is so much more freedom now than there ever has been in hotel design.”

Could it be this movement that opened the door from residential into hospitality for the design studio? Or maybe it’s Brown’s ability to sharply define where the industry is at in this moment even while enduring transatlantic jetlag. Before then, the team at 1508 London were residential pioneers who had created a unique thread of new design standards on the high-end market around the globe; an appealing DNA for developers and operators in the hospitality arena.

It’s a refreshing experience, visiting a working studio that is – despite having already completed The Spa at The Lanesborough, awarded Best Hotel Spa 2019, and is currently working on new spaces for brands such as Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts, Park Hyatt, InterContinental Hotels and Jumeirah – still relevantly new on the international hospitality scene. It is perchance the gems that are on the boards, as well as the major project wins that the studio has achieved recently, therefore, that is causing the heads in the industry to turn towards the direction of 1508 London.

“I have always really hated the ‘one size fits all’ approach in design.” – Hamish Brown, 1508 London

Most recently, the studio’s pipeline of statement projects includes Rosewood Doha, which is said to become “Qatar’s latest landmark five-star hotel”, the first branded residences in Beverly Hills’ golden triangle and the redesign of Jumeirah Carlton Tower in London, which will infuse a new, lighter sense of grandeur to elevate the guests’ arrival experience.

Render of two towers in doha

Image caption: Render of the majestic towers that will shelter Rosewood Doha, slated to open in 2020 | Image credit: 1508 London/Rosewood Hotels

The structure of the 70-strong designers at 1508 London is supported by four design directors, one of which, Akram Fahmi, was published in The Brit List 2019 following his recent move from his success at another studio. “We try as much as possible here to throw things up in the air, because I have always really hated the ‘one size fits all’ approach in design,” Brown tells me. “We start by first understanding the building’s context – the architecture and the local vernacular – and, as designers, it is our job to be able to draw inspiration from that.”

Brown, who The Times named as a ‘tastemaker’ in 2018, joined the firm in its infancy in 2010. Before that, he worked for a property development firm, swerving anything design-related succeeding a full-on interior architecture degree at the Birmingham Institute of Art and Design. “To be honest, I was a bit overwhelmed after my studies,” he admits. “The modules were attempting to be sensible, but, in reality, they did not prepare me for what life is really like as a designer. It felt a bit like passing my driving test and then merging onto the motorway for the first time.”

Render of the outside of the building

Image caption: Render teasing what the front of Jumeriah Carlton Tower will look like when it majestically remerges back onto the London scene later this year. | Image credit: 1508 London/Jumeriah Hotels

After flirting with the idea of working in high-end residential and retail development, giving student life some time to deliquesce in the memory, Brown initially joined 1508 London as a Business Development Manager. Climbing the ladder rapidly, in 2011 he became Head of Projects, was promoted one year later to become Studio Director and in 2013, he joined CEO and Partner Stuart Horwood as a Partner. “Originally, we were just four people with one vision, and we deliberately didn’t have a house style.” Walking around the studio, I am presented to the brand’s perhaps most impressive creation: the carefully curated cluster of characters – AKA, the designers – who are all driven, I’m told, by the idea of producing better spaces. “We take pride in being very client-centric, and that’s not to put anyone else or any other studio in the industry down – we really do try to respond to briefs with creativity,” Brown adds.

In a recent exclusive roundtable discussion on the topic of meaningfully differentiating luxury in hotel design, Brown mentioned that the studio tries to always capture and create sense-of-place with every project it works on. “Intrinsically, we believe that the exterior and interior of a building should have a strong relationship,” explains Brown. “And that’s often the starting point on most projects. We ask about the location, the architecture and the materials. Quite often, our inquisitive nature then takes over and we will investigate more about things like the culture, the art and the food.”

Luxury pool area inside The Lanesborough

Image caption: Thoughtfully designed, The Spa at The Lanesborough shelters a luxurious hydro pool area. | Image credit: 1508 London/The Lanesborough

In regards to the company’s own sense-of-place, the studio is situated in the heart of the capital and has famous neighbours, sharing the same roof as fashion house Tom Ford’s studio and showroom. With 27 different nationalities under one roof, 1508 London is an outwardly thinking practice that is inspired by different cultures. “Britain is a design hub because of its education,” Brown says. “Our studio is a perfect example. There is a natural flow of talent in London, and that is because individuals from all over the world choose to operate here.”

“Although the first impression in a hotel usually comes from the look and feel, the last impression is of equal importance.” – Hamish Brown, 1508 London.

QUICK-FIRE ROUND

Hamish Kilburn: Where do you feel most at home in London?
Hamish Brown: In South London, with my wife and two children

HK: Where’s next on your travel bucket list?
HB: Sri-Lanka

HK: Was there a designer/or designers who inspired you when you were studying?
HB: Zaha Hadid and Antoni Gaudi, I’ve always fascinated by their uses of materials.

HK: What is the most rewarding part of your role?
HB: Working with people, and learning about cultures. I have learned more about geography as a designer than I ever did at school.

HK: If you were not a designer, what would you do?
HB: I would restore furniture, which is what I want to do when I retire.

HK: How would you describe your four design directors?
HB: They are completely open-minded and expansive beyond belief. You give them a challenge and they will each respond in the most wonderfully exciting ways.

HK: What’s the last item that shows up on your bank statement?
HB: A tactical coffee a Gatwick airport.

One of Brown’s most valuable lessons that he has learned is the balance between design and function. “Although the first impression in a hotel usually comes from the look and feel, the last impression is of equal importance,” he says. “The lasting memory comes from the service and function. To make someone fall in love with their stay, to attract them in the way it looks, you have to be able to deliver on that promise – and that is where the symbiosis happens between design and function.”

For most designers, one project will stand out in the portfolio. For Brown, that project sits majestically on Hyde Park Corner, just a few miles from the studio, and was also one of the first luxury hotels I checked in to as a journalist. “Working with the hotel’s Managing Director at the time, Geoffrey Gelardi, on the design of The Spa at The Lanesborough was incredible,” he says. “He had unbelievable knowledge on how the back-of-house operated, which allowed us to design spaces with complete precision, and enabled us to learn exactly how each area should be utilised. Without a doubt, those lessons have been the major transition between residential and hospitality.”

striking bar with marble surfaces featuring distressed mirrors

Image caption: Worlds away from the hustle and bustle of London life above, The Spa at The Lanesborough is an urban sanctuary unlike any other. | Image credit: 1508 London/The Lanesborough

The fact that we are sat around a beautiful oak table that I find out was rescued by the 1508 London team from an antique shop in Chelsea, exemplifies the studio’s respect for objects and restoration. “In many ways, you are only as good as your materials,” explains Brown. “This rug, even, came from a woman I met in the Middle East. She devoted her life to travelling to tribal areas, bringing groups of people together in the process to make these detailed rugs.”

“I remember using a recycled car windscreen in a bar, which a supplier fused together in order to create a striking bubble-like surface.” – Hamish Brown, 1508 London

The studio is so passionate to learn about new materials and products that it even dedicates time, one day a week, to invite select suppliers into the studio. “This time is an opportunity for us to learn, which is fascinating,” he says. “I remember using a recycled car windscreen in a bar, which a supplier fused together in order to create a striking bubble-like surface. When you backlit it, the result was incredible. The point is, I would never have thought about doing that on my own, and it added a new layer to the high-end project.”

Inspired by the studio’s infectious ethos – as well as its ability to sensitively lead the industry’s evolution ­– I leave Brown and his team in peace to continue reshaping the international landscape of luxury hotels. My evaluation of Hamish Brown? He is a polite and modest man who you can effortlessly spark up a conversation with. Listening intently to hear his passion for design, architecture and the carving out of a new era of hospitality, I can conclude that we do, after all, have more in common than simply a memorable name.

Main image credit: 1508 London

F&B Special: Restaurants raising the bar in architecture & design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
F&B Special: Restaurants raising the bar in architecture & design

Say farewell to conventional restaurants, and say hello to a delicious and enticing world of pure imagination to the latest design-led restaurants to open. Editor Hamish Kilburn writes… 

Ahead of next month, when Hotel Designs will take centre stage at Hospitality Restaurant Catering show, I have good reason to believe that some of the latest restaurants that have opened recently (in and out of the hotel industry) have changed the landscape of hospitality.

And while, some may argue that we should be cautious to focus the lens on purely the F&B scene in fear of losing purpose on other areas within the hotel, it is also an undeniable truth that the new era of international hotels are using their restaurants and bars to drive in a local crowd in order to make the public areas a vibrant hub of activity.

Therefore, here are just some of the latest restaurants and bars to open, which have been designed holistically to improve the overall guest experience.

Under, Europe’s first underwater restaurant

Located at the southernmost point of the Norwegian coastline, where the sea storms from the north and south meet, Europe’s first underwater restaurant is situated at a unique confluence. Marine species flourish here in the both briny and brackish waters to produce a natural abundance in biodiversity at the site. The Snøhetta-designed restaurant, which has just received a Michelin-star status, also functions as a research centre for marine life, providing a tribute to the wild fauna of the sea and to the rocky coastline of Norway’s southern tip.

The structure is designed to fully integrate into its marine environment over time, as the roughness of the concrete shell will function as an artificial reef, welcoming limpets and kelp to inhabit it. With the thick concrete walls lying against the craggy shoreline, the structure is built to withstand pressure and shock from the rugged sea conditions. Like a sunken periscope, the restaurant’s massive window offers a view of the seabed as it changes throughout the seasons and varying weather conditions.

“Under is a natural progression of our experimentation with boundaries, says Snøhetta Founder and Architect, Kjetil Trædal Thorsen. “As a new landmark for Southern Norway, Under proposes unexpected combinations of pronouns and prepositions, and challenges what determines a person’s physical placement in their environment. In this building, you may find yourself under water, over the seabed, between land and sea. This will offer you new perspectives and ways of seeing the world, both beyond and beneath the waterline”.

 Burbank Restaurant at Roomers Frankfurt

Burbank is a new design-led, Asian-fusion restaurant by leading chef, The Duc Ngo. It is situated within Frankfurt’s chic Design Hotels member, Roomers Frankfurt by the Gekko Group. The restaurant is the third partnership between Berlin culinary innovator, The Duc Ngo, and Gekko Group’s founders, Micky Rosen and Alex Urseanu. Burbank joins the group’s portfolio of leading destination restaurants including moriki Frankfurt, moriki Roomers Baden-Baden, and the Golden Phoenix at Provocateur Berlin Hotel. The Duc Ngo creates an inventive and unconventional menu at Burbank, fusing pan-Asian flavours with relaxed Californian and Latin American cooking. 

Beefbar restaurant, Le Coucou Hotel

Reviewed recently in Hotel Designs’ wider feature of Le Coucou Hotel, Beefbar restaurant is, like the rest of the property, sheltered within a unique design scheme. Pierre Yovanovitch, Wallpaper*’s Designer of the Year 2019, pulled out all the stops for this area, using it’s naturally striking vista as strong inspiration. The area is full of thoughtful nods to the hotel’s name, location and character of its owners. A wall of cuckoo clocks above the tables, for example, reflects the traditional decor of the region, and emoji-themed plates create humour in all the right places.

Hey Yo – Hong Kong

Think fresh, vibrant (and wear sunglasses) when stepping inside Hey Yo, which was a winner at the Bar and Restaurant Awards 2019. Inspired by the all the pastel colours of macaroons, the design team at Design Action & Associates took and adopted these colours in different areas of the shop, just like a pastry chef forming different shapes with flour and dough. The designer formed different shapes of design and furniture. Each arch window is painted with grey texture paint. The arch window on the front of the door, includes a bright neon sign which permeates the atmosphere. Beside the continuous arch windows, different colours of display shelves and display items are composed like a dream-like oil painting. Round countertops resemble Macaroons is in their unique hues, and chairs resemble coloured dough in contrast to shaped countertops.’

Wild Honey St James

black and white floors above striking chandeliers

Image credit: Sofitel London St James

Situated metres from The Mall in London, Sofitel London St James’ Wild Honey is a collaboration with renowned chef Anthony Demetre and a reimagination of his iconic restaurant concept. Located on the former site of the beloved bistro The Balcon, the dining room decor has been redesigned and refurbished by Jim Hamilton Design to echo its new direction.

Harlan & Holden Glasshouse Café

With biophilic design wrapping its branches around almost every sector, is it any wonder why design firm GamFratesi used nature as its primary inspiration in the creation of Harlan & Holden Glasshouse? We think not. The rehabilitative restaurant is inspired by a greenhouse. Breaking boundaries between interiors and exterior, the studio swapped windows for walls and used the surrounding landscape to create the space.

Main image credit: Under/Ivar Kvaal

Hyatt Regency Barcelona Tower officially opens

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hyatt Regency Barcelona Tower officially opens

Hyatt Hotels has opened the fully renovated 280-key Hyatt Regency Barcelona Tower, a hotel in the gateway to Barcelona’s new financial district…

Connecting travellers between Barcelona’s international airport and city centre, the opening of Hyatt Regency Barcelona Tower  marks the second Hyatt Regency branded property in Spain.

Designed by renowned architect Richard Rogers who is best known for his work on the Pompidou Centre in Paris, the Millennium Dome in London, and the European Court of Human Rights building in Strasbourg, the hotel is one of Barcelona’s skyline landmarks. The 344-foot (105-meter) high and 29-story tower is topped by a stunning glass dome providing the top-floor restaurant with breathtaking 360-degree views of the city.

Hyatt Regency Barcelona Tower offers 280 contemporary rooms including 41 suites, one Presidential Suite as well as twelve duplex suites, all offering beautiful views of the city skyline. The Presidential Suite is located in the tower on the 26th floor and includes two separate bedrooms, a private office, two large terraces and free access to the Regency Club and Metropolitan Health Club & Spa.

All rooms have ample space, each with walk-in closets, luxurious bathrooms and wall-to-wall mirrors. In addition, the hotel also offers 24-hour room service and around the clock laundry service.

Hyatt Regency Barcelona Tower features a range of energising F&B areas. Terrum is a new and unique restaurant concept led by the prestigious two-Michelin starred chef, Oscar Velasco. Fresh and seasonal produce as well as excellent service allow guests to depart on culinary adventures. The Axis Bar invites guests and locals to indulge in cocktails and a variety of snacks and sandwiches in a sophisticated setting. A spectacular outdoor terrace completes the Axis Bar as a perfect place to enjoy the comfortable year-round weather in Barcelona.

The Azimut Restaurant offers a daily breakfast buffet with a wide range of nutritious and healthy options to start the day confidently.

Hyatt Regency Barcelona Tower offers a variety of intuitive event and meeting spaces, including its own 500 seat auditorium. Additionally, the Cosmos Room can hold up to 1,800 people and 24 panelled meeting rooms. Furthermore, the hotel lobby offers a wide and open space to work and relax including a spectacular 2034-square-foot (189-square-meter) LED screen, one of the largest in Europe. The flexible meeting spaces backed by the brand’s signature service of personalized care and attention to detail ensures that event planners have seamless and high-touch gatherings.

Main image credit: Hyatt Hotels

TREND ALERT: Matt black for the modern bathroom

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
TREND ALERT: Matt black for the modern bathroom

Inspired by the recent resurgence of rich, dark colour palettes within interior design, Crosswater has challenged the traditional trend of bathroom fittings with its wide offering of stunning matt black products…

Dark bathrooms with a confident approach to colour are back on trend after an extended period of whites and neutrals, and are promising to redefine the modern hotel.

From solo black monoblocs in matt finish to a complete collection of coordinating brassware and bold use of black on the walls, there are many ways to bring this dramatic tone into your home without overpowering it.

Both Crosswater’s popular MPRO and Marvel ranges feature a sleek Matt Black finish, while its cutting-edge UNION collection celebrates a redefined Brushed Black Chrome option within its collection of artisan Italian brassware.

Designed to create a bathroom space that is as beautifully crafted as it is functional, the Matt Black surface combines high-end specification with striking aesthetics to create brassware that truly stands out. Celebrating simple lines and a sleek, matt black finish, this surface option for the MPRO collection explores a stylish update to any contemporary bathroom scheme.

Image caption: Black MPRO set from Crosswater

Meanwhile, UNION takes inspiration from the industrial era and brings it boldly into the 21st century. Smart on the inside, each piece in the collection is manufactured using the most advanced brassware engineering techniques and the latest in valve technology to offer complete water flow control. Intuitive, high performing and built to last, the UNION brassware collection in Brushed Black Chrome is guaranteed to command attention in any bathroom. Responding to the latest trends with a rich, deeply dark surface, the Brushed Black Chrome finish option epitomises modern luxury.

Industrial black tap on bath

Image Caption: UNION collection by Crosswater

Delivering high-performance functionality with a modern aesthetic, the Marvel collection in Matt Black promises to create a statement look within any contemporary setting. The exclusive range of monobloc taps, bath fillers and shower valves is beautifully designed with sleek spouts and simple lever controls, which lends this product to those looking for modern, yet timeless, brassware that fits seamlessly into any bathroom.

Main image credit: Crosswater

Versa’s new Invinci surface collection harnesses art and tech

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Versa’s new Invinci surface collection harnesses art and tech

Versa’s new surface collection, Invinci, harnesses art and technology to create one-of-a-kind textures, intriguing embossings and multi-faceted prints…

From subtle textile effects to dramatic iridescent mylars, the expansive Invinci collection from Versa Designed Surfaces delivers the right aesthetics to achieve your design vision.

Choose from a range of textile designs that project the luxury of silk, the warmth of cotton and the refinement of linen. Peruse reflective embossings that change appearance in different light and when viewed from different perspectives. Browse inspired, multi-colored patterns that intermingle flat and metallic inks to produce three-dimensional looks. Invinci blends fresh, sometimes unexpected, design elements with classic motifs to fashion wallcoverings that will stand the test of time.

image of marble-like textured wallcovering behind sofa

Image credit: Versa Designed Surfaces

Invinci wallcoverings meet or exceed stringent U.S. and international standards for quality, performance and sustainability. Versa Designed Surfaces, one of the largest commercial wallcovering manufacturers in the world, designs and produces the collection in state-of-the-art U.S. facilities. The company follows an aggressive sustainability plan that includes sourcing high quality and recycled raw materials, recycling inks and materials, and reducing usage of water and energy that was outlined in a recent interview with Paul Gibson, the Business Development Manager EMEA at Versa.

Invinci wallcoverings carry Environmental Product Declarations that provide a comprehensive picture of the product’s environmental impacts. This tool offers complete transparency into the wallcovering’s sustainability profile, detailing impacts from cradle to grave. The EPDs are accepted internationally and may contribute points to environmental rating systems such as LEED and Green Globe.

Versa Designed Surfaces 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: Versa Designed Surfaces

7 savage hotel construction projects on the boards

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
7 savage hotel construction projects on the boards

To celebrate ‘Architecture & Construction’ firmly being in the spotlight this month, the editorial team at Hotel Designs have identified some of the industry’s most ambitious hotel projects that are expected to open in the next few years… 

The hotel industry is booming, is the verdict from the data analysts at STR as they reveal to Hotel Designs that there are currently 74,417 hotels on the boards in Europe alone.

In the next few years, millions of rooms will open in major cities, towns and far-flung travel hotspots around the world. In order to shelter these rooms and suites, architects are using new rendering software to challenge conventions like never before to conceive new exciting buildings that will have the power to transform skylines on an epic scale.

Ahead of Forum Events’ up-and-coming inaugural Building and Construction Summit next month, here are just a few hotel construction plans that we expect will disrupt the international hospitality industry as we know it when they complete with innovation, style and substance.

Mandarin Oriental Melbourne

render of the Mandarin Oriental Melbourne

Image credit: VA

Mandarin Oriental’s first hotel in Melbourne is taking shape. First realised in 2016, Zaha Hadid Architects were asked to design the mixed-used 185-metre tower located in the heart of the city’s financial district. When completed, it will feature an all-day dining restaurant and a bar with a landscaped roof terrace. There will also be a variety of meeting spaces and an executive club lounge. A Spa at Mandarin Oriental will offer the Group’s renowned wellness,relaxation and beauty facilities, while further leisure options include a comprehensive fitness centre and an indoor swimming pool.

Rosewood São Paulo 

image of building camouflaged in trees

Image credit: Jean Nouvel

Opening later this year, Rosewood Hotels & Resorts will launch its first South American property situated in the centre of São Paulo. The hotel, which is being designed in collaborations with design and architecture legend such as Philippe Starck and Pritzker Prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel, will feature 151 guestrooms. The striking biophilically designed building will include two swimming pools with one rooftop pool and the other set amongst the landscaped grounds and a large spa and a fitness area.

Shishi-lwa House

From one Pritzker Prize winner to another, architect Ryue Nishizawa has designed the concept of Shishi-lwa House in Japanese city of Nagano. Expected to open next year, the eight-key hotel’s aim will be to provide a sanctuary in a cluster of 10 interconnected pavilions made out of locally sourced jinoki cypress wood.

Downtown LA Jenga-like skyscraper

Render of the top of a building that has been made to look likke a jenga set

Image credit: Arquitectonica | JMF Developments & Co.

Architecture firm Arquitectonica‘s dream to evolve the city of Angels’ iconic landscape is becoming a reality after the company has recently got approval for the 53-storey building by the city’s planning commission. The condo tower with its cantilevering glass-bottom swimming pools. JMF Development Co. aims to have the building completed by as early as 2023.

25hours Hotel Paper Island

Slated to open in 2024, 25hours Hotel Paper Island will mark the brand’s arrival into the Copenhagen property market. Pulling out all the stops, the hotel company has enlisted the help of interior design guru Erik Nissen Johansen from Stylt Trampoli and architecture firm Cobe to imagine the concept of the hotel developed by Nordkranen and Union Kul.

Kisawa Sanctuary 

render of beach-front bungalows

Image credit: Kisawa Sanctuary

Taking the hotel scene in Mozambique back to basics, Kisawa’s founder Nina Flohr’s latest hotel is stripped-back luxury escape in the pipeline. Comprising of 12 luxury bungalows – each one furnished to echo cultural references of the island – the hotel is expected to open this Summer. “My mission for Kisawa is to create a level of hospitality and design that to my knowledge, does not exist today, a place that inspires feelings of freedom and luxury born from nature, space and true privacy,” Flohr. “We have used design as a tool, not as a style, to ensure Kisawa is integrated, both culturally and environmentally into Mozambique.”

Infinity London

Once you have worked out how to get in and out of what was surely the talked-about infinity pool concept of last year (via a spiral staircase “based on the door of a submarine” that rises from the pool’s floor), the next question is: who would be brave enough to peer over the edge? Infinity London is the brainchild of Alex Kemsley, a pool designer and technical director for Compass Pools. The 55-story high-rise in London, will provide 360-degree views of the city below and takes wellness to new death-defying heights.

If you are a contractor, developer or surveyor and are interested in attending the Building and Construction Summit, which takes place on March 16 – 17 at Radisson Blu Hotel, please email Daniella Batchelor or Josh Oxberry. Alternatively, you can call 01992 374048/04.

Main image credit: Arquitectonica/Kisawa Sanctuary/Rosewood Hotels/Compass Pools 

Concept to Completion: Designing Hotel Indigo Clerkenwell (Part 1)

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Concept to Completion: Designing Hotel Indigo Clerkenwell (Part 1)

In the first article of a new series, editor Hamish Kilburn exclusively speaks to the designers at 3Stories to understand how the studio will sensitively convert an iconic neighbourhood pub into Hotel Indigo Clerkenwell… 

It’s been almost a year since IHG announced plans to open a 151-key Hotel Indigo in the heart of London’s design district.

Responsible for the interior design of the 151-key boutique hotel is Ben Webb and Jordan Littler who are the co-founders of 3Stories. The entire project, meanwhile, is being overseen by IHG’s Director of Interior Design, Henry Reeve, who was highly commended in the Interior Designer of the Year category at The Brit List Awards 2019. Reeve, who recently led the completion of Kimpton Fitzroy and Hotel Indigo properties in Stratford-Upon-Thames and Barcelona among other projects, is a sharp, dynamic designer who awarded 3Stories with one of the firm’s first hotel projects, Hotel Indigo Antwerp that opened in 2017.

Almost three years later, while the studio is working on on-going projects such as a Jo&Joe hotel in Liverpool, a Bistro in Brixton and a new music venue down the road in Kings Cross, Webb and Littler are putting their hearts and souls into sensitively restoring Clerkenwell’s much-loved pub, the Hat & Feathers, into a thriving hotel hub. 

I travelled to the duo’s Clerkenwell studio to exclusively speak to Webb about the plans of converting what is currently a building site into a statement hotel in the city’s design hub.

 

Hamish Kilburn: When did you win the project?
Ben Webb: August 2019

HK: How much time went into the pitch?
BW: We utilised the studios entire time, as we only had two weeks to come up with our concept.

HK: Can you explain for us how 3Stories developed?
Jordan Littler and I started our careers together 15 years ago and subsequently over that time worked for a number of different design agencies. In 2017 we both decided to join forces and essentially set up a company that specialises in hospitality design. 

HK: How did your pitch allow you to keep an ‘open window’ of ideas throughout the project?

BW: We kept the presentation quite broad, looking at all of the different areas in the hotel, meaning we didn’t present a finished design. This left more room for the client to use their own imagination and fill in the gaps. From a render perspective, we kept the visuals in a hand-sketch format as we felt a stunning photorealistic 3D was not required and the pitch was more about the ideas we could bring to the table. 

“Our first design job was located opposite the hotel and we would use the Hat and Feathers pub as our local.” – Ben Webb, Co-founder, 3 Stories

HK: What is the significance of this project, the site and why do you believe you are the best designers for the job?
BW: My business partner and I have worked in Clerkenwell for the past 14 years and are therefore very familiar with the area. Our first design job was located opposite the hotel and we would use the Hat and Feathers pub as our local. We specialise in F&B which is a huge part of the project and therefore our knowledge in the market helped us sell the concept to the client. 

HK: What are the biggest challenges you expect to run in to during the project?
BW: An obvious answer, but I have to say budget. There are a lot of elements to this project especially surrounding the listed nature of the pub and therefore the budget maybe squeezed in certain places. 

HK: Can you set the scene for our readers on what the hotel’s interiors will look like?
BW: If you are not familiar with the Hotel Indigo brand it is all about creating the neighbourhood story. With that in mind the hotel’s interior takes lead from the areas architectural and design heritage. The bedrooms themselves (three types) are designed in relationship to Clerkenwell, giving the guest a choice when booking to stay at the hotel. We have also defined four restaurant concepts within the hotel that we are currently developing with the F&B consultants, all of which take on a different feel based on the level cuisine being served.

HK: Do you plan on using suppliers that are local to the area?
BW: 100 per cent yes. This project more than any, due to its location in Clerkenwell and being surrounded by so many suppliers. One of the bedroom designs is purely dedicated to the ‘supplier showcase.’

HK: What are you most excited about with this project?
BW: The fact that we can bring a lot of local knowledge to the design from the relationships with current suppliers down to our understanding of the F&B market in Clerkenwell. 

The project continues…

This is part one of Hotel Designs’ Concept to Completion series, following design firm 3 Stories and IHG throughout their journey to create Hotel Indigo Clerkenwell. If you have a question regarding the design of the project that you would like to put forward, please email our editor.

Main image credit: 3 Stories

Leading suppliers to attend Hotel Summit 2020

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Leading suppliers to attend Hotel Summit 2020

Hotel Summit, the original meet-the-buyers event for hotel operators and suppliers that was recognised last year at the IndyAwards, returns this year on April 27 – 28 at Five Lakes Resort, Colchester…

With more than 20 years’ experience serving the hotel industry with relevant and engaging meet-the-buyer events, Hotel Summit has announced the suppliers (so far) that will be attending this year’s Summit.

Portable Floor Makers, Airwave, Birchall Tea, Victoria + Albert, ADI Trading, Cole & Son, Sico, LUQEL, James Alexander Bespoke Furniture, Ruark Audio, Matrix Fitness, Meiko, HCI, Good Energy, Falcon Contract Flooring, Schluter and NT Security are all among the suppliers that will showcasing their latest products and services.

 

The Summit, which this year celebrates its 22nd year anniversary, is specifically organised by Forum Events for senior professionals who are directly responsible for purchasing and procurement within their organisation, and those who provide the latest and greatest products and services within the sector. ‘ The event was amazing,” commented The Beaumont Hotel after last year’s event. “I met some really great people and it’s always good to network and discover hidden secrets of the industries, and you only find them through events such as this.”

Already confirmed delegates attending Hotel Summit 2020 include Sloane Square Hotel, Marriott Hotels, Laura Ashley Hotels and Nadler Hotels among many others.

How to register 

If you are a supplier to the hospitality industry looking to meet top hotel professionals, contact Jennie Lane at j.lane@forumevents.co.uk– or click here to book your place.

If you are a hotelier and would like to attend the Summit for free, please contact Kerry Naumburger at k.naumburger@forumevents.co.uk – or click here to book your place.

*Please contact Kerry Naumburger for complete delegates list.

Image of bathroom from the ceiling

INDUSTRY INSIGHTS: Bathroom solutions for accessible spaces

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INDUSTRY INSIGHTS: Bathroom solutions for accessible spaces

Bathroom supplier Kaldewei reminds us on some of the affordable and timeless solutions for all guests around simple bathroom renovations… 

The hotel bathroom should be a place that feels comfortable as well as practical. In recent years, the hotel industry has demanded bathrooms to be fit for purpose for guests of all ages.

Image of bathroom from the ceiling

For some individuals checking in, old age restricts their freedom of movement and poses trip hazards when negotiating their way into and out of the bath or shower.

It’s high time for a bathroom upgrade to meet the needs of advancing age. Kaldewei advises ideal solutions for a flexible bathroom – meeting the needs of both now and in the future, as well as looking stylish – without over-stretching the often limited budget in retirement.

Everyone eventually faces the challenges of advancing age, where daily life and mobility in our own home becomes increasingly difficult. This is when we need an interior that is optimised for the needs in later life, enabling us for as long as possible to live autonomous lives without assistance. The bathroom is one place in the home where privacy is paramount and it should therefore be designed to ensure independence in taking care of personal hygiene needs, regardless of age. How do we eliminate trip hazards? What can we do if getting in or out of the bath is no longer safe? How can we maximise space for more room to manoeuvre?

Kaldewei offers practical and affordable solutions that help upgrade the bathroom to a flexible bathroom which meets the needs of now and the future as well as having the feel-good factor, as seen in the below ‘before and after’ images.

XXL-size floor-level showers in place of a bath

Developers increasingly opt for a floor-level shower to replace the bath and for good reason, because floor-flush showers create a seamless transition to the floor, improving comfort, safety and visual appeal. This fusion makes the room appear bigger and provides ease of access with no edges to trip over. As a manufacturer of double steel enamel bathroom products, Kaldewei has a portfolio of more than 100,000 solutions for floor-level shower areas. Upgrades benefit particularly from large-size shower surfaces, as they can be easily and inexpensively installed in place of a bath. The position of the waste outlet eliminates the need for complicated shifting of the bathroom waste pipe. Enamelled XXL shower surfaces from Kaldewei start at around £509 for the Kaldewei Cayonoplan shower surface in size 90cm x 140cm. Shower surfaces can optionally be finished with a slip-resistant coating such as Kaldewei Secure Plus for additional safety at no extra cost for many models.

Smart washbasin design for greater freedom of movement

The Kaldewei steel enamel washbasins are the perfect match for a floor-level enamelled shower surface. They are available in a variety of sizes and designs, including several wheelchair-accessible wall-hung models. A countertop washbasin with wall-hung bathroom furniture is ideal where extra utility space is essential. Kaldewei offers countertop washbasins in four different designs.

Main image credit: Kaldewei

Light, bright room features soft finishes and warm wood tones

Sheraton brand “reinvents experience and design” with new guestrooms

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Sheraton brand “reinvents experience and design” with new guestrooms

Sheraton Phoenix Downtown has completed a renovation of 1,000+ guestrooms, which feature the brands reinvented experience and design… 

Evoking a timeless comfort that welcomes guests into a light and bright room, the new guestrooms inside Sheraton Phoenix Downtown feature soft finishes and warm wood tones.

Light, bright room features soft finishes and warm wood tones

The well-lit rooms are accented with black and metallic accents. A platform bed and crisp white bedding centres the space of curated furniture that feels reminiscent and as welcoming as a friend’s guestroom.

A houndstooth chair gives a pop of classic Sheraton pattern while the new 65-inch televisions are mounted to a noise cancelling, woven fabric paneling that make for statement wall. A height adjustable table makes a quick transformation to a standing desk through integrated height controls and a bench running beneath the tv provides additional sitting. The bathroom features a walk-in shower or bath surrounded by neutral porcelain walls while a light wood tone vanity and backlit mirror with modern polished chrome fixtures and black finishes complement the guestroom design.

Rooted in its community-forward ethos, Sheraton’s design approach embraces community-fluid spaces that feel warm and inviting from a statement bar serving coffee creations in the morning and spirited sips in the evening to restaurant concepts that satisfy both purpose and cravings. In addition to fresh guestrooms, Sheraton is also redefining what the hotel lobby is by making it downtown’s best-positioned co-working space, with everything from Community Tables with lockers and charging tabletops, to uniquely designed studios for groups of varying sizes.

Once unveiled in the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown, the luxury hotel will have completely revamped the guestrooms, food and beverage, programming, and a lobby which will be home to the property’s Club lounge.

Main image credit: Sheraton

VIP ARRIVALS: Top hotels to open in February 2020

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VIP ARRIVALS: Top hotels to open in February 2020

With the aim to cut through the noise in a contemporary tone, Hotel Designs has the scoop on which statement and game-changing hotels are expected to open in February, 2020…

The hotel industry never ceases to amaze with its ability to break through hard barriers to take design, architecture and creativity to new heights and levels.

Following Hotel Designs’ two-part series published last month, where it shared the major hotel openings of 2020, the editorial team have narrowed down the search even further to identify the hotels that will arrive onto the international hotel design scene this month. From architectural firsts in Dubai to long-awaited heritage hotels in London – and the start of a family of hotels in Manchester – the industry, in all corners of the globe, is about to display a spectacular performance of how far design and architecture briefs can be stretched.

Here’s February’s top picks…

Hotel Brooklyn, Manchester

Image credit: Bespoke Hotels/Hotel Brooklyn Manchester

As Hotel Designs prepares its troops for its annual northern networking event to take place in the city that is fast-becoming a hotel developer’s dream, Hotel Brooklyn is ready and waiting in the wings to unveil its contemporary design.

Designed by Squid Inc – the team behind the renowned Hotel Gotham – the long-awaited Hotel Brooklyn will shelter 189 rooms that are inspired by the New York Borough and chosen for its resonating similarities to Manchester, in terms of its buzzing industrial growth, as well as its strength of identity and culture.

If Hotel Gotham, its older sibling that opened in 2015, is anything to judge by, then we expect a playful hotel that is not afraid to bend, even break, the rules of hospitality for its guests.

ME Dubai

Image credit: ME Dubai/Zaha Hadid Architects

Following the opening of The Morpheus last year, and Hotel Designs’ interview with one of the lead architects behind the projectZaha Hadid Architects is preparing to celebrate yet another groundbreaking moment in architecture.

The London-based firm’s latest project, the Opus, is days away from entering onto the international hotel design landscape with arrival of ME Dubai. The 93-key hotel will feature dramatic, signature furniture in the lobby, lounges and reception area, which were either designed or personally selected by the late Zaha Hadid.

Zedwell, London

Image credit: Zedwell London

Opening it’s doors February 2020, the first Zedwell will be housed in one of central London’s most iconic venues; The London Trocadero. Holding in excess of a staggering 700 guestrooms, the flagship Zedwell will be one of the largest hotel openings in the capital within the last decade.

As well as large in size, the hotel is also clever and ahead of its time for many reasons, such as installing high-tech soundproofing, filtered air to enhance the overall guest experience.

Artist Residence, Bristol

Image credit: Artist Residence

The founder of Artist Residence, Justin Sailsbury, is known today as a true pioneer in sustainability and meaningful design who spends hours on end browsing ebay and other search engines for vintage-gem furniture and casegoods to layer into his hotels.

Following the success of the London property, the brand is expanding – and so too is his message to other independent hoteliers in the industry. Entering into tier two cities around the UK, allows the brand to stay in its unique lane of offering a residential, friendly and quirky hotel and hub. The bustling city of Bristol is the next location on the list, with the opening of Artist Residence Bristol moments away.

Arctic Bath in Lapland, Sweden

Image credit: Arctic Bath Sweeden

Situated under the northern lights in winter, and the midnight sun during the summer months, Arctic Bath is a unique hotel and spa experience that welcomes guests to immerse themselves in the elements while leaving a minimal environmental footprint behind.

The idea of a floating sauna first came to Harads resident Per-Anders Eriksson during the opening of Treehotel in 2010. At first, the vision was a glass cube on a raft. Bertil Hagström, who designed Treehotel’s The Bird’s Nest, took over the idea and in 2013 he and Johan Kauppi designed Arctic Bath’s floating, circular building.

The Guardsman, London

Image credit: The Guardsman Hotel/Tonik Associates

The Guardsman is a purpose-built luxury London boutique hotel that is expected to offer the atmosphere, discretion and personal service usually associated with a private members’ club.

Presenting guests with what is being described as “a true home away from home experience”, the 53-key hotel, which sits on Buckingham Gate, London, has been designed by Dexter Moren Associates and multi-disciplinary design practice Tonik Associates.

Hotel Designs is currently researching and writing the next article in this series, which will identify the top hotels that are opening in March, 2020. If you are working on a hotel project, or know of a hotel, that would qualify, please email the editorial team

Main image credit: ME Dubai/Zaha Hadid Architects

CASE STUDY: Furnishing London Marriott Hotel Kensington

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
CASE STUDY: Furnishing London Marriott Hotel Kensington

Recommended Supplier Curtis has recently supplied headboards, TV units, wardrobes, desks, vanity shelves and mirrors in London Marriott Hotel Kensington…

In line with the design brief to create a stylish and modern ‘bleisure’ hotel, Curtis was specified to create bespoke furniture for London Marriott Hotel Kensington.

The company supplied furniture in xylocleaf MFC, hand-selected pressed European walnut, including upholstery, and polished stainless steel.

Due to the complexity of the room design for this stunning hotel refurbishment, the client needed to find a supplier whom they could trust to work closely in partnership with the main contractor.

Having worked with the furniture company before, the client chose Curtis to supply the hotel because it is a quality UK-based supplier with large manufacturing capability, it prides itself on having a meticulous project management process, tried and tested since 1998 and its solid partnership approach with a strong customer service record.

“The effect of all these different co-ordinating materials is of a luxurious design with consideration given to every detail.”

Each room needed to be supplied over four separate visits to allow other contractors, such as decorators and electricians, in to complete their work in the correct sequence.  Curtis, already known to the client for our eagerness to be flexible and provide great customer service, worked in close partnership with the main contractor to ensure our timings fitted into the schedule perfectly.

“The initial stages had tight lead times and Curtis pulled out all the stops to ensure we could get moving as quickly as possible,” explained David Elliott from County Contractors. “We were impressed with how smoothly everything went, and with the quality of finish and fitting of the furniture.”

Curtis manufactured, supplied and installed bespoke furniture, including:

  • Upholstered headboards
  • Gladstone oak MFC TCMF trays with black powder coated legs
  • Statement hand-selected pressed walnut features on TV units, sideboards and wall panels
  • Xylocleaf MFC bedsides
  • Fenix NTM desks, with solid ash legs and mirror panelling
  • Upholstered luggage benches
  • Co-ordinating wardrobe areas with Gladstone oak drawers with leather handles, xylocleaf minibar units and black powder coated hanging rails
  • Metal-framed mirrors with integrated glass vanity shelf.

In the suites, slotted privacy walls and swivel TV units in hand-pressed walnut add to the impressive combination of beauty and function.

The effect of all these different co-ordinating materials is of a luxurious design with consideration given to every detail and how it will impact on the guests’ experience.  Thoughtful design doesn’t come better than this.

Curits 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.

Feature: A well-designed accessible hotel bathroom can look and feel elegant

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Feature: A well-designed accessible hotel bathroom can look and feel elegant

UKBathrooms investigates the leading bathroom manufacturers who are creating stylish and accessible hotel bathroom products…

The UK hotel business is thriving, and whilst that’s great news – and despite awareness generated by the Blue Badge Access and Style Awards – there is still a lack of genuinely accessible hotel rooms, particularly outside of capital cities.

Despite the demand hoteliers remain wary of creating accessible guestrooms, for fear of putting off non-disabled customers and because of concerns over installation costs. However, they be missing out on significant business opportunities each year. Guests with accessibility needs would certainly travel more, for work or for pleasure, if more accessible rooms were available, businesses are missing out on a huge opportunity to attract a range of potential clients, meeting the needs of all without lessening the experience of existing customers.

“There is absolutely no reason why a well-designed, accessible hotel bathroom cannot look and feel like a luxury upgrade.” – UK Bathrooms

According to UK Bathrooms, one of the leading online store for premium designer bathrooms, there is absolutely no reason why a well-designed, accessible hotel bathroom cannot look and feel like a luxury upgrade. A beautiful, stylish space can be created that appeals to all guests, creatively designed and appealing to everyone, regardless of ability.

With more than 13.9 million disabled people in the UK and a total spending power of £249 billion a year its certainly worth businesses considering investment in this area.

An accessible hotel bathroom can be characterised by certain improvements to comfort along with a number of design options. Intelligent planning of taps, fittings and furnishings is required to create an accessible space.  The bathroom should be large enough for the guest to move around in if they are a wheelchair user and the layout of the room should allow for a clear turning circle of 1500 mm, its also important that the bathroom door opens outwards into the bedroom.

Toilet flush controls should be positioned towards the front of any cistern and on the side that is most easily accessed. Handles should also be easy to grip, and the toilet seat should ideally sit about 400mm from the floor.  A level access shower is often the best option and a shower seat is recommended. Again, easy to grip and accessible controls should be made available.

At UK Bathrooms, accessible bathrooms mean you do not have to compromise on design and comfort. Luxurious, elegant bathrooms can be created using the best in designer bathroom products available. A perfect example of this is the O. Novo Vita collection by Villeroy & Boch.  Its many attractive details blend harmoniously with the bathroom design taking every consideration of comfort, practicality, hygiene and appearance into account. The extended wall mounted toilet from this collection gives a greater degree of accessibility to the toilet space and is easier to reach.

An alternative WC to consider would be the VitrA V care Comfort Intelligent Rimless model. It combines the convenience and ease of a wall mounted WC with the comfort and cleanliness of the bidet. Fitted with an automatic seat and lid that senses approach, its heated seat can be warmed and ready for the ultimate in bathroom luxury and your guest experience.

When it comes to wet room panels, then Matki offer a superb choice, in a variety of sizes, the shower panels offer full flexibility when planning an accessible hotel bathroom yet retaining a stylish elegance.  This Matki Wet Room Shower Panel can be supplied with a shower seat option.  There is also a vast array of walk in shower trays to complete the accessible bathroom and with their ultra-flat design hoteliers can create more room for guests to move around and still retain a luxury feel. Additional features such as a rain shower head will provide the ultimate spa experience.

Don’t forget discreet handles near washbasins, toilet, bidets and showers these can blend harmoniously with the bathroom interior.

Your hotel accessible bathroom will look and feel luxurious to all guests, it will provide a high level of comfort and style ensuring that your business maximises all revenue opportunities.

UK Bathrooms 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: Villeroy & Boch

Industry insight: What is driving the digital bathroom trend?

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Industry insight: What is driving the digital bathroom trend?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: GROHE UK

UNILIN’s new designs add comfort with nature in surfaces

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: UNILIN

Render of the building, featuring the outside f&b areas and the exterior of the rooms

Concept to completion: Journey to design Conrad Punta de Mita

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Concept to completion: Journey to design Conrad Punta de Mita

In the first article of the first concept-to-completion series of the year, Hotel Designs exclusively invites SB Architects explain the unique design concept of Conrad Punta de Mita, which is slated to open later this year…

Situated within what is being called ‘Mexico’s next major ‘it’ destination’, Riviera Nayarit, Conrad Hotels & Resorts is months away from opening.

Render of the building, featuring the outside f&b areas and the exterior of the rooms

Co-developers HRV Hotel Partners and Contact Development Company envisioned a modern design and destination that highlights and enhances the natural beauty of the surrounding area.

In 2016, architecture firm SB Architects was commissioned to transform the former La Tranquila Resortin Punta de Mita, Mexico to redesign and refresh the existing buildings to become Conrad Punta de Mita. The brief included repositioning the lobby and lobby bar, as well as the addition of new low-rise guest room buildings. In answer to the ever-evolving food and wellness travel market, the firm was asked to also design a three-meal restaurant, specialty restaurant, pool bar and grill, beach grill, sunset bar, adult pool bar, spa, and conference centre.

render of ground-level f&b area, open to nature

Image caption/credit: Render of Speciality Restaurant | SB Architects/Conrad Hotels & Resorts

Riviera Nayarit boasts more than 200 miles of sun-kissed beaches, provides a backdrop of the majestic Sierra Madre mountains, and is one of the only places in the world where you can find all four groups of mangroves; White, Red, Black and Buttonwood.

“People and place were the primary sources of inspiration, drawing from the rich, multi-cultural identity of Riviera Nayarit.”

One of SB Architects earliest and clearest project goals was to create a rejuvenating resort that places people at the centre of the design and harnesses the ambiance of the site. Weaving Conrad Hilton’s key brand attributes into the design, people and place were the primary sources of inspiration, drawing from the rich, multi-cultural identity of Riviera Nayarit.

People thrive best in environments that allow them to connect authentically to nature and the sophisticated, the contemporary architectural design, with seamless transitions between interior and exterior spaces, provides a fluid, natural and relaxed guest experience. Dovetailing with the dramatic scenery, resort bungalows, pavilions, and cabanas are nestled in coastal vegetation, overlooking ponds or the Pacific Ocean beaches and Litibu Bay coves. Influenced by Mexico’s rich history and unique culture, indigenous artwork integrates with luxurious amenities to create a sense of barefoot resort elegance. In each motif lies a story, a statement and a valued part of the local Mexican identity.

Image caption/credit: Render of exterior spa | SB Architects/Conrad Hotels & Resorts

A tranquil respite from Mexico City’s energetic pace, the 324-key hotel boasts serene natural landscapes, aquamarine waters, and uninhabited isles. Facilities include three dining venues, three pools; adult, family, activity; spa and 45,000 square feet of combined function space; including 30,000 square feet outdoor event space, 10,000 square-foot ballroom, and 3,000 square feet of breakout rooms, each with ample pre-function terraces.

Hotel Designs continues to follow the project, through concept to completion, as it heads towards its official opening later this year.

Main image credit: SB Architects/Conrad Hotels & Resorts

render of open-planned lobby/lounge area in hotel overlooking the pool and the sea

Most anticipated hotel openings in 2020 (Q1 & Q2)

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Most anticipated hotel openings in 2020 (Q1 & Q2)

Kickstarting 2020, Hotel Designs takes a glance at some of the most significant hotel projects that are expected to complete in the next 12 months (edited by Hamish Kilburn)…

If 2019 was anything to go by, then the next 12 months on the international hotel design and hospitality scene is going to be a jam-packed series of hotel openings in all corners of the globe. But with the industry churning out all kinds of hotels, it can be a challenge identifying the projects that will make the biggest impact.

render of open-planned lobby/lounge area in hotel overlooking the pool and the sea

In order to cut through the noise, the editorial team has sifted through the lists of projects on the boards in order to determine which among them are the most significant hotel projects that are slated to complete and open in 2020.

We start our series by putting the spotlight on the hotels forecasted to opening in Q1 and Q2.

Fusion Suites Vung Tau (Q1)

Render of rooftop pool and dynamic angular roof

Fusion’s latest hotel, Fusion Suites Vung Tau, is set to open in January in southern Vietnam’s popular coastal playground. The new 21-storey property features 171 well-appointed suites and apartments, a multitude of dining options, a spa, yoga studio, and a rooftop infinity pool. The property offers views of the ocean, and complements the setting with playful interiors dressed in sea green, ocean blue, and a wide range of ocean-inspired hues in between. The same sense of whimsy informs the building’s complex facade with pastel-coloured glass panels that zig-zag upwards. For dining options the hotel has the Fresh restaurant (open all-day), a rooftop bar, and market stalls in the lobby. The property’s 12 treatment room spa is inspired by the sea and features signature therapies based around salt. Conveniently located in the heart of Vung Tau, the hotel is just a short trip by boat or road from Ho Chi Minh City.

Mama Shelter Paris West (Q1)

Light room with living coral coloured decor

Image credit: Mama Shelter

Following a successful soft opening, Mama Shelter’s second hotel in Paris, located in the eclectic 15th arrondissement, will officially open in January 2020. With cutting-edge design elements by up and coming French designer Dion & Arles, featuring the playful design and vibrant colour palettes – guests can unwind in front of the open fire in the all-day restaurant or dine al fresco on the terrace, complete with its very own half-size basketball court. This will be Mama Shelter’s 12th property.

Hotel Brooklyn, Manchester (Q1)

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

Riggs Washington D.C.

Image credit: Lore Group/Riggs Washington DC

The long-awaited brainchild of The Brit List 2019 judge Jacu Strauss, Riggs Washington D.C. is expected to open its illustrious doors in February 2020. The famed designer has invoked the spirit of the building’s 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.

Atocha Hotel Madrid – Tapestry Collection by Hilton (Q1)

Render of gold and modern guest room with gold headboard and light grey bedding

Image credit: Tapestry Collection/Hilton Hotels

Tapestry Collection by Hilton is making its debut in EMEA and will soon land in two of the most iconic European cities.

Atocha Hotel Madrid will be the first hotel to join Hilton’s Tapestry Collection in Europe. It is located in the buzzing heart of Madrid, within walking distance from popular tourist attractions such as the Museo Reina Sofia and the El Reitro Park.

Crowne Plaza Sydney Darling Harbour (Q1)

Render of infinity pool over the edge of the building, overlooking the skyline of Sydney

Image credit: IHG/Crowne Plaza

The new build hotel features 152 modern guest rooms and suites suspended in a prime position just a short stroll to the CBD’s commercial & transport hub, the lively Darling Harbour precinct and the International Convention Centre. The new hotel will feature a heated outdoor plunge pool with vista across Sydney’s skyscraper as well as three restaurants & bars.

W Ibiza (Q2)

Render of a colourful exterior of the hotel

Image credit: W Ibiza/Baranowitz + Kronenberg

Conceived and designed by BARANOWITZ + KRONENBERGW Ibiza is slated to open in April ahead of the 2020 Summer season. Located off the beaten track, the 167-key hotel will strike a pose on the palm-fringed beachfront of Santa Eulalia. As the only global brand on the island, the design brief was to marry the parallel realities of Ibiza with a magnetic pull that turns up the sass.

By opening up the public spaces to become a flexible social hub, the hotel becomes a place that nurtures human connections, and through the use of subtle levels creates touchable distance between each functional area. “The idea is that the energy descends into the unconventional pool area,” Alon Baranowitz told Hotel Designs in an exclusive interview. “As you move up levels, the lobby/lounge area becomes more reclined, but the open architecture scheme allows for a clever connection between all spaces.”

The hotel will open as part of Marriott International’s goal to add more than 30 new luxury hotels to its extensive worldwide portfolio in 2020.

The Emerald House Lisbon, Curio Collection by Hilton (Q2)

Render of 70s inspired furniture in bar and restaurant with modern touches

Image credit: Hilton Hotels

One of the world’s most historic cities, known for its one-of-a-kind beauty and unique dining, will soon welcome The Emerald House Lisbon, Curio Collection by Hilton. The hotel will be located a few streets away from the historical districts of Chiado and Baixa, famous for their impressive plazas, vibrant restaurants and boutique shops, making it ideal for curious travellers seeking unexpected and authentic experiences.

Rosewood São Paulo (Q2)

Render of building that is blended into trees

Image credit: Rosewood Hotels

Rosewood Hotels & Resorts will launch its first South American property situated in the centre of São Paulo, featuring 151 guestrooms and 114 owners’ suites, two restaurants, including one located on a veranda overlooking hotel gardens and complemented by a bar and a caviar lounge. Recreational facilities will include two swimming pools with one rooftop pool and the other set amongst the landscaped grounds and a large spa and a fitness area. Hotel guests will also be able to access an adjoining music studio, screening room and luxury retail stores within the development. Rosewood Hotels and Resorts are collaborating on this project with leading international figures such as the Pritzker Prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel and designer Philippe Starck, to create a one-of-a-kind building.

The Tokyo EDITION, Toranomon (Q2)

Render of rooftop garden in restaurant area in hotel

Image credit: EDITION Hotels

Set to be the first EDITION Hotel in Japan, the Tokyo EDITION Toranomon is slated to rise as part of the redevelopment of the former Pastoral Building, a mixed-use project comprising offices, residences and a medical centre. The 205-key hotel has been created in partnership with the globally renowned architect and designer Kengo Kuma, who designed the Tokyo 2020 National Olympic Stadium. It is expected to offer easy access to some of Tokyo’s most iconic sites, including the Tokyo Tower and Tsukiji fish market. Within walking distance to the buzzing nightlife and restaurants of Roppongi, The Tokyo EDITION Toranomon will further raise the bar in entertainment and gastronomy for the area.

voco Edinburgh (Q2)

Not only a capital city, Edinburgh is also the leading festival city in the world, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. With a plethora of world-class attractions, sightseeing in Edinburgh is effortless, with visitors able to experience different centuries of history from street to street. IHG’s new voco brand is to open in Edinburgh on Torphichen Street, close to Edinburgh International Conference Centre. The hotel will feature all the usual comforts afforded by voco® properties, such as an indoor pool, eco-friendly bedding, a health club, and on-site bar.

The Pig at Harlyn Bay, Cornwall (Q2)

Establishing shot of the heritage property

Image credit: THE PIG

The Pig brand is going from strength to strength. Following its latest opening in Bridge, Kent, The Pig brand is heading west coast of cornwall. Inside a stunning Grade II-listed building, Harlan House, THE PIG-at Harlyn Bay is positioned near Padstow in Cornwall. Expected to open in June 2020, the hotel is just a short stroll from Harlyn beach, Constantine Bay beaches, Trevose Golf Club, and is also only a 10-minute drive to the sea-side honeypot of Padstow.

Ikos Andalusia (Q2)

Render of lobby area

Image credit: Ikos Resorts

Marking the brand’s arrival into Spain – and the first property outside Greece – Ikos Andalusia is slated to open in May 2020. The stylish resort is set amongst olive trees and has both modern features and local touches, such as traditional Moorish windcatchers perched atop its seven buildings. Individually commissioned pieces of art and colourful hand-painted tiles will be on display throughout the restaurants and guest rooms. A Cherry Blossom tree at Anaya restaurant, encircled by seating for guests to enjoy Asian dishes in an al-fresco setting, will be a particularly stand-out feature.

Six bars will be located around the resort’s lush gardens and pools serving cocktails prepared by award-winning Ikos mixologists, using branded international and local spirits.

The resort will boast eight outdoor and indoor pools, including kids’ pools, spa pools and adults-only pools, plus a number of private pools. Each of the outdoor pools will feature a cascading design overlooking the beach and Mediterranean Sea.

Banyan Tree Krabi (Q2)

Render of restaurant under roof on stilts overlooking lush jungle

Image credit: Banyan Tree Holdings

Singapore-based Banyan Tree Holdings Ltd, one of Asia’s foremost luxury hotel groups, has announced plans to open a new resort in Krabi in the second quarter of 2020. Currently under development in a serene location on Tubkaek Beach, Banyan Tree Krabi fronts powdery white sands and the shallow-shelved coast of the Andaman Sea. The new Thai resort will offer 72 pool suites and villas, among them seven two-bedroom options and one three-bedroom villa. Facilities include all-day dining, a ballroom, a wedding chapel, a beach club, a kids’ club, and a fitness center. In keeping with Banyan Tree’s holistic branding, the resort will also host a rainforest-themed spa.

Main image credit: W Ibiza

The Brit List Hoteliers of 2019 (Part two)

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The Brit List Hoteliers of 2019 (Part two)

This December, Hotel Designs has profiled the individuals who made it into The Brit List 2019. We conclude by referencing part two of The Brit List Hoteliers 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. 

Following from The Brit List Designers and Architects of 2019 in Part OnePart Two, Part Three, Part Four and Part Five, here are the final 10 individuals that made it as The Brit List Hoteliers of 2019…

Olivia Richli, General Manager – Heckfield Place (Winner: The Eco Award 2019)

Olivia Richli who recently sat on a panel with editor Hamish Kilburn to put sustainability under the spotlight, is an inspirational general manager with a real drive to operate a consious luxury hotel. She was plucked from semi-retirement at her beachfront home in Sri Lanka by Boston’s Gerald Chan, who had bought Heckfield Place almost twenty years before. Richli’s youth spent among the farms and gardens of the British countryside, combined with her unique career in developing and operating eclectic luxury hotels within historic precincts, stood her inperfect stead to guide Heckfield Place into a grand new era.

Heckfield’s sense of responsibility and sustainable stance has inspired Richli onto the next level of stewardship, one that quietly leads by example and endeavors to establish an estate that will thrive and guide all those who visit.

Pat King, CEO – The Doyle Collection

Pat King, CEO of The Doyle Collection, has been with the company for more than 20 years, and became the CEO in 2012.

The company currently owns eight luxury properties, which include TheWestbury, The Marylebone, The Bloomsbury, The Kensington, The Croke Park, The River Lee, and The Bristol, and has recently of cially relaunched The Dupont Circle hotel in Washington, D.C.

Robert Alam, Area General Manager – Nadler Hotels

Robert Alam has worked at Nadler Hotels for more than three years, and has been the area general manager since October 2018.

During this time, he has overseen the launch of Nadler Covent Garden, which is the brand’s latest hotel to arrive on the London scene. Overlooking The Strand in a restored Edwardian building, the 57-key hotelopened as the hotel group’s fourth luxury boutique hotel in the capital.

Robin Hutson, Chairman and Chief Executive – Lime Wood Group & Home Grown Hotels (The Pig)

Robin Hutson is known as an innovative and entrepreneurial hotelier with 40 years’ experience in some of the world’s most famous hotel brands, including Hotel du Vin and Soho House.

He was non-exec director, then executive chairman alongside Nick Jones at Soho House Group for 14 years until 2008 when the group wassuccessfully sold for £105m. Hutson is now CEO & Chairman of Lime WoodGroup Ltd & Home Grown Hotels Ltd; his latest venture The Pig in its short existence has already been much lauded as a mold breaker in the country house sector, transforming English rural areas and enhancing comunities for the better.

Robin Sheppard, Chairman – Bespoke Hotels

With more than 40 years’ experience as a hotelier, Robin Sheppard was The Brit List 2018’s winner of the Outstanding Contribution to the Hospitality Industry. In 2004, just four years after co-founding Bespoke Hotels, Sheppard was left completely paralysed from the neck down as a result of Guillain-Barre Syndrome.

This life-altering event made Sheppard realise how inaccessible many hotels were. As a result, he launched the Bespoke Access Awards (now known as the Blue Badge Access Awards) to shine the spotlight on hotels which do offer stylish accommodation that is accessible to all.

Sandeep Bhalla, General Manager – The Connaught Hotel

Sandeep Bhalla was recently appointed as the new general manager of the Connaught Hotel. Indian-born Bhalla previously held the position of hotel manager of the five-red-AA-star, Maybourne Hotel Groupproperty, which he joined as hotel manager in 2018. Before arriving at the Connaught Hotel, he worked at the sister hotel, The Berkeley in Knighstbridge, where he joined in 2007 as director of food and beverage,and was later promoted to hotel manager in 2012.

Prior to his position at Maybourne Hotel Group, Bhalla was part of the pre-opening team of the Burj Al Arab in Dubai.

Sholto Smith, General Manager – Great Scotland Yard Hotel

Sholto Smith joined Great Scotland Yard Hotel from the same role at the Hyatt Regency Perth in Australia.

Sholto, who has been part of the Hyatt family for more than 20 years, was the general manager of the Park Hyatt Siem Reap in Cambodia and director of sales and marketing at the Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill before being promoted in 2008 to area director of sales UK &Ireland at Hyatt’s worldwide sales office in London.

Stephen Baker, Joint Owner – Carbis Bay Hotel & Estate (Highly Commended: Hotelier of the Year 2019)

Joint-owned by Stephen and Jose Baker, Carbis Bay Hotel & Estate is a luxurious coastal retreat with a privately owned 25-acre Blue Flag beach,impeccable service, fine food, superb spa facilities and breathtaking viewsacross one of the world’s most beautiful bays.

Central to everything is the main house, a white-walled landmark designed by the celebrated Cornish architect, Silvanus Trevail, and erected in 1894. Inside, gilt mirrors and chandeliers are complemented by modern, chic interior touches inside 45 individually furnished rooms and sea-facing suites.

Thomas Kochs, Managing Director – Corinthia London (Winner: Hotelier of the Year 2019)

Thomas Kochs became the managing director of Corinthia London in May 2017. Kochs is responsible for managing the group’s agshipproperty, which opened its doors in 2011. In six years, the property hasachieved international acclaim as one of the world’s leading luxury five-star hotels.

Kochs was the face of the two-part TV series, A Hotel for the Super Rich & Famous, which documented the operations behind the hotel, including the behind-the-scenes of significant changes to service and design, with the launch of Kerridge’s Bar and Grill.

Will Ashworth, Managing Director – Watergate Bay Hotel

Born and having grown up in Cornwall, Will Ashworth has worked withinthe hospitality industry in Kenya, Switzerland and North America before returning to Cornwall in 2000 to take over the running of the family hotelat Watergate Bay.

Under Ashworth’s management, the hotel has been transformed from a traditional seasonal seaside hotel into a vibrant, sustainable year-round holiday destination. In addition to managing the hotel, Ashworth also sits on the Visit Cornwall CIC board. Ashworth was once again on stage at the Independent Hotel Show this year, where he delivered an insightful talk on hotel dynasties.

The Brit List Hoteliers of 2019 (Part one)

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The Brit List Hoteliers of 2019 (Part one)

This December, Hotel Designs is profiling the individuals who made it into The Brit List 2019. We continue by referencing part one of The Brit List Hoteliers 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. 

Following from The Brit List Designers and Architects of 2019 in Part OnePart Two, Part Three and Part Four, here are the first 15 individuals that made it as The Brit List Hoteliers of 2019…

Barry Sternlicht, CEO – Treehouse Hotels/Starwood Capital Group

The original founder of W Hotels, and Chairman and CEO of Starwood Capital Group, Barry Sternlicht makes his debut on The Brit List as a result of his announcement to launch a new hotel brand in London.

Described as “the little brother of 1 Hotels”, Treehouse is a less serious, more torn-jeans and t-shirts, kind of hotel brand. Featuring 95 keys, the first Treehouse in London is situated streets away from the BBC Broadcasting House near Oxford Circus. All hotels to open in the Treehouse portfolio will embrace sustainable protocols.

Charlie Rosier, Director – Cuckooz

Cuckooz was founded by Charlie Rosier and Fabienne O’Neill. The pair collaborated with designers and sleep experts this year to launch the sleeping experience like no other in their design-led serviced apartments… in the womb.

The nine-month project, which resulted in The Zed Room being opened, was inspired by the safety and ‘snugness’ of the womb and comes complete with muted lighting, soft-pink walls and a high-tech mattress.

Conor O’Leary, Joint Managing Director – Gleneagles Hotel

Crowned Hotelier of The Year at The Brit List 2018, Conor O’Leary is a leading hotelier with a difference. His hands-on approach has led the hotel to become not only a prestigious property but also one that feels like a home-from-home.

The hotel’s latest renovation of The Strathearn F&B area has opened up new opportunities for afternoon teas and day guests, as well as servicing those staying overnight.

Dimitris Manikis, President and Managing Director (EMEA) – Wyndham Hotels and Resorts

Interviewed by Hotel Designs shortly after becoming president andmanaging director of Wyndham Hotels and Resorts (EMEA), DimitrisManikis is an unconventional leader who has become a breath of fresh air for the hotel group’s management team. Based in the group’s Londonof ces, Manikis is responsible for the development of all Wyndham Hotel Group’s brands in the EMEA region as well as maximising the performance of all new and existing franchise and managed hotels.

Guillaume Marly, Managing Director – Hotel Café Royal

For more than two years, Guillaume Marly has been the managing director of Hotel Café Royal following on from stints as hotel manager at The Ritz, The Connought and senior positions at Claridge’s.

Constantly referred to as London’s “modern grand hotel”, the property straddles the elegance of Mayfair and the energy of Soho. This year, Hotel Café Royal was voted the #4 hotel in London by Conde Nast Traveler readers.

Harry Cragoe, Owner – The Gallivant

The Gallivant, led by Harry Cragoe, is positioned on the beach in Rye, Sussex with a core focus on wellness and wellbeing.

Last year, the 20-key boutique hotel transformed its F&B offering from a conventional space into a multi-room ‘beach house’ atmosphere, and inthe process, it expanded ground oor space with a £1m investment.

Hasham Soliman, Opening General Manager – The Dixon

Hasham Soliman was appointed as opening General Manager in 2018 following a proven track-record in launching successful London-based luxury hotels to the market. In addition to The Dixon, Solimean has opened five other hotels, including InterContinental London – The 02 andThe Grange Tower Bridge Hotel.

Ian Fletcher, General Manager – Hard Rock Hotel London

Drawing on the legacy of the guests who stayed there in decades past – and an inspiration to those who are yet to write their own story – Hard Rock Hotel London at Hyde Park stands alone as a haven for music lovers and cultural explorers everywhere. Located on the corner of Oxford Street and Park Lane, the hotel shelters tribute to former residents such as Jimi Hendrix, Diana Ross, Bob Dylan and Buddy Holly with an incredible memorabilia collection and original artwork in every bedroom. Ian Fletcher is the man who is ensuring that the brand’s values and images are appropriately represented throughout the hotel.

Keshav Suri, Executive Director – LaLiT Suri Hospitality Group

Keshav Suri is a keen activist within the LGBTQIA community, particularly in India where he was instrumental in the movement to decriminalise homosexuality. He has strived to carry this message of diversity across all hotels.

The London hotel, which opened in 2017, recently hosted a Drag Reading Hour event, whereby children were invited to listen to a reading by a drag queen of new children’s book, Elphie & The Peacock. The story, written by Suri, follows Elphie’s journey through life, learning the power of being true to yourself, and celebrating individuality.

Laura Sharpe, General Manager – Ham Yard Hotel

Laura Sharpe is an experienced, passionate and dedicated hospitality professional. She has been working as the general manager at Ham Yard Hotel since pre-opening, following a variety of other roles at Firmdale Hotels, including hotel manager, deputy general manager and front-of- house manager.

Firmdale hotels, which is rapidly expanding, is a group of nine boutique hotels in London and a further two in New York.

Marco Novella, Managing Director – The Lanesborough

Marco Novella was interviewed on-stage at Hotel Summit this year by editor Hamish Kilburn, where he openly spoke about the challenges of operating one of London’s most illustrious hotels.

Novella succeeded Geoffrey Gelardi as the Managing Director of The Lanesborough last year, and brings with him a modern and sensitive approach to running the hotel. The hotel is owned by the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, and, since its relaunch in 2015, has been managed by the German-based Oetker Collection.

Prior to his position at The Lanesborough, Novella was the managing director of Brown’s Hotel London for nearly two years. His previous roles also include managing director of Belmond Villa San Michele in Florence, Italy, and general manager of Marriott’s Gritti Palace, a Luxury Collection hotel, in Venice.

Mario Ovsenjak, Cluster General Manager – Hotel Gotham/Bespoke Hotels

Since 2012, Mario Ovsenjak has led teams at a range of country house properties, including The Lambert Arms in Oxfordshire, Shaftesbury’s Grosvenor Arms, as well as the Prince Regent Hotel.

Prior to this, he held positions at several London establishments, including the Corus Hyde Park Hotel, The Royal Trafalgar and Piccadilly Hotels, as well as the Colonnade and Hotel Xenia. His recent role has seen him lead The Brooklyn project with the aim to open a new kind of luxury hotel in Manchester, which will become the sister property of Hotel Gotham.

Michael Bonsor, Managing Director – Rosewood London

Michael Bonsor is at the helm of one of London’s most successful hospitality establishments, which has collected an eclectic mix of awards for design, service and management. Bonsor’s more than 18 years’ experience of hotel management within the luxury sector – along with his naturally warm charisma and his unparelled dedication to become an international ambassador for the brand – makes him one of the leading hoteliers in the world. His arrival at Rosewood London followed a period at Claridge’s London, where he began as the F&B manager before later becoming hotel operations manager.

Nick Davies, Owner – Cottage In The Woods

Nick Davies left Shoreditch in London in 2015 to take on the ownership and management of the 30-key hotel in the Malvern Hills. Together with wife Julia, Davis is managing a three-phase refurbishment of the hotel,which began in January 2017.

Since owning the property, revenue has increased by more than 40 per cent in both F&B and overnight stays, largely down to a complete overhaul of the structure of the business. Earlier this year, Davis secured £2.1 million from The Cumberland Building Society enabling thecomplete refurbishment of the entire property by 2020, two years ahead of schedule.

Olivia Byrne, Director – Eccleston Square Hotel

At the age of just 23, Parisian born Olivia Byrne graduated from L’Ecole Hoteliere de Lausanne and went straight onto becoming the youngest hotelier in London. Operating one of the capital’s most dynamic and tech-driven hotels, which the former presenter of The Gadget Show Jason Bradbury reviewed for Hotel Designs last year, Byrne recently led an extensive renovation. The newly refurbished 39-key hotel, which nowshelters arti cial intelligence and 3D television, has now entered a newtech era.

The Brit List Architects of 2019 (Part 1)

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

This December, Hotel Designs is profiling the individuals who made it into The Brit List 2019. We continue by referencing part one of The Brit List Architects 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. 

Following from The Brit List Designers of 2019 Part One and Part Two, here are the first 15 The Brit List Architects of 2019…

Ben Adams – Ben Adams Architects

Ben Adams has more than 20 years’ experience of working on large scale and complex urban projects. His work demonstrates architectural and commercial consistency, but projects are individually distinctive and the result of bespoke thinking rather than formulaic solutions.

Adams divides his time between guiding the overall design direction of the practice, generating new business, and R&D, providing a pivotal link between the studio’s design ethos, client requirements and future possibilities.

Ben Addy, Managing Director – Moxon Architects

Ben Addy founded Moxon in 2004, and since then has cultivated the practice into an award-winning, cross-disciplinary architecture firm, with a varied portfolio encompassing infrastructure, residential, commercial and hospitality.

Addy’s work combines design excellence, technical talent and a commitment to faultless delivery attracting major clients in a variety of sectors. Among them: Transport for London, HS2, Hauser & Wirth, the City of Westminster and Fife Arms Hotel in Braemar. Addy works closely with his clients to understand their needs and ambitions and strives to elevate them, resulting in distinctly individual work that is both clear in its purpose and appropriate to its context.

Catarina Pina-Bartrum, Project Director – LDS Architects

Making her Brit List debut, Catarina Pina-Bartrum has recently completed a 27-key boutique hotel, The Moorgate, which has been developed by Epic Properties. The small yet complex site called for a coherent solution to resolve issues of access, circulation and internal space. In addition, it required a concerted effort to create somewhere that provides not just comfort and security but character and charm, with a place that speaks to both its historical context and contemporary city life. The Moorgate is recognisably contemporary yet of its time and place, celebrating its context to create comfort, character and delight.

David Lee Hood, Associate/Architect – Goddard Littlefair

Associate and architect David Lee Hood joined Goddard Littlefair in 2013 and now heads up the studio’s architectural department.

As a flexible all-rounder, Lee Hood splits his energies equally between hospitality projects, including international hotel and restaurant schemes, such as the Restaurant & Bar Design Award-winning venue, The Printing Press for Principal or the award-winning refurbishment of The Gleneagles Hotel. He recently worked on the revamp of Hilton Munich City’s F&B offering, launching Juliet Rose to become the city’s new destination bar.

Geoff Hull, Director – EPR Architects (Highly Commended: Architect of the Year)

Geoff Hull has more than 30 years’ experience specialising in hotels and hospitality including new builds, conversions, refurbishments, restorations and heritage schemes in listed buildings for budget, boutique and luxury brands. Hull was responsible for the multi award-winning Rosewood London, which was recently a winner at Conde Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Choice Awards, receiving the top honour within its category.

The architect continues to oversee a number of high-profile hotel projects of varying scale and complexity.

Gina Langridge, Project Landscape Architect – WATG

Showcasing the full suite of the firm’s services, the project to renovate Mitsis Summer Palace included upgrades to the site’s restaurant and pool amenities. It incorporated strategy, planning and landscape architecture. “The hillside situation of the hotel, with expansive views across the Aegean, was the inspiration for creating a space which seamlessly connects the guest with the horizon,” said Gina Langridge of WATG’sLondon Landscape Architecture team who was awarded a Hotel Designs’ 30 Under 30 earlier this year. “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 coral accents in the restaurant.”

Gordon Ferrier, Head of Hotels – 3D Reid

Gordon Ferrier brings more than 30 years of hospitality design experience on a wide range of hotel projects, covering new builds, refurbishments and conversions. Ferrier is currently working on Goodwood Hotel, Gleneagles Club in Edinburgh, Gleneagles Hotel in Perthshire, Malmaison in Edinburgh and Cameron House Hotel at Loch Lomond.

James Dilley, Director – Jestico + Whiles

Having seen the London-based studio evolve over a quarter of a century, James Dilley holds a unique position at Jestico + Whiles. Specialising inboth architecture and interior design of hospitality projects, Dilley has been responsible for creating some of the world’s most innovative hotels, including Zuri Zanzibar, which is the only hotel globally to be awarded EarthCheck’s prestigious Sustainable Design Gold certification.

Dilley is currently leading his strong team of architects and interior designers to complete W Edinburgh.

John Harding, Partner – Dexter Moren Associates

John Harding has been responsible for the delivery of a number of large and complex hotel and mixed-use developments. His excellent understanding of five star hotels, coupled with detailed technical knowledge and the ability to problem solve, means he is integral to the success of every project he works on.

Most recently, he has lead the team and has delivered the completion of L’Oscar in Holborn, London, and is currently the partner in charge to deliver phase three of the much anticipated art’otel, which will be sheltered at Battersea Power Station.

Jonny Sin, Associate Director – ReardonSmith Architects

Since joining ReardonSmith Architects in 2011, Jonny Sin has been a key member of the Beaumont Hotel award-winning team that transformed a Grade II Listed art deco style building into a luxury boutique hotel winning “Best Hotel in the World” opening 2014. Sin worked closely with British artist Sir Antony Gormley and was responsible for developing the unique architectural and technical solution to realise the artist’s vision of a monumental sculpture as a living space and extension to the hotel.

More recently, Sin was the project associate on a new-build 173-bed, five-star luxury hotel tower development in Battersea and has since taken a lead role in delivering feasibility studies for Park Hyatt and a new façade retained five-star luxury hotel in Mayfair, London.

Julian Lewis, Co-Founder/Director – East Architecture

With a multitude of social and community incentives, Park House is a new aparthotel and community leisure project in West Ham Lane,Stratford. Designed by East Architecture, and led by Julian Lewis, the nine-storey building holds a mix of uses, including 91 apart-hotel spaces, seven ‘residential’ units, community facilities, a gym and a new café and restaurant. The building is a London landmark project for hotel operator Roomzzz, marking the brand’s arrival in London.

Laura Turner, Architect – jmaarchitects

Laura Turner has just completed The Stock Exchange Hotel, Manchester. Built between 1904 and 1906, the building is a historically symbolic institution, which was purchased by co-owners Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs to transform it into a leading boutique hotel. “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,” commented Turner. “A contemporary insertion routed into the building via a seven-storey sculptural staircase in place of the former 1980’s circulation core.”

Laurence Pinn, Associate – Tate Harmer

Tate Harmer is the studio responsible for The Eden Project in Cornwall, which last year won The Eco Award at The Brit List Awards 2018. Laurence Pinn joined Tate Harmer in 2011. He is design-led yet blends the best of both worlds, considering aesthetics and practical components of development to ensure concepts can become a reality. Laurence was theproject architect for the Eden Canopy Walkway project, and the Brunel Museum project, London, re-opening the historic Rotherhithe Sinking Shaft for use as a performance space.

Liz Pickard, Managing Director – Consarc Architects

Liz Pickard was awarded a European Laureate as one of the best emerging European architects in 2010. Consarc Architects has been led by Pickard for more than 20 years. She is an accredited RIBA client advisor and has worked with many clients in the private and public sectors. She teaches at the University College London Bartlett School of Architecture, as module director on the postgraduate course.

Luke Fox, Head of Studio – Foster + Partners

Luke Fox leads a team of designers in London, Hong Kong and Beijing on a wide range of international projects at Foster + Partners.

Recently, Fox has completed The Murray Hotel in Hong Kong and won an award in 2017 for his plans for the mixed-used development plans,which will shelter Four Seasons Makkah, by reinterpreting the traditional dense building clusters and creating a new contemporary vernacular that respects its sacred location.

To read The Brit List 2019, click here.

Kit Miles Studio launches new textile collection at Minotti London

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Kit Miles Studio launches new textile collection at Minotti London

Minotti London hosted a spectacular evening, allowing designer Kit Miles to launch his new textile collections by injecting the showroom with colour… 

On December 5, Minotti London welcomed designers and special guests to the launch of designer Kit Miles’ latest textile collections. The seamless relationship between the Italian luxury furniture brand and the British textiles studio was born from the shared values for quality, innovation and creativity.

The designer, who launched his London-based studio in 2013, unveiled his latest work on the walls of the Fitzrovia showroom. Minotti London displayed the vivid details of Miles’ the new Kubrick range by reupholstering one of its iconic armchairs chairs in the vibrant colours and vivid patterns.

Image caption: Kit Miles standing next to the Minotti armchair that was reupholstered in the Kit Miles Studio Kubrick collection to celebrate the occasion.

“The concept of pattern has become the conceptual heart of a project coming to life,” Miles told Hotel Designs. “Our potent and dynamic collections sing across and around the Minotti furniture, both brands representing a design universe steeped in quality and of pushing at design frontiers, here we do so vividly, passionately and unapologetically.”

“It is testament to imagination that, when we commit wholehearted to authenticity, we can forge identity – and in doing so, create memories that live in people forever. I see no greater vehicle through which to do that with than design.”

people sitting on sofas and standing, networking in the Minotti London showroom

Image caption: Designers and friends of both Minotti and Kit Miles Studio gathered at Minotti London’s showroom

The new collections include Birds in Chains, Corinthian Check, Cylinders, Diagonal Gradient, Ecclesiastical Botanic, Emperor Damask, Fretwork, Kubrick, Phases des Camelias and Ultraviolet Garden.

“We love Kit’s work and like to promote young British talent like Kit Miles,” added Co-Founder and Director of Minotti London, Anke Summerhill. “We have used his beautiful wallpapers and fabrics to show how versatile our furniture is and how beautifully it fits in with any look.”
Main image credit: Minotti London/Kit Miles Studio

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:

Classification PTV
High slip potential 0 – 24
Moderate slip potential 25-35
Low slip potential 36+

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

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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. While all the stylish lighting in the hotel was provided by Chelsom, 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

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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

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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, t