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Raffles Doha - aerial

Raffles to more than double current portfolio of luxury hotels by 2023

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Raffles to more than double current portfolio of luxury hotels by 2023

The legendary brand that is Raffles Hotels & Resorts is set to open flagship properties in Dubai, Udaipur, Bahrain and Macau later this year. Here’s what we know… 

With newly appointed CEO Stephen Alden at the helm, Raffles Hotels & Resorts, which first emerged in 1887 with the opening of the now iconic Raffles Singapore, embarks on an exciting new era, which will start with aggressive growth in the Middle East in 2021 and beyond.

Raffles Doha - aerial

A legendary brand known for transforming landmark properties in storied destinations around the world, Raffles is on track to more than double its illustrious portfolio, adding a host of distinguished locations that will continue to set the standard in the luxury hospitality industry. Later this year, Raffles will open a second hotel in Dubai (The Palm), along with Bahrain, Udaipur and Macau. Next year and beyond, the brand will debut flagship locations in London (2022), Boston (2022), Doha (2022), Jeddah (2022) and Moscow (2023), among others.

“Raffles approaches every endeavour with the utmost thought, care and discernment; our global expansion is no exception. With our pioneering spirit, we have sought out locations where we can really bring Raffles’ gracious welcome and tradition of excellence to life,” said Stephen Alden, CEO, Raffles & Orient Express. “Each new Raffles property is a destination in itself, and we are creating places where people want to be, in tune with our well-travelled guests’ contemporary lifestyles.”

Next year will see two watershed moments for the brand – with Raffles making its debut in North America and the United Kingdom. Raffles Boston Back Bay Hotel & Residences is located in the heart of the Back Bay, Boston’s most prestigious neighbourhood, and comprises a distinctive hotel as well as exquisitely appointed residences.

Raffles London at The OWO and The OWO Residences by Raffles will be an opening unlike any other in London. Located within the iconic Grade II* listed Old War Office building, an architectural masterpiece originally completed in 1906 which has witnessed world-shaping events, this property is set to be a momentous addition to the brand.

2021 unveils

Raffles the Palm, Dubai – The hotel is set to open its doors in Q4 of 2021. This will be the first Raffles resort on the Palm Jumeirah – the world’s largest man- made island and archipelago. Raffles the Palm Dubai, located across 100,000 square metres of landscape on the West Crescent, will feature 389 luxurious rooms, suites, and villas, each with a balcony and sea-view terrace, and offer eight bar and restaurant concepts.

Image caption: An aerial shot of Raffles The Palm Dubai

Image caption: An aerial shot of Raffles The Palm Dubai

Raffles Al Areen Palace, Bahrain – A serene sanctuary known as ‘the island of a million palm trees’, Raffles Al Areen Palace is located near the island’s protected wildlife park and reserve – home to a wide range of exotic animals and desert plants. With 78 opulent pool villas, one of the largest spas in the region and a wealth of tailor-made and signature Raffles experiences, this palatial property is set to redefine luxury hospitality in Bahrain. Honouring the Raffles heritage, the property will play its part as a cultural hotspot. A collection of one- and two-bedroom villas will feature living and dining areas, an intimate office, and expansive master bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms. A lush and majestic resort, Raffles Al Areen will feature an enchanting secret garden under the care of the hotel’s dedicated palace botanist.

Raffles Udaipur, India – Bringing this new-built site to life on a 21-acre private island in Udai Sagar Lake, the palatial Raffles Udaipur will be a sumptuous property, set to open in 2021. Surrounded by spectacular hills and a view of the 400-year-old temple in the background, the property has 101 rooms, each with a private pool. The hotel will provide a rare and authentic experience of one of India’s most scenic destinations.

Image caption: Exterior of Raffles Udaipur in India

Image caption: Exterior of Raffles Udaipur in India

Raffles at Galaxy Macau – The hotel will be situated within a stunning architectural landmark featuring a glass airbridge that connects the two towers on every floor. Each of the 450 suites draws inspiration from a modern palazzo, with curated artworks and some featuring private pools and gardens. Raffles at Galaxy Macau will be a spectacular addition to the Galaxy Macau, a world-class luxury integrated resort that offers an array of bespoke leisure activities, on-site entertainment and a specialty restaurant helmed by a multi-Michelin-starred Japanese chef.

Image caption: Exterior render of Raffles at Galaxy Macau

Image caption: Exterior render of Raffles at Galaxy Macau

2022 unveils (and beyond)

Raffles London at The OWO, UK – The hotel, sheltered in a historic building, will be the capital’s first Raffles property – a storied building that served as Winston Churchill’s base during the Second World War and was the birthplace of Ian Fleming’s James Bond. Many original architectural details have been preserved while also allowing room for updated design elements. Comprising of 125 rooms and suites, 85 residences, a collection of nine restaurants and bars and an immersive spa, the hotel and residences represent an incredible opportunity for the public to experience this historic property. It is set to be completed in 2022 and will open to the public for the first time in more than a century.

Raffles Boston Back Bay Hotel & Residences, USA –  Located in Boston’s prestigious Back Bay neighbourhood, the 35-storey building will be a new landmark in Boston’s skyline, with 146 residences, 147 guest rooms, and six restaurant and bar venues, including a sky bar and speakeasy. The property will feature state-of-the- art facilities and amenities. The striking three- story sky lobby, the first of its kind in Boston, will be the centrepiece of the property, complete with a grand staircase spanning the 17th, 18th and 19th floors.

Raffles Doha, Qatar – A cultural tribute to Qatar’s heritage, the Iconic Towers in Lusail, a representation of Qatar’s national seal, will be home to the new Raffles Doha. A lavishly impressive property with 132 sophisticated suites and 49 branded apartments, the luxurious combo hotel will feature state-of- the-art entertainment and recreational facilities, boutique shopping, movie theatres, restaurants and a cigar lounge, as well as a variety of meeting spaces.

Raffles Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – Inspired by the rich history of Saudi Arabia and Jeddah’s old town architecture, Raffles Jeddah will have 181 guestrooms – including a spectacular wedding suite and penthouse suite with in-room entertainment – and 188 branded residences. Alongside six restaurants and lounges, there will be an extensive library, a 1,200 square metre spa with eight treatment rooms and a state-of-the-art fitness club. The hotel’s meeting facilities include a 1,500 square metre ballroom overlooking the corniche and 1,000 square metres of conference rooms.

Image caption: Render of suite inside Raffles Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Image caption: Render of suite inside Raffles Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Raffles Moscow, Russia – The new flagship Raffles Moscow, located next to the Kremlin in the heart of Moscow, is expected to open in 2023 – becoming the first Raffles hotel in Russia. The landmark hotel will offer 153 exquisite rooms across nine floors with views overlooking the Kremlin and Red Square. These will include 20 two- bedroom suites, 19 junior suites and two presidential suites with private terraces. Each guestroom has breath-taking views of the city, with a select few offering access to the hotel’s courtyard terrace.

Main image caption: Exterior render of Raffles Doha, Qatar 

Guestroom in qingdao overlooking ocean

St. Regis Hotels & Resorts makes debut at former Olympic venue

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
St. Regis Hotels & Resorts makes debut at former Olympic venue

St. Regis Hotels and Resorts has made its glamorous debut in China’s coastal city of Qingdao, which is the former Olympic sailing venue of the 2008 Games. Let’s take a look inside… 

The highly anticipated opening of St Regis Qingdao marks the first Marriott International luxury brand hotel in the northeastern Shandong region.

Guestroom in qingdao overlooking ocean

Strategically located in the landmark Haitian Center in the heart of historic Qingdao – overlooking Fushan Bay, the Olympic sailing venue for the 2008 Olympics – the hotel is set to delight the city’s luminaries and tastemakers with its elegant design, refined craftsmanship and time-honoured signature rituals.

“We are very excited to expand our luxury footprint to one of the most beautiful coastal cities in the region with the debut of the iconic St. Regis brand, bringing bespoke experiences curated for the most discerning travellers,” said Henry Lee, President, Greater China, Marriott International. “The opening of The St. Regis Qingdao ushers in a new benchmark of luxury hospitality in this dynamic city and underscores our commitment to continuously grow in Eastern China.”

Image credit: Marriott International

The arrival of St Regis in Qingdao follows a very public effort from Marriott International to expand its portfolio growth in Asia, following the group opening its 70th hotel property in Japan.

Occupying the 58th to 78th floors of the 369-meter-tall Haitian Center, The St. Regis Qingdao is the tallest hotel in the region, enthralling guests with panoramic vistas of the Yellow Sea and picturesque coastal scenes.

Drawing inspiration from the brand’s rich heritage, the renowned Singapore based interior design firm, LTW Designworks, subtly infused local Qingdao influences with St. Regis’ avant-garde aesthetic. This includes a crystal chandelier inspired by a legendary dress of golden thorns that Caroline Astor, mother of St. Regis founder John Jacob Astor IV and doyenne of New York high society in the Gilded Age, wore to one of her famed Midnight Suppers.

Lobby Chandelier inside St. Regis Qingdao

Image credit: Marriott International

A brilliantly-lit grand staircase offers the perfect venue for the celebrated St. Regis tradition of sabering a bottle of champagne to mark the transition from day to night. The backdrop of the grand staircase is a 74-metre-high atrium art wall that reflects the delicate traces left on the beach by the ebb and flow of the Yellow Sea.

The hotel features 233 guestrooms, including 30 luxury suites with spectacular ocean views. In each guest room, the bedside backplate features camellia motifs as an homage to the official flower of Qingdao, representing inspiration, integrity and romance. The bespoke amenities, design narratives and spectacular views combine to transport guests into a world of exquisite luxury and service. Guests will also enjoy the brand’s signature Butler Service, offering around-the-clock anticipatory service and ensuring that each guest’s stay is customised according to their tastes and preferences.

The St. Regis Qingdao also invites guests to embark on multi-sensory culinary journeys with exceptional presentations, memorable flavours and spectacular views at its five distinctive dining outlets. The Drawing Room, located on 59th floor, offers an indulgent Afternoon Tea along with panoramic seascapes. In spaces that combine contemporary chic with traditional charm, YAN TING serves authentic Cantonese cuisine featuring the freshest locally-sourced seafood. Social is an exciting all-day dining experience, featuring international delights at breakfast, along with fresh local seafood and western grill items on the lunch and dinner menus. The Carvery celebrates convivial dining in a classic New York steakhouse setting. In the evenings, guests are invited to The St. Regis Baroverlooking Qingdao city and its charming nightscapes to enjoy handcrafted cocktails. The signature St. Regis cocktail, the Bloody Mary, is given an intriguing new twist using essences of sparkling Qingdao beer, fresh local clams and fine sea-salt and aptly reintroduced as the “GáLa Mary”.

With a total of more than 2,000 square metres of dedicated event space, the hotel offers venues and facilities for iconic gatherings and meetings. The Astor Ballroom, covering an area of more than 900 square meters, is the perfect setting for celebrations, events, galas and talk-of-the-town wedding banquets. The St. Regis Qingdao also offers a bespoke wedding planner service to assist couples in planning their once-in-a-lifetime dream wedding.

The exclusive St. Regis Spa elevates the traditional spa visit into an enjoyable social occasion featuring five treatment rooms including the St. Regis Spa Suite, a private space for couples, families or small groups of friends to relax and enjoy bespoke treatment time together. The Celebration Bar is a joyous space of refined elegance serving the finest Champagne and effervescent cocktails. Fitness enthusiasts will enjoy the hotel’s well-equipped fitness centre and indoor infinity swimming pool offering stunning views of the surrounding sea and sky.

“We are thrilled to celebrate the debut of The St. Regis Qingdao. As one of the most important destinations for business and leisure travellers in China, Qingdao now has a most iconic luxury landmark,” said Jennie Toh, Vice President, Brand Marketing and Management, Asia Pacific, Marriott International. “We look forward to sharing Qingdao with guests through the lens of St. Regis’ signature glamorous spirit, sophistication and impeccable service when they visit the destination.”

Main image credit: Marriott International

The Brit List Awards 2021

The Brit List Awards 2021 – entries close on Friday!

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The Brit List Awards 2021 – entries close on Friday!

FINAL CALL for all designers, architects, hoteliers and brands to submit their free entries for The Brit List Awards 2021 (scroll down to read more about the categories and how to claim a complimentary ticket to the awards ceremony). Entries CLOSE on August 6 (this Friday)…

The Brit List Awards 2021

Following months of campaigning, designers, architects, hoteliers and brands have until Friday August 6 to submit their free entry for The Brit List Awards 2021.

The Brit List Awards, sponsored by Crosswater, is one of the most prestigious awards campaigns for designers, architects, hoteliers and brands in the UK to be associated with. Each year, Hotel Designs opens up the nominations and the nationwide campaign begins to find the best hotel designers, architects and hospitality professionals.

CLICK HERE to submit your free-of-charge application/nomination.

This year, following last year’s virtual event, The Brit List Awards will climax with a spectacular awards ceremony, which shortlisted designers, architects and hoteliers will be given a complimentary ticket to attend – but you have to be ‘in it to win it’. “For many reasons, The Brit List Awards has become an event that we at Hotel Designs are extremely proud of,” explained editor Hamish Kilburn who will lead this year’s judging panel. “Not only does it seriously help to raise the profiles of exceptional designers, architects and hoteliers, but it also credits the individuals – whatever their backgrounds – who are ensuring that Britain remains a creative hub of design, architecture and hospitality.”

Here’s a reminder of this year’s categories:

*In addition to the individual awards that are up for grabs, the top 25 entries in the interior design, architecture and hospitality categories will be profiled in the prestigious The Brit List, Hotel Designs’ annual publication that references the top 75 most influential individuals in British design, architecture and hospitality.

Click here to read about last year’s winners. Click here to read more about this year’s event and timeline. Click here to read our FAQs about The Brit List Awards.

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

Main image credit: The Brit List Awards

Weekly digest: Ace moves into Brooklyn & a Royal welcome in Crete

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Weekly digest: Ace moves into Brooklyn & a Royal welcome in Crete

Editor Hamish Kilburn here rounding off your week (and month) with a digest of the hottest stories from the last few days. Before we start, first, a checklist: Have you applied yet for The Brit List Awards? Have you signed up to attend Hotel Designs LIVE. If not, hurry, as you only have a few days left to do so…

Quite frankly, July couldn’t have come soon enough! Following an unjust – and extended – sin bin, the hospitality industry is finally able to return to the arena in order to showcase the true value of an industry that is held together by people, relationships and boundary-defying innovation. Our celebration of these hero players comes in the form of The Brit List Awards, Hotel Designs’ annual awards ceremony – free to apply/nominate for – that’s aim is to credit the individuals who are taking design and hospitality to new heights. Therefore, I urge you (even if you are in doubt) to submit your free entry, before August 6, to this year’s awards – you literally have nothing to lose. Don’t forget, this year we have introduced two new awards: International Award and The Rising Star – even more reasons to get involved…

In the meantime, the editorial team are putting the finishing touches on preparations ahead of our next Hotel Designs LIVE event. If The Brit List Awards are about celebrating the heroes, then Hotel Designs LIVE’s role is to bring the industry’s finest together to keep the conversation flowing  by discussing key issues in global hotel design and hospitality. With limited spaces available, time is running out to attend in the audience.

Other than keeping these two vital dates and events front-of-mind, we have spent this week exploring some milestone projects, writing about new products and we even found time to publish our latest virtual roundtable, which explores the heavily discussed topic of injecting personality into the bathroom. Here are our top stories of the week…

In pictures: The Royal Senses Resort, Curio Collection by Hilton

Image credit: The Royal Senses Resort, Curio Collection by Hilton

Following the highly anticipated opening The Royal Senses Resort, Curio Collection by HiltonHotel Designs gets its hands on the official images, which highlight the design scheme that aimed to celebrate the “timelessness of the Cretan soul in a contemporary way”.

Read more.

Virtual roundtable: Colour & personality in the bathroom

Our latest virtual roundtable, in association with Bathroom Brands Group, comes following Hotel Designs LIVE in May where we hosted the panel discussion entitled: ‘Bathrooms beyond practical spaces’. Extending what we learned at the event, we invite a handful of designers to explore how to inject colour and personality into the bathroom…

Read more.

Now open: Inside Ace Hotel Brooklyn

Guestroom inside Ace Hotel Brooklyn

Image credit: Ace Hotel Brooklyn

From the brand who shook up conventional public areas and encouraged the rest of the hospitality industry to open their doors to the community as well as travellers, Ace Hotels has officially arrived in Brooklyn. Located in Downtown Brooklyn, the hotel stands on the cusp of Boerum Hill, above the ever-evolving intersection of everything: a geographical Venn diagram of intersecting energies, from the tree-lined streets and brownstones of Cobble Hill and Carroll Gardens to the art and culture clusters of Fort Greene, and all the way down to the restless East River.

Read more.

Design London to make its London Design Festival debut in September

Design London

Anticipation is building around the reopening of events and Design London is among the shows that are gearing up to showcase the best in design. The show will welcome the architecture and design community to the capital’s new favourite neighbourhood, North Greenwich, for its inaugural event.

Read more. 

Bathroom trends: Black accessories for a touch of luxury

Bathroom black accessories

When crafting a bathroom it’s the finishing touches that often bring everything together and complete the look; be it elegance and glamour or a sophisticated urban edge. The new Black Selection of accessories from KEUCO with its deep black silk matt finish brings a touch of luxury to every element in the collection.

Read more.

Since you’re here…

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

Click here to sign up to our newsletter.

3D tech: Dernier & Hamlyn expands studio capabilities to meet designers’ needs

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
3D tech: Dernier & Hamlyn expands studio capabilities to meet designers’ needs

As part of its continued investment into the latest technology to provide the best service to its designer clients, bespoke lighting manufacturer Dernier & Hamlyn, which recently sponsored our roundtable on bespoke possibilities in luxury design, has increased its capabilities by adding 3D printing technologies to their already impressive studio services…

Although recently acquired, the 3d printer is already being used extensively to produce a wide range of prototypes that help designers and their clients to visualise what the bespoke components or light fittings produced in Dernier & Hamlyn’s factory will actually look like.

It is also successfully being used to produce patterns rather than the more traditional ways such as having them carved in wood or made from bronze or brass which is not only more cost effective, but also greatly reduces the lead times in getting the patterns to the foundry for casting. For some applications this process can also be utilised for elements of the actual light fittings themselves. Recent advances in finishing techniques now enable Dernier & Hamlyn to get these parts finished to suit the client’s requirements whether it’s a sprayed or a specialised metal finish.

This new service complements the existing wide range of skills available from Dernier & Hamlyn’s design team from the very traditional sketching of initial ideas and concepts, hand drawing of intricate designs, CAD drawings used to inform manufacture and finishing through to photo realistic renders.

“Up until now we have always had to outsource all of our 3d printing requirements,” said Mark Harper, Head of Design at Dernier & Hamlyn. “Not only was this an expensive operation as many companies have minimum order quantities but also meant timescales for delivery were out of our hands. Having this printing facility within our own studio means we can now provide a much more flexible and fast service which is key to our focus on quality and high levels of customer service and satisfaction.”

> Since you’re here, why not read the roundtable that Dernier & Hamlyn sponsored, entitled: Bespoke possibilities in luxury design?

While some designers approach Dernier & Hamlyn with fully formed designs and material specifications there is often still a need to work through the engineering challenges of how their bespoke lighting can be made, installed and maintained. In many cases the designers have a clear idea of what they want to achieve aesthetically but are looking for support and expert advice to help translate their aspirations into light fittings that not only look fantastic in their hotel projects but provide appropriate lighting levels, colour rendering, efficiency and vitally, can be manufactured within the required budget.

Dernier & Hamlyn 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: Dernier & Hamlyn

Collage of interior images of inside the Ace Hotel Brooklyn

Now open: Inside Ace Hotel Brooklyn

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Now open: Inside Ace Hotel Brooklyn

Following our cheeky sneak peek inside the hotel that was published earlier this year, Ace Hotel Brooklyn is open – with interior design by Roman and Williams , and architecture from Stonehill Taylor

From the brand who shook up conventional public areas and encouraged the rest of the hospitality industry to open their doors to the community as well as travellers, Ace Hotels has officially arrived in Brooklyn.

Collage of interior images of inside the Ace Hotel Brooklyn

Located in Downtown Brooklyn, the hotel stands on the cusp of Boerum Hill, above the ever-evolving intersection of everything: a geographical Venn diagram of intersecting energies, from the tree-lined streets and brownstones of Cobble Hill and Carroll Gardens to the art and culture clusters of Fort Greene, and all the way down to the restless East River. The property offers 287 guestrooms, an expansive in-room art programme, a public lobby with multiple bars and an art gallery, plus additional food and beverage outlets on the horizon. Designed by Roman and Williams, with architecture by Stonehill Taylor, Ace Brooklyn’s unique facade welds seamlessly with interiors inspired by the raw artist studio spaces of the European modernists — with soothing and stylish custom furnishings outfitting its every alcove.

> Since you’re here, why not read a roundtable on the new era of lifestyle hospitality, featuring Stonehill Taylor’s Sara Duffy?

“We see Brooklyn as it’s own city, filled with so much hope, possibility and excitement for the future,” said Brad Wilson, President, Ace Hotel Group. Ace Brooklyn has been a labour of love — a gorgeous building in many ways a reunion and a reinvention, and one we’re delighted to share with our guests and neighbours as the evolution of Ace Hotel. We’re proud to have filled its spaces with the talents of many collaborators across art, design and culture; it’s a testament and tribute to the irrepressible creative energy of the borough, and a firm investment in its future.”

Made up of metal, glass and precast concrete elements, the building’s rough-edged façade celebrates the natural beauty of its materials, along with the rugged handiwork of the builders who brought them together. The facade’s dramatic centrepiece is a custom ceramic mural crafted by iconic modernist Stan Bitters, coupled with a sculptural light installation designed by Roman and Williams in homage to the Hotel Okura in Tokyo — a beacon of modernist hospitality designed by Yoshiro Taniguchi, which was sadly demolished in 2015.

Inside, interiors marry exposed concrete with other naturally textural elements — surfaces of douglas fir, oak, plywoods and leathers — to form organic, open shapes throughout. The lobby features vintage and custom seating throughout, with half moon windows illuminating the lobby bar in natural light. The bar is finished with an original wall sculpture from RW Guild artist Verdan Jakšić, and a discreet, large scale drawing by Tara Geer.

“After seven years, we are proud to unveil one of our most comprehensive architectural and interior commissions to date for Ace Hotel Brooklyn, our third collaboration with Ace Hotel,” added Robin Standefer and Stephen Alesch, Founders and Principals, Roman and Williams. “We aimed to embrace a solid muscular design vocabulary, employing confident lasting construction methods and materials, ones with gravity and strength. A primitive modernist philosophy guided us, it is expressed in the tactile spirit of the design. From the building’s strong and unadorned facade, to the celebration of raw old growth timber in the public screens, to the honest plywood furniture collection in the bedrooms, we aspire to be as energetic and untamed as Brooklyn itself.” 

Drawing significant inspiration from Le Corbusier’s beloved workspace retreat Le Cabanon, the guest rooms at Ace Hotel Brooklyn were imagined as cabins of creative refuge: elegant and efficient, with the kind of breathing room that stirs up all sorts of possibilities. The furnishings are handcrafted from raw, understated materials — including custom sofas and chairs, classically-loomed cotton bedding and purpose-built, minimalist fixtures. Custom bed covers were crafted by Maine Heritage Weavers; bath products are from uka; in select rooms, acoustic guitars are provided by D’Angelico Guitars; turntables are made by Music Hall, with vinyl record selections courtesy of our friends at Rough Trade. Ace Brooklyn’s in-room art programme was curated by artist Niki Tsukamoto, and brings together a dream-woven assortment of original textile and fibre pieces from roughly two dozen artists, many based in the borough.

Guestroom inside Ace Hotel Brooklyn

Image credit: Ace Hotel Brooklyn

Throughout the rest of 2021, The Gallery at Ace Hotel Brooklyn will showcase works by artists featured in the guestrooms, starting with a show of textile works by Cynthia Alberto and Weaving Hand in July and August 2021. The hotel lobby’s Ace Shop will also be featuring custom home goods and jewellery from a number of the artists on an ongoing basis.

Main image credit: Ace Hotel Brooklyn

Roundtable - colour and personality

Virtual roundtable: Colour & personality in the bathroom

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Virtual roundtable: Colour & personality in the bathroom

Our latest virtual roundtable, in association with Bathroom Brands Group, comes following Hotel Designs LIVE in May where we hosted the panel discussion entitled: ‘Bathrooms beyond practical spaces’. Extending what we learned at the event, Editor Hamish Kilburn invites a handful of designers to explore how to inject colour and personality into the bathroom…

Roundtable - colour and personality

Gone now are the days of bathrooms being used solely as practical spaces. When colour, pattern and material trends spilled over in the ’70s, the bathroom became an experiential area where designers could rip up the rule book to reflect personality. With the demand for experience-driven travel and the addition in recent years of wellness and wellbeing being top of modern travellers’ agendas – not to mention technology evolving at a rapid rate – the options designers can now use in the bathroom is phenomenal.

To see how far we can take colour and personality in the bathroom, we invited leading designers from multiple brands and studios to help us explore how we can meaningfully add a bit of flair in these once-forgotten spaces.

On the panel:

Hamish Kilburn: Traditionally, why did colour not play a large a role in the bathrooms? 

Fiona Thompson: In the luxury hotel sector, the simple answer is that we were reflecting what had been done previously – so it was more a nod back to the heritage of the projects, which were usually sheltered in historic buildings. In terms of sanitaryware, there was a big change in the 70s from using colour to then only using white. And that’s probably because white represents cleanliness. However, in more trendy brands we are seeing colour being injected back into the bathrooms, but it is a big step for more luxury hotels.

The bathroom is the last thing that gets stripped out of a hotel, so anything we do has to stand the test of time.

“I have seen a shift toward a more experience-led design when it comes to bathrooms in hotels” – Diana Darmina, Interior Design Manager, Lamington Group.

Akram Fahmi: I would say there has been a shift over the last 10 years of moving to blacks, dark bronzes for accent colour in the bathroom. But I think sanitaryware companies have been widening their colour ranges as styles and fashion has also moved on. I think black is here to stay; it’s now staple and consumers accept it’s a stylish option, but colour, bold colours, pastels are having a renaissance. We have been devoid of fun for almost two years, staring at our own bathrooms at home thinking, ‘I want something to lift me in the morning, perk me, surprise me continually’. I think colour has that ability to affect your mood. Bold yellows give you warmth and comfort, red is energetic and bold, green is calming and fresh. All these amazing feelings from colour, and designers need to be braver when it comes to utilising it in powder rooms and bathrooms. In fact, I think bathrooms are the perfect place to be a little quirky or offbeat. The bathroom is the most informal space in a house or hotel. It’s ultimately the space you need to feel comfortable without clothes on – and if you can’t have fun without clothes on, when can you!

Diana Darmina: Working in the hotel industry, I have seen a shift toward a more experience-led design when it comes to bathrooms in hotels. At room2 we always push for our bathrooms to be playful and energising in their look and feel. We always push for our bathrooms to be remembered as a place which guests love, but would probably not have the courage to do in their own homes.

Black and pink bathroom with brassware

Image credit: Bathrooms Brands Group

Nick Hickson: Some brands are very prescriptive when it comes to brand standards and certainly with the sanitary ware being white. So, it’s tough to have conversations about injecting colour in. You could suggest minor changes, such as the shower tray being made from Quartz Stone or designing the space with tile surfaces.

Meanwhile, there are new brands entering that want to define new categories. Those lifestyle brands don’t want white or to feel corporate. Instead, they are reaching out for something more experiential – something coloured or made from other materials than simply white porcelain.

David Balmer: Also, with hygiene being such a big focus point, there is still that need and demand for the perception of cleanliness. So, what we are seeing is that colour is being used on the outside of ceramics and not on the inside to maintain that.

“Traditionally, we were concerned and timid to use coloured brassware because of the cost and quality.” – Paul Savage, Design Director, IA Architects.

Modern bathroom with colour and personality

Image credit: Bathrooms Brands Group

HK: Crosswater, from a brand’s perspective, would you say those lifestyle brands have allowed you to inject colour in your products?

DB: Without a doubt. If you look at the new versions of the basins with the tinted brass or gold on the outside of the bowl you will see we are able to add more personality in our products thanks to the demand.

Paul Savage: From my previous experience of working with one of the large American operators, there was no colour in the bathrooms. If we take the high-luxury brands as an example, they want to achieve a classy look, and they are also protecting the owner’s investment. So typically we would expect a hard refurb of a bathroom every 14 years. Traditionally, we were concerned and timid to use coloured brassware because of the cost and quality. We would say that housekeeping would do the most damage to the rooms because of some of the strong cleaning solutions they use. Now that the quality has improved and the cost has come down I think we will see more of it.

Image credit: Bathrooms Brands Group

Image credit: Bathrooms Brands Group

HK: Were you wanting to inject more colour into your projects before you were able to do so because of the delay in the supply catching up to the demand?

PS: I think with how popular lifestyle brands are, I think it’s a really good opportunity to make a bathroom really unique. I really do think the development of lifestyle hotels – and the expansion of that sector – is allowing the industry as a whole to think more creatively when it comes to the bathroom. You can still sensitively add colour to these bathroom spaces to more classic hotel bathrooms but there are less opportunities.

FT: Also, the perception of a bathroom in a luxury hotel was traditionally marble or stone or granite. That has changed substantially – and now there are so many other materials for designers to choose from that still give the perception of high-end luxury. The traditional mindset has changed quite a lot.

NH: Nowadays, we would design the room, selecting from a vast range of surfaces and materials before we specify the bathroom products in order for the space just to feel as considered as other areas of the hotel.

“You don’t have to be clinical to be clean.” – Fiona Thompson, Principal, Richmond International.

HK: With Covid-19 being the elephant in the room, do you think the new demands will put a halt in how much colour will be put into the bathrooms?

FT: I think everyone just wants to move on. You don’t have to be clinical to be clean.

HK: As designers, selecting colours and tones that match is very important. Do you ever find this difficult in the bathroom?

NH: Sometimes. So, at the moment, matt black is a very popular bathroom finish for taps and even basins. I have in the past struggled to find hinges of doors that match in, but generally the result is very impressive when you use contrasts in the bathroom.

“We are not against the idea of taking out the basin outside the bathroom in order to open up the space and create more of a language between the bathroom and the bedroom.” – Nick Hickson, Co-Founder, THDP.

Image of modern bathroom

Image credit: Bathroom Brands Group

HK: How else, other than using colour, can we inject personality into bathrooms?

FT: Bathrooms are becoming quite focal key points in the design of a guestroom because they are the differentiator. I think using and exploring patterns and textures are therefore great ways to hep these areas stand out. People are becoming more playful, I have noticed, especially in hotels where the bathtub is removed from the bathroom in order to open up space.

NH: And even the basin, we are not against the idea of taking out the basin outside the bathroom in order to open up the space and create more of a language between the bathroom and the bedroom.

PS:  There has been a massive renaissance in materials such as terrazzo in the last few years, so that’s a really good opportunity to bring in colour. Also, we are seeing that wallpaper is becoming a popular option in bathrooms for a feature wall. So, people are certainly getting bolder. The only thing I would tend to avoid is lighting that changes skin tone, because these areas are spaces where people go to groom and get ready. The other easy way to tell the design narrative is through artwork.

HK: Nick, you joined us for HD Live where we explored bathrooms beyond practical spaces. What would you say were the key takeaways in that discussion? 

NH: One of the biggest things for me was being able to sit down with other designers (both seniors and juniors) to discuss key topics. We had a designer from Marcel Wanders Studio and Zaha Hadid Architects – and just understanding how others think about this topic. The other conversation we had, which I have been asked about since then, was materiality in bathrooms – I think we can afford to be a bit more adventurous these days.

HK: What would you say is really exciting you at the moment when specifying bathroom projects?

FT: I think it’s beyond look and feel and now it’s really about guest experience. The world has moved from wanting just a good thermostatic shower and a good toilet. I think now there are more products out there to help us create more of an immersive experience. With that in mind, the vast array of materials out there is very exciting! There’s certainly a demand to understand more about where materials come from.

NH: There are so many new products out there that are pushing the envelope. In-house designers are also pushing us to be more creative when reacting to a brief. I’m also loving the fact that broken-up mosaics are being used in bathroom design schemes, which I think is very interesting.

PS: The biggest difference for me, in recent years, is now the accessibility to coloured brassware – before you just couldn’t afford it in the budget! Also, the improvement to finishes and coating. Developers and investors don’t like taking risks – they need to know that the products are going to stand the test of time. So, we have really enjoyed being able to use these materials. The trends go full circle – next thing you know, chrome will be back in fashion!

Tom Lowry: Yes, and it’s important for brands like Bathrooms Brands Group to ensure that we focus on long-lasting trends. I have certainly seen an appetite for earthy colours and materials that have texture – as opposed to just looking at colour.

HK: I think the Bespoke Collection by Burlington is a fantastic example of this  – and actually it was this collection, followed by the Riviera Collection, that allowed me to really see how the bathroom can absolutely become the ‘hero shot’ for a hotel. What are your thoughts?

PS: I think guests are much more sophisticated – and exposed via social media to high-end design. I think they expect this design being carried through to the bathrooms.

NH: Being conventional is now unforgivable on the hotel scene – we are constantly thinking, as designers, how we can push a projects design narrative.

HK: For many, it’s easy to see colour injected in bathrooms sheltered under lifestyle brands. How can colour be sensitively injected in more luxury hotels?

FT: Whether it’s colour or texture, it’s about giving the space personality – and injecting sense of place. So, it becomes about using locally sourced materials. We did a project in Las Vegas where the bathroom was bigger than the rooms, so we used lots of back-painted glass to make it an extraordinary space. It is about doing things that are appropriate for the local location and culture. The bathroom now is quite often half the size of the bedroom, so it has to be a signature piece, if you like, but also keep it cohesive to the rest of the room.

“Layering colour, tone, accent in the choices of FF&E, accessories, artwork, make bold choices in the colour of joinery, doors and of course powder rooms!” – Akram Fahmi, Co-Founder, London Design House.

AF: I think it’s a very good question, colour is sometimes seen as cheap or tacky, but I totally disagree. Many modern luxury hotels have this element of seriousness, elegant and sophisticated tonality – we are all guilty of it at some point in our careers, and yes, that tonality and “properness” is expected and often pushed by the hotel operator and guest expectations, and yes it might look beautiful, but is it fun? No. Is it quirky? Not really. So how do you bring interest, surprise, moments of emotion into a the luxury environment, and I think the answer is layering. Layering colour, tone, accent in the choices of FF&E, accessories, artwork, make bold choices in the colour of joinery, doors and of course powder rooms! Colour has been slowly washed out of hospitality over the years, if you look back historically at hotels like the Savoy, the bold greens, or the Dorchester ballroom in the 1930s was full of pinks, blues and golds. These spaces historically had colour and we need to get back to celebrating these spaces again and have fun rather than align to a pretence that sophistication is black and white or grey. 

HK: We’ve spoken in depth about guestroom bathrooms, but what about public bathrooms – can we afford to throw out the rule book in these spaces? 

FT: I think public bathrooms can be much more playful – I like to see a bit of reverence in these areas!

PS: I agree, a bit of humour doesn’t go a miss. You really can, to a degree, judge a restaurant’s design on their bathrooms. If they are not an afterthought, if they have been considered then it’s a great opportunity to do something different.

HK: And finally, how can designers working on a tight budget still add personality into the bathroom?

PS: Accenting. The price of coloured brassware has come down so it’s easier to include these in a project – and opens design opportunities. Another way is to add colour on the outside of basins, and also paint on the wall – a half height tiled wall and paint is an easy way make these spaces a bit more characterful.

NH: And don’t be afraid to paint the ceilings too.

AF: I think that white is always an easy ‘go to’ in terms of making a space feel larger or brighter naturally. However, there are many tricks one can use to give that feeling of space, whether it be to give the feeling of height, or making a space feel brighter. Use of colour is very clever tool, highlighting door architraves and skirtings for instance in an accent colour can give a feeling of height as your eye is physically drawn up and down.

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

Flooring case study: Creating connection and flexibility at work

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Flooring case study: Creating connection and flexibility at work

Leading Australian law firm Lander & Rogers envisioned a workplace that reflected its values of being authentic, connected and innovative. The brand required the attention of creative flooring brand Modieus to achieve their desired interior design scheme…

The recently completed Lander & Rogers workplace in Melbourne combines socially activated spaces for connection and collaboration with quiet work settings for privacy and focus. This contemporary space fosters creativity, whilst providing people with flexibility and adaptability in the way they work.

Image credit: Carr/Lander & Rogers

Melbourne based architecture and interior design studio Carr completed the base build interior design in collaboration with the Grimshaw studio. Joining the project in the early stages, initially on workplace strategy, Carr developed an intimate understanding of the client’s needs. The result is a holistic design outcome melding powerful functionality with a warm and natural aesthetic. Hotel Designs send their congratulations to Sue Carr for her appointment this week as a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for significant service to interior design, to education, and to women in business in the 2021 Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

Leveraging the insights and learnings gathered through the strategy and briefing, Carr recommended an open plan, agile ready workplace, balanced with a variety of quiet spaces to retreat and reset. It was a radical change from the previous workplace, but one that responded authentically to the client’s needs. Key to successful planning was balancing the openness with moments of respite. “It was important the planning principles respected the need for privacy – both visual and acoustic – within the open plan and shared zones. The ratio of enclosed retreat spaces versus open plan settings was responsive to the client’s needs and data collected during the strategy phase,” says Associate Nicole Coutts. The final workplace model is flexible and diverse, allowing the Lander & Rogers team the ability to expand, change or contract as needed – a particularly important option in light of the events of 2020.

Modieus was delighted to supply the soft flooring, owner Xander Okhuizen said: “We designed beautiful hand tufted rugs to zone the open plan spaces and sumptuous Axminster carpets for the office areas, to create the perfect ambience and balance for this contemporary workplace. The soft flooring provides luxury underfoot and importantly it absorbs noise, so plays a vital part in creating the right acoustics in the office environment.”

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

Main image credit: Carr/Lander & Rogers

 

Bathroom black accessories

Bathroom trends: Black accessories for a touch of luxury

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Bathroom trends: Black accessories for a touch of luxury

When crafting a bathroom it’s the finishing touches that often bring everything together and complete the look; be it elegance and glamour or a sophisticated urban edge. The new Black Selection of accessories from KEUCO with its deep black silk matt finish brings a touch of luxury to every element in the collection…

Bathroom black accessories

There are 19 offerings in the Black Selection series by KEUCO. This includes three different styles of towel hook as well as different versions of towel rails, tumbler holders, toilet paper holders, shelves and cosmetic mirrors.

Each element has been coated in a special lacquer making them exceptionally durable, tough and easy to clean and all are colour matched in RAL 9011. This means that the products can be combined with KEUCO’s freestanding accessories and shelving which is also available in RAL 9011.

The Black Selection is tactile, the surface has a velvety matt finish, making it not only pleasant to touch but easy to grip. The simple lines and minimalist design of the accessories make them unobtrusive in the grand scheme of bathroom design, but boldly stylish in their simplicity.

Like a perfect little black dress the KEUCO accessories do not draw attention to any one particular aspect; but artfully complement the finished scheme.

KEUCO offers a large assortment of fittings, accessories, mirror cabinets, lights and mirrors, washbasins and bathroom furniture “made in Germany”. At KEUCO design and function play a key role. Perfectly manufactured products combine aesthetic form with sensible functionality. A standard that is systematically applied, from the idea right to implementation.

Collaboration with designers is a long tradition at KEUCO; the company has been family run since it was founded in 1953.

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

Main image credit: KEUCO

A private outdoor bathroom and sunbeds overlooking sea

In pictures: The Royal Senses Resort, Curio Collection by Hilton

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In pictures: The Royal Senses Resort, Curio Collection by Hilton

Following the highly anticipated opening The Royal Senses Resort, Curio Collection by Hilton, Hotel Designs gets its hands on the official images, which highlight the design scheme that aimed to celebrate the “timelessness of the Cretan soul in a contemporary way”. Editor Hamish Kilburn explores…

A private outdoor bathroom and sunbeds overlooking sea

Situated on a serene, undisturbed coast outside the picturesque village of Panormos, a brand-new haven awaits the modern nomad. Combining Crete’s rich heritage with exceptional experiences of the here and now, the Royal Senses is the latest chapter in lifestyle hospitality from the Troulis Royal Collection.

Positioned right next to its sister property, the recently renovated seafront Royal Blue with its 100-acre premises, the Royal Senses makes its mission to go above and beyond that of a typical luxury family resort. As a true ambassador of Crete’s rugged beauty, the Royal Senses is deeply intertwined with the landscape of the island and the character of its people, while still maintaining a cosmopolitan aura.

Villas and guestrooms at the Crete hotel

Image credit: The Royal Senses Resort, Curio Collection by Hilton

Built with togetherness as a guiding principle, the resort’s 179 suites and villas connect seamlessly with their natural surroundings. Accommodations range from spacious 35-square-metre rooms, where undisturbed sea views and natural furnishing materials bring to mind a private cove, to ultra-luxurious 200-square-meter villas with amenities such as private infinity pools organically carved from the rock that surrounds the island. Ever present is the element of water: the four large communal pools and the 74 private infinity pools lined with elegant sun loungers and cabanas seem to cascade from level to level, creating a sense of motion that stirs the soul of the traveller.

For Zacharias, Kostas and Manolis Troulis, co-owners of the Troulis Royal Collection, this project showcases their lifelong dedication to Crete. “We are fully committed to our responsibility to the island, its people and our cultural heritage,” they said. “We wish to show guests all sides of the Cretan identity and embed ourselves purposefully into the texture of the island.”

The celebration of Cretan roots has been the main driving force behind the resort’s overall architectural and design approach. “The landscape’s rough beauty creates a wonderful juxtaposition with the clean, minimal lines of the buildings,” said Nikos Peppas and Katerina Tsiolaki, of Peppas N Architects, when describing the project. “We designed and positioned all buildings in such way that ensured unobstructed views to the endless blue of the Aegean Sea, wherever you are.”

The interior design project was awarded to Constantina Tsoutsikou while she was Creative Director at Hirsch Bedner Associates (HBA) London. Following her departure from HBA, Tsoutsikou became the founder and creative director of the new London-based high-concept practice, Studio Lost. Her task, outlined in the original brief, was to showcase the owners’ genuine commitment to local authenticity in a modern way.

Since you’re here, why not listen to our podcast episode with Constantina Tsoutsikou?

“We wanted to create a destination that benefits local communities,” explained Tsoutsikou, who briefed local artisans in their workshops and on-site. “I found a wealth of excellent craftsmanship and local techniques that informed the design as we went along. We created handcrafted bespoke furniture, repurposed items, objects and artwork that celebrate the artisanal skills of the islanders throughout.”

Pastel colour scheme in luxury hotel guestroom

Image credit: The Royal Senses Resort, Curio Collection by Hilton

The rooms and suites, all flowing towards their outdoor terrace, are built to remind the contemporary globetrotter exactly where they are — with framed views of the Cretan sea setting the tone. Earthy and textural, every guest room features carpentry and furniture from highly skilled local third-generation craftsmen (many of whom make their living by building traditional fishing boats), while furnishings, such as the cushions, are entirely made by hand in traditional motifs from the local women weavers association. The walls, treated with softly textured paint and cornices, are subtly marked out with traditional Cretan patterning, whereas the juxtaposition of rough and smooth surfaces mirrors the untamed character of the island itself.

All rooms maximise the time spent outdoors celebrating views and private pools, while the dark metal finishes and details such as leather wrapped door handles add an extra layer of depth in the overall look and feel. The open, boundless, layout connects the indoors with the outdoors and invites guests to enjoy these generous, calm spaces in their entirety.

At the Royal Senses, the traveller is called to connect with a community of kindred souls and experience a renewed sense of ancient mindfulness. This sense of community is highlighted by the fact that guests can seamlessly traverse across both resorts. Experienced in tandem, the Royal Blue’s private beach and marina and the iconic hilltop views of the Royal Senses set the tone for a holistic exploration that goes beyond the beaten path. Here, Crete’s multifaceted culture and ceaseless joie de vivre can be taken in at one’s leisure.

Sunbeds overlooking pristine sea

Image credit: The Royal Senses Resort, Curio Collection by Hilton

As celebrating locality is of the utmost importance for the resort, the three restaurants (two of which offer la carte menus) and the various pop-up food bars at the Marketplace honour Crete’s rich culinary tradition in various ways. Along with four bars, these dining locales create the perfect backdrop for precious moments together.

True to the spirit of engagement and togetherness, the resort provides travellers a plethora of distinctive experiences to help them connect with the island and one another. At the farm, visitors can stroll the fragrant hillside, discover a cornucopia of local herbs and harvest their own fruits and vegetables. Guests may also enjoy the resort’s unique Marketplace – a home to curated selections from small-farm producers and local artisans, blending tradition with a contemporary shopping experience.

Last but by no means least, guests can luxuriate at an activity spa offering therapies that exclusively utilise Cretan herbs, as well as a heated pool, leaving them radiating with serenity and relaxation.

Rustic, authentic, joyful and proud, the Royal Senses Hotel & Spa is above all a contemporary interpretation of the Cretan soul.

Main image credit: The Royal Senses Resort, Curio Collection by Hilton

Design London

Design London to make its London Design Festival debut in September

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Design London to make its London Design Festival debut in September

Look alive, London! Design London will make its London Design Festival debut in creative Greenwich from September 22 – 25, 2021. Here’s what we know about the trade show…

Anticipation is building around the reopening of events and Design London is among the shows that are gearing up to showcase the best in design. The show will welcome the architecture and design community to the capital’s new favourite neighbourhood, North Greenwich, for its inaugural event.

Design London

Taking place from September 22-25, Design London, will be the largest official trade destination at this year’s London Design Festival marking a new phase for what was formerly known as 100% Design, the UK.’s longest running trade show dedicated to design. The dynamic and propelling show will be housed in Magazine London, a brand new, state-of-the-art venue on the Greenwich Peninsula overlooking Canary Wharf and just a short walk from North Greenwich Station and the shiny new Design District.

An essential platform for those looking to network and source the latest and most innovative furniture, lighting and design pieces during the annual festival, the four-day event boasts a jam-packed programme of engaging content and a highly curated selection of sought-after design brands from around the globe.

Discussions

As part of the main programme there will be a timetable of talks curated by Katie Richardson, led by renowned industry influencers and thought leaders, each themed and addressing the most pressing topics to encourage debate. Design London is excited to announce British-Nigerian artist Yinka Ilori as its headline speaker and chief collaborator; he will open the talks programme on day one of the show and welcome guests through a kaleidoscopic tunnel of colour inviting them to take a seat in his joyfully designed auditorium, ‘Transparency in shades of colour’.

“I’m super excited to be part of Design London’s launch and to design my first ever dedicated talks space; meeting people and expressing my creativity is what I love most and this brings the two together,” says artist Yinka Ilori. “Community and creating spaces to make people feel safe and comfortable is so important, especially this year, and with Design London being the U.K.’s first major design show, it’s the perfect environment to unite, celebrate and uplift one another.”

Following months of grey, the show will offer visitors a welcome spectrum of colour through a vibrant lineup of speakers. Those who will succeed Ilori include Eley Kishimoto, and Pearson Lloyd. New London Architecture (NLA) will form a specialist panel to debate the future of our cities whilst commercial interior design studio Trifle Creative will join a workspace discussion. Dulux’s Creative Director, Marianne Shillingford will take to the stage with a cast of colour experts, Roddy Clarke will conduct a talk centred around sustainability in craft, and in a hospitality panel, speakers will discuss how hotels are reinventing themselves in a post pandemic world.

Exhibitor highlights

The expansive venue will house a multitude of international brands including Dutch furniture producers Artifort and Van Rossum; and esteemed Italian manufacturers Ethimo Design; Penta, and Artemide who will show their antiviral ultraviolet Integralis range alongside a selection of iconic pieces and new products from Bjarke Ingels (BIG) and Neri&Hu. The Association of Industries of Wood and Furniture Portugal (AIMMP) will present a Portuguese ensemble of brands; and Fritz Hansen’s focus on circularity will be complemented by a neighbouring pavilion of over 10 new Scandi names curated by Lifestyle & Design Cluster in conjunction with the Danish Embassy.

As part of a ‘world tour’ city-inspired collection, bathroom innovators Ideal Standard will create a cinematic experience; Industrial design label Buster + Punch is set to unveil a new look and a new line of home hardware; and bespoke sculptural lighting company Cameron Design House will reveal new contemporary brand Empty State as well as creating a spectacular installation with never-before-seen handmade chandelier, Kuulas.

[d]arc room will return to London for its fifth year with an established lighting area within Design London and a series of lighting talks led by experts. Exhibitors within this pop-up include Delta Light, John Cullen Lighting, Mesh, Nichia and Thorlux. Visitors to Design London can also expect to see work from award-winning London based design studio Haberdashery London; and architects and designers Beep Studio who will join forces with the show’s sustainability partner, Schneider Electric.

Brimming with festival-like content, Design London’s visitor experience will be enhanced by a series of street food vendors and designer bars by Campari which will line the banks of the Thames making it a one-stop shop during the busy London Design Festival.

“Greenwich Peninsula is one of London’s most fascinating and rapidly expanding neighbourhoods with a new Design District fuelled by creativity so we felt it was the best location for Design London,” explains Jedd Barry, Marketing Manager, Design London. “The district is peppered with public exhibitions and contemporary art installations and we’re excited to add to that with our cutting-edge content. We’ll be showcasing originality, diversity and innovation, and particularly look forward to celebrating the U.K. as one of the most important places for specification internationally.”

Hotel Designs is a proud media partner of Design London. The full Design London programme and list of brands will be announced in due course. For more information visit the website.

Main image credit: Design London

Two buildings owned by Union Investments

Union Investment acquires new operators for hotels in New York City and Portland

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Union Investment acquires new operators for hotels in New York City and Portland

Union Investment has acquired two new, big-name operators, Motel One and Curio by Hilton, for its hotels in New York City and Portland. Here’s what we know…

The developer Union Investment has signed two leading operators for hotels in New York and Portland, both of which are held by UniImmo: Global. Motel One has signed a 20-year lease for the hotel in New York City. In Portland, Oxford Capital Group, LLC will take over as tenant and manager of The Porter hotel. The hotel will continue to form part of the Curio Collection by Hilton. The hotel in New York City has already been handed over to Motel One, and the hotel in Portland is also due to be handed over this month.

Two buildings owned by Union Investments

“In this challenging market environment, we’re pleased to have found solutions that secure a viable future for these hotels. We have achieved this by teaming with strong hotel partners with whom we have worked closely for many years. The follow-on leases were agreed quickly, underlining just how attractive these two properties and their locations are,” said Martin Schaller, head of Asset Management Hospitality at Union Investment. The previous operators of the two hotels came under pressure as the pandemic unfolded and were no longer able to meet their lease obligations. The operator of The Porter had to pull out of the hotel for financial reasons.

“The toughest part of the journey is now behind us. The US hotel market is already staging a comeback and hoteliers are anticipating a surge in demand. With Motel One and Oxford as operators, our hotels in New York City and Portland are extremely well positioned to benefit from the expected turnaround,” said Martin Schaller.

Motel One’s lease with Union Investment in New York City marks the chain’s entry into the US market. The German hotel group is scheduled to take over the hotel on 21 July. The property is located in downtown Manhattan, close to the World Trade Center complex, and has been operated under the Courtyard by Marriott brand since 2016. Motel One will carry out extensive refurbishment and rebranding. The agreement with the previous operator was terminated prematurely by Union Investment. Motel One already operates lifestyle budget hotels in eight properties held by Union Investment across four funds. “As Motel One’s biggest landlord, we are delighted to have the opportunity to extend our longstanding strategic relationship outside Europe as well. We’re looking forward to jointly bringing this successful lifestyle concept to the local market and travellers from all over the world in the heart of New York very soon.”

Main image credit: Union Investments

Weekly digest: Maldives dip, the power of smart design & 3D printing at its best

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Weekly digest: Maldives dip, the power of smart design & 3D printing at its best

Well hello there! You’re just in time to catch this week’s rendition of the ‘weekly digest’, which is essentially the only article you need to read in order to keep up to date with all the latest happenings on the hotel design stage. I’m Hamish Kilburn, editor of Hotel Designs, and I’ve done all the hard work/research for you – so sit back and enjoy…

Where do we start? This week we’ve covered news from all angles, including innovative sustainable furniture solutions, not-t0-be-missed exhibitions coming up and we’ve even helped one brand mark its territory on continental European soil. As the summer intensifies – and more and more brands start loosening their lips about their development plans – the editorial team is preparing to go live with yet another Hotel Designs LIVE event (on August 10) and doing everything it can to ensure that no designer, hotelier, architect or brand is unfamiliar with how to apply (free-of-charge) to The Brit List Awards 2021 – entries close on August 6.

But for now, here’s your round-up of all the hottest stories that we have published this week (and why not read this week’s news while listening to our latest episode of DESIGN POD)?

Accor announces the signing of SO/ Maldives

S/O Maldives - accor

Image credit: Accor

Accor, no stranger the pages of Hotel Designs, has just announced the signing of a luxury resort in the Maldives that will boast 80 villas overlooking the emboodhoo lagoon at CROSSROADS Maldives.

Read more. 

How smart hotel design can support guests’ mental health & wellbeing

Abstract architectural concrete, wood and glass interior of a modern villa on the sea with swimming pool and neon lighting. 3D illustration and rendering.

With wellness and wellbeing now higher up on the agenda than it has ever been, Ari Peralta, Founder of Arigami, conducts some research of his own to understand and explore whether or not smart design can be utilised to enhance not only the consumer journey but also the mental health of guests checking in…

Read more.

3D-printed furniture – it’s a thing now!

Collection of 3D-printed chairs

Architect and designer Yasmine Mahmoudieh, following years of studying sustainable design and materials, has designed a piece of 3D-printed furniture with partner Nagami that has been created out of 100 per cent plastic waste…

Read more.

Locke opens first hotel in continental Europe

Image credit: Locke

It was only ever going to be a matter of time – and timing – before Locke, the pioneering lifestyle hospitality brand was to launch it’s first hotel in continental Europe. Well, following the brand’s arrival in Dublin, Locke has finally touched down in Europe with a hotel opening in Munich.

Read more.

5 minutes with: Interior designer Biagio Forino

Biagio Forino Hilton Venice

Following the recent unveil of Hilton Molino Stucky Venice’s new rooms and suites, editor Hamish Kilburn caught up with the designer who brought the iconic project to life within the heritage building. With sustainability and materiality key focuses of the design ethos and brief, Studio Forino’s Biagio Forino was in his element, staying true to his belief that “you cannot disregard the importance of using environmentally friendly building materials…”

Read more.

Trend alert: Scandi style in the bathroom

Modern scandi bathroom

Image credit: VitrA

Thanks to its unique perspective over the industry – not to mention access to bathroom brand’s premium products – UKBathrooms qualifies in our hearts to give us an accurate trends special on how designers can inject Scandi style in the bathroom…

Read more. 

Since you’re here…

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

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Leaflike flowers

A message from Leaflike: “The best is yet to come”

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
A message from Leaflike: “The best is yet to come”

Ahead of pitching at Hotel Designs LIVE on August 10, 2021, Leaflike, which has already been specified in a plethora of iconic hotels, has a message for designers, architects and hoteliers: stay tuned, as the best is yet to come…

Here at leaflike, we have been providing hospitality biophilia for more than 20 years and now is a great time to reflect and recognise what we have achieved together, plus look forward to good times ahead.

Leaflike flowers

Established in 1999, Leaflike has worked with some of the best names in the industry and sometimes get rather nostalgic about all the great projects over the years, helping customers create their perfect arrival experience.

We have a unique team of designers and a distinctive talent to combine all types of foliage including live, lifelike and preserved to create the most spectacular and sustainable solution to meet your requirement. We are not shy to share with you some of the great projects we have facilitated to ensure our customers get the finest attention to detail and create that stunning first impression: The Savoy, The Biltmore Mayfair, The Waldorf, Pan Pacific, The View from the Shard, Brown’s Hotel, The London Edition, Hilton Park Lane, Galvin at Windows, Copthorne Tara, The Franklin, The Arch, K West, The Queens Gate Hotel, K&K Hotels, Macdonald, De Vere, Village, Crown Plaza, Marriott, Holiday Inn and Yotel to name a few!

“We are delighted to see our heritage and strength in the market, supporting customers through tough times in the 2009 recession and again during the last 18 months, we are here to stay as a trusted partner for you, today and tomorrow,” commented Steve Abernethie, Managing Director, Leaflike.

More recently, Leaflike have been working with customers on their sustainable planting solutions, recognising that it is an essential part of the project. For example, switching to recycled planters made from recycled IT equipment or coconuts, hydroculture planting and from live to preserved planting. Recognising there is a maintenance cost too, cutting a weekly fresh cycle to a 12 week preserved cycle means the plants can be re-used and the maintenance is less frequent.

“We strive for the best for our customers and ensure our working practices are best of British, locally sourced and produced, our expert team of designers are amongst the most talented to ensure the handcrafted floral displays and planting solutions are the best they can be,” stated Brandon Abernethie, Head of Design, Leaflike. “We are always looking for the next trend and design-led solution that will fit the client brief, ensuring its bespoke, transforming any space with unique and sustainable planting solutions that give maximum visual impact.”

From the initial site survey to installation and maintenance, our horticulturists and master florists are ready to bring your vision to life and make it last.

Leaflike will join Hotel Designs LIVE as a Product Watch Partner in the ‘surfaces’ panel discussion. To attend the event, click here (designers, architects, hoteliers and developers attend free).

Main image credit: Leaflike

Crosswater Scnadi bathroom

Trend alert: Scandi style in the bathroom

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Trend alert: Scandi style in the bathroom

Thanks to its unique perspective over the industry – not to mention access to bathroom brand’s premium products – UKBathrooms qualifies in our hearts to give us an accurate trends special on how designers can inject Scandi style in the bathroom… 

Scandinavian interiors have taken the design world by storm as minimalist trends take inspiration from a blend of textures, soft hues, and sleek modern décor to encapsulate this sought-after style.

Crosswater Scnadi bathroom

Discover the following ideas that celebrate clean lines, utility and simple furnishings that are functional, beautiful, and serene.

Image credit: Bette

Combine statement shades and brass fittings

Introduce this season’s metal of the moment into your bathroom and provide an air of extravagance with distinctive palettes and dazzling finishes. Channel the epitome of scandi-style flare and paint a blank canvas as muted hues give a seriously calming vibe with neutral undertones that capitalise on natural lighting and a minimalistic feel.

Incorporating gilded furnishings and shiny brass accents present a serious sense of luxury into any room. Crosswater’s Gallery 10 Brushed Brass Walk-in Recess Shower Enclosure works wonderfully against moody hues, as warm metallics set against deep-tone backdrops. Rich jewel tones and shadowy neutrals evoke a luxury appeal and complement each other beautifully. Pair this with the Britton Hoxton Basin Mixer Tap, which promises to add a touch of style and elevate your bathroom. 

Master the minimal look with wall-hung accents 

“Scandinavian minimalism showcases simplicity, purity, and calmness and encourages your interiors to do the talking,” comments Graeme Borchard, Managing Director, UKBathrooms. “Exercise restraint in your décor choices, as this style speaks to tidy tendencies and a desire to live in an inviting and comfortable setting. Include light colour palettes and cosy accents, which is an approved trend in Nordic countries.”

Villeroy and Boch Subway 2.0 Compact Rimless Wall Hung WC is a chic option, creating room for extra space due to its wall-hung design creating a clutter-free environment. Compliment this with the Ideal Standard Tempo Wall Hung Vanity Unit in a beautiful white finish to help you make your “hygge” bathroom a reality. Hanging wall mirrors are also a renowned Scandi-inspired trend, as clean lines create a bold statement as they reflect light and make spaces appear more open.

Modern scandi bathroom

Image credit: VitrA

Introduce monochromatic colours and moody accents 

Borchard continues: “Marry these pieces with distinctive backdrops as moody Nordic-style bathroom fully clad with black accents provides a visual contrast to white fixtures as black adds drama to any space.  A black exposed shower kit is a great way to bring a touch of inky indulgence into your bathroom. Pair this with a matt black basin tap to radiate a showstopping theme you can carry throughout the bathroom.”

Say ‘yes’ to pops of colour and patterned flooring 

Mint greens and beautiful blues make a clever colour combination with their ability to brighten up a room and radiate timeless versatility as stark white walls, warm wood textures, and pops of colour are all solidly Scandinavian in flavour.

A contemporary white bathtub is a popular favourite, creating an environment that promotes positive energy, adding ambience to your bathroom space.  The Victoria and Albert Monaco freestanding roll top bath makes a stunning showpiece for any bathroom, oozing elegance and offering classic, neat lines that will seamlessly slot into any bathroom. Wooden units are an ultra-stylish way to bring a touch of texture into interior designs. Villeroy & Boch’s Avento large vanity unit in a gorgeous wooden finish, is a stylish space-saving option, creating a clutter-free laid back and airy ascetic. To complete this look, uncover a distinctive yet daring Scandinavian trend and opt for some patterned floor tiles.

Image credit: Villeroy & Boch

Incorporate understated accessorise 

Finally – invest in some wooden mats, tree stumps, cabinets, woven baskets, and boxes for added storage and incorporate some stone-style décor. Harness a stylish connection to the outdoors and ground yourself with natural colour schemes and plenty of plants, as bringing the outdoors into your home could decrease stress and blood pressure levels. Plants are also the perfect way to incorporate colour and natural touches into your interior and sets the scene for your Scandinavian-inspired sanctuary.

UK Bathrooms is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package and Crosswater, Bette and Villeroy & Boch are all Recommended Suppliers. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here

Main image credit: Crosswater

THe lounge of the Bvlgari Suite in Milan

Suite dreams: Inside Bvlgari Hotel Milan

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Suite dreams: Inside Bvlgari Hotel Milan

Architect Flaviano Capriotti has curated the brand new, two-bedroom Bvlgari Suite inside Bvlgari Hotel Milan, which is complete with a private terraced garden that boast simply stunning views over the vibrant city…

With Bvlgari Hotels planning its portfolio growth, with luxury hotel openings expected in Tokyo, Rome and Miami in the next few years, it would be easy to miss how the brand’s currently opened hotels are ensuring to remain at the height of luxury within their territories.

THe lounge of the Bvlgari Suite in Milan

As well as summer launching the Dom Pérignon Trolley and Picnic by Niko Romito, Bvlgari Hotel Milan has also unveiled a masterpiece suite, curated by architect Flaviano Capriotti.

Expansive and impeccably appointed, with a rooftop private garden of 194 sqm, the new 210 sqm two-bedroom Bvlgari Suite is a peaceful haven of pure, undisturbed luxury. A thoughtful expression of timeless contemporary design, the new suite comprises two bedrooms, a living room and even a private garden with 360-degree views of Milan’s skyline. Additional touches include a library featuring rare art and design books, furniture from Antonio Citterio’s Flexform and Maxalto collections, custom drapes and headboards displaying the Bvlgari eight-point star. 

The Bvlgari Suite master bedroom presents an elegant walk-in closet and a large restroom with a vanity table, steam shower, and a Brera stone 900kg carved bathtub that, due to its size, was set in the suite by crane before installing the room’s windows. Its second bedroom accommodates a king or twin bed option, a walk-in closet, and views of the city from both its bedroom and large bathroom. The Suite spacious living room, defined by its teak finishing and floor to ceiling windows, is furnished as a private residence with a beautiful library and a fireplace that serves both the inside and the outside wrap-around balcony and terrace. The Suite also features a private kitchen alongside a dining area that can accommodate up to eight people.

Bedroom inside the Bvlgari Suite in Milan

Image credit: Bvlgari Hotels

Upon request, guests at the Bvlgari Suite can experience the latest generation full-length mirror FORME Life and training equipment to work out directly from the privacy and comfort of the Suite. The touch-screen mirror offers the opportunity either to book a virtual training session with Lee Mullins, the founder of Workshop Gymnasium, or to pick from a library of pre- filmed Workshop workouts, the favourite session of yoga, Pilates, bodyweight training, stretching, breathing, and meditation routines.

Luxury bathroom inside the suite at Bvglari Hotel Milan

Image credit: Bvlgari Hotels

And just because it shelters luxury does not mean it’s not sustainable. As part of the hotel’s renovation work, a geothermal system has also been installed to improve the environmental impact and the carbon footprint of the property. It employs heat resources retained in shallow ground to heat or cool the different hotels’ environments and to create hot water that was previously provided by boilers. Using non-polluting renewable energy, the geothermal energy is able to supply what was previously obtained with two plants, significantly reducing the overall consumption of gas and emissions.

Main image credit: Bvlgari Hotels

Biagio Forino Hilton Venice

5 minutes with: Interior designer Biagio Forino

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
5 minutes with: Interior designer Biagio Forino

Following the recent unveil of Hilton Molino Stucky Venice’s new rooms and suites, editor Hamish Kilburn caught up with the designer who brought the iconic project to life within the heritage building. With sustainability and materiality key focuses of the design ethos and brief, Studio Forino’s Biagio Forino was in his element, staying true to his belief that “you cannot disregard the importance of using environmentally friendly building materials…”

Biagio Forino Hilton Venice

Born in Salerno, (Milanese by adoption), Biagio Forino opened his studio in 1987 dedicating himself with passion to his work, in the constant search for beauty and taking care of every detail for an overall result in harmony. “My work is an expression of my way of life,” he says. “The intellectual dimension of research and meticulous design is always accompanied by the realisation aspect in every little one detail, with rigour and technical efficiency, from building practices to the search for works of art, for the transformation of dreams into reality ”

Most recently, the designer was asked to renovate the suites inside Hilton Molino Stucky Venice, which emerged following Hilton’s Travel with Purpose commitment, which states: “By 2030, we [Hilton] are committed to double our investment in social impact and cut our environmental footprint in half through responsible hospitality across our value chain.”

Arial view of Hilton Venice

Image credit: Hotel Hilton Molino Stucky Venice

Formerly a flour mill factory on the peaceful island of Giudecca, the hotel is a modern Venetian masterpiece steeped in history. The historically listed building has been exquisitely restored with a series of recent refurbishments including sophisticated deluxe rooms and new spacious elegant suites – some offering guests enviable views of picture-perfect Venice.

After arriving at Hilton Molino Stucky Venice by water taxi, guests are spoiled for choice with 379 rooms and suites, one of the largest spas in Venice, an unrivalled conference centre and a collection of bars and restaurants. The new Presidential Suite at Hilton Molino Stucky Venice is the tallest and largest suite in town with private access to the hotel’s popular rooftop pool and bar. Fondly referred to as the First Lady Suite following a visit by Michelle Obama herself, the spacious new Presidential Suite is designed with tranquil blue and silver interiors, large floor-to-ceiling windows allowing natural light to illuminate the delicate Murano glass vases.

“My goal was to ensure that after a day of cultural visits in the most beautiful and unique city in the world, customers feel the desire and pleasure to return to Hilton Molino Stucky Venice to relax.” – Biagio Forino, Founder, Studio Forino.

Hamish Kilburn: What was your biggest challenge designing the new suites and presidential suite?

Biagio Forino: The existing suites were extremely dark and dusty. The furniture was dark wood with black leather headboards and carpeted floors. My biggest challenge was to transform the suites into a light and bright environment using soft colours enriched with touches of brilliant colours.

Dining area inside the presidential suite inside Hilton Molino Stucky Venice

Image credit: Hotel Hilton Molino Stucky Venice

HK: Tell us a bit more about the materials you used during this project…

BF: When I entrusted the realisation of my project to the ‘Status Contract’, I made sure that all materials were used with the certifications that guaranteed compliance with the regulations to safeguard ecology. From the use of glues, of woods, to the materials used for the upholstery of the sofas, the mattresses of the beds, the lighting with low energy consumption, the air control systems, etc!

Aside from the original darkness inside the rooms, another challenge was to make the suites as comfortable as possible making sure that the technology was present but integrated and harmonised with the very warm and welcoming yet contemporary style. Among the various materials used, I focused on one in particular for the bedside tables and desks using carbon because I wanted to bring the technology of boats into the furniture since we are in a city of sea also famous for its Moro Di Venezia.

HK: The views from the hotel are incredible! As you have now designed the tallest and newest suite in Venice, do you have a favourite viewpoint of the city from the new suites?

BF: Obviously, from all the Tower Suites the view is very beautiful but certainly my favourite is from the top of the tower which is accessed from the top floor of the Presidential Suite which allows you to see Venice at 360 degrees. It is truly a breathtaking view, a privilege that I wish everyone to be able to give themselves at least once in their life.

View from terrace of Molino Presidential Suite

Image credit: Hilton Molino Stucky Venice


HK: How would you describe your signature design style?  

BF: Elegant, sophisticated and welcoming

HK: How do you hope guests feel when staying in the new suites and presidential suite at Hilton Molino Stucky Venice?

BF: My goal was to ensure that after a day of cultural visits in the most beautiful and unique city in the world, customers feel the desire and pleasure to return to Hilton Molino Stucky Venice to relax and rethink the wonders they enjoyed and experienced.

HK: What projects is Studio Forino working on now/have in the pipeline?

BF: We are working on several projects for private clients and open public space areas. We are transforming two wonderful historic villas, one in Forte Dei Marmi in Tuscany and one in San Michele Di Pagana, not far from Portofino, in two luxury bed and breakfasts equipped with every comfort. In short, Studio Forino is busy!

Main image credit: Studio Forino/Hilton Hotels

S/O Maldives - accor

Accor announces the signing of SO/ Maldives

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Accor announces the signing of SO/ Maldives

Accor, the leading international hotel operator in the Maldives, has signed a hotel management agreement with S Hotels, Resorts Public Company Limited and Wai Eco World Developer Pte. Ltd. (WEWD) to introduce SO/ Hotels & Resorts to this idyllic Indian Ocean archipelago in 2023. Here’s what we know…

S/O Maldives - accor

Accor, no stranger the pages of Hotel Designs, has just announced the signing of a luxury resort in the Maldives that will boast 80 villas overlooking the emboodhoo lagoon at CROSSROADS Maldives.

Nestled on its own exclusive island overlooking the azure Emboodhoo Lagoon, just 15 minutes by speedboat from Malé’s Velana International Airport, this eclectic resort will bring a fresh sense of avant-garde style and sophistication to the Maldives, while also reflecting the local spirit of this captivating country.

Scheduled to open in 2023, the new resort will take centre stage on the third island of CROSSROADS Maldives, the extraordinary integrated leisure destination in the exotic South Malé Atoll, connecting it to a wealth of world-class attractions and facilities. 

Vivid, vivacious and full of personality, SO/ Hotels & Resorts are only found in socially vibrant destinations such as Berlin, Bangkok, St Petersburg and Singapore. One of the fastest-growing brands in Accor’s lifestyle portfolio, it is designed for savvy travellers who have a passion for fashion and like to keep their finger on the pulse. Every stay is underpinned by the brand’s signature ‘Just Say SO’ service, to craft truly unforgettable experiences.

 This makes SO/ the perfect fit for CROSSROADS Maldives, which was recognised as the “Best Leisure Development Maldives (Five-Star)” in the Asia Pacific Property Awards 2021-2022. The presence of such a dynamic player on the global hotel scene will play a key role in helping CROSSROADS Maldives to expand and reach new markets worldwide, thanks to Accor’s global distribution and loyalty network.

Arrival at S/O Maldives

Image credit: Accor

Guests will be able to unwind on SO/ Maldives’ private island or take advantage of fantastic facilities at The Marina at CROSSROADS, an 800-metre lifestyle area and beach walk where visitors can discover cool cafés, refined restaurants, a chic beach club, upmarket boutiques, a spa, the Marine Discovery Centre and a 30-berth yacht marina. Unforgettable events can be hosted at the oceanfront wedding venue and meeting space.

“It gives me great pleasure to announce the arrival of SO/ Hotels & Resorts in the Maldives,” commented Garth Simmons, Chief Executive Officer – Accor Southeast Asia, Japan & South Korea. “This playful and distinctive lifestyle brand can only be found in the world’s most iconic destinations so it is the perfect fit for this renowned island paradise. The resort’s location within CROSSROADS Maldives will allow guests to experience a truly vibrant luxury lifestyle offering with plenty of options for both relaxation and adventure. SO/ Maldives will be a place to see and be seen for bold and stylish socialisers and we look forward to working with S Hotels & Resorts and WEWD to bring this project to life.” 

“We are so excited to unveil SO/ Maldives as the latest jewel in CROSSROADS Maldives’ crown, as we continue to transform the tourism landscape in this highly-desirable destination,” added Dirk De Cuyper, Chief Executive Officer, S Hotels & Resorts. “With its signature sense of style and commitment to creating unique guest journeys, SO/ is the ideal fit for our third island. It will stand out from the crowd, complement our two other industry-leading brands and complete our collection of luxury and lifestyle resorts, further raising the bar for hospitality in the Maldives.”

“The Maldives is a truly special place and we are delighted to enter the market with such a prestigious project,” said Zaw Win Maung, Managing Director, WEWD. “S Hotels & Resorts has a proven track record of developing exceptional lifestyle resorts, including CROSSROADS Maldives, and the edgy style of SO/ always strikes a chord with its trend-setting guests. With such strong partners, we are confident of creating a one-of-a-kind resort experience at SO/ Maldives.”

SO/ Maldives will join Accor’s collection of five resorts in the Maldives which include the midscale Mercure brand, premium Pullman and Mövenpick brands, and the luxury Raffles and Fairmont brands. Accor is a global industry leader in the lifestyle segment with 13 dedicated brands such as Mondrian, Mama Shelter, and 25hours.

Main image credit: Accor

Geberit bathroom shot

Product watch: Geberit extends bathroom range

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Product watch: Geberit extends bathroom range

Geberit, a European leader in bathroom technology and ceramics, has made a number of improvements to its product ranges across its Select and Aspire collections, bringing architects, designers and specifiers an even wider choice for enhanced design flexibility in the washroom…

Geberit bathroom shot

Following an insightful roundtable discussion on tomorrow’s perception of clean, bathroom designer and manufacturer Geberit has added two new colours, Lava Glass and Sand Grey Glass, which are available as both flush plate finishes and options for the front cover of Geberit’s Monolith range of sanitary modules. The Monolith range will also now include an additional two new finishes (Concrete and Stoneware Slate).

In addition to these changes, Geberit has extended its Renova Plan range of bathroom furniture, with two new colourways and a series of product enhancements across the series.

The range is now available in Hickory Light and Hickory furniture colours, in addition to existing White high gloss coated and Lava matt coated.

Image credit: Geberit

An improved slim drawer system on the vanity unit also delivers a 2cm height increase for users, with internal panels also upgraded to match the colour of external panels across all products.

Sarah Hillsdon, Geberit UK Category Manager, said: “These changes to our Geberit Select and Aspire collections enable easier upgrade solutions and bring a series of enhancements to add more choice for customers and clients. We are also delighted to be able to bring in a series of tweaks to improve the products for end users – demonstrating our commitment to continuously develop our bathroom products.”

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

Main image credit: Geberit

Weekly digest: Seychelles arrival & a review of London’s latest spa

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Weekly digest: Seychelles arrival & a review of London’s latest spa

Editor Hamish Kilburn here, checking in with your weekly digest to give you the low-down of some of the hottest stories that we published over the last few days – we’ve had arrivals in the Seychelles and Zimbabwe while also exploring a rather swanky new spa on London’s Park Lane…

July is proving to be a busy month. Not only are there just a few weeks left to apply/nominate (free of charge) for The Brit List Awards 2021, but we are also counting down the days until we broadcast our next Hotel Designs LIVE event – designers, architects, hoteliers and developers can click here to purchase their complimentary tickets. And while we at Hotel Designs are slowly preparing ourselves to move away from virtual and instead start meeting the industry in person once more, there’s a lot happening on the hospitality scene.

Right on cue, here’s our digest of the top stories and features from this week:

REVIEW: Checking in to experience The Spa at 45 Park Lane

45 Park lane collage

I have always wondered how a hotel like 45 Park Lane can differentiate itself from not only its neighbouring sibling but also other luxury hotels in the neighbourhood. After a few years of making my way through the cocktail, wine and steak menu, I have no regret to admit that I had been looking in the complete wrong direction all this time. The answer to how 45 Park Lane can remove itself from the cold-morning shadow of its older sister is in fact situated in what was, until recently, a building being used as offices.

Located on the lower levels of the hotel, and reached via its very own lift (which I haste to add is completely accessible for people of all abilities), the hotel has recently opened a spa, designed by Joubin Manku and developed by Clivedale London, that will simply take your breath away – and transport you worlds away from the hustle and bustle of London.

Read more.

LXR Hotels & Resorts arrives in Seychelles

LXR-Mango-House-Seychelles-King-Premium-Deluxe-Room_HR

Image credit: Hilton Hotels

LXR Hotels & ResortsHilton’s collection of independent luxury properties, has the opening of Mango House Seychelles, a hotel we first teased our readers with in January. The intimate and exclusive island oasis promise “a captivating, yet refined Seychellois experience on southern Mahé’s unspoiled beachfront.”

Read more.

Registration is now open for Independent Hotel Show 2021

The innovation stage at Independent Hotel Show

Have you heard? Independent Hotel Show London, presented by James Hallam, will return to Olympia London on October 4 – 5 2021 – and visitor registration has just opened. The Independent Hotel Show will bring together professionals from across the independent, luxury and boutique hotel sector for the first major industry gathering of 2021.

Read more.

A winner’s Q&A: Fiona Thompson, Principal, Richmond International

Fiona Thompson Richmond International

Following Fiona Thompson spectacularly winning at The Brit List Awards 2020, where she virtually walked away with the Outstanding Contribution to the Hospitality Industry title, Hotel Designs is finally about to present the Principal at Richmond International with her trophy. We joined the designer for lunch and a catch up in their home county, Kent, commonly known as the Garden of England…

Read more.

Sneak peek: Inside Tembo Great Plains in Zimbabwe

Image credit: Great Plains (Tembo Plains Camp)

Great Plains, the iconic eco-tourism company led by wildlife filmmakers and conservationists Beverly and Dereck Joubert, is expected to open Tembo Plains Camp on August 1, 2021, which will become Relais & Châteaux’s debut property in Zimbabwe.

Read more. 

Since you’re here…

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

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Main image credit: Hilton Hotels

45 Park lane collage

Checking in to experience The Spa at 45 Park Lane

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Checking in to experience The Spa at 45 Park Lane

“All this time, I had been looking in the completely wrong direction when trying to understand how 45 Park Lane can stand out from its older sibling – and neighbour – The Dorchester.” Editor Hamish Kilburn is among the first to explore the luxury hotel’s new spa, which shelters a clever biophilic design narrative as well as the largest pool on Park Lane, London…

45 Park lane collage

For any hotel operating in close proximity to a sibling property, the need to do something different is innate. In the case of 45 Park Lane, whose sister (and neighbour) is The Dorchester, which in style as well as service is one of London’s most iconic hotels, standing out is essential. Luckily for 45 Park Lane, though, its 1920s design scheme along with its effortless ability to serve up London’s finest pre-dinner negroni followed by an award-winning steak has kept the property on the map – and as such an integral member of The Dorchester Collection.

With arguably less weight on its shoulders than that of The Dorchester to preserve a deep-rooted legacy, the design scheme inside 45 Park Lane is given space to play. That’s not to say for one minute that it does not feel like a Dorchester Collection hotel, because it very much does with the same attentive service that threads together all properties within the collection. The smaller (in size, not personality) hotel stands up to The Dorchester as a younger, confident and slightly more masculine sibling. The General Manager, John Scanlon, who first joined the hotel in 2015 and who was profiled in The Brit List 2020 as one of Britain’s leading hoteliers, is totally committed to ensuring that guests have the best possible stay experience, immediately upon entry. Scanlon’s hospitable nature is undisputed – I caught him, on several occasions, warmly greeting and seating guests. Aside from his cordial style of leadership, it is his passion for art that is simply refreshing.

As I check in, what would be a conventional check-in experience becomes a conversation between myself and the front desk about who is responsible for the colourful art installation that is on show around the public areas. “The artist is called Nat Bowen,” I am told – and to my delight that Scanlon has just extended her artist residency. Perhaps it’s the times we are living in, or my admiration for hotels with traditional values creating scenes that juxtapose pre-conceptions – more than likely it’s a mixture of both – but as arrival experiences go, 45 Park Lane delivers the goods.

Image caption: The lobby lounge at 45 Park Lane sets the tone for an unparalleled luxury experience. | Image credit: The Dorchester Collection

Image caption: The lobby lounge at 45 Park Lane sets the tone for an unparalleled luxury experience. | Image credit: The Dorchester Collection

In just 10 years since it originally opened, the hotel has carved out its own niche, sheltering a members’ club-like interior design scheme that attracts those who want luxury served in more contemporary glassware.

“After a few years of making my way through the cocktail, wine and steak menu, I have no regret to admit that I had been looking in the complete wrong direction before.”

But, despite being a stunning hotel that naturally beats its own rhythm, I can’t help but feel, with just a decade of experience on the London hospitality scene, that it has been wrongly overlooked for more obvious and iconic properties nearby. Well, not anymore.

I have always wondered how a hotel like 45 Park Lane can differentiate itself from not only its neighbouring sibling but also other luxury hotels in the neighbourhood. After a few years of making my way through the cocktail, wine and steak menu, I have no regret to admit that I had been looking in the complete wrong direction all this time. The answer to how 45 Park Lane can remove itself from the cold-morning shadow of its older sister is in fact situated in what was, until recently, a building being used as offices.

Located on the lower levels of the hotel, and reached via its very own lift (which I haste to add is completely accessible for people of all abilities), the hotel has recently opened a spa, designed by Joubin Manku and developed by Clivedale London, that will simply take your breath away – and transport you worlds away from the hustle and bustle of London. “The major challenge was making the spa feel like it is not below ground and a separate destination to the Residences and 45 Park Lane,” explains Steven Blaess Head of Interior Design, Clivedale London.

The Spa at 45 Park Lane

Image caption: The Spa at 45 Park Lane is a botanical dream designed by Joubin Manku. | Image credit: The Dorchester Collection.

Its clever design utilises space while allowing guests the pleasure to meander through wellness and wellbeing heaven, where the walls are adorned with hand-placed mosaic tiles to inject a sensitive nod to biophic design and where the length of the pool is (almost) endless, by Park Lane’s standards at least.

But with any underground spa comes the challenge of light. “The intention for the spa spaces was to create a sense of calmness and tranquillity,” says Blaess. “The subtle glistening of light onto the glass mosaics is a reminder of water droplets on foliage. Dappled lighting was dispersed to help create the illusion of walking through a leafy canopy of light.”

I’m told that Manku, when taking on the project, conducted a brief study of other spas in central London and what was missing from all was a sense of nature and connectedness. “These other spas were usually designed with hard architectural materials and more formal in their layout and approach, adds Blaess. The important thing for the spa was to address both the 45 Park Lane guests link and the residences direct access, without making one or the other less important. It was about creating a unique yet somewhat separate experience for both.

“The Spa Lounge, for example, is the hub of the entire level, where people want to naturally either start their journey or end their spa experience, relaxing on over-sized sofas and armchairs set around a central feature fireplace. Visual glimpses onto the swimming pool provide a connection to water while also providing swimmers with privacy.”

The overriding theme and concept developed by Manku was a connection to Hyde Park and therefore bringing into the interiors natural references of leaves, native grasses and wild flowers. “The glass mosaics were conceptualised by Manku to reference a liberty-style, decorative design pattern, that were successfully mass manufactured as part of the Industrial Revolution,” adds Blaess. “The glass mosaics were made in Venice with one of the regions oldest family mosaics manufacturing companies.” Natural feeling timber was also used to reference woodland trees on wall and ceiling slatted panels with leaves, grasses and native wildflowers designed into the glass mosaics.”

Image caption: The hand-placed mosaic tiles are a unique theme throughout the spa areas that inject biophilic design into the space. | Image credit: The Dorchester Collection

Image caption: The hand-placed mosaic tiles are a unique theme throughout the spa areas that inject biophilic design into the space. | Image credit: The Dorchester Collection

The Spa at 45 Park Lane is undisputedly beautiful, but I would go one step further. The addition of the spa inside the hotel has actually elevated the entire hotel experience for guests checking in. Pre-spa era, the hotel’s rooms and suites were aptly stylish, timeless and complete with their own details (as you would expect from a hotel within the collection). While these areas continue to marry together a voguish collection of art with a distinct 1920s soul that comes through in the interiors, many modern travellers feel as if a luxury experience is not absolute without a destination spa to match. Interestingly, for me, the spa has put more of a focus on wellbeing. As such, even the bathrooms, which always have been beyond perfect – complete with walk-in showers, sumptuously deep baths and hidden TVs in the mirrors, now feel that much more special.

As with all good and meaningful renovations, there wasn’t anything particularly wrong with the hotel before. However, the addition of the spa has, I believe, helped keep 45 Park Lane on the radar of luxury travellers by offering an experience unmatched by any other hotel on Park Lane.

Today, as the hotel re-opens up to welcome a new chapter of hospitality – one where the demand for wellness is and will remain off the scale – the existing hotel that shelters timeless decor remains an invigorating blend of art and landmark architecture in the middle of classical London. The spa feeds the demand of luxury travellers, while also cleverly staying true to the Dorchester Collection’s undisputed hospitality style.

Main image credit: The Dorchester Collection

Parkside Criaterra tiles

Product watch: Parkside Introduces 100% natural, ‘zero waste’ wall tile

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Product watch: Parkside Introduces 100% natural, ‘zero waste’ wall tile

Made from 100 per cent natural materials using a patented, low-energy production process, Criaterra tiles are the latest decorative wall tiles to join the Parkside portfolio…

Following the brand’s spectacular win at The Brit List Awards 2020, Parkside has launched a new product that perfectly answers to demands for conscious and sustainable surface design that is also stylish.

Parkside Criaterra tiles

Made from stone powders, clays and plant fibres cast in three-dimensional patterns that fuse geometric and organic forms, and available in colours derived from natural pigments, Criaterra is a unique decorative wall tile that challenges the conventions of production and design. 100 per cent biodegradable – and as strong as concrete and with six times the thermal resistance – Criaterra takes a bold step towards product circularity.

Offering a 90 per cent energy saving in production against ceramics and using up to 70 per cent upcycled quarry waste material, the tiles use Advanced Earth Technology, the result of an intensive five-year scientific R&D project. This innovative technology re-engineers the way tiles are manufactured and introduces a fully regenerative product, as well as replacing conventional high temperature firing with a low temperature process that reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

Brian Linnington, managing director, Parkside, says: “We’re hugely excited to welcome Criaterra into our portfolio as it makes inroads in tackling the environmental challenges we face as an industry. The tile’s ability to deliver performance as well as 100 per cent product circularity is hugely impressive, but it is also incredibly beautiful to look at. Already gracing commercial interiors in EMEA, we’re looking forward to seeing how UK projects make use of the unique geo-organic forms and thoughtful natural palette.”

Criaterra is available in eight geometric shapes which can be organised into limitless combinations in Quad or arranged through the irregular hexagon and concave form of Hex to reference the shape’s common occurrence in the natural world. A nine-strong palette of clay like tones, from pale Dolomit through to Onyx and Ruby, give a strong ‘from earth’ feel, making Criaterra well-suited to commercial interiors heavily influenced by natural materials. The square, rectangular and rhombus flat shapes of Quad also ground the tile well in more ordered contemporary schemes.

Suitable for internal decorative wall use only and designed to work best without grout, Criaterra is a natural alternative to mass produced ceramic tiles.

Parkside, which won Best in British Product Design at The Brit List Awards 2020, is one of our recommended suppliers and regularly feature in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

Main image credit: Parkside

Fiona Thompson Richmond International

A winner’s Q&A: Fiona Thompson, Principal, Richmond International

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
A winner’s Q&A: Fiona Thompson, Principal, Richmond International

Following Fiona Thompson spectacularly winning at The Brit List Awards 2020, where she virtually walked away with the Outstanding Contribution to the Hospitality Industry title, Hotel Designs is finally about to present the Principal at Richmond International with her trophy. Editor Hamish Kilburn joined the designer for lunch and a catch up in their home county, Kent, commonly known as the Garden of England…

Fiona Thompson Richmond International

Admittedly, there was little to celebrate in 2020. For so many, the year is now a blur in history following Covid-19 and the pandemic which followed putting an eraser through any of last year’s social and then plans. The hospitality industry waded through each lockdown and slowly but surely hotels around the globe started to re-emerge – but, even now, travel restrictions are preventing the industry to thrive as it did before.

Despite the year being challenging for the majority of industries, it would be remiss to ignore the heroes in hospitality and hotel design who proved themselves of their leadership skills to put forward meaningful solutions while allowing us, the media, to share their community-centred and selfless initiatives.

The Brit List Awards 2020, which was broadcasted in November 2020 as a virtual event due to the circumstances at the time, aimed to do just that – with The Stock Exchange Hotel in Manchester’s Gary Neville, among other individual award winners, scooping up Hotelier of the Year following its decision to close its doors in order to open them up, free-of-charge, to NHS workers during the peak of the pandemic.

The Outstanding Contribution to the Hospitality Industry category, for many reasons, is the most prestigious award of the campaign – past winners include Kit Kemp and Robin Shepherd. It is open to all designers, architects, hoteliers and developers. Last year, the award was presented to Fiona Thompson, Principal of Richmond International, who was, in fact, the first designer I ever interviewed. Richmond International, a studio that Thompson was adamant to remain London, has completed projects such as Sandy Lane in Barbados, Rosewood Miramar Beach, The London West Hollywood and a cluster of Four Seasons and Langham hotels to name but a few. What’s more, I have seen first-hand Thompson supporting and inspiring the next generation of designers, such as Harry Allnatt who was a finalist in our 30-under-30 campaign a few years ago.

Between the award ceremony in November to now, there have been limited opportunities – if any at all – to see Thompson in person in order to celebrate her new title. But just the other day, we found the perfect time, place and weather to meet, allowing us to finally present her with the timeless trophy in recognition of her style and character.

Over lunch, nestled in the quiet countryside of the Garden of England, we caught up to explore diversity in design, getting the industry back on its feet and how much the industry has changed in more than 55 years since Richmond International first launched.

Editor Hamish Kilburn was finally able to award Fiona Thompson her award, seven months after the virtual awards ceremony of The Brit List Awards 2020.

Editor Hamish Kilburn was finally able to award Fiona Thompson her award, seven months after the virtual awards ceremony of The Brit List Awards 2020.

Hamish Kilburn: What have been the biggest changes since you started at Richmond International to now? 

Fiona Thompson: The industry has changed so much since I joined Richmond International as a designer in the early 80s, and then again as a studio director in 1992. In this time, we have seen a huge increase in new hospitality brands popping up around the world, an increase in demand for specialised spaces such as spas, the rise and integration of technology in hospitality settings, and a greater focus on environmental and socially sustainable design, to name a few.

Another key change has been the way that consumers use hospitality spaces and therefore what they demand from them. This was in fact the main driving force behind one of our latest projects, Múzsa at Four Seasons Gresham Palace, Budapest. We were tasked with responding to the changing demands of a hotel lobby and to create an experiential space with an energy that could attract both hotel guests and locals.

With this project, we moved away from traditional lobby design, in favour of creating distinct guest experiences, from sampling local wines in the tasting room to sipping cocktails in the lively, central bar. This not only gives the property its own vibrant identity, but it also helps drive revenue in a space that traditionally people just pass through.

Fiona Thompson, Principal, Richmond International at a Hotel Designs' roundtable in 2019

Fiona Thompson, Principal, Richmond International at a Hotel Designs’ roundtable in 2019

HK: As our winner of the Outstanding Contribution to the Hospitality Industry award, what words of advice do you have for designers struggling at the moment? 

FT: It’s been a tough year for everyone for so many reasons, both professionally and personally, but now it’s time to pull together as an industry so we can bounce back stronger than ever. It’s difficult to see great designers struggling, but with restrictions beginning to ease and life starting to feel slightly more normal again, we’re already seeing positive signs; for the first time in a long time there’s confidence in the market and new projects with fresh investment coming back online.

image credit: The Cosmopolitan, designed by Richmond International

image credit: The Cosmopolitan, designed by Richmond International

HK: What is the secret to success in hotel and hospitality design? 

FT: We’ve been in the hospitality design business for over 55 years, and in that time, we’ve learnt that the key to success is always a great team, which includes clients, operators, consultants and of course designers. Any project in a hotel or a cruise ship is a mammoth task that demands the commitment and efforts of so many different people.  

Image caption: Render of cabin inside P&O vessel, designed by Richmond International

Image caption: Render of cabin inside P&O vessel, designed by Richmond International

The most successful and enjoyable projects are always the ones where every player is pulling in the same direction. It’s important to remember that the initial design is only part of a long process, where ideas constantly evolve, so it’s vital that the entire team is aligned and working towards a clear vision.

In more challenging environments, it’s our job to listen and respond to conflicting points of view, but ultimately be prepared to fight for our designs and see them through to the end.

The plush Sterling Suite at Langham London

Image caption: The Sterling Suite, Langham London

“Surround yourself with design and designers, be observant and open to new things and learn as much as you possibly can from the people around you.” – Fiona Thompson, Principal, Richmond International.

HK: We recently celebrated International Women’s Day at HD. What advice would you give young designers wanting to climb the ladder – and were there any female mentors when you started in the industry? 

FT: At Richmond International, we support and champion all great designers and recognise the importance of mentoring and nurturing young talent. We’re a relatively inclusive industry, that is often less male dominated than the likes of architecture, but it’s still essential we continue to bring talented females into the industry and up the ranks into senior positions.

My biggest piece of advice for any young designer would be that you must love what you do and be passionate about the industry. Surround yourself with design and designers, be observant and open to new things and learn as much as you possibly can from the people around you. Secondly, I would always encourage young designers to be brave, bring your ideas to the table and contribute positively. As designers we would never criticise someone for suggesting an idea, good or bad, it’s all part of the process.

Large and spacious public area of plush suite

Image Caption: Penthouse of London West Hollywood

HK: What lessons have you learned during lockdown? 

FT: A big learning for me is that we can successfully work remotely, especially for aspects of the job like team and client meetings. That being said, the value of face-to-face meetings should not be underestimated or forgotten. When meeting a client in person, there’s an opportunity to build chemistry and trust, and when we’re all in the studio we can bounce ideas around and brainstorm together. There is a real spark that’s created from in-person collaboration, it’s certainly something I can’t wait to get back to.

Without commuting and having to travel to projects, which ordinarily is a huge part of the job, I’ve definitely seen an improvement in my own work/life balance, as well as that of my colleagues. While travel will inevitably return, the balance is something we will be more mindful of as a company moving forwards. 

HK: What other projects are Richmond International working on at the moment? 

Despite the events of the past year, we’ve been extremely busy. The team have worked on lots of exciting new projects, including the renovation of the iconic The Langham, Boston, the refurbishment of Tuscan hotel, Grotta Giusti and the introduction of a new destination spa on site, as well as various spaces onboard the new addition to the P&O fleet, P&O Iona. We will be able to give you more details on these very soon!

HK: If you had the power, what words would you ban people using in the industry? 

I think it would have to be photo sharing social media sites. While they are brilliant for showcasing visuals and discovering new and exciting hotels, restaurants, bars and even designers from all corners of the world, I worry that it can often stifle our creativity and curiosity. For me, great designs are born from team brainstorms and discussions where designs are reviewed and evolved based on new discoveries and changes in approach. After this process, the finished product will not just be aesthetically pleasing and fit the purpose but also completely original, rather than a replica of something that we’ve seen online.

If you would like to take part or nominate someone for The Brit List Awards 2021, you have until August 6 to do so. Once entries close, the shortlisted finalists will be announced in September and the award ceremomny will take place on November 3 at PROUD Embankment, London.

Main image credit: Richmond International

Interiors unveiled of The Springwoods Club Palm Tree Hotel in Heyuan, China

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Interiors unveiled of The Springwoods Club Palm Tree Hotel in Heyuan, China

Emotion derived from balance of nature, relaxation and luxury are all cues that have inspired the design narrative, led by Hirsch Bedner Associates Los Angeles (HBA), inside The Springwoods Club Palm Tree Hotel in Heyuan, China…

Design firm Hirsch Bedner Associates Los Angeles (HBA), which recently completed Hotel Carmichael, Autograph Collection and joined us for Hotel Designs LIVE in May, has unveiled the public area design of The Springwoods Club Palm Tree Hotel in Heyuan, Guangdong, China, bringing welcoming luxury, tranquility and the brilliance of nature together in perfect harmony.

14_Springwoods Palm_Courtyard

Image credit: The Springwoods Club Palm Tree Hotel

Sophisticated simplicity, synchronicity of the five elements, the alluring destination and the natural landscape establish the foundation of the design concept. The award-winning hospitality design firm drew inspiration from the scenic mountains of Heyuan and the property’s lakefront locale to achieve balanced interiors and a bespoke sanctuary of calm.

“The design brief was to utilise the natural beauty of the lake and surrounding topography as our muse to create serene environments and an overall respite from hectic city life,” said HBA Los Angeles Partner Kathleen Dauber. “There is a transformative moment when the morning mist enveloping the lake and scenery clears, revealing the setting’s radiance and tranquility. We embraced the emotion felt in that sense of discovery in writing the narrative of this project’s design.”

Guided by Eastern philosophies and a transitional mindset, HBA Los Angeles designers composed the public spaces with layered symmetry in a natural palette of wood and stone. Wood-beamed ceilings and sculpted archways in the voluminous lobby and lounge gracefully bring in elements of Mediterranean style, while floor-to-ceiling windows fill the space with natural light and usher in an airy ambiance. Vignettes and congenial seating groups create moments of intimacy without sacrificing social opportunities.

The themes of natural materiality and the balance of luxury and comfort are carried through the corridors, instituting an intuitive flow, as well as into the meeting spaces, VIP room, sauna room and patio dining area. In the ballroom, backlit glass screens line the perimeter of the ceiling and illuminate the space, while structural columns and wood paneling to wainscoting height cultivate a comfortable sense of enclosure. Cedar surfaces the sauna room with a Himalayan salt installation that acts as an artistic focal point in addition to a functional element. On the outdoor dining patio, textural walls of wood wrap the space to direct views of the picturesque lake, greenery and mountains.

Many of the furnishings throughout the public areas are custom crafted of carved wood and stone in organic shapes, balancing the grand scale of the interiors with tactile touchpoints, exceptional artisanship and refined detailing. All areas of the property are focused on the views outward, providing a visual connection to the outdoors.

Main image credit: HBA

Weekly digest: Another launch for Virgin Hotels & a new London design studio

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Weekly digest: Another launch for Virgin Hotels & a new London design studio

Editor Hamish Kilburn here, tasked to serve up this week’s hotel design headlines – such a Virgin Hotels’ arrival in New Orleans, Hard Rock entering a new territory and a new design studio launching in London – in one juicy shot…

“In a marketing email we sent this week, the marketing team added their own spin on the saying: “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” We felt as though, unless you are driving or it’s a particularly hot day (and even then, gin is always an option), that the industry isn’t that keen on the idea of sipping lemonade in the corner of a room. Instead, and I say this following my attendance at a handful of events recently, we are all reaching for the limoncello after 18 months strictly no socialising.

Answering to the demand of the industry, therefore, we’re tempted to raise the shot glass at The Brit List Awards 2021, which takes place on November 3 at PROUD Embankment. You have until August 6 (less than one month) in order to submit your entries – shortlisted designers, architects and hoteliers will get a complimentary ticket to the awards ceremony.

Between now and then, we on the editorial desk are committed to serve you a variety of flavours of news, features and exclusive insights. Taking the metaphor perhaps too far, this weekly digest is, if you like, the limoncello shot needed to finish off your week.

Here are the top stories from the last few days…

Hard Rock Hotels arrives in Madrid

Render credit: Hard Rock Hotel Madrid

Sheltering all the ingredients to make an exceptional lifestyle hotel, Hard Rock Hotel Madrid marks the brand’s debut property in a Spanish city. Located at the Golden Triangle of Art in the Spanish capital, the hotel is the newest addition to an international portfolio and compliments the brand’s recent growth throughout Europe.

Read more.

Exclusive: Meet the designer behind London Design House

London Design House

Image credit: London Design House

You may already know – or know of – Akram Fahmi (former Design Director at 1508 London) and Gary Kellett (former architect at ReardonSmith), but did you know that the two have joined forces to set up and launch their very own studio. In an exclusive interview, we caught up with Fahmi and Kellett to understand more about London Design House…

Read more. 

Virgin Hotels to arrive in New Orleans this summer

Image credit: Virgin Hotels

For any hotel that is owned by a pioneering boss who, in just a few days time, will attempt to make the history books by flying to the edge of spaceto reach a major milestone in his campaign to introduce a commercial spaceflight service, the expectation for an unmatched hospitality experience is huge.

Luckily, the Virgin Hotels New Orleans, which is about to make its bold debut onto the hospitality scene as soon as this summer has been designed with both Virgin’s in-house team and locally based interior designers Logan Killen in order to ensure its interiors hit all the right notes for tomorrow’s modern travellers – think texture and colour, lots of colour! 

Read more. 

Richmond International unveils new interiors at The Langham, Boston

luxe suite inside Langham Boston

Image credit: Langham Hotels

With a range of dynamic spaces accommodating both guests and day visitors, The Langham, Boston, a landmark hotel, has reclaimed its position as one of the country’s most desirable destinations following the completion of a three-year renovation by design studio Richmond International.

Read more.

A new meaning of bathing: The Sky Pool at Embassy Gardens

Sky Pool London

Image credit: Ballymore and EcoWorld Ballymore.

The launch of the new headline-grabbing Sky Pool at Embassy Gardens has introduced a new twist to the concept of bathing – and whats more, our Recommended Supplier, bathroom brand Kaldewei, was involved in the development led by Ballymore and EcoWorld Ballymore.

Read more. 

And finally… The Brit List Awards 2021: FAQs (applications/nominations close soon)

The Brit List Awards 2021

Your chance to apply or nominate someone, free of charge, to enter The Brit List Awards 2021 is running out. Ahead of applications/nominations closing on August 6 – and to ensure that you are fully in-the-know about your opportunity to enter and join us at our largest networking event in this year’s calendar, here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions…

Read more.

Since you’re here…

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

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Hard Rock Hotels arrives in Madrid

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hard Rock Hotels arrives in Madrid

Music, art and culture… turn up the volume as we welcome, Hard Rock Hotel Madrid, the brand’s first Spanish city hotel… 

Sheltering all the ingredients to make an exceptional lifestyle hotel, Hard Rock Hotel Madrid marks the brand’s debut property in a Spanish city. Located at the Golden Triangle of Art in the Spanish capital, the hotel is the newest addition to an international portfolio and compliments the brand’s recent growth throughout Europe.

The Hard Rock International brand is one of the most globally recognised companies with venues in 68 countries spanning 239 locations. The group’s hotel portfolio has properties in Asia, North America, South America, The Caribbean, the UK and Europe. Following the launch of Hard Rock Hotel London, – and ahead of an expected touch-down in Budapest – the brand’s latest arrival is in Spain’s capital, Madrid.

“Hard Rock Hotels has always felt very in tune with the vibrancy and spirit of Spain. It is one of the reasons we introduced the brand to Europe with Hard Rock Ibiza in 2014, followed by our Tenerife hotel shortly after” said Dale Hipsh, Senior Vice President of Hotels, Hard Rock International. “As our first Spanish city hotel, Hard Rock Hotel Madrid brings a distinctly different personality to our beach resorts. Our guests will discover art, music, history, culinary excellence and culture at their fingertips – all brought together through Hard Rock’s curated and entertainment-infused hospitality.”

Image credit: Hard Rock Hotel Madrid

The new hotel caters to both business and leisure travellers, with 161 contemporary rooms and suites (from 18 sq. metres) offering diverse views, so guests can take in the lights of Madrid, or retreat from the city with a room overlooking the lush garden. Additionally, over 2,000 sq. metres of event space including garden and rooftop venues set the stage for world-class immersive events.

At the heart of the property, guests will find a dramatic architectural hanging guitar sculpture above the welcoming, amber-hued sofas of the lobby. Vibrant artwork is featured throughout the hotel, including a life-size pink ‘Las Meninas’ adorned with Rosalía lyrics, inspired by Diego Velázquez’s masterpiece hanging in the Prado Museum and mural in GMT+1 bar inspired by the La Movida movement in Madrid.

The colourful artwork is complemented by a thoughtfully curated memorabilia collection that showcases Madrid style and culture, as well as international music legends. Hard Rock Hotel Madrid is now home to over 70 pieces of memorabilia, with notable pieces including an acoustic guitar from Madrid-native singer-songwriter, Antonio Vega; blue denim jeans outfit worn by Elvis Presley during an NBC TV special in 1968; and platform boots worn by David Bowie.

The property’s premier location in the Triángulo de Oro del Arte, is surrounded by the Reina Sofia National Museum, the Prado National Museum and the Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum. Within walking distance, guests can explore the historic art nouveau train station (Atocha), the Royal Botanical Garden, and the charming Lavapiés and Embajadores neighbourhoods.

The hotel will be a draw for travellers and locals alike as it is home to unique bars and restaurant concepts including the brand’s signature restaurant Sessions, with interiors by Rockwell Group, and RT60, a spectacular rooftop bar offering craft cocktails, a jamón carving station with cheese and unbeatable 360-degree views of the city to the beat of live DJ sets. Sessions, with its open and airy terrace, overlooks the hotel’s garden and serves a unique take on classic Spanish cuisine with unexpected culinary delicacies on the menu, whilst the GMT+1 lobby bar offers drinks and light fare throughout the day. The Green Room, a private chef’s table serving an exclusive menu to no more than six guests is set to open in September.

image credit: Hard Rock Hotel Madrid

image credit: Hard Rock Hotel Mimage credit: Hard Rock Hotel Madridadrid

Lifestyle consultant and international restaurateur, Maria Font Trabocchi, has played a crucial role in bringing the gastronomy at Hard Rock Hotel Madrid to life with her distinct Spanish spin. As the woman behind, Fiola, Fiola Mare, Sfoglina and Del Mar in Washington D.C. and across the United States, Maria has built a career’s worth of successful restaurants based on excellent quality and hospitality.

“I am honoured to be working with Hard Rock Hotels to bring my knowledge, experiences and personal take on restaurants to the capital of my home country,” said Trabocchi. “The hotel is incredibly well-located, and we are confident that it will soon become a social hub and meeting spot for residents in the city as well as visitors. The restaurants offer beautiful surroundings, the food is vibrant, and we look forward to the chef breathing his own emotion and energy into the restaurants now the hotel is officially open”.

The property also encompasses an outdoor swimming pool, Body Rock® fitness centre and Rock Om®, which fuses the ancient practice of yoga with the rhythm of a custom DJ-curated soundtrack for complimentary, in-room yoga sessions.

Main image credit: Hard Rock Hotel Madrid

01_Duravit_White_Tulip

Product watch: White Tulip, the complete bathroom range by Philippe Starck

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Product watch: White Tulip, the complete bathroom range by Philippe Starck

White Tulip is the first complete bathroom range created entirely by Philippe Starck for Duravit. Let’s take a look…

The extraordinary forms and elegant shapes of the components within the White Tulip series, designed by Philippe Starck for Duravit, echoes the organic silhouette of a tulip in bloom; exuding an almost sculptural feel. The graceful details and the exquisite workmanship satisfy the highest standards.

01_Duravit_White_Tulip

The versatile designs of the White Tulip range follows Starck and Duravit unveiling a new era of shower toilets. The design of this collection, with its ability to blend into a wide range of styles, makes each product ideal for almost any interior – from the urban loft through to the sophisticated ambience of a country house.

The monolithic design of the free-standing ceramic washbasin is particularly eye-catching. The washbasin can be attached to the wall or the floor as required.

Designed in the same style, the impressive round above-counter basin has an aesthetically pleasing delicately outward sloping edge. The right-angled washbasin, when viewed from above, also reflects this form. Also available as a furniture washbasin and as a hand rinse basin, both come in two sizes and complete the range.

Matching free-standing and wall-mounted toilets and bidets complement the impressive ceramic elements. The White Tulip style is also found on the matching urinal. The toilets are equipped with the new HygieneFlush technology.

Independent tests show that this new flushing technique cleans the entire inner surface of the toilet. The perfectly attuned water flow creates a vortex that guarantees an ideal flushing action at all times using just 4.5 litres of water.

All new HygieneFlush toilets come with the tried- and-tested HygieneGlaze ceramic glaze as standard to guarantee even greater hygiene. Fired into the interior of the toilet, HygieneGlaze ensures that approx. 90 per cent of bacteria (for example e. coli) are eradicated after six hours, and approx. 99.9 per cent after 24 hours. The outstanding quality of White Tulip is also reflected in its new lifetime guarantee, which Duravit offers on the ceramic elements in the range for selected countries.

The corresponding furniture is as extraordinary as the entire range. The miter-cut, extremely finely crafted edges are testament to the precise composition of the White Tulip furniture, which comes in widths of between 350 and 1300 mm. The furniture and the coordinating semi-tall cabinets with two or three glass shelves are available in a choice of five high-quality colours with high gloss or satin matt lacquer. Alternatively, a solid wood finish of Natural Oak or American Walnut may be selected for the fronts.

The satin matt finishes include a special feature: small scratches on these special lacquer finishes “disappear” almost automatically, so that the furniture always looks as good as new. Additionally, the special anti-fingerprint coating makes light work of cleaning and care.

The distinctive chrome handle is an exciting design option. It can be used to contrast with the matt lacquers and solid wood surfaces, or produce a striking effect on high-gloss lacquer.

Fitted with ring pull handles, the drawers feature a self-close action. The variant without a handle also features tip-on technology, enabling the drawers to be opened with a gentle tap. There is automatic interior lighting which turns on or off when the drawer is opened or closed.

Additional practical storage is provided in the combination of the round furniture washbasin with matching vanity unit, which is available in all the White Tulip furniture finishes. The colour of the shelves can be freely selected, too. The floor-standing chrome console with wooden shelves, can be fitted with one or two round towel holders on the sides, providing another unique design element.

Matching mirrors from the White Tulip series are available in versions controlled by sensors or an app. Creating a special visual effect, the mirrored glass has been brought forward which makes the mirror’s surface appear almost transparent around the illuminated area.

The light temperature has a ‘memory effect’ which can be synchronised with other lamps  that are connected within the home and controlled via “Casambi”, an app that has established itself for use in smart homes. This feature can be used to dim the mirrors and switch the mirror heating on and off.

The free-standing bathtub with its seamless acrylic paneling mirrors the form of the ceramics. The oval version is available in two sizes: 1800×800 mm, with 1600×900 mm for smaller rooms. The round bathtub with a diameter of 140 cm, offers a spacious interior.

White Tulip also includes the first range of taps developed by Philippe Starck for Duravit. The consistent design element is the tulip-shaped handle that echoes the shape of the washbasins and bathtubs and is particularly easy and pleasant to operate thanks to the polished surface, whilst the 160 finely engraved vertical stripes produce a truly sophisticated effect. Washbasin mixers are available in various “comfort” heights S, M, and XL. The range also includes bidet, shower and bath faucets.

The unusual design of the White Tulip series will add a stylish touch to any setting. Well-engineered technologies such as HygieneFlush and HygieneGlaze, tip-on technology and self-close action as well as mirror heating and app-controlled, customisable lighting complete the feel-good factor.

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

Main image credit: Duravit

London Design House

Exclusive: Meet the designers behind London Design House

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Exclusive: Meet the designers behind London Design House

You may already know – or know of – Akram Fahmi (former Design Director at 1508 London) and Gary Kellett (former architect at ReardonSmith), but did you know that the two have joined forces to set up and launch their very own studio. In an exclusive interview, editor Hamish Kilburn caught up with Fahmi and Kellett to understand more about London Design House…

London Design House

If ever there was the right time to do something different, it’s now! Over the last 18 months, during a strange ‘no mans land’ of time when many were twiddling their thumbs on furlough while others were struggling to man the forts (myself included), others were plotting the storyboard of their next chapter.

Before the pandemic, the idea of setting up a new, independent studio was nothing more than a dream for architect Gary Kellett (who has been operating his own studio for three years now) and architect and designer Akram Fahmi. The duo used to work together at ReardonSmith before Fahmi made a leap to become Design Director at 1508 London. In short, pre-2020, both had been used to – and comfortable with – the inner workings of established studio life, benefiting personally and professionally from the brands that sheltered their work. As the cultural shift happened, though, as the world reacted to a deadly virus that forced nations to close their boarders, the concept of having more control and the ownership and responsibility of their own projects and business became more and more appealing.

After a few months of hard planning – and a cluster of sleepless nights later – London Design House was born. To understand the triumphs and challenges that came with setting up the studio – and to understand what’s next – I caught up with the inspirational chaps over breakfast in Shoreditch, London, while lockdown measures were slowly starting to ease and the Capital’s hospitality was starting to open up once more.

Hamish Kilburn: Tell me more about London Design House? What will set it aside from other design studios?

Akram Fhami: Having known each other for 17 years, personally and professionally, there is an innate understanding of how each other works and what each of our complimentary skillsets are. We both hold a keen appreciation of the importance of guiding clients through every stage and mastering the translation of client briefs into fully realised schemes. We are not afraid to admit, our strongest asset is each other, and we are able to interchange and crossover skillsets on any project.

Gary Kellett: Having both been on the wing of an industry leader in our early development as architects the mentorship we received taught us to be flexible and adaptable and whilst still operating at the very highest level of interior design and architecture. 

Our experience and exposure in delivering across all scales and stages at the highest end of interior and architecture is unrivalled. We have the ability to lead designs of luxury hotels and private residences alike with the expertise to also execute these on site which is an ability we both relish and enjoy.

“London is the melting pot into which we have grown.” – Akram Fahmi, Co-Founder, London Design House.

HK: Can you give us a sneak peek at some of the projects you are working on?

AF: Sure! We are working on some really interesting and fascinating projects at the moment, and we haven’t even had time yet to get our headshots done! One project of which is an incredible super prime multi-unit serviced apartments project in Moscow, in close proximity to the National Stadium. We are the executive interior designers working with an internationally recognised architect, delivering luxury concept and technical designs for multiple apartment typologies including the grand rooftop penthouses. We are finding the process very exciting and unique working on such a scheme remotely. The logistics is challenging, but ultimately it is the nature of the industry at the moment, but we are very excited to see it through and eventually travel out to see it realised.

Pavilion Road by Gary Kellett Architects

Image caption: Pavilion Road | Image credit: London Design House

GK: Closer to home we are currently engaged on an extensive refurbishment of a 8,500 sqft, nine bedroom luxury property in the heart of the Chelsea. The period property is set over five floors which will be sensitively reordered and reconfigured to meet the demands of high end residential living. The residence will benefit from a new landscaped roof top terrace which will be provide incredible views across Cadogan Sq.

HK: What have been the major challenges, so far, of setting up your own studio?

GK: Connectivity to People! The largest challenge has been remotely driving business. For us, being adaptable and light on our feet has meant that we are able to take on varying scale of projects, from high end restaurants, private residences to multi-unit luxury apartment developments.

AF: We have found the face-to-face networking and social aspect of our venture to be the most challenging at the moment, yet we see glimmers of this side opening up and people becoming more receptive to meeting again. We have had to learn new ways of revenue generation which ultimately has made us much more savvy in terms of how we approach projects whilst still providing a tailored and non-compromised level of service. 

“I think don’t take life too seriously, or don’t over think things, the opportunities are always there for you take or create.” – Gary Kellett, Co-Founder, London Design House.

HK: Why is London considered a major design hub? 

AF: For us – as in our name – London is the melting pot into which we have grown, developed and now established ourselves. The tantalising blend of people, culture, design influences and art makes the fabric of London incredibly unique. We are able draw on the incredible range of suppliers, artists, crafts people, and consultants to tailor a bespoke composition of materials, elements, people and skills to create unique projects – each beautifully different from the last.

HK: What advice would you give to designers, who, up until now have only worked within large studios but are considering to start a new chapter on their own?

GK: Life is like a bowl of cherries as someone once said to us. I think don’t take life too seriously, or don’t over think things, the opportunities are always there for you take or create. Ultimately, believe and trust in the skill sets you have.

HK: Late nights aside (Akram, I saw you sent me an email at 3am the other day), what’s the best thing about setting up your own studio? 

AF: Oh, wow, sorry about that – to be honest, I didn’t even realise it was that late (or early)! I think having the freedom to operate and design independently twixt with the direct influence and control over the trajectory of business development is incredibly rewarding. It’s quite refreshing to have such an influence on both aspects, it feels like the handbrake has been released and now have the right platform to express ourselves.

Main image credit: London Design House

A bathroom inside Virgin Hotels New Orleans

Virgin Hotels to arrive in New Orleans this summer

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Virgin Hotels to arrive in New Orleans this summer

Ahead of the anticipated arrival of Virgin Hotels New Orleans this summer, Hotel Designs was given a sneak peak behind the scenes to understand the design narrative of the 238-key hotel that was designed by both the in-house team and local New Orleans’ based interior designers Logan Killen…

A bathroom inside Virgin Hotels New Orleans

For any hotel that is owned by a pioneering boss who, in just a few days time, will attempt to make the history books by flying to the edge of space to reach a major milestone in his campaign to introduce a commercial spaceflight service, the expectation for an unmatched hospitality experience is huge.

Luckily, the Virgin Hotels New Orleans, which is about to make its bold debut onto the hospitality scene as soon as this summer has been designed with both Virgin’s in-house team and locally based interior designers Logan Killen in order to ensure its interiors hit all the right notes for tomorrow’s modern travellers – think texture and colour, lots of colour! 

Lounge in Virgin Hotels New Orleans

Image credit: Virgin Hotels

Located at 550 Baronne Street near the Central Business District, the new-build hotel will feature 238 chambers (guestrooms), including Grand Chamber Suites, plus multiple dining and drinking outlets including the brand’s centrepiece restaurant and bar, Commons Club, The Pool Club, a rooftop pool and lounge, Funny Library Coffee Shop,  state-of-the-art gym and dedicated meeting and event spaces

Virgin Hotels will manage the hotel architecturally designed by Mathes Brierre Architects, Callison, RTKL Architects, Broadmoor Construction and developed by The Buccini/Pollin Group.

 

Through neighbourhood-centric influences, the hotel will open to tell the story of its locale. The entire concept was to bring an authentic New Orleans flair to the project. As a result, the property will incorporate a Southern residential feel while combining colourful, tropical architectural motifs with Virgin’s signature style of fun and smart design.

“We always take a localised approach to our design and we wanted Virgin Hotels New Orleans to embrace the local community and celebrate the city’s rich culture,” said Teddy Mayer, Vice President of Design at Virgin Hotels. “We’re thrilled to have collaborated with the talented team at Logan Killen Interiors to bring this vision to life. Specialising in residential and boutique commercial design, they brought a unique perspective to the project and created spaces that are welcoming and comfortable, with local and luxurious touches incorporated throughout.”

The hotel’s corridors, often a forgotten ‘in-between’ area of the hotel, will feature a bold and unique design including custom carpet inspired by artist Henri Matisse’s 1943 art book “Jazz” and Virgin Hotels’ signature red entry doors ready to welcome guests.  The 238 chambers will be fresh and bright with local art, historical detailing and Art Deco-inspired elements woven throughout, evoking a sense of old world meets modern luxury. The Chambers will feature Virgin Hotels’ signature double chamber layout – The Dressing Room and The Lounge – designed to make the best use of space and promote privacy for guests. The spaces are separated by a pair of panelled doors, a nod to French doors as commonly seen in New Orleans design, which offer a more residential look and feel.

The first space, “The Dressing Room”, includes spacious closets built for two with a custom sleek wooden makeup vanity with a well-lit mirror and charming floral print vanity chair. Guests will enjoy an extra-large shower with a bench and industrial doors, tying in the exterior architecture. Deluxe chambers will offer grand soaking tubs, French wallpaper from Pierre Frey and Moroccan tile mixed with graphic Deco-inspired marble patterns. Through the panelled double doors, guests will enter “The Lounge”, which boasts a charming entry table and playful statement wall art created by local artist Jane Talton. The brand’s patented ergonomically designed lounge bed, complete with a bullion fringe trim, will anchor the room, allowing guests to rest, relax, work, dine and more from the comfort of their own bed. Other local influences include commissioned artwork from local artists such as a collage poster of Richard Branson and an abstract painting by Ansley Givhan, playful furniture details inspired by vintage items like rattan tables and rug covered ottomans, and modern lighting elements with deco shapes.

Image of contemporary suite at Virgin Hotels

Image credit: Virgin Hotels

“When Teddy Mayer from Virgin Hotels reached out with the opportunity to design their New Orleans based hotel, Katie and I were equally excited and intimidated.  It was a very large leap for us to take professionally, having mostly residential design experience,” said Jensen Killen Partner and Lead Designer at Logan Killen Interiors. “But, when opportunity knocks in the form of the Virgin brand, you just say yes! Their team is led by kind, smart and thoughtful people that made the experience extremely fun and fulfilling. The trust they instilled in us to meet the particular challenge of creating a hotel that felt like New Orleans but carried the voice of the Virgin brand was inspiring and ultimately led to a successful and vibrant space that we know New Orleanians and visitors alike will enjoy for years to come.”

All Chambers will incorporate the brand’s classic amenities including a red SMEG mini-fridge, High Definition TV, yoga mat, custom lighting on sensors that automatically illuminate when guests move and ample outlets for smartphones and other electronic devices.

With this opening, Virgin Hotels continues to lead with innovation, combining heartfelt service, straightforward value, and a seamless, personalised hotel experiences with the track record of smart disruption that Sir Richard Branson’s global Virgin Group has pioneered for 50 years.

Main image credit: Virgin Hotels

Four Seasons Sicily

A legend returns in Italy: San Domenico Palace reopens as a Four Seasons hotel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
A legend returns in Italy: San Domenico Palace reopens as a Four Seasons hotel

Just in time as travellers around the globe start planning their first post-pandemic trip abroad, and as we approach the much-anticipated return of the high season in southern Italy, a landmark hotel is debuting a fresh new look and feel. San Domenico Palace, Taormina, A Four Seasons Hotel is now open – let’s take a look inside…

Four Seasons Sicily

Currently operating 120 hotels and resorts, and 45 residential properties in major city centres and resort destinations in 47 countries, and with more than 50 projects under planning or development, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, which recently announced new plans for a hotel in Puglia, Italy, consistently ranks among the world’s best hotels and most prestigious brands in reader polls, traveller reviews and industry awards. It is, therefore, no surprise that a storied hotel in southern Italy has reopened, with new interiors and now wearing the Four Seasons brand with pride – and it fits perfectly.

“The legendary San Domenico Palace was already very well known to us at Four Seasons,” notes Christian Clerc, President, Global Operations at Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. “It is an exceptional property in every way, and we are honoured to have been chosen once again by our owner-partners Gruppo Statuto to manage such an important property, and to add to our growing collection of transformed historic hotels in Italy and around the Mediterranean.”

exterior image of Four Seasons in Sicily

Image credit: Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts

With spectacular views in every direction, San Domenico Palace is uniquely situated between the majesty of Mount Etna above, the deep blue waters of the Ionian Sea below, and the beautiful south-eastern coast of Sicily as far as the eye can see.

“Everything past guests have always loved about San Domenico Palace has been restored, with familiar faces and vistas at every turn,” says General Manager Lorenzo Maraviglia, who has returned to his home country following years abroad to introduce Four Seasons to Sicily for the first time.

“It’s been a meticulous evolution that honours the site’s past while elevating every aspect to a new level of personalised service, extraordinary experiences, and the opportunity to create memories to last a lifetime. We are incredibly grateful to Gruppo Statuto for their investment and proud of the fact that it’s an Italian company that undertook this massive renovation project using only local craftspeople. This is Italy at its best.”

With just 111 guestrooms and suites, the atmosphere is intimate, as though returning to a treasured friend’s seaside home each year. The most coveted room is the Royal Suite, with principal rooms all opening onto a large terrace and plunge pool with views of Mount Etna, the ancient Greek Theatre and the Ionian Sea. Terraces are lined with glass for infinity views, and in all, there are 19 rooms with private plunge pools.

Image of guestroom at Four Seasons in Sicily

Image credit: Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts

Built on the site of a 14th century Dominican convent, the San Domenico Hotel first came to life in 1896 with the addition of a new building in Italian Liberty style (today’s Grand Hotel Wing) adjacent to accommodations converted from former quarters in the Ancient Convent Wing. It soon became a highlight on the Grand Tour, favoured by royalty and nobility and increasingly, a colourful cast of artists, writers and Hollywood stars. Set amid lush gardens reimagined by acclaimed Italian landscape architect Marco Bay with sweeping sea views, the Hotel pairs contemporary art with antiquities and architectural relics throughout.

Travellers will find that most of Sicily has reopened, from the designer shops and charming outdoor trattorias in the town of Taormina to artistic venues such as the steps-away ancient Greek Theatre, where a full calendar of musical performances are planned throughout summer. Beach clubs are also open, with guests of Four Seasons receiving special access to one of the most popular clubs.

The rebirth of the San Domenico Palace also heralds the return of Principe Cerami to Sicily’s thriving culinary and viticulture scene, where Executive Chef Massimo Mantarro’s menu is inspired by the very land where he grew up on the slope of Mount Etna. True to his roots but always experimenting, Chef Massimo’s genius can be savoured best in his #FSMasterdish, pasta e seppia. This clever combination of fresh ingredients marries sea and earth in marinated cuttlefish tagliatelle perched atop homemade spaghetti with cuttlefish ink afloat courgette blossom fondue. Paired with a glass of local wine selected by Head Sommelier Alessandro Malfitana, it’s Sicily on a plate.

Additional dining experiences include Rosso, where a large terrace affords panoramic views of Mount Etna and Taormina Bay as a setting to enjoy local specialties and international classics; and the poolside Anciovi, where the menu celebrates the bounty of the sea, and where creative cocktails can be enjoyed long after the sun goes down. In the garden setting of Bar & Chiostro, drinks are best paired with light fare, including the must-try pennette served in the local “Norma” style with aubergine and ricotta cheese.

Not to be missed are the exquisite creations of Chef de Patisserie Vincenzo Abagnale, who joins Four Seasons following four years with Chef Mauro Colagreco at three Michelin-starred Mirazur in France, that was ranked #1 on the list of World’s Best Restaurants in 2019.

In the captivating setting that combines hundreds of years of history with the drama of an active volcano, events at San Domenico Palace are always memorable. Now, with the expert touch of Four Seasons event planners and the catering team, it’s a fantastic choice for inspired corporate retreats, fairy-tale weddings or simply gathering family and friends for a much-needed reunion in the sun. More than 1,700 square metres (18,300 square feet) of indoor-outdoor event spaces can be tailored for gatherings from a dozen to several hundred guests.

 

Main image credit: Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts

luxe suite inside Langham Boston

Richmond International unveils new interiors at The Langham, Boston

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Richmond International unveils new interiors at The Langham, Boston

London-based hospitality design specialist, Richmond International, reveals stunning interiors at the iconic The Langham Boston, following an extensive three-year renovation…

With a range of dynamic spaces accommodating both guests and day visitors, The Langham, Boston, a landmark hotel, has reclaimed its position as one of the country’s most desirable destinations following the completion of a three-year renovation by design studio Richmond International.

luxe suite inside Langham Boston

The project includes a complete transformation of the lobby, meeting rooms, event spaces and all guest rooms, as well as the addition of The Langham Club, and a brand new bar and restaurant.

The design carefully considers the building’s location in Boston, Massachusetts and draws on its history as the former Federal Bank of Boston. Richmond International expertly curated The Langham Boston’s new art collection which includes existing and commissioned pieces, reflecting the building’s rich background.

“This project was hugely exciting for the whole team,” said Fiona Thompson, Principal at Richmond International who won Outstanding Contribution to the Hospitality Industry award last year at The Brit List Awards. “We’ve worked with The Langham Group for many years on some of the finest hotels around the world, so we know the importance of integrating the historical and cultural influences of this fascinating building and city with a contemporary yet classic design that has become synonymous with The Langham brand”.

Hotel lobby and rear lobby

The lobby takes inspiration from the building’s banking heritage with bespoke furniture and lighting indicative of the space’s former life as a bank. A double-sided Chesterfield sofa, a modern take on banker’s lamps, and hand-tufted rugs replicating the colour scheme and motifs found on a dollar bill, all help to create a warm and welcoming lobby area; a charming antithesis to the imposing facade.

A focal point of the hotel Lobby, a bespoke artisan map of the city of Boston, has been produced using liquid metal on a cast resin base and sits behind the reception desk. A large portrait of the renowned Bostonian portraitist John Singleton Copley was created exclusively for The Langham Boston by Samuel Gareginyan and sets the tone for the for the significance and prominence of portraiture throughout the hotel.

In addition, the Rear Lobby has been transformed into an elegant entrance space with the introduction of a new, sculptural staircase leading to the ballroom, an ideal space for an intimate social gathering or for welcome drinks before a larger function in the Lincoln Ballroom.

Image caption: Sitting area in the lobby. | Image credit: Langham Hotels

Image caption: Sitting area in the lobby. | Image credit: Langham Hotels

Governor’s and Lincoln Room, Wyeth Room and Lincoln Ballroom

The Governor’s and Lincoln Room is a refined space that celebrates the historical significance and functionality that the room had as the bank’s former boardroom. Traditional panelled walls remain and, in-keeping with the theme, the plaid carpet is a nod to the tailored suits that were worn by the bankers. Historical photographs of the building and an assembly of antique maps of Boston and the surrounding towns and districts of Massachusetts adorn the walls.

Carefully renovated to preserve all its historical features, The Wyeth Room is the larger of the meeting spaces. The existing murals were lovingly protected during the refurbishment and now gallantly oversee the space. The Lincoln Ballroom is a new addition to The Langham, Boston and continues the sense of historical significance and classic aesthetic. A new vaulted skylight combined with the large windows create a bright and airy space for any occasion.

Grana and The Fed Bar

The new Grana restaurant is a vibrant destination and true celebration of its former life as main hall of the Bank, one of the most historical spaces in the building. Original features such as the stone flooring and the original terrazzo floors complete with the official Federal Reserve Bank seal were meticulously restored to their former glory. Likewise, the original frieze ceiling was maintained with the addition of a backlit lantern skylight to introduce an abundance of light into this expansive space. Fusing the new with the old; a modern interpretation of the original banking hall clock was created and a dramatic, modern sculpture of the Liberty head coin, created by Lyle London, is suspended above the entrance staircase.

In recognition of the former Federal Reserve Bank presidents, the restaurant features eight classic contemporary portraits by Debra Keirce, an award-winning member of The Portrait Society of America. Richmond International worked with local Boston Gallery, The Copley Society, which provided artworks throughout the property.

The hotel’s new bar, The Fed, is a sophisticated space with a lively central bar and intimate seating area. A tasteful take on a 1920’s private member’s club, the bar features a rich colour palette, velvet finishes and gold accents, as well as an eclectic mix of artworks and Persian-inspired rugs, a reflection of the 1920s and a new era of travel. 

Guestrooms

The guestrooms are inspired by travel, the New England coast and Boston’s history as one of the first places in the US to be colonised. The design touches in these rooms include a cellaret based on an old traveller’s trunk and a fresh colour palette for an inviting space to settle and relax after a long journey. Artwork celebrating Boston’s culture, environment and history pepper the walls either side of the headboard, from the Boston Red Sox, New England-native birds and vintage stock certificates. 

The split-level Loft Suites each feature a sculptural art installation created by Boston-based ceramic and clay artist, Jeremy Ogusky that accentuate the double-height ceiling. Each installation comprises of approximately 60 pieces of wheel-thrown glazed plates arranged organically; the end result is a completely unique installation for every suite.

The hotel’s flagship suite, the Chairman Suite, channels the spirit of New England with a contemporary classic nod to the 1920’s period, including panelled walls and a selection of Persian-inspired rugs over a timber Herringbone floor. The suite also features an eclectic collection of unique items that one might acquire over time, capturing the essence of a true traveller. Furthermore, a one-of-a-kind installation from US-based paper artist, Olga Skorokhod, decorates the dining room wall.

The Langham Club

The Langham Club, a signature feature of The Langham Hotels & Resorts brand, has a clean and tailored aesthetic harmonised with contemporary detailing. The artwork in this space is a diverse mix of portraiture, sculpture and photography with subtle nods to the lounges of London and Chicago.

Main image credit: Langham Hotels

GROHE bathroom room shot featuring infra-red touchless taps

Industry insight: Sustainability in luxury hotel bathrooms

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Industry insight: Sustainability in luxury hotel bathrooms

With sustainability running through the core of the leading bathroom brand’s DNA, GROHE is arguably most qualified to discuss conscious bathroom design. Karl Lennon, Leader for A&D Projects, LIXIL EMENA at GROHE, therefor, is here to explore how luxury brands can go a step further to create a premium, sustainable and impressionable experience for its guests…

GROHE bathroom room shot featuring infra-red touchless taps

The hospitality industry is wholeheartedly embracing the transition towards a more sustainable future, with many groups and independents alike implementing their own targets and policies to drive more responsible, environmentally conscious hospitality and tourism worldwide.

While the motive around improving sustainable practices focuses on doing more to use less, hotels in the luxury sector face the task of doing more and going further in order to uphold their reputation and retain the trust and assurance from their esteemed clientele. This needs to be balanced in equal parts with solutions that produce tangible results with positive implications for the environment without taking away from the luxury experience for guests.

It goes without saying that when guests visit a luxury hotel property, they expect every fine detail to be considered. The aesthetic, the ambience, the service, the sourcing of goods: each single element must be well-measured and thought-out. Over recent years, as we have all become increasingly more informed and aware of the need to prioritise sustainable habits in our everyday lives, discerning guests have become more scrupulous with their hotel choices when travelling. Sustainability therefore needs to be treated as an integral part of the overall guest experience – approached holistically – with every design choice and fitting having purpose, meaning and environmentally friendly credibility.
When working with clients on premium projects, we advise that sustainability not only be an add-on or after thought but a narrative and journey that is seamlessly incorporated into every element of the customer experience, carried through all touchpoints from arrival to check-out. In designing the luxury sustainable hotel experience, it is not only investing in the elements the guests can see but those that can’t be touched or seen too. In these instances, communication and reputation play an enormous role in helping to convey these more hidden features and their benefits to prospective guests.

At GROHE, we have recently taken the next step in our sustainability journey as a brand by achieving Gold level Cradle-to-Cradle certification in four of our best-selling taps and shower products. By specifying Cradle-to-Cradle certified fittings, hotels can begin to incorporate more circular practises into their business. The Cradle to Cradle® (C2C) design concept is a model that contrasts the take-make-waste system and enables manufacturers to drastically reduce the use of new resources. A product is designed and manufactured with the intent of using its components in its end-of-life-phase for the creation of new products.

Image caption: A visual of GROHE's Cradle to Cradle

Image caption: A visual of GROHE’s Cradle to Cradle products

Cradle-to-Cradle products consider the material health of each of the components in their creation as well as how these components can then be repurposed at the end of their life, to prevent unnecessary wastage.
Whilst the sustainable impact of Cradle-to-Cradle products may not always be overtly apparent to the guest, they offer viable sustainably sourced solutions that highlight a carefully considered approach to the interior design of a hotel washroom or bathroom suite.

Similarly, the use of 3D metal printing can be particularly resource-efficient, pushing and defying the boundaries of design to create fittings that use less material and equally, create visual spectacles that are well-suited for premium projects. Through GROHE’s own exploration of this manufacturing method with its Icon 3D-printed series of basin mixers, it has been found that energy used for producing a 3D metal-printed tap is about 20% lower compared to the production energy used for a brass cast tap body.

In addition to creating a sustainable storyline that forms an integral part of the luxury customer experience, implementing features that puts the control in the guest’s hands is another approach hotels can implement to inspire and empower its visitors. Giving guests the option to switch their shower to eco mode for example or use LED temperature displays to encourage them to reduce the temperature of their water, is a powerful way of enabling them to make sustainably minded decisions, and feel good about these choices, as part of their hotel experience. Empowering guests in this way can help to form an alliance between hotel and guest and build a customer’s trust and loyalty in a brand they know truly values sustainability.

Spa and wellness zones are synonymous with luxury hotel settings but outdated designs and fittings can result in unnecessary over-consumption of precious resources such as water and energy. We are seeing the shift for more spas and wellness zones to move into the privacy of the guest’s suite rather than a communal space, and this presents lots of opportunities for hoteliers to make smart specification choices that optimise customer personalisation and experience whilst using resource conservatively and considerately. In the future, new sustainably-focused solutions and technologies from brands will enable luxury hotels to offer a more enhanced and personal spa experience in the comfort of the guest suite.

Design innovation is playing an enormous role in providing solutions that can help hotels achieve their sustainability targets whilst still providing their guests with unique, luxurious visits. The introduction of these technologies and capabilities is still relatively new but offer lots of potential in really helping to progress the status quo for luxury sustainable tourism and hospitality.

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

Main image credit: GROHE

Weekly digest: The struggling generation & the latest hotel openings

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Weekly digest: The struggling generation & the latest hotel openings

The struggle is real in this week’s round-up of our top stories, as we celebrate the launch of a campaign to help young designers and architects on their feet while networking events are brought back to IRL (in real life). Meanwhile, there seems to be a new hotel opening on the hour, at the moment. Editor Hamish Kilburn here – ‘struggling’ to keep up – but determined nonetheless to serve up your weekly digest…

For many reasons – catching up on my emails following a few frantic yet fantastic days out of the office being one of them – I am accosting this week’s round-up, or ‘digest’ as we have recently rebranded it,  around the theme of ‘struggle’. Taking my sprints between meetings, speaking events and much-welcomed hotel reviews to one side, the struggle young designers and architects are facing at the moment is immeasurable – and it’s time to address this situation head-on. Cue the launch of our new campaign, which will allow newcomers into the arena to interview established A&D professionals (with no question off limit) – thus bridging the gap between generations, allowing authentic mentorships to form and for all of us to start really understanding the challenges that young people face when leaving the safety reef of education.

Also in this week’s digest, we share with you our hottest hotel openings expected this month, unveil a case study that takes biophilic design to a whole new meaning and find out why fashion brand PrettyLittleThing is dipping its toe into UK hospitality.

Without further a due, here’s this week’s news in one article:

A young architect’s Q&A: Jestico + Whiles’ James Dilley

Gif James Dilley and James Ingram

If you read nothing else this week, please ensure you take the time to read young architect James Ingram’s interview with Jestico + Whiles’ James Dilley. This interview, which really left a personal impact on me (as I’m sure it will you, considering we have all had help at some stage in our careers), marks the launch of a wider campaign in order to help bridge the gap between generations within hotel design.

Read more.

VIP Arrivals: Hottest hotels opening in July

The Tawny Hotel is one of our most anticipated hotels opening in July

Image credit: The Tawny Hotel

As momentum and demand builds for the industry to reopen fully and for travellers to enjoy one-off travel experiences once more, it seems as if the hospitality landscape is updating its infrastructure with newly designed hotels, in both new and existing properties, standing to welcome the new era of modern travellers. Here, we take you through the hottest hotels opening in July…

Read more.

Marriott International opens 70th hotel in Japan

Aloft Osaka Dojima

Image credit: Marriott International

With the opening of Aloft Osaka Dojima, Marriott International now has 70 properties in Japan, which means that, with 18 brands in 21 prefectures, the hotel group leads with brand offerings in the country – and there are still more hotels in the pipeline.

Read more.

Wellness in design: tips from designer Shalini Misra

Shalini Misra

Ahead of her anticipated appearance at Hotel Designs LIVE, where she will join a panel of experts to discuss surface design, we caught up with interior designer Shalini Misra in order to understand how wellness and design are working together in this new era of lifestyle, luxury and wellness…

Read more.

And finally… Fashion brand PrettyLittleThing launches UK hotel

Pool inside PrettyLittleThing Hotel

Image credit: PrettyLittleThing

While staycation demand has increased 14,400 per cent, and as the boundaries between lifestyle and luxury continue to blur, it’s not a huge surprise to read that that global fashion brand PrettyLittleThing has entered the UK hotel market.

Read more.

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Aloft Osaka Dojima

Marriott International opens 70th hotel in Japan

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Marriott International opens 70th hotel in Japan

With the opening of Aloft Osaka Dojima, Marriott International now has 70 properties in Japan, which means that, with 18 brands in 21 prefectures, the hotel group leads with brand offerings in the country – and there are still more hotels in the pipeline…

A few months ago, Marriott International opened its 800th hotel in the Asia Pacific region. A few months later, the hotel group announced that it would add 100 new hotels to that impressive portfolio between then and the end of the year.

Aloft Osaka Dojima

And now, the hotel group has reached yet another milestone by opening Aloft Osaka Dojima, which becomes the group’s 70th property in Japan. With this opening, Marriott International continues its solid growth in Japan as the hotel chain with the most brand offerings. The company has 70 properties across 18 brands in 21 prefectures including major cities such as Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto, as well as other lesser known gems like Tochigi, Gifu and Wakayama. With a pipeline of more than 30 additional hotels, including three hotels expected to open later this year, the portfolio is poised for continued growth in Japan.

“We remain confident in the future of travel.” – Rajeev Menon, President, Marriott International Asia-Pacific (excluding Greater China).

“Expanding our presence and bringing more brands and experiences to Japan has been a priority for us,” said Rajeev Menon, President, Marriott International Asia-Pacific (excluding Greater China). “We remain confident in the future of travel and look forward to welcoming both domestic and international guests with new and exciting travel choices when they are able to travel again.”

The opening of Aloft Osaka Dojima, Marriott International’s 70th property in Japan, is emblematic of its select-service brand category growth in the country, with the number of open hotels nearly tripling since 2019. The brands in the category such as Fairfield by Marriott, Courtyard, Aloft Hotels, and Moxy Hotels to name a few, offer distinct value for travellers with streamlined services and amenities, paired with casual, convenient dining options and warm hospitality — all at an approachable price point. The new Aloft property is centrally located at the crossroads of entertainment, shopping, dining and business in Osaka. In addition to vibrant urban centres, many of the select-service hotels are opening in Japan’s lesser known areas and are expected to offer easy and comfortable stays for travellers exploring less travelled, yet attractive locations.

The “Michi-no-eki” portfolio – which now comprises 13 Fairfield by Marriott hotels in prime locations near roadside rest stations in Japan – is a key driver of growth in the select service category in the country. Earlier in 2021, five Fairfield by Marriott hotels opened across picture-perfect destinations including Odai in Mie, Minamiyamashiro in Kyoto, Nikko in Tochigi, Kushimoto in Wakayama, and Susami in Wakayama. Later this year, an additional new Fairfield by Marriott hotel is slated to open with the arrival of Fairfield by Marriott Gifu Takayama Shokawa. The new hotels are situated close to national parks and UNESCO World Heritage Sites, providing guests a gateway to secluded destinations and local gems across the country.

This summer, the highly anticipated opening of Japan’s fourth Moxy Hotel, Moxy Kyoto Nijo, is expected to add a stylishly playful twist to Kyoto’s bar and social scene, celebrating youthful nonconformity, open-mindedness, and originality above all. Located in the Kyoto Nijo historic district near the World Heritage site of Nijo Castle, it is set to be a buzzing new location to play and explore.

Meanwhile, the recently opened Hiyori Chapter Kyoto, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel, is the Tribute Portfolio brand’s second property in the country, and welcomes guests from near and far to craft their own story and live like a local on a journey of exploration in picturesque Kyoto.

Earlier this year Marriott International celebrated the opening of Japan’s very first W hotel with the arrival of W Osaka, which, thanks to design influence from design and architecture studio concrete Amsterdam, brought the brand’s singularly bold attitude and a playground of new possibilities to the city’s already-vibrant hospitality scene.

The iconic lifestyle luxury brand EDITION will further expand with the expected opening of The Tokyo EDITION, Ginza later this year. The hotel is slated to be the second EDITION property in Japan following The Tokyo EDITION, Toranomon, which opened in 2020.

A sedated interior scheme inside the guestroom of the hotel

Image credit: Tokyo Edition/Marriott International

“We are gratified to see the strong growth of Marriott International in Japan, and appreciate the confidence of our owners and franchisees in our vision for the future of hospitality in the country,” said Karl Hudson, Area Vice President, Japan and Guam, Marriott International. “Like us, our owners believe that the future of travel lies in providing what travellers truly want, based on lifestyles, interests and preferences. Marriott’s strong and differentiated portfolio of brands cater to the individual requirements of travellers, and this is how our guests know they can count on us to provide what they want, wherever they may travel to.”

With today’s announcement, Marriott International is well-positioned in Japan with 70 hotels across 18 distinct brands, aimed at serving differentiated experiences across traveler segments. The brands currently operating in Japan include: JW Marriott, St. Regis Hotels & Resorts, The Ritz-Carlton and Ritz-Carlton Reserve, W Hotels, The Luxury Collection, and EDITION in the luxury segment; Marriott Hotels, Sheraton, Westin, Autograph Collection, Tribute Portfolio, and Renaissance in the premium segment; Courtyard by Marriott, Four Points by Sheraton, Fairfield by Marriott, Aloft Hotels, AC Hotels by Marriott, and Moxy Hotels in the select service segment.

Main image credit: Marriott International

Morgan seating

A look at Morgan’s latest product launches

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
A look at Morgan’s latest product launches

British contract furniture designer and manufacturer Morgan has let us in to take a look at the brand’s latest new products, which arrive to add further choices to its already successful Porto and Kyoto collections…

While the streets of Clerkenwell start to echo with life again, we are excited for the plethora of brands in the neighbourhood that have opened their showrooms to shelter the latest designs and innovations in the market. One of those brands is Morgan, which continues to unveil products that are eco-friendly, ahead of any trend and timelessly suited for the hospitality industry.

Morgan seating

Following the launch of new table tops to the Goodwood and Rakino collections, get comfortable as we share what else in new in the London showroom.

The Porto collection is light, minimal and versatile. Ergonomically designed to ensure comfort in both dining, lounge and work configurations. Customisable by design, the newest addition to our Porto collection expands its versatility even further; introducing the Swivel base. Available across the five Porto dining chair options, the light aluminium base compliments the minimal upholstery to give a modern luxurious feel to any working environment.

Image caption: Porto collection from Morgan has unveiled a swivel-based chair to the range.

Image caption: Porto collection from Morgan has unveiled a swivel-based chair to the range.

Featured at their London showroom, Morgan have now made their seat pads a standard offering within the Kyoto collection of dynamic linear intersecting benches. These simple, yet striking seat pads are highly versatile, turning window sills, steps and other surfaces into seating areas.

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

Main image credit: Morgan

Hospitality brand edyn to launch Cove

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hospitality brand edyn to launch Cove

Answering the demands of modern travellers with ‘soulful hospitality’, edyn has launched Cove, a ‘next generation’ serviced apartment brand that will embrace the new future of travel, providing fresh growth opportunities for the breakthrough hospitality brand…

From the brand that launched Locke, which recently opened its first property outside the UK, Cove launches to underscore both edyn’s resilience and optimism.

Cove embodies the notion of flexible living – combining considered design with seamless technology to enable life in all modes. The adaptability of Cove’s business model will also provide exciting new growth opportunities for edyn, which is rapidly expanding its presence throughout the UK and Europe. In the first half of 2021, the group built upon its resilient 2020 performance when it achieved an average occupancy exceeding 70 per cent – making edyn the ‘one to watch’ in the new future of travel where guests are increasingly planning to stay for longer and experience more, whatever the reason for their stay.

“Cove will embrace new ways of living, offering travellers security, comfort and sanctuary.” – Steven Haag, Managing Director of Cove.

“We have a tremendous opportunity to evolve and grow edyn at a time when flexible, thoughtfully designed accommodation has never been more in demand,” explained Stephen McCall, CEO of edyn. “Combined with the foresight of our investors behind us and a world class team leading the brand, the launch of Cove will allow us to transform the traditional serviced apartment model and bolster our portfolio.”

Cove’s thoughtfully designed apartments will continue to serve a base of corporate clients looking for extended stays, while refocusing on leisure travellers – including families – seeking self-contained, spacious, and flexible accommodation. Each versatile apartment will feature super-fast, private Wi-Fi; fully fitted kitchens and living rooms; as well as signature sofas and bespoke kitchen tables suitable for dining, working or hosting.

“Our mission is to create the next generation of serviced apartments, which cater to travellers seeking carefully designed spaces in central city locations across the UK and Europe; suitable for a business trip, city escape or family holiday,” said Steven Haag, Managing Director of Cove. “Cove will embrace new ways of living, offering travellers security, comfort and sanctuary, which is aligned with edyn’s ethos and vision.”

Image credit: Cove Paradise Street, Liverpool ONE

This month, edyn will transform eight of its existing Saco properties to Cove, with new fixtures and furnishings, branding and an innovative, digitally focused guest journey. The first full Cove opening will be a new acquisition in the Liverpool ONE development.

Cove Paradise Street will comprise 77 contemporary one- to three-bed apartments, boasting panoramic views of Liverpool city centre and a large communal courtyard. Located in the heart of the city, Cove Paradise Street is a stone’s throw from excellent transport links, as well as Liverpool ONE’s diverse retail, leisure, and dining offering.

Saco properties in Reading, Nottingham, London (Covent Garden, The Cannon, St. Martin’s Lane), Cardiff, Bristol (West India) and Manchester will all transform to Cove. Properties that are not part of the initial transformation will continue to operate under the Saco brand and be available to book alongside partner properties on the Saco website.

Main image credit: edyn

Shalini Misra

Wellness in design: tips from designer Shalini Misra

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Wellness in design: tips from designer Shalini Misra

Ahead of her anticipated appearance at Hotel Designs LIVE, where she will join a panel of experts to discuss surface design, we caught up with interior designer Shalini Misra in order to understand how wellness and design are working together in this new era of lifestyle, luxury and wellness…

Shalini Misra

Interior designer Shalini Misra, who will be joining us on the virtual sofa at Hotel Designs LIVE in August in a panel discussion on surface design, recognises that her clients’ lifestyles are key to the design of the studio’s interiors and their wellbeing. Wellness is intrinsic to a successful and healthy lifestyle and the studio integrates it into their spaces by looking at the physical, emotional and aesthetic sides and drawing on effects for each of our senses – another topic we will explore at Hotel Designs LIVE. Wellness incorporates using sustainable natural materials, ample flow of natural light and air, intelligent use of artificial light, creating versatility in the layout to cater for social areas and pockets of privacy for personal reflection and headspace, adding value to clients’ existing pieces through upcycling, and using colour to fine-tune the mood of the spaces.

If you would like to attend Hotel Designs LIVE (free for designers, architects, hoteliers and developers, click here – booking form takes less than two minutes).

“Our surroundings affect how we feel on a daily basis and it has never been more important for us to embrace the concept of wellbeing – intrinsic, as it is, for our own happiness and ability to lead successful lifestyles in challenging times,” Misra says. “So for those of you who know us, you will not be surprised that as part of our styling process, and we place a great deal of emphasis on the idea of incorporating wellbeing into the projects we take on.”

Wellness not only relates to interiors but also to the wider environment, which the studio achieves through sourcing materials with sustainable attributes and using existing pieces such as vintage pieces.

Misra kindly shares her tips when injecting wellness in design – and which vital areas she looks at when designing her projects.

Sustainability

Sustainability and wellness in design travel together in parallel lanes. Opt for sustainable materials like linoleum, floral leather, cork for furniture and wall and floor finishes and incorporate existing pieces such as vintage items. The use of the latest technology also ensures efficient energy use in the spaces. Through computer calculations which map the sun’s movement you can decide how much cooling and heating is required for a space.

Healthy interiors

Colourful lounge inside Aberdare Gardens

Image credit: Aberdare Gardens/Shalini Misra/Mel Yates

Interior design can improve your health and wellbeing in so many ways. Ensure that the natural light and air flow of the spaces are effective. Create quiet peaceful private zones bringing nature inside. Always draw on natural materials and organise your space efficiently to create a smooth running of the environment. “We will always strive to ensure that our clients enjoy their homes and maximise their wellbeing by looking at the physical, emotional and aesthetic aspects of how the spaces in their homes work,” Misra says. “We will organise the space, in consultation with you, to forge its flawless running, using sustainable, natural materials wherever possible and ensuring an ample flow of air and natural light and also making the most intelligent use of artificial light.”

Colour and mood

The colour of a room can evoke certain emotions. Bold reds and yellows, for example, are known to be energising, stimulating and motivating. In contrast, blue is a soothing colour that calms the mind and promotes intellectual creativity, while green provides balance and harmony. Of course, neutral colours such as whites, greys and taupe, provide calm reassurance and a harmony between wellness and design. Through the use of colour a mood can be created which influences the clients’ emotional wellbeing. By using colour that is appropriate to the main use of each room, we can enhance the purpose of the space.

Making an impression is not only down to the first room you encounter, the whole design needs to have moments of impact whether through art, views through windows and internal spaces, architectural volumes or colour and texture.

Upcycling

With upcycling becoming such an integral part of any project, the studio looks at clients’ existing pieces and sees what can be repurposed, amended or relocated to ensure that no existing piece is wasted. This is an element of the sustainable side to our designs.

Lighting

Through the intelligent use of lighting and the latest technology we create flexible moods for lighting, making the spaces versatile as well as beautiful.

Meditation areas

Image credit: Farm House project/Shalini Misra/Mel Yates

Image credit: Farm House project/Shalini Misra/Mel Yates

Depending on the size of your space, you may wish to dedicate an entire room to meditation. While turning an empty room into a holistic meditation space is certainly a great use of your environment, you don’t have to devote an entire room to wellness. Instead, you can carve out space in an existing room and create a versatile environment that lends itself to tranquillity and calmness.

Ideally, you’ll want to choose a ‘low traffic’ area, that will allow you to meditate undisturbed. This might be a corner of a bedroom or space in a spare room. You can even turn a quiet part of your living area – or lounge – into a holistic meditation space if you wish.

Having a dedicated meditation space can certainly enhance your practice and encourage you to meditate regularly, but you can easily extend the design and style of your meditation space throughout your entire home. By doing so, you’ll create a calming, welcoming and tranquil environment that consistently enhances your well-being and reflects your unique personality.

Main image credit: Shalini Misra/Mel Yates

VIP Arrivals - July

VIP arrivals: Hottest hotels opening in July 2021

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

As momentum and demand builds for the industry to reopen fully and for travellers to enjoy one-off travel experiences once more, it seems as if the hospitality landscape is updating its infrastructure with newly designed hotels, in both new and existing properties, standing to welcome the new era of modern travellers. Editor Hamish Kilburn takes you through the hottest hotels opening in July…

VIP Arrivals - July

In this extended, unpredictable period, where countries continue to play chess with travellers’ freedom to travel, one thing is for certain: when the world finds its equilibrium following the pandemic, we will all need (and fully deserve) a holiday. While we are metaphorically stuck on the tarmac due to global travel restrictions, our research into the latest hotels opening (for the time being, at least) will have to come from behind our monitors on the editorial desk.

In order to make a bit more sense of the hotel development landscape – from London to Rome, Ibiza to Morroco – here the hottest hotels opening this July.

MAALOT Roma

Located in what was the residence of Gaetano Donizetti (1797 – 1848) famous Italian opera composer of Don Pasquale, Lucia di Lammermoor and Maria Stuarda, MAALOT Roma aims to attract a young and more seasoned clientele looking for a vibrant and cosy place for gathering and being in the know in the most central part of Rome. “My team and I are thrilled about this new opening and we can’t wait to open the doors to the first hotel of the MAALOT brand,” said Edoardo Officioso, the hotel’s general manager. “This first property, located just few steps from Trevi’s fountain, aims to become the new ‘lounge’ in Rome where [guests can] meet, share a drink or taste the gourmet experience. After these last months we hope to offer locals and travellers a special place to gather and find the pleasure to socialise again.”

Mondrian Shoreditch London 

Dubbed, by us, as on of ‘Shoreditch’s hottest hotels opening in 2021’, Mondrian Shoreditch London will open inside the existing Curtain hotel. With interior design by none other than the team at Goddard Littlefair, the 120-key lifestyle hotel will sit in the midst of Shoreditch, East London’s creative and cultural hub: an area that captivates the energy and playful DNA of the Mondrian brand. The hotel will collaborate with local personalities and brands to highlight their lifestyle approach to hospitality, via partnerships including artistic pop-ups and live performances in The Screening Room, a private room and bar. The property will also offer a premium co-working space, visionary dining and mixology concepts and boasts a rooftop pool and lounge by an award-winning team, just in time for the summer – a rarity for Londoners and always in high demand.

Mama Roma

Redner of restaurant in Mama Shelter in Rome

Image credit: Mama Roma

Scheduled to open in July 2021, Mama Roma, which we recently covered a sneak peek of, will be located in the elegant Prati district, on the right bank of the Tiber river. The 217-key hotel will welcome guests (local and travellers alike) to experience – in true Mama Shelter style – its eccentric, fun and accessible approach to hospitality. Spread over six floors, Mama Roma’s rooms have been conceived by the group’s in-house design team, Mama Design Studio. With other major hotels opening and hotel brands scheduled to debut in Rome over the next few years suggest that Rome is fast-becoming a hotel development hotspot – Mama, it seems, got in there first… 

The Tawny Hotel, Peak District

Located in the heart of rural Staffordshire, The Tawny Hotel is set within the 70-acre grounds of the restored wild garden of Consall Hall Estate – and is certainly one of the hottest hotels in England re-opening this summer. The hotel comprises of 55 immaculately designed Shepherds Huts, Treehouses, Boathouses, Retreats and the Lookout, each inspired by its surroundings and sympathetically designed by one of the owners, Sarah Reeves, with luxurious touches that intertwine with the natural environment.

With a rich history dating back to 1246, Consall Hall Estate and Gardens is considered a local treasure. Three years ago, locals Fran & William Scott-Moncrieff and Ben & Reeves embarked on a joint venture working with local conservation architects, ctd architects, to provide an economically viable and sustainable future for the gardens, ultimately creating The Tawny Hotel. Prior to their ownership, the site was the home of engineer, Mr William Podmore, who spent 50 years transforming the gardens, creating a space overflowing with life, a place to be discovered and enjoyed.

Today, considered design is present throughout the project; the cabins have been discretely and sensitively placed throughout the grounds in harmony with the rolling landscape and with care given to ensure the ecology of this very special estate continues to thrive. The project aims to be an exemplary showcase of responsible and sustainable tourism and this shines through all elements, be it the wood cladding used on the cabin exteriors, the foundations engineered to not harm the tree roots, the food waste utilised as fertiliser throughout the grounds and the outdoor bathtubs which require no chemicals, just fresh warm water.

Six Senses Ibiza 

Talk about timing, as the UK government decides to place Ibiza on the ‘green list’, Six Senses Hotels & Resorts is preparing to make its arrival on the island. But what is arguably more impressive is that the property, on the north shores of the island, will become Ibiza’s first sustainable resort – Six Senses Ibiza will be the first sustainable BREEAM certified resort and residential community in the Balearics. The resort will offer 116 guest accommodations, villas, suites and beachfront caves and a number of Village Residences with intimate terraces, lush gardens and pools – perfect for those looking for a permanent hideaway in the Mediterranean.

Hyatt Regency Koh Samui

Hyatt’s first hotel in Koh Samui will open in early July – but what’s really tickled our design senses is the collaborative architecture and design narrative. Three of Thailand’s top design names — architects The Office of Bangkok Architects (OBA), interiors specialist August Design Consultant and acclaimed landscaper PLandscape (PLA) —  were responsible for ensure that the resort is strong on both style and substance.

Architectural highlights include a showpiece lobby, the longest lobby arrival point in Koh Samui, where numerous skylights allow for natural illumination by the sun and the moon. Other standout features inside the 140-key hotel include plush accommodations that showcase terrific ocean views to the largest pool zone on the island, a collection of four pools, each cascading down from the main pool on the upper deck of the resort.

Airelles Saint-Tropez, Château de la Messardière

Acquired in May 2019, the property has joined Airelles’ prestigious hotel collection and has undergone extensive renovation work over the last two years, with highly acclaimed French architect and interior designer, Christopher Tollemer, overseeing the redesign.  Opening in July as Airelles Saint-Tropez, Château de la Messardière, the property, with its trademark domed cupolas and turrets, is Saint-Tropez’s largest hotel, occupying 25 acres of glorious grounds overlooking the Côte d’Azur and Provençal countryside.

Fairmont Taghazout Bay

Fairmont Taghazout Bay, designed by Wimberly Interiors, is the new property that is set to become the ‘new social nexus’ in Morocco for luxury travellers within the leisure sector. Its breath-taking coastline will introduce guests to a new and yet authentic destination. A wide range of distinctive features and activities designed to reflect the surrounding nature and local culture will cater to both the consumer and the corporate luxury hospitality industries. Located 17km north of Agadir, the property features 146 spacious accommodations featuring ocean view rooms, suites and villas, and a wellness facility that will shelter a wide range of treatments and experiences. 

Since you’re here…

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

Click here to sign up to our newsletter.

Weekly Briefing 25 06 21

Weekly briefing: design departures, hotel development & a new era for F&B

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Weekly briefing: design departures, hotel development & a new era for F&B

Editor Hamish Kilburn here, reporting for duty to patch up your week with a round-up of the hottest news and features that have emerged in the hotel design and hospitality industry over the last few days. This week’s briefing includes an emotional farewell, a look into the future of F&B hospitality and a glimpse at some of the major hotel development projects that will complete in the coming months. Scroll down and enjoy…

Weekly Briefing 25 06 21

In the latest Hotel Designs newsletter, sent out yesterday, I summed up this week’s news as ‘bitter-sweet’. In the same week we bid our fond farewell to a design studio that led the charge in hotel design for 30+ years, we also gathered some of F&B hospitality’s world-renowned experts in order to explore how the dining experience will evolve in 2021 and beyond. What’s more, we shared features on lighting, a hotel lobby unlike anything else we have seen and a look inside Viceroy’s debut hotel in Europe. It’s been a wild week, here on the editorial desk, so here’s our snapshot of the hottest, most-read stories:

Farewell for now: A look back on RPW Designs’ iconic projects

Image credit: RPW Design

In case you haven’t heard, leading hospitality design firm RPW Design became the latest casualty of the pandemic recently after its Managing Director Ariane Steinbeck announced that she had put the company into administration. With Steinbeck’s blessing, we reflected (past and present) on some of the hospitality design studio’s most iconic projects…

Read more.

EXCLUSIVE // Roundtable: How F&B hospitality is evolving in 2021 & beyond

For all brands working in hospitality, shutting up shop due to Covid-19 was a hard pill to swallow. But could F&B hospitality emerge from this crisis evolved and better shaped for the new demand of modern travellers and locals alike? Hotel Designs, in association with LUQEL, gathers some of the UK’s leading figures in the industry to find out.

Read more.

Lobby goals! Inside Graduate Hotels’ debut property in New York

Lobby inside Roosevelt Island hotel

Image credit: Steve Freihorn

Designed by Stonehill Taylor and SnøhettaGraduate Roosevelt Island becomes the Graduate Hotels’ 29th property and marks the brand’s arrival in New York City. With an arrival experience unlike any other (literally with a 12-foot sculpture greeting guests checking in), let’s take a look inside the 18-storey, 224-key design-led hotel.

Read more.

Inside Viceroy Kopaonik Serbia, the brand’s debut hotel in Europe

Arriving on the European hospitality scene for the first time, Viceroy Hotels & Resortshas just opened the 119-key Viceroy Kopaonik Serbia, a luxe mountain resort rich in culture, natural beauty and boundless adventure. Let’s take a look inside.

Read more.

New renders released of W Rome, months ahead of its opening

W Rome - Wet Deck

Image credit: W Rome

W Hotels Worldwide is preparing to make a bold arrival in Italy this autumn with the debut of W Rome. Located on Via Liguria, next to the Spanish Steps, the historic palazzo-turned-luxury-lifestyle-hotel will offer an unapologetically Italian experience, where guests can live in the moment and anticipate the future of the Eternal City.

Read more.

(in video) Hotel Designs LIVE: Workspace design trends in hospitality

In the final session of Hotel Designs LIVE on May 11, 2021, we positioned the spotlight on workspace design trends and how they are impacting hotel design and hospitality. In an exclusive panel discussion, editor Hamish Kilburn welcomed leading figures in residential, workspace and hospitality design in order to confront the topic from three separate perspectives.

Watch more.

Since you’re here…

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

Click here to sign up to our newsletter.

Laufen New Classic

The New Classic from Laufen: A revolution in bathroom design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The New Classic from Laufen: A revolution in bathroom design

Following bathrooms beyond practical spaces being explored in the latest Hotel Designs LIVE, which took place on May 11, we take a look bathroom brand Laufen’s The New Classic, designed by Marcel Wanders, which launched a few years ago as something unique yet timeless for designers wanting to add personality in their wellness areas.

Innovation in the hotel bathroom space has progressed rapidly and one particular area that has seen huge progress is in the materials used to create bathroom ceramics.

Laufen New Classic

SaphirKeramik is one of the latest, globally significant innovations from Swiss manufacturer Laufen. This revolutionary, ceramic material reaches its exceptional hardness blended with corundum, a colourless mineral, which is a component of sapphires. This gives SaphirKeramik a flexural strength equal to that of steel. Yet it has the potential to be wafer-thin, giving designers almost infinite freedom to experiment – and tear up the rulebook of bathroom design.

SaphirKeramik is an innovative ceramic material, which possesses all the hygienic advantages of traditional bathroom ceramics, but is thinner, more defined and extremely robust. Its special properties are down to the addition of corundum, found through years of research and development by Laufen. Since its launch in 2013 SaphirKeramik has become a favourite material of many architects and bathroom planners, as it allows for a new design language with bathroom ceramics, unachievable in the same way with more conventional ceramic material.

Strong and malleable, SaphirKeramik allows the creation of thin, yet 4-5 mm ultra strong walls and tight-edge radii of just 1 to 2mm while retaining the traditional production process. Its slender profile renders it space-saving, lightweight and environmentally friendly.

the-new-classics-marcel-wanders-laufen-vdf-product-fair_dezeen_2364-hero

Image credit: Laufen

The development process

Laufen uses a thinner ceramic body and a simpler structure to reduce the weight compared with conventional ceramic. The benefits are manifold: lower raw material costs and energy consumption in production and transportation.

The result is clear to see – ceramics with thin, almost live edges: living square bowls designed by Andreas Dimitriardis, the graphic lines of the washbasins out in the Kartell by Laufen collection designed by Ludovica and Roberto Palomba, the amazing textures on trays and washbasins in the design series of VAL by Konstantin Grcic and the razor blade sharp shelf of the INO washbasins designed by Toan Nguyen.

Pushing the boundaries of innovation

Laufen continues to stretch the material’s limits by exploiting its super-fine forms not only to create exquisitely detailed textures and patterns but also by engineering the innovative material to increase its maximum size – a 120 cm-long washbasin in SaphirKeramik is the largest to date. The brand also continually innovates by collaborating with established designers to create new collections using the material.

Most recently, Laufen commissioned the Dutch star designer Marcel Wanders to create The New Classic collection, in view of the outstanding reputation he has established worldwide with his extravagant style and innovative use of materials and technology. For Laufen, he had all the credentials required to fashion a new contemporary design language utilising its SaphirKeramik material. The outcome is characterised by soft, gentle feminine curves reminiscent of the opening petals of a flower, alongside angular, masculine elements. In view of the tension generated by this approach, the distinctive presence of The New Classic is regarded as unprecedented in the sanitary ware segment. To allow bathrooms to be fitted out completely with The New Classic, Laufen has assembled a very broad and versatile collection, including stunning washbasin bowls made from SaphirKeramik.

Here is the Product Watch Pitch that Jon Bond, Head of Projects at Laufen and Roca, presented recently to an audience of designers, architects and hoteliers at Hotel Designs LIVE:

Elaborate attention to detail

To match The New Classic bathroom collection, Laufen also created a range of accessories from SaphirKeramik. Among the items are a wall-mounted shelf, soap dish, toothbrush holder, toilet brush holder and an elegant oval mirror with the novel distinction of being framed in SaphirKeramik.

According to Marcel Wanders, “For the first time, the ultra-modern SaphirKeramik has been moulded into a classic and iconic form. This lightweight yet resilient material gave us the unique opportunity to celebrate the beauty of fine porcelain with our elegant, soft lines.”

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

Main image credit: Laufen

Virtual roundtable: How F&B hospitality is evolving in 2021 & beyond

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Virtual roundtable: How F&B hospitality is evolving in 2021 & beyond

For all brands working in hospitality, shutting up shop due to Covid-19 was a hard pill to swallow. But could F&B hospitality emerge from this crisis evolved and better shaped for the new demand of modern travellers and locals alike? Editor Hamish Kilburn, in association with LUQEL, gathers some of the UK’s leading figures in the industry to find out…

After months of forced closure after Covid-19 brought the UK hospitality scene to its knees more than a year ago, F&B spaces recently took on a new role as the industry showed signs of recovery. With the aim to reconnect, following a brutal recharge, hotels up and down the country re-emerged with purpose, amplifying new trends and sheltering new concepts, to ultimately confront a new chapter in the industry.

Brands of all shapes and sizes did what was necessary in order to innovatively convert their outdoor spaces into exceptional dining experiences. In this exclusive and time-appropriate roundtable, in collaboration with LUQEL, which provides hospitality businesses with state-of-the-art water solutions, we have brought together a handful of the industry’s finest in order to explore how the challenges of today are forcing brand’s to bring to the chef’s table new F&B models, which will essentially help tomorrow’s thriving F&B hospitality landscape.

Meet the panel:

Hamish Kilburn: UK hospitality has been open now for a few weeks, what’s the mood been like in your establishments?

Mario Perera: For us at The Dorchester, we didn’t stop during the pandemic– we were running the hotel with residents living here and when were able to inviting certain people to come and stay. What made the pandemic particularly challenging was that we are currently celebrating our 90th anniversary, so we wanted to make a statement. We decided to open the roof terrace – we are following all the guidelines and doing everything we can to make each guests’ experience memorable – which is something completely new for The Dorchester.

The Dorchester rooftop terrace

During the easing of lockdown measures in the UK, The Dorchester utlised its outdoor space and opened its rooftop as an F&B outlet for the first time in its nine-decade history.

Marco Palazzo: The Kingston 1 and its Solo restaurant have just opened, and it’s been undoubtedly a slow start. While government’s restrictions still in place don’t help us, we’ve been getting a great response from our first guests, which is a reassuring signal for what’s to come that keeps us optimistic for the future.

Conor O’Leary: Touch wood, we have been fortunate with very high demand here at Gleneagles. People tend to come and stay with us in order to escape the city. Over half term, we were running at 95 per cent capacity and we are looking forward to a busy summer. There are restrictions, of course, which we are managing and people are booking less impulsively, but guests do, in general, understand.

Also, this situation has allowed our team to think more creatively. We have installed pop-up bars and ice-cream shacks, for example, in order to encourage guests to be outdoors, which has allowed us to also offer something different and unique for our locals too.

“I think Covid-19 has given more of a thirst for interesting experiences, and to be more mindful as to how and where they will spend their money.” – Josed Youssef, Founder, Kitchen Theory.

James Green: You mentioned the offering increase, have there been areas where the offiering has changed?

COL: We have had to change a few things. We were very well-known for our breakfast buffet before Covid-19 and for the time being that has had to stop. Instead, we are serving 400 a la carte breakfasts a day, which as you can imagine is a challenge in itself. Strathearn restaurant, a classical Franco-Scottish fine dining restaurant, is well known for its table work and trolleys which we have had to limit somewhat but we have compensated with other offerings. With large restaurants, however, we are able to adhere to those restrictions. I have also noticed that interior designers are not just designing F&B spaces that look good anymore, but they are really designing experience concepts and developing from the ground up.

Jozef Youssef: I’d say, now more than ever, we are in this experience economy – I think Covid-19 has given more of a thirst for interesting experiences, and to be more mindful as to how and where they will spend their money. We were moving in this direction anyway, but I see more experimental themes coming out of this. Of course, this is largely driven by social media. There are a lot of hotels and restaurants in London, but I do wonder how many of them are a great once-in-a-lifetime experience – and I think consumers will be demanding that in the near future.

Ivaylo Lefterov: SVART is very unique and F&B plays a massive role in our guest journey experience. We are trying to keep this as bespoke as possible. There are certain challenges that come with that aspiration– for example, we are looking to introduce individual menus for our guests in order to monitor their nutrition from check in to check out. The menu will be based on how their nutrition is changing from a day-to-day basis.

HK: Does everyone see personalised menus being a reality in the future? 

JY: From the research we carry out, I don’t think it’s a question of reality, I think it’s going to become a demand – and kitchens will have to adapt. You can see it happening already. Small personalisations, such a allergens and dietary requirements, that didn’t really come into conversation 15 or 20 years ago, are now an unavoidable reality. Also, back then, chefs were less sympathetic to it. Operations are going to have to adapt to be more flexible to this consumer behaviour.

“The reason why hotels have evolved from simply sheltering the steakhouse or Italian restaurant is that you don’t just have that option on the high street anymore.” – Conor O’Leary, Joint Managing Director, Gleneagles.

HK: So much effort and resources go into pairing food with the best compliment such as wine – it can really enhance your experience, is this still important? Do you see a market for a healthier alternative?

COL: When we re-opened the hotel, Scotland’s regulations prevented us from offering alcohol. The sale of non-alcoholic beverages, on top of water, was vast. Nearly every table ordered non-alcoholic beers, wines or the cocktails we had created. We therefore definitely feel as if there is a need for healthier alternatives to alcohol.

HK: Also, it’s important to remember, with a rise in hotel development outside the city, more customers will be driving to these venues and therefore will be restricted on how much alcohol they consume anyway.

Mario P: For those who want an experience and education in wine, we now offer a very exclusive package for guests. We allow a select few down to the dine in the wine vault and the chef’s table. We also do masterclasses – and this is something we introduced and has been very successful.

JY: Water is the healthiest drink that you can consume and surely there is a way to make that market more premium to those who are going out and experiencing a luxury meal. There should be more of a ritual around water and water choices.

The slick water station by LUQEL is particularly suitable for the hospitality industry and offers users 30 different recipes with individual mineralisation.

The slick water station by LUQEL is particularly suitable for the hospitality industry and offers users 30 different recipes with individual mineralisation.

HK: Conor, you obviously worked in a number of establishments in London before heading up to Gleneagles. What have been the major changes since then and now?  

COL: The overall answer is that the audience is more aware – they go out more than they did before and there’s a lot more understanding around food in general. The reason why hotels have evolved from simply sheltering the steakhouse or Italian restaurant is that you don’t just have that option on the high street anymore. The dining experiences are curated and easily available. Hotels slowly caught up to this. Good businesses are offering something unique – and the dining experiences are different from other areas, such as the lobby, of the hotel. Personalisation is a tricky space, because the best dining experiences are in the hands of the restauranteur – many guests don’t want to think in order to enjoy their dining experience. And that’s before even considering that your guests are international. We have to be relevant nowadays.

Our guests are also changing. We spent a lot of time softening our reputation, and the experience is on their terms.

“Being an architect myself, we tend to be quite arrogant to the usage of the spaces.” – Ivaylo Lefterov, Development Direcotr, Miris

HK: Do you think it’s important for chefs to have exposure of the design plans before their completed?

Marco P: A restaurant represents the personality and style of a chef; I am very lucky to have started at Solo restaurant before it opened as it gave me the opportunity to have a voice in contributing to the creation of the venue’s identity, based on what my vision was. Today, we have a relaxed yet elegant dining venue which is unique in its area, and offers locals a high-quality neighbourhood restaurant with a fine-dining touch.

JY: Traditionally, chefs would work in a private space away from the guests and all the theatre would be performed on the restaurant floor. But then something interesting happened. Restaurants started to open up the kitchens, which became part of the whole aesthetic. Now, for many businesses, chefs are integral to the overall brand and concept. So, moving forward, I do think that chefs should have exposure of the design – certainly the layout of the Kitchen – because it has to be operational. I predict that there will be more collaborations between chefs and designers and other experts in order to create new experiences.

COL: I think we all bring work and life experience into our roles. I think it’s only relevant to bring in chefs into the design stages if they have experience in that area.  It’s important that the design process matches the concept.

IL: Chefs are vital. Being an architect myself, we tend to be quite arrogant to the usage of the spaces. Genius architects in the past have completely ignored functional areas, especially the kitchen and back-of-house spaces. Therefore, you do require knowledge in that area and everyone has to thinking in the same language. For SVART, I chose to bring everyone to the table before the architect in order for us to discuss exactly what we want from a functional element.

Mario P: I agree. Designers are integral but if you can’t get the food right then you have a big problem. In a branded property, everyone is important and everyone should be working together.

“Five years ago, we had signs saying ‘keep off the grass’ and now we have 100 dining tables, chairs and seafood shack on the lawn.” – Conor O’Leary, Joint Managing Director, Gleneagles.

HK: In between lockdowns one and two in the UK, there were less covers in restaurants, due to social distancing, but many reported that average spend per table increased. Could this be a solution in the future?

Mario P: People are happy to pay if their experience is matched. I think a lot has changed, and we too have softened our image. For example, I am more than happy to be out on the floor to pour wine and interact with guests and I think people love that. There’s also more of a dialogue between the consumer and the waiter/waitress. People are asking questions about the menus and just enjoying being out again.

COL: The hardship we have been in has forced that creativity. Five years ago, we had signs saying ‘keep off the grass’ and now we have 100 dining tables, chairs and seafood shack on the lawn We have also seen an increase in average spend per table. I don’t think there is a link between space and spend – I think people are just desperate to enjoy hospitality again.

HK: We have seen a big shift when it comes to sustainability and reduction of carbon emissions, there have been many changes with government legislations around single use plastics, what are your plans to meet the ongoing legislations going forward?

COL: We were sourcing locally anyway, but [during Covid] we were able to really focus heavily in this area. We are opening a small townhouse in Edinburgh later this year and huge part of that concept will be around how we engage and source locally. Everything is looking inwardly and instead of price first, it is community first.

Mario P: I have been practicing this for a while and it something I am very passionate about. It’s really important for me for us to use local farmers where we can.

IL: As you know, the concept for SVART is to offer a personalised menu for our guests around their nutrition but everything we do will be limited to what we can source locally. Part of our concept is to produce a lot of the goods ourselves. We already have a fish farm and we will also have a green farm that will be powered by the waste and energy that we will produce. This is all part of the holistic process.

Also, as we design SVART, we are looking at the source of the material of each and every product that we specify in the hotel – that is very important for this meaningful development.

HK: In other areas of hotel design, the sensory experience is being explored as a meaningful way to shelter a deeper experience. Can you see this working in F&B hospitality?

JY: Undoubtedly. A lot of research we have done over the last few years, that we published recently, the sensory touchpoints are being explored far deeper than ever before on the influence they are having. Your senses are constantly ticking away, helping you to structure your surroundings or the experience you are in. What’s interesting from our research is that there are strong correlations with how sound effects the environment. If you are in a restaurant, for example, and the sound level is above 70 – 80 decibels, the noise level physiologically suppresses your ability to taste sweetness. What we are trying to understand is how colour, shape and sound can help to enhance the experience that guests are having.

IL: With our development, we are engaging with all these senses, subconsciously, to create a meaningful hospitality experience.

HK: Are there any F&B eras you hope don’t re-emerge as trends? 

IL: All-inclusive hotels, globally!

Marco P: Rediscovering simple ingredients and flavours that are good to the soul and bring people together, which is what we try to do at Solo.

JY: It comes back to personalisation. In august of last year public health England announced an obesity crisis. Over the next 10 – 20 years, the population will become even more health aware. I’m of a generation when James Bond smoked, but you wouldn’t think of that in movies released today. Maybe in the future, James Bond will have a lighter drink – or LUQEL water even – at the bar. I think, personally, there will be much more education on healthier alternatives in regards to ingredients.

COL: I think there’s going to be a slight move back towards sophisticated dining. We would have to pay a bit more but I think customers will accept that. And the dining experience would link in to a more meaningful and thoughtful journey.

IL: In comparison to Europe, hospitality brands operating in Bulgaria already offer a vast choice of waters and brands for guests to select from. I can see there being a demand for more interesting water flavours in the future, and I do see that becoming a demand from guests.

Since you’re here, why not read our feature on personalised water for all?

Clearly, this is just the start of the conversation around how F&B will evolve in 2021 & beyond. Hotel Designs will be putting particular emphasis on this topic over the next few months, and may even make a stage appearance at a show or two with hand-picked guests in order to explore the future of F&B in more delicious detail. Stay tuned…

Morgan table tops

Product Watch: Furniture brand Morgan launches new table tops

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Product Watch: Furniture brand Morgan launches new table tops

Morgan, the furniture brand perhaps most known for – but not limited to – its innovative hospitality seating designs, has announced the launch of multiple new table tops to its Goodwood and Rakino collections. Let’s take a look…

Known for its eco-sensitive DNA and its authentic and organic collaborations with the likes of Tim Rundle and Mehran Gharleghi, Morgan is a British furniture brand that believes the design and manufacture of truly original, high-quality furniture is the result of passion, care, design integrity, experience, craftsmanship and an unfaltering dedication to quality.

Morgan table tops

With this kind of commitment, the brand does not take product launches lightly – and to compliment its family of seating in the Goodwood and Rakino collections, it has recently unveiled new table tops to add texture to the already striking range of products.

From timber, glass and Carrara marble tops, to a unique geometric collaboration with artist Mark McClure, and now two further options – including a traditional cane detail and new technology recycled plastic tops, offered in both a neutral or colourful option, the new table tops launched by Morgan are both 100 per cent recycled and recyclable.

Rakino chair with table tops

Image credit: Morgan

The new cane Goodwood table sits perfectly next to our cane back Kaya lounge chair, adding a delicate, natural detail to the timber frame. But that’s not all. The brand has also added two striking terrazzo top options on our Rakino nesting tables.

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

Main image credit: Morgan

W Rome - Guest Room (render)

New renders released of W Rome, months ahead of its opening

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
New renders released of W Rome, months ahead of its opening

Designed by Meyer Davis with the brand’s bold interpretation of luxury in mind, W Rome will bring innovation and local storytelling to life when it opens this Autumn, marking the brand’s Italian debut…

W Hotels Worldwide is preparing to make a bold arrival in Italy this autumn with the debut of W Rome. Located on Via Liguria, next to the Spanish Steps, the historic palazzo-turned-luxury-lifestyle-hotel will offer an unapologetically Italian experience, where guests can live in the moment and anticipate the future of the Eternal City.

W Rome - Guest Room (render)

The time has almost arrived for us to welcome W Hotels’ debut Italian property, which, if rumours are to be believed, will in true W style make no apology for its bold and loud references to the local vernacular. For the Marriott International brand, which shelters a mind-blowing portfolio of more than 7,600 properties under 30 leading brands spanning 133 countries and territories, the opening of W Rome will be a significant moment as the destination continues to be a popular hotel development landscape.

“The debut of W Hotels in Italy is almost here and we could not be more excited to unveil our playfully luxe spirit with this highly anticipated hotel,” said Candice D’Cruz, Vice President – Luxury Brands, Europe, Middle East & Africa, Marriott International. “The opening will introduce a thriving line-up of restaurants and bars to the city that will become a must-go destination for travellers and local tastemakers alike. After more than a year of missed moments, raising a glass together on Otto Rooftop Bar is just what we all need.”

W Rome - Wet Deck

Image credit: W Hotels

Designed by Meyer Davis with the brand’s bold interpretation of luxury in mind, W Rome brings innovation and local storytelling to life. In a city marked by an immense historical heritage, the hotel décor will layer an Italian colour palette with patterns that blur distinct eras of standout design. The property exudes 1970s glamour with traditional architecture blending into colour blocking and bold graphic patterns in hues of burnt orange, dramatic red and foliage greens. An eclectic mix of colourful furniture meets stone walls representative of the building’s past, while reflective surfaces bring a contemporary feel to the interior. The 147 stylish, open-plan guestrooms and 15 suites feature luxurious design details including wooden herringbone patterned floors effortlessly blurring into modern marble surfaces contrasted with dark, rich maroon curtains. Guestrooms boast iconic views, with some overlooking the Istituto Svizzero, and many offering private balconies and terraces.

“W Lounge, the hotel’s buzzing bar destination, will bring the pulse of the city to the hotel’s doorstep.”

The Extreme Wow Suite (the W brand’s modern interpretation of a traditional presidential suite) provides a spectacular stay with highly coveted indoor and outdoor living, endless views across the city, and an impressive outdoor terrace spanning 140 square metres, perfect for private happenings and events.

As one of the defining characteristics of Italian culture, W Rome takes food seriously. Foodies will rejoice as Ciccio Sultano, Sicily’s sensational chef, brings his southern passion to the hotel as the Culinary Lead. His signature restaurant in Rome will be Giano Restaurant, where diners can meet over their favourite cocktails and delicious dishes. W Lounge, the hotel’s buzzing bar destination, will bring the pulse of the city to the hotel’s doorstep with live music, DJ sets and cocktail culture, while the hidden Giardino Clandestino will be  an intimate alfresco setting for toasting with friends.

W Rome - Giardino Clandestino

Image credit: W Hotels

A rare treasure in the city, Otto Rooftop Bar will boast sweeping panoramas across Rome, complete with a WET Deck (rooftop pool) where stylish locals and guests can soak up the Roman sun and mix it up over cocktails, crudo, and pizza.

FUEL meanwhile is the W brand’s high-energy, social take on wellness that allows guests to focus on mind and body. FUEL-focused activities will be led by Italian athlete Pietro Boselli, with the first FUEL x Petra Studio Gym and personal training programme. From high-intensity sessions to boxing and yoga, Boselli will offer guests and locals alike energy-soaked workouts.

Trailblazing its way around the globe, with nearly 60 hotels, W is defying expectations and breaking the norms of traditional luxury wherever the iconic W sign lands. W Rome is no exception and is expected to add ‘super-charge energy’ to the city, while offering guests and locals alike a destination that shelters provocative design and iconic hospitality experiences. W does it again!

Main image credit: W Hotels

RPW Design: A look back on its iconic hotel design projects

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
RPW Design: A look back on its iconic hotel design projects

In case you haven’t heard, leading hospitality design firm RPW Design became the latest casualty of the pandemic recently after its Managing Director Ariane Steinbeck announced that she had put the company into administration. With Steinbeck’s blessing, editor Hamish Kilburn reflects (past and present) on some of the hospitality design studio’s most iconic projects…

Over the course of 31 years, RPW Design earned its title as one of the leading international interior design practices within the realm of hospitality. Having created unique interiors for luxury hotels, cruise ships and private members’ clubs around the world, the studio has helped steer hospitality, from many perspectives, into several new eras of luxury and lifestyle. With an impressive portfolio of projects and awards, the firm became renowned for its technical prowess and sensual alchemy. In short, each project RPW Design undertook become memorable for its coherence and elegance.

During the pandemic, the studio helped us narrate as much as navigate the ever-evolving hotel design and hospitality scene – Ariane Steinbeck herself joined us on several virtual roundtables, including discussions on hygiene, wellness and sleep.

“While we mourn the loss of RPW Design Ltd, our team will remain a [resourceful and] reliable force in our industry.” – Ariane Steinbeck, Managing Director, RPW Design.

Over the weekend, however, Steinbeck, who in 2015 was passed the reins by Jan Wilson to become Managing Director – I still remember the fabulous Octoberfest-style event she arranged to mark her arrival – took to social media to share that the company had gone into administration. “It is with great sadness and a heavy heart that I must announce the closure of RPW Design Ltd after three decades of serving the hospitality industry,” she wrote. “Try as we might, we could not overcome the compounding effects of Covid-19 on our business… While we mourn the loss of RPW Design Ltd, our team will remain a [resourceful and] reliable force in our industry – some of whom have already found new ‘homes’ elsewhere.”

Our heartfelt, respectful nod (more of a bow actually) to the studio’s legacy comes as we look back to some of RPW Design’s iconic projects that added colour, texture and deep meaning to the hospitality landscape worldwide. From one of my first features I wrote as a design journalist – the unveil of London Marriott Hotel County Hall – to its most recent projects that are still in development, including working on what will be Sofia’s tallest building and the much-loved Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire, here’s an edited selection of jewels that, thanks to considered interior design approaches, boldly put (and kept) RPW Design on our radar.

London Marriott Hotel County Hall
Design team: Elizabeth Lane, Heather McLellan and Alessandro Tessari

In 2014, RPW Design was tasked to take one of London’s most iconic riverside buildings, which first opened in 1933 opposite the Houses of Parliament, into its next chapter in hospitality. The studio steered the London Marriott Hotel County Hall through its multi-million pound renovation under the watchful eye of Elizabeth Lane, Heather McLellan and Alessandro Tessari.

Re-emerging and re-opening with crisp, new interiors – far removed from the maroon and green colour scheme that the hotel brand was once known for – while also appropriately making sensitive nods throughout to the building’s colourful past. In short, RPW Design helped the hotel take back its status as one of London’s finest hotels, while showcasing a modern and contemporary Marriott International brand.

Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire
Design team:
Elizabeth Lane, Poppy Lindley (now at Martin Brudnizki Design Studio), Richard Snow and Alessandro Tessari

Image credit: RPW Design/Four Seasons Hampshire

Last year, RPW Design unveiled the renovation of Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire’s conference and banqueting spaces. The refreshed interiors of the hotel’s meeting and event spaces seamlessly breathed fresh life into the historical Georgian property, adding a stylish sense of sophistication. In order to appeal to both the social and business clientele at the hotel, the design studio artistically designed different identities for each of the conference and banqueting rooms. To ensure the hotel remained quintessentially British, the team chose to specifically work with British manufacturers and suppliers.

The Capital Suite inside InterContinental London Park Lane
Design team: Ariane Steinbeck, Richard Snow and Poppy Lindley

RPW Design designed The Capital Suite

Image credit: Will Pryce

Designed to suit the needs of todays’ top executives and boasting state-of-the-art facilities, the inspiration for the design concept for The Capital Suite was drawn from the nature and history of Hyde Park, which surrounds the hotel and its storied location. Accompanying the use of natural materials, every detail has been individually designed to adhere to the leitmotif. Design touches contain tasteful homages to London’s greenery such as bespoke bronze handles evocative of tree branches for the cabinetry. Artwork and accessories draw on Hyde Park’s equine traditions and the historic location of the hotel. Bespoke stitching details of the Plane, the tree that populates and represents London’s Royal Parks, are incorporated into the headboard design. The green landscape of the park even inspired textures, patterns and themes within the carpet designs and artworks.

The suite, spanning 335sqm on the first floor, is the ultimate haven for the international business and leisure traveller a like – you feel taken away from the Capital, which is somewhat ironic considering its majestic name and non-cliché British design touchpoints and references.

Malta Marriott Hotel & Spa
Design team: Elizabeth Lane, Alessandro Tessari and Poppy Lindley

Earlier this year, RPW Design unveiled the new Presidential Suite of Malta Marriott Hotel & Spa, which, following an investment of more than €30M, epitomises the splendour and elegance of the recently renovated five-star St Julian’s property. Not only has RPW Design created a harmonious atmosphere but functionality was also at the forefront of the design process to form a space that is adaptable to modern travellers’ transition from daytime business meetings to leisurely evenings.

Situated on the 12th floor of the hotel, guests can enjoy unique panoramic views of Balluta Bay, which are visible from the entire 170 sqm suite. These vistas can be enjoyed on the expansive terrace, balconies and windows which run the whole length of the spacious room.

Sheraton Schiphol Airport (under construction)
Design team: Elizabeth Lane, Alessandro Tessari, Richard Snow and Heather McLellan

The project, which is still in motion, is a full refurbishment of the guestrooms and corridors in the airport hotel. It was integral to hit the right notes as this project is an early adopter of the new branding for Sheraton. The team were inspired by aerial views of the tulip fields and surrounding Land Art Park Buitenschot, built not only for recreations but also to reduce noise from the airfield. 

Sofia Marriott (under construction)
Design team: Ariane Steinbeck and Heather McLellan

Sofia Marriott will become the tallest tower in Sofia, Bulgaria. Unfortunately, we are unable to share much more than that at the moment – we don’t even have images to tease you with for the time being. All that we can confirm is that the talented individuals at RPW Design will be responsible for the contemporary interior design scheme that the building will eventually shelter.

Madrid Historic Apartment (expected to complete in 2022)
Design team: Ariane Steinbeck, Richard Snow and Alessandro Tessari

Image credit: RPW Design/Smallbone Kitchens

Image credit: RPW Design/Smallbone Kitchens

It may not be a hotel, but it does give you an idea of what the team are currently working on. The ‘piano nobile’ in a stately, Haussmannian-style building on one of Madrid’s most revered boulevards, is located steps from the Prado Museum and Retiro Park in the Salamanca neighbourhood. Built in 1919, and having had only a few owners in its history, the team at RPW Design are in the process of restoring and carefully re-shaping the “villa” into a spatial arrangement that makes sense for today’s lifestyles. The designed have put a large emphasis on the kitchen as a centrepiece as preparation of food and the joy of cooking and entertaining is paramount for this client. Assisted by Smallbone of Devizes, Steinbeck (who’s passion for cooking, I’m told, comes close to her love of design) and the former RPW Design team have come up with a solution that is adaptable to the family’s needs and unconventional in its approach.

Although this is a sad farewell to a company who has, for three decades, led with such poise, precision and passion, I can’t help but feel optimistic for Ariane Steinbeck, Heather McLellan, Alessandro Tessari,  Poppy Lindley, Richard Snow and Elizabeth Lane. As we close the door on this unforgettable chapter, I urge you to keep your eyes fixed on the corridor to see which other doors creep open. Behind them will no doubt be more masterpieces from the talented individuals – perhaps sheltered under different studios  – who together were RPW Design. Watch this space.

Main image credit: RPW Design

(in video) Hotel Designs LIVE: Workspace design trends in hospitality

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
(in video) Hotel Designs LIVE: Workspace design trends in hospitality

In the final session of Hotel Designs LIVE on May 11, 2021, we positioned the spotlight on workspace design trends and how they are impacting hotel design and hospitality. In an exclusive panel discussion, editor Hamish Kilburn welcomed leading figures in residential, workspace and hospitality design in order to confront the topic from three separate perspectives (full video below)… 

To aptly round off Hotel Designs LIVE, which took place on May 11, editor Hamish Kilburn returned to the screen to introduce the final topic of the day. Having already hosted panel discussions on the same day around the new era of lifestyle, unconventional bathrooms and celebrating art outside the frame, the fourth and final discussion amplified a topic that is ever-evolving, especially following recent cultural shifts. Closely linked to the conversations around lifestyle, workspace design trends are taking bold leaps forward. Therefore, it’s little surprise that major shows this year, such as HIX Event and Workplace Design Show, will explore the topic in detail later this year.

Since you’re here, there are limited spaces for the next Hotel Designs LIVE event (taking place virtually on August 10). It’s free for designers, architects, hoteliers and developers to attend – just click here to secure your place in the audience (booking form takes less than two minutes).

Ahead of those key events, which will include yet more panel discussions moderated by Hotel Designs, and as the dust is yet to settle on exactly how hospitality will incorporate today’s workspace trends in the future, Kilburn wanted to understand early on how the new era of lifestyle is leading towards public areas opening up to shelter co-working spaces. “Now that the world has adapted to news ways of working, and consuming information, the opportunities for hotels and hospitality establishments to design flexible spaces for business and leisure has never been greater,” he said. “But how do you sensitively design co-working spaces that are both functional, aesthetically pleasing and on brand? It’s a complicated topic that has many strands. Therefore, we decided that for this panel discussion we were going to hear perspectives from three corners of the arena; a residential designer, a workplace designer and a hospitality interior designer.”

On the panel:

Here’s the full video of the panel discussion (on demand), produced by CUBE, which includes Product Watch pitches from Session Sponsor Shure and lighting brand Well-Lit.

That concludes our editorial series around the topics explored at Hotel Designs LIVE. We have also published the full recordings of session one, session two and session three from Hotel Designs LIVE .

You can now book your place to attend our next Hotel Designs LIVE on August 10, 2021. The topics explored will include surfaces, sleep, senses and social – speakers have been announced! In the meantime, if you would like to discuss sponsorship opportunities, focused Product Watch pitches or the concept of Hotel Designs LIVE, please contact Katy Phillips or call +44 (0) 1992 374050.

Since you’re here…

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GROHE Plus tap with digital temperature display

GROHE supports energy and water saving with first digitally enhanced tap

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
GROHE supports energy and water saving with first digitally enhanced tap

Global bathroom and kitchen fittings brand GROHE, with sustainability as one of its core pillars, has upgrades its GROHE Plus collection of basin taps, which now offer precise control of water temperature with integrated LED display, environmentally conscious water consumption thanks to sensor-activated Eco Spray and an architectural silhouette that makes a design statement at the bathroom…

GROHE Plus tap with digital temperature display

With bathrooms becoming more than just practical spaces and while hospitality is catching up to the ethos of designers and architects to inherently design and specify in an eco-friendly way, the launch of the GROHE Plus tap deserves its place in the spotlight. With this unveil, GROHE now offers users the possibility to accurately control the water temperature of their basin tap using the innovations of digitally enhanced design. The digital upgrade within the existing GROHE Plus collection not only enables safe water enjoyment, but also supports users’ increasing desire for sustainable living. Using the principle of “nudging”, a concept from behavioural economics, users are made aware through a visual colour change displayed on the spout of the tap when hot water is flowing – often unnecessarily – in order to encourage users to avoid wasting energy. This design approach promotes responsible use of the valuable resource of water and saves energy at the same time.

The eco-friendly functionality of GROHE Plus is reinforced by its accessible Eco Spray setting. To switch from the standard spray to the more refined Eco Spray of just four litres per minute, which reduces water consumption without compromising on user comfort or experience, users can simply swipe their hand over the lit icon on top of the spout to activate the sensor-controlled system which will change the water flow. The GROHE Plus collection is also future-oriented in its hybrid design language, which skilfully combines round and square elements. This makes the range a real statement for every modern bathroom, both in terms of sustainability and design.

The dynamic design language of GROHE Plus is inspired by the arc, which symbolises both strength and lightness. Combining circular shapes with the crisp, clean lines of a cube, GROHE Plus creates an exciting architectural silhouette. At the same time, the design supports ergonomic comfort and invites interaction. The 90-degree swivel spout also increases user-friendliness and caters for a variety of different interactions and uses.

The combination of cubic and organic shapes not only distinguishes GROHE Plus aesthetically, but also makes the tap collection the perfect counterpart to both square and round ceramic lines such as GROHE Essence or GROHE Cube – all according to personal interior design style. To complete the harmonious overall look of the bathroom, the two-tone surface of GROHE Plus’ LED display made of chrome and high-quality acrylic glass in MoonWhite can also be found in several of GROHE’s shower collections too, such as the GROHE SmartControl thermostat and GROHE Rainshower SmartActive head showers.

In addition to the new digitally-enhanced models, the GROHE Plus collection includes a wide range of classic single- lever mixers in different sizes and with additional functions such as a pull-out spout, wall-mounted 2-hole basin mixers, taps for shower and bathtub, and a visually striking freestanding bathtub option. For even greater design freedom that meets the growing demand for personalised style in the bathroom, GROHE Plus is available in Chrome, SuperSteel and Brushed Hard Graphite finishes, the latter of which is accompanied by a black LED display.

Main image credit: GROHE

Guestroom inside Viceroy Kopaonik Serbia

Inside Viceroy Kopaonik Serbia, the brand’s debut hotel in Europe

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Inside Viceroy Kopaonik Serbia, the brand’s debut hotel in Europe

Arriving on the European hospitality scene for the first time, Viceroy Hotels & Resorts has just opened the 119-key Viceroy Kopaonik Serbia, a luxe mountain resort rich in culture, natural beauty and boundless adventure. Let’s take a look inside…

Guestroom inside Viceroy Kopaonik Serbia

Kopaonik , which translates to “Mountain of the Sun”  is a biodiversity hotspot with close to 200 sunny days annually, ensuring beautiful year-round conditions and offering endless fuelled activities. For a hotel brand that is known for its sunny destinations – think Viceroy L’Ermitage Bevery Hills and Viceroy Los Cabos – it’s therefore not such a surprise why the hotel group chose this location to make its debut in Europe.

“We’re extraordinarily proud to open our first European resort in the beautiful, culturally rich destination of Kopaonik, Serbia,” said Bill Walshe, CEO at Viceroy Hotels & Resorts. “Through inspiring experiences, engaging service and genuine connections, we are bringing an elevated offering that will stand out from its competitors across Europe.”

Image credit: Viceroy Hotels & Resorts

Designed by world-renowned hospitality design firm, WATG and its interiors studio, Wimberly Interiors, the hotel reflects the local “Suvo Rudiste” contemporary mountain style and complements the beauty of its surrounding landscape. Showcasing the height of alpine living, the interiors celebrate local culture and craftsmanship with stone, glass, timber and textiles resulting in effortless elegance.

Suite inside Viceroy hotel in Serbia

Image credit: Viceroy Hotels & Resorts

Floor-to-ceiling glass walls and open-air spaces offer abundant natural light and a picture frame of stunning views. The generously-appointed guestrooms and suites, including a remarkable two-bedroom penthouse, offer a peaceful retreat to unwind with the thoughtful amenities guests come to expect at a five-star resort. Each stylish accommodation boasts a private balcony with breathtaking views of the mountain or ski village.

Helmed by celebrated Executive Chef Andrew Jones, guests can enjoy elevated dining rooted in international and Serbian cuisines and inspired by the local terrain and culinary scene. Pique Ski Bar, overlooking the ski centre, offers inventive light bites and drinks, live performances, and a jaw-dropping view of Pancic’s peak. The beating heart of Viceroy Kopaonik, The Mountain Kitchen, welcomes guests for breakfast, lunch and dinner featuring hearty yet healthy dishes that honour the region’s rich heritage.

Yellow bar inside the Viceroy hotel in Serbia

Image credit: Viceroy Hotels & Resorts

The Library, located in the lobby, serves as a quiet haven where guests can sip artisan coffee and teas or other specialty beverages while perusing a curated selection of books. And, coming soon, an intimate Asian-inspired restaurant highlighting specialities from duck to sushi. The Spa by Viceroy, the only full-service luxury spa in Kopaonik, boasts six-treatment rooms, a beauty lab, an indoor vitality pool, and a hammam/scrub room offering holistic wellness experiences using native mountain ingredients.

As the largest ski-in, ski-out resort in Serbia, Kopaonik is known for its pristine runs beloved by novice and highly skilled skiers alike. The resort offers 55km of runs for alpine skiing, 12km for cross country, and a specially-prepared Karaman Greben central course, lit for night skiers. Additionally, Kopaonik Village offers an abundance of excursions including bars, restaurants, museums and more.

With three dining venues, a luxurious full-service spa, indoor and outdoor pools and curated off-site guest experiences, Viceroy Kopaonik welcomes locals and guests alike to experience a new world of adventure and contemporary luxury.

While the brand has makes its first footprints on the European hospitality soil, elsewhere in the world, Viceroy Santa Monica is in the process of a sweeping $21 million renovation, which started in January last year that will include a complete design overhaul and Hotel Zena opened in October as a bold new cultural hub celebrating the accomplishments of women and recognising their enduring struggle for gender equality. To us, the brand is hitting all the right notes as it authentically expands into new territories. And Viceroy Kopaonik is no exception.

Main image credit: Viceroy Hotels & Resorts

Giant sculpture in Lobby in Graduate Hotel Roosevelt Island

Inside Graduate Hotels’ debut property in New York

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Inside Graduate Hotels’ debut property in New York

Designed by Stonehill Taylor and Snøhetta, Graduate Roosevelt Island becomes the Graduate Hotels’ 29th property and marks the brand’s arrival in New York City. With an arrival experience unlike any other (literally with a 12-foot sculpture greeting guests checking in), let’s take a look inside the 18-storey, 224-key design-led hotel…

Giant sculpture in Lobby in Graduate Hotel Roosevelt Island

Created for travellers who seek memory-making journeys, Graduate Hotels is a hand-crafted collection of hotels that reside in dynamic university-anchored towns across the country and expanding into the U.K. in summer 2021. Each property celebrates and commemorates the optimistic energy of its community, while offering an extended retreat to places that often play host to the best days of our lives. The brand’s latest hotel – and debut property in New York City – shelters 224 guestrooms inside a 18-storey building on Roosevelt Island.

Positioned at the entrance of the Cornell Tech campus, the hotel has been designed by internationally renowned design firm Snøhetta, hosptiality-focused architecture firm Stonehill Taylor and Graduate Hotels’ in-house design team. Blending together Old School charm and New Age, the design team took inspiration from the rich history of Roosevelt Island and the future of technology that the Cornell Tech campus embodies. The futuristic and functional meld to create a space that’s bright, open and always interesting.

“We’re thrilled to make our debut in New York with the first ever hotel on Roosevelt Island and proud to join the innovative Cornell Tech campus,” said Ben Weprin, founder and CEO of Graduate Hotels. “Each of our hotels are rooted in the communities they serve, and we took great care in creating a highly customised hotel experience that honours the island’s rich history and has an authentic connection to the Cornell Tech campus. Now more than ever, there is a new appreciation for exploring what’s in your own backyard and we look forward to welcoming locals and visitors looking to experience New York from a fresh and unexpected vantage point.”

The arrival experience has been designed to add personality and drama into the check-in element of the hospitality journey. Upon entering, guests are greeted with a custom 12-foot statement sculpture created by Hebru Brantley that reinterprets his iconic Flyboy character and a neon Graduate sign situated above the reception desk, which is a reimagined vintage apothecary cabinet.

Lobby inside Roosevelt Island hotel

Image credit: Steve Freihorn

In this area of the hotel, collaboration between the firms was integral. Stonehill Taylor, which recently took part in a panel discussion about the new era of lifestyle, ensured that the design of the ceiling connected the interior space to the exterior as part of the full campus experience. The ceiling’s unique trapezoidal wedge shape points upward towards the East River and Manhattan and aligns with the exterior soffit and façade planes to convey the sense of a mass floating above the ground. Unobstructed by lighting, the ceiling is reflectively lit by a fixture along the space’s perimeter. Three-quarters of the wall are glass windows and when paired with hard floors, the acoustics of the space proved challenging. Therefore, the architecture firm employed materials that would both soften the soundscape and accommodate the ceiling’s complex, three-dimensional shape. The wall opposite the floor-to- ceiling windows features 5,000 square feet of shelving with uplighting built into it that bounces off the ceiling above and surfaces below.

book shelf framing seating in lobby with deep red sofas in lobby of Roosevelt Island hotel

Image credit: Steven Freihorn

Nods to the island’s storied history can be seen through the corridor behind the front desk, which features a gallery of black and white photographs of the Roosevelt family. The spacious lobby is lined with 5,000 linear feet of textbooks and floor-to-ceiling windows to create a bright and airy space warmed up with Persian-inspired rugs, mid-century light fixtures and pops of Cornell Big Red hues throughout. The lobby is also home to the hotel’s full-service, all-day restaurant with a statement wraparound bar anchoring the space and a variety of inviting lounge seating.

The 224 guestrooms and suites include a Presidential Suite spanning more than 1,100 square feet. Contrasting the modern architecture with warm design details, the guest rooms offer a familiar, residential experience paired with unrivalled views of the East River and Manhattan skyline.

The décor plays with technology throughout the ages as seen through lamps with a Morse code of the Cornell fight song on the base, a neon light fixture inspired by a science project from a Cornell alum, floating glass desks and integrated audiovisual devices. Local elements and nods to Roosevelt Island are also incorporated throughout the guestrooms.

A soft, contemporary guest room overlooking the river in New York

Image credit: Steven Freihorn

Design highlights include benches upholstered with oil painting-like tapestry of Dutch colonial life, custom art pieces created by Matt Buchholz and Brooklyn-based artist Ashley Cunningham and a thoughtfully curated gallery wall showcasing unique pieces including portraits of prominent figures in the island’s history such as Nellie Bly and Mae West.

Los Angeles-based hospitality team and New York City natives, Med Abrous and Marc Rose of Call Mom are the exclusive food and beverage partners at Graduate Roosevelt Island, marking the duo’s homecoming and their third collaboration with Graduate Hotels, which also includes Graduate Seattle and Graduate Nashville. The hotel includes the full-service restaurant, Anything At All, on the ground level; The Panorama Room, an extraordinary indoor-outdoor rooftop bar and lounge with unobstructed, sweeping views of the city; and, more than 3,000 square feet of onsite flexible meeting space all conceived and operated by Abrous and Rose.

Abrous and Rose have tapped a talented, female-led team including Executive Chef Ja’Toria Harper, Pastry Chef Lindsey Verardo and Beverage Director Estelle Bossy to oversee all food and beverage programs. Opening later in June, Anything At All will serve breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner. Rooted in a vegetable-forward, farm-first approach to contemporary comfort food, the light-drenched indoor-outdoor space features a sustainable synergy between the kitchen and the bar whose playful, creative frozen drinks and seasonal spritzes will take centre stage at brunch.

Situated atop the hotel, The Panorama Room, is the stunning 168-seat rooftop bar and lounge designed by James Beard Foundation Award-winning design firm, Parts and Labor Design. Opening in July 2021, the crown jewel of the property will evoke a sense of cinematic drama inspired by futurism creating a true destination for fashion-forward elegance in an intimate space all set against unobstructed city views.

The hotel’s third floor features a variety of distinct multi-use meeting and event spaces set against clear skyline views, offering the perfect venue for every occasion from weddings to off-site corporate meetings. This summer, Graduate Hotels has transformed its ballroom into a space for collaboration inspired by the iconic film BIG. Known as “The Loft” at Graduate Roosevelt Island, this pop culture moment creates an opportunity for families, local businesses and private groups to catch up on lost time in a space that sparks creative energy and taps into the power of nostalgia.

A light and bright meeting space inside the new york hotel

Image credit: Steven Freihorn

What makes this project that much more impressive is its sustainability initiative. The hotel furthers the campus’ ongoing commitment to sustainability through its LEED-rated architecture and the use of highly efficient materials and energy saving systems throughout the property. Graduate Roosevelt Island’s many sustainability initiatives include the LEED-certified architecture, use of recyclable materials, highly efficient heating, cooling and LED lighting systems, reduced water consumption, waste reclamation programs, healthy indoor air quality and more. The food and beverage operators are equally committed to creating environmentally conscious restaurant operations and culinary programs including: composting food scraps, recycling programs for restaurant waste, no single-use plastic products, minimising food waste and purchasing sustainable, locally-sourced ingredients and products.

Main image credit: Steve Freihorn

Weekly briefing: Rediscovering British hospitality & unveiling Rosewood’s plot twist

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Weekly briefing: Rediscovering British hospitality & unveiling Rosewood’s plot twist

You’re just in time to catch today’s performance of the Weekly Briefing. My name’s Hamish Kilburn, and allow me to show you to your seat. This week’s cast of stories includes our latest podcast episode that explores creativity crafted, nhow taking unconventional design and art to a whole new level, our latest hotel review that took us on a trip down memory lane and all you need to know (and more) about Rosewood’s latest venture into the private members’ arena. “Talent to the stage, talent to the stage, please…”

If Hotel Designs was a theatre production – and what a show that would be – the main theme of the overall performance this week would be variety. The editorial team’s inbox has been flooded with vibrancy, colour and stories that have simply put a smile on our face. Although many of the travel industry’s audience members haven’t quite made act one, as Covid-19 continues to put pressure on hospitality globally, we have been reassured that the narrative will improve by the development that continues to happen during these turbulent times.

This week, as well as recording out next virtual roundtable that explores the future of F&B hospitality (stay tuned), I was able to publish my first hotel review in a while – I checked in to The Grove Hotel in Hertfordshire following an incredible renovation by British designer Martin Hulbert – which made me realise, thanks to a nudge from good friend and PR queen Lara Good (Grifco PR), that local performances in British hospitality aren’t all that bad after all.

Work perks aside, here are our top stories from the week… but first, why not read this article while listening to the latest episode of DESIGN POD, which welcomes the ladies from Carden Cunietti to take the mic?!

Hotel review: Checking (back) in to The Grove Hotel, Hertfordshire

Image caption: In one of the lounges, the designer even commissioned a large gold beam to hang on the ceiling because, well, why not? | Image credit: The Grove Hotel, Hertfordshire

Image caption: In one of the lounges, the designer even commissioned a large gold beam to hang on the ceiling because, well, why not? | Image credit: The Grove Hotel, Hertfordshire

Socially distanced from London’s hustle and bustle, but still within 20 miles of the city, The Grove is a country estate set within 300 acres of glorious Hertfordshire countryside. Its most recent renovation, led by British designer Martin Hulbert, answers only to nature and ushers the hotel into a new era – perfect for those seeking a luxury staycation within reach of the Capital – as I learns when I become the latest Hotel Designs editor to check in…

Read more.

Rosewood Hotel Group launches ‘new breed’ of private members’ clubs

The Reading Room

Image credit: Rosewood Hotel Group

Rosewood Hotel Group, which has been loudly expanding its global portfolio during the pandemic period with hotel development in destinations such as RomeAmsterdamLondon and most recently Mexico City, has just changed the narrative once more by announcing the opening of Carlyle & Co., a landmark private members’ club in Hong Kong designed by British designer Ilse Crawford. Here’s what we know…

Read more.

Editor checks in: What it’s actually like for young designers

In my latest column, I addresses an issue that is resulting in young designers and architects missing out on a fair opportunity to succeed. Can we do more to help students to become the next generation of A&D professionals? You tell me…

Read more.

nhow Brussels Bloom Hotel opens with a colourful twist

Van in lobby inside nhow Brussels

Image credit: HD Hotel Group

NH Hotel Group’s unconventional lifestyle hospitality brand, nhow, expands its portfolio with the launch of its seventh hotel; a contemporary hub that has been designed with a different art form on every floor, including a floor designed by London designer Jessica Thacker. Sunglasses on, folks things are about to get colourful…

Read more.

Meet the women who are pioneering a new wave of design-led motels

The June April Brown and Srah Sklash

Image credit: Lauren Miller Photography

With a penchant for ‘great wine and good vibes’, The June is a female-led motelier that was founded by best friends, April Brown and Sarah Sklash. Following our bow to International Women’s Day, I sat down with Brown and Sklash to learn more about how the due are using design into to evolve The June into a leading lifestyle brand…

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And finally… we unveiled our speakers for Hotel Designs LIVE

Hotel Designs LIVE - speakers

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

Read more.

Since you’re here…

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

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nhow Brussels colourful guestrooms

nhow Brussels Bloom Hotel opens with a colourful twist

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
nhow Brussels Bloom Hotel opens with a colourful twist

NH Hotel Group’s unconventional lifestyle hospitality brand, nhow, expands its portfolio with the launch of its seventh hotel; a contemporary hub that has been designed with a different art form on every floor, including a floor designed by London designer Jessica Thacker. Sunglasses on, folks things are about to get colourful… 

nhow Brussels colourful guestrooms

nhow Brussels Bloom has opened, sheltering an immersive world of creativity and inspiration that takes art completely outside the frame. Located in the Botanique area, the cultural centre of Brussels, the hotel is a place where business, leisure travellers and artists come together to share their passion for art and find new inspiration. Sitting under the “nhow” umbrella, NH Hotel Group’s unconventional lifestyle brand, the hotels follows on from the successful opening of nhow London last year.  

nhow London used it’s location as a major source of inspiration – think back to the London park-themed corridors and who can forget that rocket-launching Big Ben?! Meanwhile, nhow Brussels Bloom chose unconventional art as a concept that would help bring together people from all over the world. Introducing the The Creative Hub, which is a place within the hotel where all different types of creativity come together, just like different people come together: locals, tourists and business travellers. Anyone who appreciates unconventional creativity will feel at home in this hotel.

Van in lobby of nhow Brussels

Image credit: NH Hotel Group

The guestrooms are decorated like an artist’s studio: upon entering, there is an explosion of colours and prints, while the sleeping area is just like a blank canvas waiting for its art to arrive. Each room has a unique painting, which steals the attention due to its neutral surroundings. The bathrooms are inspired by the photographer’s workplace, the darkroom: mysterious, dark, and with a splash of colour here and there. Creativity is added by various Polaroid photos on the wall, inviting guests to create their own nhow bathroom moments. 

Each floor is inspired by a different art form. The moment you step out of the elevator, you are completely immersed in the specific art theme. Jessica Thacker, London artist, designed the seventh floor with her abstract music-inspired paintings. nhow Brussels Bloom will open its other floors to more upcoming artists in the future.