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Upscale

Meet the design team behind Monkey Island Estate and Raffles Singapore

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Champalimaud Design

LDF 2019 announces further festival commissions, projects and speakers

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
LDF 2019 announces further festival commissions, projects and speakers

With weeks to go until the city comes alive for London Design Festival, new details have emerged of even more commissions, projects and speakers…

The hotly anticipated London Design Festival (LDF) has revealed the finer details around a number of holistic design experiences, installations and insightful talks in order to make this year’s event an international destination of all things design.

The week-long festival will welcome two new Special Projects: Idiosyncratic by Martino Gamper at Coal Drops Yard, King’s Cross, coinciding with Festival commission Disco Carbonara; and a playful immersive installation, Take the Plunge, by Volume Creative at OXO Tower Wharf; as well as new keynote speakers Dame Vivienne Westwood, Claire Bergkamp, Fabio Novembre and Astrid Stavro for Global Design Forum, the Festival’s thought leadership programme.

Idiosyncratic by Martino Gamper (supported by Samsung) at Coal Drops Yard, King’s Cross

To coincide with Martino Gamper’s London Design Festival Commission– Disco Carbonara at Coal Drops Yard – Samsung presents Idiosincratico: an exposition of the designer’s creative practice.

The Samsung space will offer a unique vantage point on Gamper’s installation below. As well as viewing the exhibit, visitors can also interact with the latest technology, and take part in an ongoing series of events, workshops and performances.

Image credit: Idiosyncratic by Martino Gamper at Coal Drops Yard, King’s Cross

Presenting three significant projects, Idiosincratico gives insight into Gamper’s creative process – exploring his distinctive and playful approach to dissembling and reinventing familiar domestic objects. At the heart of each of Gamper’s projects is the notion of thinking through making and examining how process informs the physical outcome.

For Hookaloti, Gamper takes a single typology – the wall hook – and riffs on it, improvising with the form, material and expressive possibilities of a simple everyday object. In Metamorfosi, a project to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Italian furniture company Moroso, Gamper takes pieces from their catalogue and cuts and splices them to create a design mash-up. By contrast, Arnold Circus Stool is a project for the public realm initiated to support the regeneration of the landmark site on Shoreditch’s Boundary Estate, London’s first social housing project.

Take The Plunge by Volume Creative (in collaboration with Virgin Voyages The Bargehouse) at OXO Tower Wharf

Volume Creative, in collaboration with Virgin Voyages, invites visitors to Take the Plunge: a playful installation at The Bargehouse, Oxo Tower Wharf. The interactive project shows the power of design to evoke curiosity, in a stand-alone immersive experience created for London Design Festival.

Image credit: Take The Plunge by Volume Creative at OXO Tower Wharf

Visitors are invited on a journey of discovery and asked to dive into a new experience. The minimalist exterior juxtaposes with the warmth that awaits within. Visitors step into an endless horizon, giving way to an extraordinary secondary space that depicts a sunset under the sea.

The concept is inspired by a love of the sea – the great unknown with the promise of epic discoveries. Take the Plunge hints at this spirit of adventure and celebrates the endless possibilities of great design, using multi-sensory techniques to capture the joyful elements of an oceanic journey.

Global Design Forum

Global Design Forum is the Festival’s curated thought leadership programme, celebrating design and the minds shaping its future. The full 2019 programme has been announced and will explore the issues affecting the design industry itself but more importantly, how design can pave the way for workable solutions to some of the modern world’s most demanding challenges.

The keynote sessions will include, British fashion designer and activist Dame Vivienne Westwood, discussing the role of activism in designing a sustainable future and how to take action; Claire Bergkamp, Worldwide Director of Sustainability and Innovation at Stella McCartney, on engineering a balance between innovation and sustainability in luxury fashion; and Astrid Stavro graphic designer and partner at Pentagram, speaking about the dynamic world of typography. They will join previously announced keynote speakers; Kengo Kuma, Yves Behar and Deborah Riley.

Global Design Forum takes place at the V&A, the official London Design Festival hub, from Saturday 14 – Sunday 22 September 2019. Further information about the full programme and tickets can be found here.

This year, there will also be an offsite keynote in Stratford at the future site of the new V&A East. Supported by INTERNATIONAL QUARTER LONDON and hosted at new shared workspace, Workable, Fabio Novembre, Director, Fabio Novembre Studio and Scientific Director, Domus Academy, will speak from his own experience followed by a panel discussion with industry experts on the importance of nurturing new talent in design.

Main image credit: Disco Carbonara by Martino Gamper at Coal Drops Yard, King’s Cross

Hyatt Zilara Cap Cana to open in the ‘Beverly Hills’ of Dominican Republic

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hyatt Zilara Cap Cana to open in the ‘Beverly Hills’ of Dominican Republic

Architect Ken Shannon has completed the project the design Hyatt Ziva/Zilara’s latest flagship, which will open this November in what is commonly referred to as the ‘Beverly Hills’ of the Dominican Republic…

Nestled in Punta Cana’s sought-after, exclusive gated community of Cap Cana in the Dominican Republic, the twin Hyatt Ziva Cap Cana and Hyatt Zilara Cap Cana will be the sixth addition to Hyatt’s Ziva and Zilara all-inclusive portfolio.

While Hyatt Ziva Cap Cana features an immersive thematic atmosphere that includes suites with local flora motifs, a tailor shop inspired Italian restaurant, and a waterpark for guests of all ages, the neighbouring Hyatt Zilara Cap Cana will feature refined ocean view rooms, condo-inspired swim-up suites with fully furnished living and dining spaces, exclusive access to quiet infinity pools, and an original concept martini bar and coffee shop.

The distinct double U-Shaped Infrastructure, designed by Ken Shannon, optimises ocean views in suites across the resort, maximizing ocean-facing offerings and a sense of arrival that is unparalleled.

Harnessing dual design, the hotels interiors infuse unique personalities into the twin resorts, Zilara’s design has been described as “sexier and more sophisticated with a bold and edgy design for adults”, while Ziva is meandering and playful with softer lines and vibrant colors making it a family-friendly oasis. Shared design features include moveable wall elements, swim up suites, and a connecting, elevated vista lobby overlooking the pools and ocean below.

“The Caribbean’s most popular tourism destination had a total of 6,200 rooms in construction in April of this year.”

In more than a nod to the rise in wellness and wellbeing, a cenote-inspired underground spa will feature a larimar stone infused sky-lit lagoon and the DR’s first Himalayan Salt Lounge. In addition, an elevated Fitness Centre, modeled to look like an old rum distillery, to add further sense-of-place, is set to be Playa’s most extravagant to date, donning a brick warehouse vibe and outfitted with hanging punching bags to pay homage to the DR’s love of boxing.

The hotel opens as the Dominican Republic is continuing a full-fledged hotel development boom, according to new data from hotel analytics firm STR. The Caribbean’s most popular tourism destination had a total of 6,200 rooms in construction in April of this year.

Main image credit: Hyatt Hotels

Parkside launches Barneby Gates Collection of tiles

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Parkside launches Barneby Gates Collection of tiles

Parkside has collaborated with leading design duo Barneby Gates, on a collection that brings the pair’s stunning wallpaper patterns to porcelain tiles…

In the Barneby Gates collection, the trusted tile specification company, Parkside, has translated eight bold and courageous designs onto extra-large format porcelain tiles measuring 1000 x 500mm or 2500 x 1000mm, creating the effect of wallpaper on a high-performance, commercial-ready tile. Ideal for features in bar areas, spas, bathrooms and hotel lobbies; the range faithfully recreates designs such as Watermelon, Pheasant and Bolt from Mars.

With backgrounds in the home lifestyle press and decorative arts, Vanessa Barneby and Alice Gates (Barneby Gates), have forged a reputation for forward-thinking fabric and wallpaper designs that have received widespread acclaim. Whether reinventing traditional motifs for modern interiors with Deer Damask or taking on trends with Pineapple and Watermelon; the pair’s distinctive designs are notably outside of the norm. In collaborating with Parkside, Barneby Gates is bringing its unique style to a commercial finish that offers moisture-resistance, durability and easy maintenance.

“Our designs celebrate the life-affirming positivity of pattern and colour and we’re delighted to have worked with Parkside to bring our style to a broader range of environments,” said Barneby and Gates. “The notion of wallpaper on a tile is a great way to bring continuous pattern to areas where its traditionally been off-limits and we look forward to seeing our designs in commercial interiors wanting to make a statement.”

The Barneby Gates collection has launched at the opening of Parkside’s new Design Studio in the Cotswolds and will be on display throughout London Design Festival (14-22 September) at the company’s Chelsea Design Studio.

“We’re thrilled to be bringing Barneby Gates’ designs to the Parkside portfolio,” added Mark Williams, sales and design director for Parkside. “The pair’s designs are certainly uplifting and have been at the heart of many fearless schemes, so we’re ready to see how they can be embraced in commercial locations with the practicality of a porcelain tile construction.”

At just 3.5mm thick, the Barneby Gates tile collection is suitable for internal walls, is easy to install and available to order exclusively from Parkside.

Parkside 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: Parkside

dark and sulty tones in one of the hotel's design-led suites

Is this the most fashion-forward lifestyle hotel in Bangkok?

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Is this the most fashion-forward lifestyle hotel in Bangkok?

SO Sofitel Bangkok, designed by Monsieur Christian Lacroix, claims to be the country’s most fashionable lifestyle hotel, and here’s why… 

An urban luxury, design-led hotel, SO Sofitel Bangkok is a modern fusion of East meets West, and is the ideal spot for style-conscious travellers in Thailand. Designed in a unique collaboration with world-renowned fashion designer, Monsieur Christian Lacroix, and five of Thailand’s top designers.

dark and sulty tones in one of the hotel's design-led suites

Touches of Monsieur Christian Lacroix are peppered throughout the property, from the playful staff uniforms, to the hotel’s logo and executive lounge, adorned with modernist artwork, colourful furniture and unrivalled views over the skyline. The elegant rooms are divided into the five elements of Chinese culture, with each designed by a different local artist. While metal rooms are washed in brilliant whites, those in water are rich, dark and intimate, to reflect the sensation of being underwater. Perhaps the most unusual are the earth suites, modelled on ancient grottos with deep blue walls decorated with sketches of mammoths and other exotic animals.

With a variety of restaurants and bars, including a traditional street market style food hall with live cooking stations, a sleek rooftop restaurant and a boutique chocolate café, SO Sofitel Bangkok’s dining offering is second-to-none. The award-winning Park Society offers culinary creativity with unparalleled views of Lumpinki Park, whilst the innovative Chocolab serves-up chocolates from Bonnat, the world’s oldest chocolatier in France.

Home to the hottest rooftop pool in Bangkok with panoramic views over Lumpinki Park. Style and elegance collide beautifully at SO Sofitel Bangkok, the Luxury five-star Hotel that’s setting a new standard for leisure hotels in Bangkok.

Main image credit: So Sofitel Bangkok

CitizenM has announced fourth arrival in London

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
CitizenM has announced fourth arrival in London

Global hotel group, citizenM, announces the acquisition of a Victoria property for its fourth London hotel, opening in 2021…

citizenM has announced that construction will commence in May 2020 for a new hotel in London, following the demolition of the existing Denison House. The 226-room hotel, designed by concrete with architecture by ICA, will comprise basement and ground floor levels, with ten upper floors and will be built using citizenM’s innovative modular construction method.

Each of the rooms will be built and furnished one-by-one in an offsite factory and then moved to the site where they will be assembled to make up the hotel. Prefabrication enables faster construction and easier quality control, and also guides the architectural aesthetic of all citizenM locations. No matter how they’re assembled, citizenM buildings are recognisable in their surroundings for their identifiably square units, clean lines, and artwork on the facades.

citizenM’s hybrid hotels offer travellers luxury accommodation at affordable prices in hyper-busy urban centres. This latest addition, situated in the heart of London, will be close to major London tourist attractions such as Buckingham Palace and Tate Britain, and offer great transport links within Greater London and Gatwick Airport – perfect for all mobile citizens.

“We are excited to have completed this transaction after securing planning consent in a prime location in Westminster. With three hotels already operating successfully in London, this new property will offer a fantastic addition to our existing portfolio and confirms our commitment to expand further in London’s most desirable neighbourhoods.”

The hotel’s interiors will be designed by citizenM’s Amsterdam-based partner Concrete, and will feature furniture from long-term collaborator Vitra,” said Klaas van Lookeren Campagne, CEO of citizenM hotels. “The guestrooms will include citizenM’s famous XL king-sized beds, powerful rain showers and large flat screen TVs. Guests will be able to enjoy the same creative technology that has marked citizenM as an innovative force in hospitality, from online check in to in-room mood pads.”

The new Victoria-based hotel will be located at 292 Vauxhall Bridge Road and will be the fourth stand post of citizenM in London, following openings in Bankside (2012), Tower of London (2016) and Shoreditch (2016).

In Europe, the key target cities for new sites are London, Paris, Milan, Rome, Dublin, Munich, Hamburg, Frankfurt, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Zurich, Geneva, and Barcelona.

Main image credit: citizenM

Empty room with various styles of seating

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

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

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

Empty room with various styles of seating

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

[CURTAIN UP]

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

Exterior shot of the hotel, showing a colourful courtyard

Image credit: Ruby Leni

[PUBLIC AREAS ENTER FROM STAGE RIGHT]

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

[GUESTROOMS ENTER FROM STAGE LEFT]

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

White, bright and contemporary guestroom

Image credit: Ruby Leni

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

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

[APPLAUSE]

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

Quick-fire round:

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

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

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

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

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

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

[CURTAIN CALL]

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

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

[CURTAIN CLOSED]

Hyatt Regency arrives in East Shenzhen

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hyatt Regency arrives in East Shenzhen

The 298-room hotel, Hyatt Regency Shenzhen Yantian, aims to bring the Hyatt Regency brand’s signature intuitive service and energizing experiences to business and leisure guests alike…

Hyatt Regency Shenzhen Yantian in the east Guangdong Province, China. The new hotel aims to bring the Hyatt Regency brand’s signature intuitive service and energising experiences to business and leisure guests alike.

As part of a newly concepted Recreational Business District, the property is located in the heart of Yantian District, neighboring Dameisha Beach and Overseas Chinese Town East along a 12 mile (19.5 kilometer) golden coast.

“We sincerely appreciate the support from our owner Shenzhen Vanke Binhai Real Estate Ltd. and are excited to see the Hyatt Regency brand footprint grow in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA),” said Stephen Ho, president, Greater China, global operations at Hyatt. “We look forward to welcoming our guests to Hyatt Regency Shenzhen Yantian with confidence for a world-class hospitality experience.”

Hyatt Regency Shenzhen Yantian was designed by the renowned HEITZ PARSONS SADEK and features 298 contemporary guestrooms with varied dimensions ranging from 462 square feet to more than 2,300 square feet (43 square meters to 215 square meters). There are 20 suites, four Regency Executive Suites and one Presidential Suite, all of which are spacious and located on the 41st to the 50th floor. Select rooms offer gorgeous ocean views and all rooms feature high-quality amenities and panoramic French windows. Guests staying in Club Access Rooms and Suites can enjoy the exclusive Regency Club benefits on the 49th floor.

Modern and clean hotel guest room

Image credit: Hyatt Hotels

The hotel offers several fine dining restaurants that cater to varying tastes and group sizes, including XIANGYUE, a comfortable experience that is said to feel like dining in a country village and Market Café is a stylish all-day dining restaurant.

The hotel offers nearly 25,000 square feet (2,321 square meters) of meeting and event space in total, including a 12,916 square foot (1,200-square meter) pillar-free grand ballroom and five salons equipped with high-tech audio and video systems. Additionally, the ballroom foyer provides more than 6,500 square feet (612 square meters) of flexible pre-functional space to perfectly showcase the creativity of any event.

Guests can relax in the hotel’s refreshing outdoor pool or work out anytime at the hotel’s fully equipped fitness center featuring state-of-the-art equipment.

“Inspired by the hotel’s surroundings, the hotel was built with the concept of bringing the forest into the city, offering guests a place to take a deep breath of fresh air and bask in the beautiful scenery,” said Mary Liu, general manager of Hyatt Regency Shenzhen Yantian. “As a bridge between GBA and the Pearl River Delta area, Shenzhen is at the core of this booming region. We are delighted to deliver Hyatt’s well-known expertise in food and beverage and full range of services and amenities for a productive stay.”

More than 190 conveniently located Hyatt Regency urban and resort locations in more than 30 countries around the world serve as the go-to gathering space for every occasion – from efficient personalised, high-touch business meetings to energizing family vacations.

Main image: Hyatt Hotels

Eco bed to be unveiled inside The Conscious Bedroom at IHS London 2019

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Eco bed to be unveiled inside The Conscious Bedroom at IHS London 2019

To launch its Spotlight On ‘beds’, Hotel Designs learns more about Naturalmat’s eco partnership with Harris & Harris for The Conscious Bedroom, which will be unveiled at Independent Hotel Show London 2019… 

Naturalmat, which is the leading supplier of eco, organic beds and mattresses to the hotel trade, is partnering with Harris & Harris on an eco showcase at the upcoming Independent Hotel Show London 2019.

The design firm was invited by the organisers of Independent Hotel Show to curate ‘The Conscious Bedroom’, a mock hotel room pieced together using products and suppliers with strong eco credentials. The centrepiece of the room will be a bespoke Superking Prideaux bed, handmade by the craftsmen at Naturalmat from sustainable materials and upholstered in teal fabric, colour matched to other elements of Harris & Harris’s room scheme. The bed will stand on cylindrical tapering feet made of FSC approved wood with a walnut stain.

“The eco sleep experience will be completed with Naturalmat’s own organic wool duvet and pillows.”

The bed will be topped with Naturalmat’s signature Lambswool mattress, made from entirely natural materials from sustainable sources. Thick coconut fibre is layered with a slightly thinner slice of natural latex, finished off with lambswool sourced from organic sheep farms in Devon and the surrounding areas. The eco sleep experience will be completed with Naturalmat’s own organic wool duvet and pillows.

“We have been attendees of the Independent Hotel Show since its inception, and have found it to be a lively and valuable place to build business relationships and introduce our organic, sustainable hotel product range to new contacts in the industry,” said  Mark Tremlett, Co-owner of Naturalmat. “When Alex Harris approached us to invite Naturalmat to contribute to The Conscious Hotel Room it seemed a natural fit! Our ethos has always been about using organic and natural materials from sustainable sources to create luxurious and long lasting beds and mattresses, so we are delighted to create the centrepiece of the room in collaboration with Harris & Harris, and bring their vision to life in a way that is completely eco friendly.”

Organic mattresses and beds, made from sustainable materials in Britain, have been Naturalmat’s business for over 20 years.

Everything is made by hand in Naturalmat’s purpose-built factory in Topsham, on the banks of the River Exe, Devon. They believe that people, not machines, make a superior, longer lasting product. The team of craftspeople ensure every stitch, every fibre, every tufting button and every cover is painstakingly created, teased and checked.

Naturalmat’s hotel clients include Six Senses Resorts, Hoxton Hotels, River Cottage, Chewton Glen, Z Hotel Group and over 50 more iconic hotels globally.

Naturalmat  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: Naturalmat

Large and expansive public area that is designed to look very residential

MINIVIEW: Discreet luxury unveiled by Nicky Dobree in the heart of Vejer

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
MINIVIEW: Discreet luxury unveiled by Nicky Dobree in the heart of Vejer

To complete the Concept to Completion series with Nicky Dobree, Hotel Designs is given the keys to finally unlock the majestic heavy doors of pure luxury inside Plaza 18… 

Up until now, the designer Nicky Dobree has been synonymous with luxury Alpine chalet design and most recently very high end residential design. Most recently she has turned her attention to Plaza 18, her debut hotel design project in collaboration with Vejer’s Hotel La Casa del Califa.

Large and expansive public area that is designed to look very residential

Set in the former 19th C merchant’s house Nicky Dobree has taken inspiration from this elegant building and brought new life back into this Grand Dame by respecting its history, but also lifting its character to provide an enriched experience for the modern traveller. Working with local trades and craftsmen, the building, which dates back to 1896 and stands on the foundations of an ancient 13th C Arab house, has been entirely restored using authentic organic building materials where ever possible.

“Meticulous care and attention to detail has been maintained throughout the refurbishment of this important historic property.”

Exterior of the hotel

Image credit: Plaza 18/Philip Vile

Dobree was determined to restore and re-use as many of its existing features as possible. The original black and white floor tiles were therefore lifted and re-laid on newly levelled floors. The Montera (large glazed roof lantern over the entrance patio) was carefully dismantled and repaired to its former glory, which now floods the entrance foyer with light. The stone staircase and balustrade were also completely restored, as was all the metal work around the entrance gate. Many of the original shutters and windows were restored along with the front door. Meticulous care and attention to detail has been maintained throughout the refurbishment of this important historic property.

Extremely reclined interiors with personal interiors

Image credit: Plaza 18/Philip Vile

The designer felt that her role was to curate this elegant old building and to bring it a new lease of life, enhancing its beauty with style and a subtle creative twist.

Plaza 18 has been a true labour of love with the inevitable obstacles of planning, working abroad and within a listed building. The trials and tribulations of restoring an old building and the rules and regulations that needed to be adhered to, to convert it into a commercial venture, has meant that the project took two years to get through planning and a further two years to compete.

The hotel is now the secret second home that one has always dreamed of, warm and welcoming with a strong sense of place, an oasis within an oasis.

Whilst the details adhere to the classical principles of the house, there is comfort and elegance through every door. Every room has a story to tell and contains pieces that have been lovingly curated by Dobree from around the world. This is evident from the moment you enter with the oversized black and white mirror by a South African artist which makes a dramatic statement in the entrance.  Dobree designed the bespoke console to sit beneath the mirror that complements the monochromatic entrance scheme.

In the patio whilst your eye is drawn up to the montera and the wonderful central staircase you cannot miss the large scale butterfly painting sourced from an antiques fair.

Stepping into the sitting room, there is nothing more welcoming than a well stocked drinks trolley, an honesty bar, that can be enjoyed by guests at Plaza 18. Standing proud above it is a painting of Admiral Lord de Saumarez who fought at the Battle of Trafalgar (a short drive from the hotel) alongside Admiral Lord Nelson.

“On a clear day the North African coast is visible.”

Leading off the sitting room is the main terrace with views across the old town, sierras and coast line. On a clear day the North African coast is visible. It is here that guests can enjoy breakfast, sitting on olive wicker chairs with outdoor fabrics that complement the vintage printed crockery. No detail has been missed.

Tall black bespoke doors with circular brass handles designed by Dobree create drama and continuity throughout. Behind each of these doors are interiors that are intensely layered and so inviting that everywhere you turn is a visual delight.   Here you will discover more of Dobree’s curated pieces such as a Japanese Boro Kimono or collage painting by Peter Clarke.

All the bathrooms have been beautifully designed using Spanish floor tiles and bespoke marble vanities with Lefroy Brooks deco style fittings echoing the elegance of the house.

The attention to detail is reflected in every aspect of one’s experience here. Dobree worked with a renowned perfumer to provide bespoke toiletries that have been specially formulated to create a signature scent for Plaza 18 and that are soft and subtle on the skin. The scent is inspired by the aromas that perfume Vejer, orange, bergamot, lavender and geranium. The base of olive oil and almond that nourishes the skin is local too.

Plaza 18 has a true home from home feeling that brings Dobree’s collective chic and timeless elegant style to Vejer. It is a place to feel at home, a place to disconnect and re-discover.

Hotel Designs has followed the construction of Plaza 18, Dobree’s first hotel project, from concept to competition. Click here to read part one. Click here to read part two. Click here to read part three

Main image credit: Plaza 18/Philip Vile

“Alexa, send up my coffee”: It’s here, it’s real and you need to take it seriously

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
“Alexa, send up my coffee”: It’s here, it’s real and you need to take it seriously

Amazon’s Alexa took up the job of hotel concierge with Marriott in mid-2018. It’s done well and is now ready for consideration by your property. STAAH writes…

At first, everyone felt it would be a bit much to expect guests to use Alexa to call housekeeping. But with 65 per cent of 25 – 49-year-olds using voice search at least once a day and 55 per cent of the households expected to own a smart speaker device by 2022, voice is become part of consumer routine. Even when they travel, it seems.

What is Alexa for Hospitality?

For guests staying at Marriott, many rooms have had a minimum occupancy of two since June 2018 when the hotel chain adopted to put Amazon Echo inside to enhance guest experience.

Amazon for Hospitality offers hotels and vacation rentals the opportunity to set up customised versions of Echo products that work like a digital concierge right in your room. These Echos are specialised to answer questions about your reservations, facilities such as pool or spa hours and local amenities. You can order room service or housekeeping too. Basically, anything that might lead you to dial for help on that in-room phone sounds like it will be a job that Alexa can tackle instead.

Guests can benefit from Alexa’s growing skill set. And if they have their own Amazon account they’d like to use during their stay, soon they can actually log in to the device to make the experience more customised.

Having done a good job at impressing guests at the Marriott, Alexa for Hospitality was invited into hotel chains such as Westin, Regis Hotels & Resorts, Autograph Collection Hotels or Aloft hotels.

How it works?

Alexa is powered by the Internet of Things (IoT), using machine learning to deliver an experience that is personalised. In hospitality, this means a seamless integration to a hotel’s back-office systems, housekeeping, the concierge and front desk.

The Alexa for Hospitality system isn’t just the Echo devices in the room, however – it’s a suite of tools for configuring the Echo devices, available via a dashboard where hotels can update their information, enable skills, adjust settings and track usage. Hoteliers can also measure guest engagement through Alexa’s reporting and analytics platform.

The system is easy to install and activate. The device is muted and activates only when a guest’s check-in and activates it for use. It automatically disconnects after every checkout. Alexa for Hospitality is customisable and with its real-time reporting enables you to take actions that will leave your guest happy.

What’s the future?

The concept of smart speakers in hotel rooms is still in its infancy, but early adopters are gaining when it comes to the best measure of a hotel’s success – guest experience.

Alexa for Hospitality is now being trialled by vacation rentals such as Properly. It’s ready for the next phase in its growth, and founded on technology (voice search) that will be the next big thing in the world of internet. Are you ready for it?

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

Main image caption/credit: Alexa for Hospitality/Amazon

A beautiful bathroom can also be an affordable bathroom, says Kaldewei

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
A beautiful bathroom can also be an affordable bathroom, says Kaldewei

From budget to luxurious, Kaldewei offers personalised bathroom planning solutions to suit any project…

Studies show that there is huge demand for personalised bathroom design. Ideally, we would all prefer to fit out our bathrooms to suit our personal tastes and needs, without compromising on quality. However, individual bathroom dreams can clash with the reality of higher costs that exceed our budget. Bathroom specialist Kaldewei shows that individual comfort and personal taste in the bathroom doesn’t have to be about money.

The manufacturer, offers attractive bathroom solutions to suit every pocket, from starter bathroom to superior comfort bathroom to luxury bathroom. All Kaldewei showers, baths and washbasins are made of superior steel enamel, making them extra long-lasting, sustainable and beautiful.

Kaldewei’s Cayono model family is the perfect solution for those who value quality and comfort when fitting out their bathroom but don’t want to overstretch theirbudget. Shower, washbasin and bath are available for as little as £1,785. It’s not only the design of Kaldewei bathroom solutions that is a highly attractive and perfectly coordinated. Comfort is key as well: walk-in access is a great advantage of the floor-level shower surface, the bath has plenty of space for up to two bathers, while the washbasin features Kaldewei’s easy-clean finish as standard. Thedistinctive “Made in Germany” quality and the longevity – reinforced with a 30-year guarantee – are additional benefits for builders and developers.

For those who want even more personalisation in their bathroom are well-advised to choose the coloured solutions from the Cono design family. The characteristics of this product family are the perfect interplay of clarity and calm, combined with a clean-lined look – ideal for discerning individuals who wish to make their bathroom into a space in which to relax body and mind. The built-in Conoduo bath with its minimalist lines and centrally-positioned steel enamel waste cover is not only an eye-catching feature in the bathroom but, thanks to its size and two ergonomic backrests, also the ideal place for two people to enjoy a relaxing bath together. To coordinate with the bath, we have the floor-level Conoflat shower surface: flat design with no tripping hazard. The rectangular Miena washbasin bowl goes perfectly with the Cono family bath and shower. The lightness of the Miena, a design icon, creates a distinctive accent in this trinity of products. For that added special touch opt for a dark matt shade from the exclusive Coordinated Colours Collection. The coloured Kaldewei bathroom solutions produce a highly distinctive ambience and elegant look in the bathroom. The trinity of bath, shower and washbasin in City- Anthracite matt is available for as little as £4,194.

Image caption/credit: Kaldewei Miena washbasin bowl, Conoflat shower surface, Conoduo bath, all in City- Anthracite matt from the Coordinated Colours Collection, total price approx. £4,194.

Time is precious. For those spending a lot of time in the bathroom and wanting to turn it into a luxurious personal sanctuary for regeneration are happy to invest more money in it. The ensemble designed by Anke Salomon, consisting of the freestanding Kaldewei Meisterstück Incava bath and the Miena washbasin bowls is a clear winner: the narrow bath rim and the conically shaped panelling lend the bath an especially light feel. This is mirrored in the delicate Miena washbasin bowls. Miena is a perfect example of how to harmoniously combine stable steel and elegant glass. The overall look of the room is rounded off by the floor-level Xetis shower surface which virtually disappears into the bathroom floor. Ultra seamless look: thanks to an integrated wall waste outlet, no waste cover in the floor detracts from the minimalist design of this jointless shower in XXL format. The Kaldewei bathroom solutions in this luxury bathroom cost around £10,263.

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

Main image caption/credit: Kaldewei Cayonoplan shower surface, wall-hung Puro washbasin, Cayono Duo bath: total price approx. £1,785.

What to expect at the Hospitality Design Show 2019

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
What to expect at the Hospitality Design Show 2019

The Hospitality Design Show, the UK’s ultimate event for the designs behind business growth, is hitting London’s ExCeL on September 18 – 19, and here’s what you can expect to find…

We’re excited to be partnering with the show this year! Uniting passionate hospitality professionals with the industry’s leading creatives, the Hospitality Design Show is the hub of the of the solutions that’ll revolutionise the look and feel of hotels.

At the show, you’ll find 320 seminars by an unparalleled speaker line-up, boasting the likes of:

  • Gonzalo Carpintero – Radisson Hotel Group
  • Colin Minto – Marriott International
  • Adelle Chilinski – Premier Inn
  • Jon Sharp – Hilton EMEA
  • Alexandra Tollman – Red Carnation Hotels
  • Tiago Venancio – Choice Hotels International

What’s more, you’ll be able to shop from 500 state-of-the-art suppliers, get involved panel debates that’ll provide you with all the design tips, tricks and techniques you could possible need, take advance exclusive show offers available to visitors only, and much more!

And don’t forget, your ticket is not only free, but also gives you unprecedented access to the Hotel360, UK’s leading hospitality event, running directly alongside. So, secure your free ticket today by clicking here and let the world’s leading innovators guide you to success!

EXCLUSIVE: Pre-show interview with designer of The Conscious Bedroom

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
EXCLUSIVE: Pre-show interview with designer of The Conscious Bedroom

The Founder and Creative Director of Harris & Harris London, Alex Harris, gives Hotel Designs‘ editor, Hamish Kilburn, a sneak peek of The Conscious Bedroom that he and his team are designing for The Independent Hotel Show London 2019… 

It was at the beginning of 2019 when Harris & Harris, the London based multidisciplinary design studio, were first approached by the organisers of Independent Hotel Show to work on this year’s concept room set.

The brief was simple (and came in after the show had viewed the studio’s interior design portfolio online): to design The Conscious Hotel Room for the Independent Hotel Show 2019. The design studio leaped at the opportunity to design the concept room. “It was a seamless fit for the studio and their ethos of looking at the most environmentally and socially conscious way of producing luxury interiors and products,” Alex Harris, the studio’s Founder and Creative Director, explains. Arguably most importantly, though, the space at the show would give Harris & Harris the opportunity to showcase this mentality through the design and curation of brand partners who have similar ethics.

When designing the skeleton of the room, Harris was keen to explore creating a heritage feel. “We wanted it to feel as if the room was located within a historic building instead of a new build,” he explains. “This was to prove that sustainable design practices can also be applied to older buildings, which are more prominent in the UK. This was achieved through introducing Georgian style wall panelling throughout the bedroom and including some historic design references in the interior design but with a modern twist.” 

Parallel to curating sustainable focussed products and brands in the concept room – including factoring in elements like using local suppliers to reduce milage – the studio was also focussed on ensuring the overall design felt fresh, inviting and luxurious, all of which could be achieved whilst minimising the impact on the environment.

Ahead of the official unveiling of the finished room on October 15, we caught up with Harris to understand more about the concept and his drive to design with purpose.

Hamish Kilburn: What sparked your passion for sustainability, both at university and beyond?
Alex Harris: I had the opportunity to gain work experience in 2005, prior to graduating from Bournemouth University, with the award winning furniture designer Russell Pinch (we grew up in the same tiny village in Gloucestershire). One day we traveled down to Benchmark Furniture in Berkshire as Russell was working on a new collection with them and I had the chance to see Benchmark’s incredible workshops, showroom and design office.

They are very focused on sustainability throughout their manufacturing process and the products themselves. Together with their passion for craftsmanship, this definitely resonated with me as a student and I knew that my final year project must represent this ethos that I witnessed with Pinch and Benchmark’s work.

I designed a (fully functioning) wooden wind-up LED lamp for my final year project, which I won an award for sustainability from my university. At the same time I approached the eco-design collective [RE] Design and had the opportunity to exhibit my lamp with them at the London Design Festival in 2006. Then in 2009 (after a stint living and working in Melbourne, Australia) I joined the Benchmark design team, four years after I had previously visited with Russell Pinch, so I had come full circle!

I then went to work for several interior designers in London who were focussed on luxury and not really concerned about sustainability, which was always difficult for me. I vowed that whenever I start my own design studio that we must bring together both ‘luxury’ and ‘sustainability’  to prove that they can work harmoniously.

HK: How will your concept The Conscious Hotel Room showcase environmental and social factors?
AH: We have thought about the design in terms of impact on the environment from floor to ceiling. It was very important to us that every element was considered, so we researched and approached companies that we knew could help us with this vision.

So we have organic and natural wool and linen fabrics, FSC certified timber flooring from Domus, bespoke 100 per cent recycled cardboard and plastic joinery pieces, many products that are made in the UK (to reduce ‘mileage’) such as our Harris & Harris furniture & lighting and the beautifully natural bed from Naturalmat, 100 per cent wool carpets from Axminster with their recycled car-tyres underlay (both also made in the UK). Handmade natural terracotta tiles, also from Domus, feature in the bathroom with Crosswater WC, basin mixers and showers with low water use. Edward Bulmer paint features on the bedroom walls that only uses natural ingredients. We have a boiling and chilled water tap from Quooker together with reusable water bottles at the mini bar, omitting the need for a kettle (as you only use the exact boiling water you need for a cup of tea) and of course no need for single-use plastic water bottles. Even the artwork we have curated with the art consultants ARTIQ has been chosen to minimise impact on the environment, with artists that use recycled materials and natural materials & processes.

“Natural materials are used wherever possible but in particular with the Naturalmat bed and linens from The Fine Cotton Company.” – Alex Harris, Founder and Creative Director, Harris & Harris

The social factors that we have considered include making the space as wheelchair friendly as we can, with clear space around the bed, sofa, desk and bathroom vanity and a wide doorless opening into the bathroom with no change in floor level into the shower. Plants throughout provide better air quality and general well being. Natural materials are used wherever possible but in particular with the Naturalmat bed and linens from The Fine Cotton Company, to provide the best night’s sleep possible. Snacks and beverages will be sourced as locally as possible and that contain healthy ingredients.

HK: What are the challenges of creating a heritage feel from scratch?
AH: Our first approach was to introduce wall panelling and decorative mouldings throughout, this gave the feeling of a Georgian style property which also helped it feel warm, welcoming and luxurious. Materials, colours and patterns were also chosen to be simple and classic throughout and the furniture and joinery designs are pared back to give a timeless feel.

Image caption: Independent Hotel Show Conscious Hotel Room sketch

HK: What are the historic design references that are mentioned in the brief?
AH: As discussed above, the wall panelling and decorative mouldings, gave the feeling of a Georgian style interior. Our Harris & Harris furniture we have specified for the project; ‘Totterdown’ sofa, ‘Orchard’ Bench and ‘Clarke’ dining chair all have subtle references in their designs to 1920s/1930s Art Deco era and our Harris & Harris ‘Wharf’ lights (both table and pendants will be showcased) feature classic reeded glass. Cole & Son’s wallpaper ‘Flamingos’ that feature in the bathroom are a take on their archived designs from the 1960s as do the ‘Palm Jungle’ fabric on the scatter cushions. The herringbone pattern in the Axminster carpet is another classic design feature and the recycled cardboard tubing, used in the joinery and bed backdrop, gives a feeling of fluted columns that were used in Greek and Roman architecture.

“There are so many ways in which hotels can embrace the three ‘R’s (reduce, recycle and reuse).” – Alex Harris, Founder and Creative Director, Harris & Harris

HK: Can a hotel be 100 per cent fully sustainable?
AH: Unfortunately I don’t believe we as human beings can ever be 100 per cent fully sustainable unless we go back to living in a cave! We can all do our bit to help minimise our impact, but we all consume and we all produce waste. There are so many ways in which hotels can embrace the three ‘R’s (reduce, recycle and reuse) and we are excited to showcase just a selection of examples of how this can be employed in the design of The Conscious Hotel Bedroom which we hope will inspire hoteliers for their current and future projects.

HK: Let’s talk about water consumption. So many hotel groups are pledging to reduce their water consumption by ‘X’ amount.. Which suppliers would you say are allowing this to be a reality?
AH: We are working closely with the British bathroom brand Crosswater who are supplying The Conscious Hotel Bedroom with their M Pro range which have WRAS and TMV2 certification. The WC has two flush types to encourage water management and the mixer tap features a Neoperl aerator that has a flow rate of only five litres per minute.

When I lived in Australia we received an egg timer from the local water company to encourage showers of under four minutes. This was such simple idea and gave a fun challenge to try and ‘beat the clock’ whilst saving water. We will be featuring an egg timer in the bathroom of The Conscious Hotel Bedroom.

“There will be many UK produced products that will feature in The Conscious Hotel Bedroom and will be noted in our literature at the show.” – Alex Harris, Founder and Creative Director, Harris & Harris

HK: What is the value of products that have been manufactured in the UK?
AH: We have many great craftsmanship skills and traditions that are hard to find abroad. Harris & Harris are passionate about producing the UK whenever possible and keeping these skills alive. There will be many UK produced products that will feature in The Conscious Hotel Bedroom and will be noted in our literature at the show.

HK: What can designers do to ensure an eco-hotel is still a trendy and fresh hotel?
AH: I think there is no reason why an eco-hotel cannot not still be trendy and fresh. Curating the products and materials specifically for The Conscious Hotel Bedroom galvanised this idea for us. Many brands now offer products which have less impact on the environment but still look fab. It is up to the designer to track these down and encourage their client to use in place of products that could be damaging to the environment.

HK: Can you explain the benefits of Smile Plastics?
AH: Smile plastics have kindly donated their ‘Dapple’ plastic sheets to us for the joinery pieces at The Conscious Hotel Bedroom. Dapple is made from recycled chopping boards and plastic packaging and with all of their ranges, Smile Plastics are produced from waste which would otherwise end up in land fill. With Dapple we felt it had the look of a natural material such as marble, to give a touch of luxury, particularly important in the bathroom where it features on the vanity joinery. Dapple is hard, dense and rigid, 100 per cent waterproof, rot-proof and strong weather resistance. It is solid and consistent, allowing for a decorative edge. It is also UV resistance and is food-grade and can be used for preparation of wet foods.

Harris & Harris will showcase The Conscious Hotel Room at the Independent Hotel Show 2019. In addition to this, Harris will also join editor Hamish Kilburn on stage to discuss this year’s major topic in a live talk entitled The Conscious Bedroom Report, which takes place at 11:30am on October 15, 2019.

Brand Partners (as of August 2019)
ARTIQ– art consultants and rental agency, Axminster- carpets, Cole & Son– wallpaper and fabrics, Crosswater- bathroom items including shower, basin, toilet and tapsCurran Packaging– recycled cardboard tubing, Domus – bathroom floor and wall tiles, timber flooring, Edward Bulmer – paint, The Fine Cotton Company – towels, gowns, slippers and bed linens, Harris & Harris London– furniture and decorative lighting, Naturalmat – bed, mattress and bed linens, Plant Plan – plants and moss/living wall, Quooker – boiling, filtered & chilled water mixer tap, Samsung– television and soundbarSmile Plastics– recycled plastic sheet material, Wandsworth Group – power, lighting sockets and faceplates

25Hours Hotels to debut in Italy in 2020

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
25Hours Hotels to debut in Italy in 2020

The hotel brand that focuses on individuality, authenticity and striking first impressions has just announced that the opening of 25hours Hotel Piazza San Paolino will mark the brand’s entrance into Italy… 

Irreverent, smart, and authentic, and always with design that starts with a compelling story, 25Hours Hotels will next year open what it is describing as a “first-of-its-kind 173-room hotel in Florence, Italy”. The hotel, which will be posited steps away from Piazza di Santa Maria Novella is slated to open in early summer 2020, unveiling daring interiors by Paola Navone and architecture by Genius Loci Architecture.

25hours Hotel Piazza San Paolino will celebrate the wanderings of the exiled Dante Alighieri, with The Divine Comedy as the basis for its storytelling.

While the local architecture firm will take care of renovating the three existing buildings and integrating them into a single complex, Navone will add her own creative hallmark to the hotel combining the traditional with the contemporary.

The listed group of buildings in the Tuscan capital spans an area of 10,750 square meters and will set a new standard for the neighborhood with plans to incorporate many Florentine businesses and local heroes.

25hours is a young hotel idea that seeks to find contemporary answers to the demands of urban, cosmopolitan travelers. The German-born brand focuses on individuality, authenticity and character, and designs each of its hotels in partnership with various designers and in a unique style, under the motto “Know one, know none”.The hotel brand currently operates 13 hotels in German-speaking countries as well as in Paris. 2020 will also see more openings: The 25hours Hotel Firenze and the 25hours Hotel Dubai. The 25hours Hotel Company formed a strategic alliance with AccorHotels in 2016, and now also pursues hotel projects around the globe.

Main image credit: Studio OTTO

Hotel Indigo arrives in Italy’s fashion capital – Milan

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel Indigo arrives in Italy’s fashion capital – Milan

Hotel Indigo Milan – Corso Monforte becomes the hotel brand’s third hotel in Italy… 

Milan, known as the birthplace of some of the world’s most recognised high-end fashion designers including Prada, Armani and Dolce & Gabbana, has welcomed Hotel Indigo Milan – Corso Monforte to the mix of hotels in the area. The new design-led hotel is centrally located close to the notable fashion district – the perfect location for those looking to explore one of the world’s fashion capitals.

Hotel Indigo properties offer a gateway to discover some of the world’s most inspiring neighbourhoodsand locations. Each hotel brings the outside in; drawing from the local area to inspire every aspect of each hotel, from intriguing design to locally inspired menus.

Hotel Indigo® Milan – Corso Monforte takes inspiration from the surrounding neighbourhood, mixing elements from 1950’s Italian vintage fashion with contemporary cues intrinsically weaved into one seamless interior design theme of fashion through the ages. Throughout the hotel’s 75 rooms, bold prints and colour splash the walls and feature artwork and sketches from Biki, one of the most notable names of the Milan fashion scene in the 30s, 40s and 50s. Opening her first atelier (studio) in 1934 in Milan, Biki paved the way in the development of prét-a-porte fashion (ready-to wear). Her style wastypically classic Italian, specially made for the Milanese ‘vita’ – the high life. Throughout the hotel you can see nods to this through elements such as the large vintage leather-bound classic trunks embossed with the hotel’s initials.

“The hotel boasts unique design features that are recognisable to the fashion connoisseur.”

From ‘hat box’ bedside tables, bowler hat lamps and sewing machines desks, the hotel boasts unique design features that are recognisable to the fashion connoisseur whilst ensuring they blend with thebuilding’s original architecture. Throughout the historic palace, intricately detailed classically coffered ceilings and panelled walls can be seen, lending to the classical era of the hotel. Large arches dominate throughout and surround the interior courtyard, making it the perfect place for an afternoon coffee or drink.

“Set to double its portfolio over the next three to five years, Hotel Indigo continues its strong growth as one of the largest boutique brands in this fast-growing segment,” said Eric Viale, Managing Director Southern Europe, IHG. “The brand is now at home in over 100 different and vibrant neighbourhoods globally, which is an incredibly exciting milestone. We provide guests with the best of both worlds – the promise of a design-led hotel and the reassurance of a consistently upscale experience with the IHG name behind it.” 

There are more than 109 Hotel Indigo properties open globally with more than 103 in the hotel pipeline, including Japan’s first Hotel Indigo, Hotel Indigo® Hakone Gora due to open later this year. In Europe alone, there are 32 hotels open in key neighbourhoods with a further 19 due to open in the next three – five years, depending on forecasts.

Recently, IHG opened the highly anticipated Hotel Indigo® Venice – Saint’Elena, the first IHG branded property on the island of Venice and Hotel Indigo® Stratford upon Avon, in the heart of Shakespeare’s home town. 

Main image credit: IHG

Sensitively carpeting Grade-I listed Hawkstone Hall Hotel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Aubadecreative

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HK: What is your motto?

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

HK: What is the process behind your designs?

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

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

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

HK: What was your most recent project?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hampton by Hilton becomes first hotel to adjoin famous racecourse

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hampton by Hilton becomes first hotel to adjoin famous racecourse

Hampton by Hilton Hamilton Park boasts rooms overlooking one of the most picturesque grounds in British horse racing…

Hampton by Hilton Hamilton Park has opened, unveiling 118 guestrooms located within Hamilton Park Racecourse, a five-star VisitScotland attraction, which is a significant part of Scotland’s racing heritage. The property, owned by Hamilton Park Racecourse and managed by Interstate Hotels & Resorts, will be the first hotel to adjoin the racecourse in its 90-year history.

With contemporary, comfortable and functional rooms offering panoramic views of Hamilton Park Racecourse, guests can watch over the excitement on the racetrack below in comfort and style. The hotel, situated just 10 miles from Glasgow city centre, also provides easy access to a range of shopping, entertainment and historical attractions in both cities. Travellers seeking a relaxing day can head to the nearby Strathclyde and Chatelherault Country Parks, while thrill seekers can visit M&D’s Theme Park, just a few miles away.

“Following a £10 million investment, Hampton by Hilton Hamilton Park opens its doors today, joining six existing Hampton by Hilton properties in Scotland,” said Simon Vincent, Executive Vice President and President, EMEA, Hilton. “We are delighted to offer visitors to Hamilton Park Racecourse a quality accommodation option on-site, becoming the first hotel to adjoin the racecourse in its 90-year history”.

Guests can enjoy Hampton’s signature hot breakfast, with complimentary tea and coffee, to gear up for the races. The property’s 24-hour bar and restaurant offers open views of the racecourse where groups can enjoy a cocktail or light meal without missing the action.

The hotel includes 57 “flex rooms” which are suitable for either three adults, or two adults with children. Guests can make use of the on-site 24-hour fitness centre, open daily from 6am until 10pm ,and enjoy complimentary Wi-Fi and 50-inch flat-screen HDTVs in every room. With complimentary parking and18 fully equipped function rooms within the racecourse, the hotel is also an excellent option for business travellers

Vivien Currie, Chief Executive at Hamilton Park Racecourse, said: “We are delighted to be delivering this landmark project at Hamilton Park Racecourse and are certain it will deliver substantial benefits to the wider economy as well as enhance the Racecourse’s reputation as a world-class sporting and hospitality attraction.”

“Hampton by Hilton’s unmatched, friendly and authentic customer service is backed by the brand’s 100% Hampton Guarantee™,” said Shruti Gandhi Buckley, global head, Hampton by Hilton. “Add to that our modern design and high quality amenities, guests of Hamilton Park will have an unbeatable stay experience.”

Hampton by Hilton Hamilton Park is part of Hilton Honors, the award-winning guest-loyalty program for Hilton’s 17 distinct hotel brands. Members who book directly have access to instant benefits, including a flexible payment slider that allows members to choose nearly any combination of Points and money to book a stay, an exclusive member discount, free standard Wi-Fi and the Hilton Honors mobile app. Book direct at Hilton.com, through the Hilton Honors app or through other official Hilton channels for more perks and a price match guarantee.

Main image credit: Hilton Hotels

SNEAK PEEK: B3 Designers lifts the lid on The Prince Akatoki Hotel London

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
SNEAK PEEK: B3 Designers lifts the lid on The Prince Akatoki Hotel London

London-based hospitality interior design specialist B3 Designers is heading towards the finish line of completing the interiors for The Prince Akatoki London, a new hotel located on Great Cumberland Place near Marble Arch…

Opening mid-September, The Prince Akatoki London’s newly designed spaces include 82 guestrooms and suites, a reception and sanctuary, a communal workspace for hotel guests, a Japanese restaurant featuring a sushi counter and robata grill, as well as a lounge and bar offering a tea ceremony room by day and a whiskey bar by night.

The Japanese-owned Prince Akatoki London, the first of its kind, will bring Japanese luxury design and hospitality to the heart of the West End, and this will be reflected in the design throughout the entire hotel. The brief to B3 Designers was to create spaces that encourage guests to relax and recharge in a light, tranquil, mindful and minimalist environment that champions Japanese craftsmanship and unparalleled attention to detail.

B3 Designers has fused quintessentially Japanese touchpoints into its minimalist and modern design to enhance and complete a luxury Japanese experience. The team has drawn inspiration from well-crafted simple joinery details, and has applied a strong use of natural materials, muted and light yet durable fabrics, crafted but modern seating, sleek metallic lighting, modern ceramics with rustic touches, and abundant use of stone and slate.

Image credit: B3 Designers/The Prince Akatoki London

The look and feel of the bedrooms, hotel reception and sanctuary (located adjacent to the reception) evoke a sense of calm through the use of lighter-coloured, fresh and tranquil materials. The use of decorative panels featuring Japanese landscapes, whether dark or light, help guests enjoy a unique, refined incarnation of Japanese hospitality and culture in the heart on London.

The destinational public spaces including the restaurant and a tea ceremony room that transforms into a whiskey bar for evening guests, flaunt a darker colour palette yet still boast natural, well-crafted materials.

The hotel is currently gearing up for its official unveiling, which is slated to take place next month.

Main image credit: B3 Designers/The Prince Akatoki London

PRODUCT WATCH: GESSI adds architectural wellness to its range

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
PRODUCT WATCH: GESSI adds architectural wellness to its range

The GESSI Architectural Wellness project is a new concept in design that makes the functions of “wellness of the five senses” modular and customisable, with signicant technical advantages….

Binario, the system that inaugurates the new project launched by GESSI, envisages the overhead installation of wall mounted tracks, similar to those used in the lighting sector. These location, customisable by number, length and form, can contain modules with different functions: waterfall, nebulisation, rainfall, illumination, sound and aeration. 

The illumination component was develo- ped together with Artemide, with whom Gessi boasts a historic collabora- tion. The technical track that olds the shower, light, sound and air elements is installable and usable in the con gurations preferred by the client. 

The system can be easily modi ed over time without further structural work, through the addition of new plug and play modules. The beauty of this product can extend beyond the shower area to also furnish other space of the home, creating versatile and new compositions. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Quick-fire round

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MINIVIEW: room2 Southampton, the debut hometel

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

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

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

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

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

Image credit: room2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: room2 Southampton

Blackpool Pleasure Beach welcomes new luxury hotel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Blackpool Pleasure Beach welcomes new luxury hotel

Boulevard Hotel is expected to be a game changer luxury hotel that is about to arrive on Pleasure Beach in Blackpool… 

The entertainment capital of the north west – AKA Blackpool – is about to add a new luxury hotel to the mix as part of a multi-million pound investment plan to reinforce the destination’s reputation as one of the UK’s most popular attractions. Situated on Ocean Boulevard, adjacent to iconic beaches, Boulevard Hotel is on the brink of opening its luxury offering.

With architecture by Allison Pike, the £12 million Boulevard Hotel comprises 120 stylish rooms designed by Amanda Thompson OBE, Managing Director of Blackpool Pleasure Beach. Accommodation offering will include eight junior suites, two park view suites and eight coastal suites, all with either coastal vistas or direct views of the attractions and rollercoasters – perfect for building the excitement.All boast bespoke artwork complemented by materials sourced from renowned British companies, including handmade furniture by Tetrad, Designers Guild fabrics and wallcoverings by Andrew Martin.

This superior accommodation will be complemented by a 90-seat signature restaurant, The Beachside, which uses locally sourced ingredients to create an array of exquisite dishes from around the globe.

“We are delighted to be able to build on the success of the Big Blue Hotel by offering both leisure and business visitors another hotel which exceeds all expectations,” said Thompson OBE. “This is a continuation of Blackpool Pleasure Beach’s ongoing investment and a pivotal moment for the town as a whole. We are proud to be at the very heart of a transformation that will see Blackpool become one of the UK’s most exciting resorts.”

The hotel is the latest addition to the Blackpool Pleasure Beach accommodation offering, which also includes the adjacent award-winning Big Blue Hotel. Both these properties are part of the Blackpool Pleasure Beach portfolio which has been operated by the Thompson family since the resort’s inception in 1896.

Main image credit: Boulevard Hotels

 

PRODUCT WATCH: Criterion from Chelsom

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
PRODUCT WATCH: Criterion from Chelsom

Criterion from Chelsom is one of the signature ranges from the lighting company’s latest collection, Edition 26…

Last year, Chelsom presented to the world, Edition 26, an innovate range of elegant contemporary fittings with timeless appeal that would be an impressive addition to a wide variety of interior schemes. Among the products launched was Criterion, a classic and stylish wall and ceiling lighting option suitable for many, if not all, hospitality scenes.

Available as part of a wider collection of coordinated wall and bathroom lighting, the Criterion ceiling fittings feature dimmable integral LED light sources which sparkle and refract through individual solid clear glass rods creating a striking light effect. Faux alabaster acrylic bottom diffusers create softly diffused downlight. The range is available in Polished Brass and Polished Chrome as standard with special finish options available on request for orders of over 50 pieces.

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

Main image credit: Chelsom

Lennox Hotels arrives on Miami Beach

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Lennox Hotels arrives on Miami Beach

Sheltered within an original 1930s Art Deco shell sits the newly opened 119-key Lennox Hotel Miami Beach. Hotel Designs takes a closer look at the new hotel on the block, imagined by acclaimed Argentinian interior designer Juan Ciavarella…

A striking new modern hotel, combining contemporary design with original Art Deco design, has opened its doors in South Florida hotspot, Miami Beach. Lennox Hotel Miami Beach is a bold luxury boutique property offering stylish accommodation and an authentic Miami experience.

The hotel – located on Miami’s iconic Collins Avenue – offers 119 contemporary guestrooms, 13 of these complemented by a balcony offering sweeping views of the buzzing streets of Miami Beach.  At the centre of the property’s four interconnected buildings, a Mediterranean-style courtyard features a 12ft swimming pool and poolside bar offering al fresco dining and serving innovative cocktails.

Located in what was once the Peter Miller Hotel, the property is a protected building in the heart of the area’s Historic District. Lennox Hotels purchased the building for $14.7 million in 2010 and has invested more than $100 million on an extensive transformation of the building.  The renovation has been focused on maintaining the property’s legacy by retaining its original Art Deco and Mediterranean Revival architectural style exterior and transforming it into a living landmark.

Exterior render of the hotel

Image credit: Lennox Hotels

“One of the most special features of Lennox Hotel Miami Beach is that not one guestroom is the same as the other.”

The guestrooms are enhanced by handcrafted furnishings from Patagonia, natural elements and eco-friendly and upcycled materials meticulously curated by acclaimed Argentinian interior designer Juan Ciavarella. Soft neutral tones and unique textiles combine in rooms that will range in categories from Terrace Poolside with direct pool access, to Balcony King with private balcony overlooking the colourful streets of Miami Beach. One of the most special features of Lennox Hotel Miami Beach is that not one guestroom is the same as the other.

“We are thrilled to be expanding the Lennox Hotel brand to the U.S. with the opening of Lennox Hotel Miami Beach,” said CEO of Lennox Hotels, Diego Agnelli. “Our reasons for choosing this area were as much because of the area’s vibrancy and liveliness as it was because of the welcoming spirit of its people and the friendliness they express toward travellers.  Our vision for Lennox Hotel Miami Beach is to provide a sophisticated and inviting setting for travellers to live an authentic Miami experience, one that not only provides a place to mingle with the locals, but also allows them to feel like locals and enjoy the area, its culture and vivacity through the lens of a local.”

The historic structure was designed by architect Russell Pancoast in 1934.  Pancoast is known for much of Miami Beach’s most celebrated buildings, including the Surf Club, the Church by the Sea and the Miami Beach Auditorium.

The property has the notable distinction of being among the 300 Miami Beach buildings that were leased by the U.S. Army for the Air Forces Technical Training Command during World War II. The buildings returned to civilian use in 1943 and remained a military property until 1944. The structure is now part of the Historic District.

The transformation of the hotel’s original structure into Lennox Hotel Miami Beach is the work of veteran Miami architect Beilison Gomez. 

Image of courtyard and long narrow pool

Image credit: Lennox Hotels

Stepping through the hotel’s front doors, guests will be welcomed by bartenders at the hotel bar, the ultimate lounge area to mingle with locals or relax after a day of travel and exploration. To the right, guests will find the lobby and to the left, a walkway will lead them to the hotel’s upscale restaurant.

The seamless service from the hotel’s staff will make guests feel welcomed in an atmosphere that exudes unpretentious sophistication.  Unparalleled signature service will include concierge services, room service, laundry and more.  Each guestroom will be complete with amenities such as a Nespresso Vertuoline with complimentary Nespresso capsules, 47-inch LG TVs, a stocked mini-bar and local artisan stacks (extra cost), in-room safe and complimentary Wi-Fi.

The team is also announcing a partnership with William Roamto provide the luxury bathroom products featured in each guestroom. From the brand’s SENSE collection, these products feature vegan, nature made beauty care. With Minnesota Tamarack Larch tree bark as the main ingredient and a blend of 21 aromatic extracts, the collection promotes lush and hydrated skin and hair. William Roam is a partner of American Forrest, a non-profit conservation dedicated to protecting and restoring healthy forest ecosystems. Thanks to this partnership, American Forest has committed to planting one tree for every hotel room at Lennox Hotel Miami Beach.

Additional amenities for guests include complimentary shuttle service within a one-mile radius, including to the hotel’s private area on the beach that offers lounge chairs, umbrellas and towels.

The property is located just one block away from the Miami Beach Convention Centre.  The hotel will provide an ideal setting for intimate meetings of up to 12 people in its Patagonia Boardroom, a multi-use space equipped with the latest technology.

Main image credit: Lennox Hotels

FINAL CALL: Applications for The Brit List 2019 close this week

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
FINAL CALL: Applications for The Brit List 2019 close this week

FREE TO APPLY, nominations for The Brit List 2019 close on Friday August 9… 

Calling all interior designers, architects, hoteliers and suppliers who operate in Britain, you have until Friday to submit your free entries for The Brit List 2019. Once all nominations/applications have been gathered, the expert judging panel will decide who will from this year’s The Brit List. All will be unveiled – including the individual award winners – on November 21 at an exclusive awards ceremony and evening drinks reception.

APPLY/NOMINATE SOMEONE FOR THE BRIT LIST 2019 BY CLICKING HERE

The concept of The Brit List, which launched in 2017, results in 75 names, split into three categories (designers, architects and hoteliers), being listed as true movers and shakers. The list will be created around the nominations (applications close on August 9) from the following awards that are up for grabs:

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

Suppliers: £150 + VAT (Please click here if you are a supplier to the industry to secure your ticket)
Designers, hoteliers, developers and architects: £20 + VAT (Please click here if you are either a designer, hotelier, developer or architect and secure your ticket)

In addition to attending The Brit List 2019 Awards, there are also various sponsorship opportunities for suppliers. If you would like to know more about these, please contact Katy Phillips on email or by calling 01992 474050.

Headline Partner: Crosswater

Event Partner: Hamilton Litestat

2019 Industry Partner: BIID

London to welcome ‘private members’ club’ hotel in 2020

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
London to welcome ‘private members’ club’ hotel in 2020

Slated to open in Q1 of 2020, The Guardsman is a purpose-built luxury London boutique hotel that is expected to offer the atmosphere, discretion and personal service usually associated with a private members’ club…

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

The hotel will be sheltered in an intimate property said to cut the same style and atmosphere as that of a private members’ club. The top three floors will encompass six exclusive residences. Designed as the perfect London pied-a-terre, they comprise a selection of one, two and three bedrooms, along with sumptuous living spaces, dining areas and fully fitted kitchens. The Penthouse has a wraparound terrace, whilst two other residences feature a more expansive outdoor space with planting and seating.

The hotel is set amongst some of London’s most historic and prestigiouslandmarks. The Houses of Parliament and Buckingham Palace are both a short walk away, while the neighbourhood has been the seat of government for a thousand years. The hotel extends down the quieter, more hidden, Vandon Street, giving the impression of a sanctuary.

Image credit: Shiva Hotels

From the moment guests arrive, they will instantly be made to feel at home by the discrete yet attentive service. Along with their choice of rooms or residences, they can request their preferred brand of drinks, menu items or bathroom products, all of which will be prepared ready for their arrival. The hotel has an unmistakably British feel that befits such a prestigious address. Interiors are contemporary and relaxed, complemented by a few carefully chosen, classic and sometimes quirky embellishments.

Meanwhile, bespoke furniture will fill the intimate public spaces and curated art adorns the walls. The individually styled bedrooms are exceptionally comfortable. Meticulously considered interior design and clever use of space ensure each room feels spacious, whilst flourishes such as custom-made furnishings and free-standing baths combine with more classic features like herringbone parquet flooring to continue the unmistakably British feel. State-of-the-art integrated televisions and speakers with Chromecast ensure all travellers’ technological needs are met.

Plush snug area

Image credit: Shiva Hotels

The spaces for dining and socialising are set over two levels, perfect for relaxing, reading, small gatherings or enjoying the carefully selected whiskeys and spirits as well as a sommelier curated wine list.

At the core of the hotel’s personality is the exquisite restaurant, open to residents and their guests only. Although a few select dishes will always be available, menus are developed daily from seasonal produce sourced from carefully selected purveyors, London markets and organic farms. The kitchen will be open all day, and room service will be available around the clock.

The Guardsman is owned and operated by Shiva Hotels and represents a new direction in this market for the group. “The Guardsman is designed for those who want the tailored, personal experience offered by a club, the flexibility and luxury of a hotel and the comfort and familiarity of a home,” said Rishi Sachdev, Managing Director, Shiva Hotels. “It will also have a conscience, wherever possible putting both its people and the environment at the centre of its decisions.”

Main image credit: Shiva Hotels

 

Feature: Designing the ‘live like a local’ experience

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Feature: Designing the ‘live like a local’ experience

Hotel Designs spends time understanding a new hotel concept from SB Architects that is said to “switch on the senses, capture imagination and transport guests on a journey though a mobile-canvas of captivating landscapes”… 

Luxury travelers are increasingly seeking unique, authentic and immersive experiences. They are becoming more curious and bold in their explorations and subsequently, their modes of transport. 

In Booking.com’s 2018 ‘Travel Predictions’ survey, they reported that 25 per cent of travellers were planning trips based on the journey rather than the destination, aiming to embark on an “epic road or rail journey”. 

Hyperlocalisation is no longer a trend, it’s a vital part of the guest experience, and design should interact with and enhance the local culture of the destination. The popularity of services like Air BnB shows no sign of slowing down, as inherently they provide what the guest is craving, a hyperlocalised ‘live like a local’ experience. As designers, we are tasked with creating a sense of place, communicating the unique story of the locale and designing adaptable spaces to provide hoteliers with the opportunity to reinvent and stay fresh. 

 Synonymous with ultra-luxury and glamor, we are experiencing a rail revival. The American West was built along rail lines that span the nation. What were once bustling railways are now silent and forgotten vestiges of our past. Many of these railways span untapped, truly breathtaking, locations, but provide no footing for hospitality development. The Infinite Explorer provides a unique opportunity to embrace and transform the existing infrastructure of these underutilized spaces, making the unreachable, reachable. 

Life aboard The Infinite Explorer is about the voyage, not the end destination. It’s a one-of-a-kind hospitality experience, designed to switch on the senses, capture the imagination and transport guests on a journey through a mobile-canvas of captivating landscapes.  

Embark on a five-night odyssey through one of the world’s most spectacular natural landscapes. Not only can guests experience a five-star service and luxury amenities onboard; including a dining and observation car; the exclusive itinerary will satiate the palate of the most intrepid traveler. 

Train travelers usually only capture a glimpse of the immense beauty that passes by outside their window, but imagine if you could step out of your cabin into the wilderness to feel, touch, and smell it? As the train weaves through a profusion of wildflower-filled meadows, rocky peaks, and crystal clear, aquamarine lakes, the train will stop, the side of the guest’s cabin will open up, and guests can step from their cabin onto one of the extraordinary platforms and experiences located along the route. Each stop along the route is unique and designed with an immersive program of activity, including outdoor adventures, wellness and dining; designed to astound, delight and capture the guest’s imagination at every turn. 

The Infinite Explorer grants guests the opportunity to slow down, disconnect and intimately connect with scenery that might otherwise be unattainable.  

The concept, and its infinite possibilities, has been shortlisted for the Radical Innovation Award. 

Main image credit: SB Architects

Is this the most instagrammable hotel in Barcelona?

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Is this the most instagrammable hotel in Barcelona?

During August Hotel Designs is shining the Spotlight On Hotel Concepts. The editorial team believe that Hotel Arts Barcelona has all the ingredients in the mix to be Barcelona’s most instagrammable hotel. It’s a bold statement, but here’s why…

Exclusive and indulgent, the 28 penthouses at the top of the tallest building in Barcelona give guests a behind-the-scenes experience to those photos on Instagram – where luxury is the bare minimum. Beneath them, is the entrance of a hotel that has been designed around essence of wellness and wellbeing.

Iconic design, incredible culinary experiences and the sparkling Mediterranean are what draw visitors to Barcelona, Spain. These elements are also what attract luxury travelers to Hotel Arts Barcelona. Towering 44 floors above the sea, the 5-star hotel is a striking tower of blue glass and steel with beautifully designed accommodations, a two Michelin-star restaurant and spaces, including a rooftop spa and two outdoor pools, that overlook the sea.

Beautifully curated by world-renowned Catalonian designer Jaime Tresserra, the penthouses display unforgettable wraparound views over the city and the Azur of the Mediterranean beyond, making Hotel Arts Barcelona an unmistakable icon of Catalonia’s capital.

The hotel has been designed to evoke a certain wellness ambiance to shelter a collection of Insta-worthy and bespoke experiences including private cocktail mixology classes by highly acclaimed mixologist and high-end cuisine. From bright sunrises to soft pink sunsets, guests of the Royal, Presidential, Barcelona or Arts Penthouse can also book expertly taught, mindful yoga classes or have the professional therapists from the hotel’s 43 The Spa set up terrace massages for Natura Bissé spa treatments paired with undoubtedly Europe’s finest views.

Each Penthouse also features indulgent Bvlgari amenities, daily personalised breakfasts and personal use of a MINI Cooper Cabrio. Unparalleled service throughout, combined with dynamic design, the Penthouses boast exclusive check-ins as well as dedicated, multilingual butlers and magnificent flower arrangements by celebrity florist Donna Stain.

Main image credit: Hotel Arts Barcelona

Violet armchairs by the window

Laura Ashley Hotel The Iliffe, Coventry opens

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

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

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

Violet armchairs by the window

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Laura Ashley Hotels

PRODUCT WATCH: Wellness & wellbeing in the open air

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Gessi

SNEAK PEEK: Inside Hinode Hills Niseko Village, Japan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image credit: YTL Hotels

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

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

Main image credit: YTL Hotels

Looking for innovative signage for a project? Look no further

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Looking for innovative signage for a project? Look no further

Forum Events’ Digital Signage & Interactive Solutions Summit takes place on September 23 – 24, 2019 at Radisson Blu, Stansted… 

Connecting senior executives working within the sector with product and service suppliers for two days of one-to-one meetings and business networking, Digital Signage & Interactive Solutions Summit, is the go-to networking event for designers looking to create immersive and interactive experiences via signage.

Forum Events understands that designers’ time is precious, valuable and limited. The event’s unique and highly focused concept has been created in such away that allows delegates to inform who they would like to meet prior to attending. The Summit’s dedicated staff then arranges all meetings in advance based on delegates’ preferences, by providing them with details on solution providers, products and services. 98 per cent of those how have attended our events say that they are a better way to find new suppliers than a traditional trade show.

“98 per cent of those how have attended our events say that they are a better way to find new suppliers than a traditional trade show.”

Why attend?

  • Pre-arranged meetings with solution providers of your choice
  • 25 minute meeting slots will be relaxed and civilised, with no hard sell
  • Attend a tailored programme of inspiring seminars
  • Easily compare and benchmark potential products, services and solutions
  • You will be one of just 60 VIPs at the event, ensuring that you get personal attention
  • Attendance is entirely free of charge, which includes entry to our seminars
  • Attendance to our networking dinner
  • Accommodation at our luxury hotel venue

What’s included?

  • A full pre-arranged itinerary of one-to-one meetings
  • Complimentary seminars hosted by some of the industry’s most dynamic minds
  • Meals and refreshments throughout
  • Access to all presentation material
  • Wi-Fi Access

If you would like to attend the event, or would like to request more information, please contact Katie Bullot on k.bullot@forumevents.co.uk or call 01992 374093. 

THE BRIT LIST 2019: Last chance to claim early bird tickets

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
THE BRIT LIST 2019: Last chance to claim early bird tickets

Early bird tickets for The Brit List 2019 Awards, which takes place on November 21 at Patch East London, expire on August 4…

There are just two days left in order to claim your early bird tickets to The Brit List 2019 Awards. Hotel Designs’ annual awards, which as well as recognising individual winners also lists the top 75 influencers who are operating in Britain on the hotel design and hospitality scene. The awards evening takes place on November 21 at Patch East London.

Click here to purchase your tickets

The concept of The Brit List, which launched in 2017, results in 75 names, split into three categories (designers, architects and hoteliers), being listed as true movers and shakers. The list will be created around the nominations (applications close on August 9) from the following awards that are up for grabs:

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

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

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

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

In addition to attending The Brit List 2019 Awards, there are also various sponsorship opportunities for suppliers. If you would like to know more about these, please contact Katy Phillips on email or by calling 01992 474050.

Headline Partner: Crosswater

 

Event Partner: Hamilton Litestat

2019 Industry Partner: BIID

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SPOTLIGHT ON: 7 hotel concepts on the boards that will rock your world

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
SPOTLIGHT ON: 7 hotel concepts on the boards that will rock your world

During this month’s Spotlight On Hotel Concepts, editor Hamish Kilburn identifies the projects on the boards that are taking international hotel design to unseen heights…

The hotels that are currently opening around the globe are impressive, innovative and are a reaction to the ever-evolving demands of the luxury and modern traveller.

“As designers, one of the biggest drivers we have noticed is in the demand for areas that enhance individuality and social wellness,” explains Fiona Thompson, Principal at Richmond International. “As a result, hotel public areas in the properties that we are currently designing are having to respond to these changes and be more agile in adapting to these changes.” With these trends in mind, and to really understand the public architecture forecast of the future, here are some raw sketches of the hotels of our future that are currently on the boards.

Whether they are floating, in the sky, robot-operated, pledge to fully eliminate carbon footprints – or so innovative that they can’t physically be built yet –  the concepts below that we have identified are gamechangers on the international hotel design scene.

Seminole Hard Rock Hotel And Casino

Complete with swim-up suites and a 7,000- seat concert venue, a new hotel shaped like a guitar is emerging in Hollywood, Florida. The estimated US$1.5 billion hotel is all part of a US$2.2-billion expansion of the current Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino locations.

Hotel of 2119, imagined by Hilton Hotels

To celebrate the hotel group’s 100th anniversary, Hilton has just unveiled what it believes will be the hotel in 100 years from now…

Intergalactic getaways, fast-food nutrient pills, two to three hour working days and adaptable, personalised rooms that can transport guests everywhere from jungles to mountain ranges; in celebration of its 100thanniversaryHilton predicts the future trends set to dominate the travel and hospitality industry in the next 100 years.

Continue reading.

Mandarin Oriental Melbourne

Image credit: VA

Currently on the boards, Mandarin Oriental Melbourne, designed by Zaha Hadid Architects(ZHA), is a new signature hotel and branded residences that is slated to open in 2023. Soon to become the hotel group’s first property in Australia, the mixed-used 185-metre tower will be located in the heart of the city’s financial district.

Continue reading.

Cliff-hanging hotel in Norway

Image credit: Cover Images/Hayri Atak Architectural Design Studio

Istanbul-based Architecture firm Hayri Atak Architectural Design Studio. has released the first renders of a new project that shows a luxury hotel built into the side of a 2000-foor cliff in Norway. The concept would be constructed to blend into the natural surroundings with the exception of a statement pool that would extend over the edge of the cliff edge.

Continue reading.

Sofitel SO Los Cabos

render of ocean-side hotel

Image credit: SB Architects

Set on a prominent five-acre beachfront site in premier tourist destination, Los Cabos, this five-star luxury resort cascades gently down to the white sandy beaches below, providing unobstructed Pacific Ocean views throughout. Designed by SB Architects, and inspired by the vibrant history of Mexican haciendas and the central role of family gathering spaces, the resort embraces bold, contemporary architectural features with vivid interior hues, paying homage to the authentic Zócalo (community spaces) experience.

Continue reading.

JW Marriott Jeju

Image credit: WATG

Incorporating key aspects of Jeju’s culture, the design narrative laid out by WATG is an abstract representation of the island’s indigenous Chogo architecture. The traditional curved roof has been reversed, expressing the patterned lattice on the underside of the structure.

Floating city

Image credit: Oceanix

The floating city concept, imagined by architect Bjarke Ingels in collaboration with Oceanix, has been designed so that it can survive a category five hurricane. The concept, known as Oceanix City, is described as the world’s first sustainable floating city, which would essentially be groups of hexagonal platforms – anchored to the seabed – that could each house an estimated 300 people.

Main image credit: Oceanix

In Conversation With: Fashion designer Jack Irving

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fashion shoot of models on bed with cushion

Image credit: Charlotte Rutherford

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

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

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

QUICK-FIRE ROUND

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

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

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

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

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

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

Models on bed with cushion

Image credit: Charlotte Rutherford

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Jack Irving Studio

NEW FOR DESIGNERS & HOTELIERS: Bisque debuts new online platform

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Designer – Edwina Boase/Bisque

 

The Brit List 2019: Free to apply before August 9

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The Brit List 2019: Free to apply before August 9

CALLING ALL DESIGNERS, ARCHITECTS, HOTELIERS AND SUPPLIERS: Applications for The Brit List 2019, which are free to apply for, close on August 9… 

Time is running out to apply for The Brit List 2019, Hotel Designs’ annual awards, which as well as recognising individual winners also lists the top 75 influencers who are operating in Britain on the hotel design and hospitality scene.  The deadline for applications and nominations expire on August 9!

In an aim to ensure that Hotel Designs’ nationwide search to find the best interior designers, architects, hoteliers and suppliers operating in Britain, The Brit List remains completely free to apply for.

Simply click here to apply/nominate.

The concept of The Brit List, which launched in 2017, results in 75 names, split into three categories (designers, architects and hoteliers), being listed as true movers and shakers. The list will be created around the nominations from the following awards that are up for grabs:

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

“Now with suppliers able to participate in the awards element, The Brit List has allowed us to physically bridge the gap between industry leaders,” said Hamish Kilburn, editor of Hotel Designs.

On November 21, the shortlisted finalists of designers, hoteliers, architects as well as key suppliers to the industry will gather at Patch East, London where The Brit List 2019 will be unveiled along with the individual winners . “We have, yet again, deliberately kept nominations for The Brit List 2019 free for all to apply in order to maintain a fair opportunity for all designers, hoteliers, architects and suppliers who believe they deserve to be profiled in The Brit List 2019,” explains Hamish Kilburn, editor of Hotel Designs. “As a judge, I am personally looking forward to leading another nationwide search in order to find and platform exceptional creative thinkers who are operating or manufacturing in Britain today.” Patch East, London is a fabulous venue for our non-traditional awards ceremony, and we look forward to welcoming the industry’s finest for a night of celebration and high-profile networking.”

Read more about the judges by clicking here.

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

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

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

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

Render of the Melbourne skyline including the new ZHA designed hotel

SNEAK PEEK: Inside Mandarin Oriental Melbourne designed by Zaha Hadid Architects

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
SNEAK PEEK: Inside Mandarin Oriental Melbourne designed by Zaha Hadid Architects

Following an insight into Zaha Hadid Architects’ Michele Salvi on The Morpheus, Hotel Designs heads backstage on another groundbreaking project the architecture firm is currently working to complete. Editor Hamish Kilburn writes… 

Currently on the boards, Mandarin Oriental Melbourne, designed by Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA), is a new signature hotel and branded residences that is slated to open in 2023.

Render of the Melbourne skyline including the new ZHA designed hotel

Soon to become the hotel group’s first property in Australia, the mixed-used 185-metre tower will be located in the heart of the city’s financial district.

The 196 spacious guestrooms and suites have been designed to reflect local culture together with features inspired by Mandarin Oriental’s heritage. The Group will also manage 148 residences at Mandarin Oriental, located on the tower’s upper floors, which will provide some of the most well-appointed private homes in the city. Owners will have access to the hotel experience, as well as their own bespoke amenities including a private residents’ lounge.

“The tower’s design conveys the wide variety of interior spaces within; dividing the building’s overall volume into a series of smaller stacked vases.” – ZHA’s project director Michele Pasca di Magliano

The hotel’s design vision was first realised in 2016. When completed, it will feature an all-day dining restaurant and a bar with a landscaped roof terrace. There will also be avariety of meeting spaces and an executive club lounge. A Spa at Mandarin Oriental will offer the Group’s renowned wellness,relaxation and beauty facilities, while further leisure options include a comprehensive fitness centre and an indoor swimming pool.

“The hotel’s façade reinterprets this historical detailing in a contemporary solution, introducing a delicate litre that gently envelops the building,” said ZHA’s project director Michele Pasca di Magliano.“The tower’s design conveys the wide variety of interior spaces within; dividing the building’s overall volume into a series of smaller stacked vases, with each different vase housing the bespoke guestrooms, suites, residences or amenities of Mandarin Oriental’s renowned service and standards.”

The project, which is being developed by Melbourne-based property developer, Landream, is said to have taken its inspiration from the finest examples of historic architecture within the Central Business District. “Mandarin Oriental, Melbourne will set anew standard for bespoke service in the city and will offer a preferred choice to travellers and potential homeowners who desire thenest accommodation,” said Kevin Li, Managing Director of Landream.

Disrupting not only design boundaries, but also the hotel development landscape, Mandarin Oriental Melbourne will open following predictions from experts that the hotel development market in Australia is expected to slow down in the coming years as a result of the regulation-driven curbs on development lending and the increasing construction and land costs, especially in Sydney and Melbourne.

Main image credit: VA

16th century shell transforms to open modern boutique design hotel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
16th century shell transforms to open modern boutique design hotel

The in-house design team at IHG, construction firm Stepnell and architecture practice Hitchman Stone Partnership have together completed a £13.2 million restoration projects on a Grade II listed building, which now sheltered the boutique 93-key Hotel Indigo Stratford-Upon-Avon

Located in the heart of Shakespeare’s birthplace, a three-storey Grade II listed building, which dates back to the 16th century, now shelters Hotel Indigo Stratford-Upon-Avon.

“It is a truly unique site, our first Hotel Indigo in a town, and what a town,” says Henry Reeve, Director of Interior Design at IHG. “We could not have picked a better site.”

Hotel Indigo Stratford-upon-Avon, formerly known as The Falcon Hotel, has upgraded its internal facilities whilst preserving the heritage of its historic exterior during a comprehensive refurbishment. “It’s been amazing to work on such an interesting project, helping to preserve a piece of history that can be enjoyed by the public,” adds Paul Fish, operations manager at Stepnell. “The work was incredibly specialist from a refurbishment perspective, so we had a real sense of achievement upon completion.”

Exterior shot of hotel

Image credit: IHG

Plans were originally laid out to refurbish the roof, but the job quickly grew in size when it was found to be beyond repair and had to be removed entirely, along with the internal plastering which was reinstated by a specialist company. Measures were also taken to preserve and replace the external beams and timber flooring in a bid to protect to the hotel’s defining features.

“We used bold contemporary botanics to reflect the surrounding flora and add a punch of drama.” – Henry Reeve, Director of Interior Design at IHG

Fish added: “We faced a few challenges during the build regarding conservation and access to the site due to the historic nature of the hotel, but the team managed to push forward with the works and the outcome is truly stunning.”

The traditional timber build is now complemented by a contemporary interior and lavish decor to give guests a unique boutique hotel experience, with three style of rooms to choose from, including the Tudor room, Georgian townhouse and contemporary rooms. The hotel features 65 custom axminster rugs and 10 luxurious hand tufted rugs supplied by Brintons that are showcased in guest rooms and public areas.”Pattern and colour is reflective of the English countryside, deep rich greens and autumnal browns work together to create a space that feels instantly comfortable, familiar and welcoming,” explains Reeve. “We used bold contemporary botanics to reflect the surrounding flora and add a punch of drama and of course as it’s Hotel Indigo we have some perhaps surprising detailing hidden across the site.”

Beautiful bar area with aimless interiors

Image credit: IHG

Newly equipped with a state-of-the-art gym, a private dining room, snug lounge, cocktail bar and modern meeting rooms, the hotel also offers a luxury dining experience for its guests. The Woodsman Restaurant has been created by restaurateur and chef Mike Robinson who has the only Michelin star pub in London. The Woodsman’s focus is on sustainable, wild British food, cooked over charcoal and wood. Customers can sit and eat delicious local produce while watching the chefs work their magic.

With the aim to bring a building back to life, and to create a hotel that in Reeve’s words: “Felt truely English and reflective of the stunning surrounding Midland countryside,” Hotel Indigo Stratford-upon-Avon is showcases the tradition of a 16th century building through a timeless contemporary lens.

Main image credit: IHG

AB Concept unveils ‘futuristic luxury’ hotel

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AB Concept unveils ‘futuristic luxury’ hotel

‘Futuristic Luxury’ defines the AB Concept-designed interiors at Laguna Baycourt Club Hotel & Spa Resort…

Ed Ng and Terence Ngan, Founders of international design studio AB Concept, have collaborated on Laguna Baycourt Club Hotel & Spa Resort in Gamagori, with Japanese designers Tanseisha Co., Ltd. and Yasui Architects & Engineers, Inc., to create the interiors of the ultra-luxury members hotel by Resorttrust, Inc. in the Kaiyo-cho area.

AB Concept’s designs extend from the public areas of the receptions, concierge and lobby, to the private domain of the guest rooms, whilst also incorporating the restaurant and members bar.

Speaking about the project, Ed Ng said: “Our interiors are inspired by Laguna Baycourt Club’s coastal location in Mikawa Bay, and the fluidity of the building’s architecture. Contrasting colour schemes and wave-like elements helped us to emulate the surrounding coastline and capture the geographical essence of the area in our designs.”

Entering through the diamond-shaped vestibule, guests are guided into the sculptural space of the lobby by forms reminiscent of waves. Curving acrylic curtains divide the space, their translucency creating private spaces without blocking the dramatic panoramic views. Antique metal panelling and monochrome stone tiles add to the flow of the edgeless space, whilst a handcrafted free-form table in front of the floor-to-ceiling windows is reminiscent of a sea-surge.

Luxe and bright interiors within the suite of the hotel

Image credit: AB Concept

Intricately carved gold screens define Maroce, the hotel’s main dining, designed by AB Concept. Creating dramatic silhouettes and curvaceous forms, the opulence of the shimmering space is palpable throughout the restaurant. Entering through a feather-etched glass door, guests will find a sophisticated blend of light and dark merging seamlessly with the serenity of the surrounding seascape.

In the guest rooms, Ed Ng and Terence Ngan have created different themes in order to create a sense of time passing throughout the day. ‘Sunrise’ defines the Bay Suites, where the soft curves combine with the room’s light openness to create a calm environment, whilst in the Luxury Suites, the theme of ‘Sunset’ is explored through AB Concept’s design combined with the orientation of the room. Neutral tones have been used to emulate the fading afternoon sun, whilst gentle arching forms drawn on the walls and carefully places mirrors induce a sense of infinite time and space.

Image credit: AB Concept

Lastly, deep colours, midnight tones and rich textures characterise the two Royal Suites located at each end of the buildings top floor. Conjuring up images of starry nights, the ‘Twilight’ theme of the suite is accentuated by the seamless transition from interior to exterior, as a balcony outside each suite offers members unparalleled views of the ocean and the night sky.

Laguna Baycourt Club Hotel & Spa Resort opened on 28th March 2019, and is an exclusive membership resort located in the area of Laguna, Gamagori City, Aichi Prefecture. It is the third of the Baycourt Club properties, and follows the Tokyo and Ashiya openings.

Trends forecast ahead of Independent Hotel Show London 2019

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Trends forecast ahead of Independent Hotel Show London 2019

Ahead of the Independent Hotel Show London 2019, which takes place on October 15 – 16 at Olympia London, design partners and exhibitors identify four key areas predicted to be hot in hotel design… 

Now that registration is officially open for the Independent Hotel Show London 2019 – and following the announcement that Hotel Designs has once again come on board as a media partner for the show – here are a few trends that visitors should expect to see emerging during the two-day event.

Bold and bright décor

Soft, muted shades have been the preferred palette for hotel bedrooms and lobbies for many years, but it’s now time to ‘banish the beige’ and embrace bold and bright colours, says Gemma Tate, director of House of Sloane. “Gone are the days where all the rooms are filled with beige upon beige and look exactly the same,” explains Tate. “Boutique hotels are becoming more confident in their use of bold and colourful decor, mixing eclectic elements when styling individual rooms and giving the guest a captivating experience.”

As design partner to the Innovation Stage, House of Sloane is planning to fulfil the brief of ‘modern eclecticism meets maximalist glamour’ by kitting the stage out with bold hues, luxurious velvets, a dash of animal print and eclectic accessories.

Susi Bellamy, founder of her eponymous agency and wallpaper partner to the Independent Hotel Show, says the ‘trend for a more eclectic approach to interiors seems to be here to stay’ and notes a ‘growing appetite’ for brighter colours. “Jewel tones, acid brights and candy colours are omnipresent in hospitality interiors and add a joyful tone to spaces,” Bellamy says as she explains the three striking wallpaper designs – Grey Stucco, Grey Stucco Pebbles and Pietra Grigia – she has selected to hang on walls at this year’s show. “The palette of these designs means they work in harmony with one another and provide a versatile backdrop for a range of hotel settings,” Bellamy adds. “Grey Stucco and Grey Stucco Pebbles inject a pop of colour into a setting and feel very bohemian. Grey Stucco Pebbles layers some collage over the top of the design and is a slightly more eccentric choice for interiors that truly stand out. Pietra Grigia combines tones of pale greyish greens and works well alongside cream and neutrals. These designs are some of our bestsellers, owing to their adaptable colour scheme and understated elegance.”

Image caption: Shot from last year’s Independent Hotel Show London

Make a statement

If there’s no budget or time for a full re-design, investing in one eye-catching piece of furniture per room, or to place in a communal area is one way to refresh a hotel’s look and help your business seem on-trend. A similar impact can be found by painting or wallpapering a single feature wall or ceiling.

“Invest in a statement sofa or chair,” advises Tate. “This is potentially one of the first things your guests will see on arrival and actually says a lot of about a hotel. Be brave with your choice of colour and shape. This should be about what works for your brand and should be a part of your overall room design. We would highly recommend this is one of those high-ticket items that you don’t cheap out on. Eclectic pieces, hand built with quality craftsmanship that are sturdy and made to last is a winning combination. Anything else is a false economy.”

Felicity Randolph, of Cheeky Chairs, an exhibitor at this year’s Independent Hotel Show, agrees and believes that unique statement pieces lend themselves particularly well to boutique independent hotels. “With the ever-increasing influence of Instagram and Pinterest, consumers are seeking a more esoteric individual style of hotel,” Randolph says. “Independent hotels are perfectly placed to capitalise on this trend and offer something truly unique and unexpected.”

The company’s boutique collection of crafted designer chairs and bar stools feature naturally soft seats upholstered in striking designer fabric.

“Our approach has been very much along the lines of a fashion collection on the runway,” Randolph adds. “Our models are carefully chosen for a specific feature of their shape; perhaps it’s the subtle curve of their leg, the length of their back, their enveloping seat or the flick of their ankle. Each finished product is a unique combination of model, designer fabric and colour to create a truly unique statement piece.”

“If you are unsure of how to incorporate more colour and pattern into your interiors, consider having a single feature wall or using wallpaper in the back of a bookcase to provide a hint of colour and print,” says Bellamy.

Shot from last year's Independent Hotel Show London

Image credit: Shot from last year’s Independent Hotel Show London

Create a home-from-home

The way guests use hotels is changing and interiors need to accommodate these shifts in behaviour if they want to survive. Starchy, formal and defined areas are no longer in vogue. Instead, guests want to be able to access services wherever and whenever they want within a hotel, so designing multi-purpose, flexible spaces that can cater for these changing needs is key. “A home-from-home approach is where hotels are moving towards, expanding the lobby into a living room space, almost a common room area where guests can find intimate places to relax,” says Tate.

“Décor can also help hotels provide a more homely feel to spaces,” includes Bellamy. “Carefully selected ‘objets’ on mantelpieces, and soft furnishings like luxurious throws or plush cushions are an ideal finishing touch that transform a space to feel more homely and cosy.”

The home from home feel can also be achieved on a more practical level by making it easy for guests to settle in quickly by providing them with the tools to do so. “We also see a connection between home and life through technology which is here now and working, so an easy transition from home to hotel is essential,” says Nick Sunderland of Two’s Company, design partner for The Suite who recommends swapping light sockets to include USB chargers so guests can easily charge electronic devices during their stay.

A conscious approach

There is no doubt about it, sustainability is a hot topic. With everyone showing increasing concern for their carbon footprint, and investigating ways they can reduce it, it’s a topic that will be under the spotlight throughout the show. Hotels are no exception and forward-thinking hoteliers are keen to lessen their business’s impact on the environment in all areas, including design.

The Independent Hotel Show’s live installation this year is The Conscious Hotel Room where sustainability has been considered across “every inch of the room” according to Alex Harris, director of Harris & Harris, the multidisciplinary design studio in charge of creating it.

Brand partners, which include Axminster, Cole & Son and Naturalmat, will provide furnishings that include recycled, organic, natural or sustainably-sourced materials while others, like Crosswater, will showcase energy-efficient bathroom items.

“It was also felt important that the ‘mileage’ of each product was kept to a minimum by sourcing items that have been produced in the UK, an ethos which also helps support local businesses and communities,” adds Harris.

Sunderland of Two’s Company also regards sustainability as a key trend and will integrate this ethos into the design of The Suite. The area will feature tables from Nature Squared, which uses sustainable natural resources such as feathers, egg shells and seashells to create unusual surfaces.

“Conscious design doesn’t simply mean using sustainable furnishings and products, however. It also encompasses areas such as accessibility, so The Conscious Hotel Room has been designed in a way that is mindful of the needs of guests with mobility issues,” says Harris.

“Generous space was allowed around the bed, desk, and joinery as well as omitting the door to the dressing room and bathroom. Space was allowed below the vanity unit and a large wet-room style shower, with no change in the floor heights, making the bathroom wheelchair accessible,” Harris concludes. “Through articles in the media and better education, travellers are becoming more eco-savvy and are now demanding that hotels provide a more sustainable stay for them. Hoteliers need to keep up with this trend, which won’t be a passing fad but a new and better way of living. Hotels have the opportunity to be the best expression of sustainable living which can then inspire guests to live in a more conscious way when they return home,” he concludes.

Hotel Designs’ editor Hamish Kilburn will be on stage to host the opening session on October 15. More details on who will be joining him – and the topic he will be presenting – will emerge shortly. Register your place by clicking here.

Main image credit: House of Sloane

Hotels that have emerged bigger and better post-natural disasters

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Hotels that have emerged bigger and better post-natural disasters

Hotel Designs identifies hotels around the world that have risen from the ashes of natural disasters…

Following the news of last week’s earthquake in Athens – and as we approach two years since part of the Caribbean was hit by Hurricane Irma – now is a good time to amplify properties that were resiliently rebuilt to stand once more as leading hotels around the world following unexpected disasters.

Whilst the BBC reported that nobody was injured in last week’s earthquake of 5.1 magnitude in Athens, a destination that is seeing a significant spike in soulful boutique hotels, several aftershocks left two buildings collapsing.

Looking back in recent history, here are a selection of developments around the world that have reopened, post-natural disaster, to become bigger, stronger and better hotels than they were in their former shells.

Le Sereno St Barth’s

Image credit: Sereno Hotels

Sereno Hotels announced last year the reopening of Le Sereno St. Barth’s, following the damage it sustained from the passing of Hurricane Irma in September 2017. The hotel was originally designed by the Sereno Hotels team in keeping with the original vision of Christian Liaigre. The decision to rebuild from scratch a significant part of the property came from the Contreras family with the aim to extensively renovate more than half the rooms and all the public spaces, while maintaining the iconic style of Le Sereno which has a devoted following among guests.

Las Alcobas Napa Valley

fire in front of luxury pool

Image credit: Marriott International

Located in California’s famous wine region, Napa Valley, Las Alcobas closed its doors temporarily following the 2017 fires that burned 144,000 acres in three counties. Although the hotel’s doors remained closed, Acacia House, its in-house restaurant remained open to serve first responders and neighbours who had lost their homes. Two years on from the event, business is booming in the 59-key luxury boutique hotel.

Wyndham Grand Kalim Bay 

Light and bright guest room with impressive views over the bay

Image credit: Wyndham Hotels

Opened in 2016 with the aim to inject a level of luxury above Patong Beach, which was one of the destinations hit by the 2004 Tsunami, Wyndham Grand Kalim Bay boasts some of the most premium views on the island of Phuket.

El Lodge – Sierra Nevada

lodge-like interiors in the guest room

Image credit: Small Luxury Hotels of the World

Quite literally a hotel that has risen from the ashes, El Lodge in Sierra Nevada’s design story is mesmerising. Following a fire that damaged the entire structure, the same design team, led by Andrew Martin, were given the unique opportunity to rebuild the foundations and interiors and, in process, were able to improve what they originally completed.

Main image credit: Le Sereno St Barth’s/Emily Lab

In Conversation With: Michele Salvi, Associate at Zaha Hadid Architects

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In Conversation With: Michele Salvi, Associate at Zaha Hadid Architects

Following the opening of the 770-key Morpheus Hotel in Macau, Zaha Hadid Architects’ Michele Salvi sits down with editor Hamish Kilburn to discuss pushing boundaries, ever-changing public areas and how the pioneering practice is continuing the legacy of a design legend…

When Morpheus first opened to the public in June of last year as the “world’s first free-form high-rise exoskeleton” hotel, to the surprise of nobody, it quickly became one of the most talked-about new-builds of the decade.

Six years in planning, the ambitious brief that the team at Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) received by Melco Resorts Entertainment was to design and build the fifth and final tower to complete City of Dreams Resort in Macau.

“Morpheus is a step into the unknown.” – Michele Salvi, Associate, Zaha Hadid Architects

To understand more about the challenges that were attached to such an enormous project – and to get a glimpse into the inner workings of one of the leaders behind many of the decisions – I join project architect and Associate Michele Salvi for one of his typical lunch hours in London’s bustling Clerkenwell district. “I love it here,” he says tucking into a fresh salad. “London’s vibrant culture scene makes Britain such a significant design hub.”

Establishing shot of site against other buildings

Image credit: Ivan Dupont

The architect, who operates from the ZHA’s London HQ and has recently been confirmed among other visionaries to be a jury member for the Outstanding Property Award London, is currently working on projects such as Mandarin Oriental Melbourne as well as several high-end competitions in Europe, Asia and Australia. And while these buildings that are on the boards are full-on commitments, there was nothing that could have prepared Salvi and the ZHA team for the opening of Morpheus. “Throughout the year there were many launch events with the hotel’s grand opening being the most important and expectations were high,” he admits. “The large atrium had been unwrapped from its scaffolding only a few days before and we had been working full speed with the interior contractors to deliver a project of premium quality right up until the last day. To be honest, it was a huge team effort.”

Instead of referencing architectural styles from around the globe, like the majority of other buildings in and around Macau, Morpheus ascended from its own unique environment juxtaposing its neighbouring buildings. “As our client says, Morpheus is a step into the unknown,” adds Salvi, “an unprecedented mix of challenges. More so than previous projects as parametric design tools methodologies have been used extensively in all design stages until construction.”

“It takes more than a comfortable room and premium facilities to make a hotel experience truly special.” – Michele Salvi, Associate, Zaha Hadid Architects

Rewind six years, and it was the late Zaha Hadid herself who had originally signed off the plans for the project. “We started with the envelope and exoskeleton,” explains Salvi. “The massing was given by the brief, the limited footprint leftovers from the existing City of Dreams development and 160m height restrictions because of being in close proximity to the airport.”

To create a fitting first impression that allowed all guests to experience the full scale of the project, the design team decided to keep the public areas as open and exposed as possible. “It takes more than a comfortable room and premium facilities to make a hotel experience truly special,” Salvi explains. “We wanted people to physically experience the building, be amazed and discover something unexpected.” Examples of this can be found no further than the 12 panoramic lifts, which through the full-height atrium provides what can only be described as a breathtaking 45-second experience of defying gravity.

What gives the 40-storey Morpheus its iconic free-form exterior shape are a number of delicately created pockets within the architectural structure. “We carved out three voids from this solid block to increase the amount of unique corner rooms,” explains Salvi. “By bending and curving the façade towards the centre, we enhanced visual connectivity and created unexpected crossing views between different areas of the building, such as two panoramic bridges that host restaurants.”

Exterior shot of the hotel, with irregular details

Image credit: Ivan Dupont

The guestrooms and suites within the hotel are somewhat hidden in the non-uniformed design in collaboration with interior design studio Remedios Studio. “Most rooms are within the flat façade and corners, with unique suites in the transition between flat façade and the voids,” Salvi continues. “All of them are behind the exoskeleton, and the variation of its pattern provides shelter from direct sunlight and generates dynamic filter towards the city.”

QUICK-FIRE ROUND

Hamish Kilburn: How do you escape from the daily grind?
Michele Salvi: Sailing, when I can, and I love travelling

HK: Where’s next on your travel bucket list?
MS: Hong Kong and Jordan are on my list. I would love to visit Patagonia and La Tierra del Fuego

HK: Renders or sketches?
MS: Both of them in every stage of design

HK: If I were to give you unlimited budget to design a hotel, where would it be in the world?
MS: I would love to design a floating hotel, always in motion rather than anchored to a specific context

HK: In your career, so far, what has been the largest change that has affected the way in which you design hotels?
MS: For me, this was when I started to use parametric tools, which could manage more information and has a much higher level of complexity

HK: Who inspired you when you were training to be an architect?
MS: Primarily Zaha Hadid. But also Frank Gehry and later on, from other creative fields, Ernst Haeckel and D’Arcy W. Thompson.

“Zaha’s loss was devastating.” – Michele Salvi, Associate, Zaha Hadid Architects

Despite Morpheus being no-doubt an impressive piece of architecture, it is perhaps the fact that it was one of the last projects that the late Zaha Hadid herself worked on that makes it an important building – and a poignant moment – in the firm’s journey. “Zaha’s loss was devastating,” says Salvi. “However, there is a strong sense of community within the company and we all share the responsibility to continue her legacy.” Salvi joined the studio just more than 15 years ago, first starting in the firm’s Italian studio before moving to London to work within – and later lead – a larger team. “I do feel as if I have contributed to making the company successful,” he says. After more than three years, we are doing incredibly well and continue to deliver unique projects.”

Just like the project itself did over many sketches and renders, Salvi has also evolved since early stages through to the completion. “Due to the extraordinary scale of the project, I feel I’ve learnt a lot,” he says. “From façade technology and interior design to form structure and workflow management, which is now a precious resource on every new project.”

With the architect’s lunch hour over running, and a design competition deadline looming, it’s time for Salvi to head back to the London studio to contribute further in changing the skylines of our cities for the better, all while continuing the work of the woman who changed architecture – and equality within the sector – forever. And with that, the extraordinary work taking shape behind the firm’s studio doors continues into a new chapter, which will no-doubt be complete with new, unique and elegant dimensions.

Main image credit: Jacopo Spilimbergo

FEATURE: Sustainable materials in signage design and interior finishes

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FEATURE: Sustainable materials in signage design and interior finishes

In order to confront the growing issue of sustainability, Signbox explains how the company is putting in measures to ensure that its products are eco-friendly…

Sustainability is a hot topic when it comes to modern design for business environments, workspaces and, potentially, architectural signage. As a company we have always been interested in new technologies and new sustainable signage materials that could be used across a signage architecture scheme.

One of the fastest-growing, renewable resources in the world that Signbox, as a leading sign manufacturer in the UK with a reputation for creating powerful environmental signs, is now using is bamboo. Bamboo grows fast, it absorbs CO2 in large qualities and it’s a very hard ‘wood like’ species of grass. Pressed into sheet or beam form, it is beautiful, tactile, functional and structural. All these qualities make bamboo a material that’s ideally suited for use in construction and why not, in signage.

Why use Bamboo in signage design?

The type of bamboo that we have started using is called Moso, which is the fastest growing plant in the world; it reaches up to 20 metres within a couple of months and can grow up to one metre a day in the growing season. It takes the stem around four to five years to mature and achieve the hardwood characteristics sensitive signage design demands of its materials, i.e. hardness, strength and durability.

The advantage of using bamboo is that the mother plant doesn’t die when harvesting as with oak and other trees. 20-25% of the poles can be harvested each year without reducing the plantation or damaging the plants in any way. In contrast, by harvesting the mature bamboo plants the quality of the plantations actually increases.

This material is provided to us by Moso Bamboo surfaces, A UK market leader specialising in manufactured bamboo and the sole UK distributor for MOSO a world leader.

“We are now working on developing a new range of environmental signs and sign products from bamboo.”

Treated accordingly, bamboo is a very durable material. The special thermo-density process used by Moso increases the density from 650-700 kg/m3 to approx. 1150 kg/m3, significantly improving the hardness of this product. After pressing, the material is stronger and harder than almost any other hardwood in the world, making it a perfect hardwood signage alternative.

We are developing a new range of signs manufactured from bamboo, that has been treated with an anti-fungal and anti-rot treatment which makes it perfect to be used externally without further maintenance. This is the material Signbox’s signage design team used for this golf course exterior signage system.

We are now working on developing a new range of environmental signs and sign products from bamboo, but if you have any requirements for a bespoke, inspirational sign product, please contact our sales team.

LEDs and solar systems

You will have heard about LED systems, which are cost effective and energy efficient because they use less power to produce light. Signbox has been using LEDs successfully for many years for interior signage and exterior signage schemes, as LED display solutions, LED door signs, LED room number signs, illuminated LED signs, LED information signs and as LED stealth monoliths. Indeed, the range of LED illumination signage solutions that are now available to us and our clients is vast.

Now, solar signage is on the rise. Whenever we have been able to, we use solar in our signage schemes – just as we’ve utilised it with the signage for Dakota where all finishing touch signs and exterior signage that relied on LED illumination were controlled by solar switch.

100 per cent recycled acrylic sheet

If you’re conscious about the planet and you want your environmental signs to be manufactured from 100% recycled plastic instead of using the standard acrylic sheet, please let us know and we’ll ensure our production team uses GreenCast – an 100% recycled acrylic sheet from Amari Plastics. Amari provides a full range of sheet sizes, thicknesses, colours and product types, manufactured, tested and validated in the EU, which are perfectly suited to a wide range of exterior signage and interior signage design schemes.

For more information about architectural signage solutions manufactured from sustainable materials, please contact the Signbox team.

The Brit List 2019 Awards: Meet the judges

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The Brit List 2019 Awards: Meet the judges

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

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

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

The judges for The Brit List 2019 Awards are:

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

Harriet Forde, BIID President

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

Hamish Kilburn, editor of Hotel Designs

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

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

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

Jacu Strauss, founder and creative director of LORE Studio

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

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

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

Florence Rolfe, Former Deputy Decoration Editor, House & Garden

Florence Rolfe, Former Deputy Decoration Editor, House & Garden

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

Edward Webb, Director of Development Management, Nuveen Real Estate

Edward Webb, Director of Development Management, Nuveen Real Estate

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

Mel Yates, Photographer 

Mel Yates, Photographer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Headline Partner: Crosswater

Event Partner: Hamilton Litestat:

Industry Partner: BIID:

Eccleston Square Hotel unveils major tech upgrade

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Eccleston Square Hotel unveils major tech upgrade

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some of the hi-tech treats include:

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

Main image credit: Eccleston Square Hotel London

InterContinental Hayman Island Resort opens in Great Barrier Reef

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
InterContinental Hayman Island Resort opens in Great Barrier Reef

Designed in collaboration with DBI Designs, DAARC and KY Design, with the Great Barrier Reef as a main source of inspiration, InterContinental Hayman Island Resort has opened… 

Following InterContinental Hotels & Resorts (IHG)’s plans to extending its footprint in Australia as well as other regions, the 166-key luxury InterContinental Hayman Island Resort has opened its doors. With design by DBI Designs, DAARC and KY Design, the new luxury hotel has been created to evoke one-off experiences.

Nestled in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef – famously one of the seven wonders of the natural world –the hotel has opened a after a spectacular multi-million-dollar refurbishment. Located on a pristine 400-hectare private island in The Whitsunday Islands, the luxury resort features dynamic 166 rooms, suites and villas across three distinct wings, and is accessible by luxury catamaran, helicopter or seaplane.

Exterior establishing shot of the hotel

Image credit: IHG

New to the resort, InterContinental offers 11 all-new suites in the luxury collection of the Pool Wing, with remarkable accommodation options including the Three Bedroom Hayman Beach House with three rooms each with its own private pool, and the One Bedroom Pool Access Suite with direct swim-out access to Australia’s iconic Hayman Pool. Completing the immersive on-island experience is a brand-new luxury spa with 11 treatment rooms, all-new resort boutique, on-island chapel, world-class kids club, and fitness and wellness centre.

With luxury properties in more than 200 locations around the world – some more far-flung than others – IHG is the world’s largest global luxury hotel brand. The hotel group’s strategy now  is to expand its portfolio, focusing on destinations such as France, Maldives, Japan, Australia and Thailand.

Main image credit: IHG

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Styling a hotel for design press

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INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Styling a hotel for design press

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: CitzenM Kuala Lumpar

PRODUCT WATCH: Sekers launches new collection of faux wool plains

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PRODUCT WATCH: Sekers launches new collection of faux wool plains

Recommended Supplier Sekers launches ARCADIA – Brodie & Glenmore…

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

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

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

Main image credit: Sekers

Madrid welcomes new tech-driven, Rockwell-designed Aloft Hotels property

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Madrid welcomes new tech-driven, Rockwell-designed Aloft Hotels property

Aloft Madrid Gran Via embraces the brand’s new future-proofed design formula, complete with a rooftop pool featuring 360-degree views of Madrid’s skyline…

Aloft Hotels, Marriott International’s hotel brand for music fans and tech-savvy travellers, brings a new beat to Spain with the opening of Aloft Madrid Gran Vía. Located in the vibrant heart of the capital, the new 139-key hotel is a stone’s throw from some of the city’s most popular hotspots.

Designed by world-class architecture firm the Rockwell Group, the property’s tech-forward, future-proofed design is aimed at the next generation of travelers, juxtaposed against the rich history of Gran Vía.

“Madrid has long topped destination wish-lists for travellers in Europe, thanks to its spirited culture, ” said John Licence, Vice President Premium and Select Brands, Europe at Marriott International. “Aloft Hotels is set to put its own unique spin on the capital’s social scene with live music programming, the hottest emerging artists, and great signature cocktails.”

Image credit: Marriott International/Aloft Hotels

Staying true to its roots as an innovative incubator brand, Aloft Hotels, in partnership with the Rockwell Group, developed a cohesive design strategy for Aloft Madrid Gran Via that draws on the sense of humor and the vivid color story the brand is known for. In a nod to the brand’s focus on tech and bold use of color, the property’s free-flowing design embraces the “glitch” design trend to aestheticise digital or analog errors, materialising in design details from distorted city art throughout the public spaces and guestrooms. The always-on, buzzing communal areas reflect the eclectic spirit of the city and respond to the needs of the modern traveller, allowing guests to seamlessly transition between work and play.

“Rockwell Group’s design concept celebrates Madrid’s vibrancy and energy,” said Elisa Rodriguez, Studio Leader, Rockwell Group Madrid. “We were inspired by the idea of seeing the city and its people through a kaleidoscope, rendering the resulting images as pixelated, blended, and multifaceted, to create dynamic moments throughout the hotel.”

Each of its 139 spacious guestrooms feature Aloft’s ultra-comfortable beds in the brand’s signature artful, clutter-free and innovative loft layout, 49-inch televisions with Plug & Play connectivity, fast and free Wi-Fi. Additional amenities include the Re:chargeSM fitness centre and Splash pool; Tactic, an interactive private creative meeting space with natural light equipped with modern audio-visual hardware; and Re:fuelSM by Aloft, a convenient 24-hour cafe for a quick bite on the go. Marriott brands were the first in the industry to introduce Mobile Key, the industry’s first keyless entry system. Marriott Bonvoy members can use the Marriott Bonvoy app on their smartphone or Apple Watch as their room key wherever available.

The brand’s signature Re:mix Lounge and W XYZ bar provide vibrant hubs for locals and travellers alike to socialise and enjoy live music performances as part of the Live At Aloft Hotels music series. The hotel programming will range from cultural, design and tech events, offering a new perspective in this vibrant city.

There are currently 161 Aloft Hotels in 25 countries and territories around the world. In Europe specifically, Aloft Hotels is present in key city-break destinations such as Dublin, London and Liverpool with expected openings in The Hague, Munich and more.

Main image credit: Marriott International/Aloft Hotels

Hilton is on track to open most luxury hotels in company’s history, says CEO

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Hilton is on track to open most luxury hotels in company’s history, says CEO

Hilton’s CEO has announced that this year will go down in history for the hotel giant as it will open more luxury properties than ever before… 

Hilton’s President and CEO, Chris Nassetta, has announced that the company is on track to open more luxury properties in 2019 than in any previous year of its 100-year history. The hotel group expects to open seven hotels by the end of the year, in addition to the four hotels that opened in Q1 and Q2, across its luxury brands.

Hilton’s current and projected luxury openings in 2019, which join the 65 existing luxury properties, include:

  • Waldorf Astoria: Waldorf Astoria Dubai International Financial Centre, Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregaland, Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi
  • LXR: The Biltmore, Mayfair in London and Zemi Beach House Resort & Spa in Anguilla
  • Conrad: Conrad Hangzhou, Conrad Hangzhou Tonglu, Conrad New York Midtown, Conrad Shenyang, Conrad Tianjin and Conrad Washington, DC

The record-breaking year marks the beginning of impressive momentum for Hilton’s luxury category and stems from more than a decade of strategic investments and planning. Following this year’s openings, Hilton’s luxury pipeline includes more than 30 properties, approximately 25 of which are expected to open through 2025.

“After more than a decade of honing Hilton’s distinct luxury offerings and investing in key markets around the globe, we are embarking upon a very exciting phase for the category,” said Martin Rinck, executive vice president and global head, Luxury & Lifestyle Group, Hilton. “Over the next five years, starting with this year’s openings, we will start to see the positive impact of our efforts, and we are confident that our amazing portfolio of properties will reinvent luxury travel for Hilton – and for the entire industry.”

Luxury became a top priority for Hilton when Nassetta took over as President and CEO in 2007 and re-focused the company’s business strategy around organic growth. Hilton leadership mapped out a luxury growth strategy that centered on two priorities: refining the two core luxury brands at the time, Waldorf Astoria and Conrad, to resonate with specific customer needs; and bringing the brands to diversified markets. Last year, Hilton identified a gap among independent luxury hotels and launched LXR, its third luxury brand, to provide customers with a portfolio of distinctive, iconic hotels and resorts – full of character and individuality – that are backed by a world-class commercial engine.

“Hilton was among the first to predict that luxury travel was poised to take off across generations and markets in the years to come – and we wanted to be at the forefront of its reinvention,” said Ian Carter, president, global development, architecture, design and construction, Hilton. “Development in the luxury space requires time and resources to do it properly. Our thoughtful and targeted approach has enabled us to grow Hilton’s luxury presence globally – in many cases from the ground up – from new properties to spectacular conversions.”

As part of the enterprise’s organic growth strategy, Hilton’s luxury development team works with strong ownership groups to select markets and tailor the respective brand’s presence. Over the past decade, Hilton and its partners expanded the luxury category’s global presence from 15 to 29 countries and territories, and they are continuing to grow the portfolio with a finely curated pipeline of more than 30 signings that are diverse in regions and market-types.

Waldorf Astoria is growing to include more resort destinations, such as Los Cabos, Mexico and the Maldives, and is building a presence in more key urban markets like London (expected to open in 2021), San Francisco (expected to open in 2022) and Miami (expected to open in 2024). The Conrad brand, which has been concentrated in the Asia Pacific region, is gaining traction in other parts of the world, including the U.S. where it recently signed deals in Nashville (expected to open in 2021) and Orlando (expected to open in 2022) and opened a flagship property in Washington, D.C. LXR is gaining speed in a variety of markets with the additions of Anguilla’s world-class Zemi Beach resort and London’s sophisticated Biltmore Mayfair.

Hilton and its ownership partners continue to elevate and expand the company’s luxury offerings. The Waldorf Astoria hotels in New York and Las Vegas, as well as the Conrad in Miami, are among Hilton luxury properties undergoing substantial renovations to upgrade design and enhance the on-property experience. In addition, Hilton has increasingly invested in its luxury residential portfolio, which now includes more than 2,800 units across 22 properties.

The hotel group currently has a portfolio of 17 world-class brands, which comprises of more than 5,700 properties with more than 923,000 rooms, in 113 countries and territories around the world.

Main image credit: Hilton Hotels

Concept to completion: Stock Exchange Hotel, Manchester

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Concept to completion: Stock Exchange Hotel, Manchester

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

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

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

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

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

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

Artist impression of public areas

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

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

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

Artist impression of guestroom/

Image caption/credit: Artist impression of guestroom/ Autoban

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

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

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

Main image credit: jmarchitects/Stock Exchange Hotel Manchester

MINIVIEW: COMO Metropolitan London

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MINIVIEW: COMO Metropolitan London

COMO Metropolitan London has announced the opening of ten luxury Residences, which all offer private apartment-style accommodation adjacent to the main 144-key luxury hotel… 

Located in one of London’s trendiest neighbourhoods that is surrounded by discreet private members’ clubs, cult restaurants and a number of high-end boutiques. COMO Metropolitan London, like all luxury hotels in the area, has to work hard in order to stand out from the crowd and remain relevant to well-travelled guests.

Since opening in in 1997, ‘the Met‘, as it became known has seen many minor renovations and redesigns – the most significant of which was in 2015 – in order to keep ahead of demand and trends. The mood has changed from the late-night antics once centred around the Met Bar to a more holistic experience that balances work, play and wellbeing while still underpinned by COMO’s commitment to passionate service.

Most recently, the hotel has completed and opened of ten luxury Residences. Designed by Linzi Coppick of Forme UK, the Residences offer private apartment-style accommodation adjacent to the hotel on Brick Street, in Mayfair’s historic heart and opposite leafy Hyde Park.

The two-bedroom Residences provide an ideal base for long or short stays in London, reflecting all the comforts of home living at its finest.

Discretion is a significant draw, with the Residences benefitting from a separate entrance on Brick Street, as well as access to a courtyard designed by landscape architect Peter Curzon, shared only with the other Residences. The central feature of the courtyard is a strikingly crafted pergola, fitted with heaters for the cooler months and contemporary furniture from iSiMAR. Residences on the ground floor benefit from additional outdoor space, with private patios offering an unusual oasis in the heart of London.

Inside the Residences, Coppick has prioritised a sense of home. Natural daylight floods the spacious apartments, augmented by contemporary design with subtle warmth and bespoke artwork by Marta Suarez. In the open-plan living and dining area, natural wood floors and furniture from BO Concept create a sleek entertainment area adapted to the modern traveller, whether guests are staying as a family or visiting for business. A fully equipped Lauren Nicholas kitchen blends a refreshing white palette with marble countertops, incorporating breakfast-bar seating for more laidback meals. For formal dining, a dark wood BO Concept table can extend to seat eight people, while a large corner sofa and a reading chair in warm grey leather ensures plenty of space for relaxation.

Main image credit: COMO Hotels & Resorts

TREND ALERT: Bring on the brick

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TREND ALERT: Bring on the brick

With a newly launched range by Parkside, designers and architects can now create an industrial brick aesthetic with porcelain… 

Trusted tile specification company Parkside has launched Tyne, a highly-versatile brick-effect wall and floor porcelain tile that’s ready to create a stunning brick and mortar aesthetic in the most demanding commercial environments.

Waterproof, frost-proof and resistant to mould and stains, Tyne delivers impressive authenticity in 13 colourways, each capturing the character and variation found in handmade bricks. Ranging from classic colours of red and multi through earthy tones in mud and sand to a palette of bolder blue and grey hues, the 250 x 60mm tile brings a new depth to brick-effect finishes.

Through a variety of surface textures and subtle nuances in colour, the tile avoids tell-tale repeats for a look that’s indistinguishable from real bricks, bringing a raw, semi-industrial look to commercial interiors. Ideal for bars, restaurants and hospitality locations, Tyne has a matt finish with 36+ shod foot performance, delivering a safer underfoot surface.

Ian Mattacola, product manager, Parkside: “With the launch of Tyne we’re demonstrating our ability to offer exclusive and inspirational tiles that provide architects, interior designers and specifiers with the very best in authentic looks coupled with great performance for commercial interiors. With faithful attention to the original material, we’ve been able to ensure that Tyne can provide an accurate brick look while bringing the benefits of hardwearing, low-maintenance porcelain tiles to a broad range of projects.”

With a denser and less porous clay than normal ceramic, Tyne’s porcelain material is better suited to demanding commercial environments, where its hardness and durability ensure a resilient surface. And with low water-porosity that makes it suitable for outdoor use, Tyne can continue its striking brick-like effect in outdoor bars, open-air dining areas and more.

Parkside is making the exclusive Tyne available from stock in all 13 colourways, giving designers and specifiers access to the collection in as little as a couple of days.

Parkside 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.

Six Senses to open new property in Loire Valley in 2022

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Six Senses to open new property in Loire Valley in 2022

Six Senses continues to expand into Europe with Six Senses Loire Valley, France  slated to open in 2022…

Following the news last year that the hotel brand was joining IHG, Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas is expanding further into Europe with the 2022 opening of Six Senses Loire Valley, France, in the village of Saint-Laurent-Nouan. The resort will be located in the UNESCO World Heritage region renowned for historic chateaux, medieval towns, fine wines, great food and unspoiled landscapes.

Six Senses Loire Valley will be developed by an affiliate of London-based RoundShield Partners LLP, an investment firm focused on European opportunities. “We are delighted to partner with Six Senses to develop a unique hotel and lifestyle offering at Les Bordes,” said Driss Benkirane, Managing Partner. “The brand’s ethos of understated luxury, connection with nature and the local environment, personal growth, health and wellness fits perfectly with our vision for the estate. We are developing a community where all family members have myriad activities to pursue on and off-site, and are excited to have Six Senses accompany us on this journey.”

Developed to embrace the environmental and community values that are core to Six Senses, the resort sits within the Les Bordes Estate, a 1,400-acre site in the Sologne forest, home to Les Bordes Golf Club – one of the most prestigious golf clubs in the world. The development will incorporate equestrian and tennis centres, an organic farm, an art gallery, a petting farm, a natural swimming lake with beach, water sports, biking and walking trails. Hotel guests will have access to the new 18-hole Gil Hanse-designed par three golf course and a new state-of-the-art golf practice facility.

Bernhard Bohnenberger, President of Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas commented: “We feel really fortunate to be collaborating with RoundShield Partners on a very unique project which will give a new dynamic to this world-famous destination and complement our existing and upcoming resorts in Europe. Six Senses Loire Valley is being designed with our sustainability values at its heart and will appeal to experience seekers, nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts looking to get up close with this region’s exceptional beauty, culture and history.”

Guests arriving at Six Senses Loire Valley will be welcomed at a beautifully preserved château surrounded by manicured lawns with sculptures and water features designed to enhance personal reconnection. There will be 88 guest suites and villas clustered in the woodland landscape and built alongside streams and waterways. There will also be 70 residential villas for private ownership, with the opportunity to include them within the resort’s inventory. Villa owners will enjoy access to all the amenities and facilities the resort offers. The château is also home to an elegant restaurant and bar, event spaces and function lawns.

The Six Senses Spa will be an integral part of the resort with an extensive menu of signature specialties. There will be a medicinal garden where plants and herbs will be grown for use in locally-inspired treatments and Alchemy Bar workshops. Adjoining this will be the main organic kitchen garden and Earth Lab, the centre for guests to learn about the resort’s conservation initiatives.

The resort will offer numerous dining options. The central château will feature an all-day restaurant and lounge bar that reflect the traditions of the region in taste and style. There will also be a specialty restaurant offering cuisine that reflects the Eat With Six Senses principles.

In addition to the event spaces within the château a meeting and conference centre with state-of-the-art facilities will also be developed. The centre will include outdoor meeting facilities, some with walled gardens, and will host pop-up activities. The Six Senses experience team can also arrange visits to some of the most beautiful places in the region including towns steeped in tradition and architectural heritage, castles and vineyards.

Main image credit: IHG/Six Senses

Waldorf Astoria arrives in Dubai’s Financial Centre

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Waldorf Astoria arrives in Dubai’s Financial Centre

Waldorf Astoria expands presence in the Middle East with the opening of Waldorf Astoria Dubai International Financial Centre, treating guests to a unique check-in experience from the 18th floor as well as sky-high dining and wellness facilities…

With the aim to bridge the world together, with a French Riviera-style rooftop bar and pool and a 1960s, New York-inspired F&B areas, the highly anticipated Waldorf Astoria Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) has opened its doors.

Waldorf Astoria DIFC occupies the 18th to 55th floors of the Burj Daman, a complex featuring residences and office towers. Guests will enjoy a unique reception and check-in experience on the 18th floor, which is also home to the hotel’s dining and wellness facilities and acts as the true heartbeat of the hotel.  All 275 guestrooms, including 46 suites and 28 residential suites, offer unobstructed views of the downtown Dubai skyline, which can be viewed through floor-to-ceiling windows in each room.

“We are pleased to be part of this rapidly growing district and look forward to delivering unparalleled experiences to guests staying in DIFC.” – Rudi Jagersbacher, President, Middle East, Africa & Turkey, Hilton

“We are delighted to expand our luxury presence in the region with the opening of Waldorf Astoria DIFC which is located in an important economic hub within the region,” said Rudi Jagersbacher, President, Middle East, Africa & Turkey, Hilton. “Earlier this year, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum approved the launch of DIFC 2.0 which will add 13 million square feet of space to the Centre. We are pleased to be part of this rapidly growing district and look forward to delivering unparalleled experiences to guests staying in DIFC.”

Image credit: Hilton/Waldorf Astoria

Inspired by the iconic architecture, lifestyle and mid-modern style of the 1960s, the hotel exudes a contemporary elegance and understated luxury. With its stylish furniture, multifunctional design peppered with marble, ebony, brass and bronze materials, the hotel boasts a sleek and contemporary look.

In line with Waldorf Astoria’s legacy of culinary expertise, Waldorf Astoria DIFC is primed to be a best-in-class dining destination. All restaurants and bars are located on the 18th floor, a stunning location from which to view the city.

Inspired by the original once located in the Waldorf Astoria New York, Bull & Bear is the hotel’s signature restaurant which offers a twist on the legendary eatery. Diners can enjoy imaginative cuisine in a stylish, relaxed setting.

An oasis in the heart of the city, St. Trop serves up a slice of the French Riviera in DIFC. This stylish rooftop lounge ⁠— with its pool, whirlpool, timber decking and bright colours ⁠— is perfect for drinks and light bites from day to night. Truly an urban escape, St Trop brings laidback poolside chic to Dubai’s financial district.

Peacock Alley is an elegant lounge and bar ideal for both sophisticated gatherings and informal gatherings. The term “Peacock Alley” was coined to portray the daily promenade of people through the original colonnade connecting The Waldorf and The Astoria hotels in New York City. The iconic venue is present at all Waldorf Astoria hotels worldwide ⁠— and this historical part of New York heritage is now in DIFC.

The Waldorf Astoria Spa ⁠— with its floatation tank, hydrobath, hammam and Vichy shower ⁠— is a sanctuary of relaxation in the middle of the city. Secluded on the 18th floor, the spa offers four treatment suites and the hotel’s fitness centre offers state-of-the-art equipment and views of Dubai’s skyline from 18 floors up.

luxe and large bathroom

Image credit: Hilton/Waldorf Astoria

The hotel offers five elegant, innovative settings, including a unique library concept which houses an open kitchen. The hotel also features spacious meeting rooms, a grand ballroom with a pre-function area and a sophisticated boardroom that is perfect for corporate meetings. All spaces have a residential, personal feel, providing the ideal setting for every type of event.

“We are thrilled to bring Waldorf Astoria to DIFC and offer True Waldorf Service in such a thriving and dynamic location within the city,” said Dino Michael, Global Head, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts. “From Bangkok to Amsterdam, Waldorf Astoria properties are set in landmark locations all over the world, and Waldorf Astoria DIFC is a remarkable addition to our growing portfolio in the Middle East and beyond.”

Waldorf Astoria DIFC joins two award-winning Waldorf Astoria properties in the UAE ⁠— Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah and Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah ⁠— and is the brand’s first city-based hotel in the country. Like all Waldorf Astoria properties in the world, Waldorf Astoria DIFC offers True Waldorf Service: graceful, anticipatory service from the moment a guest books through checkout.

Main image credit: Hilton/Waldorf Astoria

Behind the scenes: Morgan’s Rakino Collection

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Behind the scenes: Morgan’s Rakino Collection

Post-Clerkenwell Design Week, Hotel Designs’ editor Hamish Kilburn catches up with one of the designers of the moment, Tim Rundle, in order to understand how his new collection with Morgan developed…

During this year’s Clerkenwell Design Week, Morgan launched a new furniture collection which juxtaposed soft sculpted upholstery with a strong, low line frame, the new family of lounge chairs and tables feature crisp timber detailing, emphasised by a clean linear structure.

But how did the collaboration start, and what inspired the design? We caught up with designer Tim Rundle to discover all.

Hamish Kilburn: Tell us more about the Rakino collection?
Tim Rundle: Rakino is a collection of low lounge chairs that combines soft sculpted upholstery and CNC machined timber frames with an upright, somewhat architectural, attitude. The frame is all right angles and straight lines, save for the back support rail, which is bowed slightly, as if formed by the act of leaning back in the chair. The seat, in contrast, is a soft, shell-like form with a crisp single seam running around its edge.

HK: What inspired your designs?
TR: This project started in what I believe is the ideal way; with a trip to see production, and this is what really inspired the design. In Hampshire I discovered a factory staffed by some serious experts in upholstery and timber joinery. I really wanted to make the most of these capabilities, and maybe even push them a little to see what was possible. In terms of the chairs themselves I wanted to create something that felt quiet and inviting, that could feel right in your home, while obviously being appropriate for hard working contract environments.

HK: Did you enjoy collaborating with Morgan? How was the experience/process compared to solo working?
TR: None of my projects are just me. I think that’s a misconception, maybe brought about by the fact that in our industry, designers tend to have eponymous business names. Everything I’ve ever designed have been made possible by numerous other people, from engineers to marketeers, craftspeople to logistics managers. I guess the main difference this time was geographical proximity – this is my first project with a British furniture brand! This meant we could work really closely, with numerous prototype reviews as we refined the details.

HK: Benefits of this collaboration?
TR: Working with Morgan’s dedicated prototyping team (Jonathan and Dean) was a highlight. This meant we were able to make adjustments and modifications to our prototypes, effectively on the spot – and nothing was impossible. The whole team were always keen to push the limits of timber production, and the results can be seen in a frame that perfectly blends CNC technology with expert craftsmanship, and an upholstery element that tapers to an impossibly fine edge, something not normally achievable with cut foam.

What inspired the name of the collection?
TR: As Morgan have a product code system that uses place names, it felt only right we choose a New Zealand name – being designed by a Kiwi, albeit London based. Rakino is one of a cluster of small islands in the Hauraki gulf, the body of water surrounding Aucklands East coast, where people are able to escape the busy city, a short boat ride leaving you with a pleasant sense of isolation and calm. A comfortable low lounge chair in a busy hotel or workplace could, I hope, provide the same feeling.

As Raikino is the result of a true collaboration, we asked Morgan a few questions too…

HK: How did the collaboration start? How did Tim and the Morgan team meet?
TR: We were looking to collaborate with a like-minded Designer who shares our passion for quality and integrity. Our Design Director came across some of Tim’s work and was impressed with his portfolio and the fine detail of his work. After the first meeting, it was obvious that Tim understood our brand and would be a good design partner, so we decided to give him the brief for a new product for CDW19.

HK: What makes this collection stand out?
TR: The Rakino collection stands out due to its striking timber architectural frame, with a strong, square, clean aesthetic, combined with a soft sculpted and slim line upholstered shell that is held within the frame. The frame is very open and honest and is a reflection of Tim’s eye for detail and our passion for precision CNC manufacturing and a hand-crafted finish.

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

Main image credit: Morgan

PRODUCT WATCH: GROHE extends Colours Collection

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
PRODUCT WATCH: GROHE extends Colours Collection

With 10 colour and finish variations across many GROHE ranges, installers, retailers and designers can help customers personalise their bathroom like never before – from tap to flush plate…

Not only do today’s homeowners want individuality when it comes to design, so too do hotel guests checking in. The chance to customise the look and feel  to reflect their unique personality is becoming achievable with some hotels going further than others to create a fully customisable experience.

Now, thanks to the comprehensive extension of the Colours Collection, it’s easier than ever for anyone to create their own personalised bathroom oasis – from the colour, style and finish of showers and taps right through to the accessories.

Working with trade partners to get full bathroom solutions right

As customers seek to play a more active role in the design process, it is even more imperative that they seek specialist advice and expertise that will help them make the right choice – for them. When it comes to implementing highly individualised products and innovative technologies, consumers still need to consult a professional who understands integrated solutions. GROHE is committed to supporting trade partners that work face-to-face with consumers with its perfectly coordinated products and complete bathroom solutions that help bring their customers’ bathroom concepts to life. This particularly benefits retailers, designers, architects and installers, as the advice on product selection and bathroom design is simplified and focused. They can rely on GROHE`s PerfectMatch philosophy which makes it easy to select products that fit together effortlessly on three principals: aesthetics, performance and comfort.

“Consumer expectations are changing to a great extent,” says Michael Rauterkus, CEO GROHE AG. “At GROHE, we are answering this demand by shaping the future of water in terms of design and innovation. We are giving customers the building blocks to express their individual lifestyle and we are giving our trade partners solutions that address what we believe is the key to customer satisfaction: being able to choose and personalise a full bathroom solution. GROHE is committed to building strong relationships with our trade partners to make our Full Bathroom Solutions and the extended Colours Collection a success – both for our own business and theirs.”

Unrivalled colour variety

One of the key features of the new GROHE Colours Collection is the unrivalled breadth of choice it gives customers when it comes to colour. Indeed, GROHE is the only bathroom supplier to offer a colour portfolio that spans brassware fittings, showers, accessories and flush plates – all made to the highest quality and finish, using the company’s innovative Physical Vapor Deposition (PVD) manufacturing process. The process ensures a broader range of colours while at the same time making it possible for the finishes to be three times harder and ten times more scratch-resistant than galvanised finishes.

Besides Classic Chrome, GROHE also offers several other eye-catching colour designs including SuperSteel, Cool Sunrise, Warm Sunset, Nickel, and Hard Graphite, all of which are available in a polished or brushed finish. For a full list of variants available, click here.
Complete bathroom solutions

GROHE’s complete bathroom solutions simplify the process of planning and installation for trade partners by bringing together an extensive, holistic portfolio of taps, shower systems and accessories, as well as a carefully selected range of ceramics all in one place. The brand’s extensive variety also gives customers the design freedom to select each element to match their individual tastes and needs.

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

Main image credit: GROHE

Designing Beijing’s newest destination bar

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Designing Beijing’s newest destination bar

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: The Opposite House

Hotel Summit 2019 bridges the gap between hotel buyers and suppliers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Partners:

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

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

Checking In: Zafiro Palace Hotel Palmanova

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Checking In: Zafiro Palace Hotel Palmanova

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image credit: Zafiro Palace Hotel Palmanova

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

image credit: Zafiro Palace Hotel Palmanova

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Zafiro Palace Hotel Palmanova

Quirky rustic European bar and restaurant

Kempinski Hotel Beijing Lufthansa Center unveils $30 million renovation

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Kempinski Hotel Beijing Lufthansa Center unveils $30 million renovation

The Kempinski Hotel Beijing Lufthansa Center is the first “European hotel” in Beijing…

Kempinski Hotel Beijing Lufthansa Center, Beijing’s first European hospitality pioneer, unveils its newly transformed 480 rooms and suites, including a Western and Oriental Presidential Suite, a large Executive Lounge, and a reimagined all-day dining outlet, after the most substantial renovation in its 26-year history. The USD 30-million upgrade brings international leisure and business guests’ timeless elegance while providing Beijing with a rejuvenated complex that aims at reinterpreting European luxury in modern China.

Quirky rustic European bar and restaurant

“From the moment new-age business travellers walk into our property, they’ll know it’s a Kempinski, not just because of the service, but also from its commitment to elegant, well-rounded performances in everything we do.”

The new portfolio of rooms and suites displays a decor that aims to convey the contemporary elegance of China and its cultural influence. European sandy, classical beige colors and hues adorn the walls and furniture, while art pieces, antique decorations, and colorful vases add breathtaking brushstrokes of Asian identity. Upgrades include bathroom glass walls with pixilated partitions (Magic Mirrors), heated towel racks and ground coffee machine stations in the Executive Floor rooms. Mirrors subtly outline windows and walls to accentuate a greater sense of space and tranquillity. The two Presidential Suites are decorated with authentic Chinese artwork and feature bathrooms with a view across the city. Additional upgrades include high-speed Wi-Fi connection and new homemade welcome amenities like assorted desserts made from seasonal fruits, macaroons and mousse pralines. For healthier option, homemade muesli bars and freshly-squeezed orange juice are available upon request.

Contemporary area of restaurant

“Since it opened in 1992, Kempinski Hotel Beijing has dedicated itself to pioneering the performance excellence. This relaunch signifies our strong commitment to impeccable personalised service,” continues Brice Péan. “Along with the physical aspects of the renovation, the hotel now offers many software upgrades like the all-digital PressReader, where guests can access most newspapers from around the world. Additionally, our new instant messaging service provides guests with the convenience of booking a table, ordering in-room dining, and requesting a delivery of amenities, through Facebook or WeChat’s messaging from the palm of their hand. Deluxe rooms and above will find Shanghai Tang amenities, while our Presidential Suite guests will enjoy Hermès amenities, giveaways and Stenders bath salts. From the various choices of amenities being offered, to the number of scents guests can choose from, rewards and benefits for the top-tier guests are always evolving just as the list is growing.”

A haven for the business-minded traveller, all Executive Floor guests can now experience the new Executive Lounge 15. Perched among the hotel’s top floors and overseeing Beijing’s city skyline, the lounge offers everything from an open kitchen breakfast buffet with a live-cooking station to afternoon tea, happy hour, and dinner. The Executive Floor provides business travellers with the ability to print, copy, use computers, and make use of the conference room. Adding to the Executive Floor flair and sense of personalized service is the access to a 24/7 private butler. All of the hotel’s butlers have undergone a special training by the Dutch Royal Butler program.

Main image credit: Kempinski Hotels

Four Seasons Hotel Singapore unveils botanical twist

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Four Seasons Hotel Singapore unveils botanical twist

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts

IN PICTURES: Meet Up North 2019

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
IN PICTURES: Meet Up North 2019

Hotel Designs’ premium northern networking event, Meet Up North 2019, took place in Club Brass, Hotel Gotham’s spectacular rooftop private members’ bar… 

Meet Up North 2019, which took place on July 1, took over Manchester’s iconic Hotel Gotham. Hotel Designs’ premium northern networking event, which was sponsored by Hamilton Litestat, Architextural and Atlas Concorde, returned to the city for the second time in a row as a result of the city’s bustling and constantly evolving hotel design scene that sees many innovative hotels on the boards.

Meet Up North 2019 was attended by leaders from firms such as  Denton Corker MarshallGenslerAEW ArchitectsFusion by DesignLDA Design ConsultantsUtopia Projects and Abode Architecture.

Here are the official images:

If you have images from the event, please share on social media with the hashtag #HDMEETUPNORTH19

Waldorf Astoria arrives in the Maldives

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Waldorf Astoria arrives in the Maldives

The 122 all-villa Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi spans across three interconnected islands… 

Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, Hilton’s iconic luxury hotel brand, has announced the highly anticipated opening of Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi — which is said to set a new standard of luxury in the Maldives. The 122 all-villa resort spans across three interconnected islands, including an independent private island for those seeking an exclusive enclave equipped with a dedicated staff and luxury amenities.

Each luxuriously appointed beach, reef and overwater villa opens onto either a white sand beach or an expansive deck, and features a private infinity pool with uninterrupted views of the Indian Ocean, allowing guests to bask in the island’s natural beauty in the privacy of their villa.

The resort also features two Stella Maris Ocean Villas, accessible only by boat. These villas feature floor-to-ceiling windows and direct ocean access, providing unmatched views of the sunlit paradise and celestial charm of the nighttime Maldivian sky.

Image credit: Waldorf Astoria Hotels

“Asia Pacific is enjoying a golden age of travel, and the launch of Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi is part of the growing momentum of Hilton’s Luxury and Lifestyle portfolio throughout the region,” said Alan Watts, president, Asia Pacific, Hilton. “This is especially significant as the Maldives becomes an increasingly popular destination for global travelers. As the first international hotel brand to have opened in the Maldives over 21 years ago, it is especially fitting that this opening takes place as we celebrate Hilton’s 100th year milestone as a leader in global hospitality.”

Image credit:

At the height of exclusivity is the Ithaafushi Private Island. Accessible only by yacht, the 32,000-square-metre sanctuary features a four-bedroom residence, three-bedroom beach villa and a two-bedroom overwater villa, giving guests a transcendent sense of space. The private island comes complete with a dedicated chef and personal concierge team, an overwater spa and gym, five swimming pools, an entertainment center and pristine beaches, providing endless options in which guests can indulge.

“The debut with our flagship brand in the Maldives is no exception.” – Martin Rinck, executive vice president and global head, Luxury & Lifestyle Brands, Hilton

“The Waldorf Astoria brand has a long-standing legacy of setting the standard for luxury and for providing personalized, graceful service,” said Martin Rinck, executive vice president and global head, Luxury & Lifestyle Brands, Hilton. “The debut with our flagship brand in the Maldives is no exception, and we will continue to redefine what it means to provide luxury escapes and deliver memorable experiences for the discerning traveller.”

Continuing the brand’s legacy as a pioneer in culinary innovation, Waldorf Astoria’s landmark opening in the Maldives will feature an unparalleled array of choices for its guests with 11 celebrated specialty-dining venues — many of which are brand new concepts developed with the Waldorf Astoria guest in mind.

World-renowned chef Dave Pynt, mastermind behind Singapore’s Michelin-starred restaurant Burnt Ends, offers his expertise to the island’s barbeque grill restaurant, The Ledge. The restaurant features his signature, custom-built, four-ton, dual-cavity oven and elevation grills, enabling the use of techniques such as smoking, slow roasting, baking and grilling. Bringing culinary theatre to the Maldives, The Ledge allows guests to witness the preparation of their dish, including favorites such as the Dry Aged OP Rib, a 45-day dry-aged beef rib, and the signature Lobster Roll, a brioche bun stuffed with freshly grilled lobster and lobster aioli.

Other dining highlights include Terra, located on the island’s highest point and providing a unique gastronomic dining experience in private dining pods crafted from natural bamboo. Nestled among boulders, The Rock is a rustic wine cellar and dining experience set in a carved-out space, where guests can indulge in wine pairing meals or an elevated dining experience with a menu that pays homage to renowned wine regions around the world.

Yasmeen offers guests the chance to savor authentic Middle Eastern cuisine. Hot pitas and puffed breads baked in ovens based on centuries-old designs, charcoal-roasted meats, and hot and cold mezzes are served in dining rooms filled with decorative artifacts and antiques, creating an unforgettable sensory experience. The immersive journey continues at Glow, which is set in a greenhouse-like structure shaded by lush greenery. It celebrates the concept of interactive garden-to-table dining by serving healthy and holistic cuisine made from fresh ingredients harvested from the on-island garden.

Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi offers guests an endless number of remarkable experiences designed with the ever-growing wellness trend in mind. The calming ambience of the Waldorf Astoria Spa invites guests to indulge in a range of invigorating treatments — all from the tranquility of an overwater or garden villa. Nearby, soft white sand beaches provide the perfect backdrop for a day spent in the sun, while the 40-meter Mirror Pool is an ideal place to cool down.

“We aim to surpass the expectations of today’s luxury traveler with the introduction of our fifth Waldorf Astoria property in Asia Pacific,” said Dino Michael, global head, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts. “Our guests are searching for new and extraordinary experiences during their travels, and we are confident that this latest luxury destination in the Maldives provides the perfect setting for our guests to Live Unforgettable.”

Main image credit: Waldorf Astoria Hotels

In Conversation With: Simon Naudi, CEO of Corinthia Hotels

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In Conversation With: Simon Naudi, CEO of Corinthia Hotels

With a Dubai debut around the corner, Corinthia Hotels is strategically expanding its luxury arm one region – and one hotel opening – at a time. Editor Hamish Kilburn caught up with the CEO of Corinthia Hotels, Simon Naudi, to understand the trials and triumphs of evolving one of the world’s most luxurious hotel brands…

Given its esteemed reputation among the design community, luxury enthusiast and of course its loyal returning guests, the news that Corinthia Hotels will open a property in the Middle East comes with little surprise.

The 55-storey hotel, which will add to the ever-expanding city skyline of Dubai, is slated to open in 2020. Considering that the destination’s hotel room supply is set to reach 132,000 by the end of 2019, according to a study by the emirate’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism) – and occupancy levels are forecast to remain at 76-78 per cent despite growth in capacity – the question is not why, but rather more ‘why now’. “Real Estate is expensive,” says Simon Naudi, CEO of Corinthia Hotels. “We are looking to expand sensitively. Our plan is to grow the portfolio sensibly and steadily, prioritising on looking for the right building or site in the right location.”

According to STR, the UAE as a whole gained approximately 8,000 new branded hotel rooms last year. As of June 2018, the Middle East had 358 projects/113,830 rooms under construction, up 13 per cent by projects YOY. “We’ve had several opportunities in the past, but we are happy to have waited for this project to come along,” explains Naudi. “We have the right partners, Meydan Group, and the right location, prime seafront on JBR, and a top-notch project being built to make the very best in the city. From the design of the building itself to the interior elements, the aesthetics of Corinthia Meyden Beach with be synonymous with the Corinthia brand: confident, exquisite and elegant.”

Image caption: Interior render of a suite bedroom inside Corinthia Meydan Beach Dubai

While all eyes and ears focus on the brand’s Middle Eastern arrival, further west there’s also much happening between now and then. “Our main focus remains on Europe and the Mediterranean,” Naudi says. “We are currently working on projects in Bucharest, Brussels, Moscow and several other projects are under consideration. We’re also focused on the USA, Manhattan in particular.”

Having recently featured in a two-part documentary with Corinthia London’s Managing Director Thomas Kochs, who also appeared on Hotel Designs’ Brit List last year, Corinthia London is arguably the brand’s most iconic building, and for good reason. With its headline-grabbing extravagant suites, innovative public areas and an out-of-this-world four-floor spa, the hotel has been a timeless gem for almost a decade since it was redesigned. But while the 283-key majestic hotel has stood the test of time, its interior design has had to evolve along with the brand in order to cater to the shifting demands of modern travellers. “Larger bathrooms, the less decreased demand for fixed TVs, connectivity and interactivity are all trends that have required guestroom designs to be functionally different today than they were previously,” explains Naudi. “In our case, we also continue to explore multiple uses of the foyer and lobby space, to double up as a space for meetings, social interactions and evening dining to a degree.”

With esteemed regular guests including a long list of celebrities as well as world leaders, Corinthia Hotels seems to have mastered the formula for offering seamless luxury. “It is tantamount to making an effort,” explains Naudi. “It is an effort in terms of investment on all levels, in the product, in the generosity of space, the quality of materials, the beauty of finishes and in the architecture. It is investment in technology, upkeep, maintenance. It is also effort in terms of choice of colleagues, investment in their training and wellbeing, and above all giving time to the pursuit of happiness. Uplifting lives is our company philosophy, and that is what we aim to do, both with our guests and our colleagues. If all of the above is in place, luxury follows.”

“Our single most effective weapon is indeed our size,” – Simon Naudi, CEO, Corinthia Hotels

QUICK-FIRE ROUND

Hamish Kilburn: What is the number one item you cannot travel without?
Simon Naudi: My passport!

HK: What has been the highlight of your career to date?
SN: Developing and launching Corinthia London

HK: What is the next destination on your travel bucket list?
SN: The regions of Spain

HK: What would you say is the number-one tool for success?
SN: Hard work, and more hard work

HK: What book are you reading at the moment?
SN: The Wise Men by Walter Isaacson

With so many lifestyle brands emerging in the market under the umbrella of large hotel groups, it’s refreshing to see an independent hotel group, like Corinthia Hotels, expanding and evolving without taking away its own core values as a brand known and loved by so many around the world. “Our single most effective weapon is indeed our size,” Naudi explains. “Being independent, and relatively small, means we can be, and are more open to be, true to who we are, and crucially nimble. We can also stay closer to our colleagues in all our hotels, the people who matter most to our guests and ensure we are all part of the spirit driving the company towards our aim of uplifting lives.”

“In most of our hotels, the spa is a key, central component, with large physical spaces allocated to this activity wherever we could.” – Simon Naudi, CEO, Corinthia Hotels

One of the major trends that seems to be dictating international hotel design, with the aim no doubt to ‘uplift lives’, is wellness and wellbeing, which is one topic that the brand identified early, if its London hotel is anything to go by. “We have always taken wellness seriously,” says Naudi. “In most of our hotels, the spa is a key, central component, with large physical spaces allocated to this activity wherever we could. Our guest profile has evolved over the years, and we are now more geared towards leisure guests, than corporate visitors, although all segments engage with our spas.”

Corinthia London ESPA spa

Image caption: Corinthia London ESPA spa

Hotels, especially ones operating in the luxury sector, seem to be adding value to their properties with the openings and renovations of in-house spas. And with Corinthia Hotels arguably leading the way for other hotels to follow suit, the challenge for brand is more around how to build on its already successful products. “We have had several highly successful partnerships with spa brands and products, but we are evaluating all options for our future in 2019,” says Naudi. “We have beautiful spas being built to add to our portfolio and wish to use this as a basis for a spa strategy that is relevant to our guests.”

Now that the hotel brand has pin-pointed its next destinations and is signing on dotted lines to secure them, calling the shots may be stressful and high-pressure at times, but it also carries with it unparalleled rewards. “I would count two main sources of satisfaction,” adds Naudi. “The first is to see old, abandoned properties, many of which may be heritage sites, rebuilt and launched as luxury hotels, with a legacy to span decades. Corinthia London was a case in point, but also our current projects in Moscow, Brussels and Bucharest too. Secondly, is seeing younger colleagues grow into more senior roles and take on leadership and entrepreneurial positions.” And with that, Corinthia Hotels continues to inspire generations by designing a healthy and strong family of hotels worldwide with a luxury metaphorical thread of impeccable service and innovative design connecting them all together.

Balcony shot of San Francisco at night

Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts to open second hotel in San Francisco

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts to open second hotel in San Francisco

From 2020, the former Loews Regency San Francisco will be managed by Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts following extensive renovations…

Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts has been selected by an affiliate of Westbrook Partners, a privately-owned, fully integrated real estate investment management company, to manage its hotel in the 345 California Center building in San Francisco’s financial district.

Balcony shot of San Francisco at night

Currently known as the Loews Regency San Francisco, the Hotel will be renamed Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco at Embarcadero in 2020 following renovations.

“With a rich cultural landscape, unmatched culinary experiences and a market strengthened by the region’s renowned tech boom, San Francisco is one of the country’s most dynamic, thriving cities. Due in large part to these strong market conditions, we’re excited to offer guests a second Four Seasons experience, enhancing our portfolio in the Bay Area,” says Bart Carnahan, Executive Vice President, Global Business Development and Portfolio Management, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts.

“We have a longstanding, successful relationship with Westbrook Partners,” commented Carnahan, “who are also our partners in the existing Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco, Four Seasons Hotel Miami, and the forthcoming Private Residences at 706 Mission Street. We look forward to building on this strong partnership as we collectively work to enhance the luxury hotel and residential offerings in this great city.”

“We are proud to partner with one of the world’s most esteemed luxury brands, solidifying our position as the leading luxury lifestyle option in the city,” says Paul Kazilionis of Westbrook Partners.  “San Francisco is a world-class city that continues to grow at a remarkable pace, and we continue to show our belief in this market and the strength of the Four Seasons brand as this new hotel will be our third Four Seasons branded asset in San Francisco. We also currently own the Four Seasons hotel on Market Street and we are in the process of building and delivering one of the best luxury residential products on the west coast with the new Four Seasons Private Residences coming to 706 Mission Street in 2020.”

“Renovations will include all rooms and suites, corridors and other public areas, in addition to a new fitness centre.”

Housed on the top 11 floors of the 48-storey building (the city’s fourth tallest), the Hotel’s 155 rooms and suites afford enviable skyline views including the Coit Tower and Transamerica Building, and sweeping views of the Bay, including landmarks such as the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island. Once renovations are complete, the Hotel will also offer an all-day restaurant and bar and a well-equipped fitness centre including treatment rooms. With an entrance at 222 Sansome Street, the Hotel is centrally located in the city’s financial district and walking distance to Union Square, SoMa and San Francisco’s tallest building, Salesforce Tower.

Renovations will include all rooms and suites, corridors and other public areas, in addition to a new fitness centre. The current hotel will undergo renovations, following which the hotel will be unveiled as a Four Seasons experience in 2020.

Westbrook Partners purchased the hotel from Loews Hotels & Co in May 2019. Loews will continue to manage the hotel throughout 2019.

Main image credit: Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts

EDITOR CHECKS IN: Making debuts in international hotel design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
EDITOR CHECKS IN: Making debuts in international hotel design

Editor Hamish Kilburn has noticed an influx in hotel groups debuting lifestyle brands in far-flung destinations around the world…  

Whenever I disembark a long-haul flight I appreciate further just how small the world really is; it’s tiny in fact. The realisation that you can travel from one side of the planet to the other in less than 24 hours is remarkble, and it seems I am not alone.

Today, more and more travellers – young and old and of all abilities – are willing to go further in their search for adventure to learn and master the true art of luxury travel, which is in my opinion to capture one-off experiences that are totally unmatched.

This month the floodgates on the editorial were kept deliberately open so that we can share with our readers the sheer scale of hotel development that is happening worldwide, in real time. We’ve therefore made it our mission to cover as much news from Hotel Groups as possible. Hotel Indigo has made its debut in Qatar, Canopy by Hilton has made the leap into Africa, Hard Rock Hotels has made an aptly loud entrance on London’s stage and most recently, AC by Marriott has arrived in Jamaica. Our industry has proved this month alone, if nothing else, that it has anything but peaked, as our On The Boards page with no-doubt confirm.

Instead of another long-haul flight, I’ve taken five days out of the office , ahead of both Meet Up North and Hotel Summit and I have used my time wisely to travel to the quaint and colourful Greek island of Spetses. Arriving on an island where cars are forbidden – and with no ‘just opened’ luxury hotel in sight –  simply the sound of naturally breaking waves has inspired me to put pen to paper, after deliberately leaving my laptop at home. Sat on a rock that’s overhanging the water’s edge, I am slowly but surely reconnecting with nature, all the time reminding myself the human importance of using natural and sustainable materials within design and architecture. One company that has predicted a rise in human touch as a trend to watch evolve over the next 100 years is Hilton, which released a report this month stating that: “In a world filled with Artificial Intelligence, human contact and the personal touch will be more critical and sought after than ever.”

With hotel groups and lifestyle brands debuting in new destinations, all the while reacting to trends and forecasts in the process to provide the right experiences for their target audience, it’s an exciting time to be at the helm of the editorial content for Hotel Designs.

During July, Hotel Designs will be putting Soft Furnishings and Fabrics under the spotlight. If you would like to contribute to these topics, please do not hesitate to email me.

Editor, Hotel Designs

FEATURE: Software and technology that is enhancing the overall hotel experience

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
FEATURE: Software and technology that is enhancing the overall hotel experience

To celebrate Hotel Designs putting the spotlight on technology, software and controls this month, the editorial team have compiled together all the latest and greatest technology pieces, both hidden and visible, that have launched to significantly help to evolve the overall hotel experience for the better.  

Edited by editor Hamish Kilburn…

Earlier this month, to celebrate the group’s 100th year anniversary, Hilton Hotels released a report supported by experts to reveal how the growing sophistication of technology and climate change will impact the hotel industry in the future. Using the results of the report as a metaphorical anchor, here is a selection of technology and software that is helping to shape the future of international interior design and, as a result, helping to improve the consumer journey within hotels.

Interactivity before checking in

With travel becoming more accessible to everyone, and the rise in alternative home-from-home accommodation, there has also been a rise of design-savvy guests checking in to hotels. Therefore, hoteliers may be interested to know that there is a range of software out there that actually allows the guest to interactively take a virtual tour of their hotel from behind a computer screen, mobile or tablet.

ACT Studios, Hotel Designs’ official photographer, is an innovative photography service that works with hotels to capture their interiors interactively. The company uses Matterport, a world leader in immersive 3D technology, offering a platform for the built environment that can easily capture, edit and share 3D models of physical spaces. The technology is able to fully capture the interior and the design of properties, including hotels and leisure destinations.

Matterport technology has already captured several spectacular hotels, resorts and travel lodges across the world. An example of this would be the Four Seasons Ty Warner Penthouse – located in New York that has hosted celebrity guests and has its own private spa room. An incredibly unique example is the Underwater Room at The Manta Resort and the Underwater Terrace – a floating underwater room as a private oasis located in the crystal clear waters of a conservation area in the Pemba Islands in Tanzania several hundred metres from shore. And up above in the clouds, Matterport has captured the Clouds Estate at Helshoogte Pass – a boutique hotel overlooking dramatic mountains in South Africa’s wine country.

Hotel Designs’ interactive hotel reviews which use the Matterport software include New Road Hotel, Hotel Gotham, University Arms and most recently Oddfellows On The Park.

Meanwhile, to improve the volume of guest bookings, STAAH is a channel management software, recognised as an innovator in hospitality technology solutions. STAAH has been using cloud-based products to help accommodation providers around the world power their online growth since 2008. Its award-winning products puts property owners in control by empowering them with technology that helps them attract, convert, analyse and maximise online reach and revenue.

Its latest products to emerge includes STAAH ReviewMinder, which follows a recent integration with booking.com API for review collection and STAAH Max App, giving users the ability to manage their property from their Mobile-On the Go. Find out more about the company’s June updates on products here.

Personalisation is key

In order to improve the holistic guest hotel experience, the evolution of behind-the-scenes technology has made a clear path for smart hotels, once considered the future, to emerge in the market. Guests checking in to a modern hotel can now expect to be able to adapt and personalise many elements, such as the AC or order room service using their phones, self check-ins are driving receptionists out of fashion, while smart door-opening solutions such as key cards or even mobile applications are fast challenging convention. Hamilton Litestat is an electrical solutions provider that designs, develops and manufactures innovative electrical accessories of the highest quality. With a vast product range, spanning consumer units, decorative switch plates and sockets, lighting control and multi-room audio, it is a one-stop-shop for all domestic wiring requirements to allow for guests to personalise their own stay.

Image of room with ceiling lights and display of Hamilton's switches

Image credit: Hamilton Litestat

A British manufacturer, Hamilton Litestat has created an enviable portfolio of switch plate and socket designs to please the hotel interiors fashion industry, as well as smart lighting control and audio systems designed to enhance the hotel guest experience. Its DMX control option allows a Red, Green or Blue colour-wash to be used as accent lighting to add drama to a space – ideal for guest rooms and restaurant/bar/public areas.’

Another emerging product that has emerged from the domestic market, and is quickly making its way into the boutique hotel sector, is Nanoleaf. The company’s canvas range allows guests to create their own masterpiece. Designed to add a dash of playful, ambient light to any room, the product, among other settings, reacts to the touch of the user. Via downloading the Nanoleaf app, guests can chose to change the colour of their wall tiles from more than 16 millions colours. What’s more, the product is drill free, easy to assemble and works with other smart devices such as Google Home and Amazon Echo.

Hoteliers interested in investing in a quality experience among high-paying guests may wish to include various portable devices for entertainment purposes. LOEWE’s mini yet mighty Klang M1 portable speaker is an excellent example of how a hotel can offer tech that gives the guests control. Thanks to its compact dimensions, exquisitely finished stainless steel case and genuine leather wrist strap, the Klang M1 is the ideal companion for guests on the go. Whether connecting to a smartphone, tablet or laptop – the Bluetooth signal is quickly detected and the devices are paired ready to stream your music. In the hotel suite, while working out or even exploring a destination on two wheels, the Klang M1 is available wherever, whenever.

Image of portable speaker (rose gold) on handlebars of bike

Image credit: LOEWE Klang M1

Technology in design

Earlier this year, Hotel Designs reported live from Milan the launch of LG’s latest innovation, the world’s first rollable LED TV. Designed in collaboration with Foster + Partners, the TV product evolved after the understanding that the modern TV is omnipresent in most living spaces, and with screen sizes getting bigger it often dominates a room even when not being used. The new LG OLED rollable screen allows freedom from walls and offers a sense of liberation to design interior spaces.

While some companies have decided to compact their technology, others have opted to go big or go home. Samsung, for example, has just announced that the hotly anticipated one-of-a-kind display, ‘The Wall Professional’, is available to order with select partners, as it marches forward with its innovation in LED and large-scale displays. A breakthrough innovation in multimedia content technology, The Wall Professional redefines the category, offering discerning customers the ultimate made-to-measure display solution fit for any business or living space. The Wall Professional is a bespoke display offering premium viewing experiences on a larger, grander scale.

Large TV display on wall with people looking (render)

Image credit: Samsung

Hidden technology

While it would be easy to focus the lens on technology that is only used and seen by hotel guests, it would not be a true reflection on the rise in technology within modern hotels. New back-of-house systems are now available to further provide more seamless service. Solutions from the likes of Infraspeak have been designed and launched for chaotic hotels that would benefit from improved operational efficiency and reduced costs of maintenance.

Image credit: Infraspeak

As well as improving communication between maintenance staff and the hotel, Infraspeak is a communication tool that is now used in other areas of hotel, such as house keeping, F&B and even energy management. Click to here to read Hotel Designs’ interview with the company’s co-founder.

Main image credit: Nanoleaf

Morgan launches lounge chair and table collection designed by Tim Rundle

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Morgan launches lounge chair and table collection designed by Tim Rundle

Contract furniture designer and manufacturer Morgan has launched Rakino, a collection of lounge chairs and tables, designed by Tim Rundle…

During Clerkenwell Design Week 2019, Morgan launched a new furniture collection, Rakino, designed by Tim Rundle.

Juxtaposing soft sculpted upholstery with a strong, low line frame, the new family of lounge chairs and tables feature crisp timber detailing, emphasised by a clean linear structure.

“It’s been a pleasure working with Tim, who brings an international perspective to Rakino,” says Katerina Zachariades, design director at Morgan. “His experience in furniture, lighting and interior design enables him to develop new product ideas with an understanding of commercial demands. We have enjoyed developing this chair and refining our production methods to achieve the light, simple structure that defines it.”

Describing his approach to the project, Rundle says, “I wanted to create something that felt quiet and inviting, that could feel right in your home, while being appropriate for hard working contract environments.” 

Morgan has a tradition of naming its collections after places, which Tim embraced. He explains: “It only felt right we choose a New Zealand name, being designed by a Kiwi, albeit London based. Rakino is one of a cluster of small islands in the Hauraki Gulf, the body of water surrounding Auckland’s east coast. There people are able to escape the busy city, a short boat ride leaving you with a pleasant sense of isolation and calm. A comfortable low lounge chair in a busy hotel or workplace could, I hope, provide the same feeling.”

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

Rockwell Group to unveil Barcelona’s ‘hippest hotel’ this September

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Rockwell Group to unveil Barcelona’s ‘hippest hotel’ this September

Nobu Hotel Barcelona, a member of the prestigious Preferred Hotels & Resorts Collection, will open its doors this September with the aim of being a place where the vibrant energy of the Catalan capital meets the iconic spirit of Nobu Hotels…

Home to 259 sleek rooms and stylish suites, a 150sqm Nobu Suite, an elegant spa and gym as well as tailor made meeting and event spaces, Nobu Hotel Barcelona, slated to open in September of this year, will house the city’s first Nobu Restaurant along with the Japanese inspired tapas bar; Kozara.

Capturing the unique essence of this famous European city, Nobu Hotel Barcelona will reflect the core values that have become synonymous with Nobu Hotels; passionate service, distinctive design and unpretentious luxury.

“Nobu Hotel Barcelona is the fourth European and third Spanish property from the internationally renowned hospitality brand.”

The interiors, conceptualised by award-winning architecture and design firm, Rockwell Group, seamlessly blend Japanese minimalism with the colourful character of Barcelona to create an integrated mix of luxurious hotel and energised living spaces. Recognisably Catalan-inspired designs, such as the works of Gaudi, are mingled with the traditional Japanese craft of Kintsugi; the art of repairing broken pottery with either gold, silver or platinum, to create collages of materials, textures and spaces throughout the hotel.

Located on the top floor of the 23-storey property, guests can dine at Nobu’s world-famous namesake while taking in unrivalled views of the Barcelona city line and the Mediterranean. The menu will reflect Nobu’s philosophy of locality; paying homage to local ingredients and classic Catalan cuisine, while staying true to the brand’s Japanese DNA.

Located in the charmingly Catalan neighbourhood of Eixample, the hotel is just a five minute stroll from Plaza de España, a mere 15 minutes from Barcelona’s buzzy La Rambla or a short walk to the main railway station for high speed links to Madrid, Paris, Lyon and Marseille making it ideal for laid-back luxury explorers and business travellers alike.

Nobu Hotel Barcelona is the fourth European and third Spanish property from the internationally renowned hospitality brand founded by Robert De Niro, Nobu Matsuhisa and Meir Teper. Working together with the Spanish hospitality group owned by Jordi Mestre, Selenta, Nobu Hotel Barcelona offers guests and locals a luxury lifestyle experience with a genuine Catalan feel.

Main image credit: Rockwell Group