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Lighting design: guests’ demands come first

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Lighting design: guests’ demands come first

Following the industry emerging from the pandemic, lighting brand Franklite explains how guests are at the heart as the hospitality industry enters unchartered waters…

It’s important to understand how the right light can be used in different environments. For instance, in a hotel, light can be used to create an ambience and welcoming feel when paired with the right decor and natural light.

The right light can create a warm and friendly atmosphere; however, the wrong light can easily detract from a nicely decorated room.

Lighting in hotels should be installed with guests at the heart. The entire guest experience starts as soon as you arrive at the front desk of a hotel. If you are arriving late at night, the lighting should be warm and welcoming, helping you to feel relaxed and comforted. This is in contrast to when arriving in the morning, where there should be plenty of daylight or if not possible, bright white lighting, to help you feel energised and awake.

Image credit: Franklite

It’s important to make the best use of light in each space, to create a relaxing atmosphere throughout the entire hotel. For example, the lighting in the restaurant will require different lighting at different times of the day. During the day, where natural light changes are more noticeable, different scenes make it easy to adapt and maintain the right light level. At night, the lighting may be needed to assist in creating a romantic setting.

Understanding these nuances has been the key to Franklite’s success, having manufactured and distributed decorative lighting products from our purpose-built premises for more than 45 years. The brand is renowned, both in the U.K. and abroad, for the quality and versatility of its lighting, a reputation built on using only the finest components in the manufacturing process.

The lighting brand has evolved into a company offering a diverse range of decorative LED lighting products for both interior and exterior, domestic and contract applications, including all areas of hospitality and especially in hotels.

Franklite was one of the first manufacturers of energy saving chandeliers within the U.K. lighting industry. The brand understands the importance of keeping up to date with changes in regulation, the development of super-efficient light sources, and changing interior design trends.

Along with its constantly updated catalogue range, Franklite is able to offer bespoke LED lighting solutions for special projects, ensuring your design is ahead of the game and adding that ‘WOW’ factor when required. The company has dedicated contract sales and technical teams with many years of experience in lighting to assist with all your requirements.

If you would like any assistance or advice on using our products in your next project, please contact us on 01908 691818 or visit the website.

Main image credit: Franklite

 

STAY luxury accomodation

FEATURE: How ‘hometels’ and long-term stays will thrive

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
FEATURE: How ‘hometels’ and long-term stays will thrive

The extended stay portion of the lodging business continues to see strong demand. But are extended stay brands doing enough to keep up with travellers’ evolving tastes and needs? Editor Hamish Kilburn speaks to Sam Ghosh, Vice President at STAY

A few weeks ago, during Hotel Designs LIVE, former presenter of The Gadget Show Jason Bradbury boldly told me that the hotel model as we know it will change forever in the post-pandemic world.

STAY luxury accomodation

With this in mind, I caught up with Sam Ghosh, who is the Vice President of STAY, a residential brand offering serviced apartments in iconic and well-connected locations that shelters the comforts and convenience of home, while combining the luxuries of a boutique hotel. With the recent opening of STAY Camden and with new properties on the horizon, Ghosh seemed like an apt person to speak to in order to understand the ever-evolving needs and demands of modern travellers.

Image caption: (Left) Sam Ghosh, Vice President, STAY. (Right) Image credit: STAY Camden

Image caption: (Left) Sam Ghosh, Vice President, STAY. (Right) Image credit: STAY Camden

Hamish Kilburn: Hi Sam! So, we have identified that there’s a growing accommodation trend of ‘hometels’, but how does STAY fit within this landscape?

Sam Ghosh: STAY is the residential brand from LABS Collective. Located in Hawley Wharf, STAY residences cater to extended stays offering access to LABS flexible workspaces, which is particularly beneficial for business travellers. The design led  apartments are created to optimise sleep, productivity, and play, ideal for the mobile workforce. 

STAY is a brand that was born with the hybrid ethos in mind – rooms are complete with kitchens with considered design. Guests can also enjoy a concierge service, housekeeping, and premium facilities such as access to a gym. Residents are actively encouraged to make use of the generous communal areas plus it’s on the doorstep of one of London’s most exciting new developments, Hawley Wharf, when it opens in late 2020.

As we emerge out of lockdown, we’re actually seeing a higher demand for serviced apartment living and flexible office space strengthening. Hawley Wharf offers this cautious half step between home and returning full time to offices. Cutting out the commute with STAY and offering a variety of community areas and programming in LABS, we are providing room for people to feel comfortable together again. With careful safety and hygiene adaptations to the space we are creating a comfortable environment for people to re-socialise and feel part of a community.

HK: Can you explain the design scheme inside a STAY property? 

SG: The head of architecture and design for LABS Collective, Yaara Gooner, is the creative eye behind our carefully designed spaces. She leads a team of dedicated in-house designers and architects that magically transform our properties, whether LABS workspaces or STAY residences, to create hubs of enterprise, designed for wellbeing, productivity, and growth. 

The design of STAY Camden holds the need for our long-term guests to relax, work and entertain. Each apartment has been designed to provide superior comfort to each guest, created by combining natural materials, including marble, stone and natural oak with soft furnishings and brass touches. The majority of our furniture has been sourced by Menu, a Scandinavian design brand providing a distinct Nordic influence across the property. 

Within the communal areas, plants also complement the warm colour palette. Nature is imperative to our design process and plants are used for their aesthetic quality and ability to increase productivity, memory retention and decrease stress. They’re also fundamental to creating safe and healthy spaces for our guests and members. Owing to their air purifying qualities we have selected greenery for our public spaces, known to absorb 75 per cent of airborne pollutants. 

Luxury room

Image credit: STAY Camden

HK: Can you tell us more about the new safety measures in place?

SG: As a business, our first priority is always the safety and wellbeing of our staff, members and guests and new standards have been incorporated into LABS Collective’s shared workspaces and serviced apartment environments. The measures in place remain so long as the threat of COVID-19 does, but also inform our strategic approach to design and operations in the long term. STAY Camden in fact remained open and operational since the pandemic began, accepting new bookings for guests seeking mid to long term accommodation, prioritising those categorised as key workers or those displaced from their primary place of residence. 

We have gone above and beyond the recommended Government guidelines, elevating our standards to ensure that members and guests can enjoy our spaces with total confidence and to support the wellbeing of our whole community. As an example, at Hawley Wharf, Camden where LABS members and STAY guests share the same entrance, visitor screenings are in operation on arrival as well as one-way systems to ensure seamless movement throughout the building for all.

For our STAY residences, we have totally reworked our guest protocols to translate the best practices in safety and hygiene standards to the apartments whilst providing comfortable accommodation that feels like home. These new measures include reduction of touch points across STAY’s three apartment buildings, including the use of a digital link to pay instead of the regular chip and pin machine, and digitising the guest registration form to reduce the proximity of interaction needed at the time of guest check-in.

A barrier spray is applied to all furniture that provides long term coverage to kill pathogens on contact. Upon guest check out, the apartments receive a 48 hour deep clean, including the use of Pro Zone machines to cleanse the air and eliminate bacteria. In preparation for new arrivals a ‘seal of reassurance’ will be applied to the front door of each apartment. Guests will have to physically break the seal to enter the apartment, safe in the knowledge it hasn’t been entered into after a deep clean.

“We also know that people are desperate for interaction after such a long time working at home.” – Sam Ghosh, Vice President, STAY.

HK: You mention an increase in the demand of guests/members wanting to use the Hawley Wharf campus due to the LABS and STAY offering. Are you doing anything further to aid this flexibility of working and living?

SG: With many central London offices remaining shut into the Autumn and beyond, we know that businesses are looking for shorter obligations and for safe spaces to bring their workforce back in comfort in residential zones. We also know that people are desperate for interaction after such a long time working at home.

Recognising the important part that flexible workspaces are playing in this transition to normality, LABS and STAY have launched a new membership which offer a cautious half-way step between working from home and returning fully to the office. Residential spaces like STAY which allow access to LABS flexible workspaces cut out the commute and the vast community areas provide ample room for people to feel comfortable together again. The STAY at LABS membership starts at £2,425 a month and includes a one bedroom apartment at STAY Camden and a Roaming membership providing access to all LABS workspaces. 

We are also working to put additional measures in place across all our LABS spaces in London where we have on-site provisions (such as showers and bike storage) for those walking and cycling to work. To support entrepreneurs and start-ups returning to the workplace successfully, LABS has set up a new incubator initiative which provides discounted office space for qualifying small businesses. Initiatives like this will be integral to a future generation of thriving companies and talent.

Main image credit: STAY Camden

Renovation revealed: Marriott Cancun collection reopens

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Renovation revealed: Marriott Cancun collection reopens

Following a recently completed interior design renovation project, The Marriott Cancun Collection (JW Marriott Cancun and Marriott Cancun) is reopening calming spaces to cater to modern travellers’ demands in the post-pandemic climate. Editor Hamish Kilburn gets a closer look inside…

Only last week, I positioned Mexico’s region of Riviera Nayarit under our editorial spotlight to focus in on the hotel development projects that will soon be completed, and how the senstive renovation of its landscape will enhance the its appeal among modern luxury travellers. 

On the completely other side of Mexico, 2,427 km east of Riviera Nayarit, you will find Cancun, a destination famous for its white sand beaches, near-perfect weather, and bright blue waters. Among of the assemblage of hotels in the city are the sister resorts Marriott Cancun and JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa, both of which have undergone renovations recently to their public areas, guestrooms and suites and are welcoming guests back into the refreshed spaces in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis.

Together known as Marriott Cancun Collection, the resorts have been given the green light to open their doors as a part of Quintana Roo’s phased re-opening strategy. JW Marriott Cancun opened June 8 and is already hosting guests, and Marriott Cancun Resort is trailing right behind with an expected opening date of July 1.

Large, spacious F&B area

Image credit: Marriott Hotels

Having debuted the trendy, Tulum-inspired SacBé Beach Shack last summer and its new lobby in January, Marriott Cancun Resort’s renovations, paired with JW Marriott Cancun’s extensive $40 million upgrade to all 447 ocean-facing guestrooms, set the stage for a roaring first quarter.

New renovated suites shelter stlish array of furniture and clean wooden floors

“There’s no greater feeling than welcoming our guests back with refreshed, inviting spaces that lay the foundation for an exceptional vacation experience,” said Vice President and General Manager Christopher Calabrese. “We continuously strive to elevate our offerings, and that started with JW Marriott Cancun’s design-forward room renovation. When taken in combination with Marriott Cancun’s new lobby, the final touch of an earlier renovation, it feels like two virtually new hotels.”

Image credit: Marriott Hotels

Dubbed ‘The Great Room,’ Marriott Cancun’s airy entryway complements the chic design of the resort’s 450 guestrooms. The colour palette includes marbleised beige and cream accented by shades of indigo and turquoise that are inspired by Mexico’s natural beauty. The lofty space features clean, crisp lines, modern furniture of varying textures and cream shades, along with the resort’s signature paneled windows that peer out to the palm-lined grounds and the ocean beyond.

Also in the pipeline for 2020 is Hana, a Polynesian restaurant set to replace Argentinian eatery, La Capilla. Hana, a play on the Hawaiian word for family, will feature intricate wood detailing on the ceiling and distressed brick accents, along with pops of yellow. The contemporary furniture, wall planters and Polynesian-inspired images are intended to transport guests to the most exotic corner of the world, while SacBé Beach Shack is influenced by Tulum’s bohemian atmosphere. The new beach club offers a fusion of local flavours and traditional Mexican cuisine. Here, local street food is served to guests on swinging bar stools set beneath driftwood rods and adjacent to macramé hammocks, hand-painted art and dine-in-the-sand tables.

Low tables in stylish new renovated bar/restaurant

Image credit: Marriott Hotels

Next door, JW Marriott Cancun’s stylish room interiors pay homage to the intricate textiles found in ancient Mayan garments. Meanwhile, the room’s aerial-view photographs are indicative of the region’s famous cenotes, or natural sink holes. Meticulously carved wood accents, architectural light fixtures, herringbone-patterned floors, luxe rainfall showers and free-standing soaking tubs with complimentary lavender bath salts are now standard in all guest rooms. The property also remodelled its exclusive Club 91 lounge with navy blue and olive-hued furniture in combination with coral reef ceiling décor, providing guests a glimpse into what lies beyond the hotel’s shores.

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office currently advises British nationals against all but essential international travel. This advice is being kept under constant review.

Main image credit: Marriott Hotels

CASE STUDY: Breathing new life into a ruined monastery in Naples

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
CASE STUDY: Breathing new life into a ruined monastery in Naples

Kaldewei bathroom solutions perfectly blends a stylish mix of historical and modern styles inside this restored monastery in Naples, Italy…

It took one year and two months and a handful of premium Kaldewei bathroom products to restore a ruined monastery in Naples into a stylish, modern residential abode.

From the terrace, your gaze sweeps across the mountainside vineyards, olive groves and lemon trees, across the “lower town” of Naples to Vesuvius, the harbour and the Gulf of Naples as far as the island of Capri.

In the midst of this unique landscape, on Vormero Hill, Giovanni and Janine have turned their dream home into reality. They bought the ruined 14th century monastery, completely restored it and fitted it out with a stylish mix of modern and a timeless design. For the bathroom and guest WC, the couple chose Kaldewei’s steel enamel bathroom solutions that connect the historical and modern in a very unique way.

Image caption: The exposed shell of the 14th Century monastery before its sensitive renovation

Image caption: The exposed shell of the 14th Century monastery before its sensitive renovation

Even as a teenager, Giovanni knew that one day he wanted to live with his family, right beside his parents’ home on Vormero Hill. Vormero is the 13th district of Naples and is known as the “upper town”. The houses stand on a green hill and can only be reached by cable car and, in part, only via steep stairs. This is where Giovanni grew up, and this area is still home to three generations of his family. “La famiglia” was also the reason why, after studying and working abroad, he returned to Italy. He and his wife Janine, whom he met on a trip to Rio de Janeiro, began with renting a small house next door to his parents’ home. When the hunt for a suitable property, for his own growing family produced no results, he decided to buy a ruined monastery nearby and rebuild it as a family home.

Special challenges: preservation order and logistics

After thoroughly checking the terms of the preservation order and establishing that the monastery had indeed been used as a residential property in the past, Janine and Giovanni started turning their dream into a reality. The restoration of this ancient building presented the young couple with many challenges. The strict provisions of the preservation order, for instance, specified that the same materials used to build the monastery around 700 years ago, such as chalk and regional sandstone, also had to be used for the restoration – no cement was used at all. In addition, the hilltop location, surrounded by vineyards, called for some special logistical solutions. 150 steps had to be scaled when transporting the required building materials and products. As a result, throughout the entire construction period of 15 months one person was solely employed to constantly drive up and down the hill with a tracked vehicle.

Giovanni gave up his job and devoted himself to managing the building site for a year. To help them implement their ideas, the couple called in the architect Antonio Gravagnuolo, who specialises in listed projects, and the German interior designer Stephan Poeppelmann. Together, they created a unique house that skilfully blends the past and the present.

“The colours are restrained and are reminiscent of the vineyard landscape.” – interior designer Stephan Poeppelmann

When tradition and modern collide

“We wanted to retain the character of the ruined monastery. That’s why it was particularly important for us to use traditional materials as much as possible both for the building and the internal restoration and to work with suppliers from the local region,” Janine says. The interior planning corresponded with those wishes: restrained and respectful of the ruin’s history – but at the same time incredibly brave.

Talking about the concept, Poeppelmann says: “In keeping with the building’s past life as a monastery which was now to be restored as a home and be a part of the landscape, we didn’t remove corners and niches in existing walls, for example, but used them as spaces to integrate shelves or seating. The colours are restrained and are reminiscent of the vineyard landscape. The main colours are a delicate pastel green and warm shades of brown.” Ancient floor tiles which were salvaged, undamaged during the building work were also used in the interior design concept, as were lots of little apothecary bottles made of coloured glass, some of which have been integrated into the walls, or serve as decorative elements and vases around the house.

Kaldewei bathroom solutions: perfect match between product and room design

“Today’s bathroom is a multi-purpose space with the highest standards of design. The harmonious fusion of architecture, design, functionality and perfect light produce the optimum solution in the bathroom,” adds  Poeppelmann, describing the design approach for the bathroom.

Modern, quirky bathroom

Image credit: Kaldewei Cono

In fitting out the spacious bathroom, the designer was inspired by the former monastery’s distinctive vaulting. “Naturally, we were impressed by Kaldewei’s natural and classical yet modern shapes. Since we had a round-arched ceiling in the bathroom, we wanted to pick up on that shape with the bath and the washbasin. That’s why we decided on the Centro countertop washbasin, whose interior echoes the rounded shape, and the Meisterstück Classic Duo Oval bath,” says Janine, explaining the decision behind their choice. With its seamless panelling, the bath, made of elegant Kaldewei steel enamel, is the classic archetype of the freestanding bath. The Centro countertop washbasin with its spacious surround, designed by Anke Salomon, also exudes a sense of purity and simple elegance.

luxe bath on colourful tiles

Image caption: Kaldewei Meisterstueck Classic Duo Oval bath

The Kaldewei trinity in the bathroom is completed with the floor-level Scona shower in a restrained Pearl Grey matt. This shower surface fits harmoniously into the colourfully tiled floor, while the round, centrally-positioned waste cover made of steel enamel also picks up on the round-arch shape. The space-saving wall-hung Cono washbasin works well in the guest WC. The characteristic design element of this rectangular washbasin is the square waste cover which is also enamelled. “With the Kaldewei steel enamel bathroom solutions we have created a perfect match between product and room architecture,” says Stephan Pöppelmann.

Image caption: Kaldewei Scona

Image caption: Kaldewei Scona

Whether for a new-build or refurbishment, Kaldewei shower surfaces, washbasins and baths are a hit with builders worldwide. The enamelled bathroom solutions meet high aesthetic standards and, thanks to the huge range of different designs and sizes, they fit perfectly into virtually any room. As a material, Kaldewei steel enamel is exceptionally long-lasting and low-maintenance. Poeppelmann enjoys working with Kaldewei bathroom solutions: “The products are robust. At the same time, they have smooth, seamless lines. Thanks to the wide range of colours, I can pick up on current trends, if required. In addition, high-end design with a modern look should also always take functionality and the day-to-day habits of its users into account.”

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 credit: Kaldewei

CASE STUDY: Lighting The Hoxton Southwark

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
CASE STUDY: Lighting The Hoxton Southwark

A stone’s throw from the River Thames and London’s South Bank, the Hoxton Southwark opened its doors in September last year. The design team at Ennismore specified lighting products from Heathfield & Co to create a vibrant interior design scheme…

Hoxton Southwark, which opened last year, became the eighth property in the brand’s series.

The new-build hotel contains 192 rooms, various meeting and events spaces, and its two popular restaurants; Albie, an all-day dining spot and Seabird, a rooftop seafood restaurant with spectacular views across the capital.

Alongside owners Ennismore, Heathfield & Co’s experienced team of project managers, product designers and engineers worked on this incredible project for a year, supplying bespoke lighting across the hotel’s public areas. Aimed at creating a vibrant and welcoming space, the clients brief included vintage references and classic styles, which the team designed, developed and manufactured, resulting in 22 completely bespoke pieces, from table lamps and wall lights, to multiple ceiling fittings and pendants.

Unique materials and specialist finishes come together in the production of this beautiful collection of bespoke lighting, each manufactured and assembled in Heathfield’s UK warehouse. A custom brass finish created specifically for the project will organically develop over time, harnessing the natural antiquing process.

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

Main image credit: Hoxton Southwark/Ennismore

 

Monkey Island Estate opens private residences

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Monkey Island Estate opens private residences

The six new private residences open at Monkey Island Estate in Bray amid post-pandemic luxury consumer demands expecting a surge of self-isolated escapes… 

YTL Hotels’ Monkey Island Estate, which Hotel Designs reviewed shortly after it opened last year, has unveiled six new private residences.

Endearingly named to reflect their individual nature, the residences blend classic style and the warmth of a period home with contemporary and luxury comfort, each with its own intriguing history and story to tell. Guests staying in the residences can enjoy the freedom, space and privacy of staying with loved ones, whilst taking advantage of the hospitality and services of the hotel, just a stone’s throw away.

The residences

Long White Cloud is an embodiment of homely elegance, where Edward Elgar is known to have stayed and composed some of his greatest works.  More recent residents include Formula One racing legend, Sir Stirling Moss. The magnificent 19th Century property has four large bedroom suites accompanied by an impressive kitchen and a charming garden, ideal for alfresco dining in the summer months. Sitting on the banks of the River Thames, Long White Cloud also offers a private pool and jetty, ideal for those who may wish to arrive by boat.

Brook House embodies another spacious offering with four generously sized suites, a lavish living room and a large garden with private outdoor/indoor swimming pool perfect for hot summer afternoons.

Sundial Cottage with its secluded secret garden is quaint yet spacious, steeped in the same exciting history as Monkey Island itself.  Sundial Cottage boasts three gorgeous bedrooms with a kitchen-diner and cosy living room. Those staying in Sundial Cottage will share the same four walls as the famed Sylvia Anderson, the creator of Thunderbirds.

Bray House is a bijou gem just steps away from Bray’s church, offering the ideal country bolthole for those looking to escape the city. The three-bedroom residence has undergone multiple transformations over the years from stable block to cobblers’ shop, antique centre and family home.

Dormer Cottage enchants guests with standout features including wooden beams, a welcoming open fireplace and a dramatic silk-clad wall. The 500-year-old one-bedroom residence offers guests immediate access to the heart of Bray.

Lavender House also sits in the heart of the village offering three bedrooms. With an impressive double fronted cottage façade believed to date back to the early 1700s, the impressive property was once home to several local families in three terraced cottages.

Monkey Island, with its intriguing history dating back 800 years, has been the haunt of monks, monarchs, aristocrats and writers alike. Surrounded by elegant gardens, Monkey Island is accessed only by footbridge, boat or helicopter, offering a secluded country venue, yet is conveniently located less than an hour’s drive from Central London. The addition of the Private Residences offers those who want to enjoy this historic landmark and the delightful village of Bray even more opportunity to do so, in true comfort, style and privacy.

Main image credit: YTL Hotels’ Monkey Island Estate

How hotels are keeping sustainability front and centre

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
How hotels are keeping sustainability front and centre

To celebrate sustainability in practice, Hotel Designs asks Paisley Hansen to investigate what hotels are doing today in order to preserve tomorrow…

Everyone strives to be as kind to the environment as they can and hotels are no exception. As a matter of fact, with the amount of traffic they receive, hotels going green has been a significant inspiration for other businesses to follow suit.

To keep up with changing times, hotels have implemented many environmentally-friendly practices.

Utilising the power of the sun

There’s no doubt about it–solar energy is hot. If you’ve ever received a money-saving solar quote, or switched over yourself, you know how well it works. Hotels have made the same choice and decided it’s worth their while to invest in eco-friendly energy sources. Solar power is a no-brainer and it’s smart business to implement it now.

Image credit: Pixabay

Doing less laundry

Years ago when you’d book a hotel, you would get clean sheets and towels each day. Many hotels are now frowning on this wasteful practice, unless you specifically request it. Towels can be left to dry and reused the next day. This uses less water, detergent and saves the hotel money.

Lathering up in Bulk

Remember when you were a kid and hotels had all those fun little amenities? Although people loved to collect miniature bars of soap and tiny shampoo bottles, many hotels have opted to install bulk shampoo and soap dispensers. This is popular in Europe where each shower contains a press container that releases gel to be used as shampoo and body wash. These containers mean less packaging and plastic waste.

Economical lighting solutions

Hotels are changing the way they provide lighting to reduce their carbon footprint. Many have decided to install LED lighting throughout the property. You may also come across motion sensor lights that turn on as you walk down a hallway, much like what you see in a supermarket freezer section. You may even find these upon entering your room, which is a big help if you check in after hours.

Image credit: Pixabay

Watching waste

Many hotels offer a continental breakfast and the patrons love the money they save on a meal. In the past, a lot of trash was generated by the use of paper cups and plates, so now, many hotels use glass dishes and coffee mugs with a tub to collect dirty dishes. This reduces an incredible amount of trash. Hotels are also placing recyclable bins around the property to collect plastic, metal and glass items, so don’t throw them in your regular trash can!

Going Chameleon

In many parts of the world, you’ll find hotels that are virtual chameleons. What this means is that they blend in seamlessly with their surroundings for many specific reasons. These hotels have made a conscious decision not to mar the landscape and instead, keep the area looking pristine. This practice is also animal-friendly as it doesn’t disturb, or interfere, with the rhythm of wildlife in the area.

Recycling water

Along with doing less laundry, more hotels are opting to save water through a process called greywater recycling. This procedure allows lightly used water, such as that used in showers or sinks, to be reused again for non-drinking purposes like irrigation or toilet flushing. Other hotels worldwide also collect and reuse rainwater in much the same manner.

Cleaning with a conscience

All these improvements sound wonderful, but what happens at the hotel when you’re not there? Green practices are now taking place at hotels behind the scenes, as well. That’s where environmentally-friendly cleaning products come into play. Hotels no longer feel that they need to use harsh, caustic chemicals when cleaning rooms. Many products have been developed that are made of lemon, vinegar and plant-based sources that still kill germs and sanitise rooms.

It’s everyone’s responsibility

Environmentally-friendly practices in hotels are becoming the norm, as they well should. From solar energy, to water recycling and protecting natural habitats, looking for better options is everyone’s responsibility. Using hotels as an example, find out how you can live greener in your own home.

Main image credit: Pixabay

In (Lockdown) Conversation With: Design legend Jean-Michel Gathy

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In (Lockdown) Conversation With: Design legend Jean-Michel Gathy

If the renders on the boards are anything to go by, Jean-Michel Gathy, who is widely considered as one of the industry’s finest, has embarked on one of his most ambitious hospitality projects to date, to design Amaala Island. Editor Hamish Kilburn learns more…

There is not a hotel designer or architect alive today who has not heard of the name Jean-Michel Gathy, and for good reason. The creative mastermind, who doesn’t just design but more reinvents hotel experiences, has been repainting the backdrop of luxury for what is coming up to three decades.

Not shy of his ambition – he once stated that he wanted to be the first person to design a hotel on the moon – Gathy’s approach to a project is all-encompassing, allowing him to further push (and at times break through) conventional barriers.

Arrival experience, luxury

Image credit: Capella Sanya, designed by Jean-Michel Gathy/Denniston

His latest project, Amaala Island will be an ultra luxury resort destination spanning three sites, a first for the region of Saudi Arabia. Designed to evolve and elevate the very best in travel, the island is an ultra-luxury destination that focuses on curating transformative personal journeys inspired by arts, wellness and the purity of the Red Sea.

To find out more about the project, and in homage to the designer’s award-winning career, I managed to speak to the architect/designer.

Hamish Kilburn: Jean-Michel, how will the ultra-luxe Amaala Island – aka the “Diamond of the Red Sea” – challenge conventional island developments?

Jean-Michel Gathy: The development of ‘The Island’ will be an immersive and interactive art-inspired jewel. Its lifestyle components, its landscaping, the museums, and art installations together with the art community will transform this island into the “Diamond of the Red Sea”. It will feature many different venues for permanent installations or temporary exhibitions and artistic performances. The graphic layout of its spine will be distinctive from the air and will be recognised internationally as an iconic landmark. The project features all elements programmed and reflects the areas, numbers and facilities. This is truly unique, nothing like it has ever been planned before.

“It’s not a matter of a specific place; it is the fact that when you travel, your mind is continually challenged by the happenings around you.” – Jean-Michel Gathy

HK: How does your approach differ when designing a destination from you’re designing a hotel?

JMG: Constant travel is a huge part of the job. It allows me to observe and to be constantly inquisitive about my surroundings. Travelling builds a subconscious library of ideas, which are expressed in my work and helps my ideas remain innovative and fresh. It’s not a matter of a specific place; it is the fact that when you travel, your mind is continually challenged by the happenings around you. It’s not about where you travel, either – what counts is that you explore. No matter where you are, every country has something new to offer in terms of inspiration.

Luxury spa area that frames unspoilt view through rustic blinds

Image credit: Image credit: The Chedi Muscat, Oman, designed by Jean-Michel Gathy/Denniston

HK: What have been some of your design highlights in your career?

JMG: Perhaps the one for which I am most renowned is the overwater hammocks or ‘basking nets’, which I initiated in the Maldives at the One&Only Reethi Rah in 2000. Until then, you would find balustrades around the terraces of villas. I decided to alter that – if anyone was going to fall off the terrace, they could fall on to the nets. And I put scatter cushions on them.

Image credit: One&Only Reethi Rah Maldives, designed by Jean-Michel Gathy/Denniston

Today, just about every hotel uses this idea. Another pioneering step was turning standalone tents for safari-style camps into a commodity. The accommodation at these hotels used to be basic but this started to change after I designed luxurious tents for the Amanwana in 1990. I am also known for my oversized, dramatic swimming pools such as the one on the roof of Marina Bay Sands in Singapore.

Large, oversized swimming pool

Image credit: The Setai Miami, designed by Jean-Michel Gathy/Denniston

QUICK-FIRE ROUND

HK: What has been the most demanding request you have received from a client to date?

JMG: I guess I take every client that I work with as a challenge more than a demanding request.

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

JMG: I would love to travel to Iceland to see its rugged landscapes, glaciers, rough seas, hot springs and volcanoes. I’d also like to visit the south of Chile and the peninsula of Kamchatka in Russia, which has extraordinary wildlife and endless forests.

HK: What’s your biggest indulgence when travelling?

JMG: Collecting art – I like to collect and invest in local artwork whilst on my travels.

HK: What lesson would you teach to your younger self?

JMG: The pathway to success is never easy, it takes hard work, dedication and passion.

HK: If you could design a hotel anywhere in the world, where would it be?

JMG: I’d love to design a hotel in Antarctica. There’s an ice hotel in Sweden, but that’s only open four months a year, so I want to do one that permanently remains ice.

HK: What’s been your favourite year on the international design scene?

JMG: To be honest, every year working with my team at Denniston has been and is special to me.

HK: What’s one item you cannot travel without?

JMG: I travel light, but I always ensure I have a cashmere scarf for the plane, and a sweater (I’m a big cashmere fan). I also travel with my camera, a Canon EOS 5D Mark III.

“The hotels where you arrive and lay on the beach and do nothing have progressively disappeared.” – Jean-Michel Gathy.

HK: How is the perception of luxury changing – and how is this evolving the way in which you create spaces in the luxury arena?

JMG: Before, hotels were just a place where you go and relax. Today, guests are connected: they want spas, they want food and beverage, they want activities, they want things to do. The hotels where you arrive and lay on the beach and do nothing have progressively disappeared, because life is such that people have become more and more active. I think luxury property clients are now asking for more than simply great rooms. They want retail facilities, a cinema, an extraordinary spa, award-winning F&B offerings and outdoor activities all integrated into the hotel.

“In terms of reliability, price strategy, and brand positioning, Toyota is a fantastic commercial car – but I prefer a Bentley.” – Jean-Michel Gathy.

HK: What’s the value of having designers and architects in your practice?

JMG: There are many good architects, but we have a specific niche. I’m going to compare us to branding: thousands of people buy Toyotas, but few people buy Bentleys. I believe that we are more Bentley than Toyota. This doesn’t mean that a Toyota is not a good car. In terms of reliability, price strategy, and brand positioning, Toyota is a fantastic commercial car – but I prefer a Bentley. Designers are the same; many prefer commercial projects and properties, because their interest is financial. They just want to make money, which means they’re not romantic about their projects. Then you have other designers, which is where I belong, who are more interested in the success of the project, the excitement of the journey of designing a hotel, and having the pride of making something fantastic, even though you earn less money.

Restaurant overlooking ocean in the Maldives

Image credit: One&Only Maldives, designed by Jean-Michel Gathy/Denniston

HK: Has the way in which you source inspiration changed over the years?

JMG: I’m someone who designs from the heart so my style is one that’s charismatic. It’s not an ego trip like the architects who design for themselves. I design elements that are a composition of dramatic effect; I create large and dramatic space, in opposition to intimate areas, so the space is always dynamic. Secondly, I design for the sensation you get out of it. I want every space in the hotel to be comfortable and for my clients to come back and say, I like this space. Sometimes they don’t know why they like it, but if they walk in and feel good, I know I’ve succeeded.

And succeeded Gathy has in widening the path of innovative hotel experiences in far-flung destinations around the world. While his past hotel projects have firmly etched his name into the architecture, design and luxury hospitality history books, his latest ideas and concepts that are currently on the boards highlight Gathy and Denniston’s ambitions. Inspired by his worldly perspective of design and architecture, I believe that Gathy’s aspiration is yet to peak as he continues to think big with the future landscape of luxury international hotel design patiently waiting in his sketchbook for its cue to emerge.

Main image credit: Jean-Michel Gathy/Denniston

PRODUCT WATCH: TIG launches Virtual Experience Space for smart spaces

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
PRODUCT WATCH: TIG launches Virtual Experience Space for smart spaces

Technological Innovations Group (TIG) the EMEA sales agency offering integrated technology solutions for residential and commercial smart spaces…

On the same day the company has been announced as headline partner of Hotel Designs LIVE, TIG has launched its Virtual Experience Space to showcase the impressive portfolio of AV, UC, IT and control solutions it represents.

The Virtual Experience Space is an immersive online space as part of the company’s new website that has been carefully designed to welcome and deliver an engaging and life-like experience for consultants, integrators, specifiers and end-users.

By embarking on a ‘walk-through’ tour of the virtual space, accompanied by vocal explanations, visitors will understand how the ecosystem of solutions available from TIG integrate to transform smart spaces in any corporate, residential, hospitality, education or healthcare environment.

Visitors will also benefit from TIG’s technical specialists, who are on hand to support them as they specify futureproof deployments, by recommending the most appropriate suite of solutions. TIG’s range of solutions have been chosen to complement one another to create superior, fully integrated and tailor-made smart spaces – whatever the client’s brief.

The world-class brands that TIG represents include:

  • Collaboration and residential smart space technology from Crestron
  • Remote monitoring and power distribution solutions from GUDE
  • Innovative tools and software from Hoylu for remote collaboration and accessible digital group learning
  • Stylish control panels for the hotel and home from Black Nova
  • Multi-user, multi-screen, multi-location visual collaboration platform from Oblong
  • User-friendly yet advanced meeting scheduling and management software from NFS
  • Made-to-order furniture from Salamander Designs that fits in perfectly with specific AV products
  • And, most recently, Embrava, whose Desk Sign and Blynclight ranges display employee and workspace availability, and indicate whether desks have been recently disinfected before next use

Robin van Meeuwen, TIG’s CEO, told Hotel Designs: “Here at TIG, we have been able to bring together experience, people and innovation through a collaboration with some of the finest technologically advanced brands to create a portfolio of class-leading solutions. These brands have been carefully selected for their contribution to the creation of tomorrow’s smart spaces – whether they are in the workplace, a university, a hotel, a hospital, or any other home, leisure or business environment.

“Our Virtual Experience Space will exhibit the best AV, UC, IT and control solutions for the constantly evolving way in which we live and work. It provides a solutions-based approach to answering how we can futureproof our smart space deployments, with a focus on efficiency, adaptability, safety and security. We look forward to welcoming our valued partners and customers to this revolutionary digital space!”

Amid the Covid-19 crisis, the opening of TIG’s ‘real-life’ Experience Spaces in London and Frankfurt has been rescheduled for September 2020. To explore the new Virtual Experience Space, visit the website. Following this, visitors are invited to arrange a more detailed ‘real’ visit, hosted one-to-one by one of our expert salespeople, by emailing.

Main image credit: TIG

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: The fine art of story telling

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INDUSTRY INSIGHT: The fine art of story telling

Hotel Designs has always championed creative art outside the conventional framework. Here, art consultant Ollie Griffin from Elegant Clutter explains the importance of narrative when choosing art for hotel interior design…

Art Consultancy is a fine art in it’s own right. Many people have an opinion on art, welcome or otherwise.

How many times have you heard someone’s throwaway comment when regarding a critically acclaimed artwork, ‘I could have done that’? Maybe they could, but the fact is they didn’t.

A key part of the Art Consultants job is to ensure the artwork makes the right connection with the hotel guest. Using the art as a story-teller is a great way to engage the guest. Hopefully it will make them think. Or smile. Or both. They may even learn something about where they are staying or eating.

The importance of research

There really is more to art than meets the eye. Elegant Clutter starts any artwork project with extensive research into the story of the hotel, location or people involved with it. There are usually a multitude of untold stories that can make great inspiration for an artist. They just need to be uncovered.

Elegant Clutters Creative Director, Harry Pass, reminds us to, ‘skip the artwork research stage at your peril’. He insists that his team meticulously research and he takes a personal sense of pride in the comprehensive proposals submitted. This is the crucial first stage of any Art Consultancy project. A well thought out art narrative can help add an intriguing and subtle thread to a hotels interior scheme.

And if the story is a heavy one then a bit of humour can help communicate it. The artists at Elegant Clutter were challenged to create some original artworks for the bedrooms of Malmaison Oxford, a former prison. Their contemporary graphical artworks depict a jailor locking up prison cells for the night featured the slogan ‘Lights out at 10’.

Seaside surrealism and modern opulence

Seaside surrealism and eccentric curiosity helped Elegant Clutter create a Brighton hotel that truly rocks. Just a few considered, quirky and nautical-inspired pieces, designed and made by EC, have totally transformed the main restaurant space at the Hotel de Vin, Brighton.

In a separate recessed area, the eccentric seaside odyssey continues. Every type of captain, from sea to spaceship, adorn the walls in a series of striking framed prints. Humour is key to the set of artworks which hopefully make people smile as well as offering a link to the sea. There are many different levels of story-telling. Some more obvious and others woven subtly into the layers of the artwork.

Image credit: Hotel Du Vin Brighton/Elegant Clutter

Another subtle piece of story-telling was involved in developing the artwork for the Brenners Park Hotel in Baden Baden. Elegant Clutter approached the artwork with modern opulence in mind. The Fritz Felix Restaurant effortlessly captures the beauty and culture of its forest surroundings.

A delightful blend of eras past and present, its mix of classicism and modernity creates a wonderfully refined, informal dining space.  The main restaurant, designed by Robert Angell Design International, features four oversized geometric artworks, painted and bespoke framed by Elegant Clutter. Reflecting the ever-changing seasons, these remain a constant view through the impressive sliding windows.

Image credit: Fritz Felix Seasons/Elegant Clutter

An abstract landscape painting was also created for the open kitchen area and a collection of pencil sketches of local architecture were commissioned for the bar. All telling the story of the locality.

Spa town renovation

Original period detailing, combined with beautiful bespoke artwork supplied by Elegant Clutter, brings the heritage of the M Gallery Hotel, Cheltenham alive.

Image credit: MGallery/Elegant Clutter

What began with thorough research, has resulted in a striking display of artwork that perfectly complements the existing aesthetics.  All of the framing and detailing are designed to fit seamlessly with the hand-crafted period interior, while providing a contemporary, playful twist.

Various artwork techniques were explored to create a totally distinct look. You’ll find everything from hand-sketched originals and printed porcelain, to vinyl silhouettes and digital murals. The bedroom artwork collection was designed by recreating the original hand painted wallpaper uncovered in the grand staircase and re-imagining it as a kaleidoscope.

City culture

Creating artwork for Radisson Blu, Leeds was a perfect fit for Elegant Clutter. With a shared belief in pushing the boundaries of hotel design, what resulted makes quite an impression.

Trevillion Interiors briefed the project in an open and dynamic way, with ‘Leeds stories’ to become the central focus. The brief allowed for complete creativity and what stands now is an impressive interior that truly reflects the heritage of this vibrant city.

One of the most striking pieces has to be the oversized, spray-painted mural of Leeds legend Peter O’Toole. The exposed wall contrasts with the smooth charm of this iconic figure, creating an industrial yet intimate feel.

Image credit: Radisson Blu/Elegant Clutter

Another statement piece constitutes a second wall mural but applied with a combination of hand painting and digital mural. The team at Elegant Clutter photographed typical street scenes of Leeds but from a very stylistic perspective. These images made up a landscape of commuters, street artists and families that were used to add interest to a previously unused and soulless atrium. The graphics and hand painted shadows adorn the three levels of bedroom walkways to create a unique atmosphere.

Other artwork references more of Yorkshire’s icons, including its famous financial district. This story was brought to life using real digitally printed penny coins to make up the image.

A similar inspiration was used on the Moxy Hotel Dusseldorf located in the banking sector of the city. Elegant Clutter have transformed the siding lift doors in a frivolous and charming way. To get to your room, you first have to get through the bank vault!

Just a bit of fun

When a story is treated a little irreverently and the client has the confidence to run with it Elegant Clutter are allowed to have a bit of fun. Working on the ETC Venue site in Chancery Lane one of Elegant Clutters free-hand artists set about painting a brick wall. With a bit of imagination the result was a glimpse at how one of the local legal fraternity may spend their breaks from court.

Sometimes it just feels right to put a smile on people’s faces by putting a smile in their face. Another art installation destined for an ETC Venue site in New York was conceived to do just that. This piece was inspired by the kindred spirits that are New York and London – and it seems more poignant than ever right now! I believe that sometimes we need art that just makes us smile.

There is a lot more to art than meets the eye so next time you hear someone disrespecting an artwork perhaps it’s worth reminding them to take moment to look a little deeper. It’s quite likely there are some interesting stories involved and at the very least some subtly veiled humour to appreciate. If they just gave it a little thought.

Elegant Clutter is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this  three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: Elegant Clutter

IN VIDEO: Preparation and design solutions for a post-pandemic world

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
IN VIDEO: Preparation and design solutions for a post-pandemic world

Hotel Designs took over the Montgomery Group Series yesterday, interviewing Design Equals’ Katie McCarthy to understand how how the hospitality industry should be preparing for a post-pandemic world…

“Who would have predicted this time last year that we would be here, giving you [the audience] live webinars and putting Preparation and Design Solutions for a Post-Pandemic World under the spotlight,” explained editor Hamish Kilburn when he introduced the next episode in the Montgomery Group Series. “But, we are here, and we are not afraid to put it under the spotlight.” Kilburn then introduced Katie McCarthy, Founder and Design Director of Design Equals to the hundreds of individuals who tuned in for the live discussion.

If you missed the live session, here’s the full interview:

The 40-minute interview covered all angles, including common pitfalls to avoid when designing on a budget, the realities of re-opening after lockdown measures become more relaxed and the long-term impact of COVID–19. In addition, Kilburn asked McCarthy about Design Equal’s innovative initiative ‘Design = in a Box’, an industry toolkit that the design studio has launched that addresses the main areas of priorities, which are safety, space and style.

The session came as Hotel Designs prepares to go live to its international audience on June 23 with Hotel Designs LIVE, a virtual conference that will include four engaging seminars with world-renowned designers, architects, hoteliers and developers on the global hospitality and design scene.

Montgomery Group Series is a cluster of weekly webinars with Q&As from leading industry figureheads, aimed to help keep the community updated, inspired and motivated during these difficult times.

Main image credit: Hotel Designs/Design Equals

HD launches a one-day virtual conference, Hotel Designs LIVE

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
HD launches a one-day virtual conference, Hotel Designs LIVE

Hotel Designs LIVE, which takes place online on June 23, will consist of engaging seminars by the leading figures on the international hotel design scene, while also putting the latest products and innovations under the spotlight…

If you are designer, architect, hotelier or developer, secure your complimentary place at Hotel Designs LIVE here.

Hotel Designs, the leading international hotel design website, has launched Hotel Designs LIVE, a one-day virtual conference to serve the industry during the Covid-19 crisis.

The inaugural Hotel Designs LIVE, which takes place online on June 23, will define the point on international hotel design’s most relevant topics with the help of some of design, architecture and hospitality’s leading figures as well as identifying the latest product innovations on the market.

“Not even lockdown will prevent Hotel Designs from creating conversations like no other,” explains editor Hamish Kilburn who will host the virtual event on June 23. “The concept of Hotel Designs LIVE is to use a new method to engage with our audience, and will so do that by hosting  thought-provoking discussions and identifying the latest products on the market in a concise and meaningful way.”

Designers, architects, hoteliers and developers who wish to attend the free conference can do so by registering online. The seminars, which will be divided into four relevant sections throughout the day (technology, public areas, sleep and wellness), will include discussions and insights from leading individuals on the international hotel design scene.

What’s on the agenda? 

 

In addition to the live seminar sessions – and to ensure that the event is bridging the gap between hospitality suppliers and designers, architects, hoteliers and developers – the conference will also include structured ‘PRODUCT WATCH’ pitches around each session, allowing suppliers the opportunity to pitch their products and services in a ‘live’ environment to the hospitality buyers that are tuned in.

If you are a designer, architect, hotelier  or developer and would like to find out more about Hotel Designs LIVE, or book on to any or all of the above sessions, you can do so by visiting the event page.

If you are a supplier to the hotel design industry and would like to promote your latest product or services to the Hotel Designs LIVE audience, please contact Katy Phillips via email or call +44 (0)1992 374050.

Hotel being formed from train carriages on bridge in Africa

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel being formed from train carriages on bridge in Africa

The train hotel, which will be called Kruger Shalati, is under construction on the Selati Bridge in South Africa’s Kruger National Park…

Talk about a one-off travel experience. Unmatched views of the South African wildlife in Kruger National Park will soon be spectacularly framed from the vantage point of a new 31-key luxury hotel that will be formed from a set of 13 restored train carriages on a disused bridge.

Kruger Shalati is expected to offer a unique luxury accommodation in the re-envisioned train which will pay homage to the guests who explored the park nearly 100 years ago while welcoming new explorers from near and far. The hotel’s location marks where the first visits to the iconic park were allowed in the early 1920s (the train would park overnight in the exact spot where Kruger Shalati will be positioned.)

Render of train on bridge

Image credit: Kruger Shalati

Renderings of the new hotel show how the carriages will merge together and perch over the Sabie River on the Selati Bridge. The glass-walled, large train rooms will allow for infinite views along the length of the majestic river below, while the style of the train is a celebration of African design in collaboration with local art and crafting skills. Despite the architectural challenges, its renderings suggest that the hotel will feature decking, carious view points and even a private plunge pool.

African-inspired Interior design in luxury guestroom.

Image credit: Kruger Shalati

“Even though we’re experiencing a nationwide lockdown, the excitement of the outdoors grows stronger and stronger,” the hotel wrote in a statement on Instagram. “We’re looking forward to heading back to construction on the Kruger Shalati Train on a Bridge. and experiencing the beauty of its surroundings.”

The hotel, which is described on its website as “an express entryway to freedom, relaxation and meaningful connection,” is still under construction.

Main image credit: Kruger Shalati

IN PICTURES: New photography emerges of ME Dubai at the Opus

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
IN PICTURES: New photography emerges of ME Dubai at the Opus

Photographer Laurian Ghinitoiu has shared new images of Opus, an innovative glass-façade building that was designed by Zaha Hadid Architects…

Home to newly opened ME Dubai, the Opus, which conceptualised in 2007 by Zaha Hadid Architects, explores the balance between solid and void, opaque and transparent, interior and exterior.

The late Zaha Hadid herself presented this project as the only hotel in which she created both its architecture and interiors, which gives it a special significance among the architecture firm’s portfolio of work.

“The cube has been ‘eroded’ in its centre, creating a free-form void that is an important volume of the design in its own right.”

Spanning 84,300 square metres (907,400 square feet), the Opus was designed as two separate towers that coalesce into a singular whole – taking the form of a cube. The cube has been ‘eroded’ in its centre, creating a free-form void that is an important volume of the design in its own right. The two halves of the building on either side of the void are linked by a four-storey atrium at ground level and also connected by an asymmetric 38 metre wide, three-storey bridge 71 metres above the ground.

Striking architecture of the cube like building

Image credit: Laurian Ghinitoiu

“The precise orthogonal geometries of the Opus’ elemental glass cube contrast dramatically with the fluidity of the eight-storey void at its centre,” explained Christos Passas, project director at Zaha Hadid Architects.

The cube’s double-glazed insulating façades incorporate a UV coating and a mirrored frit pattern to reduce solar gain. Applied around the entire building, this dotted frit patterning emphasises the clarity of the building’s orthogonal form, while at the same time, dissolving its volume through the continuous play of light varying between ever-changing reflections and transparency.

Image credit: Laurian Ghinitoiu

The void’s 6,000 square metre façade is created from 4,300 individual units of flat, single-curved or double-curved glass. The high-efficiency glazing units are comprised of 8mm Low-E glass (coated on the inside), a 16mm cavity between the panes and two layers of 6mm clear glass with a 1.52mm PVB resin laminate. This curved façade was designed using digital 3D modelling that also identified specific zones which required tempered glass.

During the day, the cube’s façade reflects the sky, the sun and the surrounding city; whilst at night, the void is illuminated by a dynamic light installation of individually controllable LEDs within each glass panel.

Furniture by Zaha Hadid Design is installed throughout the hotel, including the ‘Petalinas’ sofas and ‘Ottomans’ pods in the lobby that are fabricated from materials ensuring a long lifecycle and its components can be recycled. The ‘Opus’ beds are featured in each guestrooms, while the ‘Work & Play’ combination sofa with desk are installed in the suites. The bathrooms incorporate the ‘Vitae’ bathroom collection, designed by Hadid in 2015 for Noken Porcelanosa, continuing her fluid architectural language throughout the hotel’s interiors.

Modern, angular guestroom

Image credit: Laurian Ghinitoiu

The ME Dubai hotel incorporates 74 rooms and 19 suites, while the Opus building also houses offices floors, serviced residences and restaurants, cafes and bars including ROKA, the contemporary Japanese robatayaki restaurant and the MAINE Land Brasserie.

modern bathroom

Image credit: Laurian Ghinitoiu

Sensors throughout the Opus automatically adjust the ventilation and lighting according to occupancy to conserve energy while ME Dubai follows Meliá Hotels International initiatives for sustainable practices. Hotel guests will receive stainless-steel water bottles to use during their stay with drinking water dispensers installed throughout the hotel. With no plastic bottles in guest rooms, and a program to become entirely plastic free in all areas, the hotel is also reducing food waste by not serving buffets and has composters to recycle discarded organics.

Main image credit: Laurian Ghinitoiu

Hotel Designs launches its official podcast for designers & architects

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel Designs launches its official podcast for designers & architects

Six months in planning, DESIGN POD is the contemporary podcast for all on-the-go interior designers and architects globally…

Hotel Designs’ official podcast, DESIGN POD, will be presented by editor Hamish Kilburn and interior designer Harriet Forde

The topics and personalities amplified on the podcast will give texture and perspective on the key issues that face modern A&D professionals as deadlines become tighter and briefs become narrower.

“I am so very excited to be starting DESIGN POD with Hamish,” says Forde, “and I am looking forward to discussing some interesting topics with great guests.”

In each episode, Kilburn and Forde will welcome influential designers, architects and experts to share their opinions on the conversations and challenges that are shaping our industry. Together, they will embrace innovation while balancing the important issues we all face as modern designers and architects, but are often too busy with life to explore fully.

“Since November, we have been working on the concept of DESIGN POD, in order to introduce an engaging and entertaining media platform for the industry,” explains Kilburn. “I cannot think of a better co-host than Harriet Forde, interior designer and the current President of the British Institute of Interior Design (BIID), who always makes me think, smile and laugh when we discuss our fabulous industry.”

Episode 1: Choosing your lane in design, architecture & business (coming soon)

Whether you are working for a brand, independently or are about to embark in a new journey, choosing your lane – your style, if you like – is an integral and pivotal moment of any design/architecture process. With the COVID–19 crisis adding further uncertainty to all industries around the globe – and arguably hitting the hospitality, building and construction industry the hardest – balancing consistency with creativity is key. To explore this topic in depth, from a creative and business perspective, DESIGN POD welcomes the former Creative Director of HBA London, Constantina Tsoutsikou, onto the show, who has recently launched her own venture: Studio LOST.While we are surrounded by a plethora of voices in design, it is very important to differentiate oneself and take a stand, like Hamish and Harriet are doing with DESIGN POD,” explains Tsoutsikou. “Focus on the values that are important to you, and in time , your work will be an illustration of these, and become what you are known for.”

During lockdown, please tweet us at @HotelDesigns if you have a topic you would like to us to explore.

IN PICTURES: Four Seasons Hotel Doha unveils complete redesign

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
IN PICTURES: Four Seasons Hotel Doha unveils complete redesign

The new urban sanctuary, Four Seasons Doha, was created by the world-renowned interior designer Pierre-Yves Rochon, who took inspiration from the sky, sea, sand and earth…

Four Seasons Hotel Doha has unveiled the details of its complete interior design overhaul, courtesy of award winning and world-renowned interior designer, Pierre-Yves Rochon.

Following extensive renovations of the guestrooms, suites, floors, lobby and dining outlets, the hotel has been reshaped into an unmatched luxury destination at the heart of Qatar’s capital city.

Within what is being described as an ‘urban sanctuary’, a refreshed colour scheme, including a rich spectrum of blues and beige in the guestrooms, evoke the earth, sprawling skies and Gulf views of Doha, while verdant colours and patterns in the new Tea Lounge pay homage to the splendours of nature. The redesign continues to establish an elevated sense of place and time through a blend of classical and contemporary elements, and touches of Middle Eastern influences from the region, visible through the opulent and colourful chandeliers as well as the ornate furniture detailing. Qatari artwork from the owner’s original collection has been kept on the hotel walls whilst nearly all the curtains have been revamped using a Damask pattern. 

“I wanted to bring a new dimension of modernity to the property and enhance the guest experience with uplifting design elements and spaces.” – Interior designer, Pierre-Yves Rochon.

The lobby and dining outlets: The beauty of nature 

The renovation of the hotel strikes a harmony between the world of man and the beauty of nature that is reflective of the city itself. Rochon was inspired by the unique landscape of Doha and this is evident through the colour scheme of the hotel’s public areas and dining outlets. The feeling of the outdoors blends into the interiors with the creation of open-plan space and expansive glass windows.

Image caption: The grand entrance is muted aptly with a theme of bringing the outdoors inside | Image credit: Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts

Image caption: The opulent entrance is muted aptly with the design scheme’s relationship with nature | Image credit: Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts

“We were inspired by Doha and its relationship with the outdoors,” commented Rochon. “We researched the local culture and the artistic elements that might tie into the story of the hotel. I wanted to bring a new dimension of modernity to the property and enhance the guest experience with uplifting design elements and spaces.” Rochon also noted that throughout the design process, they sought to respect and honour the existing classical architecture by Frank Nicholson, blending classical and modern forms. Careful consideration was also taken to create a more residential feeling, while also paying homage to Middle Eastern influences. 

The lobby has been enhanced with a grandiose door reminiscent of grande dame entrances, and the lobby has been redesigned as an open-plan space, allowing light to flood through the foyer as well as boasting views of the Arabian Gulf. A hand blown glass chandelier, alongside an array of handmade and bespoke Italian furnishings, adorns the Lobby’s ceiling whilst also creating a magnificent focal point in the space.

The new outdoor terrace at the Seasons Tea Lounge bridges the indoors and outdoors and allows guests to enjoy varying atmospheres with distinct personalities. The designer sought to create spaces where individuals or small groups could congregate, with the lounge exuding the classical touches of a Parisian cafe and the al fresco spaces adorned in a spectrum of green sheaths. Subtle nods to the Middle East are dispersed throughout the lounge, seen in the marbled floor inspired by Islamic mosaic tile-work, which lies underneath oriental sofas, silk cushions and cashmere patterned fabrics surrounding openwork tea tables. Individual seating areas were created to accommodate several business or leisure groups at once, each offering an intimate, residential ambiance.

As well as a complete redesign of the interiors, the hotel introduces the expansion, as well as the redevelopment, of its diverse dining and lounge concepts. Arabica, located on the ground floor, returns with a  contemporary new look and coffee and dessert bar. Neutral and calming in its colour scheme, the space houses marble furniture that echoes the octagonal shape of the conservatory.

Guestrooms and suites: Reflecting sky, sea and sand

As a dynamic cultural destination with a thriving cosmopolitan district, Doha has direct access to a beach and beautiful blue sea. The redesigned rooms follow a soothing spectrum of blues and beiges reflecting the colours of the sky, sea, sand and earth. Rochon aimed to evoke a feeling of timelessness whilst also creating an atmosphere in the rooms that is welcoming, uplifting, peaceful and comfortable for guests, with a powerful sense of place.

Image caption: Two majestic sliding doors break up the space in the suites | Image credit: Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts

Image caption: Two majestic sliding doors break up the space in the suites | Image credit: Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts

All the rooms and suites are furnished with discreetly integrated and energy efficient technologies to enhance the guest experience and bring a new dimension of modernity to the hotel. All accommodations now feature automated curtains and lighting systems as well as temperature management preservation technology within the newly installed windows.

Image caption: The guestrooms and suites have been inspired by sky, sea and sand | Image credit: Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts

Image caption: The guestrooms and suites have been inspired by sky, sea and sand | Image credit: Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts

Meanwhile, the suites offer Hermès amenities and continue to pay homage to Qatari heritage with mother of pearl inserts in the bookcases and bathrooms, decorative plates in the libraries, headboards with relief geometric patterns and doors with oriental touches of worked wood and brass hardware, all whilst complementing a contemporary rejuvenation.

Since its opening in 2005, Four Seasons Hotel Doha has remained an architectural icon in Doha’s skyline. The 237-key neo-classical building is located on Doha’s waterfront at the heart of the city, and its latest renovation has secured its position as being one of the destination’s finest hotels.

Main image credit: Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts

The limitless possibilities of art in hotel design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The limitless possibilities of art in hotel design

As Hotel Designs continues to position Public Areas under the editorial spotlight this month, the art consultants at Elegant Clutter share how to transform a vanilla lobby into one that oozes charm, character and personality…

It’s a fact. People talk about art. And hotel architects and designers want people to talk about the art in the hotels they have meticulously designed. But how do they do this?

One way is by making sure that the artwork they specify for hotels is not vanilla. For some people a ‘filler’ piece of art is tantamount to blasphemy but perhaps is sometimes an evil necessity. Or is it?

The team at Elegant Clutter think not. Surely, it’s a question of imagination and creativity not just budget and lead times. Elegant Clutter are a different kind of Art Consultancy that take advantage of their extensive studio facilities and in-house team of artists and artisans to originate and produce their own artwork as well as source artwork from other partner artists.

The benefits of being able to create one’s own artwork are many. More than anything the possibilities are truly boundless. As Harry Pass, Creative Director at Elegant Clutter says, ‘we are only really limited by our own imagination’.

But how does one start with creating an installation or a painting that is going to get noticed and talked about? Well, one way is to test the idea and see how people respond to it. Much in the same way that car companies design concept cars to test people’s reactions to new ideas,  Elegant Clutter do something similar.

It may seem unlikely but the team at Elegant Clutter also operate a successful Thai restaurant aptly named ‘The Art Kitchen’. Like all restaurants the décor is a key part of the dining experience, but it is not typically Thai. Concept artwork is showcased on the restaurant walls to gauge its impact and whether it gets people talking. Guests are also able to buy the artwork.

In this way Elegant Clutter have been able to confidently introduce concepts such as a reception installation of hand pressed brass blossom for Hilton Berlin and unique three sided frames for Hotel du Vin, Brighton.

three-sided framed picture

Image caption: Three sided frame developed for Hotel de Vin, Bristol | Image credit: Elegant Clutter

Elegant Clutter’s artisans are also adept at playing with different techniques and materials to offer never-seen-before media mashups. This approach has spawned gold leafing to a hand painted canvas in order to make it ‘shine’. This solution addressed the lack of natural light in the lobby of the Hotel de Vin in Stratford. In a similar manner, traditional oils were used as an embellishment to the metallic surface of an etching for The Soak in London’s Grosvenor Hotel.

Image caption: Gold leaf and canvas in Hotel de Vin, Stratford | Image credit: Elegant Clutter

Elegant Clutter has used industry shows and events to test new product concepts including a layered routed and printed timber artwork as well as reverse printed antique mirror. These have all been conceived and produced in house and have subsequently featured in artwork schemes for Great Scotland Yard, De Vere and Conrad Hotels in London.

A very clear reflection of the attitude that hotels really do present boundless possibilities for art is perhaps the Elegant Clutter stand for the 2016 Sleep event at the Business Design Centre in Islington. The concept was named ‘One Painting – a hotel lobby created from a single piece of art’. Elegant Clutter were awarded the stand of the show in recognition of the audacious thought that art can be integrated to almost anything. People talked.

Image caption: Winning Sleep stand 2016 by Elegant Clutter.

Where there is no public opportunity to trial an artwork concept the artists at Elegant Clutter are given free-reign to use any part of the building to test a material, an idea or a technique. Feedback comes organically from visitors or other staff working on the premises.

The 25 Hour Hotel in Dusseldorf benefited from this approach after the artists canteen was used to sample a larger than life-size nude study. Ultimately the art was applied directly to a textured canvas wallpaper in a style that reflected a traditional life drawing. It is now a key talking point in the 25 Hour Hotel restaurant.

Image caption: 25 Hour Hotel Dusseldorf. The restaurant walls were painted by hand.

Image caption: 25 Hour Hotel Dusseldorf. The restaurant walls were painted by hand | Image credit: Elegant Clutter

The M Gallery Hotel in Cheltenham also benefited from an art piece developed in the same way. Having experimented in the studio with carefully hand bent copper Tony, a very skilled craftsman in the team, was able to bring the heritage of this hotel to life. When known as the Queens Hotel, the world record for the world’s largest pancake was set in its kitchen. Tony made this recipe into a unique art installation.

Image caption” World’s largest pancake recipe replicated as an art installation in the M Gallery, Cheltenham restaurant | Image credit: Elegant Clutter

This test and learn approach doesn’t just allow the art consultant to confidently propose art that will capture the guest’s attention but also ensures the artist involved has mastered the production process.

What this also means is that ambitious artworks can be completed to tight deadlines and the know-how developed means that costs can be controlled. The result is that a client can have original bespoke artworks in all areas of the hotel despite challenging budgets and time frames. Ollie Griffin, Commercial Director at Elegant Clutter, believes that this leaves no need for the dreaded ‘filler’ and makes sure that all the artwork really does get people talking.

Elegant Clutter is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this  three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: Elegant Clutter/Radisson Blu

7 innovative bathroom products in hotel design right now

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
7 innovative bathroom products in hotel design right now

While designers and architects work from home, sourcing online inspiration as showrooms are temporary shut, Utopia Projects has identified a handful of innovative bathroom products that have recently launched… 

While many of this year’s international trade shows are being forced to cancel, and designers and architects are finding new sources for product news, here are seven products that bathroom specification experts at Utopia Projects believe are creating new wellness waves in the industry.

1) Vado’s Booth & Co range

Image credit: Vado/Booth & Co

The Booth & Co brand has introduced a longer warranty, which is appealing for designers who want to future-proof their client’s bathrooms. From a commercial aspect, the brand is a good choice if the designer’s brief is to achieve a traditional look and feel. 

2) Wetroom Materials’ Unidrain Glassline

Unidrain Glassline is a unique system which integrates the wet room drain, slope and glass for a 100 per cent watertight solution. It allows you to create a wet room with a one-way slope/fall towards a drain against the wall and has a large range of drain finishes available. With a one way fall you don’t need to cut tiles towards the drain making it perfect for large tiles or stone and you don’t stand on the drain whilst showering

3) Impey Showers’ Aqua-Dec

Image credit: Impey Showers

The Aqua-Dec EasyFit Wetroom Floor Former is an extremely strong 22mm thick GRP floorboard replacement with four pre-formed drainage gradients to provide a level access wetroom floor suitable for tiling. The EasyFit drain plate can rotate 360 degrees and avoid all underfloor wet room obstructions. The eccentric drain also features three locating rings, to provide superior hold between the Dec and the rotating drain plate.

4) Laufen – The New Classic

Image credit: Laufen

A collection of perfectly shaped innovations for the bathroom, The New Classic radiates the practicality of the harmonious form and combines it with contemporary style. The collection, designed by Marcel Wanders, is a clear formal expression of modern elegance comes into being which celebrates the bathroom as a place of cleanliness and purity. The award-winning technological quantum leap of Saphir-Keramik turns every piece into a witness of progress, new level, and has been rewarded with the most prestigious design awards.

5) Vado’s SENORI

The Sensori collection introduces pioneering technology to “reinvent the bathroom experience.” Sensori’s purity of design is accentuated by discreet, ambient lighting in a spectrum of colours to denote the perfect temperature.

6) Laufen’s Cleanet Riva shower toilet

Image credit: Laufen

The Cleanet Riva shower toilet features an integrated, high-quality ceramic design and technically sophisticated, user-friendly solutions. The key feature of the premium toilet is its wide range of intuitive shower functions. The Cleanet Riva uses a clever operating concept on two levels: In everyday use, the shower toilet is operated by pushing or twisting the stainless steel rotary button at the side. The user can also select the basic or detailed settings using the touch screen remote control. The Cleanet Riva is the only shower toilet to feature a multi-stage hygiene concept in which the whole water circulation system is also thermally cleaned at regular intervals.

7) Dornbracht’s Vaia collection

Image credit: Dornbracht

VAIA spans a bridge between traditional and modern style elements. Its basic design exudes the spirit of a classical fitting, yet the slender lines of the open silhouette anchor the series firmly in the present. VAIA is notable for its elegant yet simultaneously progressive design. With its well-balanced iconography, it is always open to new concepts.

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

Main image credit: Vado

VIRTUAL ROUNDTABLE: COVID–19’s impact on hospitality and hotel design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
VIRTUAL ROUNDTABLE: COVID–19’s impact on hospitality and hotel design

To understand the long-term impact COVID–19 will have on the hospitality and hotel design industry, editor Hamish Kilburn asked a handful of leading designers, architects and hoteliers to remotely partake in Hotel Designs’ debut virtual roundtable…

Meet the panel

There is no doubt about it, the industry is suffering as the COVID–19 pandemic forces businesses around the world to either close entirely or adopt working remotely into studio life. With many questions emerging around the current crisis, Hotel Designs puts the pandemic under the harsh editorial spotlight in its debut virtual roundtable. Editor Hamish Kilburn confronts some of the industry’s leaders in order to gain some perspective over how hospitality and hotel design will be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in the long-term.

Hamish Kilburn: How has the pandemic affected working life?

Fiona Thompson: Design is all about collaboration, and we are learning a whole new way of doing that. We typically work in an open studio, for example, and we experience the projects as they are being designed. In the physical sense, our team is not able to do to that at the moment. We moved out of London a few days before the ‘lockdown’ was introduced, and we are all currently very well connected. I can’t say it’s the same, but it is working and we are adapting.

Michael Bonsor: To put it bluntly , this [COVID–19] has decimated the industry. The concept of hospitality, which is third largest employer in the UK, has stopped. We are now questioning how long this will last for. The government stepped in with the incredible furlough package, which has protected so many jobs.

Conor O’Leary: Hospitality is what we do – we look after people. Guests from all over the world stay with us, eat with us and enjoy the plethora of outdoors activities that we offer. Well, we are not doing any of that at the moment. None of our team want to be sitting at home on any furlough arrangements. We totally understand the frustration, but we are where we are.

Geoff Hull: From an architect’s perspective, while on-site activity has been put on hold, there is a lot of design work, and collaboration work with specialists, that is ongoing. We are hoping that we can come out of this, in three months, with some dynamically designed projects planned so that we are ahead when we are allowed back on site.

James Dilley: As a designer, the backdrop of wallpapers and artwork in colleagues and clients kitchens, bedrooms and lofts is sometimes inspiring and sometimes sobering. On a serious level, I personally miss the face-to-face and often serendipitous interaction of a physical studio. 

“This pandemic will reset how we think about travel and will require us to confront problems such as mass tourism and over tourism in many destinations around the world.” – Michael Bonsor, Managing Director, Rosewood London.

HK: How has working-from-home changed your mindset on communication? 

GH: I think we are communicating better at the moment, and how people have come together is awe-inspiring. We work with a lot of non-UK designers at EPR Architects who would usually insist on flying over on a first-class ticket to see us. However, with these meetings being able to happen virtually instead, there is a question on the need of so much travel. I genuinely am looking at this positively.

JD: I have recently been pre-occupied with the way that people “home” themselves has been rapidly evolving, and layering this revolution in how we work, particularly from home, will make this even more exciting. If life is evolution peppered with revolution, this is the latter.

MB: Prior to this happening we were over communicating with the team, to ensure that everyone had all the information they needed. With those employees that have been put on furlough packages, we may not be engaging with them to work, but we are engaging with them to keep everyone updated. We have a core team of 30 people in the hotel who are making the property safe and they are doing fun things in the hotel to keep everyone engaged and informed.

HK: When do you expect your hotels to re-open?

MB: The global market has to be stable for a hotel like Rosewood London to re-open. We can’t just rely on the local market because there is not enough demand to go around. For me, I would rather the government measures were prolonged a little while longer so that it gives time for the world to reset.

CO: Not only does the world need to reset, but we also have to understand how happy people are to travel.

MB: We might open a part of the hotel, like the the bar and restaurant, in June or July. Things are getting pushed back as the social season is cancelling in the UK. Meanwhile, Austria has just announced that they will begin to slowly reopen some businesses, which could be an indication of things to come, but hotels and restaurants are at the end of that cycle.

CO: We don’t see a hotel bedroom being open until July. It’s slightly different for us here. We don’t see there being much point in having the restaurants and bars open without having guests in – we don’t have that passing traffic and footfall. We may get some of our activities open for our members, but it’s not a game-changer for us. We will know more after Easter, but the second question to that is what that looks like when we open. It’s going to be focused on local custom which will be a lower volume level. Suddenly our entire business model changes.

HK: Generally speaking, hotels are targeting an international audiences. Will this change post-pandemic? 

CO: Our business model is built on a summer of international guests, and that may be different going forward. We are privileged in our geographical location – Gleneagles is built on an 850-acre estate. For now, all our strategies are short-term and everything is changing all the time. We are staying in touch with the team. We have always been conscious about where we sit in the community, and that’s great in the good times, but also more important in the times like these to ensure we stay in touch and support.

MB: 40 per cent of our market comes from America. This pandemic will reset how we think about travel and will require us to confront problems such as mass tourism and over tourism in many destinations around the world. That may be a small silver lining in this global crisis. We are re-forecasting and re-strategising every four hours right now, because who knows how this is going to go?

“I cannot see how the business take-up of those rooms will not drop significantly, because it will be luxury and almost indulgent to have this face-to-face time when we have learned to cope without it.” – James Dilley, Director, Jestico + Whiles.

HK: How will hotels catering to ‘bleisure’ travellers be impacted from the pandemic?

JD: The ‘business hotels’ will come out looking very different. I have spent many years just hopping on a plane to a destination to see a client or a site. Over three months, working from home will start to feel normal. I cannot see how the business take-up of those rooms will not drop significantly, because it will be luxury and almost indulgent to have this face-to-face time when we have learned to cope without it. That is the biggest impact.

In terms of leisure, when this passes I predict there will a spike because people will be anxious about being coped up and will want to compensate. After that, people will settle down and I predict that people will question whether they need to travel as much as they were. I think there will be a spike in leisure hospitality experiences closer to home.

HK: What about the way in which we design public areas, will this change?

FT: Perhaps in the short-term. Of course people will be conscious of hygiene and numbers of people in meetings may end up being limited. It’s very difficult to tell how quickly it will reset, and whether or not it will go back to normal. I certainly don’t have the answer right now. In business travel, we are utilising the internet and technology at the moment, so there will arguably be less need to travel as much at the end of this.

“Sustainability is such an important topic and it should be engrained into mindsets enough now that there is no reason for it to be shelved, especially when it comes to designing projects.” – Fiona Thompson, Principal, Richmond International.

HK: Has COVID–19 taken sustainability off the radar?

CO: One of the core aspects for me with sustainability is to think local. I think there will be huge shift in supporting and buying local, which is one of the pillars of sustainability. There has to be an element of trust, and I predict that consumers will want to know more about where things have come from.

MB: I would say that any good operator will continue with more gusto now in eliminating single-use plastics, reducing energy consumption and looking local for products and services. Respecting the world around us has never been so important.

FT: I would hope the focus hasn’t shifted. Sustainability is such an important topic and it should be engrained into mindsets enough now that there is no reason for it to be shelved, especially when it comes to designing projects. It almost calls for it to be more apparent.

Image caption: The Old War Office in Whitechapel. Executive Architect for this high-profile Restoration and Conversion mixed use project was EPR Architects

HK: What’s social media’s role in all of this? 

CO: Gleneagles is being cautious when it comes to social media. We are trying to be positive without being glib. We are very aware that the wider Gleneagles family is suffering. Our messaging has shifted to be more focused around the community with zero selling and zero brand promotion. Our team is working with local councils in order to help amplify their messages.

MB: At one point, we wanted to create content around what you could do at home , such as cooking recipes and fitness workouts etc. However, as the story has evolved, we have decided to pause messaging and just wait. What we are doing has more of a charity angle. We have just teamed up with James & Cranwell for its Hospitality 4 Heroes campaign to raise money for the NHS during the crisis. You have to be so careful with tone right now in everything you do. It’s wise to be slightly quieter than normal. But we are looking at markets that are coming back. Five or six properties in Asia, for example, are re-opening, and we are looking at how we can engage with those markets, but it is a slow process – and while some areas around the world are recovering, others are being hit hard.

“It’s a good time to look at everything and to not just set things back to how they were.” – Michael Bonsor, Managing Director, Rosewood London.

HK: Will any sector come out looking stronger at the end of the COVID–19 crisis?

MB: We were speaking before the closure with a company that fogs large areas of public spaces. The fogging treatment protects the area for up to 30 days. This product lands on surfaces and protects them. I think we will utilise the same technology going forward. Also, from a positive point of view, there will be more emphasis on re-training staff regarding sanitisation and anti-viral measures and the courses they can complete.

To put it another way, we are back at the ‘opening stage’ again. We opened the hotel eight years ago and we are at that moment again. It’s a good time to look at everything and to not just set things back to how they were. We have been talking in great deal about this. Those cities that will come out of this stronger will be the ones that have sharp responses to this problem.

“To have lots of unnecessary elements in a room design has had its day! Clients and guests will have expectations when it comes to easy-to-clean surfaces.” – Fiona Thompson, Principal, Richmond International.

Image caption: A suite inside Rosewood Miramar Beach Hotel, designed by Richmond International

Image caption: A suite inside Rosewood Miramar Beach Hotel, designed by Richmond International

HK: Will this pandemic create a desire for more minimalist design?

FT: It will certainly be a design driver. After all, space is luxury. To have lots of unnecessary elements in a room design has had its day! Clients and guests will have expectations when it comes to easy-to-clean surfaces. It will be interesting to see how long concerns last when this is all over, because people’s behaviour does tend to revert back to how they used to use spaces.

“This is going to further loosen the modern definition of hotels and hospitality.” – James Dilley, Director, Jestico + Whiles.

Image caption: Concept render of W Edinburgh, designed by Jestico + Whiles

HK: How will the industry rebuild itself from this?

CO: We’ve had evolutions and revolutions in the past. People want to leave their houses and there will be spike in demand for hospitality products when we are able. Well-managed businesses will survive. The risk is in the mid-sectors. Equally, innovation comes through during hardships.

JD: We were in a position before all of this when hospitality was changing; the industry was not the hotel with the capital ‘H’ everywhere. Yes we have the grandeur five-star hotels, and they had their plan, but hospitality was and is generally becoming more universal and accessible.

There was a phenomenon that was happening that was very exciting: hotels were becoming continuous with other uses, such as a cinema or a radio station as well as other things. They were becoming more open and permeable.

As well as entertainment, we have seen hotels opening co-working spaces. They were becoming conjoined with this long line of what you might call ways of living. The merging of those ways of living was becoming blurred. The fluid boundaries were becoming exciting. I think this revolution is going to be layered on top of that where the hotel has to morph to become much more extended and fluid. This is going to further loosen the modern definition of hotels and hospitality.

If you would like to respond to some of the areas we have discussed in this virtual roundtable, please do so by tweeting @HotelDesigns.

PRODUCT WATCH: LUCCA – Etiva & Panaro by Sekers

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
PRODUCT WATCH: LUCCA – Etiva & Panaro by Sekers

Sekers’ LUCCA is a versatile collection of two textured semi –plains; Panaro, a luxurious chenille with a soft worn look and matte appearance and Etiva, a mid-scale basket structure with a subtly lustrous finish…

LUCCA collection from Sekers is available in an extensive palette of 40 colours, ranging from sophisticated neutrals to sumptuous jewel tones.

Incorporating FibreGuard, an advanced finish that helps protect the fabric against spills and stains without having to resort to specialist cleaning, Lucca resists the toughest of stains, including red wine and ballpoint pen.

Supplied with a crib 5 flame retardant backing and with a Martindale abrasion performance of 50,000 and 100,000 rubs respectively, Lucca meets all relevant UK, American and IMO standards for upholstery. Lucca is a handsome addition to any interior and is the ideal choice for the marine, hospitality and leisure markets.

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

Inside JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort & Spa

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Inside JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort & Spa

Hotel Designs has gained virtual access inside JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort & Spa, which is expected to open in May as the brand’s second hotel to arrive in Orlando… 

Ideally situated on the doorstep Walt Disney World Florida, JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort & Spa has been appropriately designed with warm interiors that are suitable and accessible to all.

The resort’s calm, inviting social spaces and amenities will include a Spa by JW, resort pool with splash pad, specialty restaurants, as well as a rooftop terrace boasting nightly views of theme park firework displays.

Render of outside terrace

Image credit: Marriott International

Inspired by its natural surroundings, the expansive 516-key JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort & Spa has been thoughtfully designed to promote a sense of wellbeing and relaxation. The sophisticated décor includes indigenous woods, wicker, reeds and stone features from the inviting lobby to the airy guestrooms and suites.

“We are truly delighted to continue to expand our JW Marriott portfolio in Orlando, Florida,” said Mitzi Gaskins, Vice President & Global Brand Leader, JW Marriott when the hotel’s opening date was announced. “The new JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort & Spa will bring a modern, luxurious and wellness-focused setting to our guests in Orlando, inviting them on an enriching journey of relaxation with experiences crafted with their holistic well-being in mind.”

Render of modern, light guestroom

Image credit: Marriott International

The guestrooms and suites feature lofted beds for an array of sleeping arrangements, spa-like bathrooms, and larger living areas, Family Suites are designed specially to make stays more comfortable and convenient for multi-generational families traveling with young children or any guests looking to come together and foster a true connection.

When the hotel opens, JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort & Spa will provide guests with warm, uplifting service and experiences designed to deepen their journeys. The new resort is said to offer a luxury escape for travellers who come to feel present in mind, nourished in body and revitalised.

Main image credit: Marriott International

SPOTLIGHT ON: Unconventional public areas

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
SPOTLIGHT ON: Unconventional public areas

To mark the change of focus of Hotel Designs’ editorial lens, editor Hamish Kilburn goes on a journey to discover some of the world’s most unconventional hotel lobbies and public spaces… 

From striking rooftop bars above bustling metropolises to home-from-home hot-desk sanctuaries, the design of hotel public areas have evolved to capture not only a property’s rare personality but also a brand’s ethos and character.

While luxury hotel etiquette and demand has changed, one thing has remained firm for the operators and designers alike: you only have one opportunity to make a lasting first impression, which is arguably most true when it comes to designing the hotel lobby and public spaces. It’s a fine balancing skill to master. Designing a space suitable and accessible for everyone, but creating skilfully and meaningfully designing public spaces that add drama in all the right areas without coming across too strong can take a well-designed hotel into the realms of extraordinary masterpieces.

To kickstart Hotel Designs firmly positioning Public Areas under the editorial spotlight this month, here are nine uniquely designed lobbies and public spaces that each aptly amplify a hotel’s purpose and charm.

The Ritz Carlton – Astana

Image credit: Ritz Carlton

With a unique yet graceful design, The Ritz-Carlton – Astana is a natural extension of the square around the nearby Bayterek Tower, a monument and symbol of modern Astana. The property features an architectural lighting scheme designed by Nulty Lighting with carefully positioned luminaires in the soffit, which graze light across the fins for a dappled effect. In the restaurant, surface-mounted spotlights nestle within a bronze trough that cuts through an otherwise architecturally clean ceiling, complemented by a suspended rail with adjustable spotlights, which drops from the same detailing to provide a focus along the continuous marble counter, drawing the eye through the space.

PUBLIC Hotel, New York

Image credit: Public Hotel, New York

Featuring what our editorial team are unofficially concluding as the largest sofa in the world, PUBLIC, designed by legendary designer Ian Schrager, has all the necessary ingredients of a successful urban retreat. The New York-based hotel is known for being refined, sophisticated, smart, simple, yet flamboyant and provocative all at the same time. Its public areas, complete with high ceilings and modern comfortable furniture, attract locals and guests alike to work, socialise and simply chill out in a comfortable setting.

The Standard London

Image credit: The Standard London

The ground floor inside The Standard London was inspired by the groovy 70s, a decade full of character with Psychedelic Furs (the early years), Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin and the debut of The Muppets and Star Wars capturing the movement.

The Standard London’s lobby/lounge features fabulous circular fixtures and quirky furniture that set the scene. The carefully curated library pays homage to the building’s original use. Look down and you’ll notice a sumptuous orange rug leading the way into the hotel, look up and the bright red ceiling offsets the striped wooden walls and the blue mural behind the reception – forcing you to take everything you thought you knew about maximalism and throwing it out the window. The muted lamps and pot plants only enhance the boldness of the lobby’s design.

AKELARRE Hotel

Image credit: AKELARRE Hotel.

Architecture studio Mecanismo was responsible for the construction and interior design of AKELARRE Hotel. The carefully and meaningfully designed public areas evoke a sense of calm with a clever use of curves. The design concept was to use elements that coexist in harmony with the surrounding environment, to connect the interiors with the striking views of landscape that surrounds.

The Murray Hotel, Hong Kong

Image credit: The Murray Hotel

The Murray Hotel was a preservation project undertaken by Foster + Partners, the brief being to design a 336-key luxury hotel within the shell of one of the city’s most iconic landmarks that was built in 1969.

The hotel’s rooftop bar and restaurant both reflect Hong Kong’s vibrant cosmopolitan style, open to the city’s flamboyant population. The interior spaces feature high-end luxury furniture from Minotti, including Aston sofas and Lounge little armchairs animated by vivacious Cesar side tables. A wraparound terrace frames the restaurant with Aston “Cord” Outdoor sofas, armchairs and dining chairs.

Nobis Hotel Copenhagen

Image credit: Nobis Hotel Copenhagen

The patterned-geometric rug, cosy leather seating and contemporary white lighting reflects Scandi modern living. The home-from-home lobby inside Nobis Hotel Copenhagen, designed by Wingårdh Architects, shelters subtle deft touches, clean lines and playful colour while balancing the well-to-do elegance of the original building.

The Langham, Chicago

Image credit: Langham Hotels

The Langham Chicago, designed by Richmond International, is part of the former IBM tower, the final masterpiece of architect Mies Van Der Rohe and a well-loved feature of Chicago’s skyline, which the design team respected while creating a new, luxurious hotel inside its magnificent shell.

The designers opened up the reception with double-height spaces and introduced views of the city and the Chicago River. Materials such as bronze and travertine reference the original building, while decorative elements including onyx and velvet were inspired by the architect’s residences. The result is a warm, elegant hotel that honours its past.

nhow London

‘London Reloaded’ was the interior design concept for nhow London. The design studio Project Orange stretched that broad theme to its limits when imagining the look and feel of the the lobby inside the 190-key hotel. Although the arrival experience is impressive and memorable, we believe that the corridors, which often become ‘dead spaces’ are a true reflection of the studio’s ability to uniquely narrate a story with interiors. Inspired by a London stroll in the park, the corridors feature detailed HD carpets by Brintons and has been brought to life with humour. Each floor, facing the lifts, features a stencil of a bike chained to a fence. As guests move up each levels of the hotel, another part of the bike is removed, which is a playful nod to the reality of most, if not all, for cyclists in the city.

Proper Hotel San Francisco

Image credit: Proper Hotels

The flagship property of Proper Hotels is nestled in a landmarked flatiron-style building in San Francisco’s vibrant Mid-Market district., and features captivating interiors by designer Kelly Wearstler. The designer’s luxury residential style is arguably most felt in the lobby, which has been created using a clash of patterns, colours and textures alongside European furniture pieces from a number of design movements in history.

Main image credit: AKELARRE Hotel

Getting a sense of Hotel Indigo’s new explorer initiative

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Hotel Indigo

SNEAK PEEK: Inside Mandarin Oriental Ritz, Madrid

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
SNEAK PEEK: Inside Mandarin Oriental Ritz, Madrid

The iconic Hotel Ritz, Madrid is expected to reopen later this year as the Mandarin Oriental Ritz, Madrid, following the most extensive restoration in its 110-year history…

The statuesque property, which will become Mandarin Oriental Ritz, Madrid later this year, was designed and built under the supervision of legendary hotelier César Ritz, and first opened its doors in 1910.

An extensive restoration is underway to significantly enhance the hotel’s facilities and services, while maintaining its unique character, encapsulated in the Belle Époque style of the original building.

Spanish architect, Rafael de La-Hoz, has been instrumental in providing the context for the historical restoration, while French designers, Gilles & Boissier, have overseen the interiors with the aim of increasing the property’s appeal to local and international guests alike while celebrating César Ritz’s pioneering spirit.

The re-design of the public spaces has focused on restoring the hotel’s many fine interior architectural features, while incorporating a number of valuable artistic pieces from the property’s collection, including crystal chandeliers, antique paintings and sculptures.

Image caption: Rendering of the restaurant inside the hotel | Image credit: Mandarin Oriental

Image caption: Rendering of the restaurant inside the hotel | Image credit: Mandarin Oriental

The hotel has always been an integral part of society in Spain’s capital, and has been host to royalty, politicians, corporate leaders and celebrities. It is situated within the ‘Golden Triangle of Art’, an area defined by the most important museums in the city – the Prado, the Thyssen-Bornemisza and the Reina Sofía Museum of Modern Art. The property’s location within a prestigious residential area close to Madrid’s financial and commercial district and to El Retiro Park,  adds to its appeal.

“The meticulous restoration is designed to ensure that this legendary property is once again recognised as one of Europe’s greatest hotels,” said James Riley, Group Chief Executive of Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group.  “We are confident that the local community will be even more proud of this historic landmark, and we look forward to providing our guests with memorable experiences, in majestic surroundings, all underpinned by Mandarin Oriental’s exceptional service.”

Gilles & Boissier have created a sophisticated design for the hotel’s new guestrooms, encapsulating a classic but contemporary residential style for the 153 rooms including 53 suites. Within the suite inventory, there are several one-of-a-kind speciality suites, featuring unique design elements inspired by the hotel’s historic connections to the city, Spanish culture and art. A spacious Royal Suite and the Presidential Suite feature magnificent views over the Prado museum. Located in the top floor turrets are two new suites, each with private balconies and views over the Prado Museum and Lealtad Square.

Image caption: Rendering of the Royal Suite, designed by Gilles & Boissier | Image credit: Mandarin Oriental

Chef Quique Dacosta, one of the most celebrated chefs in Spain, was appointed to design, develop and oversee all culinary operations at the hotel’s five restaurants and bars.

The hotel’s new leisure and wellness facilities include a heated indoor swimming pool, a vitality pool, experience showers, a steam room and a contemporary fitness centre. A dedicated treatment room has been designed as a hidden sanctuary, providing a range of exclusive local and signature beauty and massage treatments.

As one of the most iconic buildings in the Spanish capital, Mandarin Oriental Ritz, Madrid is ideally placed for memorable social events. The ballroom and functions spaces, with their large windows facing the Prado Museum will be beautifully restored and designed to ensure the hotel is once again the venue of choice for weddings, private dinners and parties.

Main image credit: Mandarin Oriental

Sottini debuts new 2020 bathroom range

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Sottini debuts new 2020 bathroom range

Sottini, the Italian-inspired bathroom brand known for its elegantly crafted products, showcased new ranges at this year’s kbb event at Birmingham’s NEC…

Visitors who attended the Sottini stand at kbb were able to see new Sottini ranges, including Rienza washbasins, Caffaro WCs and Ceno fittings for the first time, as well as exciting furniture additions to the successful Fusaro range.

The striking collections have been designed to inspire, and build on Sottini’s existing collections.

The Rienza and Caffaro collections share the same design vocabulary so the basins and toilets work perfectly together. Both ranges add a sense of quiet sophistication to any bathroom, and are styled with a stunning simplicity. Ceno mixers feature sharp, flat surfaces and strong horizontal lines. The fittings are designed to be as versatile perfectly complementing other Sottini products.

Sottini also introduced elegant new furniture in the The Fusaro range, including wall-mounted vanity and basin units, all design-matched for the subtle, slim edges of the Fusaro washbasins.

Olivia Maycock, Retail Marketing Manager at Sottini said: “The introduction of the Rienza, Caffaro and Ceno ranges, as well as the new additions to our already popular Fusaro collection all culminate to bring a premium and stylish simplicity to any bathroom.”

Ideal Standard 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: Sottini/Ideal Standard

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Modern award-winning bar

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

QUICK-FIRE ROUND

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Goddard Littlefair

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: VIP suite security in luxury hotel design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INDUSTRY INSIGHT: VIP suite security in luxury hotel design

Following his article regarding cyber security issues in design, architecture and hospitality, Toren Consulting’s Mark Tucknutt, explains why the design of a hotel suite is only as valuable as its physical and electronic security systems…

It’s a common lament of any designer that if they’d been involved earlier, when designing a suite, they could have added more value for the client.

For us as hotel security consultants, the truth of this can be most apparent when considering VIP or Presidential Suite design; not only are some of the potential modifications difficult to achieve late in the design process but there is a direct link to the completed hotel’s ability to sell rooms to certain types of VIP and the rates that can be achieved.

I run a boutique security design consultancy, supporting developers and architects in designing hotels that meet the security requirements of planning authorities, hotel brands and hotel guests. I started my career in the Home Office where I designed security for VIP residences, before moving to the private sector and bringing that experience to hotel and private residential design and construction.

Security, including security design consultancy, is often considered to be a grudge purchase in construction projects. However in luxury hotels we’ve found that considering security alongside architecture and interior design means that a hotel is better equipped to attract the kind of guests that the owner and brand intended for its VIP Suite.

I’ve described below some of the areas that luxury hotels might consider during design and construction. Whether there’s value in building these security features, and more, depends of course on what your VIP guest profile is intended to be. We increasingly find though that hotel security isn’t just a concern of diplomats and dignitaries, it is also part of the hotel selection criteria for business travellers, privately wealthy individuals and of course celebrities.

Image credit: SALTO Systems

Privacy and discretion

Luxury hotels are known, of course, for providing discrete service to high profile guests. How easy it is for them to do so, however, can be significantly affected by the layout of the hotel. Considerations that we typically discuss with the architect and hotel operator include:

  • Can multiple suites be booked together, including a smaller room or rooms for the guest’s security team?
  • Are the suite entrance doors isolated from other hotel uses and general guest circulation?
  • Are the windows to the suite overlooked?
  • Are there separate, discreet, VIP entrance, exit and evacuation routes?

Physical security

The higher tiers of security-conscious guests consider the physical security of potential VIP Suites, or at least their security teams consider it on their behalf.

In this context physical security means walls, doors and windows. Depending on the anticipated guest profile, we may consult on and design security measures including:

  • Explosion resistance – protection against a nearby bomb, for example
  • Ballistic resistance – protection against an attack nearby, at the hotel or on the guest
  • Manual attack resistance – protection against covert or aggressive entry into the suite
  • Refuge areas – hardened spaces within a suite (sometimes known as panic rooms)

“At Toren Consulting, we include a VIP Suite Security Workshop in our scope of services when appointed to design security for luxury hotels.”

Electronic security

Most tiers of hotel guest expect to be reassured by seeing electronic security in a hotel, including video surveillance cameras in common areas and electronic locks to guest room doors. Luxury hotels tend, though not exclusively, to feature at least more of the same; they’re more likely to have CCTV cameras in lift cabs and corridors for example.

VIP Suite electronic security tends to include the fundamentals that are present in other areas of the hotel, but with some unique enhancements including:

  • Additional intruder alarm sensors to doors and windows on the routes to the VIP suite
  • Monitoring of relevant cameras, intercoms and intruder alarm sensors in a VIP Suite security room, potentially instead of in the hotel security control room

Designing for VIP guests

At Toren Consulting, we include a VIP Suite Security Workshop in our scope of services when appointed to design security for luxury hotels. We also provide this as a standalone service, including follow-on design of specialist physical and electronic security measures.

We find that, even when there is an experienced hotel brand or operator as part of the project team, security can be overlooked. The list above should help you to ensure that you’ve considered most of the more important elements of VIP Suite security design, so that your hotel makes it easy for VIP guests’ security teams to recommend your property.

Main image credit: Toren Consulting

ROCA launches Everlux brassware finishes

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
ROCA launches Everlux brassware finishes

Roca’s new Everlux brassware finishes are a PVD (Physical Vapour Deposition) coating, which has excellent durability as well as being resistant to scratches and impacts…

Brassware is experiencing a revolution in terms of colour and Roca has introduced innovative new Everlux finishes in a variety of colours to complement its existing product offering.

The sophisticated Everlux finish is obtained by means of an innovative physical vapour deposition (PVD) process via the ionisation of metals and noble gases, which are combined to create a fine metallic coating. This coating, based on extremely hard metals such as titanium or zirconium, is uniformly deposited over Roca’s high-quality galvanised chrome plating, resulting in a surface with extreme hardness and extraordinary resistance to scratches, impacts and cleaning agents. Through this process, Roca has been able to create a range of colours with a gloss or matt finish to offer multiple combinations in the creation of sophisticated and highly resistant bathroom spaces.

Moreover, as this is a purely physical technique, the Everlux finish is developed without using harmful chemicals during the production process thus protecting the environment.

Close up of tap and sink

Image credit: Roca

There are now eight colour finishes available including, Titanium Black, Rose Gold, Gold and Chrome, which are all also available in a brushed finish to create a softer, muted look. The Everlux coloured finishes will be available for selected brassware lines including Insignia, Naia and Escuadra.

To complement the coloured brassware, Roca has also introduced colour options for its Beyond sanitaryware as well as introducing a range of accessories so consumers can achieve a fully coordinated look.

Roca 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: Roca

FEATURE: Chelsom’s bespoke approach to lighting

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
FEATURE: Chelsom’s bespoke approach to lighting

Launching new lighting collections every two years is a challenge, but it also allows Chelsom to explore the industry’s trends and needs in order to create products that are relevant for the design community’s variety of projects. The company’s Will Chelsom explains… 

Within our business the design ethos leads and we are constantly buzzing with new ideas and new design directions.

I hope that our ranges have a cohesive feel and have the Chelsom handwriting on them no matter which space they are designed for, which country they go to or for whatever price level. It’s a wide design brief given that we supply the marine industry as well as the hospitality sector and we export to 70 countries around the world winning hotel projects from three-star to six-star.

Image credit: Chelsom

Along with all our standard product, a huge amount of sales come from the design and manufacture of bespoke lighting products. We are fortunate to have close working relationships with many of the world’s leading interior design practices and for most of them, product design is a part of their skill set. They constantly want to push the boundaries and are always looking for unique lighting to enhance their latest stunning scheme. We massively respect the breadth of their design skills meaning that whereas we as a company focus purely on lighting, they must work with every aspect of interior furnishings and decoration.

Image credit: Chelsom/The Alex

I believe that many interior designers come to Chelsom just because we are so focussed on our own field. We have worked in hospitality lighting for more than 70 years and so we understand not only the aesthetics of a product but its need for perfect and long-term functionality in what can often be a tough environment. The role of someone like us is to understand in the greatest depth the designer’s aesthetic product concept and its relationship with the space in which it sits. It’s also imperative to understand the balance between ambience and light output. The manufacturers’ role must be that of adding technical lighting expertise and manufacturing know how so that the three crucial aspects of design, function and cost come together perfectly.

Saying ‘no’ is not something that comes naturally to us. However, if we are the lighting manufacturer working collaboratively with a designer, we must sound the warning that a design concept will not meet the functional standards required or will be way outside budget constraints. For example we will say no if we know a light source in a confined space will overheat, a portable luminaire will tip over due to insufficient base weight, light output will be insufficient for the task required or compatibility with existing dimming systems is a problem.  Of course we will always find an alternative solution and that’s our duty in the whole scope of the project. On the budget side we have become experts in the value engineering process. There are so many manufacturing tweaks that can be made in order that little or no aesthetic difference can be seen but sometimes as much as 30 per cent can be saved in costings. This is absolutely NOT about reducing quality- it’s just about having the manufacturing skills to know-how the same look is achieved at less cost.

Whether it be hundreds of pieces of a black ceramic bulldog table lamp for guestrooms or a one off five-metre diameter chandelier that drops down three decks on a cruise ship, the skill set and infrastructure to deliver such custom product is paramount and hard earned through experience. Remember every custom piece of lighting is a prototype in that it’s never been manufactured before. It therefore needs all the experience of design drawings, technology skills, engineering capabilities, manufacturing prowess and finish detailing to bring that unique piece to a successful conclusion. Of course that means as a company we are tested and challenged daily but it also brings great pride when a piece of lighting that has never been seen before achieves the intended wow factor and does its job for years to come.

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

Taylor’s Classics unveils new furniture for 2020

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

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

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

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

Selection of cut outs of seating

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

The full list of products are below:

Max Side Chair

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

Max Armchair

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

Max High Stool

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

Luna Side Chair

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

Sol Tub Chair

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

Benchairs 700 Armchair

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

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

Alex Armchair

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

Sunburst Dining Chair

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

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

Main image credit: Taylor’s Classics

Hart Miller Design completes new landmark Cornwall spa

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hart Miller Design completes new landmark Cornwall spa

The award-winning Mullion Cove Hotel on Cornwall’s Lizard peninsula has opened a landmark new spa, designed by Hart Miller Design

The clifftop retreat, Mullion Cove Hotel, with its infinity pool and stunning sea views enhances the hotel’s existing offering and marks a new chapter in its history.

Having worked with the hotel since 2012 on a rolling expansion project, Hart Miller Design were selected to create a distinctive spa experience, unique to the South West.

Mullion Cove Director Daniel Thompson said: “This has been a landmark year for Mullion Cove as we completed expansion of our self-catered apartments, and opened our new spa. Having designed both of these projects, Hart Miller understand both our vision and our client base – vitally important in creating a spa that feels right. I’m looking forward to our continued work with Hart Miller Design as we begin work on the next phase of our expansion.”

Blue arm chair and stretching view across bay in the lobby

Image caption/credit: The Spa’s lobby area | Image credit: Mullion Cove Hotel/Hart Miller Design

At the heart of the project is a contrast of scale – placing intimate human sensory experiences within a jaw-dropping natural location of rock, sea and elemental power. Japanese mountain retreats were taken as a key inspiration, grounded in ritual and symbolism.

“Passing along the Sandō, the Japanese-style approach to a temple, the customer is stepping over the threshold into the spa experience.” – Anna Hart, Design Director at Hart Miller Design

The spa takes its users on a personal journey of relaxation: a carefully chosen palette of timbers and natural tones complement the hues and contours of the Cornish landscape and help to create spaces and textures that welcome and embrace. Visitors are wrapped up in the materiality of the building and the sea views beyond, offering an immersive experience from start to finish.

Indoor pool with glass overlooking bay

Image caption/credit: The main indoor pool of the spa | Mullion Cove Hotel/Hart Miller Design

“When you enter the space you are arriving very much in the heart of the spa – a relaxed lounge with fire and soft settings, rich materials that signify the beginning of a journey,” added Anna Hart, Design Director at Hart Miller Design. “Passing along the Sandō, the Japanese-style approach to a temple, the customer is stepping over the threshold into the spa experience. The lounge is somewhere you can return to and take a moment and soak it all up – not to mention the most amazing views.”

Floor to ceiling windows contrast the enveloping private treatment rooms and provide a perfect setting to unwind whether a dark, stormy day or beautiful summer evening. The lighting design is also a key feature of the project. Working with Amos Lighting, a series of subtleties and contrasting ambiences has been added in the form of dimming, treatment-specific lighting.

Main image credit: Mullion Cove Hotel/Hart Miller Design

Cole and Son unveils Seville wallpaper collection

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Cole and Son unveils Seville wallpaper collection

The wallpaper company Cole and Son’s latest collection was inspired by the plethora of cultural fusions of Seville, the Andalusian capital…

From the breath-taking blend of Mudéjar architecture and art, fragrant flora and diverse fauna, to the percussive strumming of guitarists accompanying passion-filled flamenco dancers resounding through the vibrant city, emerges Cole & Son’s latest collection Seville.

With graphic architectural prints in sun-drenched antique palettes to vibrant botanicals and primary-toned ceramic tile motifs, Seville captures all the ebullience of southern Spain.

From its Phoenician foundation to Roman rule, and centuries of Islamic dynasties and Christian Castilian conquerors, came waves of unique crafts and traditions leaving an indelible mark upon the Iberian city port.

A total of 15 new artworks have been born from the collection, which are as follows:

Orange Blossum

Colourways: Orange & Spring Green on Parchment; Lemon & Dark Olive Green on Duck Egg; Orange & Spring Green on Black; Burnt Orange & Mint on Seafoam.

Oranges are synonymous with Seville, with its city streets and courtyards teeming with fruit trees.This delicate, fabric-like representation of Seville’s iconic fruit pays homage to the regal tapestries found hanging in the Royal Alcazar’s Salón de los Tapices with a subtle textured feel to its foliage. Orange Blossom’s elegant repeat is presented in muted, vintage-inspired palettes of Orange & Spring Green on Parchment; Lemon & Dark Olive Green on Duck Egg; Burnt Orange & Mint on Seafoam; and the moody Orange & Spring Green on Black.

Angel’s Trumpet

Colourways: Cream & Olive Green on Charcoal; Chalk & Sage on Stone; Ballet Slipper & Sage on Cerulean Sky; Coral & Viridian on Ink.

Native to the tropics of South America, Angel’s Trumpet flourishes in the searing Sevillian heat of the Alcazar’s courtyards and city gardens. Its feminine shape is enhanced by delicate, painterly details in pretty palettes of Cream and Olive Green on Charcoal; Chalk & Sage on Stone; Ballet Slipper & Sage on Cerulean Sky; and Coral & Viridian on Ink. Entirely hand-painted in a traditional botanical illustration style, Angel’s Trumpet creates a beautifully bold, elegant floral stripe.

Hispalis

Colourways: Khaki Multi.

Hispalis takes its name from the Latinisation of Seville’s earliest known moniker, Spal, with Julius Caesar designating the city Colonia Iulia Romula Hispalis. This tapestry-like design depicts an antique land in the balmy late afternoon sun with its densely overgrown archway in sun-bleached shades of Khaki, Burnt Orange and Sand.

Alfaro

Colourways: Canary Yellow & Petrol on Parchment; Ochre & Racing Car Green on Terracotta; Dark Ochre & Forest Green on Duck Egg.

The Plaza Alfaro residence in Seville is said to have inspired the iconic balcony scene in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. With its wrought iron balustrades, sunshine yellow paintwork and blooming tropical flowers, Alfaro is a vibrant ode to Sevillian architecture in true-to-life tones of Canary Yellow & Petrol on Parchment; Ochre & Racing Car Green on Terracotta; and Dark Ochre & Forest Green on Duck Egg.

Light and bright coloured wallpaper in a suite

Image caption: The Alfaro range from Cole and Sons’ Seville Collection.

Triana

Colourways: Canary Yellow & China Blue on Teal; Teal & Dark Teal on Denim; Marigold & Hyacinth on Canary Yellow.

The Triana neighbourhood is home to Seville’s famous ceramic workshops and potteries, filled with artisans creating the traditional, vibrant tiles seen throughout the city. Triana’s design contains time-honoured elements of flowers, leaves, and geometric shapes, hand-painted to reflect each of the unique hand-crafted tiles to come out of this bustling quarter. Choose from classic, primary palettes of Canary Yellow & China Blue on Teal;Teal & Dark Teal on Denim; and Marigold & Hyacinth on Canary Yellow.

Alcazar Gardens

Colourways: Terracotta & Spring Green Multi.

An enduring architectural icon of the city, the Real Alcazar is a stunning testament to centuries’ old blend of Mudéjar architecture and ornamentation. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Alcazar left an indelible impression on the Cole and Son design studio, leading to this fantastical interpretation of the fortress palace’s gardens. Illustrative and pictorial in style, it is a unique artwork piece presented in a classic Terracotta & Spring Green Multi colour palette.

Bougainvillea

Colourways: Rouge, Olive Green & Emerald on Cream; Rouge, Leaf Green & Cerulean Sky on Charcoal; Marigold, Leaf Green & Emerald on Parchment; Ochre,Viridian & Petrol on Ink.

Covering palaces, chalky plaster walls and creating bright borders to parks and sun- soaked avenues, Bougainvillea is another of Seville’s vibrantly coloured flora. With its soft, water-coloured petals and leaves, Bougainvillea’s inflorescence has a delicate ombré creating movement and life. Choose from organic, sunshine palettes of Rouge, Olive Green & Emerald on Cream; and Marigold, Leaf Green & Emerald on Parchment; or the deeper evening tones of Rouge, Leaf Green & Cerulean Sky on Charcoal; and Ochre,Viridian & Petrol on Ink.

Piccadilly

Colourways: Petrol, Red & Metallic Gold on Ink; Grey & Metallic Gold on Black; Leaf Green & Mint on Forest; Denim & Rouge on Chalk

Composed of a host of beautiful curved, swirling lines, Piccadilly is a classic tile print found throughout Seville, from the Alcazar’s tiled bench nooks, to restaurant walls and elaborate ceramic floors. Piccadilly’s traditional print is made contemporary in striking shades of Petrol, Red & Metallic Gold on Ink; Grey & Metallic Gold on Black; Leaf Green & Mint on Forest; and Denim & Rouge on Chalk.

Talavera

Colourways: Rose & Spring Greens on Terracotta; Fuchsia & Forest Greens on Cerulean Sky; Magenta & Spring Greens on Stone.

Talavera’s plentiful pots abundant in flowers and trailing plants can be found throughout Spain, with the traditional ceramics each painted with their own unique decoration. The plaster-style grounds of Terracotta, Cerulean Sky, and Stone are reminiscent of Seville’s sun-soaked buildings with the pots presented in authentic tones of Rose & Spring Greens; Fuchsia & Forest Greens; and Magenta & Spring Greens.

Geranium

Colourways: Lemon & Forest Greens on Electric Blue; Rouge & Leaf Greens on Black; Rose & Forest Greens on Parchment;White & Sage on Seafoam.

Flourishing in Seville’s temperate climate, geraniums can be found adorning balconies as well as creating vibrant bursts of colour throughout parks and cultivated gardens. This archive design was completely redrawn and repainted by the Cole and Son design studio to enhance the lush, robust fanned leaves and blooming clusters of bright petals in vibrant Lemon & Forest Greens on Electric Blue; earthy White and Sage on Seafoam; and the day to night Rose & Forest Greens on Parchment; and Rouge & Leaf Greens on Black.

Jasmine & Serin Symphony

Colourways: Rose & Racing Car Green on Dark Viridian; Yellow & Leaf Green on Dark Forest Green; Coral & Petrol on Ink; Char treuse & Olive Green on White.

At once sprawling and serene, Jasmine & Serin Symphony is a contemporary update of a graceful Arts and Crafts-style print. Depicting ethereal birds perched among trailing jasmine vines, its flora and fauna create a subtle ombré as the design fans in gentle arcs across the wall. Presented in soft botanical shades of Rose & Racing Car Green on Dark Viridian;Yellow & Leaf Green on Dark Forest Green; Coral & Petrol on Ink; and Chartreuse & Olive Green on White.

Alicatado

Colourways: Soot on Snow; Hyacinth on Chalk; Leaf Greens on Chalk; Terracotta on Parchment

Alicatado, meaning a geometric mosaic of coloured glazed tiles, is the design studio’s interpretation of Seville’s famous azulejos. Its simple two-toned print creates a striking graphic backdrop and has been designed and coloured in order to complement other designs within the collection. Choose from fresh hues of Hyacinth or Leaf Greens on Chalk, as well as the monochromatic Soot on Snow, and the warm Terracotta on Parchment.

Lola

Colourways: Forest Greens on White; China Blues on Midnight; Petrol Blues on White.

Lola is a damask with a hidden secret; within the rolling scrolls and flowers of this archive print is one of Seville’s most iconic figures: the flamenco dancer.With its cultural origins firmly in Andalusia, Lola captures the dynamic, vivacious drama of a traditional flamenco performance. Verdant palettes of Forest Greens on White and Petrol Blues on White evoke a freshness, whilst China Blues on Midnight are reminiscent of a deep evening sky.

Image caption: Cole and Sons’ Lola range in the Seville Collection

Flamenco Fan

Colourways: Cerise, Dark Tangerine & Metallic Gold on Black; Magenta, Red & Metallic Gilver on Ink; Fuchsia, Rouge & Metallic Gold on Cream; Rose, Bright Rouge & Metallic Gold on Crimson

A cultural symbol of Spain and deeply entrenched within flamenco culture, the fan exudes romance and passion with its dramatic shape and versatile movement. The theatrical print of Flamenco Fan incorporates many of the dance’s notable symbols such as the carnation and rose, both representing love and admiration.The delicate metallic detailing of the fans elevates decadent tones of Rose, Bright Rouge & Metallic Gold on Crimson, and the sultry Cerise, Dark Tangerine & Metallic Gold on Black; and Magenta, Red & Metallic Gilver on Ink, as well as the soft, lace-like Fuchsia, Rouge & Metallic Gold on Cream.

Cole and Sons 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: Cole and Sons

Edge Architects completes 3 design-led Mercure hotels

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Edge Architects completes 3 design-led Mercure hotels

The architecture and design firm has recently completed Mercure hotels in Cardiff, Birmingham and Bedford…

In the last few months, Edge Architects + interior designers has completed three Mercure-branded hotels in Cardiff, Birmingham and Bedford.

The lead designer on all three projects, Craig Parry, has an impressive portfolio including ibis Styles Southwark, Doubletree by Hilton Snowhill, a host of other Mercure hotels, Hampton by Hilton Manchester and Old Bishops Palace Chester.

Parry has sensitively designed the hotels, inside and out, with the aim to balance consumer demands for fresh interiors as well as the need for flexible public areas while also retaining character and style in the architecture and the motifs sheltered within each property.

For example, the 121-key Mercure Bedford Centre Hotel is located in a popular destination for canoeing and kayaking, with the property itself encompassing elements of the area’s cultural and historic past, including timber features from canoes, water graphics and rowing illustrations.

Meanwhile, the new Mercure Cardiff North Hotel draws inspiration from local landmarks such as the Millennium Centre façade in Cardiff Bay, with details such as copper aesthetic lining and curated display items that encompass elements of the area’s cultural and historic past.

The Mercure Birmingham West Hotel is an urban retreat that consists of 168 rooms, which feature locally inspired and sourced artwork and design elements.

White bed, with construction inspired wallcovering

Image credit: Mercure Cardiff North

“Each hotel has the Mercure service and features that guests expect but they offer local touches too.” – Michael Brag, Chairman of Proark

Having previously operated under the Park Inn brand, the hotel is one of six across the UK to have been signed by Danish based property group, Proark, and rebranded to Mercure.

We have worked closely with Accor since signing this portfolio of Mercure hotels and are extremely pleased with the result of the refurbishment. Each hotel has the Mercure service and features that guests expect but they offer local touches too, which we are confident will be well received by business and leisure travellers alike,” Michael Brag, Chairman of Proark told Hotel Designs. “For the design, we decided to work with Craig Parry, as he has vast practice experience in hospitality for Mercure, as well as independent boutiques, so we felt he was the right man for the job.”

Main image credit: Accor/Mercure/Proark

Modern guestroom with colourful accents in headboard and art

Destination Hotels arrives in Charlottesville, Virginia

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Destination Hotels arrives in Charlottesville, Virginia

Quirk Hotel Charlottesville, the latest boutique hotel to open in the Destination Hotels’ portfolio, pays tribute to local culture, history and arts with unexpected twists…

Quirk Hotel Charlottesville in Virginia is said to be the first boutique hotel in the area that has opened with a focus on curated art inspired by the city’s historic downtown.

Modern guestroom with colourful accents in headboard and art

Charming and distinctive by nature, Quirk Hotel Charlottesville delivers a warm sense of approachability and playfulness that appeals to curious travellers of all ages seeking a sense of belonging, and is the second rendition of the Quirk Hotel concept within the Destination Hotels collection, with its original location in Richmond, Va.

“After opening Quirk Hotel Richmond in September 2015, we are excited to bring to life our gallery concept and beautiful hotel amenities into a new, charming Virginia city,” said Kate Ukrop, co-owner of Quirk Hotel Charlottesville alongside her husband, Ted. “Alongside the Quirk Gallery in Richmond, I am looking forward to also being the director of Quirk Gallery in Charlottesville, continuing to make art more accessible for guests across the Destination Hotels brand.”

The concept for Quirk Hotel Charlottesville stemmed from the desire to use art and history as central design elements to spark curiosity and conversation. This vision was realised by building a main hotel around two street-facing homes that date back to the 19th century. Incorporating the historic red and beige brick homes at 501 West Main St. and 503 Main St., respectively, Quirk Hotel Charlottesville embodies the Quirk Hotel reputation for “uncommon accommodations.”

Large, minimalist lobby area with contemporary art on walls

Image caption: An artist’s impression of the contemporary public areas | Image credit: Hyatt Hotels/Destination Hotels

Creating a novel space where guests can genuinely embrace new people, places and culture, the hotel features original works of contemporary art by renowned artists. Adding unexpected surprises to every nook and cranny, the artwork is speckled throughout the entire property, some of which can be purchased at Quirk Gallery. The locally curated, bi-level gallery, features local, regional and national artists, and serves as a gathering place for artist talks, classes and openings, as well as private events.

Designed by national architecture and interior design studio ARCHITECTUREFIRM, the 80-key hotel showcases a minimalist, contemporary design, elevated by gold accents. Each guestroom has a signature look including original artwork throughout, floor-to-ceiling windows with stunning views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and downtown Charlottesville, mini bars with locally sourced goods, and custom headboards designed especially for Quirk Hotel Charlottesville.

In juxtaposition to the contemporary art and design inside the main property building, the two 19th century historic farm homes resemble art relics of Charlottesville’s years past. Plans for the Vernacular style Red Brick House include a quaint café and an expansive barrel aged spirits bar, set to open in late April. The Federal style Beige Brick House is home to Laurie Nicole’s upscale beauty salon on the main floor, while the upstairs will be repurposed into a private room and loft suite.

A true to place destination where independent travellers can make their experience their own, the hotel features a new signature dining concept, a laid-back rooftop bar, an indoor lobby lounge, two spacious ballrooms, an in-house art gallery and two historic homes surrounding the property with added amenities.

Main image credit: Hyatt Hotels/Destination Hotels

EXCLUSIVE: Aqualisa unveils next generation of smart showers

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
EXCLUSIVE: Aqualisa unveils next generation of smart showers

Brand new smart shower products have catapulted Aqualisa out to the front of the smart shower market. Hotel Designs has the exclusive…

Almost imperceptibly, the smart home/hotel is becoming a reality. It’s a fully-fledged sector – not just a niche market anymore and bathroom brand Aqualisa has recognised and is responding to the emerging demands of a marketplace it believes will be increasingly driven by the benefits of smart technology in the bathroom.

The recent launch of the new Aqualisa Smart Quartz Collection of showers shows that the shower brand is firmly in the driving seat for innovative shower technology in the UK.

Bathrooms and wet rooms are fast becoming integral parts of today’s hotel experience, and new intelligent technology in is not only making possible to launch exceptional controls for ease of use, but also providing a stronger reliability and easy installation. The new Aqualisa Smart Quartz Collection ‘ticks’ all these boxes, with intuitive control, stunning good looks and an unsurpassed level of personalisation and convenience.

Image credit: Aqualisa

The established Quartz name, universally respected by the shower trade, has been retained for this exciting new ‘headliner’ range. This evolution of the original Quartz digital shower creates a new generation of showers with an exceptional level of connectivity, including breakthrough voice activation, added to its established and renowned performance quality.

Quartz was initially launched back in 2001 and has since become the best-selling shower in its category. The product story for this exceptional product has seen a number of style developments over the past twenty years. The latest chapter sees advanced smart technology adopting the iconic Quartz name to provide state of the art showering via a mobile app that brings Aqualisa fully into the emerging smart home environment.

Digital shower on wit marble wallcovering

Image credit: Aqualisa

Quartz technology has stood every test of time over the past nineteen years, consistently delivering the same high-performance showering experience.  Adding connectivity pushes the boundaries of smart technology and takes showering to new experiential levels. The next big thing for showering here in the UK has long been to establish Wi-Fi connection, app technology and voice activation as an integral part of the showering experience – all things that come as standard with the new Smart Quartz Collection from Aqualisa.

“The range consists of Quartz Blue, Quartz Classic and Quartz Touch.”

App technology allows the user to control the smart digital shower via WIFI, connecting through residential WIFI networks to the Aqualisa Smart Valve (ASV) using safe and secure best practice for IoT/Connected devices. It utilises the simplest on-boarding techniques possible to establish secure and robust connection with the ASV via WIFI.  It’s voice activation and personalisation of the new showers that will make it stand out against the competition. It integrates with established smart home eco-systems via voice control – using software like Alexa.

The range consists of Quartz Blue, the introduction to the smart showering revolution for the new collection, Quartz Classic, an already proven best seller now with added smart technology and top of the range Quartz Touch, which offers the most personal showering experience yet and to which devotees of the smart home will aspire. Every member of the family can activate their own personal shower requirement – created and saved on the App for the perfect, consistently repeated showering experience.

For installers, the new Smart Quartz Collection is a great proposition for new build, self-build or renovation projects, principally because the unique Aqualisa Smart Valve – the brains of the new smart collection – can be located up to 10 metres away from the shower itself, providing unbelievable flexibility in installation.  Installers will find this new product range easy to sell, impressing their customers with the benefits of connectivity – voice activation being a major unique selling point.

“’Alexa turn my shower on’ will quickly become a familiar command in homes/hotels with a new Aqualisa Smart Quartz Collection shower”, says Aqualisa CEO, Colin Sykes. “The Quartz excellence established from the early two thousands has now reached new heights and will offer users the most sophisticated showering experience available. Despite the advent of the smart home/hotel and the arrival of a myriad of smart products, the suggestion, even five years ago, that showers would take this huge step into the world of smart technology would have been difficult to imagine. Thanks to Aqualisa, this is now a reality. It seems the most natural development for them to take, but we’re delighted it’s us introducing this technology to the UK and Ireland.”

Aqualisa 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: Aqualisa

5 new elements to look out for at Clerkenwell Design Week 2020

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
5 new elements to look out for at Clerkenwell Design Week 2020

At an exclusive press launch in London, editor Hamish Kilburn learns how the organisers of Clerkenwell Design Week 2020 are preparing to make this year’s festival of design bigger and better than ever before…

Members of the press gathered at The Charterhouse last week in the heart of London to understand how the 2020 edition of Clerkenwell Design Week (CDW) will once again demonstrate the vibrant creativity and originality of this three day celebration of design.

In London’s key hub for design and architecture, visitors can participate in new dialogues between showrooms and designers, hear from influential voices in the world of design and experience upcoming talent and innovating brands who are taking part. 

Here are five take aways from the press launch.

1) CDW Presents will be themed around ‘CLOCKWORK’

Each year, CDW presents new design projects and street spectacles, commissioned specially for the festival and featured prominently around Clerkenwell. Inviting some of the leading pioneers in the creative industry, these projects aim to push the boundaries of design, in terms of concepts, process and material capabilities. Often a response to the local area, CDW Presents allows visitors the opportunity to discover Clerkenwell in a new and imaginative way, often referring to the area’s illustrious past.  At the beginning of the 18th Century, Clerkenwell was the home of clock-making and the area quickly became a hothouse for horologists; for 2020 in recognition of Clerkenwell’s historical importance in the clock-making industry, CDW Presents ‘CLOCKWORK’ – a series of five large-scale horology-themed installations, each interpreting the area’s significance to the craft and the artisans that once lined the cobbled streets.  From a contemporary take on the traditional sundial to an installation inspired by the hourglass, the selected designers who include Pilbrow and Partners and Shape London,  have created ideas that play with and explore the notion of measuring time.

Scale Rule, now in its 5th year at Clerkenwell Design Week, continues to engage students from across London in design as well as young architects and engineers to realise those emerging ambitions. This year’s design concept for the NextGen pavilion exemplifies human impact upon the earth and in turn mankind’s responsibility to protect and shape it for better.

The domed structure illustrates a deconstructed planet, which is formed, fractured and reconfigured from natural materials including timber geometric segments. The pavilion celebrates sustainability through its modular production methods, recycled materials and future re-use. The pavilion encourages people to rest and socialise within its bounds making use of and leaving their positive trace upon the structure.

2) ClerkenWELL playing its part to inspire designers to think about wellness and wellbeing

On trend, Clerkenwell Design Week will be focusing on wellness, tying in with Mental Health Awareness Week which coincides with the festival. With the rise of nomadic working and a society that has 24/7 access to email, the ability to disconnect from our work can become increasingly challenging and in turn employers are recognising the need to improve their wellbeing offering.

From ergonomic furniture that helps physical posture, to acoustic pods that block out exterior noise, to workplace yoga and discounted gym memberships, more and more employers are taking steps to help their employees achieve wellness in the workplace. 

Clerkenwell Design Week will be hosting free activities and events throughout the area demonstrating how we can relax and de-stress during the day, from outdoor yoga sessions to meditation workshops.  Holistic counsellor Julie Strandberg will explain how decluttering your workplace can lead to better mental health.  Having trained under Japanese tidying guru Marie Kondo, Julie innovatively blends the KonMari Method with her own innate Scandinavian aestheticism.

Texaa, the Bordeaux-based specialists in acoustic products for architecture, marks its debut at Clerkenwell Design Week with a colourful tepee installation in Design Fields. This will also be the first time new colours for Texaa’s Aeria fabric will be seen in the UK. 

3) Conversations at Clerkenwell to amplify vegan interiors, colour and the environment

Render of a bandstand pavilion

Image caption: CDW Presents The Bandstand Pavilion, where many of the talks will take place.

CDW 2020 has commissioned architectural practice Fieldwork to design the Talks space, sponsored by Equitone, within Spa Fields.  Their concept reimagines the traditional Victorian bandstand as a focal point within the Park, a place for gathering, discussion, entertainment and shelter.   

Rather than a traditional forward facing seating arrangement, the nature of the bandstand form allows the focus point to be partially in the round and engage the audience as a discussion, rather than a presentation. Equitone panels clad the internal dome and the external cube at high and low level. A bold use of colour and CNC pattern formed façade panels aim to draw attention from the surrounding park, as a modern interpretation of a Victorian architectural style. The bandstand becomes a place to stand, lean and sit in participation, focussing attention on the speaker and engaging the audience and the park in its entirety. 

Conversations at Clerkenwell, the programme of panel sessions and debates exploring show content, trends and issues, is again curated by Katie Richardson. Lead speakers include Morag Myerscough, known for her expansive use of colour across both art and design,  designer and craftsman Sebastien Cox and designer Ab Rogers.

Increasingly focused on design-led issues currently underpinning the changing world as we know it, the programme this year will look specifically at topics connected to the workplace including design responses to mental health issues and an increased need for overall wellness. Trends – led curators Franklin Till present recent work on the importance of Play. Dulux Creative Director Marianne Shillingford reveals what shifts in colour trends will take place over the next few years. Other topics for 2020 include vegan interiors, retail marketing and how contract showrooms need to keep reinventing to succeed, restoration with Roddy Clarke and New London Architecture host ‘don’t move, improve’ – a series of presentations from architects looking at how re-used materials and conscious environmental design, create the perfect home for a modern family.  Hosted on a purpose built space on London Spa Fields the programme runs across the three days and a separate series of talks focusing on lighting will be held at Fabric.

4) New showrooms open for business

Each year Clerkenwell welcomes a host of new showrooms to the district and these make up a key part of CDW with installations, launches and exhibitions. This year, the festival welcomes Ideal Standard, VitrA and Fritz Hansen.  Many other showrooms will be hosting a variety of events, with this year seeing a focus on wellness, recycling and sustainability.  Ultrafabrics,  the Japanese-American performance animal-free fabric brand will be collaborating with award winning design duo PATTERNITY who are creating a tactile and immersive installation within Ultrafabrics’  showroom entitled ‘Closed Loop: The Future of Design’.  Plastic waste has rightly become a major issue and Camira Fabrics will showcase its latest fabric innovation using plastic sea waste as a key component.   Oceanic is a fabric born of the SEAQUAL Initiative to achieve a waste free environment. 

Other participating showrooms include Actiu, Ceramiche Piemme, Davison Highly, Havwoods, Interface, KI House, Modus, Moroso, Catellani & Smith, Sky-Frame, Solus, Tarkett, and Orangebox.

Parkside, a leading specifier of architectural tiles, will focus on colour and how we can use it as a way of improving our wellbeing in our work and leisure spaces. The showroom’s series of events will include a panel discussion, ‘Curative colour: the power to heal’, exploring just how deep our emotional wellbeing is related to colour and whether a genuine link to health improvement can truly be found.

5) Fringe activities for all

As well as hosting an abundance of furniture and interiors showrooms, Clerkenwell is also home to a variety of other creative practices including architects, branding agencies and craft studios.  In celebration of Clerkenwell Design Week, a selection of these local practices open their doors to the festival’s visitors and host workshops, displays and installations. At the Zetter hotel, Sophie Thomas, Creative Director of Thomas Matthews, will be showing a collection of beautiful glass vases made using recycled plastic ocean waste.

If you are interested in attending CDW 2020, head over to the website to register.

Main image credit: CDW 2020

SNEAK PEEK: Inside Mama Shelter’s soon-to-open Luxembourg hotel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
SNEAK PEEK: Inside Mama Shelter’s soon-to-open Luxembourg hotel

Mama Shelter is expected to bringing its playful hotel brand to Luxembourg in May of this year. Before the wild opening, Hotel Designs got a sneak peek inside… 

Hot off the heels of opening another hotel in Paris, Mama Shelter is expected to touchdown in Luxembourg this May, opening the brand’s 13th hotel since coming to the market in 2008.

Sheltering 145 design-led rooms, Mama Luxembourg will continue its commitment to providing its affordable boutique hotel offering to the Grand Duchy. In keeping with the brand’s playful philosophy, Mama Luxembourg interprets the spirit of its location through its bespoke design, while also offering guests a well-priced option from which to explore the city.

An important financial hub, with links to neighbouring France, Germany and Belgium, Luxembourg is also home to several European Union institutions. Mama Works will offer local professionals and business travellers the flexibility to work from its new co-working space, offering individual working spaces and shared desks. There is also a ‘CineMama’, an intimate space with seating for up to 31 people which can also be used for presentations and screenings.

Wild and funky public areas, full of character and colour

Image credit: Mama Shelter

Mama Shelter’s instantly recognisable style continues throughout its new property. Taking inspiration from the region’s rich history, the ceilings are adorned with one-of-a-kind graffiti by renowned French artist – Beniloys – and each room has been individually designed by its dedicated in-house design team.

“Luxembourg is as beautiful as it is cosmopolitan,” said Jérémie Trigano, CEO of Mama Shelter. “We knew that combining these features with MAMA’s fun personality meant we would get a truly explosive result.”

Mama Luxembourg bridges the gap between the chic style of boutique hotels and openness of Mama’s playful philosophy. This unique DNA creates the perfect home-away-from-home for travellers and local professionals.

Playful public areas with wooden furniture and colourful design scheme

Image credit: Mama Shelter

“Luxembourg is largely known as a financial hub,” added Serge Trigano, president of Mama Shelter. “The Mama group wants to contribute actively to the discovery of the country’s culture, its landscapes and its castles. Bankers or teams from great financial institutions as well as Luxembourgers will always be most welcome and free to visit the Mama whenever they wish, to shed their suits and enjoy a meal or a cocktail in our restaurant or on our rooftop.”

The Mama Shelter journey started in 2008 with the launch of Mama Paris East. Founded by the Trigano family – co-Founder of Club Med – and world-renowned designer Philippe Starck, Mama Shelter believed in launching in lesser-known, ‘out of the way’ neighbourhoods in iconic cities, allowing guests to uncover new and exciting cities. The founding Paris property was followed by Marseille to Lyon, Bordeaux, Los Angeles, Rio de Janeiro, Prague, Belgrade, Toulouse, London, Paris West and Luxembourg. Upcoming openings include Bucharest, Bahrain, Dubai, Santiago de Chile, Rome, Lisbon and many more. In 2014, the international hotel chain, Accor, partnered with Mama Shelter to develop the concept and welcome travellers and locals throughout the world.

As with all of Mama Shelter properties, Mama Luxembourg aims to be a confluence for visitors and locals alike, providing a witty and welcoming ‘home’ in the city.

Main image credit: Mama Shelter

The St Regis San Francisco completes renovation

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The St Regis San Francisco completes renovation

The luxury hotel in San Francisco’s new guestrooms, meeting and event space were designed in collaboration with Chapi Chapo Design to evoke renewed vibrancy… 

Toronto-based studio Chapi Chapo Design has completed a project to renovate the guestrooms and meeting spaces inside The St. Regis San Francisco.

Namesake of the famed St. Regis Hotel in New York City, founded by John Jacob Astor in 1904 and synonymous worldwide with design excellence, European-style elegance and personalised “anticipatory service,” The St. Regis San Francisco introduced a new dimension of luxury and gracious living to San Francisco, personified by the signature St. Regis butler service, when it opened in 2005.  The hotel remains the crowning jewel of the Yerba Buena cultural corridor, steps from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Contemporary Jewish Museum and the Yerba Buena Centre for the Arts and proximate to Union Square, the financial district and the Moscone Convention Centre. 

“This has been a wonderful opportunity for us to return to The St. Regis San Francisco,” said Boris Mathias, co-CEO of Chapi Chapo Design. “Our goal was to honour St. Regis’ distinctive heritage while refreshing the property with a design that captures San Francisco’s innovative spirit, rich history and natural beauty, and to create ultra-luxe guest rooms and event spaces that anticipate the needs of today’s discerning traveller.” 

luxe suite open up to striking vistas of the city

Image credit: Marriott International/St Regis

The St. Regis San Francisco’s 260 rooms and suites were refitted with customised furniture, exclusive to the hotel. New room seating includes chairs and ottomans designed both for lounging and working.  Headboards picoted with rich leather paneling, suggestive of a luxury sports car interior, also serve as homes for the connections that power the rooms’ sophisticated technological upgrades.  San Francisco’s iconic hills and valleys are subtly referenced in wall covering that features the soft curves of a Richard Serra-inspired sculpture. Viewed through layered smoked desk glass, California’s glorious panoramas, as captured by legendary landscape photographer Ansel Adams, evoke the dreamy intrigue of a Dashiell Hammett novel. 

Continuing the theme of wedding historic milestones to contemporary sensibility, the California Gold Rush of 1849 that put San Francisco on the map is referenced by a colour palette of silver, copper and iron, adding an alluring luster to the rooms’ ambience but setting off distinctive custom 3D computer graphic applications created by Christo Saba. The artwork pays homage to the innovative spirit of San Francisco with subtle visualisations of past luminaries and today’s tech industry giants.

Image credit: Marriott International/St Regis

The redesign also focused on enhancing The St. Regis San Francisco’s 15,000 square feet of meeting and event spaces, creating refined, comfortable and innovative areas designed to facilitate conversation and collaboration.  Continuing to balance tradition and contemporaneity, the new custom carpet in the ballroom features a modern, earthy abstract pattern with unexpected bursts of color that ideally complements the room’s magnificent existing chandelier.

And with a subtle touch of whimsey that acknowledges the city’s storied geological uncertainty, Chapi Chapo Design fitted the hotel’s meeting spaces with tectonic-plate themed custom-designed carpet.  

Main image credit: Marriott International/St Regis

7 interior trends to emerge from London Design Week 2020

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
7 interior trends to emerge from London Design Week 2020

During London Design Week 2020, Design Centre Chelsea Harbour is sheltering many of the product launches, teasers and conversations that are expected to make a noise on the design scene this season. Editor Hamish Kilburn identifies some of the prominent styles, colours and trends to look out for… 

“We champion creative excellence,” said Becky Metcalfe, Head of Content at Design Centre Chelsea Harbour (DCCH). “And we have certainly seen a move towards inform choices.”

Now that there is more demand among consumers for conscious and meaningful designs to compliment seamless service, hotel designers are widening their lenses to understand the narrative, craft and creative vision of new collections launched.

It is this change in behaviour that is enforcing most, if not all, of the strong styles that I discovered during my time at London Design Week 2020.

1) Botanical paradise on earth

With biophilic design being put front and centre at the moment around the world, conversations and the products that are launching are finding the balance between indoor space and the great outdoors – think exotic gardens where fragrance and sound are depicted in patterns and colours. Sanderson’s floral showroom, which houses hundreds of new designs this week, highlighted the creative possibilities that can emerge when designers open the door to outdoor influence with purpose. Other brands to leverage nature in design include Pierre Frey’s enriched wallcoverings, Abbott & Boyd’s capture of birds and Bec Brittain’s Taxonomy collection seen in the Tai Ping showroom that explores unexpected paradoxes inspired by the minutiae of insect anatomy and pleating techniques.

Offer with pink and black textured rug

Image credit: Taxonomy collection by Bec Brittain/Edward Fields Carpet Makers/Tai Ping

2) Land of the rising sun – everyone is talking about Japan

Considering the incredible oriental principles – not to mention the in-depth culture, heritage and authentic craftsmanship – it’s hardly surprising that many designers and brands are finding inspiration in Japan. There are parallels between the demand for simple, elegant luxury and the minimalist aesthetics of design in Japan (take a look at Muji to see this in action). Wallcovering brands such as Arte are exploring Japanese techniques and diverse styles, such as the Kimono pattern motif, to create new textured layers to their collections.

Intricate Kimono pattern detail in wallcovering

Image credit: Arte Wallcovering

Taking the theme in a different direction, Arteriors’ Trapeze Sconce is an effortless example of how Japanese influence can be balanced delicately in elegant lighting. With so much yet to explore, we expect more designers and brands to delve into the archive of Japan’s design heritage to invest in timeless practice and precious pieces.

3) Embracing imperfections

Admittedly, this isn’t anything new. In fact, designers, consumers and brands alike have been championing and demanding one-off products that can’t be replicated for as long as time. But recently, with timelessness and narrative playing so much importance in any design scheme – and while designers become more adventurous with materials – this look is everywhere. Lighting brand Vaughan is celebrating a proud authentic look and feel with its Chalk White collection, while wallcoverings brand Harlequin is keeping in touch with nature by using natural materials and creating an interesting weave structure.

Chalk-like chandelier

Image credit: Vaughan’s Chalk White collection is a curation of six products

Meanwhile, Parkside Architectural Tiles are showcasing their fantastical imperfect Spectre collection of tiles, which have proved a hit with designers and architects looking to add personality onto the walls of new and existing spaces.

Spectre collection by Parkside Architectural Tiles

Image caption: Spectre collection by Parkside Architectural Tiles

A relatively new brand thats DNA is very much focused on creating this look is Ilala, curated by Miranda Vedral, which proudly presented its idiosyncratic handwoven  furniture and lighting during the event.

4) Amplifying craftsmanship in all areas

There are more and more brands out there that are willing to collaborate with experts to produce the highest quality and the most interesting designs. With a digital overload from social media and a move to challenge the disposable mindset, brands such as Porta Romana have enhanced tactility in products and styles, which is putting momentum behind the sustainable movement.

Image credit: Porta Romana

5) Take a walk on the wild side

As we have identified before, the eco-conscious world is allowing for more adventurous influences to emerge to the surface. During the showrooms in Chelsea, there was a clear and defined theme of endangered species being used in wallcoverings, fabrics and soft furnishings. Some of the brands that are mastering this with style include Altfield, Anthology, Harlequin and Andrew Martin.

Image credit: Harlequin’s Mirador Collection

6) Warm colours are in!

Finally, in the doom and gloom of the current economic climate, designers and brands are discovering the warmer end of the colour spectrum. Designs from Edelman Leather, Vaughan and Zoffany are all setting their style compass to rosy red, which suggests there is a new confidence in the air. Grasping the statement-like benefits of using primary colours, British brand David Hunt Lighting has recently opened up its archives to find unique techniques and craft that has inspired their latest collections of pendants and chandeliers. In the Design Avenue – a hotspot for talent and unmatched styles – there was arguably no brand more colourful and bold than Timorous Beasties, but with their intricate signature of styles, would you really expect anything less?

Red, yellow and blue pendents

Image credit: David Hunt Lighting/Instagram

7) Home Heritage

An interesting theme to explore on the international hotel design scene – and one that no doubts divides the industry – there seems to be a move towards home-from-home comforts, but not perhaps as you would expect. We know that lobbies are becoming more lounge-like, but in addition there is an interest to explore storied providence. Brands such as Zimmer + Rhode, Samuel & Sons and Holland & Sherry are all using this to drive their latest designs, and I suspect more brands will keep this in mind when innovating new products in the future to add further meaning in design.

If you identified anything at the show that you believe we should be sharing our readers, please tweet us @HotelDesigns.

Main image credit: Design Centre Chelsea Harbour

Sindhorn Midtown hotel opens in Bangkok

750 565 Hamish Kilburn
Sindhorn Midtown hotel opens in Bangkok

The opening in Bangkok marks the new hospitality brand’s debut in Thailand… 

Sindhorn Midtown, the flagship property of a stylish new Thai-inspired hospitality brand, opens in the heart of Bangkok’s Langsuan neighbourhood. 

Inspired by local artistry and designed for a sophisticated lifestyle, Sindhorn Midtown introduces a contemporary Thai hospitality experience for today’s business and leisure travellers alike.

Image of pool and skyline of Bangkok

Image credit: Sindhorn Hotel Bangkok

“We’re thrilled to open our doors and introduce guests to our new brand of hospitality,” said Jee Hoong Tan, Sindhorn Midtown’s General Manager. “Sindhorn Midtown is a chic urban escape that welcomes guests with authentic warm Thai hospitality. With intuitive service, thoughtful amenities and sleek design, Sindhorn Midtown is setting a new standard in the market sure to appeal to savvy travellers.”

“Sindhorn Midtown delivers modern living with the allure of relaxation, comfort and sustainability.”

Uncomplicated and harmonious, Sindhorn Midtown delivers modern living with the allure of relaxation, comfort and sustainability. Nestled within a pocket of greenery in the midst of the quiet Langsuan neighborhood area, the hotel offers a collection of 344 hotel guestrooms and suites and 49 serviced residence units within two sleek, modern towers offering urban views.

The hotel blends art-infused contemporary interiors with a calm vibe. Food and beverage offerings include Tr.EAT, an in-house eatery with the flavour and flair of the local neighbourhood; and Rhumba, a lively gathering spot offering a large selection of rum, mixed into classic and creative cocktails. On the 18th level, the Horizon Pool offers skyline views, cocktails and small bites; while the Fitness Center on the 19th level allows guests to stay fit 24/7 with the latest equipment from Life Fitness.

Main image credit: Sindhorn Hotel Bangkok

Inside the world’s first ‘super boutique’ hotel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Inside the world’s first ‘super boutique’ hotel

The world-class design team of The Londoner ‘super boutique hotel’ consists of interior designers at Yabu Pushelberg, engineer experts at Arup Associates and artist Ian Monroe

After seven years and a £300 million investment, The Londoner, the world’s first super boutique hotel, will open its doors in June 2020.

The property will take centre stage on London’s Leicester Square and is the latest project by Edwardian Hotels London.

 The project is a feat of design, architecture and engineering that aligns with the vision of Edwardian Hotels London’s Founder and Chairman, Mr Jasminder Singh to create “a celebration of London; its history, aesthetic and people.”

Its 16 storeys will incorporate 350 guestrooms, suites and a tower penthouse with panoramic views, two private screening rooms, a mix of six concept eateries – including bars and a tavern, alfresco dining on the ground floor and a contemporary Japanese lounge bar with a rooftop terrace and fire pit – plus an expansive ballroom suited for any occasion, a variety of meeting spaces and a results-driven gym and spa.

Edwardian Hotels London’s Design Architect, Rob Steul and architectural firm Woods Bagot CEO, Nik Karalis collaborated to develop the architectural design concept fitting of its cornerstone position on Leicester Square, and a guest experience with a ‘West End Story’ narrative at its core. Interior designers Yabu Pushelberg, engineers Arup Associates and artist Ian Monroe round out the world-class design team.

“From inception, Edwardian Hotels London saw the building as more than a hotel and sought to create an ‘urban resort’ destination of the highest architectural quality,” said Steul. From the wellness space below, to an extraordinary rooftop terrace overlooking Trafalgar Square, we developed a central core of meeting, eating, lounging and event spaces running vertically through the building around which wrap the guestrooms.”

“It is essentially two buildings intertwined – with the interplay between them creating a dynamic guest experience. Working closely with City of Westminster planners, we carefully considered the urban context of the site and responded with a building which fits its context in both massing and materiality.”

Engineers Arup Associates provided expertise across 16 different disciplines, from mechanical, electrical and public health to fire, acoustics, vertical transportation, accessibility and façade engineering.

Image credit: Edwardian Hotels London

Due to urban planning height restrictions, the architects proposed a 30-metre subterranean series of spaces on six levels, creating the deepest habitable basement in London and among the deepest in the world – a factor that presented a number of architectural, structural and engineering challenges for the teams involved.

In order to reach down to the depths required, an excavator had to be specially designed and made by construction company McGee Group, who built the basement and building superstructure.

Portland stone predominates on the façade with a vertical pattern of punched bronze-framed windows trimmed in rich blue architectural faience tiles numbering over 15,000, which were both conceived and designed by artist Ian Monroe and individually hand-made by British company Darwen Terracotta. 

Each tile took traditional artisans up to six weeks to create, from the initial pour through to the final firing – and when in place, set at a specific angle, will reflect the natural light of the sky during the day and the dynamism of the area’s myriad of lights following nightfall.

A truly public work of art (a condition of the hotel’s planning approval) and Monroe’s first hotel project, the faience extends from the ground floor of The Londoner up and through to its roof.

Inside, a luxurious and contemporary experience crafted by world-renowned designers Yabu Pushelberg speaks to the backdrop and approximation of the city’s cinema district. Marrying charming wit with British sentiment, thoughtfully designed common areas, dining spaces and guest rooms enhance the motions of everyday life.

When talking about The Londoner’s guestrooms, George Yabu of Yabu Pushelberg said: “The Londoner was designed to play into the roots of Leicester Square as London’s historic theatre district. We created layers of programming up into the sky and deep into the earth that emphasise this extraverted, alluring, playful voice.

“Through subtle nuances, we gently infused this energy into the guestrooms because we wanted them to remain evident spaces for comfort and relaxation. Stylistically, we tapped into traditional British sensibility and a minimal, cohesive neutral palette.”

Ensuring sustainable luxury for future generations, The Londoner secured a £175 million Green Loan from HSBC UK, which will ensure it exceeds the BREEAM Excellent category in building environmental and sustainable performance.

The Londoner, a member of the prestigious Preferred Hotels & Resorts Legend Collection, is the latest project by Edwardian Hotels London, the privately-owned hotel group behind the development of The May Fair Hotel, the newly opened The Edwardian Manchester and a collection of restaurant and bar brands, including May Fair Kitchen, May Fair Bar, Bloomsbury Street Kitchen and award-winning Peter Street Kitchen.

Main image credit: Edwardian Hotels London

Robust, reliable & design-led mixer shower range from Aqualisa

791 658 Hamish Kilburn
Robust, reliable & design-led mixer shower range from Aqualisa

Innovative shower brand Aqualisa has launched a striking new range of dual control mixer valves, adding to its strong specification portfolio…

Fresh from sponsoring the The Brit List Awards 2019, bathroom brand Aqualisa has launched the Mian range, which offers a robust and reliable choice of dual control thermostatic mixer showers, suitable for all approved UK water systems.

Complete with a comprehensive five-year guarantee, the range successfully focuses on form, style and function, paying special attention to clean lines, simplicity, compact shaping and the overall feel of quality. As well as optimising the shower space available, the highly finished, modern shower designs are timeless and understated yet, also, eye-catching and sophisticated.

The Mian range of dual control mixer valves comprises of single, dual and triple outlet variants with a choice of wall plates and control dials. With a choice of components and accessories, the Mian range allows for the design and specification of bespoke shower systems for every type of project, large or small. Different combinations of valve, wall plate and control dials with a selection of handset and fixed shower heads, rails and wall outlets give style options and flexibility, but with the same guarantee of performance and reliability throughout the range.

“As one of the top UK bathroom brands, we are continuously striving to develop products that meet and exceed the requirements of national building regulations and recognised industry standards,” explains Jerry Gorman, Head of Specification at Aqualisa. “We know that cost-effective, stylish product solutions and flexible installations are of the utmost importance, and that is what the Mian collection delivers.”

The one piece flat backed brass valve can be securely mounted before the mortar and tile work is finished, while push fit wall plates, control shrouds and handles make the completed installation quick and straightforward

The Aqualisa customer care team has expert resource dedicated to contract and specification customers. A nationwide coverage of trained and approved service engineers will support you quickly and professionally with any on-site installation issue.  Mian showers are suitable for all approved UK water systems and carry a comprehensive five year parts and labour guarantee.

Main image credit: Aqualisa

Hotel Indigo opens botanical boutique gem in Brussels

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel Indigo opens botanical boutique gem in Brussels

IHG has announced the opening of Hotel Indigo Brussels – City…

Adjacent to the gleaming international office buildings of Brussels-centre, named locally as the “little Manhattan”,  IHG’s boutique brand Hotel Indigo has opened Hotel Indigo Brussels – City in Place Charles Rogier.

Just behind this bustling modernity lies a beautiful and tranquil green space, the Botanic Gardens, which became a dominant source of inspiration behind the interior design concept of the hotel.

plants frame lifts

Image credit: IHG

Hotel Indigo Brussels – City shelters 284 guestrooms, putting it on the larger scale of ’boutique’. Referencing its surroundings, the hotel’s rooms and suites feature three garden-inspired themes: floral, herbal, and tropical. The room designs mimic what used to be the grand greenhouse in the Botanical Gardens which was also split into the above three climates. Guests will be fully immersed into a unique botanical theme throughout the hotel, with the walls and some ceilings in the rooms boasting very bold botanic inspired patterns and self-sustaining PikaPlant Jars, the original airtight terrarium. Each room boasts premium bedding, a working corner equipped with complementary water, a coffee-machine, a smart TV, high-speed internet, and a spa-inspired en-suite bathroom with Art Deco touches.

Brussels is the epicentre of architectural treasures with unique neighbourhoods strewn throughout the city. From the Royal Quarter to the Grand Palace and Îlot Sacré which houses the city’s 15th century Gothic town hall, the city has a lot to offer those coming to visit. 

“Hotel Indigo is IHG’s fastest growing boutique brand and is set to double over the next three – five years,” 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.”

large lobby/lounge bar area with plants

Image credit: IHG

The hotel is also home to the new SERRA, a restaurant that is dedicated to producing good food that has a positive impact on people and the planet. A combination of terra (the soil) and serre (the greenhouse), the name SERRA is a tribute to nature as both aspects help to grow food. Offering a quick bite at Urban Picnic or a delicious menu at Garden Kitchen, Serra is centred around the ethos that good food has a positive impact on people and the planet. Serra describes itself as “authentic, eco-friendly, locavore” with everything being sourced or grown within 100 miles of the hotel.

Hotel Indigo has amplified its presence on the international hotel design scene recently, with more than 112 properties open globally and a further 102 in the hotel pipeline, including Hotel Indigo Clerkenwell that Hotel Designs is following from concept through to completion.

Main image credit: IHG

Yello and blue contemporary arm chairs in light chalet-style room

Checking in to review Hotel Le Coucou, Meribel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Checking in to review Hotel Le Coucou, Meribel

15 years after first discovering the magic of Meribel in the French Alps, editor Hamish Kilburn is back – this time to review the destination’s latest ski-in/ski-out luxury hotel

In-between snow-blanketed fir trees, more than 1,400 metres above sea level in the French Alps, Hotel Le Coucou is Meribel’s latest luxury ski-in/ski-out hotel.

Yello and blue contemporary arm chairs in light chalet-style room

Award-winning French designer/architect Pierre Yovanovitch, who was last year crowned Wallpaper*’s Designer of the Year, was presented with a blank-canvas brief with his latest hotel project. Within just three years, he managed to create a sensitive architectural shell and fill it with his signature couture approach to interior design, including more than 140 bespoke furniture and lighting pieces – think abstract, animal-like armchairs and ice-inspired chandeliers. “There was so much pressure, because three years is not long for a project on this scale,” says Yovanovitch, “but it was a good challenge and the time restraint spurred me on to create something unique for the area.”

“We were familiar of Pierre’s work and knew instantly that he was perfect for what we had in mind for this hotel.”  – Kimberley Cohen, Artistic Director of Maisons Pariente.

Image from balcony looking out onto the mountains

Image credit: Hotel Le Coucou

With a list of strict local architectural planning constraints to abide by, in regards to using only local materials and regionally-integrated styles, the 55-key boutique hotel quickly became one the of designer’s most ambitious projects to date. “Previously, hotels that opened in ski resorts made a lot of mistakes, especially new-build properties that opened in the ‘70s,” Yovanovitch adds. “It was impossible to create a striking architectural structure because of the town’s uncompromising architecture regulations.”

“We had to lose a bedroom in the design stages in order to open up space for the oval-shaped lobby.” – Pierre Yovanovitch.

Despite the hotel seamlessly blending in to the natural winter wonderland location from the exterior (literally positioned on what was previously a piste ski route), inside, Yovanovitch paints a contrasting picture. Through the blonde, wooden-framed automatic doors, an understated check-in desk sits under a large painted oval ceiling. “Originally, the ceiling in the lobby was too low,” the designer explains. “As a result, we had to lose a bedroom in the design stages in order to open up space for the oval-shaped lobby.” The now intricately painted ceiling that forms a backdrop for a chandelier that looks like a melting ice cube is also guests’ first introduction to a loose motif, which continues throughout the hotel: the theme of owls – think of it as the designer’s contemporary flair, or a well-placed obsession.

intricate dome in the ceiling shelters seating underneith

Image caption/credit: The quirky, understated hotel lobby/Hotel Le Coucou

For the owners of the hotel, Maisons Pariente, there was only ever one designer for the job. “We were familiar of Pierre’s work and knew instantly that he was perfect for what we had in mind for this hotel,” said Kimberley Cohen, Artistic Director of Maisons Pariente. Thanks to the designer’s idiosyncratic take on slope-side luxury, Hotel Le Coucou has made it onto the radar of winter luxury travellers.

As well as the property remaining sensitive to its location in order to not lose the charm and personality of the local architecture, the public areas are also a nod to Yovanovitch’s stamp in the world of interior design. Several iconic Bear Chairs from his recent collaboration with R&Company, for example, are meaningfully scattered around the public areas, which adds the designer’s signature playful and contemporary style inside the shell of what on the outside looks to be a traditional alpine hotel.

“I was inspired to ensure that every room had an amazing view.” – Pierre Yovanovitch.

Capturing what you could strongly argue, from a hotels perspective at least, to be the most striking panoramic vistas in all of the French Alps, each of the boutique jewel’s guestrooms and suites have been designed to frame postcard-perfect views of undulating mountains. “I was inspired to ensure that every room had an amazing view, that was the most important thing when I came to design these areas,” explains Yovanovitch. “Sometimes, the view itself is more important than the décor.”

The 39 suites and 16 rooms are adorned with rich, warm colours and more than 160 contemporary art pieces as well as modern technology. The snow-inspired carpets inject sense-of-place and add a new layer of character into the lodge-like spaces. Although each guestroom and suite share the same motif, each shelter individual elements and somehow still maintain a traditional alpine style.

Bear chair next to lamp and on snow-inspired carpet

Image credit: Hotel Le Coucou/Jérôme Galland

The plush en-suite bathrooms, which are layered in marble, feature quality supplier labels and are complete with Italian faucets from Stella, Duravit W/Cs with Geberit operation panels and Beurer vanity mirrors as well as discreet wash-room style shower that is simple to operate. Character is injected into these spaces with imperfect oval-shaped mirrors and Yovanovitch’s bulb lighting.

Hidden downstairs, away from the public eye, are the hotel’s two four-bedroom chalets; worlds of their own. Both expansive two-floor chalets showcase Yovanovitch’s mastery of volume and architectural angles and continue to combine five-star luxury amenities with the detailed craftsmanship found in a traditional alpine home. Each are fully equipped with en-suite bedrooms, spacious living area and a games area as well as a private ski room, pool and spa.

For the main hotel guests, the hotel’s indoor and outdoor pool also feature private moments, such as relaxation areas that are nestled poolside underneath sculpted arches. The pool areas, divided by a bay window, create a stunning, trompe-l’oeil effect with views of the postcard-perfect vista outdoors. Down the corridor, six massage treatment rooms with specialist treatments from Tata Harper and a sauna area offer a deeply relaxing experience, and above this area is a state-of-the-art fitness studio and gym.

While there are three F&B areas in the hotel, the Beefbar restaurant and the adjacent bar create equal statement, as they frame the most spectacular views through unobtrusive floor-to-ceiling windows and are deliberately placed on the ground floor to create a dramatic first impression.

The Beefbar restaurant is full of thoughtful nods to the hotel’s name, location and character of its owners. A wall of cuckoo clocks above the tables, for example, reflects the traditional decor of the region, and emoji-themed plates create humour in all the right places. In the bar, low-level furniture that, when not sat on, abstrusely depicts an owl sitting on a textured geometric carpet. Together with a pastel pink, blue and mustard palate in the walls and furniture makes this area an exciting instagrammable space that feels warm, inviting and far from stuffy. Meanwhile, the hotel’s fine-dining restaurant, Bianca Neve, is located on a lower floor and is ideal for an evening meal, once the sun has disappeared over the horizon and guests’ attention can focus inwards. Yovanovitch’s artistic mark continues with a strong choice of bold colors, rich materials and an intricate ceiling fresco for good measure.

Light and bright restaurant

Image caption/credit: Bianca Neve restaurant/Hotel Le Coucou

Hotel Le Coucou is the third opening for Maisons Pariente in 2019, following closely behind the opening of Hotel Lou Pinet, Saint Tropez in June 2019 and the reopening of the refurbished Hotel Crillon le Brave in Provence on May 1, 2019. The Pariente family have their sights set on Paris, in le Marais, for a fourth addition to the collection in 2021.

Exterior shot of the hotel

Image credit: Hotel Le Coucou

A destination as precious as Meribel, in my humble opinion, requires a meaningful design eye when it comes to redevelopment. Yovanovitch has proven that rigid architectural boundaries do not automatically limit the level of creativity. Instead, it is clear that his studio’s eccentric style was everything and more the destination was crying out for.

Image of man standing with back to camera overlooking snow-capped mountains

Image caption/Credit: Editor Hamish Kilburn saying goodbye to Meribel once more from his slope-side luxury suite at Hotel Le Coucou/hotel_design_editor

If anyone was in doubt of Yovanovitch’s credentials of being one of the great modern designers of our era, then they have only to check in to a place truly like no other, Hotel Le Coucou is open for business.

Suppliers
Bathroom: Duravit, Geberit, Stella | Furniture: Pierre Yovanovitch Studio, R&Company, Ethimo| Lighting: Pierre Yovanovitch| In-room technology: Samsung

Main image credit: Hotel Le Coucou

Sensitively renovating a luxury jewel in Malta

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Sensitively renovating a luxury jewel in Malta

Design firm RPW Design has completed the extensive renovation inside Malta Marriott Hotel & Spa, inspired by Maltese craft and culture…

Opening its doors this month after an extensive renovation led by RPW Design is Malta Marriott Hotel & Spa.

The refreshed interiors of the hotel’s public spaces, restaurants, bars and 301 guestrooms blend modernised elements of traditional Maltese craft with the heritage of the hotel’s local area of Balluta Bay. 

In order to create a local, authentic and sophisticated aesthetic, the design firm carefully studied the culture and architecture of Malta and the history of Balluta Bay to take inspiration from natural materials and shapes.

“The hotel is situated in amazing location which has inspired our design throughout.” – Alessandro Tessari, Interior Architect at RPW Design.

The design highlights elements of traditional Maltese craft in a modern way. Within the curtains and carpets throughout the corridors and bedrooms, there are subtle references to lace; artworks created from locally made cement tiles decorate the interiors and hand-blown glass is incorporated into the light fittings.

With five diverse restaurants and three bars, functionality was at the forefront of the design process. The designers carefully considered the different spaces and how these will be used to create spaces that are adaptable to the modern traveller who may have a business meeting in the morning, but wants to enjoy a relaxed drink in the evening. The result is an elegant aesthetic that is both intuitive for guests and functional for operations, underpinning the exceptional service that the Malta Marriott team deliver. 

“We have been delighted to work on this exciting design project,” said Alessandro Tessari, Interior Architect at RPW Design. “The hotel is situated in amazing location which has inspired our design throughout. It has been a pleasure to showcase the history and heritage of Malta through our eyes for all the guests to enjoy. We are excited to see how the hotel develops as it embarks in a new era as a Marriott hotel.”

Guests enter the hotel and step inside The Great Room and the original Villa Garden, where the hotel is now situated, was the main source of inspiration for this space. Organic features and natural elements are used throughout the property. Furnishings with elegant textures mixed with traditional materials such as cane, wood and raffia are featured. Traditional Maltese with decorative glasswork including a large-scale lighting feature in the reception adds colour and vibrancy to the space. The use of soft curves subtly encourages guests to move through the expansive space. 

“Inspired by the heritage of Balluta Bay, we have woven the traditional crafts of Malta throughout the design.” – RPW Design partner, Elizabeth Lane.

The Atrio features luscious wooden elements, warm tones and rich textures throughout, creating calm and casual environment by day, and a relaxed, intimate setting in the evening. The space showcases expert joinery through the stunning bespoke wine display and crafted wooden bar. The use of varied furniture again allows guests to clearly distinguish between the spaces. 

“It has been a privilege and really exciting working with the team on the renovation and rebranding of the hotel,” added RPW Design partner, Elizabeth Lane. “Inspired by the heritage of Balluta Bay, we have woven the traditional crafts of Malta throughout the design in a contemporary way thereby giving the hotel a real sense of place while looking to the future. It will be an ideal destination for business or leisure or a combination of both.”

As for the guestrooms, the design team exchanged the bright yellow walls and terracotta furnishings for a palette of soft greys and browns that reflect the local architecture. The studio also introduced accents of vibrant colours inspired by the colourful balconies and doors found on traditional Maltese buildings and soft blues that reflect the shades of the sea. 

Light and bright image of room with wooden floor and white bed.

Image credit: Malta Marriott Hotel & Spa

Within the new executive suites, a timber slatted wall partition adds a new layer that is inspired by traditional balcony shutters. The partition creates an interesting effect which ensures natural light and air can travel across the lounge and bedroom areas whilst maintaining privacy for the guests. 

Located on the seafront, separate from the main hotel, The Villa has been designed in continuity with the hotel but the overall design is more traditional, as this is one of the few villas left in Balluta Bay.  Since the hotel was built in the original villa gardens, RPW decided to incorporate flora as the main feature to showcase the outlet’s fine dining experience.

The Marketplace, situated on the second floor, is Malta Marriott’s main restaurant. The designers have created a large open space that is flooded with light. The studio has continued to use slatted timber detailing that can be seen throughout the hotel, as well as soft upholstery, decorative tiles, marble detailing and colourful accessories to create a harmonious atmosphere. The design allows the space to be seamlessly adapted from a daily breakfast venue into a lavish evening restaurant, perfect for special occasions throughout the year.

The M Club Lounge offers spectacular views and the ideal space to work or relax. A versatile range of furniture meets the ever-changing needs of travellers. Soft lounge chairs and sofas create an intimate setting for leisure guests, whilst a large communal table with integrated work space is the perfect spot for business travellers to work. 

Image of rooftop overlooking Malta

Image credit: Malta Marriott Hotel & Spa

Overall, the hotel’s latest renovation has not only given life into the hotel, but has also enriched the surrounding area with RPW Design’s sensitively accurate approach. The design firm, which first showcased its ability to transform the Marriott brand back in 2016 with the completion of London Marriott Hotel County Hall’s complete renovation, has done it again with the completion of Malta’s Marriott to prove that this hotel brand is not reserved to the colour scheme of maroon reds and dark greens.

Main image credit: Malta Marriott Hotel & Spa

Everything you need to know about Hilton’s new lifestyle brand

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Everything you need to know about Hilton’s new lifestyle brand

Last month, Hilton dropped the news that it was launching a new lifestyle brand. Tempo by Hilton is an elevated and approachable brand offering thoughtful design, efficient service and exciting partnerships. Editor Hamish Kilburn investigates…

With no less than 30 hotels under development – and 30 more pending deals – Tempo by Hilton has launched with no intention of pacing itself into the market.

By combining thoughtful design and diverse lifestyle partnerships, Tempo by Hilton provides hotel owners and developers with a highly scalable brand that is both uplifting and within reach for future guests – all powered by an efficient service model.

“For more than 100 years, Hilton has pioneered the hospitality industry as we know it,” said Christopher J. Nassetta, President and CEO, Hilton. “Tempo by Hilton is the latest example of our unique ability to anticipate what our guests are looking for and deliver unmatched value for customers and owners alike. We’re thrilled to welcome this new brand to our Hilton family and look forward to building on our legacy of innovation with Tempo by Hilton.”

As part of its commitment to helping guests live better lives, Tempo by Hilton has established and built upon partnerships with leading experts across the well-being, food and beverage and other lifestyle spheres. The experts on board include Arianna Huffington’s renowned behaviour change platform, Thrive Global and established culinary firm, Blau + Associates. These organisations bring a sense of discovery to the brand, while empowering guests to continue prioritising well-being and personal growth even while travelling.

“Tempo by Hilton introduces a new concept by combining all the benefits and efficiencies owners expect from a limited service model with an uplifting dose of inspiration,” said Phil Cordell, SVP and global head of new brand development, Hilton. “Utilising a data-driven blueprint, we identified lifestyle offerings inside the guest rooms and throughout the property that push the entire sector to new heights. The end result is a compelling, yet approachable brand that enables owners to expand their portfolios in sought-after locations across the country as well as capture a new demographic of travellers.”

Guided by its various lifestyle partnerships, as well as exhaustive market research surveying more than 10,000 consumers, each Tempo by Hilton property will feature elements designed to help ambitious guests continue their journey without disrupting their routine.

Reinvigorating and Relaxing Guestrooms

More than rooms, Tempo by Hilton accommodations are said to serve as a refuge where modern travellers are reinvigorated for the day ahead. In-room experiences include the one-of-a-kind Power Up and Power Down collections; curated assortments of morning and bedtime rituals created in partnership with Thrive Global; as well as other unexpected touches, such as a finely tuned sleep environment and a dedicated Get Ready Zone with space to get ready, organise for the day and focus on work. In addition, the oversized bath suite, which includes mirrors with built-in Bluetooth speakers, is spacious, bright and invigorating to help guests recharge and renew.

render of plush yet simple guestroom

Image credit: Tempo by Hilton

Shared spaces

Envisioned as catalysts for genuine, memorable experiences, all Tempo by Hilton public areas bring a fresh approach to industry mainstays. These include art and design collections specifically chosen to encourage guests to look up from their daily grind and take a moment for themselves. Guests will also enjoy state-of-the-art fitness offerings; flexible meeting spaces.

Render of public areas

Image credit: Tempo by Hilton

Culinary journeys

Developed alongside the award-winning Blau + Associates, Tempo by Hilton’s food and beverage offerings ensure guests have access to everything they need to sustain energy and boost focus.

Sustainability

Tempo by Hilton aligns with Hilton’s Travel with Purpose 2030 Goals to double its investment in social impact and cut its environmental footprint in half. To that end, this new brand is committed to implementing sustainable practices throughout the guest experience. Examples of specific initiatives include LightStay, food waste programs, responsible seafood sourcing, hydration stations throughout the property to replace single-use plastic bottles and full-size bath amenity dispensers to reduce disposable plastics.

“Through our research, we found that while our current upscale offerings have been incredibly successful at earning loyalty among specific guest segments, there was a rising demographic of ambitious and highly discerning travellers that weren’t engaging with the category,” said Jon Witter, chief customer officer, Hilton. “With Tempo by Hilton, we are able to reach these influential consumers through a new, elevated yet approachable class of hotels designed to surpass expectations of both customers and owners in truly meaningful ways.”

Conceived with extensive input from leading hotel owners and investors around the country, the new brand has seen strong momentum ahead of its unveiling. There are more than 30 individual commitments to date with properties confirmed in several prime markets across the US, including New York, Maui, Boston, Los Angeles, Lexington, Nashville, San Diego, Charlotte, Washington D.C., Houston, Atlanta, and more. An additional 30 deals are in various stages of development.

Tempo by Hilton is the latest brand created by Hilton to address the future of travel. Other recently launched brands include Motto by Hilton – an affordable, lifestyle micro-hotel with a communal vibe in prime urban destinations – and Signia Hilton – the portfolio’s premiere meetings and events brand.

Main image credit: Tempo by Hilton

Discussing biophilic design in hotel surfaces

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Discussing biophilic design in hotel surfaces

Ahead of their panel discussion at the Surface Design Show next week, editor Hamish Kilburn and Parkside Architectural Tiles’ architectural consultancy manager Fraser Lockley discuss sustainable surfaces in hotel design… 

Design is all around us, and we interact with it from the moment we get up in the morning, through our working day and into leisure time.

Design is a reflection of society and impacts on how we interact in our daily lives. The way in which buildings and spaces are designed has the potential to greatly impact the wellbeing of those interacting with it, so to promote biophilic design seems a given.

Ahead of hosting a panel discussion (February 13 at 12:30pm on the Main Stage) at the Surface Design Show next week, I caught up with one of my panelists early to understand, from a suppliers perspective, how designers’ methods for injecting biophilic design into projects is allowing new possibilities to emerge in surface design.

Hamish Kilburn: What makes biophilic design more than just a trend?
Fraser Lockley: The ideas and principles of biophilic design have been around for many years, it is only the term that has come to the forefront of the design world more recently. The use of natural materials was a foundation for many of the classic societies (Egyptians, Greeks etc), so biophilic design is definitely not a new trend. It’s more a return to exploring the use of natural shapes, colours, textures and patterns as well as sustainable materials and interpreting these to modern designs and how they impact on end users.

HK: Can you explain what Parkside is looking for when it investigates new materials?
FL: We are always looking for opportunities to bring new products to the interiors and A&D sector. Our Sequel range is a great example, using recycled glass and ceramics normally discarded in the sanitary products manufacturing process, we were able to offer a great looking tile that appealed to the aesthetic requirements of clients while embracing sustainability and a biophilic ethos.

“While 15-20 years ago the idea of using recycled content was associated with inferior or cheaper products, now producers are more comfortable in declaring the resourcing of products to create new tiles.” Fraser Lockley, architectural consultancy manager at Parkside Tiles.

HK: What would you say are the least sustainable materials available in the marketplace?
FL: Sustainability can be measured in various ways, so it is not always easy to pinpoint exact materials, for example some materials may be more energy intensive to produce but then have a much longer product life than sustainably produced equivalents. In addition, products that stand the test of time in terms of look and performance could arguably be more sustainable over something very niche and on-trend for a particular timeframe. For us, it’s about achieving a balance across all of these and providing products that have a long-term design, good product life and made without over-exploiting earth’s natural resources.

HK: How is technology unlocking the potential for designers to affordably access sustainable tiles?
FL: Digital printing technology means that a majority of looks, finishes and styles can be replicated onto tiles, thereby protecting valuable natural resources such as marble, slate, quartz etc. It’s worth bearing in mind that tiles are generally long-lasting and hardwearing. In fact, tiles are only likely to be removed because someone wants to change them rather than through necessity. Looking around modern-day London, our tube stations are testament to some of the iconic tiles from the 1900s that are still in use today.

HK: How many of Parkside’s tiles would you consider to be sustainable?
FL: With the longevity that tiles provide we consider tiles to be a sustainable option for exterior and interior finishes. Many of the major manufacturers are using a percentage of recycled content within their production processes. While 15-20 years ago the idea of using recycled content was associated with inferior or cheaper products, now producers are more comfortable in declaring the resourcing of products to create new tiles.

HK: How can designers on a budget sensitively inject biophilic design in public areas?
FL: Designers can concentrate on one or two of the biggest elements of a project that will impact on the overall design, this could be key features or focusing on particular aspects like the lighting or flooring and sourcing one or two products that embrace the biophilic ethos. This one change may seem small but incorporating even just a single element can have an impact on how the end user interacts with public areas.

HK: In your role, how has demand for sustainability increased in recent years?
FL: There has been a massive increase! Architects and designers continue to incorporate sustainability within their projects and the latest generation of designers have been introduced to sustainability from the start of their careers, so we predict continued demand for new products that address these practises.

HK: What are the consumer benefits of biophilically designed tiles?
FL: Any biophilic design which helps end users connect with nature while inside, provides the benefits of reducing stress, supporting wellbeing, and helping with performance in an ever-hectic environment.

Hotel Designs’ Hamish Kilburn will host the panel discussion entitled: Biophilic Materials in Surface Design. He will be joined on the sofa by Fraser Lockley (architectural consultancy manager at Parkside Architectural Tiles), Jeremy Grove (Managing Director of Sibley Grove) and Richard Holland (Director of Holland Harvey Architects).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The project continues…

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

Main image credit: 3 Stories

Render of rooftop bar and pool in city

Canopy by Hilton to open 20 hotels in 2020

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Canopy by Hilton to open 20 hotels in 2020

Hilton is calling it ’20 in 20′ as its lifestyle brand, Canopy by Hilton, is predicting to nearly triple its portfolio with 20 expected openings in the next 11 months… 

Hotel group Hilton has just announced that its ‘upper upscale’ lifestyle brand, Canopy by Hilton, is predicting to open 20 hotels in 2020 across seven countries.

Render of rooftop bar and pool in city

Canopy’s current and projected openings in 2020, which join the brand’s 12 existing hotels in China, Croatia, Iceland and the U.S., include:

  • Brazil: São Paulo-Jardins
  • China: Hangzhou-West Lake
  • France: Paris-Trocadero
  • Mexico: Cancun-La Isla (opened Jan. 28)
  • United Arab Emirates: Dubai-Al Seef1
  • United Kingdom: London-London City
  • United States: Austin-Downtown; Baltimore-Harbor Point; Charlotte-SouthPark; Dallas-Frisco Station; Grand Rapids-Downtown; Jersey City-Arts District; Kansas City-Downtown; Memphis-Downtown; Philadelphia-Center City; San Antonio-Riverwalk; Scottsdale-Old Town; Tempe-Downtown University Area; Washington, DC-Embassy Row (opened Jan. 14); and West Palm Beach-Downtown

“We’ve received resoundingly positive feedback from guests who have loved their local adventures while staying in our 12 existing hotels,” said Gary Steffen, global head, Canopy by Hilton. “We are excited to create more of these authentic experiences with all that Canopy offers in 20 more vibrant neighbourhoods this year.”

Strategically located in dynamic neighbourhoods across the globe, the concept of a Canopy hotel is a natural extension of the community in which it calls home and provides an energising atmosphere with thoughtfully local touches.

Following extensive consumer research, Canopy by Hilton was created to provide the uncomplicated comforts, thoughtful design and thriving atmosphere that today’s travellers demanded.

Prior to 2020, Canopy by Hilton opened properties in Atlanta-Midtown; Chengdu-City Centre; Columbus, OH-Short North; Dallas-Uptown; Ithaca-Downtown; Hangzhou-Jinsha Lake; Minneapolis-Mill District; Portland, OR-Pearl District; Reykjavik-City Centre; Washington, DC-Bethesda North; Washington, DC-The Wharf; and Zagreb-City Centre.

Beyond this year, the brand is working with local partners to develop hotels in Bangkok, Boston, Cape Town, Chicago, Kuala Lumpur, Madrid, New Orleans, Riyadh, Toronto and more.

Main image credit: Canopy by Hilton

CASE STUDY: Creating signage for stadium hospitality spaces

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
CASE STUDY: Creating signage for stadium hospitality spaces

Recommended Supplier Signbox manufactured bespoke signage for 12 restaurants and premium hospitality spaces at Tottenham Hotspur stadium…

Working closely with F3 Architects, which was responsible for designing the premium interiors of the new Tottenham Hotspur stadium, Signbox manufactured and installed brand signage for each of the 12 individual restaurants and hospitality spaces across the new stadium.

This including a commission to design, manufacture and install extensive glass manifestations for the Tottenham Experience, the Club’s new store.

The bespoke hospitality signage manufactured by Signbox were fabricated using a range of materials such as brass, copper, Corten steel, acrylic, LED neon and aluminium to create an elaborate suite of signage across the stadium’s premium interiors.

Installed across nine floors on both the East and West sides of the stadium, the Signbox’s installers covered on average 10km and 12 flights of stairs a day, working 24|7 to a tight deadline. Almost every single sign type was unique and as such had to be coded and marked on the plans with its individual location ID.

Collaboration was the key to success

Following on from the success of the previous Spurs project at their training campus (a stone’s throw from the new stadium) ‘The Lodge’ player accommodation, F3 Architects invited Signbox to become involved with the stadium works and to support them in the delivery of the bespoke hospitality, player and media signage across the new stadium for their client Tottenham Hotspur.

Collaboration with the client and BASE Contracts who were responsible for the delivery of the build was the key to success. With F3 Architects, we went through a highly detailed design process for each of the spaces and developed every element of the fixings, specification and location ensuring this was coordinated with the surroundings and making sure the placement for each sign was considered exactly.

Click here to read to find out more about the signs manufactured and installed by Signbox at Tottenham Hotspur stadium, the greatest and most innovative stadium in the world.

If you want to create that critical first impression that speaks volumes about your hotel brand and delivers a guest experience they’ll remember for all the right reasons, talk to Signbox about our award-winning hotel and hospitality signage solutions.

Signbox 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.

Hamilton Litestat announced as Headline Partner for MEET UP networking events

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hamilton Litestat announced as Headline Partner for MEET UP networking events

Recommended Supplier Hamilton Litestat has been announced as Headline Partner for MEET UP London and MEET UP North….

Electrical Solutions and wiring provider Hamilton Litestat will once again support Hotel Designs as Headline Partner at two of its key industry networking events in 2020.

MEET UP London, which will take place on May 13, and MEET UP North that takes place in Manchester on July 6.

Having previously supported Hotel Designs with its annual The Brit List Awards event, Hamilton aims to further increase its business and product awareness amongst the site’s loyal audience.

“We’ve found a supportive partner in Hotel Designs and The Brit List Awards was a great way for us to strike up meaningful conversations within the industry.” – Gavin Williams, Head of Marketing for Hamilton

“A key part of the Hamilton business is engaging with those within the design, architecture and hotel industries, and the Hotel Designs MEET UP events are an ideal way to get face-to-face time with important players,” said Gavin Williams, Head of Marketing for Hamilton. “We’ve found a supportive partner in Hotel Designs and The Brit List Awards was a great way for us to strike up meaningful conversations within the industry. We’re hoping that we can take that one step further with the MEET UP networking events.

Until January 31 (this Friday), EARLY RELEASE tickets to both Meet Up London and Meet Up North are available to purchase for designers, architects, hoteliers, developers and those who supply to the hospitality industry. The regional events, which last year bridged the gap between more than 400 design and hospitality professionals, are regarded as two of the industry’s most established networking events. “We are fully committed to host our networking events in locations and venues that are at the heart of the hotel design community,” said editor Hamish Kilburn. “We hope that Meet Up London and Meet Up North, which include relevant themes and talks at both, help to build seamless relationships as well as inspire the industry to further push boundaries in design and hospitality.”

To book tickets to MEET UP London:

EARLY RELEASE SUPPLIER TICKETS*: £99 + VAT (expires on January 31)  | CLICK HERE to purchase your tickets.
EARLY RELEASE BUYER TICKETS**£10 + VAT (expires on January 31) | CLICK HERE to purchase your tickets.

To book tickets to MEET UP North:

EARLY RELEASE SUPPLIER TICKETS*: £99 + VAT (expires on January 31) | CLICK HERE to purchase your tickets.
EARLY RELEASE BUYER TICKETS**£10 + VAT (expires on January 31) | CLICK HERE to purchase your tickets.

If you would like to discuss various sponsorship packages available, or if you have any enquires regarding tickets, please contact Katy Phillips via email, or call 01992 374050.

Early Release offer strictly ends January 31, 2020.

* Those eligible to purchase Supplier Tickets must be industry suppliers.
** Those eligible to purchase buyer tickets must prove that they are an interior designer, architect, hotelier or developer.

 

VIP ARRIVALS: Top hotels to open in February 2020

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
VIP ARRIVALS: Top hotels to open in February 2020

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

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

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

Here’s February’s top picks…

Hotel Brooklyn, Manchester

Image credit: Bespoke Hotels/Hotel Brooklyn Manchester

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

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

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

ME Dubai

Image credit: ME Dubai/Zaha Hadid Architects

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

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

Zedwell, London

Image credit: Zedwell London

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

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

Artist Residence, Bristol

Image credit: Artist Residence

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

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

Arctic Bath in Lapland, Sweden

Image credit: Arctic Bath Sweeden

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

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

The Guardsman, London

Image credit: The Guardsman Hotel/Tonik Associates

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

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

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

Main image credit: ME Dubai/Zaha Hadid Architects

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Villeroy & Boch

FIRST LOOK: Inside the renovation of Oatlands Park Hotel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
FIRST LOOK: Inside the renovation of Oatlands Park Hotel

Following a multi-million pound renovation, Oatlands Park Hotel has given Hotel Designs a sneak peek inside the new contemporary hotel in Surrey… 

A venue steeped in History, Oatlands Park Hotel has been the home to previous Kings and Queens of England. Following more than ten million pounds of investment to date towards extensive and careful renovations over the last four years, the hotel is nearing its completion.

The transformation of the hotel includes a brand-new glass ceiling guest foyer, a new restaurant and bar, The Mulberry and Bar 1509, alongside the grand total of 144 guestrooms, 120 of which have been completely updated and modernised. There’s also been dramatic developments in the hotel’s multiple meeting rooms and conferences spaces as well as significant improvements and new crafted landscaping to the grounds.

The design of the hotel’s lobby and lobby bar was led by interior designer Përparim Rama from 4M Group, while Penny Patterson from Make It So Design set the design language for the new guestrooms, other feature areas and meeting spaces.

Originally the site of a Tudor Palace commissioned by Henry VIII in 1538, Oatlands Park Hotel in Weybridge is described as ‘the jewel in Surrey’s crown’. The multistage refurbishment project started back in 2016 with the aim of retaining historic features alongside a fresh contemporary style, to ensure the hotel is kept at the very forefront of the marketplace, meeting the high expectations of both its corporate and leisure clientele who come from all over the world to stay here.

Lavish dining area with high ceilings

Image credit: Oatlands Park Hotel

The recently developed hotel lobby and welcome foyers have meant the project has come to near completion. The design of these areas within the hotel has been highly enriched by the elegance of natural marble and oak timber flooring. Reflecting the history of the hotel, the lobby has been refurbished with marmorino walls, recreating the Italianate style of the original building of the 19th century. A hand-crafted brass and glass chandelier looks down from a privileged position as a classic symbol of the luxurious past in this historic venue. The idea is that this sets a goal of creating a comfortable space welcoming guests to the hotel lobby, lobby bar and grounds, encouraging customers to walk around and interact.

Horse like lamps facing each other in white coriddor

Image credit: Oatlands Park Hotel

Throughout the whole project, the historic hotel façade will remain intact and retains its character of the grade II listed building and grounds. The Oatlands Park Hotel’s magnificent grounds, trees and gardens are included in the “Register of Gardens and Park of Special Historic Interest”. The team at the hotel has been working closely with Emma Adams, a local heritage planning expert and SSA Architects to ensure that they keep the existing historical spirit of the hotel, while anchoring the establishment firmly in the 21st century.

Following the latest phase of renovations, there are additional plans for a luxury spa, further conference rooms as well as 33 guestrooms currently going through planning permission stages.

Main image credit: Oatlands Park Hotel

Sekers unveils new velvet collection

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Sekers unveils new velvet collection

Following its appearance at Sleep & Eat 2019, Sekers has announced the launch of FIORA, a lush polyester velvet collection suitable for contract upholstery and accessories…

With a subtle printed texture and soft lustre providing a modern edge, Fiora by Sekers is available in a spectrum of 25 colours including rich, saturated hues and pastel highlights.

Incorporating FibreGuard, an advanced finish that helps protect the fabric against spills and stains without having to resort to specialist cleaning, Fiora resists the toughest of stains, including red wine and ballpoint pen.

With a Martindale abrasion performance of 100,000 rubs and supplied with crib five fire retardant backing, Fiora is perfect for the most demanding upholstery application. Meeting all relevant UK, American and IMO standards for upholstery, Fiora is the ideal choice for the designer specifying for the hospitality, leisure and marine markets.

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

Case study: Specifying the surfaces at Juno Rooms

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Case study: Specifying the surfaces at Juno Rooms

A range of striking porcelain and handmade ceramic tiles from Parkside have been used as surfaces at Juno Rooms, a lively entertainment venue in the heart of London’s financial district…

Known locally as a thriving hub and flexible event space, Juno Rooms is Urban Pubs and Bars’ debut property in the City of London.

Driving the venue’s transformation through the universal appeal of natural influences in pattern, colour and texture, leading hospitality concept specialist Harrison has created a unique interior for the multi-functional space that sees use from morning till late night. The all-encompassing design appeals to a more discerning and demanding city worker guest but also attracts a wide variety of clientele.

Surface specialists Parkside supplied approximately 250m2 of tiles for the project with the main floors in the bar area and toilets using the award-winning Kaste01. This concrete-effect porcelain tile offers high slip resistance and was used in standard large format at the bar surround and in rest rooms, as well as waterjet cut into a multi-tonal geometric design in the seated dining area.

Found on the walls of the impressive front bar, Harrison commissioned a handmade bespoke ceramic tile in a geometric pattern of colour-matched green tones. The walls of the toilets feature a specially sourced botanical pattern ceramic tile joined by colour-matched green ceramic wall tiles in a gloss finish.

At the entrance of Juno Rooms, Harrison tasked Parkside to source frost-proof hexagonal tiles, again in a unique green colourway.  For the steps of the entrance, Parkside provided another frost-proof tile, this time with high slip resistance, supplying it alongside a contrasting technical step edge for safety.

Ceri Shannon, designer at Harrison, said on the refurbishment of Juno Rooms: “We wanted to create a strong design that represented the interior’s need to be adaptable and appealing. Achieved through biophilic elements in the design, as well as authentic materials including exposed brickwork and wood, we also came to Parkside to help us achieve a ranging set of demands in our use of ceramic and porcelain tiles.

“We knew that Parkside could source us the products we needed, as well as handle the specialised aspects of the design such as waterjet cutting and colour matching. To have this all from one supplier makes a huge difference in a high-spec, multi-layered project such as this.”

Juno Rooms, is a bar and kitchen operated by Urban Pubs and Bars, a Sunday Times FastTrack 100 listed chain of 20 pubs, bars and restaurants across London.

Parkside will join editor Hamish Kilburn at the Surface Design Show for the panel discussion entitled: Biophilic Materials in Surface Design.

The tile design company 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: Juno Rooms/Parkside

Manchester welcomes two new Hyatt hotels

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Manchester welcomes two new Hyatt hotels

The opening marks the first two Hyatt-branded hotels in Manchester, and the debut of the Hyatt House brand in the United Kingdom…

After Hotel Designs announced it will return to the city for Meet Up North, Hyatt Hotels  has announced  the opening of the 212-room Hyatt Regency Manchester and the 116-key Hyatt House Manchester in the city’s landmark building “The Lume.” The openings represent a significant milestone for Hyatt’s brand growth in the U.K. and the debut of Hyatt’s extended stay segment, the Hyatt House brand.

Hyatt Regency Manchester offers empathetic service that anticipates the needs of guests and event planners to ensure they have a seamless and personalised experience. The hotel will stay true to the brand promise of making travel free from stress by providing guests everything they need under one roof. Hyatt House Manchester is designed to make guests feel at home, offering residents spacious, apartment-style living paired with amenities that help them maintain work and personal routines while on the road.

Situated in the Innovation District on the Oxford Road Corridor, both hotels are close to Manchester’s major transportation hubs and provide easy access to major attractions. “We look forward to welcoming guests to the first Hyatt hotels in Manchester – one of the UK’s most multicultural cities and a hub for innovative start-ups,” said Assumpta McDonald, general manager of Hyatt Regency and Hyatt House Manchester. “A city popular for leisure and business travelers, Manchester and its growing commercial center is an ideal destination for having two brands within one building. Located in close proximity to the University, the city center and a number of tourist attractions, we believe that both hotels will attract business and leisure travellers alike.”

Image credit: Hyatt Hotels

The properties offer a variety of shared facilities, including The Laureate Restaurant, The Graduate Bar, seven state-of-the-art meeting rooms and a fully equipped 24-hour fitness centre. Additionally, guests staying at Hyatt House Manchester have access to the Omelet Bar and the 24/7 H Market.

Establishing shot of hotel

Image credit: Hyatt Hotels

Hyatt Regency Manchester offers 212 contemporary guestrooms and suites, all featuring floor-to-ceiling windows with city views. For travellers looking for an extended stay, Hyatt House Manchester offers 116 studios and one-bedroom suites, all featuring fully equipped kitchens, free wi-fi and stylish living and working spaces. Guests of the hotel can also enjoy 24-hour access to complimentary laundry facilities, inclusive breakfast, and the 24/7 H Market.

Hyatt Regency Manchester and Hyatt House Manchester share two distinctive gastronomic offerings – The Laureate Restaurant and The Graduate Bar. The Laureate Restaurant boasts a menu that celebrates Manchester as one of the UK’s most multicultural cities. Aptly named to reflect the academic brilliance of the hotel’s surroundings, The Graduate Bar is a vibrant, airy oasis inspiring guests and locals to relax and unwind. It offers cocktails, quality beers and gourmet bites. Exclusively accessible for guests of Hyatt House Manchester, the H Market is open 24/7 and provides a range of groceries and on-the-go snacks.

Hyatt Regency Manchester offers an array of flexible meeting spaces, with seven state-of-the-art meeting rooms. The hotel pays tribute to some of Manchester’s best-known academics, naming the meeting rooms after famous alumni and those working closely with the University. These include former chief executive of Manchester City Council Sir Howard Bernstein and renowned mathematician Alan Turing, best known for his work in breaking the German Enigma code during World War II.

Hyatt House Manchester offers two intimate event spaces: The Conservatory and The Living Room, both located on the 18th floor of the hotel.

The varied selection of meeting spaces offered by the two hotels provide guests of both properties the option to book from a range of options to ensure a seamless environment for every event. The meeting rooms are equipped with LCD projectors and screens for presentations, and the on-site business center is open 24 hours a day. Additionally, all meeting rooms and event spaces offer expert catering services.

Hyatt Regency Manchester and Hyatt House Manchester are the seventh and eighth Hyatt-branded hotels to open in the U.K., alongside Andaz London Liverpool Street, Hyatt Regency Birmingham, Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill, Hyatt Place West London/Hayes, Hyatt Place London Heathrow Airport and the recently opened The Great Scotland Yard Hotel.

Main image credit: Hyatt Hotels

INSIGHT: 5G and hotel security technology in the ’20s

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INSIGHT: 5G and hotel security technology in the ’20s

To launch the next few weeks putting Technology under the spotlight, Mark Tucknutt, the owner of specialist security consultancy Toren Consulting Ltd, breaks down some of the cyber security issues the design, architecture and hospitality sector will face in the Roaring 20s…

It’s pretty hard to resist a technology forecast at the turn of the decade, and when you misspent your teenage years playing ‘Cyberpunk 2020’ its nigh on impossible.

I run a boutique security design consultancy, supporting developers and architects in designing hotels that meet the security requirements of planning authorities, hotel brands and hotel guests. While we’re not living in the dystopian tech-obsessed 2020 that 13 year old me was promised in the early 1990s, we are living in interesting times for the hotel sector, for technology and for security risks.

Most commentators agree that one of the key technology trends for the 2020s is going to be the continued rolloout of 5G networks. Here are a few ways that I believe that may impact on hotel security and allow ‘security’ devices to better support hotel business operations.

Distributed Video Analytics

We all know from the mainstream media that 5G is coming, and that it will bring huge increases in bandwidth and speed over mobile networks. The impact of 5G on hotels, with their transient users and geographically dispersed properties, is going to be significant. Of course, I’m not talking about the ability of guests to download a movie more quickly, as exciting as that might be. 5G is going to enable hotel chains to make use of a wide range of intelligent devices, and I predict that some of the most valuable will be video surveillance cameras.

5G networks will increase the ability of business systems to make decisions based on information from edge devices. For traditional security cameras monitored by a human operator, the reduced latency isn’t really a factor; fibre optic latency is already a tiny factor compared to human decision-making speeds. But when we’re talking about automated business systems, that faster response is going to enable lots of interesting processes. 5G will allow hotel brands and operators to reliably use video analytics to monitor and react in real-time to AI-based alerts from a global hotel portfolio, for example about queue lengths, unusual patterns of behaviour in the lobby or recognition of a VIP guest.

More devices, fewer wires and more integration

Security systems have been, somewhat belatedly, moving to a cloud-based architecture during the last few years. 5G is going to accelerate that development so that access control panels and servers and video surveillance recorders located on the premises will be consigned to history.

Video surveillance cameras will finally become truly wireless for data transmission. The increased reliability of 5G will give hotels the confidence to deploy wireless cameras throughout hotels, rather than only in hard to reach locations. Instead of ‘wireless’ guestroom locking connecting to wired hubs (often several in each guest corridor), guestroom locks will make use of 5G’s reduced latency to become truly wireless, also improving the guest experience by reducing the time taken to unlock the door.

5G will therefore lead to reduced security installation costs for new hotels by removing network cabling, switches, wireless access control hubs, network video recorders etc from construction. New locks and cameras will become quicker, easier and cheaper to deploy.

Mobile app guestroom locking comes of age

The capabilities of 5G phones are going to make mobile phones even more ubiquitous, and hotel guests even more comfortable with expecting to use phones for secure tasks.

The use of mobile phones for guestroom locking ‘keys’ has existed for a while now, but adoption hasn’t been as strong as it might have been. I’m predicting that as the technology matures, and integrations between locking systems, guest apps and booking systems become more open, that 2020 is the year that we finally see mobile phones take over from plastic RFID cards as the de facto guest room access control device.

While there is still a concern that guests will be reluctant to download a new app for each hotel stay, the major guestroom locking providers are at least now offering integration to not just a hotel’s own app development but to the main third-party hospitality app providers. This means that just as smaller hotel chains can now ‘white-label’ a guest app solution from a third-party (such as HotelBird or AeroGuest), those apps are now likely to be integrated with a guestroom locking product (such as Salto XS4 or Vingcard Essence).

Main image credit: Salto

Laufen’s technology secret: it’s all in the material

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Laufen’s technology secret: it’s all in the material

Design reduced to the essentials, SaphirKeramik has been bathroom manufacturer Laufen’s trade technology secret since 2013. Since then, the material has been used to create some of the most stunning bathroom products…

With SaphirKeramik the Swiss bathroom specialist Laufen is setting a new trend in bathroom design.

SaphirKeramik is an innovative ceramic material, which possesses all the hygienic advantages of traditional bathroom ceramics, but is thinner, more defined, and extremely robust. The special properties are due to the addition of corundum, a colourless component of sapphire, which has been prepared for the market by years of research and development work by Laufen. Since its launch in 2013 SaphirKeramik has developed into a favourite material of many architects and bathroom planners, because it permits a whole new design language with ceramics in the bathroom, which could not have been realised in the same way with conventional ceramic material.

Basin in black set

Image credit: Laufen

SaphirKeramik from Laufen is a very hard and rigid ceramic, which for the first time allows very thin, but extremely robust ceramic walls and at the same time a defined rim – a narrow edge radius of 1-2mm is possible, whilst traditionally ceramic material manages 7-8mm. The name SaphirKeramik is related to sapphire glass, known from watch-making, which also contains corundum, making it also a very hard material. However, SaphirKeramik not only permits a more precise and slimmer design language, but also has functional and ecological advantages: thus in the case of SaphirKeramik washbasins, with less material more functional space is created. In the process SaphirKeramik is exactly as hygienic and safe with drinking water as traditional ceramic material, and can also be recycled completely. The low material quantity, thanks to a simplified ceramic structure, has further advantages in terms of environmental protection and sustainability, since fewer raw materials and less energy are required for the firing, production and transport of SaphirKeramik.

Meanwhile Laufen has gained extensive experience with the innovative ceramic material, integrating numerous bathroom products made of SaphirKeramik into its ranges. Together with the washbasins in the successful Kartell by Laufen bathroom collection, and the SaphirKeramik bowls from the Living Square collection, the washbasins from the Val and Ino collections have now joined this exclusive club. Val and Ino have been developed from the SaphirKeramik project, to which Laufen invited the two designers Konstantin Grcic and Toan Nguyen, in order to collectively explore further the design potential of the material in conceptual studies. SaphirKeramik also plays a key role in Patricia Urquiola’s Sonar collection for Laufen.

“Laufen is convinced that the potential of SaphirKeramik has not yet been fully exploited, and that with this innovative material we are going to realise many exciting developments in the future,” says Marc Viardot, Director of Marketing and Products at Laufen. “Since the dimensions of bathrooms in reality hardly change, it is our vision of wellbeing in the bathroom to optimise the proportions of features and to create a sustainable product design in accordance with the available room.”

Laufen 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: Laufen

EARLY RELEASE tickets open for Hotel Designs’ premium networking events

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
EARLY RELEASE tickets open for Hotel Designs’ premium networking events

For limited time only, Hotel Designs has opened discounted EARLY RELEASE tickets to Meet Up London (May 13) and Meet Up North (July 6)…

After hosting a hat-trick of successful and meaningful premium networking events up and down the country last year, Hotel Designs is offering designers, architects, hoteliers, developers and suppliers to purchase discounted EARLY RELEASE tickets to Meet Up London and Meet Up North.

Until January 31, tickets to both Meet Up London and Meet Up North are available to purchase for designers, architects, hoteliers, developers and those who supply to the hospitality industry. The regional events, which last year bridged the gap between more than 400 design and hospitality professionals, are regarded as two of the industry’s most established networking events. “We are fully committed to host our networking events in locations and venues that are at the heart of the hotel design community,” said editor Hamish Kilburn. “We hope that Meet Up London and Meet Up North, which include relevant themes and talks at both, help to build seamless relationships as well as inspire the industry to further push boundaries in design and hospitality.”

About Meet Up London 
Date: May 13, 2020 | 6pm – 10pm
Venue: Minotti London | Theme: Inspiring Creativity
Headline Partner: Hamilton Litestat | Partner: Crosswater

Following the success of last year’s spring networking eventHotel Designs is delighted to return to Minotti London for Meet Up London 2020, the publication’s first networking event of the year. The London Fitzrovia showroom, which recently played host to an exclusive roundtable, will shelter an evening like no other around the theme of Inspiring Creativity, with the concrete aim to further bridge the gap between designers, architects, hoteliers, developers and key-industry suppliers.

EARLY RELEASE SUPPLIER TICKETS*: £99 + VAT (expires on January 31)  | CLICK HERE to purchase your tickets.
EARLY RELEASE BUYER TICKETS**: £10 + VAT (expires on January 31) | CLICK HERE to purchase your tickets.

Sponsors for Meet Up London (so far): 

About Meet Up North 
Date: July 6, 2020 | 6pm – 10pm
Venue: Central Manchester (venue to be announced shortly)| Theme: Manchester On The Boards
Headline Partner: Hamilton Litestat | Partner: Crosswater

Considering the vast amount of hotel projects currently on the boards in the north – many of which are slated to complete in Manchester and open this year – Hotel Designs will be returning to the city of Manchester for Meet Up North 2020. The city, which has hosted the concept since its launch in 2018, will once again welcome leading designers, architects, hoteliers, developers and key-industry suppliers for the market’s leading networking event in the north of England.

EARLY RELEASE SUPPLIER TICKETS*: £99 + VAT (expires on January 31) | CLICK HERE to purchase your tickets.
EARLY RELEASE BUYER TICKETS**: £10 + VAT (expires on January 31) | CLICK HERE to purchase your tickets.

Sponsors for Meet Up North (so far):

If you would like to discuss various sponsorship packages available, or if you have any enquires regarding tickets, please contact Katy Phillips via email, or call 01992 374050.

Early Release offer strictly ends January 31, 2020.

* Those eligible to purchase Supplier Tickets must be industry suppliers.
** Those eligible to purchase buyer tickets must prove that they are an interior designer, architect, hotelier or developer.

close up of wall partition in the restaurant

How twenty2degrees redesigned Budapest Marriott Hotel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
How twenty2degrees redesigned Budapest Marriott Hotel

Hotel Designs follows twenty2degrees, which has just completed a two-phase refurbishment of Budapest Marriott Hotel…

Whenever a project completes from The Brit List 2019 accredited design firm twenty2desgrees, you know that its design is going to do three things: 1) stand out from the crowd, 2) be full of personality and 3) have meaning. The team’s latest project, Budapest Marriott Hotel, is no exception of that unwritten, yet widely known, rule.

close up of wall partition in the restaurant

Phase one of the renovation began with the brand’s signature ‘greatroom’ concept, which harmonises reception, lobby lounge, bar and restaurant in a single open space, followed by the hotel’s function and meeting rooms. The result not only aligns with brand expectations but, thanks to the designers’ introduction of local context and artistic provenance, feels absolutely at home in this historic and creative city.

Large contemporary partition in lobby/f&B area

Image credit: Marriott International/twenty2degrees

Tucked along the banks of the Danube River, the hotel overlooks some of the capital’s most iconic landmarks including the Chain Bridge and Buda Castle. The 50-year old building belongs to the Brutalist mid-twentieth style of architecture, and the designers pay homage to the concrete façade with a new stone sculptural relief in the lobby. Beyond this, however, the interiors are now modern and tactile with numerous residential-style details to ensure guests feel at their ease from the moment they arrive. The firm, headed up by Nicolas Stoupas and Joseph Stella, has also introduced Marriott’s first ‘disruptive bar’ – a free-standing island bar in the lounge designed to evolve through the day, from morning coffee and pastry service, to cocktails and snacks in the evening.

Large and comfortable lobby/lounge area

Image credit: Marriott International/twenty2degrees

“While addressing all the ‘Marriott Modern’ touchpoints, we felt it was important to also capture the rich essence of Budapest, a vibrant European city with a tremendous amount of history and a vast number of creative individuals, both past and present, from whom to draw inspiration,” explained Stella, Creative Director of twenty2degrees. “Whenever we begin a new project, we first look to the brief in order to form the bare bones of the design. Then we explore the locality in order to added layered design elements”.

The work of Hungary’s renowned Bauhaus designer, Marcel Breuer, and artist, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, was the inspiration for the specially designed carpets and the refined-yet-elaborate decorative screens throughout the Greatroom. Integrated as an artistic and architectural element, they also serve to zone the space without shutting off any areas. These areas include: The Individual Zone for guests to relax, read, work and enjoy a coffee or a light snack, The Social Zone that is centred on the Liz and Chain Bar, and The Guest Service Zone where customers check in. Zones are defined by varying colour palettes as well as by different seating, tables and lighting options. The multi-functional, open plan scheme is designed to reflect our modern lifestyle where the opposing demands for privacy and human connection, work and socialising need to be met within a flexible space.

large island in the middle of modern F&B area

Image credit: Marriott International/twenty2degrees

Together with cubist shapes and Bauhaus curves, twenty2degrees’ celebration of the local is continued through a collaboration with contemporary local artists, Janos Huszti, Petyka, and Stefan Osnowski. Their pieces, as well as a collection of traditional paintings and prints and integrated artworks compliment the colour scheme and provide an impressive gallery feel to some of the areas.

The meeting and banqueting spaces boast stunning views of the city. Together they represent 17,000 square feet of versatile space that includes Grand Budapest Ballroom, Ballroom Terrace, and a number of flexible meeting rooms. The redesigned spaces display similar aesthetic values to the Greatroom, echoing Bauhaus principles, favouring functionality over ornamentation and asymmetry over symmetry. They too are modern and tactile, combining cubist inspired forms with a contemporary design style.

Main image credit: Marriott International/twenty2degrees

NH Hotels arrives in style to join Amsterdam’s hotel scene

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
NH Hotels arrives in style to join Amsterdam’s hotel scene

nhow Amsterdam RAI is the brand’s second hotel to open this year – and it is as quirky as the rest of the portfolio…

Just days after opening the brand’s first hotel in the UK, NH Hotels has official cut the ribbon to its debut property in Amsterdam, which is located on the fringe of the culture hub’s city centre.

Designed by Dutch architecture firm OMA, famous for its cutting-edge buildings, the 24-storey shell that shelters the hotel a series of glass and steel triangular slabs that area stacked on top of each other at different angles. This is so that the building is not limited to face just one direction.

In addition to its location, which is situated steps from Amsterdam’s RAI convention centre, the hotel has been designed for bleisure travellers, and is complete with nine meeting spaces over three floors that offer the latest technology and stunning views of the city.

The 650-key hotel is described on its website as: “A place where contemporary art, design, gastronomy and cultural expressions mix. A new vibrant hub for business travelers, tourists and Amsterdam locals alike. The iconic building, facing various wind directions, symbolises the melting-pot the city of Amsterdam has always been.”

The guestrooms are inspired inspired by the cardinal direction the particular room faces – South, East, North, South West, South East and North West, with an eclectic mix of vibrant colors, patterns and traditional elements freshly interpreted throughout.

Referencing Amsterdam’s many different cultures and cuisines, the hotel features three terraces, each overlooking a different part of the city and a restaurant located on the 17th floor, with a bar also located on the ground floor.

nhow Amsterdam RAI is NH Hotels’ latest property to opening, making its permanent mark in The Netherlands as well as the overall European hotel scene.

Main image credit: NH Hotels

Thompson Washington D.C. opens in quirky Navy Yard neighborhood

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Thompson Washington D.C. opens in quirky Navy Yard neighborhood

Thompson Hotels’ lifestyle brand expands to America’s capital, Washington D.C., in the heart of bustling and emerging Navy Yard neighbourhood…

Hyatt Hotels has announced the opening of Thompson Washington D.C., the Thompson Hotels brand’s first property in the nation’s capital.

With architecture by New York-based Studios Architecture and interiors by award-winning firm Parts and Labor Design, the new hotel features 225 sleek and modern guestrooms and suites. It also features restaurant and bar concepts by Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group, positioning Thompson Washington D.C. to serve as a modern hub for locals and visitors against the backdrop of the city’s dynamic waterfront neighbourhood.

The hotel’s deeply textured façade and large industrial-inspired windows are a visual standout that embody the historic industrial language of the neighborhood, The Yards, a 42-acre waterfront development at the center of Capitol Riverfront’s Navy Yard neighborhood. As the first lifestyle hotel in the growing mixed-used development, Thompson Washington D.C. is designed to be a social anchor in The Yards community, joining dozens of specialty retailers, restaurants, high-end residences, and cultural attractions. Situated on D.C.’s scenic riverfront, outdoor parks such as the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail and The Yards Park are all mere steps from the hotel, inviting visitors to walk around and explore.

“Thompson Hotels is a brand that has always boldly pushed the norms of a traditional hotel experience.” – General Manager, Sherry Abedi

“We are proud to introduce the sophisticated and evocative Thompson Washington D.C. to the nation’s capital,” said General Manager Sherry Abedi. “Thompson Hotels is a brand that has always boldly pushed the norms of a traditional hotel experience, and we look forward to super-serving our global visitors, World of Hyatt members, and the Washington, D.C. community with a stylish destination to eat, drink, connect and relax. We have already felt a warm welcome from the neighborhood’s residents and local businesses.”

Junior Suite with views over the city

Image credit: Hyatt Hotels

The hotel’s interiors were inspired by the Thompson brand’s signature mid-century modern aesthetic and the area’s notable Navy Yard, incorporating industrial patterns and textures found in the neighborhood’s historic naval structures. The hotel’s 225 guestrooms, including 17 suites, boast floor-to-ceiling windows and breathtaking views of the Anacostia River and Nationals Park. Two expansive Thompson Suites also feature stunning outdoor terraces with views of the Washington Navy Yard. Each guestroom features custom headboards upholstered in a mélange wool boucle from Holland complemented by sherry and plume-colored leather framed in a dark oak. Additional room elements include bathroom vanity tops made of green onyx and Brazilian white avalanche marble, 400-thread-count SFERRA linens, Tivoli radios, 55″ flat screen HD TVs, D.S. & Durga custom bath products, and kimono-style robes. The hotel’s mini bars are stocked with locally sourced items, including guilt-free snacks and candles from Frères Branchiaux Candle Co., where 10 per cent of proceeds benefit Washington, D.C.’s homeless shelters.

Among Thompson Washington D.C.’s many standout features is its signature restaurant, Maialino Mare, from famed Union Square Hospitality Group (USHG). The restaurant – a coastal sister to the original Maialino in New York City – focuses on seafood-forward pastas and other seasonally-inspired dishes sourced from local farmers and fishmongers, complemented by a robust Italian wine list and rustic desserts. Maialino Mare’s interior reflects a nod to Italian tradition but is rooted in the local metropolitan, modern setting and community.

Anchovy Social, the hotel’s rooftop bar, boasts an airy atmosphere accented with nautical elements and sweeping views of the city. Parts and Labor Design sought to create a contrasting but unified experience seen through the dark-to-light palette, allowing the space and its unprecedented 360-degree views of the city and waterfront to become a destination in itself. Anchovy Social will open in the weeks to come.

Main image credit: Hyatt Hotels

Talking ‘art logistics’ with Momentous’ Dan Moore

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Talking ‘art logistics’ with Momentous’ Dan Moore

Art specialist logistics company Momentous’ new GM meets editor Hamish Kilburn to discuss market growth and misconceptions in art logistics…

Momentous, the specialist logistics company, have recently welcomed Dan Moore as its General Manager. With extensive management experience within the specific sector of the industry, covering commercial, FF&E, Workplace, Fine Art, Storage, UK and International project management, Moore joined us to tell us more about how he plans to support the hospitality industry’s booming art scene.

Hamish Kilburn: What sets Momentous aside from any other logistics company?  
Dan Moore: Momentous provide clients a turnkey solution to their logistical challenges. We’re not an ordinary logistics company, we have an experienced team with diverse backgrounds, which only adds value to our clients’ projects. What makes us unlike any other logistics company is our approach:

        • Zero downtime
        • Saving money through expert planning and advice
        • Project delivered with in timescales and budget costs
        • Delivered excellence through innovation
        • Money would have been saved
        • A trusted relationship would have been built
        • Over 40 years’ industry experience
        • We take responsibility for our actions
        • We care

“My background is based on relationships, I believe this is the best route to market.” Dan Moore, General Manager, Momentous

HK: How will your experience in this market help Momentous’ growth?
DM: 
I’ve been in the logistics industry for more than 13 years now, and have a passion for the industry and leadership. I’ve come from a diverse background that can only add to the development of Momentous. Over previous years, I have been involved in Workplace Solutions and FF&E, working with some leading brands delivering turn key solutions for their projects. My background is based on relationships, I believe this is the best route to market.  I’m excited to develop the team and work alongside some great people, as mentioned I’m passionate about leading and feel these skills will help motivate and retain our existing team and attract new talent to our business.  A good business starts with employing good people!

HK: What would you say is the biggest misconception about art logistics?
DM: 
Dare I say “money” – when you mention you’re in the world of Art Logistics, they automatically assume you must be very successful and there’s lot of money in that market. However, over the years the cost per job has declined and it’s become harder and harder to win business in this sector, unless you have some relationships on going and in place! Buyer’s of art are very conscious of the price when it comes to shipping and taking care of it. In some cases we see the “Man & Van” handle the work.

“Art finds a good fit to the hotel industry.” – Dan Moore, General Manager, Momentous

HK: How has the art arena in hotels changed in recent years, and why is that?
DM: Like a lot of industries, you need to stay fresh and current and find different ways of attracting visitors and customers. I think art finds a good fit to the hotel industry. In regards to design, hotels are considering innovative ideas rather than the traditional look.

HK: Explain the day-to-day role of a General Manager in your industry?
DM: Well, every day can be different and particularly for me. Balancing revenue targets with margin expectation can always be challenging and I am sure in any industry. As General Manager your role is overseeing the brand in its entirety from H&S to Budgets and all the in-between. I think motivation, development and leadership are key roles as a GM as well as analytical skills to be able to challenge the status quo.  For me, I like being involved in the selling of our services too, I’m always active in developing new relationships or pitching to a new client.

Momentous 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: Momentous

MarBella Collection announces debut in mainland Greece

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
MarBella Collection announces debut in mainland Greece

MarBella Collection is months away from opening the brand’s first property outside Corfu. Hotel Designs took a sneak peek inside Marbella Elix on the mainland of Greece…

Up until now, the hotel brand MarBella Collection has enjoyed developing its hotel portfolio of luxury properties around the rugged mountains and within the resort-studded shoreline of Corfo in Greece.

But that is all about the change as the brand steers towards a new era. MarBella Elix, which will open in June of this year, will mark the brand’s first footprints onto the mainland of Greece.

As the third hotel to join the MarBella Collection portfolio, the luxury hotel will be perched above the beautiful Karavostasi Beach in the Parga region, looking west towards Corfu and Paxos. An area of astounding natural beauty, the luxurious MarBella Elix sits in unspoilt surroundings where the mountains meet the Ionian Sea.

Aerial view of sea and white sunbeds

Image credit: MarBella Collection

MarBella Elix is situated close to Parga Village and within the region of Thesprotia in mainland Greece which lies opposite Corfu and is a much-loved holiday destination for locals and the lucky few who have discovered this off-the-radar, picturesque area.

Image of modern room overlooking the sea

Image credit: MarBella Collection

146 spacious and contemporary guestrooms and suites have been designed using natural and simple materials, creating a clean and crisp look and feel, allowing the striking landscape to complete the guests’ hotel experience. Guests will have 13 different room types to choose from, all with balconies offering uninterrupted views of the Ionian Sea and include flat-screen TV, free Wi-Fi, organic toiletries and premium ultra-soft bedding.

With three restaurants and three bars, guests at MarBella Elix will not be short of choice when deciding where to slake their appetite. The choice ranges from modern Mediterranean dining at Saffron Main Restaurant in a sublime sea view setting to healthy, light bites beside the pool or Indigo Beach Restaurant.

The hotel will be the brand’s third hotel to join the portfolio of two unique properties. The iconic family 5* resort, MarBella Corfu Hotel, is located and in Agios Ioannis Peristeron and its adjacent sister, adult-only suite hotel MarBella Nido Suite Hotel & Villas, which opened in May 2018, is also a proud member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World.

Main image credit: MarBella Hotels

Tomorrow’s hotel technology unveiled at CES 2020

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Tomorrow’s hotel technology unveiled at CES 2020

With CES 2020 currently taking place in Las Vegas, Hotel Designs launches technology as its January Spotlight On by futuregazing at tomorrow’s products that are expected to further evolve the international hospitality scene (edited by Hamish Kilburn)…

Question: how far are you willing to stretch your imagination in search of finding the latest technology that will go on to further evolve – possibly even lead – the inner workings of the global hospitality industry?

Although great attempts have been made by hotel giants such as Hilton and tech experts such as Jason Bradbury to identify emerging technology trends, the reality is that predicting the hotel room of the future is like asking a toddler to complete a 1,000-piece puzzle, while blindfolded.

The industry, as a whole, has largely learned its lessons from the mistakes it made at the beginning of last decade, when too many hotels fell into the trap door (probably operated by a tablet) of adopting the smart home into the hotel market. Using ‘tech for the sake of tech’ to create gimmicky spaces proved to be a meaningless method to attract modern travellers. Thankfully, in 2020, we are operating in an era where less is certainly more when it comes to integrating technology into the hotel experience.

Tech genius’, forecasters and consumers are currently in Las Vegas to attend the annual CES 2020, which is regarded as the global stage for tech launches in all industries; it is where tomorrow’s products are being unveiled for the very first time. Inside the venues that are scattered all over the city are all the various pieces of the industry’s most complex jigsaw, which, when put together, will form the high-definition image – or at least a strong rendered representation – of what the future hotel will look like.

In order to make sense of the chaos from the show’s many previews and launches, here are Hotel Designs’ edited top five finds…

Alexa in the shower 

Render of grey shower with speaker on it

Image credit: Kohler

Claiming to be the latest in digital shower design, Kohler has launched a render of a showerhead that, if launched commercially, could mean the end of showering alone forever. Kohler Moxie showerhead pairs cleanliness with voice activation, with a removable smart speaker that clips into place.

Plants with personality

Image of yellow plant pot with a happy face and plant inside

Image credit: Lua

With awareness rising day-by-day around sustainability, the wonderful idea that a fully sustainable design-led guestroom is no longer an alien concept that won’t make it past the drawing board. Bringing the outdoors inside was a dominant interior design trend last year than, which is expected to progress in creative ways. One company making its mark is Lua, which wants to turn plants into pets. The product is a sensor-packed pot that shows animated faces to let consumers know when the foliage is thirsty, or in need of sunlight.

Robotic toilet assistants

pink background, robot carrying toilet roll

Image credit: Charmin

I know what you’re thinking. And yes, we have trialled hotel robots in the past and, currently, robots cannot replace human beings when it comes to meeting and greeting guests. However, considering the average person is expected to spend a year and half on the toilet, a question has been raised as to whether artificial intelligence could benefit us in the bathroom. Consumer goods specialist Procter & Gamble aims to modernise our bathroom behaviour with the company’s toilet paper brand, Charmin. Rollbot is a a self-balancing robot that connects to your phone and will deliver a fresh toilet roll directly to the user if they happen to find themselves in need at a crucial moment.

Boundless possibilities for TVs

Render of flat tv

Image credit: Samsung

Considering the year-on-year evolution in the technology – not to mention the demand among consumers – it is no surprise that TVs continue to be one of the most common talking points during CES 2020. This year’s show directed the spotlight on Samsung’s no-bezel edge-to-edge screen as well as LG’s product that rolls down from the ceiling after unveiling the world’s first rollable OLED TV last year in Milan.

Questionable fitness software

Image credit: EnvisonBody

Controversial for many, but interesting nonetheless as the demand for wellness travel continues to rise, EnvisionBody has launched a concept that will allow the consumer or guest to see what they would look like if they added more exercise into their lifestyle. The technology plans to work with gym equipment-makers to show idealised versions of users’ physiques as they work out.

Back on UK soil, Forum Events, the parent company of Hotel Designs, is beginning the new year with the opportunity to start conversations like no other by hosting the Hospitality Tech & Innovation Forum. If you are a supplier and would like to attend, please email Lisa Rose or call 07930 402303. If you are a delegate and would like to attend the event, please email either Emily Gallagher or Lucia Guilisano or call 01992 37485/94.

Alternatively, if you have a technology product that you would like to put on the editorial team’s radar, please email h.kilburn@forumevents.co.uk with images. 

Main image credit: Pixabay

Luscious greenery hiding rooftops of villas and ocean

Rosewood Little Dix Bay opens in Caribbean after 4-year closure

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Rosewood Little Dix Bay opens in Caribbean after 4-year closure

British Virgin Islands’ Rosewood Little Dix Bay, which suffered major structural damage from Hurricane Irma in 2017, has reopened in the Caribbean for the first time in four years… 

After much anticipation among luxury travellers, the legend that is Rosewood Little Dix Bay returns to the Caribbean and the BVIs, following a four-year closure.

Luscious greenery hiding rooftops of villas and ocean

An eco-tourism destination long before the term was coined – and developed by conservationist Laurance Rockefeller more than half a century ago – the beachfront hideaway celebrates Virgin Gorda’s natural beauty. Located on half-mile crescent bay, spanning 500 acres, rooms and suites are set just steps from the beach.

The hotel originally opened in 1964 and was quickly established amongst affluential explorers as a destination of choice. Throughout a fifty-two-year tenure, the property held a premier place in the hearts of international travellers.

“Over the last four years, an expert team of environmentalists, architects and designers have worked tirelessly to honour the resort’s storied past.” – Andreas Pade, managing director of Rosewood Little Dix Bay

After closing for a refurbishment in 2016, the property was soon shuttered by the effects of Hurricane Irma. Nearly half a decade later, following a full renovation, the renowned resort remerges to universal delight as a paramount Caribbean retreat, retaining its original emphasis on celebrating the surrounding natural environment while introducing new elements that speak to the wants and needs of today’s travellers.

“We are excited to welcome a new wave of ultra-luxury travelers as well as our adoring legacy guests to the reimagined Rosewood Little Dix Bay,” said Andreas Pade, managing director of Rosewood Little Dix Bay. “Over the last four years, an expert team of environmentalists, architects and designers have worked tirelessl