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The Other House Club Flat Kitchen in blue and mustard

Video exclusive: The making of The Other House (part 1)

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Video exclusive: The making of The Other House (part 1)

The first video in our exclusive concept-to-completion series with The Other House takes a tour inside what will soon be its first hotel – AKA, residents’ club. Editor Hamish Kilburn speaks to the brand’s CEO and the design team, which including Bergman Design House and architecture firm Falconer Chester Hall, to understand more about the design narrative that will be sheltered inside…

The Other House Club Flat Kitchen in blue and mustard

A new era of hospitality is on the horizon. The Other House is an innovative concept that we first explored earlier this year, which, right on cue, has raised some eyebrows recently. Since joining a panel discussion on ‘a new era of lifestyle’ at Hotel Designs LIVE in May, CEO & founder Naomi Heaton – a self-confessed newcomer into the hospitality arena who aims to disrupt conventional approaches to hotel design and development – has invited our cameras in to capture the concept-to-completion story behind brand’s first property. Sheltered inside Harrington Hall, a heritage property, The Other House South Kensington will offer 200 Club Flats – all of which will feature signature, fully fitted and contemporary design – for leisure travellers and corporate visitors alike. 

With less than one year until the first residents’ club opens, here’s what we discovered when we took a sneak peek inside the building. During our access-all-areas visit, we spoke to Heaton about the pillars of the brand. In addition, we caught up with the architect at Falconer Chester Hall, Alastair Shepherd, who is responsible for carving out the body of the hospitality experience. And, to make things really interesting, we even made a visit to Bergman Design House to speak to Marie Soliman, the interior designer tasked to bring her sketches and renders to life, while sourcing as much as she possibly can locally and sustainably.

Who’s who? 

Elevating the traditional long stay and serviced apartment models, the new brand will combine beautifully designed apartments – complete with fully fitted kitchens, living and sleeping areas – with a private club exclusively for residents and members to relax and enjoy, complete with two bars, spa and fitness studio. For a local vibe, the bold public spaces will include a destination bar and all-day dining bistro (renders of these areas will be available shortly).

While targetting an audience that is conscious and cares deeply about the environmental impact hotel development can have on the planet, sustainability was one of the first pillars for The Other House. “We take a sustainable approach to renovating existing buildings and is committed to making a positive impact on the community, our employees and the environment,” explained Heaton in an earlier interview with Hotel Designs. “Our residents will be a part of our environmental journey so they can make a measurable, personal difference. There will be a focus on health and wellbeing at all the guest touchpoints and we will be using, for example, recyclable packaging, healthy, sustainably produced food and British-made furniture.”

With eight categories of Club Flats – Club Town, Club Garden, Club Courtyard, Club Mezz, Club Class, Club Vault, Club Turret and Club Access – the units range from 258 sqft (24sqm) to 581 sqft (54sqm), as well as two-, three- and four-bedroom options. The intelligent use of space revolves around the living area (rather than the bedroom) just as it does in the home, which was key for the brand to create a real sense of place and comfort.

What’s more, despite all the noise around the new era of luxury suggesting a paired back, even removed, stance on technology is the way forward, central to The Other House will be a downloadable app that offers personalisation and control through on-demand access to hotel-style services. The software, which, if seamless, meaningful, discreet and easy to use, will become a revolutionary element of the hospitality experience at The Other House. It will enable residents to manage their entire stay andexperience; tailoring their hospitality journey to their own specific needs and requirements. As a result, the software will certainly answer to modern demands that are calling for more personalised experiences.

For long-stay guests, The Other House will provide a new alternative to renting, offering any length stays, around the clock security, access to hotel style services and the very best of city living. The first of this type of accommodation that the UK has seen, it will also offer flexibility for residents to book in and out. With stays bookable from a day to a year, The Other House offers a stylish solution for those looking for a city base. And services such as clothes and luggage storage between trips makes it perfect for guests looking for a regular London pied-à-terre a few days each week.

Establishing itself as a ‘one to watch’ on the glabal hospitality scene, with a forward-thinking concept and immersive design scheme, The Other House South Kensington is the first residents’ club to be launched. The brand is on track to open in other ‘villages’ throughout central London, including Covent Garden by 2023, before rolling out internationally. 

In the next video in our exclusive concept-to-completion editorial series with The Other House, produced by CUBE, we will rejoin the development and design team ahead of the opening of the brand’s first residents’ club. In this video, we will explore more about the technology behind-the-scenes, as well as understand how the drawings, sketches and renderings have been brought to life. By then, we may also have more news and exclusive design details about the interior scheme behind the heavy doors of the brand’s second property in Covent Garden. 

Main image credit: The Other House | Video credit: CUBE

The Brit List Awards 2021 shortlist

The Brit List Awards 2021: Shortlist announced

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The Brit List Awards 2021: Shortlist announced

The shortlist for The Brit List Awards 2021 has been announced, with more than 130 individuals and projects – the most finalists in the campaign’s history – selected across nine categories. The winners will be unveiled in spectacular style at the awards ceremony, which takes place on November 3 inside London’s famous cabaret venue, PROUD Embankment…

The Brit List Awards 2021 shortlist

Regarded and respected globally as the industry’s most widespread campaign to identify the leading interior designers, architects, hoteliers and brands, The Brit List Awards 2021 has unveiled this year’s shortlist, which includes more than 130 individuals and projects.

The finalists, listed below, have been invited to attend The Brit List Awards’ annual award ceremony, which, following last year’s virtual affair, will take place live in the extravagant cabaret venue, PROUD Embankment. At the event, as well as the individual winners being announced, The Brit List 2021, a publication that will profile the top 25 designers, architects and hoteliers, will also be unveiled.

The Brit List Awards is Hotel Designs’ the nationwide search to find the most influential interior designers, architects, hoteliers and brands operating in Britain.

Now in its fifth year, The Brit List Awards is Hotel Designs’ the nationwide search to find the most influential interior designers, architects, hoteliers and brands operating in Britain. This year’s meticulous process began months ago when Hotel Designs opened up nominations and applications to its loyal readers. Since then, the expert judging panel have taken over to whittle down the shortlist as well as decide upon the individual winners.

“As I cast my eyes down this year’s shortlist, I am reminded once more that Britain is, and will no-doubt remain, a major pin on the design, architecture and hospitality map.” – Hamish Kilburn, editor, Hotel Designs.

“One only has to look at this year’s entries to be able to see that Britain is a melting pot for creative design and authentic hospitality,” explains editor Hamish Kilburn who will take the microphone on November 3 to host this year’s awards. “It’s sensational to see, despite obvious adversities, that the design, architecture and hospitality industry has risen to the challenge, once more, to present forward-thinking solutions in the global arena. As I cast my eyes down this year’s shortlist, I am reminded once more that Britain is, and will no-doubt remain, a major pin on the design, architecture and hospitality map. Here, on this tiny speck of land, we incubate innovation, nurture talent and amplify meaningful initiatives that challenge conventional approached to hotel design and hospitality.”

Adding more sparkle to this year’s live awards ceremony will be the sponsors and partners. They are: Crosswater (Headline Partner)Hamilton Litestat (Event Partner)Duravit (Event Partner), Schlüter Systems (Showcase Partner), Leaflike (Decorative Partner), GROHE (Broadcasting Partner), NEWH (Industry Partner) British Institute of Interior Design (Industry Partner) and CUBE (Videography Partner).

The shortlisted finalists for The Brit List Awards 2021 are: 

Interior Designer of the Year

Name Studio
Alan McVitty M STUDIO LONDON
Alex Kravetz Alex Kravetz Design
Beverley Bayes Sparcstudio
Clare McDonald Design Command
Clara Mason Dexter Moren Associates
Craig McKie Bell & Swift Ltd
Dale Atkinson Rosendale Design
David Mason Scott Brownrigg
Dennis Irvine Dennis Irvine Studio
Ed Warner Motionspot
Fiona Thompson Richmond International
Geraldine Dohogne Beyond Design
Hamish Brown 1508 London
Hayley Roy Harp Design
Henry Chebaane Blue Sky Hospitality
Hilary Lancaster Fusion Interiors Group
Ilse Crawford StudioIlse
Jeremy Grove Sibley Grove
Jouin Manku Jouin Manku
Kirsty Vance I Am London
Marie Soliman Bergman Interiors
Mark Bithrey B3 Designers
Neil Andrew Perkins&Will
Nicholas J Hickson THDP
Ravi Lakhaney Bailey London
Robert Angell Robert Angell Design International
Sally Proctor Majik House
Samantha McCulloch ICA
Sara Browett Sara Copeland Interiors Ltd
Scott Torrance 3DReid
Simon Kincaid Conran and Partners
Simon Rawlings David Collins Studio
Solomija Bogusz Interior Designer
Suzanne Garuda Garuda Design
Tina Norden Conran and Partners

Architect of the Year

Name Studio
Adam Hall Falconer Chester Hall
Alastair Shepherd Falconer Chester Hall Architects
Alexandra Birmpili Kappa planning Ltd
Ali Alammar Alamar Architects
Amrit Naru ADP Architects
Ben Adams Ben Adams Architects
Catarina Pina-Bartrum LDS Architects
Cathryn Crisp Randell Design Group
Christos Passas Zaha Hadid Architects
Doug Pearson 3DReid
Ed Murray Dexter Moren Associates
Gordon Ferrier 3D Reid
Graham Barr jmarchitects
Herbert Lui Dexter Moren Associates
James Dilley Jestico + Whiles
Jen Samuel 3DReid
Jonny Sin ReardonSmith Architects
Julie Humphryes Archer Humphryes Architects
Luke Fox Foster + Partners
Mark Bruce EPR Architects
Mark Kelly PLP Architecture
Matthew Salter HGP Architects
Metehan Apak Dawson Design Associates
Nicholas de Klerk Translation Architecture
Richard Coutts BACA Architects
Richard Holland Holland Harvey Architects
Sarah Murphy Jestico + Whiles
Simon Whittaker Orms
Tom Lindblom Principal, Architect
Tony Kho Trehearne Architects
Yasmine Mahmoudieh Yasmine Mahmoudieh Studio

Hotelier of the Year 

Name Hotel
Andrew Hollett Kettering Park Hotel and Spa
Charles Oak The Londoner
Conor O’Leary Gleneagles
David Connell South Lodge Hotel & Spa
Dominic Sauls Qbic London City Hotel
Edward Workman The Newt
Elli Jafari The Standard London
Federico Ciampi Mayfair Townhouse
Franck Arnold Savoy, London
Gareth Banner The Ned
Grace Leo The Relais Henley
Guillaume Marly Hotel Café Royal
Hector Ross The Mitre, Hampton Court
James Clarke Hilton Bankside London
John Scanlon 45 Park Lane
Julian Hudson Fellows House Cambridge – Curio by Hilton Collection
Marie-Paule Nowlis Sofitel London St James
Michael Bonsor Rosewood London
Michael Mason-Shaw Hyatt Place London City East
Murray Ward Soho Farmhouse
Olivia Richli Heckfield Place
Paul Bayliss Hotel Brooklyn, Manchester
Paul Skinner DUKES LONDON
Robin Hutson THE PIG Hotels
Sergio Leandro Sea Containers London
Simon Mahon The Grand York
Stuart Geddes The Lanesborough, London
Thomas Agius Ferrante The Grove of Narberth
Will Ashworth Watergate Bay Hotel

Best in Tech

Brand Product/project
Lutron Athena
SONANCE Peninsula London
Majik House Absoluxe Suites
GROHE/LIXIL GROHE Plus
Franklite L11 Tuneable

The Eco Award 

Brand Product/project
Harrison Spinks The Sprint Collection
Hypnos Contract Beds Various products
Leaflike Pan Pacific London
GROHE/LIXIL Cradle to Cradle certified products
Video Tree Re Charge
CTD Architectural Tiles The Global Collection
Yasmine Mahmoudieh Flow
Clarke & Clarke Eco Sustainable Weaves
Ozone Clean OC Range
Well-Lit Various products
Barber Osgerby AXOR One
Siminetti Seasons Collection
Silentnight Group Hosptiality Various products

Best in British Product Design

Brand Product/project
Newmor Wallcoverings Healthcare Collection
Franklite Perry Range
Franklite L11 Tuneable
Hypnos Contract Beds Various products
SMD Textiles, ILIV Exotic Garden
Edelweiss Pianos The Solis
The Monkey Puzzle Tree Metamorphosis
The Collective Agency Swell
Ziad Alonaizy Eileen Cabinet
Dernier & Hamlyn Bespoke lighitng for Nobu London Portman Square
Wandsworth The Baton (and other) switches
Morgan Rakino
Morgan Kaya

The Rising Star Award (new for 2021)

Name Brand/Studio/University
Adam Wardale Middletons Hotel, York
Aleksandra Tredez The Lost Poet (Cubic Studios)
Matthew Maganga University of Kent
Sophie Piggot Concorde BGW Group
Sarah Yuma Dexter Moren Associates

The International Award (new for 2021)

Name Brand
Wilderness Safaris Wilderness Safaris
Bill Bensley BENSLEY
DLR Group Madinah Gate
noa* network of architecture noa* network of architecture
YES.design.architecture YES.design.architecture
Royal Mansour Marrakech Royal Mansour Marrakech

There is no shortlist for the award for Outstanding Contribution to the Hospitality Industry, which will be the final award presented at the exclusive ceremony.

How to attend The Brit List Awards 2021 – the awards ceremony 

All designers, architects and hoteliers that have been shortlisted will receive an email asking them to confirm their complimentary ticket to attend the awards ceremony on November 3 at PROUD Embankment. Outside of the shortlist, designers, architects, hoteliers and developers can purchase tickets here (£10 + VAT per ticket if purchased before September 10)*. Suppliers, and anyone else wishing to attend, can click here to purchase their tickets (£99 + VAT per ticket if purchased before September 10)*.

*After September 10, tickets for designers, architects and hoteliers will inflate to £20 + VAT per ticket. For suppliers, tickets will inflate to £150 +VAT per ticket. There are limited number of tickets on sale, which will be issued out on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Main image credit: The Brit List Awards 2021/Hotel Designs

Bed trends: A post-pandemic insight into future guestrooms

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Bed trends: A post-pandemic insight into future guestrooms

One of the hardest-hit trades during the pandemic has been the hotel industry, however things are looking up with bookings for UK staycations jumping by a record 300 per cent following the announcement of the lockdown roadmap in February[1]. To celebrate our ‘beds’ feature for August, we ask Richard Naylor, Group Sustainable Development Director at Hypnos Contract Beds, to share his expertise on design and materials trends and offers insights into how hotel design could adapt as we begin to welcome guests back…

As we begin to move to a ‘new normal’ it’s time to consider how the events of the last 12 months will have an effect on factors like design, as interior designers are encouraged to think outside the box to deal with the challenges posed by the post-pandemic hospitality industry.

Materials

Learning to adapt their designs according to post-pandemic lifestyles, interior designers may re-evaluate some of the more common items or materials traditionally used in their hospitality projects. Considerations such as replacing rugs and carpets with tiles and stone, will make open spaces easier to manage and clean during busy customer change-over times, whilst still retaining style thanks to the vast array of options on the market.

In addition, opting for antimicrobial textiles and bleach-cleanable fabrics on larger items like beds and upholstery will ensure peace of mind for visitors whilst choosing materials with natural antimicrobial properties like copper, brass, bronze, or copper-nickel for high-touch surfaces such as light switches, sockets and door handles, will safeguard them from germs, keeping both staff and hotel guests safe.

Hypnos Residence mattress

Image caption: Hypnos Residence mattress

Although the pandemic has made us hyper conscious of cleanliness and hygiene, the basics shouldn’t be overlooked as restrictions ease, especially when it comes to guest room beds. Fitting a mattress protector that encapsulates the top and sides of the mattress will help to prevent stains and odours and ensure the bed lasts longer.

The pandemic has also encouraged many of us to re-connect with nature, and this is something that should be a consideration for designers as they look to incorporate elements of Biophilic design into their hospitality design schemes. Opting for natural materials like the ethically and sustainably sourced wool used in Hypnos’ Beaumont and Ashbourne and Lansdowne Cashmere ranges is one way to bring elements of the natural world into guest bedrooms without compromising on the luxurious feel that guests seek from a hotel stay.

Utilising in-room tech

Smart technology is something that has emerged within the hospitality industry, but we could begin to see a rise in the use of these kinds of technologies in a post-pandemic world.

Reducing the need for contact with surfaces like upholstery or switches will be of increasing importance in room design. Technology like voice activation is ideal in this ‘new normal’ world as it would enable guests and housekeepers to control everything from blinds and curtains, to lights and electrical items, without needing to physically touch surfaces. All great for reducing the spread of potential germs.

Image caption: Hypnos Beds were specified inside Corinthia London. | Image credit: Corinthia London

Image caption: Hypnos Beds were specified inside Corinthia London. | Image credit: Corinthia London

Furthermore, single point controls whereby guests control all room features from a single tablet, or from an app on their phone, is another way to minimise contact. Similarly, infrared taps in bathrooms and self-cleaning sanitary ware offers a no-touch solution for guest bedrooms, empowering guests to feel reassured of their safety and comfortable in their environment.

Add to this the provision of technology to minimise contact during check-in, which is something that is already in place in some hotels, and it could really help guests to feel safe and at ease.

For hospitality establishments that don’t already have it, moving over to check-in apps and keyless door entry, which negate the need for larger, manned reception desks, will allow them to rethink existing spaces and re-work them for the needs of the modern, hygiene-conscious hotel guest.

Image caption: Hypnos Sanctuary mattress

Air quality & space

Something that shouldn’t be overlooked in the overall design and layout for a hotel or guest room is ventilation and space. Ventilation and air quality, whether that’s through natural ventilation and increased access to private outside areas like balconies, is of the utmost importance.

The addition of advanced air filtration systems to ensure clean, sanitised air in both public areas and private guest spaces is something that more hospitality establishments need to factor in to their design or consider investing in.

Whilst guest bedroom design and layout will always be important, communal hospitality areas, such as lobbies, could see some of the biggest changes, with designers opting for more open, spacious schemes, allowing greater room for social distancing and wider thoroughfares for guests.

Sustainable design

An undeniable benefit of the last year has been the reduced environmental impact that has resulted from people across the globe having to stay at home. With sustainability once again in the spotlight, it is clear that it will continue to be a key booking decision for guests and consequently should be front of mind for interior designers working on hospitality projects.

Whilst products and décor should be robust and hygienic, the provenance of where they come from or how they’re made shouldn’t be overlooked. By working with moral companies with a sustainability focus, hoteliers can ensure that they are doing their part in creating safe but also ethical interiors, something of increasing importance to consumers.

As the world’s first Carbon Neutral bed manufacturer and only bed manufacturer to have been certified for a decade, Hypnos has led industry change on carbon reduction and was recently awarded ‘The Planet Mark – Carbon Neutral Certification’ and a Queen’s Award for Enterprise for Sustainable Development for its commitment to environmentally-friendly design, sourcing transparency and ethical bedmaking. The company was also awarded the Global Recycled Standard which is given to companies who use recycled materials from socially and environmentally responsible manufacturing processes.

By specifying products like Hypnos’ no-turn Beaumont mattress, designers can not only reinforce the significance of making sustainable choices, but design choices like this are also another way to maintain high hygiene standards. The low-maintenance design of the Beaumont means that housekeepers can limit contact with the hotel bed, ideal for post-Covid life where cleanliness, safety, and attention to detail will be of utmost importance. The mattress needs only seasonal rotation and has been manufactured to be 20% lighter than Hypnos’ other hotel mattresses meaning it can be turned with ease when required. The sewn-in topper guarantees a luxurious feel for hotel visitors, and when coupled with the versatile design of Hypnos’ Zip and Link beds which can be quickly and easily split from a king-size to two single beds, this will limit the need for room changes and allow for flexibility with room allocation.

Working with the right partner

Whether designing for a boutique hotel, or an up-scale international branded hotel, managing refurbishments and new furniture installations effortlessly and efficiently with cost, safety, timings and logistics in mind can be challenging, especially with the added pressures of the pandemic.

Understanding the complexity behind renovations and refurbishments, particularly for large scale developments Hypnos works closely with hospitality providers and designers to offer its unique Eight Step Sleep Plan – a thorough consultation and step-by-step process which supports hospitality provider’s or designers from their initial enquiry right through to completion.

These changes may be a departure from pre-pandemic hotel design but nevertheless, are important considerations for hoteliers and designers to ensure a safe and stylish environment for visitors and tourists to return to the hospitality sector.

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

Main image caption: Hypnos was specified inside a wildlife reserve in Kent, England. | Image credit: Port Lympne Hotel & Reserve

The Brit List Awards 2021

The Brit List Awards 2021 – entries close on Friday!

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

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

The Brit List Awards 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: The Brit List Awards

A private outdoor bathroom and sunbeds overlooking sea

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

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

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

A private outdoor bathroom and sunbeds overlooking sea

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

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

Villas and guestrooms at the Crete hotel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pastel colour scheme in luxury hotel guestroom

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

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

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

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

Sunbeds overlooking pristine sea

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

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

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

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

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

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

Design London

Design London to make its London Design Festival debut in September

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

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

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

Design London

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

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

Discussions

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

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

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

Exhibitor highlights

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Design London

The Design Museum's Charlotte Perriand exhibition

Accor has partnered with the Design Museum in London this Summer – here’s why

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Accor has partnered with the Design Museum in London this Summer – here’s why

Hotel brand Accor, which, as far as we can see, is on track for world hospitality domination, has partnered with the Design Museum in London to support and celebrate its summer exhibition, ‘Charlotte Perriand: The Modern Life‘…

On June 19, the, the Design Museum’s brand-new exhibition, “Charlotte Perriand: The Modern Life”, launched in partnership with ALL: ACCOR LIVE LIMITLESS, Accor’s free to join loyalty program.

The Design Museum's Charlotte Perriand exhibition

The exhibition explores the life and works of French architect and designer Charlotte Perriand, whose pioneering designs shaped the 20th century with many of her modern ideas still found in the way we live today and in hotel design around the world.

As well as celebrating the groundbreaking designer, Accor’s partnership also highlights the importance of design and ease of living across the hotel’s brands, in particular ibis Styles, where design and style is at the very core. Both Accor and the Design Museum share an understanding of the power of design to improve lives. Every ibis Styles hotel has its own unique design and theme, offering functional living space whilst still adding personality and style to each room, echoing Perriand’s functional design ethos.

The Design Museum's Charlotte Perriand exhibition in London

Image credit: Felix Speller

Members of ALL will be able to book a Design Museum package, which gives the opportunity to receive complimentary tickets (worth £18) to the new exhibition when booking an overnight stay in a participating hotel in London. Guests who are not yet a member can sign up to the free to join lifestyle loyalty program and enjoy the member perk straight away.

As well as at the London ibis Styles hotels, the Design Museum package will also be available at Sofitel St James, Pullman St Pancras, Novotel London Blackfriars and Mercure London Bridge.

The Design Museum’s “Charlotte Perriand: The Modern Life” runs until September 5, 2021. Curated in collaboration with the Perriand family and the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris, the exhibition falls on the 25th anniversary of Charlotte Perriand’s last significant presentation in London, held at the Design Museum in 1996. Featuring large-scale reconstructions of some of Perriand’s most famous interiors, as well as original furniture, her photography and her personal notebooks, the exhibition sheds new light on Perriand’s creative process and her place in design history.

Main image credit: The Design Museum/Felix Speller

Crosswater Scnadi bathroom

Trend alert: Scandi style in the bathroom

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

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

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

Crosswater Scnadi bathroom

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

Image credit: Bette

Combine statement shades and brass fittings

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

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

Master the minimal look with wall-hung accents 

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

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

Modern scandi bathroom

Image credit: VitrA

Introduce monochromatic colours and moody accents 

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

Say ‘yes’ to pops of colour and patterned flooring 

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

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

Image credit: Villeroy & Boch

Incorporate understated accessorise 

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

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

Main image credit: Crosswater

45 Park lane collage

Checking in to experience The Spa at 45 Park Lane

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

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

45 Park lane collage

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Spa at 45 Park Lane

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: The Dorchester Collection

Weekly digest: The struggling generation & the latest hotel openings

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gif James Dilley and James Ingram

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

Read more.

VIP Arrivals: Hottest hotels opening in July

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

Image credit: The Tawny Hotel

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

Read more.

Marriott International opens 70th hotel in Japan

Aloft Osaka Dojima

Image credit: Marriott International

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

Read more.

Wellness in design: tips from designer Shalini Misra

Shalini Misra

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

Read more.

And finally… Fashion brand PrettyLittleThing launches UK hotel

Pool inside PrettyLittleThing Hotel

Image credit: PrettyLittleThing

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

Read more.

Since you’re here…

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

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Aloft Osaka Dojima

Marriott International opens 70th hotel in Japan

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

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

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

Aloft Osaka Dojima

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A sedated interior scheme inside the guestroom of the hotel

Image credit: Tokyo Edition/Marriott International

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

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

Main image credit: Marriott International

Morgan seating

A look at Morgan’s latest product launches

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

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

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

Morgan seating

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Morgan

VIP Arrivals - July

VIP arrivals: Hottest hotels opening in July 2021

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

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

VIP Arrivals - July

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

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

MAALOT Roma

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

Mondrian Shoreditch London 

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

Mama Roma

Redner of restaurant in Mama Shelter in Rome

Image credit: Mama Roma

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

The Tawny Hotel, Peak District

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

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

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

Six Senses Ibiza 

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

Hyatt Regency Koh Samui

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

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

Airelles Saint-Tropez, Château de la Messardière

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

Fairmont Taghazout Bay

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

Since you’re here…

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

Click here to sign up to our newsletter.

Weekly Briefing 25 06 21

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

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

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

Weekly Briefing 25 06 21

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

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

Image credit: RPW Design

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

Read more.

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

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

Read more.

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

Lobby inside Roosevelt Island hotel

Image credit: Steve Freihorn

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

Read more.

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

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

Read more.

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

W Rome - Wet Deck

Image credit: W Rome

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

Read more.

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

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

Watch more.

Since you’re here…

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

Click here to sign up to our newsletter.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image credit: RPW Design/Four Seasons Hampshire

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

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

RPW Design designed The Capital Suite

Image credit: Will Pryce

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image credit: RPW Design/Smallbone Kitchens

Image credit: RPW Design/Smallbone Kitchens

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

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

Main image credit: RPW Design

Giant sculpture in Lobby in Graduate Hotel Roosevelt Island

Inside Graduate Hotels’ debut property in New York

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

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

Giant sculpture in Lobby in Graduate Hotel Roosevelt Island

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

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

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

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

Lobby inside Roosevelt Island hotel

Image credit: Steve Freihorn

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

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

Image credit: Steven Freihorn

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

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

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

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

Image credit: Steven Freihorn

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

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

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

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

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

A light and bright meeting space inside the new york hotel

Image credit: Steven Freihorn

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

Main image credit: Steve Freihorn

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more.

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

The Reading Room

Image credit: Rosewood Hotel Group

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

Read more.

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

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

Read more.

nhow Brussels Bloom Hotel opens with a colourful twist

Van in lobby inside nhow Brussels

Image credit: HD Hotel Group

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

Read more.

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

The June April Brown and Srah Sklash

Image credit: Lauren Miller Photography

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

Read more.

And finally… we unveiled our speakers for Hotel Designs LIVE

Hotel Designs LIVE - speakers

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

Read more.

Since you’re here…

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

Click here to sign up to our newsletter.

nhow Brussels colourful guestrooms

nhow Brussels Bloom Hotel opens with a colourful twist

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

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

nhow Brussels colourful guestrooms

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

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

Van in lobby of nhow Brussels

Image credit: NH Hotel Group

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

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

In addition to 305 hotel rooms, the hotel has 12 meeting rooms for approximately 350 people. With the largest screen in Brussels, an amazing 17 by 4 metres, it is ideal for digital and hybrid events. Guests can have breakfast in the hotel restaurant or enjoy a drink and bitesized streetfood in the bar and restaurant. The hotel restaurant is a creative experience in its own. Diezijner x With Jeej has covered the walls, pillars and the cheat day station, in which you can get all sorts of pancakes and waffles, surrounded by unique graffiti art. Jeroen van der Knaap from With Jeej explained: “I just loved taking over the breakfast restaurant while the hotel was still under renovation and to get full freedom to turn the breakfast experience for guests into a creative one.” You can go for your daily work out on the eighth floor in a fully equipped gym, with a beautiful view over the city. Guests can order an easel and a paint kit via room service to get creative during their stay. 

Every nhow hotel aims to be inspiring, surprising and adapts to its surroundings like a chameleon. That’s why the embodiment of the nhow brand has arrived in Brussels: Patch, the colourful eight-metre-long chameleon, who previously brightened up both London and Amsterdam with its presence. With its impressive appearance, the chameleon represents the brand values of nhow: self-discovery, change and creativity. Patch is placed on the façade of the hotel and will be lit up at night.     

The nhow brand, which currently has hotels in Milan, Rotterdam, Marseille, London, Amsterdam and now Brussels, shows no sign of slowing down. The brand will welcome its second hotel in Germany in 202 and hotels in Rome, Santiago de Chile and Lima will follow in the next three years. 

Main image credit: NH Hotel Group

Image of blue modern chair next to cork wallpaper

Connect your walls to nature with Granorte

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Connect your walls to nature with Granorte

Mat is a textured cork wall panel from Granorte that brings a strong connection to nature. Harnessing cork’s unique and distinct natural aesthetic, Mat is a stylish way to welcome natural finishes to walls. Using a decorative cork veneer and agglomerated cork base, the 100 per cent natural wall tile is available in a range of neutral colours that deliver a premium look in commercial interiors…

Image of blue modern chair next to cork wallpaper

Mat’s 100 per cent cork composition retains all the benefits of cork, providing a comfortable finish that feels great to touch, insulates from heat loss and absorbs noise. With a lightweight construction, the wall tile can be glued to any vertical surface. It is finished with Granorte’s Corkguard protective layer that provides a durable surface that’s easy to care for in commercial environments.

“Mat is a unique wall tile that explores cork’s textural and visual language to bring commercial interiors a natural wall finish that’s unique in every way,” says Paulo Rocha, Granorte. “Through a palette of colours that allow muted tonal contrasts with other finishes, including natural tones, Mat allows a distinct language to be created, while connecting the interior to the positive influence of nature.”

Granorte has been making cork products from the waste of wine stopper production since 1973 and the family-run company has established itself as a true innovator in cork, finding new applications for the natural and renewable material.

With a wide range of wall and floor products to furniture like the Moon Coffee Table and the NuSpa sanitaryware collection that’s robotically cut from giant blocks of agglomerated cork, Granorte remains at the forefront of cork manufacture.

Granorte 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: Granorte

Hotel Designs LIVE - speakers

Speakers announced for Hotel Designs LIVE in August

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Speakers announced for Hotel Designs LIVE in August

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

Hotel Designs LIVE - speakers

Hotel Designs LIVE, the one-day conference which is free to attend if you qualify as a designer, architect, hoteliers or developer, will return on August 10 to serve up a series of online panel discussions with the aim to keep the industry connected and the conversation flowing during the on-going pandemic.

The four topics that have been confirmed for the virtual event, which was recently shortlisted shortlisted in the ‘Best Webinar Series’ category at the Digital Event Awards, are senses, sleep, surfaces and social.

Editor Hamish Kilburn will host the event from the comfort of Minotti London’s Fitzrovia showroom. “For more than a year now, Hotel Designs LIVE has been meaningfully serving the international hotel design and hospitality community by simply keeping the conversation following,” Kilburn explains. “It feels very fitting, considering our previous networking collaborations the luxury Italian furniture brand and its relevant to all of our four panel discussions, to welcome Minotti London as our headline sponsor.”

There are limited spaces available. Simply click here to secure your place in the virtual audience (booking form takes less than two minutes and entry is free for designers, architects, hoteliers and developers).

Meet the confirmed speakers (so far): 

The agenda: 

1st session Hotel Designs LIVE

Click here to participate.

1st Session - Hotel Designs LIVE

Click here to participate. 

Hotel Designs LIVE - sleep session

Click here to participate. 

Hotel Designs LIVE – surfaces session

Click here to participate. 

Session 4 - Hotel Designs LIVE

Click here to participate. 

If you are a designer, architect, hotelier  or developer and would like to secure your complimentary seats in the audience, click hereIf 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.

Main image credit: Oladimeji Odunsi/Unsplash

Weekly briefing 4th june

Weekly briefing: Sleep masterclass, award winners & art outside the frame

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Weekly briefing: Sleep masterclass, award winners & art outside the frame

Allow me, Hamish Kilburn, to walk you through this week’s top design and hospitality stories. The weekly briefing was designed with busy on-the-go designers, architects, hoteliers and developers in mind – so kick back, relax and scroll down to read a snapshot of this week’s happenings…

It’s been a turbulent week – in fact year – for the travel industry, as the UK government continues to play chess with tourism boards that rely heavily on UK tourism.

Weekly briefing 4th june

With the latest ‘check’ against Portugal now being moved off the ‘green list’ it’s becoming more and more likely for the industry to lose yet another season due to new variants of Covid-19.

However, that hasn’t stopped or hindered plans for brands to re-open showing solidarity and strength – as can be seen in our latest VIP arrivals story, which takes a closer look at this month’s hottest hotel openings. It also hasn’t affected young designers’ creativity, as seen in this year’s shortlisted entries for the Accor Design Awards, which concluded this week.

To round off yet another week, while the sun is still shining the UK – good news for staycation businesses – here are what we believe are this week’s top stories…

Accor Design Awards – and the winners are…

Overall winner: Nomadish

Overall winner: Nomadish

Our most-read story of the week comes from Accor’s spectacular, global campaign to find the world’s most talented design students. First launched in in 2016, the Accor Design Awards aim to rethink the future of hospitality in collaboration with design students the world over. Their creativity blended with Accor’s know-how, provide unique solutions and new concepts for the hospitality industry. I had the privilege of sitting on this year’s judging panel – and what an experience it was… Finally, we can now announce the winners.

Read more.

VIP arrivals: Hottest hotels opening in June 2021

White room inside OMMA Santorini

Image credit: OMMA Santorini

A few weeks ago, restricted by green, amber and red lists – it’s as if we are at a junction and the traffic lights are broken – we on the editorial desk at Hotel Designs unveiled the best design hotels to visit in Portugal. But, as you know, we are a global platform and have over the last few months been publishing our VIP Arrivals series, which takes a closer look at the latest hotels opening on the hotel design scene.

For the June edition, things are hotting us as the summer season approaches. Although (for the time being, at least) many desirable destinations remain untouchable, we thrown down the metaphorical towels on the sun loungers for you at the new hotels we have recently added to our own travel bucket list. Here’s our editor’s pick of the must-visit hotels opening in June.

Read more.

Judges have been announced for The Brit List Awards 2021

The Brit List Awards judges 2021

Now that the free nominations/applications process is open for The Brit List Awards 2021, it’s time to meet this year’s judges. The 2021 panel consists of respected travel journalists and international experts in the design, architecture and hotel development arenas. The judges will gather to select the winners ahead of the awards ceremony on November 3 at PROUD Embankment, London.

Read more.

EXCLUSIVE // Virtual hotel design masterclass: The science of sleep

Image credit: YOTEL

In a recent article exclusively published on Hotel Designs, Hannah Shore, sleep expert at Silentnight Group, shared an ‘experts guide on the science of a good nights’ sleep’. In this article, she explored the optimum environment to enhance the best sleep performance, which included looking at temperature, lighting and comfort – or ‘TLC’ as she puts it.

Following this insightful piece, it felt natural for us to extend an invitation out to a cluster of designers and hospitality experts to explore with the professionals at Silentnight Group, the science of sleep.

Read more.

(in video) Hotel Designs LIVE: Art outside the frame

Following two engaging panel discussions looking at a new era of lifestyle and bathrooms beyond practical spaces, the third debate virtually sheltered under Hotel Designs LIVE was around challenging conventional portrayal of art in hotel design. Sponsored by Elegant Clutter, which prides itself on offering a professionally different approach to art consultancy, this chapter of the event addressed new demands from public areas and clever ways to inject branding and sense of place in hospitality establishments.

Read more.

M Social arrives in New York

M Social NY terrace night view

Image credit: M Social

Ever since checking in to M Social Singapore, designed by the one and only Philippe Starck, a few years ago, I was convinced that this brand would thrive in the concrete neighbourhood of Manhattan. With the opening of a 480-key hotel located at 226 West 52 Street  –literally in the heard of Times Square to you and I – it’s about time (and it’s better late than never).

Read more.

In Conversation With: Alex Tredez on designing The Lost Poet

Image credit: The Lost Poet

“We felt that there was a gap in the market for accommodation which offers high quality service, attention to detail and professionalism synonymous with the hotel experience – but also offering an authentic local experience which guests love about Airbnb-like residences,” Alex Tredez, lead designer of The Lost Poet, explains to me as we start to discuss one of West London’s most anticipated hotel openings this year.

Read more. 

Since you’re here…

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

Click here to sign up to our newsletter.

Roundtable - sleep

Virtual hotel design masterclass: The science of sleep

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Virtual hotel design masterclass: The science of sleep

In late May, 2021, Hotel Designs invited a handful of designers and hotel experts to speak at a virtual roundtable on sleep performance, in association with Silentnight Group. Editor Hamish Kilburn, who moderated the session that naturally turned into a masterclass, writes…

Roundtable - sleep

In a recent article exclusively published on Hotel Designs, Hannah Shore, sleep expert at Silentnight Group, shared an ‘experts guide on the science of a good nights’ sleep’. In this article, she explored the optimum environment to enhance the best sleep performance, which included looking at temperature, lighting and comfort – or ‘TLC’ as she puts it.

Following this insightful piece, it felt natural for us to extend an invitation out to a cluster of designers and hospitality experts to explore with the professionals at Silentnight Group, the science of sleep.

Key panelists

Also on the panel:

  • Angela Moran, Product Strategy Director, Silentnight Group
  • David Lawrenson, Sales Director, Silentnight Group

Hamish Kilburn: Angela, could you just kick us off please with a bit more context on Silentnight Group and what the brand is currently working on from a product perspective…

 Angela Moran: Where do I start? Silentnight Group is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year. We’re the leading consumer brand in the UK and the largest bed manufacturer in the UK. We mainly operate out of our site in Barnoldswick in England and we also have a partnership with Comfy Bedding – and we can do a whole sleep package with them including air filtration systems within the bedroom.

Sustainability is one of our pillars at the brand, and one of my deep passions in my role. We are really pleased that we make all of our products in the UK and 70 per cent of our raw materials are also come from the UK and many are within two hours of our HQ.

In terms of product design, our key principles are:

  • Comfort – looking at how we can offer the best nights’ sleep
  • Cleanliness – everything from antiviral treatments
  • Durability – we want our products to stand the test of time without a decrease in comfort
  • Sustainability – we do a lot of work in this area. One area we are really focused on is recycling. We have a 97 per cent recycle rate.

In all the research that goes in during product development, we are always balancing those four areas.

HK: Jeremy, given your expertise in this area around sustainability – assembly to dissemble mind-set on all your projects – how difficult has it been in the past with beds at the end of their life cycle?

 Jeremy Grove: We think about that in relation to every product and beds were a problem. Over the last two or three years we have started to find solutions. I think it’s something like 13 million mattresses go to landfill every year. Currently, it’s very limited to what’s out there, but I do see that changing.

Joanna Knight: I think it’s very important. We are working on a large project at the moment where we are changing out 614 beds and mattresses and we are very keen not to send the old products to landfill – and we are working with Silentnight Group on how we best do this.

Emma King: Hygiene and materiality are both so important right now. And by that I mean the whole sleep experience, what is happening when it comes to recycling duvets etc. From a brand point of view, the first thing to be removed when Covid-19 hit was the soft furnishings and cushions because everyone, it seems, wants a clean, white bed right now. I believe the consumer will want to be more informed, from now on, about where materials have come from and what they are sleeping on.

Image credit: Kimpton DeWitt Amsterdam Hotel. Interior Design. Photography. Laure Joliet

Image credit: Kimpton DeWitt Amsterdam Hotel. Interior Design. Photography. Laure Joliet

HK: Does what bed and mattress you specify change depending on where the project is geographically?

Ariane Steinbeck: To a certain extent, yes. Interestingly, we find that the Asian market prefers to specify a firmer mattress. I remember travelling in mainland China not so long ago and wherever we stayed in a non-internationally branded hotel the mattress was rock solid!

Frank Esmeijer: At YOTEL, we call our rooms ‘cabins’ and we believe they are very unique. The bed in each of our cabins takes a leading role. Our model is very different, and our bed has to have the functionality to fold up.

Image credit: YOTEL

HK: So often when we future gaze to what the hospitality and hotel design landscape might look like in the future, the bed is often depicted as something out of a sci-fi movie. And yet we today are grounding the conversation around materials and sustainable methods. Where do you then draw the line between what’s a gimmick and what’s meaningful?

AS: I try to stick to the science and when I am travelling, I would like things to be simple and clean. If we are working with someone independently and we have more of a voice on what gets specified, all the information available is very helpful as decisions are easier to make when they are informed. Personally, I want to know whether or not sleeping on material that is ‘natural’ is better for you…

HS: We always have this argument over natural vs synthetic. Every material that goes into a mattress has its pros and its cons. Natural materials, for example, have really great thermal regulatory properties and are extremely breathable. However, the downsides to natural materials include that they might settle a bit more and generally be less durable. On the other side, synthetic material is probably more durable but does not offer as good breathability. So, as you can hear, it all just completely depends what the end consumer wants.

“The reason why polyester is such a valuable material is that it is arriving as someone else’s’ waste and is approved by the Global Recycled Standards (GRS).” – Angela Moran, Product Strategy Director, Silentnight Group.

Image credit: Silentnight Group

AS: Has it been proven that there is off-gassing by using non-natural materials?

AM: I recently had a call with leaders from the bed industry and we are looking at how to move the industry forward for the societal good. In terms of foam, I have completely changed my view. I initially thought that it may be durable but it is an oil-based product. However, I have now realised, due to the work that Hannah has done, that the mattress is a sustainable option because it just lasts so long. And, at end of life, synthetics are very easy to recycle over the natural materials that, while they are compostable, there is no infrastructure in place to recycle so they are unfortunately going into landfill. The reason why polyester is such a valuable material is that it is arriving as someone else’s’ waste and is approved by the Global Recycled Standards (GRS). In five years, I believe that every mattress material will be able to be recycled, at scale!

“We were finding that many mattresses were passing durability tests in the lab and yet failing in real life scenarios.” – Hannah Shore, Sleep Expert, Silentnight Group.

HK: How do Silentnight test their latest products?

HS: Let me introduce you to Robbie, he is our climate machine who was created as a result of a widespread research collaborations between ourselves, universities and institutions. He heats up to about 75 per cent humidity. We did a bit of research under the duvet, creating our own microclimate. Using Robbie, we can apply heat and moisture in different ways. We can manipulate the settings to match realistic climates in the bedroom. We were finding that many mattresses were passing durability tests in the lab and yet failing in real life scenarios. If you add heat and moisture, as you would have in a real setting, then the fibres were collapsing more. As a result, that can decrease the lifespan of a mattress by up to 30 per cent. So, although we test everything in the lab, we also use Robbie as an in-depth testing method. Another way we can use Robbie is to measure how quickly that heat and moisture goes through the different layers of the mattress. The key finding we found was that the heat and moisture management was in the top five centimeters of the mattress.

Daniel Englender: When it comes to sleep performance, I think everyone has been interested in the science over the last few years especially. What I am interested in understanding more about is the on-going maintenance of the mattress, as in how much they need to be turned etc?

AM: Our learning has been that in a hotel environment it has be easy care and there are a few things to consider. A lot of mattresses these days can come single-sided, so that you don’t have to think or worry about ‘turning’ the mattress continually – and again, that’s where foam really rates highly.

On the other side, the piece of kit that Hannah referred to has allowed us to completely reinvent our fibre specifications. Some of the innovation in the polyester front has been, instead of just horizontally laying fibres, we can now vertically lap them so that they mimic foam more. It ensures that fibres are more long-lasting. From all of this, my conclusion would be that single-sided mattresses are best suited for hotels because you can put more on the top.

Image credit: RPW Design/Marriott International

DE: What’s the magic formula for a zip and link bed to feel like a regular mattress?

David Lawrenson (Sales Director, Silentnight Group): It’s interesting because the zip on a zip-and-link product is a hugely contentious topic in the hospitality industry. Depending on where you have the zip, it can cause the materials to separate and if it is too high up then it becomes uncomfortable for the user. We are working on new technology and products that offer a solution.

“Interestingly for us to fall asleep, our core temperature needs to drop 1 degrees. A lot of people think that wrapping up warm and cosy is the answer, but science has exposed that to the be a myth.” – Hannah Shore, Sleep Expert, Silentnight Group.

HK: Hannah, in a recent article we published from you, you said that 75 per cent of Brits admit to not having good nights’ sleep. 30 per cent of those asked rated their sleep as ‘bad’ Why is this stat so high? 

HS: We live in a 24-hour world at the moment where we don’t shut off with our phones and a zoom call never too far away. These scenarios emit a blue light, which is not conducive for sleeping. It depresses melatonin, which is fundamental for us to fall asleep. Something that I do mention in the article is ‘TLC’, and by that I mean temperature, lighting and comfort. Interestingly for us to fall asleep, our core temperature needs to drop 1 degrees. A lot of people think that wrapping up warm and cosy is the answer, but science has exposed that to the be a myth. Lighting is fundamental, and comfort is a big factor. There are lots of people who are not sleeping on the right mattress. From a hotel perspective, all you have to do is go onto the TripAdviser website to see the amount of comments that reference bad nights’ sleep.

HK: What are your clients’ thoughts, and concerns, when it comes to specifying the bed?

JK: Most of our clients are focused on providing a good sleep experience and it is beneficial to get repeat business. We are led by brand standards, when working for brands such as Radisson Blu and Hyatt, and these standards are generally very high.

HK: When it comes to lighting when talking about sleep performance, there is a lot a talk on circadian rhythm. Are there affordable products out there that offer a quality solution?

JK: I think the price will come down as products become wider developed. To be honest, it [circadian rhythm technology] is not something a lot of the brands who we work with are looking at the moment, but I think it is a very interesting concept. In 20 years alone, there have been a lot of innovations that started being only accessible for luxury brands with deeper pockets that has filtered down into other sectors of the market. So much technology has become widespread now.

Cozy bedroom

Image credit: Silentnight Group

AS: What is the single most element for good sleep, is it the mattress or is the pillow?

HS: You need to get a good combination of both. Both the mattress and the pillow contribute to your spinal alignment. Comfort is subjective – what one person finds comfortable, another will not. So, when we measure comfort, we try where possible lead with objective science. An important factor I look at is spinal alignment. Your mattress provides a lot of support, but if you sleep with the wrong pillow, this can affect your alignment in your neck and down your mid spine.

And that brings me on to talk about Zoning. Working with our partners, we were able to test for optimum spinal alignment. We looked at soft, medium and firm and there were differences. What is more important when looking at a large group of people of all different shapes and sizes to cater to is the zoned part of the mattress. If the centre-third of the mattress is slightly firmer it supports our hips and our lower back. That part of the body needs that little extra element of support. So, a well-zoned mattress with the right pillow is key for sleep performance.

FE: I think there could be an opportunity there. We all remember the days of pillow menus. Ultimately, how do you. There are levels of comfort that you can customise, such as lighting and sound – and as a guest you can optimise your experience. But there are some elements in a room, like a mattress, you cannot customise.

EK: I think we need to bring the pillow menu back. If we are specifying an average mattress (depending on brand), then we can make the pillow the individual differentiator that I had not necessarily thought of.

JK: Does the base and having a sprung base have any baring?

AM: Yes, because it affects the softness. Whatever you are specifying you should always try it on the base that is also being specified.

HK: How do you create a cosy and calm setting in bedrooms that are awkwardly sized?  

JG: We’ve never been a company that really disrupts the conventional bed. It’s an element within the room that is generally based on comfort rather than appearance, depending on the hotel. In awkward spaces, it’s about trying to sprit back to the bare minimum so that you can have a bed that doubles up to be a bedside table. It’s about making these spaces easy to navigate. For mid-level brands, it’s about getting the basics right such as full black-out curtains. These are the annoying details that end up on trip advisor if not thoughtfully implemented.

FE: Space has become a premium these days and I think it’s important to draw out the important elements of the design and try to inject them in first. We are constantly trying to figure out new ways to utilise the space without compromising on comfort and experience.

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

Hotel Designs LIVE - art outside the frame

(in video) Hotel Designs LIVE: Art outside the frame

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
(in video) Hotel Designs LIVE: Art outside the frame

In the second session of Hotel Designs LIVE on May 11, 2021, we looked at art outside the frame. In an exclusive panel discussion, editor Hamish Kilburn welcomed Harry Pass, Creative Director, Elegant Clutter; Rob Wagemans, Founder, Concrete; Federico Toresi, Global Vice President Design – Luxury & Premium Brands, Accor and photographer Mel Yates to explore unconventional ways to portray art and branding in the hotel design process…

Hotel Designs LIVE - art outside the frame

Following two engaging panel discussions looking at a new era of lifestyle and bathrooms beyond practical spaces, the third debate virtually sheltered under Hotel Designs LIVE was around challenging conventional portrayal of art in hotel design. Sponsored by Elegant Clutter, which prides itself on offering a professionally different approach to art consultancy, this chapter of the event addressed new demands from public areas and clever ways to inject branding and sense of place in hospitality establishments.

Editor Hamish Kilburn welcomed a mix of designers, architects, art experts and even a leading photographer to capture the topic through a slightly different lens,to join him on the virtual sofa. Taking what was learned in the early conversations, the panel looked holistically at art’s role in hotel design.

On the panel:

Here’s the full video of the panel discussion (on demand), produced by CUBE, which includes Product Watch pitch from Elegant Clutter.

We have also published the full recordings of session one and session two from Hotel Designs LIVE . The full recording of the final session on workspace design trends will be available on-demand shortly.

SAVE THE DATE: Hotel Designs LIVE will return for a fourth edition on August 10, 2021. The topics explored will include surfaces, sleep, senses and social and speakers will be announced shortly. Once these have been announced, tickets for Hotel Designs LIVE will be available. In the meantime, if you would like to discuss sponsorship opportunities, focused Product Watch pitches or the concept of Hotel Designs LIVE, please contact Katy Phillips or call +44 (0) 1992 374050.

Since you’re here…

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

Click here to sign up to our newsletter.

M Social arrives in New York

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
M Social arrives in New York

“It’s about time,” editor Hamish Kilburn reacts to Millennium Hotels & Resorts opening of M Social New York, which marks the brand’s understated yet very dynamic arrival in the United States…

“Ever since checking in to M Social Singapore, designed by the one and only Philippe Starck, a few years ago, I was convinced that this brand would thrive in the concrete neighbourhood of Manhattan,” says editor Hamish Kilburn. “With the opening of a 480-key hotel located at 226 West 52 Street  –literally in the heard of Times Square to you and I – it’s about time (and it’s better late than never).”

M Social NY terrace night view

Image credit: M Social

The hotel’s distinctive, contemporary rooms are designed for all types of travellers to rest and re-energise in style with guest’s practical needs in mind. We’re told that each room has unparalleled Times Square, river or city views and each comes equipped with modern workspaces and ergonomic chairs, Serta mattresses and streaming-capable 4K smart TVs.

Guestroom inside M Social New York

Image credit: M Social

A hub for explorers, M Social features spaces that are designed to be accessible, comfortable and practical, including outdoor venues with some of the best views of the city. M Social New York is home to the vibrant bar and lounge, Beast & Butterflies, a private oasis perched above Times Square boasting unobstructed views of the city and the perfect vantage point for the iconic Times Square Ball Drop. Guests of Beast & Butterflies can indulge whilst eying New York City’s sparkle on a 7500 square foot wrap around terrace adjacent to an indoor glass perch. Beast & Butterflies is designed to be a vibrant space with a highly curated cocktail menu and light bites.

The hotel is adorned with an eclectic art collection and pairs its unique architecture with contemporary, avant-garde designs that illustrate a story based on New York City’s main characteristics. The lobby showcases a digital art installation which combines architecture, contemporary art and technology to create an unexpected and dynamic experience. 32 digital screens continuously display a curated library of digital art, transforming the space into an immersive living narrative that incorporates elegant display pieces throughout the area. Specialised art consultants also helped inject their own quirks throughout the hotel with installations such as the 600 sq ft lobby art wall, designed to enhance the aesthetic and spatial designs of the Times Square property.

The M Social brand was launched in Singapore in 2016. Millennium Hotels and Resorts is exploring ways to grow the brand in more cities, to capture diverse stories and build up a community that shares itself with authenticity, an open mind and giving heart.  M Social New York will be the third location for the brand with other outposts in Singapore and Auckland. 

Main image credit: M Social

In Conversation With: Alex Tredez on designing The Lost Poet

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In Conversation With: Alex Tredez on designing The Lost Poet

In an exclusive interview, editor Hamish Kilburn meets Alex Tredez, the lead designer of The Lost Poet, a new boutique hotel that shelters oodles of quirky and local personality. Ahead of it opening as a ‘modern interpretation of a traditional guest house’ on London’s Portobello Road, we took a sneak peek inside…

“We felt that there was a gap in the market for accommodation which offers high quality service, attention to detail and professionalism synonymous with the hotel experience – but also offering an authentic local experience which guests love about Airbnb-like residences,” Alex Tredez, lead designer of The Lost Poet, explains to me as we start to discuss one of West London’s most anticipated hotel openings this year.

Deeply rooted in its surrounding area, The Lost Poet, a hotel that is expected to open its doors this month following much anticipation, comes from the team at Cubic Studios – a local property design studio, born and bred in Notting Hill. The townhouse, located at Number 6, Portobello Road in London’s quaint Notting Hill neighbourhood, is a poetic love letter to the area, celebrating its creativity and dynamism through four individually designed bedrooms. The design harnesses the colour and playful curiosity of Portobello Road and takes inspiration from the market, mixing the old with the new. I was lucky enough to see beyond the colourful sketches to get a sneak peek and interview with the project’s lead designer.

The Lost Poet illustration

Image caption: An illustration of the exterior of the hotel

Hamish Kilburn: How will the hotel’s design challenge conventional London hospitality?

Alex Tredez: The Lost Poet is a modern interpretation of a traditional guest house. As far as we know, there is nothing quite like it. 

We felt that there was a gap in the market for accommodation which offers high quality service, attention to detail and professionalism synonymous with the hotel experience – but also offering an authentic local experience which guests love about Airbnb-like residences. 

It’s a concept that we thought is perfect for a city stay as it gives the traveller the best of both worlds. The guest house is an experience / destination on its own but it’s also very much rooted in the local area. The idea was to create accommodation for those who want to explore and experience the neighbourhood but also want a comfortable and characterful space to retreat to and relax in. Notting Hill is such a lively area with so much to offer we’d like to think we can encourage guests to explore it and enjoy. 

The small scale of the property and technology used through-out give the guests maximum privacy and flexibility. For example, the online check-in feature allows the guests to submit necessary information ahead of their stay, keyless access enables them to open the accommodation simply using their mobile phone. No matter what time the guests arrive at the property they are able to just walk in straight into the room. The receptionist and online support are there to answer any queries and provide assistance. The guests are free to have as little or as much face to face contact with the guest house staff as they choose. 

 We believe it is The Lost Poet’s unique mix of qualities is what will challenge the conventional hospitality. 

HK: With so much history in that area of London, how did you narrow down the interior design scheme?

AT: Embracing the rich history and character of the area was a huge part of the brief and a challenge we very much enjoyed. We felt it was important for this rich mix of culture and history to translate into the interiors. Our other objective was for the scheme to feel coherent and polished and have the same attention to detail that we strive to achieve on our residential projects. Having worked in Notting Hill for many years, this project is close to our hearts.  

The iconic pastel terraces of Portobello and nearby roads definitely inspired us. For this we drew from the classic proportions and timeless elegance of Georgian buildings in Notting Hill. Their construction uses a limited palette of materials such as yellow brick, stucco and stone and is what gives these streets coherence and harmony. However, instead of using a complex multi coloured palette throughout the property we decided to use different palette for each room. Our objective was to convey the vibrancy and playfulness of the area in The Lost Poet as a whole but have each bedroom feel more tranquil creating for the guests a welcome break from the surrounding bustle.

Using the colour as the tool adding individuality to the rooms also allowed us to use same architectural features and a similar overall design approach in each room so that they all feel like they belong in the same property but also have individual character. 

“We opted for mid tone and dark wood to add warmth and really tie the antique and retro furniture together.” – Alex Tredez, lead designer, The Lost Poet.

For eclectic and layered interior we used a mix of elegant classical inspired detailing and proportions, luxury traditional materials, modern forms as well as contemporary patterns. We opted for mid tone and dark wood to add warmth and really tie the antique and retro furniture together. Reclaimed and natural  materials add comfort and create domestic/ informal feel. Asymmetrical balance adds playfulness, visual interest and relaxed vibe. 

HK: How do you predict the pandemic will change the way modern travellers explore? 

AT: The pandemic has made many people really think about the way we travel and why we travel. We suspect it will change the way we explore. For starters, customers will put extra value on smart solutions such as online check-in and keyless access which can add the feeling of safety as well as flexibility. Travellers are looking for a more personal connection which values quality over quantity. Bespoke and meaningful experiences will be even more valued and by a wider portion of the market – the discerning traveller will make conscious choices, people having to really research and plan, less impulse decisions. Travellers may be willing to stay in one place for longer. For us this means longer stays, taking things at a slower pace which in turn means more time to explore the area. Guests are more conscious about sustainability, and we expect to see an increase in eco and wellness tourism.

I also think that we may see an increase in last minute bookings – still considered plans but confirmed shorter lead times than what the industry standard was in 2019.

HK: What’s the scene like on Portobello Road? 

At the moment? We are happy to see many restaurants and bars are and have been adapting well. We are seeing increased number of al-fresco dining and dining options. Some businesses have been burned though the pandemic and have since blossomed (just one example is Buns from Home). 

In general? We love that there are so many small businesses and restaurants on the street. You can wine and dine here for a week and not have to go to the same place twice. You can find everything from Moroccan sweets, through to Michelin starred restaurants as well as highly specialised vendors (vintage glasses, unique blends of tea, bespoke perfume etc). 

HK: Now more than ever design and service must answer each other. How is this the case inside The Lost Poet? 

AT: The Lost Poet thrives on its attention to detail. Since the inception of the design phase of the project to the thought put into the guest experience, the devil has been in the detail. The Lost Poet is Cubic’s love letter to Notting Hill, it’s part of the community, in the coolest neighbourhood in London. We want our guests to experience that, to feel and love the quirkiness and the friendly embrace of Portobello. The design of the rooms is intended to feel like home, we want our guests to be able to come ‘home’ to The Lost Poet and the end of their day. The service will be reflected in that. We only have a few rooms so which allows us to provide a much more personal experience and adapt to ever-changing guest needs. Everything from toiletries to our seasonal breakfast offering has been carefully considered.  

“We know how we arrived at the name but feel that just like with poetry sometimes it is best to leave these things open to interpretation.” – Alex Tredez, lead designer, The Lost Poet.

HK: How do the bathrooms inside the property go beyond just being practical spaces

AT: We have put a lot of thought into making sure they are very special, each bathroom is as unique to the room (different finish on the sanitaryware, different wallpapers, different layouts). We have closely considered how guests would get ready and added seating where possible and wall lighting to help elevate this experience, creating a beautiful space where you can still enjoy your daily rituals. We wanted to create that ‘wow’ moment and the special feel you’d expect from a luxury spa with loads of added character to match the feel of the property.  

HK: Who is ‘the lost poet’? 

AT: Notting Hill is said to have had an artistic association since the end of 19 century, we feel it’s still very prominent. You can feel it in the area and we love it and think it is one of the things that makes it so special. We know how we arrived at the name but feel that just like with poetry sometimes it is best to leave these things open to interpretation…  

Main image credit: The Lost Poet

The Brit List Awards judges 2021

The Brit List Awards 2021: Meet the judges

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The Brit List Awards 2021: Meet the judges

Now that the free nominations/applications process is open for The Brit List Awards 2021, it’s time to meet this year’s judges. The 2021 panel consists of respected travel journalists and international experts in the design, architecture and hotel development arenas. The judges will gather to select the winners ahead of the awards ceremony on November 3 at PROUD Embankment, London…

The Brit List Awards judges 2021

Right on cue – and continuing tradition – the next step after nominations and applications have opened for The Brit List Awards is for us to announce this year’s judging panel.

This year, as well as continuing our firm relationship with the British Institute of Interior Design (BIID) by welcoming both the President and the Past-President as judges, we have also included an award-winning travel journalist and a cluster of respected hospitality and hotel design experts to join this year’s panel.

(Free to apply/nominate) To nominate/apply for The Brit List Awards 2021, click here.

Without further a due, the judges for The Brit List Awards 2021 are:

Lindsey Rendall, President Elect, BIID

Image credit: Rendall & Wright

Lindsey Rendall is the soon-to-be President of the BIID. After graduating Lindsey Rendall worked for Designers Guild, the internationally renowned home furnishing brand before continuing her design career with Cameron Broom, based in south London. During her five years with the company, Rendall became principal designer and designed a wide range of projects including more than 90 domestic properties, five offices, three commissions for The Hurlingham Club and the complete renovation of 28 Portland Place, a beautiful historic building dating from 1775.

Rendall enthusiasm, attention to detail and ability to identify with her clients has ensured repeat business and many recommendations and referrals. In 2010 Lindsey was granted full membership of the British Institute of Interior Design. Lindsey joined forces with Helen to set up Interior Design practice Rendall & Wright in 2006. This dynamic duo, bring together design expertise and seamless project management, providing a personal and professional service.

Lester Bennett, President, BIID

Image credit: BIID

As a registered interior design with more than 30 years’ experience, Lester Bennett will be the Past President of the BIID during the judging process of The Brit List Awards 2021. Joining the panel for a second year, Bennett has covered many areas of design from running his own practice to being Design Director for the residential development company Westcity. He has built up a stunning portfolio of high profile residential developments both in the UK and overseas.

Lisa Grainger, Deputy and Travel Editor, Times Luxx magazine

Image credit: Twitter (@LisaGrainger4)

Viewing this year’s entries from a different perspective over the likes of design and architecture professionals, Lisa Grainger is an award-winning travel journalist who has worked for The Times – from the arts and news desks to The Times Magazine and LUXX – since 1995. Grainger, who has become a well-known figure on the luxury travel scene and an influential voice which is amplified regularly in her authentic reviews, is a regular contributor to panels on conservation and luxury travel.

Frank M. Pfaller, President, HoteliersGuild

Image credit: Frank M. Pfaller

Image credit: Frank M. Pfaller

Frank M. Pfaller, the Founder and President of Hoteliers Guild joins the panel with his ‘no two people are alike’ attitude. Impressed by the accessibility of The Brit List Awards 2021, Pfaller believes that  while every property must meticulously reach and maintain highest standards of quality and personalised guest services, none should have to bear the dull stamp of conformity. HoteliersGuild was created with this mentality, and has become a private and independent society of active luxury hoteliers with the aim to connect the best of the hospitality community in a place that encourages the exchange of ideas and personal friendships.

 

Dereck & Beverly Joubert, filmmakers and owners, Great Plains

Image credit: Great Plains

Dereck and Beverly Joubert are world-renowned wildlife filmmakers and are the founders of Great Plains, an authentic, unique and iconic leading tourism conservation organisation. The pair will capture this year’s entries through their unique lens to capture, hopefully, the hotel projects that push boundaries in architecture, design and hospitality. Great Plains consists of 16 prestigious owned and partner safari properties in Botswana, Kenya and Zimbabwe – and offers exceptional safari experiences built around bespoke, caring, meaningful and considerate values.

Ngahuia Damerell, Senior Design Project Manager – Premium & Luxury Brands Design Solutions, Design & Technical Services, Accor

Image credit: Accor

Ngahuia Damerell, on the Board of Directors for the NEWH Paris Chapter, will join the panel to assist in the judging for the Rising Star Award, following Accor’s commitment to support young talent with the Accor Design Awards.

Damerell earned a bachelor’s degree in textile design with a focus on interior textiles from Massey University in Wellington, New Zealand. Her professional journey has taken her to Sydney, London, New York and now, Paris, where she works as the Global Senior Design Project Manager for Accor’s Luxury & Premium brands, including Raffles, Sofitel, Pullman and Movenpick.

Hamish Kilburn, Editor, Hotel Designs

Editor Hamish Kilburn headshot

Image credit: Hotel Designs

Completing this year’s panel, Hamish Kilburn, editor of Hotel Designs, will return for a fourth consecutive year to act as head judge for The Brit List Awards.

In his role on the leading online publication, Kilburn sensitively narrates the industry’s development. As well as travelling the globe, to far-flung destinations, in order to review some of the world’s most impressive hotels, he has also interviewed the masterminds behind their creations. “The Brit List Awards has become a valuable tool for the industry to understand who the real leaders and visionaries are among us,” he said. “In our meaningful search, we are looking for people and brands going beyond what is conventional – and in the four years I have held this position, the industry has never disappointed in showing us projects that are, quite simply, incredible.”

Most recently, Kilburn become the host of DESIGN POD, a new podcast for the A&D community and was also part of the team who masterminded Hotel Designs LIVE, a series of virtual online conferences for designers, architects and hoteliers in order to keep the industry connected and the conversation flowing. As a result, he has gained a detailed understanding as to what it takes to be at the forefront of the industry’s development and evolution.

So there you have it, your judges for The Brit List Awards 2021.

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

If you would like to discuss various sponsorship packages available, please contact Katy Phillips via email, or call 01992 374050.

Headline Partner: Crosswater

VIP arrivals: Hottest hotels opening in June 2021

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

From re-imagined landmarks to Portobello boltholes and new hospitality hotspots, here’s your ultimate guide on the hottest, must-visit hotels that are opening in June 2021, just in time for the summer season to start. Editor Hamish Kilburn continues our VIP Arrivals series as international travel and hospitality open up once more…

A few weeks ago, restricted by green, amber and red lists – it’s as if we are at a junction and the traffic lights are broken – we on the editorial desk at Hotel Designs unveiled the best design hotels to visit in Portugal. But, as you know, we are a global platform and have over the last few months been publishing our VIP Arrivals series, which takes a closer look at the latest hotels opening on the hotel design scene.

For the June edition, things are hotting us as the summer season approaches. Although (for the time being, at least) many desirable destinations remain untouchable, we thrown down the metaphorical towels on the sun loungers for you at the new hotels we have recently added to our own travel bucket list. Here’s our editor’s pick of the must-visit hotels opening in June.

Proper Downtown LA

Proper Downtown LA: Hotels opening in June

Proper Downtown LA

The visionary herself, Kelly Wearstler, is preparing to unveil her latest masterpiece. With city lights and vintage brick as backdrop, Proper re-imagines and updates a landmark in the heart of the Fashion District into a 148-key destination hotel. Here, the creative vision of Kelly Wearstler seamlessly blends past and present with compelling design, vintage influence and local art. Essentials include two restaurants led by James Beard Award-winning L.A. chef Suzanne Goin and Caroline Styne (Lucques, AOC, Tavern); an intimate lounge, and a city-view rooftop pool and lounge-bar-restaurant. Especially Proper are two singular, one-of-a-kind suites fashioned from the basketball court and indoor pool of the building’s sporting club past.

Moxy Bergen, Norway

Moxy Bergen interior public areas - Hotels opening in June

Image credit: Moxy Hotels

Located in Norway’s striking Bergen, a World Heritage City with picturesque outdoor life, Moxy Bergen’s prime waterfront location offers unbeatable views overlooking Norway’s famed fjords. Moxy is an energetic alternative to the typical hotel experience in Bergen, proving that choosing affordability doesn’t mean sacrificing style and comfort. The hotel’s playful design is inspired by its destination; the exterior is coated with rails in a pattern mimicking the surrounding waves, and inside there is a focus on natural elements with wooden furniture and installations. Fun hunters can soak up local scenery throughout their stay with each of the hotel’s 199 guestrooms providing Instagram-worthy fjord or mountain views. Down in the lobby guests will find quirky creations by local artists, including a Norwegian folklore figure from the forests of Norway. The Now Lounge has pulled the hotel’s harbour setting inside with anchor ball lamps and rope decorations, telling the story of local life. Moxy Bergen also holds leading sustainability certificates, a perfect match for the eco-conscious traveller.

Kuda Villingili, the Maldives

Arival jetty Kuda Villingili – Hotels opening in June

Image credit: Kuda Villingili

Recently published on Hotel Designs as one of the most highly anticipated hotels opening in June, Kuda Villingili is a Maldivian jewel. Conceived with nature in mind by the Maldivian architectural firm GX Associates in collaboration with the Singapore-based interior design company URBNarc, Kuda Villingili boasts 95 luxury villas – 36 overwater and 59 beachside. All are inspired by the sprawling nature of the Maldives and offer panoramic views of the pristine ocean, allowing for the natural sounds of the sea to awaken the senses.

The resort’s interiors authentically reflect the natural beauty that surrounds the island. Traditional Maldivian art pieces and textiles are dotted throughout, and the expert use of natural materials enhance the harmony between water, light and wind. Inspired by the ocean and local fauna, interiors feature custom, eco-friendly furniture and fittings (including carpets manufactured from recycled plastic bottles). This mixed-use resort development also offers a variety of accommodation types to meet the needs of all – groups, couples, solo travellers and families.

The Lost Poet, London 

The Lost Poet - Hotels opening in June

Image credit: The Lost Poet

Deeply rooted in its surrounding area, The Lost Poet comes from the team at Cubic Studios – a local property design studio, born and bred in Notting Hill. The townhouse, located at Number 6, Portobello Road in London’s quaint Notting Hill neighbourhood, is a poetic love letter to the area, celebrating its creativity and dynamism through four individually designed bedrooms. The design harnesses the colour and playful curiosity of Portobello Road and takes inspiration from the market, mixing the old with the new. Guests will find modern art, bold wallpapers and bespoke furniture sitting in juxtaposition with antique trinkets and reclaimed wood panelling created from old school science labs.

Accessible to guests arriving at any time of day or night, the concept offers the independence of rental property with the design, housekeeping and concierge elements synonymous with a luxury boutique hotel. 

OMMA Santorini

White room inside OMMA Santorini

Image credit: OMMA Santorini

Epoque Collection, a new luxury boutique hotel management company, is opening the brand’s first meticulously selected five-star property, the beautiful and breathtaking OMMA Santorini. After a soft opening in 2019, the much-anticipated stunning and secluded hilltop hotel with no surrounding properties in sight, is set to officially open in June. From the outside architecture to the interior design, OMMA Santorini offers a journey of discovery through all the senses. With just 25 intimate rooms and suites and five villas, organised amphitheatrically around the element of water, OMMA Santorini provides an intimate hideaway for couples and families alike. Each of the five beautiful villas is blessed with a private swimming pool and sprawling sea views overlooking the Aegean Sea. The contemporary and timeless style throughout the hotel balances crisp white walls and clean-cut spaces against charcoal sun loungers and furniture to create a design that oozes luxury and elegance. Cycladic white buildings surround the extraordinary double infinity pool which is set across two levels and is amongst the largest pools in Santorini. For that reason, it makes our top picks of hotels opening in June.

Hotel Lou Pinet

A yellow stripped vibrant public area

Image credit: Hotel Lou Pinet/Mr Tripper

Just like its sibling hotel, Le Cou Cou in Meribel, Hotel Lou Pinet is a piece of art, if you like, painstakingly designed to celebrate something different on the hospitality scene in Europe. And although it’s not new – the hotel first opened in 2019 – its style is as fresh today as it was then. Taking design cues from the rich Mediteranian gardens, the hotel, which re-emerges in June from its forced closure, is a peaceful abode away from hustle and bustle of Saint-Tropez. While its design remains timeless – and flawless, if we do say so ourselves – Lou Pinet has introduced a new offerings and treatments in the spa, as service and design work in harmony in what is a modern treasure. Lou Pinet is an intimate hideaway echoing the vintage Saint-Tropez spirit of the 60’s and 70’ where loved-up couples will dance the night away in the magical gardens, as the live music transports them to this vintage era.

Since you’re here…

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

Click here to sign up to our newsletter.

Main image credit: OMMA Santorini

Hotel Designs: round up 27 may

Weekly briefing: Maldives opening, bathroom trends & IDAS line-up

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Weekly briefing: Maldives opening, bathroom trends & IDAS line-up

Editor Hamish Kilburn here – right on cue – to round off your week with a low-down of the most-read hotel design stories from the past few days. This week’s edition of the Weekly Briefing includes our sneak peek inside the Maldives’ latest design-led hotel about to open, a video panel discussion on bathroom trends and our in conversation with the wonderful Noami Heaton, CEO of The Other House…

Hotel Designs: round up 27 may

Where do we start? The challenge this week, now that UK hospitality is on the mend, following a rather bleak coma, has been sifting through press releases to select the most interesting and impactful stories for the international hotel design scene. In addition, of course, we have published a handful of our own crafted features and interviews that we believe answer questions regarding new challenges for the future of hotel design landscape.

So, before the weekend – a long weekend if you are based in the UK – can official start, here are our top stories from the week.

Island life: Kuda Villingili in the Maldives prepares to open

Arival jetty Kuda Villingili

Image credit: Kuda Villingili

In just a few days time, luxury travellers will be able to check in to Kuda Villingili, a much-anticipated luxury island retreat in the Maldivian archipelago. The remarkable five-star property located in the North Male Atoll, Kuda Villingili is the Maldives redefined; a unique, experience-driven concept, home to an impressive line-up of gourmet dining options, an idyllic beachfront spa, and an azure, spacious 150-metre pool, encircled by stylish sunbeds, cabanas and bars – take it from us, it’s stunning! 

Read more.

(in video) Hotel Designs LIVE: Bathrooms beyond practical spaces

Following the opening seminar on ‘a new era of lifestyle‘, which was no doubt the session that set the tone for the rest of the day’s panel discussions, session two of Hotel Designs LIVE was sponsored by bathroom manufacturer Grohe. For this chapter of the one-day conference, Hotel Designs decided to focus the lens on an area of the hotel that has been at the centre of the wellness conversation over the last year.

Welcoming leading designers and architects to join him on the virtual sofa, the panel looked at all five senses to understand how bathroom design and wellness areas are evolving in order to cater to new demands from modern travellers. Understanding bathroom spaces in all colours, shapes and sizes, the panel started to ultimately establish trends and major talking points for wellness spaces in 2021 and beyond.

Read more. 

In Conversation With: Naomi Heaton, CEO, The Other House

Naomi_Heaton_CEO_TheOtherHouse

Image credit: The Other House

Having just unveiled The Other House, a new lifestyle hospitality brand that is said to ‘revolutionise hospitality’, Naomi Heaton’s two new hotels that are planned to open in the next few years are expected to make unapologetic and bold statements on the hotel scene in London. But what else has Heaton got planned? We caught up with the visionary herself to find out more.

Read more…

Interior Design & Architecture Summit: Speakership line up finalised

Speakers for IDAS and projects they have worked on

There is still time for designers and architects to sign up to attend the Interior Design & Architecture Summit (IDAS) on June 30 at Hilton Canary Wharf, London. The one-day event, which launched in 2019, is designed to dynamically bridge the gap between senior designers, architects and key-industry suppliers.

The Summit includes pre-arranged face-to-face meetings, a networking lunch. In addition, Hotel Designs has curated a captivating seminar programme that will run throughout the day, inviting leading industry figures to discuss a range of relevant and thought-provoking topics.

Here’s what to look forward to…

Read more.

What we know about Britain’s largest cruise ship, designed by Jestico + Whiles

Britain’s largest and most environmentally-friendly cruise ship is named in a record-breaking virtual ceremony. Britain’s largest and most environmentally-friendly cruise ship, P&O Cruises Iona, has been officially named in a very contemporary ceremony with a record-breaking virtual audience. Iona, powered by liquefied natural gas, ground-breaking for the UK cruise industry and one of the cleanest fuels in the world, arrived for the first time into her home port of Southampton this morning ahead of tonight’s official naming ceremony. The ship was officially named tonight by Dame Irene Hays, chair of Hays Travel, Britain’s largest independent travel agency, in a glittering quayside ceremony by the bow of the ship. The event, held at sunset, was hosted by Jo Whiley and broadcast to a “virtual” audience of over 25,000 guests. The highlight of the show was a rousing set from Iona’s music director Gary Barlow performing two iconic Take That hits “Greatest Day and “Rule the World” against the backdrop of a spectacular laser show. A specially produced Nebuchadnezzar (equivalent to 20x 750ml bottles) of Alex James’s Britpop cider smashed against the hull of the ship in spectacular style to bring it good fortune in the future. There was also a special performance by The Commonwealth Youth Orchestra and Choir and Mica Paris singing Believe, a song which was composed by Simon Haw MBE and was dedicated to Her Majesty The Queen, head of the Commonwealth, for its 70th anniversary in 2019. Picture date Sunday 16th May, 2021. Picture by Christopher Ison. Contact +447544 044177 chris@christopherison.com For further press information please contact: Michele Andjel, michele.andjel@carnivalukgroup.com 023 8065 6653 / 07730 732 072 Laura Tattam, laura.tattam@pocruises.com 02380 656651 / 07771 283 845 Jenny Hadley, jenny.hadley@pocruises.com 023 8065 6650 / 07825 120 088

Image credit: P&O Cruises

Britain’s largest and most environmentally friendly ship, powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG) will accommodate up to 5,200 guests. Iona was named in a spectacular ceremony broadcast to a virtual audience on Sunday May 16 and the ship’s maiden voyage will be on August 7, sailing the UK coast and up to her namesake island.

The award-winning interior design and architecture studio, Jestico + Whiles, which recently took part in a panel discussion on the new era of lifestyle at Hotel Designs LIVE, has designed most of the food and beverage spaces throughout the ship and the most spectacular space of all, the soaring triple-height Grand Atrium which captures unprecedented panoramic views across the ever-changing seascape, as far as the horizon.

Read more.

The role of wellness in the new era of ‘lifestyle hospitality’

Image credit: The Cottonmill Spat at Sopwell House

Image credit: The Cottonmill Spat at Sopwell House

Following on from the virtual roundtable: ‘Raising the floor in lifestyle’ and our Hotel Designs LIVE session entitled: ‘A new era of lifestyle’, it’s safe to say that we are putting a lot of emphasis on understanding lifestyle hospitality in 2021 and beyond. To continue the theme, we asked Beverley Bayes, Creative Director at Sparcstudio, to look at the role that spa and wellness has to play in the new chapter of hotel design.

Read more.

Since you’re here…

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

Click here to sign up to our newsletter.

 

Granorte Recolour - a room full of colour

Product watch: More colourful cork from Granorte

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Product watch: More colourful cork from Granorte

Recolour is a cork floor from Granorte that embraces the natural material’s aesthetic and adds colour to bring a fresh look. “The result is an authentic blend of materials and colours that will help to give contemporary spaces texture in their design schemes,” explains editor Hamish Kilburn…

Granorte Recolour - a room full of colour

Having followed the innovative products that have been developed under the Granorte brand for a while now, with each product launch – whether its the natural-looking Decodalle or the Japanese-inspired Tatami – I am completely blown away by the teams ability to produce meaningful products that lend themselves nicely to designers who think consciously when specifying. The launch of Recolour floor tiles from the brand is no exception!

Available in an extraordinary 28 colours, all possessing cork’s unique aesthetic, Recolour floor tiles add a natural look that’s out of the ordinary to commercial interiors. Each Recolour tile features bevels for defined edges that give a modern design floor feel and with cork’s unmistakable look and colours that can contribute to any commercial interior scheme, the floor offers designers something entirely different from their choice of flooring.

“Recolour brings cork’s unique aesthetic but appreciates that not every interior needs, or wants, a natural cork colour,” said Paulo Rocha, Product and R&D Manager at the brand. “With shades ranging from pearl and cream through to terracotta, forest and saffron, it’s a collection that lets designers embrace the natural and renewable credentials of cork, but still adhere to design practices that look to zone spaces through colour.”

The collection is available in two specifications – 4mm glue-down (Recolour Fix) and 10.5mm click installation – both finished with Wearplus® an easy-clean super-matt finish that is durable but that also highlights the natural status of the material. Providing a highly wear-resistant surface,

Recolour uses a 3mm cork veneer, HDF core with Uniclic® for fast and easy fitting and a 1.5mm cork insulating layer with Microban® built in. Purists will prefer the all-cork construction of the standard Recolour Fix that delivers the unmistakable decorative veneer and high-density agglomerated cork core.  Recolour Fix is supplied in 900 x 150mm tiles and Recolour in 1164 x 300mm format.

Granorte has been making cork products since 1972, when it was established to provide a use for the waste cork of wine stopper production. The family-owned Portuguese company uses the latest in production technology and focuses on R&D to deliver a unique range of products made from cork. From walls and floors to furniture and sanitary ware, the company is cork’s true innovator.

Granorte 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: Granorte

Parkside Tiles in the bathroom

Stylish antibacterial surfaces: Parkside’s Antibacterial Tiles

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Stylish antibacterial surfaces: Parkside’s Antibacterial Tiles

Parkside has launched four new wall and floor tile collections with built-in antibacterial protection, proving preconceptions wrong that you can in fact inject hygiene qualities without sacrificing style when it comes to surfaces…

Years of research have resulted in wall and floor tile collections with antibacterial protection. Inspired by nature, the collection’s built-in technology uses tin oxide and titanium oxide to create a finish that is antibacterial and anti-viral.

Parkside Tiles in the bathroom

Now available in Beat, Sylkin, Larkham and Tyne, the technology is proven to eliminate 99.7 per cent of common bacteria. Unlike similar products, where the antibacterial properties fade with time, Parkside’s protection is permanent and lasts for the lifetime of the tile. In fact, the technology is enhanced by solar and artificial light, yet still performs under dark conditions.

Making businesses and public spaces safer and more hygienic around the clock, the tiles also require less use of cleaning chemicals or detergents, while bad odours are also eliminated.  Available in a range of looks, including authentic Tyne brick in red and white, and delivering 36+ PTV and the collection answers the need for floors, walls and surfaces that are durable and easy to keep safe in hospitality, leisure and other commercial projects.

Brian Linnington, managing director, Parkside, commented: “This new technology has been years in development and represents a significant step in hygienic porcelain wall and floor tiles. Not only antibacterial but anti-viral as well, the collection can help businesses with a more sanitary tile surface that is easier to keep clean.”

Parkside recommends the use of an epoxy or antimicrobial grout. Epoxide-resin-based grouts are impermeable so provide a degree of inherent protection, while remaining easy to clean thanks to a smooth surface. Containing Microban®, antimicrobial grout continually destroys and inhibits the growth of bacteria, mould and mildew.

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

Main image credit: Parkside

Sparcst Mottram spa cafeFleur Challis Photography-122

The role of wellness in the new era of ‘lifestyle hospitality’

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The role of wellness in the new era of ‘lifestyle hospitality’

Following on from the virtual roundtable: ‘Raising the floor in lifestyle’ and our Hotel Designs LIVE session entitled: ‘A new era of lifestyle’, it’s safe to say that we are putting a lot of emphasis on understanding lifestyle hospitality in 2021 and beyond. To continue the theme, we asked Beverley Bayes, Creative Director at Sparcstudio, to look at the role that spa and wellness has to play in the new chapter of hotel design…

Sparcst Mottram spa cafeFleur Challis Photography-122

Long before the pandemic emerged in 2020, global hotel groups began to reveal plans for experience led design. There was a raft of new ‘lifestyle’ brands that would, we were told, be designed for the modern traveller – the emphasis on ‘experience’ was greater and with this the public areas were given the starring role in the overall hotel production.

Spas and wellness play a key role to play in the new lifestyle hotel offer we look at how spa design will evolve to fulfil this. Traditionally a hotel spa largely comprised of a series of 3m x 4m treatment rooms located off a darkened corridor (often in a basement) where guests would enjoy a largely solitary treatment experience before being led to ‘deep relax room’, again a darkened often solitary hushed experience.

an outdoor pool in hotel in countryside

Image credit: Center Parcs Aqua Sana Longford Forest Ireland.

Reflecting the elevated status of the modern spa, a spa can now command a key position in a hotel (with great views) as well as larger area within the overall hotel footprint. Must-haves now tend to include a rooftop pool/or ground floor location linking to a spa garden and a series of natural experiences. The pandemic has made these options even more important as many guests demand space, privacy and access to nature.

Social spaces and shared treatment experiences have also become a key element of a spa offer, perhaps more akin to the social experience that was a key part of a traditional Roman bathing experience. We have seen this emerge from the pandemic and lockdown, as those not wanting total privacy, expect to visit the spa with their friends and family, to enjoy social time in a relaxed wellness environment.

As a result, we are now designing more spas with treatment suites, which can be a flexible space that opens onto a small thermal private suite and relaxation spaces for small groups.

Spaces for the finishing touches like manicure/pedicure/makeup serve as great spaces for parties and intimate group. Most recently we designed the Ridgeview Beauty Bar at South Lodge Spa, dispensing premium award-winning English sparking alongside express spa treatments in a social space. Much like private dining rooms in restaurants, we often design these spaces with part glazed timber/glazed screens so that there is still the social connection between users and avoid reverting back to the corridor of doors syndrome.

“Hospitality matters”

Spa hospitality which includes the whole selection of food and beverage offered within the spa is evolving massively as hoteliers recognise the opportunity that a spa restaurant can add to the hotel’s existing food and beverage offering overall. Guests want the option of dining casually in the spa in their robes, but also like to have the option to eat before or afterwards, in a smart casual, yet modern environment. This is a huge opportunity for hotels and one that we expect to grow in the coming two – three years.

Image credit: Champneys Spa Mottram Hall

A spa can support a number of food and beverage offers, such as Champneys Mottram Hall, which has the relaxed spa café lounge and Rafaella’s Restaurant with healthy and nutritious options during lunch and dinner.

Spa F&B design is a great opportunity to create a very different look and feel to the other F&B areas within a hotel. It’s possible to create a relaxed casual, barefoot luxury vibe overlooking a pool or linking onto a spa garden or terrace. This is also where wellness can inform the menu with healthy, nutritious, vegetarian and plant-based options.

Image credit: The Cottonmill Spat at Sopwell House

Image credit: The Cottonmill Club Spat at Sopwell House

Going one step further, wellness hospitality can create a farm to fork concept, drawing on local suppliers and seasonal ingredients where possible. At South Lodge Botanica, the spa restaurant draws on the South Downs as a larder for fresh and seasonal ingredients. Although not exclusively vegetarian, the menu features a plethora of plant-based plates influenced by Mediterranean dishes. The Watershed serves a selection of drinks and light bites for those relaxing by the natural swimming pond throughout the day, during the summer months.

Thermal suites

Across the UK (and Europe) there has been a resurgence in thermal experiences, which in addition to providing huge health benefits, they are also great spaces for social spa-ing. Sparcstudio always design these as unique environments bespoke to the particular spa and we aim to connect the thermal cabin spaces with nature by bringing the outside in thanks to floor to ceiling glass walls looking across nature. Some excellent examples of this include the Spa at South Lodge and The Cottonmill Club at Sopwell House.

Image caption: Modern sauna inside Cottonmill Spa at Sopwell House

Image caption: Modern sauna inside Cottonmill Spa at Sopwell House, designed by Sparcstudio

We have noticed a definite trend towards spas enhancing the thermal suite offer with small group experiences. These can include a Russian Banya, an ‘Aufguss Sauna Meister experience’ where the ‘Sauna Meister’ uses towels to agitate the air and lessen the intensity of the heat, essence-infused air or group Hammam with billowing clouds of bubbles adding to the sense of theatre.

We anticipate that group treatment experiences will become more common such as those experienced at the Retreat Spa at the Blue Lagoon in Iceland where spa users can visit a series of heat experiences and apply mineral salt, or lava scrubs to themselves and their partners.

Lifestyle hospitality

Lifestyle hospitality is also seeping into all areas of our lives as we re-evaluate them post-Covid,;- there is a blurring of the lines between leisure, work and fitness – workspaces such as Fora & The Ministry offer yoga studios and fitness spaces and no doubt fitness clubs will also begin to provide informal work meeting spaces . The Global Wellness Summit identified that the trend for wellness and meetings to become blurred will continued beyond the pandemic. Expect to see hotel teams entering the spa for meetings or combining yoga, mindfulness and breathwork in the studio or on the terrace with their weekly meetings.

Fitness experiences, group exercise, group cycle/trail walk in the grounds or surrounding countryside are set to expand too – linking to the return to nature mentioned earlier.

Image credit: Champneys Mottram

Image credit: Champneys Mottram Hall

Spa and wellness experiences are also permeating into all areas of the hotel – in room fitness, yoga decks in garden, biophilic design in the rooms. Kimpton Blythswood Square has just launched a collaboration with CBD brand La Rue Verte, leading horticulturalists Benholm and award-winning DJ Brian D’Souza, on a multi-sensory experience combines the biophilic principles, plants in the bedroom with CBD rituals, meditation and sound therapy.

Creating a ‘luxury’ lifestyle-led experience – this is not about the opulence of the materials, or price of treatments, but new luxury is all about personal service, and the unique crafted individual touches that  spa is able to offer (hoteliers have so much to bring to spas in that they innately understand this).

As spa designers we need to have a deep understanding of the complexities of the spa operation to enable spa staff to provide this – unglamorous but operationally essential things like towel dispense and disposal needs to be carefully considered – routes in and out and storage points where they are needed for dirty and clean towels – (I am sure like me you might have experienced a huge rattling trolley being wheeled through a guest space and ruining an experience, because this hasn’t been addressed!).

Similarly wading through pools of surface water or seeing staff squeegeeing away stagnant pool water, because there are inadequate falls in wet/thermal zone, and the inexperienced designer might not appreciate the amount of water emanating from a steam room, this certainly doesn’t add to the luxury spa experience!

And then there’s the Instagram moment. The ‘wow’ factor. Lifestyle is the new luxury and wellness is at the centre of almost every hotel and hospitality conversation. Hoteliers wanting to ensure their offering is at the cutting edge of this, need to seamlessly blend wellness into their lifestyle offering so that the wellness journey begins before the guests arrive. It should be so effortless that the guest barely notices the attention to detail that has gone on behind the scenes, but immerse themselves into the wellness lifestyle from reception, to room and beyond.

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

Image credit: Champneys Mottram Hall

Render of luxury rooftop property

Industry insight: Transforming leisure spaces with innovative tile design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Industry insight: Transforming leisure spaces with innovative tile design

As public spaces begin to re-open, now more than ever business owners are looking for new ways to entice potential visitors. In addition to high-performance and functionality, aesthetics are key to designing a stylish pool or spa environment fit for purpose. We speak to CTD Architectural Tiles to learn more about the brand’s latest tile design collections…

Render of luxury rooftop property

When it comes to designing spas and leisure spaces, tiles can have a real visual impact on the overall look of the space. An integral part to any scheme, tiles allow designers, architects and specifiers to experiment – to create eye-catching designs for all to enjoy.

From marble-effect finishes to industrial inspired porcelain, CTD Architectural Tiles’ expansive collection of tiles not only looks impressive, but it also conforms to the highest technical standards to provide a solution for any leisure design brief.

Provide peace of mind with aesthetic anti-slip tiles

Health and safety is of utmost importance in any commercial sector, especially high-traffic leisure spaces or swimming pools, where excess surface water is likely. These spaces demand a tile solution that offers peace of mind, with anti-slip properties that meet the necessary safety regulations in order to deem the environment safe for public use. Yet, functionality doesn’t always mean compromising on aesthetics, CTD Architectural’s tile collection is specially designed to deliver on both style and performance.

Petra exudes a classic appeal and combines the beauty of natural stone with the benefits of an anti-slip ‘Class C’ porcelain surface. With three colours available, Petra allows designers to create a cohesive scheme, from swimming pool surrounds to outdoor patio flooring – the design possibilities are infinite.

For a more timeless look, business owners should opt for Milan, this beautiful tile can be specified in three soft tones: Sand, Grey or Marengo. Pairing natural beauty with the hardwearing properties of porcelain stone, these tiles are ideal for achieving a calm and tranquil ambience whilst fulfilling all of the anti-slip properties required for safe pool environments.

YDRAY-AMBIENTE-MILAN-GRIS-PISCINA

Image credit: CTD Architectural Tiles

A forward-thinking antibacterial surface solution

As our attention turns to hygiene and the importance of safely re-opening hospitality spaces, antibacterial tiles have increased in popularity. The perfect surface option for heavy footfall areas, antibacterial tiles benefit from groundbreaking Microban® technology in the form of a specialist coating applied directly to the tile surface.

Anthology is available in five muted colours; the porcelain wall tile is suitable for application on both the wall and floor and aims to depict the natural shade variations and inherent veining of stone and marble. With its enhanced antibacterial coating and high-quality visual appeal, Anthology is the perfect tile to breathe life into spa environments and luxurious poolside areas.

Comprehensive tiles designed for swimming pools 

When designing for a swimming pool there are extra considerations that need to be accounted for – stairs, overflow systems and even a skimmer need to be factored into the design scheme to help create a seamless surface throughout.

CTD Architectural Tiles’ Opera collection skilfully blends concrete and stone to create a range of industrial-looking porcelain tiles. Developed in large format, with surface finishes for both indoor and outdoor use, the stunning avant-garde slab can be specified in four colourways: Ivory, Light, Iron and Silver. An ideal choice for the leisure industry, the Opera range is supported by specialist pieces designed exclusively for swimming pool use.

As the leisure industry continues to evolve and bounce-back after a year of uncertainty, it’s clear that by creating stylish yet functional schemes, business owners can deliver unique swimming pool environments that guests will want to spend time in.

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

Main image credit: CTD Architectural Tiles

Naomi_Heaton_CEO_TheOtherHouse

In Conversation With: Naomi Heaton, CEO, The Other House

760 565 Hamish Kilburn
In Conversation With: Naomi Heaton, CEO, The Other House

Having just unveiled The Other House, a new lifestyle hospitality brand that is said to ‘revolutionise hospitality’, Naomi Heaton’s two new hotels that are planned to open in the next few years are expected to make unapologetic and bold statements on the hotel scene in London. But what else has Heaton got planned? Editor Hamish Kilburn caught up with the visionary herself to find out more…

Naomi_Heaton_CEO_TheOtherHouse

In a place like London, where quintessentially British tradition seems (on the surface, at least) to take precedence, anything new and disruptive to what convention on the hospitality scene needs to arrive fully packed with substance if it is to survive, let alone thrive. For Naomi Heaton and her team, there was no other place in the world to set the scene of a new brand that has been brewing for what, I am told, has been seven years in the making.

Heaton, who recently joined me in a panel discussion at Hotel Designs LIVE to debate the topic of a new era of lifestyle, is now ready to share the details of her new brand, which is expected to “blur the lines” that pre-exist in hospitality, in order to instead create a cutting-edge type of new accommodation. The Other House – ‘your home for as long as you’re in town’ – will disrupt the traditional sectors of hotels, serviced apartments and private rentals, effortlessly and elegantly combining home comforts with hotel style facilities, whatever the length of stay.

The plot thickens, as Heaton and her team recently shared that The Other House will launch with the bold opening of two hotels that will be sheltered in two very different but equally majestic buildings in London – one in Kensington (opening in 2022) and other in Covent Garden (opening in 2023).

“Our aim was to create a second home for our residents for as long as they were in town – quite simply to be their other house.” – Naomi Heaton, CEO, The Other House.

To understand more about how The Other House was born, and what we can expect next, I caught up with Heaton…

Hamish Kilburn: We love the new branding – can you tell us a bit more about the creative journey to finalise the name?

Naomi Heaton: We have been on an amazing journey which started many years ago when we first recognised the need for a whole new approach to hospitality. This all started to become a reality when we teamed up with our joint venture partners APG, the Dutch pension provider and acquired our first asset in South Kensington in December 2019. One of our early appointments was the award-winning branding agency Design Studio who we had enormous fun with, working out exactly who our target audience was, what their aspirations and convictions are and the kind of environment they wanted to live in.

The core plank was to provide a sense of place that was in tune with our guests needs coupled with an ability for them to access hotel style services 24/7 but only as and when they wanted. We came up with literally hundreds of possible names but the answer was very simple. Our aim was to create a second home for our residents for as long as they were in town – quite simply to be their other house. It was just a short step from there to arrive at the The Other House!

Image caption: The exterior image of the Wellington property, which will shelter The Other House's Covent Garden hospitality offering.

Image caption: Prime location. The Wellington property, located in Covent Garden, will shelter The Other House’s second hotel, expected to open in 2023.

HK: Covent Garden and South Kensington shelter very different vibes. Why did you choose these locations for the first two properties?

NH: As a company we have always specialised in central London generally acquiring assets which are in need of refurbishment and reorganisation. This way we can create exactly what we want as well as minimising the environmental impact.  We also love the heritage architecture and the relative scarcity of such buildings. It is probably a harder task than building new but the end result is something unique with embedded history.

Central London is made up of many ‘villages’ with distinct personalities and as you say vibes. They are all convenient but different people want to be in different locations and have different requirements. Covent Garden and South Kensington are poles apart but equally attractive and exciting and we have managed to acquire beautiful properties in both locations. Our intention is now to fill in the ‘gaps’ between them in equally exciting places such as Mayfair, Sloane Square, Notting Hill and Marylebone. We are always on the lookout for opportunities but have set a high bar.

“We have approached The Other House through a residential lens rather than a conventional hotel perspective.” – Naomi Heaton, CEO, The Other House.

HK: You recently joined our panel on ‘the new era of lifestyle’ at Hotel Designs LIVE. How does The Other House open the door for a new era of lifestyle?

NH: The Other House aims to disrupt the traditional sectors of hotels, serviced apartments and private rentals, combining home comforts with hotel style facilities, whatever the length of stay – from a day to a year (or even longer).

We recognised that the needs of travellers in these sectors are merging. Our background is private rentals (the PRS). We could see they were all looking for a real sense of place and space that this sector provides combined with the services offered by traditional hotels but only as and when they want them.  Technology will play an important role in delivering this but making a positive social and environmental impact and ensuring health and wellbeing will be at the core of the offer as well.

We have approached The Other House through a residential lens rather than a conventional hotel perspective. The brand will be a ‘second home’ for its guests – their other house – and they can live like a resident, for as long as they are in town. As a new hospitality concept, we are creating a new sector of Residents Clubs.

It will be a club of likeminded people who know what they want, seeking style, positive social impact and experiences to remember, without a hefty price tag. One of our principal design requirements is to provide micro apartments throughout – club flats not bedrooms – and private areas for residents to enjoy a quiet glass of whisky or relax in their favourite chair – as well as public destination areas. It is a club which is inclusive, that everyone is a member of, for as long as they are staying.

Our guests also want to be in control of their stay and limit touch points. The brand connects guests with on-demand services through an exciting bespoke tech platform and App from the moment they book and check in to when they check out and pay.

HK: How important is tech in this new era and how will The Other House properties use it meaningfully?

NH: Extremely important. In many ways the pandemic has served to accelerate the move towards technology that was happening anyway, albeit at a slower pace. Guests are increasingly seeking to be in control through technology with a seamless journey from booking, checking in to managing their stay with limited touch points and human interaction.

Our bespoke app which is in development will enable guests to manage their entire stay and experience, from booking, checking in, room entry, room cleaning, laundry, messaging, booking and paying at any of our restaurants, bars and other amenities.

The good use of technology will enable many of the mundane interactions to be kept to a minimum. This means however that the human touch has to be much more nuanced and sensitive, recognising guests are independent and discerning rather than just visitors or tourists. We are giving residents the tools and the space to  organise and manage life their way.

Tech is important too in expanding the sense of community far beyond the stay itself, by creating a platform which shares common interests, news and views about what is going on at the Other House and beyond, so people can always feel like a local.

HK: Can you give us an indication on the interior design schemes for both properties?

NH: Design studio Bergman Interiors, winners of course of your eponymous The Brit List Awards 2020, have been appointed and will showcase the best in British design at both properties. Bergman is creating iconic designs cleverly combining a sense of home with stand-out exciting spaces in our club flats and in the public and private residents’ areas. There will be bold interiors, with a contemporary twist and rich colours and textures combined with carefully designed lighting. Spaces will be original but relaxing and individual.

Image caption: The property that started it all. This building, Harrington Hall, will shelter The Other House’s debut hospitality offering, and is slated to open in Spring of 2022.

HK: What will The Other House offer that isn’t already available in lifestyle hospitality? 

NH: The residents’ clubs will combine the strengths of hotel offerings with the sense of place and place-making residents get from the private rented sector. It is a far more embracing offering than serviced apartments, hotels or the private rental sector as they exist today.

As well as an entirely new concept, where you can stay for as long as you want, there will be seamless technology through our bespoke app, which means guests are in control, an integral part of the new way of living we have all adopted.

The Other House takes a sustainable approach to renovating existing buildings and is committed to making a positive impact on the community, our employees and the environment. Our residents will be a part of our environmental journey so they can make a measurable personal difference.  There will be a focus on health and wellbeing at all the guest touchpoints and we will be using, for example,  recyclable packaging, healthy, sustainably produced food and British made furniture.

HK: Where are you in the design stage at the moment?

NH: We have had a fantastic journey with architects Falconer Chester Hall and Bergman Interiors creating exactly the right product for our guests. It has been a real period of learning as we rethink the use and look of the space to complement our offering.  Works in the South Kensington property are well underway – having been completely stripped out behind the historic façade and the reconfiguration now taking place, with a planned opening late Q1 2022.

The Wellington block, an island site close to Covent Garden’s famous piazza is now fully designed architecturally and at planning stage. We have started working on the interior design concepts for all the spaces, inspired by Covent Garden’s rich and vibrant history. We intend to start work towards the end of 2021, opening in 2023. The story will of course continue with further acquisitions in central London and then internationally. Watch this space!

Main image credit: The Other House

Weekly round-up of the latest stories on Hotel Designs

Weekly briefing: Portugal’s finest, London unveils & going Gaga for DESIGN POD

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Weekly briefing: Portugal’s finest, London unveils & going Gaga for DESIGN POD

Editor Hamish Kilburn here, rounding off your week with a throwback to the hottest stories published over the last few days. In this edition of the Weekly Briefing, we amplify Portugal’s best design-led hotels, go Gaga for episode 4 of DESIGN POD, tease you with the latest London unveils and share the full recording of our panel discussion on ‘a new era of lifestyle’ that was filmed at Hotel Designs LIVE. Enjoy…

Weekly round-up of the latest stories on Hotel Designs

What a week – we’ve product news from the likes of hansgrohe, Ideal Standard, Atlas Concorde and Bette as well as keeping our ears to the ground on the latest news in the hotel development arena. In addition, we dropped episode 4 of DESIGN POD which welcomes Jack Irving as our special guest. In fact, why not read this round-up while listening to that episode, to here myself and Irving discuss fashion highlights, collaboration goals with Lady Gaga, Paris Hilton and The Spice Girls and the result of his debut interior design project.

Here are your top stories of the week: 

“Shoreditch’s hottest unveil of 2021.” What we know about Mondrian Shoreditch

Mondrian Shoreditch Bar view_Daytime - Credit_ Goddard Littlefair (1) copy

Image caption: A render of the bar sheltered inside Mondrian Shoreditch London. | Image credit: Goddard Littlefair/FRAMED Visualisation

Considering the building’s reputation for sheltering a vibrant, modern and contemporary hospitality space, the pressure was on for interior design firm Goddard Littelfair when they were asked by Accor to completely redesign the hotel for when it reopened as the Mondrian Shoreditch. But as always, following the deep design narrative that was unveiled in their latest project, The Mayfair Townhouse, the design firm has delivered and we are excited to share with you our sneak peek inside what we are calling Shoreditch’s hottest unveil of 2021.

Read more.

(In video) Hotel Designs LIVE: A new era of lifestyle

To kickstart Hotel Designs LIVE on May 11, editor Hamish Kilburn invited James Dilley, Director, Jestico + Whiles; Naomi Heaton, CEO, The Other House and David Mason, Head of Hospitality at Scott Brownrigg for a panel discussion entitled: A new era of lifestyle.

Read more.

A new level of wellness: The Spa at 45 Park Lane

Image of the pool and relaxation area at The Spa at 45 Park Lane

Image credit: Dorchester Collection

Leaping into a new era, the hotel has launched The Spa at 45 Park Lane as part of guests’ hotel experience. And unlike other London hotels that’s spas are the size of oversized shoeboxes, the new wellness facility inside the 45-key boutique hotel is, by all accounts, expansive compared to some of its London neighbours. The 10,000 sq. ft. spa features Park Lane’s longest pool at 20 metres, as well as a personal training room and spacious state-of-the-art gym.

Read more.

An expert’s guide on the science of a good nights’ sleep

A modern and minimalist room

Image credit: Silentnight Group

With 75 per cent of Brits admitting to not having a good nights’ sleep and 30 per cent of people rating their sleep as “bad”, chances are you know what a bad nights’ sleep feels like. We’ve all had one, and most of us will have had at least one nights’ bad sleep in a hotel, but why? Sleep experts from Silentnight Group Hospitality, Hannah Shore and Angela Moran, explores your ultimate sleep guide.

Read more.

Miniview: Inside The Carlton Tower Jumeirah – now open!

Contemporary lobby inside The Carlton Tower Jumeirah

Image credit: Jumeirah Group

We have waited an agonising 18 months, but we can finally celebrate the opening of The Carlton Tower Jumeirah, a masterpiece the international design studio 1508 London that has allowed what was a tired and worn down hotel to prosper in London’s Knightsbridge neighbourhood. We have been following the story since day dot.

Read more.

And finally… the best design hotels to visit in Portugal

Rooftop bar in Portugal

Image credit: Lumiares, Lisbon

With Portugal being on the ‘green list’ when it comes to travel from the UK – for now, at least – Hotel Designs shares some hotel gems, from Lisbon to Porto and everything in between, that you may or may not be familiar of.

Read more.

Since you’re here…

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

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The Carlton Tower Jumeirah lounge

Miniview: Inside The Carlton Tower Jumeirah – now open!

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Miniview: Inside The Carlton Tower Jumeirah – now open!

We have waited an agonising 18 months, but we can finally celebrate the opening of The Carlton Tower Jumeirah, a masterpiece the international design studio 1508 London that has allowed what was a tired and worn down hotel to prosper in London’s Knightsbridge neighbourhood. Editor Hamish Kilburn has followed the story since day dot

The Carlton Tower Jumeirah lounge

For a hotel group that shelters the Burj Al Arab in Dubai, which is a internationally recognised jewel of luxury, the challenges that are associated with designing other hotels in the portfolio are some what obvious. Operating a luxury hotel in London, however, is a different task altogether that requires a sensitive and dynamic approach from concept right through until completion.

For whatever reason, despite Jumeirah being one of the world’s most reputable luxury brands globally, its portfolio in Europe and the UK is somewhat lacking. In 2015, I was invited to one of the group’s press days, which started with meetings with GMs from hotels around the globe in the contemporary atrium of the brand’s Grosvenor House Suites. Disappointingly, though, the day ended with drinks at The Carlton Tower Jumeriah. I say ‘disappointingly’ because the hotel was, unlike the brand’s reputation, tired and was in desperate need of a makeover!

Cue the arrival of 1508 London, the design studio that saved the day. Following an 18-month closure for refurbishment, the hotel has undergone the most extensive – not to mention, most timely – transformation in its history, at a cost of more than £100 million.

Every nook of the 17-storey building, that sits majestically in the Knightsbridge neighbourhood, has been redesigned, creating a new foyer and reception, 186 new guestrooms and suites (reduced from 216 to offer larger accommodations), a fresh health club and spa with London’s largest naturally lit swimming pool, a restaurant, lobby bar and lounge, ballroom and meeting rooms.

The term ‘modern classic’ springs to mind when entering the building that was originally designed by Henry End, also responsible for the interiors of the Plaza Hotel in New York. The design team have drawn on the hotel’s glamorous heritage and location to create a modern classic with a timeless, refined interior and sense of grandeur.

Contemporary lobby inside The Carlton Tower Jumeirah

Respectful of the building’s original, clean modernist style, 1508 London has layered the eclectic mix of the architecture of the surrounding mansion blocks and homes, adding soft curved edges, pops of bright colour and organic inspired forms throughout.  The hotel’s enviable position overlooking Cadogan Gardens, the private gardens designed in 1804, is further reflected throughout the hotel, reminding guests of their unique access to this covetable green space and tennis courts, normally only open to residents.

Heralding its arrival and marking the hotel’s position as an important modernist building in London at its opening was the commissioning of a large external sculpture by Dame Elisabeth Frink (1930-1993), a sculptor at the beginning of her career in 1961 and now acknowledged as one of the most important English artists of her era. This sculpture has been retained and restored, a highlight of the ‘porte cochere’ entranceway that continues to the redesigned turntable glass doors. Through these doors the design echoes a classical British grand hall with the creation of a striking double-height space.  Within it is suspended a bespoke fluted chandelier which incorporates an abstract interpretation of a chrysanthemum, inspired by Cadogan Gardens’ history as a botanical garden.  Accessed from the lobby is ‘The Chinoiserie’, the hotel’s much-loved all-day dining area, now transformed with an elegant and light design. With the innovative Cake-o’clock concept serving patisserie all day, as well as a wide range of international favourites and an extensive beverage list, this lounge will reclaim its rightful place in Knightsbridge’s social scene. Additionally, a newly created lobby bar offers a refined experience in glamorous surrounds.

The 186 beautifully appointed guestrooms have all been renovated to the highest standard, designed to offer a sense of tranquillity with an emphasis on light and space. Almost 50% of the keys at The Carlton Tower are suites, reflecting the hotel patrons’ historical preference for increased space and longer stays.

87 of the rooms and suites have the fantastic benefit of a balcony, taking advantage of the stunning views across London. Combining a modernist aesthetic with minimal style, the accommodations feature textured wall panelling, furnishings in softer forms and accents in a warm colour palette influenced by British heritage hues in deep blue, green and maroon as well as floor to ceiling marble bathrooms with toiletries by Grown Alchemist. Newly created is the Royal Suite, the hotel’s most exclusive residence featuring three bedrooms with the option to privatise the entire floor for the utmost in security and discretion.

The hotel’s destination restaurant ‘Al Mare’ offers a sophisticated, welcoming dining experience imbued with all the charms of Italian cuisine, both familiar and luxurious.

Restaurant that is stylishly designed by 1508 London at The Carlton Tower Jumeirah

Image credit: Jumeirah Group

The restaurant allows a convivial, gastronomic experience, taking guests on a journey through Italy and features a theatre kitchen, private dining room and al fresco dining. The hotel’s Executive Chef and Al Mare’s Head Chef is Italian native Marco Calenzo, who joined the hotel from Zuma where he was Executive Chef. Prior to this Marco worked for Four Seasons Hotels internationally as well as the Lanesborough in London.

Elsewhere, the hotel’s famous health club ‘The Peak Fitness Club & Spa’ is uncommonly enormous compared to other wellness scenes in other London hotels. Set across three floors, the whole areas has been completely redesigned. New treatment rooms have been created at the Talise Spa on the second floor and the swimming pool area revitalised. The pool is London’s largest in a hotel with natural daylight and its bright interior is complemented by views through its double height glass ceiling, lined with poolside cabanas for relaxation.  

Large pool inaside the Jumeirah hotel in London

Image credit: Jumeirah Group

Additionally, The Peak offers studio classes, and a gym featuring bespoke ‘Technogym’ equipment on the ninth floor which overlooks The Peak’s light-filled cafe with breath-taking panoramic views across the capital.  With its new design and features as well as a strictly limited membership, The Peak looks set to retake its position at the forefront of London’s luxury wellness world. 

Welcome back to London, The Carlton Tower Jumeirah – you look fantastic!

Since you’re here, why not read our interview with 1508 London’s Hamish Brown?

Main image credit: Jumeirah Group

Pool and outdoor terrace overlooking Portugal's River Douro

Best design hotels to visit in Portugal

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Best design hotels to visit in Portugal

With Portugal being on the ‘green list’ when it comes to travel from the UK – for now, at least – editor Hamish Kilburn shares some hotel gems, from Lisbon to Porto and everything in between, that you may or may not be familiar of… 

The floodgates into Portugal have opened (kind of). International travel is no longer a wanderlust dream and we are able to unlock hotel design wonders, in person, once more.

Pool and outdoor terrace overlooking Portugal's River Douro

With few countries on the ‘green list’ considered ‘travel hotspots’, Portugal is among the few places UK travellers are allowed to visit to without having to isolate upon their return – it’s also, without question, the most popular place to visit since travel restrictions were slightly lifted.

To mark this moment as a small celebration, we thought we would share with you a handful of our favourite hotels in Portugal, from boutique boltholes in Lisbon to something new in the Algarve, and not forgetting the one-off travel experiences in other towns and cities in between.

Six Senses Douro Valley

From its postcard-perfect setting in the UNESCO World Heritage listed Douro Valley, to the elegant and innovative decor within, Six Senses Douro Valley has a lot of untamed charm. Surrounded by ancient vineyards (this area of Portugal is the oldest demarcated wine region in the world), the hotel’s contemporary personality is camouflaged by its location. From the beautiful chandeliers made of wine bottles to the unique Wine Library & Terrace; this is the place to sample some of the world’s most rare and entrancing vintages. Throughout all guestrooms, suites and villas decor is chic and modern with large windows to take in the most of the spectacular views on every side. This contemporary elegance continues throughout the hotel, which has a unique character and feel.

As you’d expect from a Six Sense property, the spa is a statement feature, which includes an expansive indoor pool and 10 treatment rooms.

Throughout the hotel, the decor is chic and modern and there is an emphasis on sustainable luxury. Innovative use of cork flooring and beautiful chandeliers made from wine bottles lend a sense of place, whilst also ‘upcycling’ in an environmentally conscious style. This attention to detail characterises what is a truly special Portuguese hotel.

Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon

A smart and well-designed room inside Four Season Ritz Lisbon

Image credit: Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts

Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon has recently unveiled a new renovation to its guestrooms, suite, as well as unveiling a new outdoor swimming pool and an outdoor bar and terrace. Portuguese architecture studio OITOEMPONTO was appointed in 2019 to breathe new life into the guest rooms and suites at the iconic Hotel. Design duo Artur Miranda and Jacques Bec were reticent to ‘modernise’ the classic Hotel, so set about re-imagining the past for the present, to evolve the Hotel’s roots in style, aesthetics and ambience. 

The room and suite redesign follows the launch of new restaurant CURA (opened September 2020), where Chef and head culinary curator Pedro Pena Bastos meticulously selects ingredients, drawing from Lisbon’s rich regional palette to create seasonal, artisanal dishes such as squid with hazelnut, bergamot, roasted seaweed butter and Ossetra caviar. 

Pestana Palácio do Freixo

The last time I visited Pestana Palácio do Freixo was in 2014, and I bet since then nothing has changed – at least I hope that’s the case. Located just 3 km west from Porto’s city centre, the Palácio do Freixo, classified in 1910 as a National Monument, is a unique example of Baroque architecture, with about 10,000 square metres of gardens and green spaces offering breathtaking views of the River Douro.

The setting of a stunning example of an Urban Resort, it is a member of the exclusive consortium The Leading Hotels of the World and provides guests with an unparalleled experience that marries traditional values with contemporary comfort. The Pestana Palácio do Freixo is characterised by its sumptuous eighteenth century architecture. It was built by Nicolau Nasoni, one of the most important architects that helped Porto become a World Heritage Site.

Lumiares, Lisbon

The Lumiares, Lisbon is a five-star boutique bombshell, where the style is personal, not “corporate”, relaxed not “stuffy”, gives an authentic nod to Lisbon’s colour, culture and patterns.

The fully renovated hotel, which is housed in a former XVII century Palace in the heart of the city, has all the key amenities and facilities for business and leisure travellers who want to feel at home when away from home.

The Lumiares’ philosophy is to highlight the authenticity and personality of Lisbon by collaborating with local Portuguese businesses to showcase ‘the best of Portugal’. Almost every item of furniture, artwork, textiles and room accessories has been conceived, designed and manufactured in Portugal, some within 500m from the hotel, which transcends a new take on ‘living like a local’.

The starting place for design and artwork within the 47-key hotel was the location. Perched on the central edge of Bairro Alto, the hotel is situated in a Lisbon quarter home to a bohemian mish-mash of everyday residents, artists and merchants’ studios, restaurants, quirky shops, lively bars and cafes; a warren of asymmetrical buildings with mismatched facades of varying heights and hues, its narrow streets and pavements cobbled in Lisbon’s iconic square paving stones.

Douro41 Hotel & Spa

Douro41 Hotel & Spa, which has just been accepted into Virtuoso’s exclusive portfolio of luxury travel partners, is located on the bank of the Douro River, and as such frames unparalleled views of the natural landscape. With 61 rooms and suites, the hotel that underwent renovations between 2018 to 2019 features modern, minimalist lines, while celebrating the comfort and elegance of a true luxury property.

The location and the architectural characteristics of the building enhance the connection to the surrounding landscape and the sense of an escape from reality: built in schist and glass on a terraced hillside stretching down almost to the water’s edge, the Douro41 had, at the heart of its foundation, various environmental concerns and the desire that the hotel should be coherent with its surroundings.

The hotel’s design is simple and it’s clear that human construction is unobtrusive, merging harmoniously with the river and the mountains surrounding it – a prime example of this are the two outdoor swimming pools, both infinite, where guests almost feel part of the landscape.

W Algarve 

Guestroom concept inside W Algarve

W Algarve, which is expected to arrive onto the European hotel design scene this summer is the first resort commission for design studio AB Concept outside of Asia which has been working closely with Divercity Architects to introduce something new to the Portugal’s bustling Algarve.

The new lifestyle hotel shelters 134 guestrooms and 83 residences – ranging from one-bedroom apartments to a four-bedroom penthouse. Ab Concept, led by Ed Ng and Terence Ngan, has taken the region’s rugged coastlines, green meadows and vineyards as inspiration for the interior design scheme, using sandy neutrals, greens and blues throughout the hotel.

“We worked closely with landscape designers Scape and interior designers AB Concept to develop a strong narrative theme and eye-catching aesthetics for the resort,” Divercity Archtiects explains on its website. “Exploring the local landscape, culture, and cuisine, we identified the arch as a common thread, evident in the Algarve’s sea caves, the arcades and archways of traditional Portuguese architecture, and the fish scales in the fishing communities along this dramatic coastline.”

The new W resort on the Algarve coast is tipped to become Portugal’s new ‘it’ destination – watch this space, Portugal!

Main image credit: Douro41 Hotel & Spa

Editor checks in: Tomorrow’s themes in hotel design and hospitality

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Editor checks in: Tomorrow’s themes in hotel design and hospitality

In his latest editor’s letter, Hamish Kilburn addresses the four S words that will help us when exploring and understand tomorrow’s hotel design and hospitality landscape – and in the process, he unexpectedly comes up with the themes that will be put under the spotlight in four engaging panel discussions at Hotel Designs LIVE

As I write this, I am on a train for the first time this year. It’s May. The sun is struggling to flex through the clouds and, to be honest with you, I would rather be working from home. My mandatory mask is fogging up my glasses, so what I am thinking and what is appearing on the screen could be two completely separate things entirely.

I’m on my way into London, having just pressed the green light to launch The Brit List Awards 2021 application process. I’m heading to Shoreditch, home of some rather interesting hotel development projects, to record our next episode of DESIGN POD – it’s a big moment for the brand as it’s the first time we are recording the podcast in person as opposed to over Zoom with a struggling Wifi connection.

“If anything, we gained access into new studios and made new long-lasting relationships with brands.”

We could have waited until now to launch our podcast but I feel it would have taken an entirely different lane if we did. There was something organic and exciting about launching a new brand in the middle of a pandemic – while we were all locked up in our houses and the idea-generating process was incubated.

Since you’re here, why not read the rest of this article while listening to our latest episode of DESIGN POD, which welcomes designer Jack Irving as our special guest?

We can look at the current situations in both positive and negative ways. Yes, it has been frustrating not boarding a plane to actually review the projects we have followed for years. But it didn’t stop us. In this time, we utilised our contacts around the world and still reviewed hotels in person. If anything, we gained access into new studios and made new long-lasting relationships with brands. Our viewpoint over the industry became more meaningful and by zooming out (see what I did there) we are able to establish which topics are the most impactful.

Following now four successful Hotel Designs LIVE virtual conferences, it brings me great delight to share with you our next four topics that we will explore at Hotel Designs LIVE in August.

These themes are:

  • Senses
  • Surfaces
  • Sleep
  • Social

Senses

Following our successful session at Hotel Designs LIVE (in February) on sound’s role in hotel design and after reading a mountain of press releases recently that all reference sound, touch and even smell to evoke a deeper meaning of wellness and wellbeing, it feels fitting to position the editorial spotlight on the sensory experience for our next event. It also comes as the industry, albeit slowly, is starting to reopen and reconnect.

Sleep

For those of you who have joined us on this journey, you will know that we have already hosting a panel discussion on sleep performance at our inaugural event. But we feel as if, given the role of sleep in any hotel experience, we have only just scratched the surface of this topic. With new innovations and technology taking bold leaps as each day passes, we will explore the science behind getting the best nights’ sleep.

Surfaces

More than ever, as a direct result of the Covid-19 crisis, surfaces have come under question in the debate around hygiene. But, in our exclusive panel discussion, we will go beyond the clinical to explore interesting and vibrant surfaces that we hope will give all areas of the hotel more personality and meaning.

Social

It took a while and a few thesaurus searches before we eventually found our fourth and final panel discussion title. Following several failed brainstorm attempts, an email pinged into my inbox from our publisher Katy Phillips with the subject line ‘found it’. The email was just one word, ‘Social’. With all the noise around ‘social distancing’ and regulations against human interaction, we and many of the industry’s leaders believe that tomorrow’s hotel scene will be a celebration of human connection. While we are at the T-junction on the road out of Covid-19 lockdowns, we will invite world-renowned designers, architects, hoteliers and developers to understand challenges and considerations to bear in mind as we move to open the doors of hospitality, to be social, once more.

Like many of the decisions we make on the editorial desk at Hotel Designs, we have found that these sessions work not only as individual sessions but also as a cluster of talking points – with sessions on senses, sleep, surfaces and social – that together really challenge conventional thoughts around hospitality and will, we hope, clearly define once more the definition of international hotel design.

SAVE THE DATE: Hotel Designs LIVE will return for a fourth edition on August 10, 2021. The topics explored will include surfaces, sleep, senses and social and speakers will be announced shortly. Once these have been announced, tickets for Hotel Designs LIVE will be available. In the meantime, if you would like to discuss sponsorship opportunities, focused Product Watch pitches or the concept of Hotel Designs LIVE, please contact Katy Phillips or call +44 (0) 1992 374050.

Since you’re here…

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Lobby-Bar crop Hyatt House Tampa

In pictures: Inside Hyatt House/Hyatt Place Tampa Downtown

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In pictures: Inside Hyatt House/Hyatt Place Tampa Downtown

Tampa in Florida welcomes a new dual-branded development, which shelters Hyatt Place and Hyatt House, to its thriving hospitality scene. Editor Hamish Kilburn takes a look inside both hotels that were designed and recently unveiled by Stonehill Taylor

Lobby-Bar crop Hyatt House Tampa

In the heart of Tampa, directly across the street from its historic City Hall sits the new  dual branded hospitality development that features the 230-key Hyatt Place and the 115-key Hyatt House. In addition, the complex encompasses 3,200 square feet of ground-floor retail space and 4,000 square feet of meeting space. All public space is shared by the guests of the two brands, and guestrooms are integrated throughout the new 17-story building.

Leading architecture and interior design firm, Stonehill Taylor, which recently took part in Hotel Designs‘ latest roundtable, was charged with the design of the guestrooms and public spaces. Using a complementary colour scheme of jewel tones and citrus shades, the hotel features bright, sun-kissed spaces, and high-contrast patterns that create an ambiance that is uniquely Tampa. The design pillars explore concepts of indulgence; exoticism; and majesty—believed to capture the city’s longstanding allure to travellers looking for a tropical, yet culturally diverse escape.

Since you’re here, why not read Stonehill Taylor’s thoughts on the new era of lifestyle?

As soon as guests enter the lobby, they are greeted by an oversized gold textured piece depicting an abstract scene with birds and leaves. Panels line the wall behind the reception desk and feature tropical leaf-infused patterned artwork, while the reception desk is decorated in tropical leaf tiles.

Image of lobby in Tampa Florida Hyatt House/Hyatt Place

Image credit: Taggart Sorenson

Adjacent to the reception area is a bar and lounge complete with a mix of citrus colours and blue tones. The bar’s backsplash features an array of bohemian tiles. The surrounding dining areas have tables with metal detailing and a range of seating from banquettes to freestanding chairs. A series of vintage Cuban movie posters grace the space.

The ground floor also includes a business centre with a gallery and pre-function space, and several meeting rooms. The art throughout this area includes a wall sculpture made with rattan circles in varied sizes and a series of embroidered vintage postcards from Florida.

The business centre has pendant lighting and eclectic inset floor patterns and partitions the space using screens. The adjacent gallery space, meanwhile, has plush love seats, side chairs with ottomans that double as tables and acoustical ceiling panels. The carpet in the meeting rooms depicts leaf patterns—a theme also echoed by the leaf patterned walls with wainscoting. Custom geometric pendant lighting illuminates these ballroom-like spaces.

At the elevator lobby is a custom artwork featuring cubed versions of Florida maps mounted on a linen background and framed in a shadowbox frame. The elevators further provide an artful moment with bold black-and-white tiled flooring, blackened steel door frames, as well as a back-lit ceiling concept. Guestroom corridors have carpets with hidden tropical elements, such as bees and panthers. A graphic printed map of Tampa covers the walls familiarising guests with the city’s focal points. Hidden elements also surprise in the Hyatt House guestrooms. When lit, these rooms show a violet-hued wall with tone-on-tone patterns. Furnishings are all custom and feature two-colour finishes and extra trim to elevate their aesthetic. A kitchenette with decorative tiles accentuates the layout of these rooms.

Close up of bed and floral artwork in guestroom

Image credit: Taggart Sorenson

In the Hyatt Place rooms, there are exuberant green tones. Similar to the Hyatt House rooms, there is a tone-on- tone wall covering, this time featuring light leaf patterns. The carpeting similarly plays with the fun colours of Tampa.

Pool at Hyatt House in Tampa

Image credit: Taggart Sorenson

On the fifth floor is the outdoor pool with tangerine and lime-coloured furnishings and neutral tiling—the pool deck is framed by a painted mural. A fitness centre, located on the fourth floor, has a playful custom mural featuring bold, brightly coloured patterns with a motivational text component that forms of a centrepiece of the room.

Main image credit: Hyatt Hotels/Taggart Sorenson

Interior visualisation of ADP's new hotel in Kyiv

Should hotels do a better job of reflecting their communities?

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Should hotels do a better job of reflecting their communities?

To conclude our editorial series with ADP Architecture, Studio Director Amrit Naru looks at how a hotels and their design can sensitively reflect a locations local culture…

Interior visualisation of ADP's new hotel in Kyiv

Ask someone to name a place they’re looking forward to visiting once lockdown eases, and there’s a wide range of answers you might hear. They might mention a local pub or café. They might be looking forward to getting back to the gym, seeing a sports team play, or popping in to see a friend. They’re unlikely to mention a hotel.

And there’s a perfectly good reason for that: hotels aren’t typically designed for their local community. They’re arguably designed for everyone but the local community: tourists, business travellers, visitors for one reason or another. In contrast with the back-and-forth of a transport hub, we look at hotels as a one-directional interface between a specific locale and the wider world, where the wider world touches down for a few days before returning home. The only transport hub that seems to bear comparison here is a docking station for UFOs.

This kind of view fits the traditional way of looking at hotels – but of course, it neglects the wide range of purposes that hotels can actually serve. Very few hotels are simply places to stay: they can include bars, restaurants, conference centres, spas, and plenty more. It’s easy to look at these facilities simply as added value for guests, but they’re just as likely to be used by locals.

Explore these opportunities further, and you open up a whole new way of thinking about what a hotel can be. Far from a semi-private site with clearly defined boundaries – like a house or an office building – it becomes permeable, integrated with its community, with spaces which are as much defined by their surroundings and local flavour as by the people who travel to them. This kind of approach can reverse the (un)popular image of a hotel, making it the beating heart of a neighbourhood that benefits everyone.

Take, for example, a recent ADP project on a former industrial site in Scotland. When several plants closed in the 70s and 80s, hundreds of local workers lost their jobs, and the area lost key places that had given it purpose. It’s the sort of post-industrial community that’s been crying out for regeneration of the genuinely beneficial kind, providing spaces that benefit and support an existing community rather than driving them out. So when we were appointed to design a new hotel there, we saw an opportunity to create real value for local residents and businesses.

Our public consultations confirmed this: many locals voiced their worries that a hotel of the traditional sort could detract from the area, and that a radically different approach was needed. We took these concerns on board, asking consultees what sorts of facilities would be useful to them, and designing a scheme which is as much a community hub as a hotel. The proposals include a range of spaces open to the community, such as a gym, restaurant and bar. Public realm was also key to our designs, and we explored various ways to bring local residents onto the grounds, giving the landscape an open, accessible feel that interacts sensitively with the riverbank bordering the site.

The very flexibility of this approach means that it can work for any community, in any location. We’re currently delivering a hotel for Radisson in Kyiv, Ukraine, which includes a hybrid lounge/coffee/restaurant space with an open design – reflecting a wider openness to the surrounding neighbourhood. By breaking down the boundaries between types of spaces – and using the ground floor of a hotel as a fuzzy threshold – it’s possible to encourage the kind of unplanned interactions and sharing of spaces on which communities thrive.

Of course, embedding a hotel in its locale isn’t just down to the architects and engineers who design it. Marketing teams have to strike a careful balance between promoting the hotel’s brand and responding to the spirit of a place, the unique “vibe” that defines a district. The most effective way to do this is to make flexibility central to your brand: Hotel Indigo, an IHG brand that I’ve worked with in the past, does this particularly well by using the sights and sounds of their urban locations to inform every detail of the hotel’s design, from public spaces to private rooms. IHG is certainly not the only client I’ve worked with to take this approach, with companies such as Radisson and Hilton offering similar “lifestyle” brands.

The risk here is that a design can simply mimic its environment, becoming a pastiche rather than a reflection. Again, engagement with the community is key. It’s impossible to tap into what makes a city like Newcastle or Marrakech, Sydney or New York special without taking cues from the people who call those cities home – especially when clichés about “the typical New Yorker” are so widespread. Our redevelopment of Oxford Castle – including a Malmaison hotel converted from a Victorian prison – is a classic example of this, reflecting a part of the city’s culture and history which has very little connection to the more famous university, and integrating hospitality with bars, restaurants, shops and a visitors’ centre.

Getting this right means paying attention to the details, and taking a holistic approach. Employees aren’t just brand ambassadors: they’re community ambassadors too, trained in the kind of local knowledge that adds serious value for guests looking for hidden gems nearby. A local hiring policy takes this a step further, ensuring that your staff have a genuine connection to the hotel’s surroundings while creating jobs that support the area’s economy. Bookable spaces for businesses and a local supply chain complete the picture – transforming an out-of-place visitor from out of town into a place in its own right, with the town’s blood running through its veins.

“Staying local” has taken on a whole new meaning in the last year, and it’s sure to be a phrase that resonates with us for many years to come. By bringing hotels into a deeper, richer conversation with their surroundings, we can help give a much needed boost to communities which have suffered through lockdown. It’s also a surefire way to protect our industry from relying too greatly on travel – making it stronger, more adaptable, and better equipped to deal with an uncertain future.

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

Image caption: Interior visualisation of ADP’s new hotel in Kyiv. | Image credit: ADP Architecture

VIP arrivals: Hottest April hotel openings

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
VIP arrivals: Hottest April hotel openings

The industry is gearing up for a summer of hospitality, is the feeling the editorial desk at Hotel Designs has as it selects the most exciting hotel openings expected in April 2021. Editor Hamish Kilburn writes…

Blink and you will miss it! With vaccine updates, hotel re-opening strategies being across social media and conversations moving towards re-engaging with the post-corona consumer, all signs on the editorial desk lead to a summer of hospitality – whether that be abroad or enjoyed domestically.

This prediction follows a flood of press releases, together referencing hope, optimism and prosperity for international hotel design and hospitality. Regardless on whether we will be allowed to travel ahead of the summer boom, hotels are being developed in preparation for the travel demand that is shortly inevitable as we reach the one-year anniversary since many nations closed their boarders in order to fight against the spread of Covid-19.

We have been sharing our VIP arrivals now for four months, but it seems as if many brands have waited until now when it comes to unveiling new arrivals. Following an in-depth look at the landscape, here are our VIP arrivals for April.

Iniala Harbour House & Residences

Image of bar in curved tunnel-like structure

Image credit: Iniala Harbour House & Residences

Spread across four exquisite Maltese townhouses and their ancient vaults, dating back to the 1600s, Iniala Harbour House & Residences has 22 uniquely designed rooms and suites, and will be the latest opening from philanthropist Mark Weingard. The hotel, which overlooks the famous Grand Harbour, will set new standards for eye-catching urban design.

Iniala Harbour House & Residences, which is slated to open its doors in April, mixes tradition with more contemporary touches offering an eclectic mix of design concepts that subtly reflect Valletta’s unique heritage and charm. Created by three world-class design studios – Autoban from Turkey, A-Cero from Spain, and Malta’s DAAA HAUS – the hotel’s historical details will be beautifully preserved, with each townhouse having a distinctive identity. Using three different designers offers a true variation of interiors for all guests’ tastes.

Kalesma Mykonos

An image of infinity pool in Mykonos hotel that is opening this April

Image credit: Kalesma Mykonos

Set to elevate the desirable island of Mykonos to new heights, Kalesma is a 25-suite and two-villa luxury hotel, which is expected to open in late April. ‘Kalesma’, meaning ‘inviting’ in Greek, is perfectly suited to the ethos of this boutique, privately-owned property. The whitewashed collection of houses have been created to resemble a charming Mykonian village, tumbling down a slope to Ornos Bay, just a short walk from the beach. The look and feel of a traditional village is deliberate, as Kalesma is all about making guests feel at home and encouraging a neighbourhood vibe, enhanced by laid-back weekly supper clubs. Inspired by Cycladic architecture, combining tradition with contemporary elements, Kalesma is a design aficionados dream – offering sleek and minimalist interiors using locally-sourced materials, evident at every turn.

Ca’ di Dio, Venice

Ca’ di Dio, which is expected to open in April, is located in a unparalleled position, at the entrance to the Arsenale area, known as the Contemporary Art District of Venice, a place linked to the prestigious Biennale. The fascinating history of the building dates back to 1272, and the project has been curated by the studio of the internationally renowned architect Patricia Urquiola, with the aim of creating an original and distinctive concept: a Venetian “house”, linked to the history of the city. 

Although contemporary in style, which is unusual for Venice, when strolling through the common areas, guests will be able to admire the bright travertine and perfectly preserved frescoes. The hotel features many places for guests to relax whilst staying in Venice; an ‘altana’ – covered roof-terrace, common in medieval Venice, which is the perfect place from which to admire the sights of the city, two internal courtyards, which will be home to one restaurant serving light and quick snacks throughout the day, and a spacious reading room. There will be a second, outdoor restaurant overlooking the lagoon, towards the island of San Giorgio Maggiore. 

Mandarin Oriental Ritz, Madrid

Sophisticated deluxe room inside Mandarin Oriental Madrid

Image credit: Mandarin Oriental Ritz, Madrid

Following the most ambitious and extensive renovation to take place in its 110-year history – it took three years for Spanish architect Rafael de La-Hoz and the French designer duo Gilles & Boissier to complete their collaborated masterpiece – Mandarin Oriental Ritz, Madrid is ready to serve its guests. The 153-key luxury hotel is expected to appeal to both local and international guests, while preserving the striking Belle Époque character of the original building in keeping with the original spirit conceived by Cesar Ritz.

In addition to the Spanish arrival, Mandarin Oriental will also be opening properties in Luzern, Switzerland and on the Bosphorus in Istanbul in 2021.

W Algarve – look out, Portugal!

Render of private pool overlooking Algarve in hotel that opens in April

Image credit: W Hotels

W Hotels is about to land in the Algarve, which marks the brand’s debut in Portugal. Located just outside of Albufeira and perched on the iconic cliffs overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, the hotel is a combination of urban glam meets beach life in a region famous for its beautiful, secluded coves, year-round sunshine and enticing cuisine. Guests can expect pulsating beats, vibrant flavours, and bright contemporary design.

The hotel will shelter 134 guestrooms and suites plus 83 residences, all ocean facing and boasting spacious balconies. Atlantic colours and asymmetrical forms that mimic the nearby cliffs define the design; it is the Algarve reinterpreted by W. 

Facilities will include a state-of-the-art fitness centre ‘FIT’ and an ‘Away’ Spa with seven treatment rooms, plus outdoor pools. To refuel and replenish there will be an authentic Portuguese Algarve-inspired dining restaurant, plus a classic and modern Italian restaurant.

Taking the luxury up an additional notch are the ‘Extreme WOW Suites’ with a rooftop terrace where luscious gardens surround an elevated lounge seating spot, DJ booth, dining and bar area, and an infinity pool from which guests can soak up the incredible sunset views over the Atlantic Ocean. The bedroom design is inspired by the beautiful Benagil cave and the picturesque Algarve fishing villages.

Berkeley Park Hotel, Miami 

On April 1, 2021, Berkeley Park Hotel will rise as the newest member of the MGallery Hotel Collection, and the first MGallery property in Florida. A highly anticipated four-star boutique hotel, the 80-key property sits along one of Miami Beach’s most coveted sectors known by locals as the Collins Park “Arts Corridor” for its direct access to world-renowned art institutions, and just steps from white sand beaches. With a timeless Mediterranean façade from 1936, the hotel pays homage to the city’s architectural roots with all the modern amenities that discerning travellers expect.

“We are thrilled to continue expanding our North American portfolio with the addition of the Berkeley Park Hotel – MGallery,” said Heather McCrory, CEO, Accor North & Central America. “With its ideal location, striking architecture, and vibrant spirit, the hotel is a tremendous addition to Accor’s Miami portfolio, which also includes Faena Hotel Miami Beach, SLS South Beach, SLS Brickell, SLS LUX Brickell, Hyde Midtown Miami, Mondrian South Beach, Novotel Miami Brickell, and Pullman Miami Airport.”

Main image credit: Iniala Harbour House & Residences

*Some dates as listed above may be subject to change due to travel restrictions following Covid-19 and national lockdown developments.

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Marriott signs agreement to bring three new hotels to Saudi Arabia

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Marriott signs agreement to bring three new hotels to Saudi Arabia

Among the anticipated new hotels that Marriott International will be opening include the debut of Renaissance Hotels in the Kingdom, the world’s largest Aloft Hotel, and a Courtyard by Marriott in Makkah…

Image of luxury Marriott f&b arae

Marriott International, which recently celebrated the opening of one of its brand’s 100th property as well as opening its 800th hotel in the Asia Pacific region, has signed an agreement with leading real estate company Al Saedan Group, to open three hotels by 2025 across Saudi Arabia. The multi-project agreement includes the country and territory’s first Renaissance Hotel, the world’s largest Aloft Hotel and a Courtyard by Marriott in the Holy City of Makkah.

“We are pleased to build on our fantastic relationship with Al Saedan Group and further expand our portfolio across Saudi Arabia with these milestone signings,” said Satya Anand, President for Europe, Middle East & Africa, Marriott International. “These agreements underscore Marriott International’s commitment to supporting the growth of the Kingdom’s tourism sector and reinforces the continued demand we are seeing for our portfolio of brands across the country.”

“As a company, we are focused on developing projects that support the growth and development of the Kingdom,” said Sultan Al Khudair, CEO of Al Saedan Group. “We are excited to collaborate with Marriott International to open two new properties in the Holy City which will be ideal destinations for those visiting for Umrah and Haj, and to debut Renaissance Hotels in the country. These three new agreements were signed in line with our commitment to bring the highest standards of quality and design to our assets and to provide a premium experience to our guests.”

Marriott International is one of the largest hotel groups in the world, encompassing a portfolio of more than 7,600 properties under 30 leading brands spanning 133 countries and territories.

Main image credit: Marriott International (no images or renders of the three new properties have yet been released)

An armchair in front of glass window

Product watch: ILIV launches the Kelso & Harlow textiles collection

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Product watch: ILIV launches the Kelso & Harlow textiles collection

The Kelso & Harlow textiles collection by ILIV has been woven in a charming village on the border of Lancashire and Yorkshire and draws on the centuries-old tradition of British textile weaving…

An armchair in front of glass window

The Kelso & Harlow collection by ILIV has been born out of traditional craftsmanship. Manufacturing to high ethical standards, from all-natural, wool fibres without the use of harmful chemicals, the brand proud to be using many traditional machines that do its fine work in the time-honoured way.

Despite its traditional manufacturing process, the new collection is completely suitable for modern-day commercial use. With its highly durable make-up natural dirt repellence, acoustic absorbance properties and its superior fire resistance, Kelso & Harlow is the environmentally friendly choice for all types of furniture and interiors, offering a sophisticated and organic look.

Image caption: The Kelso collection is available in 51 colours. | Image credit: ILIV

Image caption: The Kelso & Harlow collection is available in 51 colours. | Image credit: ILIV

“We are committed to minimising the impact of our business on the environment from our energy consumption and carbon emissions to our waste management and recycling facilities,” explains the ILIV in a press release. “By weaving our 50 per cent British wool collection, Kelso, here in the UK, we have reduced our carbon footprint, whilst offering our support to local British farmers.”

Kelso & Harlow is available across 51 colours, constructed using a mix of melange and greige woven yarns from commercial greys to corporate greens and vibrant blues to striking yellows and oranges.

SMD Textiles/ILIV 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: ILIV

Image of Riggs Wet bar

Hotel review: Checking in to Riggs Washington D.C.

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel review: Checking in to Riggs Washington D.C.

Sheltered in a former bank in the capital city, Riggs Washington D.C. is emerging from the pandemic as a statement hotel that offers a new kind of luxury on the east coast. Writer and cine​matic storyteller Ollie Wiggins checks in to the Caroline Harrison suite and interviews interior design legend Jacu Strauss in order to understand the hotel design narrative that is not what it first seems…

Image of Riggs Wet bar

The highly anticipated Riggs Washington D.C. opened its doors in early 2020, but considering the unforeseen circumstances around the pandemic that shortly followed, the hotel’s grand opening period was cut short as hospitality worldwide hunkered down for a turbulent year. So, for the sake of this review, I am prepared to erase 2020 from our memories in order to instead celebrate the arrival of what has already become one of Washington’s most exciting hotel openings of the decade. This 181-key hotel aims to offer unparalleled luxury and a breath of fresh air to the thriving and modern metropolis. 

Sitting down with Jacu Strauss, the Creative Director of Lore Group and the brainchild behind Sea Containers London and Pulitzer Amsterdam, it becomes immediately apparent how important the setting was and is to him – he is clearly passionate about DC. “It’s just a really beautiful city,” he says. “Great architecture, and noticeably lacking skyscrapers, it has a certain rhythm to it.” With Jacu’s projects across the world, he’s famous for putting time, energy and resources in to research an area and its needs. Keen to avoid what he describes as a “cookie cutter approach”, it is about the neighbourhoods, the greater contexts of the city and its people. With D.C., he felt he’d found a real gap in the hospitality market. “You have lifestyle brands as well as more traditional, institutional luxury hotels that are really established here and do what they do perfectly,” Strauss explains. “But we wanted to bridge that gap between lifestyle and luxury and become an institution that sits alone.”

It would have been all too easy to make this imposing gothic building into another institutional hotel. And there is no escaping the fact that it is sheltered in what used to be a bank – the ceilings are enormous for starters. The name of the hotel is synonymous with banking throughout DC; many presidents banked with the brand and it even provided the bank loan the US government needed to buy Alaska. Strauss freely admits that he is not the first to turn a bank into a luxury hotel, citing The Ned in London as a prime example. It is perhaps for this reason that he is keen to make sure the building is not tied to its former use. “We really wanted to depart from banking and make it about other things as well,” Strauss explains. “We wanted to celebrate both the legacy of the building and history of the city through unexpected details and a thoughtful approach to guest experience.” So it is perhaps no surprise then that he says he wants to evoke the spirit of the bank, preserving and restoring much of the beautiful old building with playful nod’s to it’s rich and storied past. It is in this way he hopes that the building will reflect a sense of timelessness, which he hopes will give the hotel longevity. 

Upon entering the hotel on F street, I am immediately struck by how authentically period the building feels. Whilst Strauss said he was keen to avoid the sense that the building was stuck in the past, it is hard to imagine the entrance hall has changed at all in the 130 years since it was built. The original marble floors and columns, for example, have not lost their shine or luster. The intricate recessed carvings on the arches of the barrelled ceiling have been meticulously restored and the gold trim on the American eagle that presides over the entryway is as bright and splendid as one would hope.

Image caption: The lobby/reception area has been designed to give a sensitive nod to the building's past. | Image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

Image caption: The lobby/reception area has been designed to give a sensitive nod to the building’s past. | Image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

To the right, the commanding entrance hall is replaced with a warm and welcoming check-in area. There is still the impressive sense of space and grandeur from the high-vaulted ceilings and federalist columns, but the marble floor has been replaced by a luxurious blue carpet. Comfortable arm chairs and soft furnishings help temper the building’s stark gothic feel without taking away from the majestic first impression. On the wall hangs an enormous medallion of Juno Moneta, the Roman goddess of money, modelled on an insignia Strauss discovered when first exploring the building. It gives the impression of inventing without betraying that the designer was keen to create; whilst a new addition to the building, the medallion feels timeless and totally in keeping with the property’s past. Behind a desk and a gold trimmed screen are the friendly reception staff. Whilst a new safety feature for the current pandemic, the gilt edged dividers feel true to the former use of the building and one can imagine the bank’s customers standing in front of them as they discussed the handling of their finances.

“The wooden parquet flooring gives the air of a stately home, where marble would have felt too austere and carpet too subaltern.”

Upon checking in, I am taken first to the Riggs suite, once the boardroom of the bank, now an impressive function room with enviable views of the city. Here, a room that could have felt stark with its hard lines and gothic arches has been made to feel luxurious and comfortable. The wooden parquet flooring gives the air of a stately home, where marble would have felt too austere and carpet too subaltern. Upholstered chairs around a long dining table reinforce this feeling of luxury and recall the room’s former use. On the walls of this room, no doubt once occupied exclusively by men, now hang the portraits of inspirational looking women in a variety of styles and from different cultures. In fact, the room is full of feminine touches including the soft green carpet, delicate oak furniture, copious plants and plush velvety sofas and cushions. It is part of Strauss’ efforts to neutralise what he sees as the overly masculine world of banking with feminine touches.

“Riggs is the only hotel in the area that has chosen to name its suites them after first ladies.”

I am fortunate enough to be staying in the Caroline Harrison Suite. The general manager proudly explains that whilst many hotels in the city have suites named after presidents, Riggs is the only hotel in the area that has chosen to name its suites them after first ladies – yet another example of the way Strauss has injected elements of femininity into all aspects of the hotel’s design. The room is a rich blue with sumptuous, heavy-velvet curtains, a sofa and pillows with a design that calls to mind the ornate patterns of the dividers that separated customers from tellers. The carpet, whilst pristine, has been made to look distressed as though it is itself part of the building’s history.

Image caption: The living room inside the Caroline Harrison Suite. | Image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

Image caption: The living room inside the Caroline Harrison Suite. | Image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

Throughout the room are an eclectic collection of objets; lampshades in the form of dogs, contemporary takes on classical urns, a porcelain lantern with an Asian feel. Strangely, they help anchor the building in its Washington location by creating the sense that these pieces may have been gifted to the first lady by visiting dignitaries on some state visit from long ago. This feeling is complemented by the Jasperware plates and medallions hanging on the wall that celebrate significant events in the nation’s history; the signing of the declaration of independence and the start of JFK’s ill-fated presidency. Behind the luxurious four-poster bed is a feature wall with fun and quirky wallpaper that calls to mind the illustrations in a children’s book or the work of Ken Done. It contrasts aptly with the block colours and bold design choices in the rest of the space. 

The other three first lady suites, named after Ida McKinley, Louisa Adams and Angelica Van Buren have their own distinct styles and decor. The Van Buren is particularly striking with its rich red walls and velvet curtains complimented by ornate gold furniture. Of particular interest, too, are the classical busts that adorn the shelves, all of classical female deities, as well as contemporary artwork inspired once again by the profile of Juno Moneta. 

Each of the hotel’s other rooms are designed to offer something personal and unexpected. Whether it’s the colour of the wall or the shape of the space, each one feels different and offers something unique to the guest so that no two stays are ever quite the same. 

Image caption: Jacu Strauss collaborated with longtime friend George Benson to create the unique headboards in the guestrooms. | Image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

Image caption: Jacu Strauss collaborated with longtime friend George Benson to create the unique headboards in the guestrooms. | Image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

Perhaps most striking in each room are the custom made headboards, the shape suggestive of the ripples of theatrical curtains. To achieve this unique style, Strauss collaborated with longtime friend George Benson to create these stunning pieces. The abstract swirling pattern used on both the headboards and wallpaper is inspired by a detail on a painting Jacu saw whilst at the Met Gallery in New York and was created by Benson’s company Voutsa specifically for the hotel. It adds a fun and cheeky dimension as well as a sense of movement to what were once the bank’s offices. Eagle eyed guests may spot that the pattern is also used on the inside of the bespoke umbrellas that are provided in each room. 

Next to the bed are small oak bedside tables with green leather inlay designed to feel like the writing desks that would once have been used in this building. To achieve a strong and timeless lighting scheme, Strauss collaborated with bespoke lighting brand Chelsom in order to ensure that each space was effortlessly lit in order to radiate the hotel’s luxe style and distinct personality. For example, gilt desk lamps sit on top of the bedside tables to reinforce the writing desk association and invite you to imagine the bank clerks hunched over their work in the previous century. Each room also contains a replica bank safe complete with the insignia of Juno on the outside and housing the minibar and room’s safe inside. It is the most overt reminder of the building’s former life as well as a fun talking point for guests. 

Since you’re here, why not read about Chelsom’s Edition 27 lighting collection

“I can’t help wondering if the powerful rain shower head is a nod to Obama’s request that one be added to The White House for the duration of his incumbency.”

Inside the bathrooms, the Italian Carrara marble tiles on the floor and walls create a sense of grandeur and security. Even the shape of the shiny metallic taps is reminiscent of the handle of a safe and reinforces the idea that one has walked into the bank’s impregnable strong room. The deep free-standing bath makes for a luxurious bathing experience and I can’t help wondering if the powerful rain shower head is a nod to Obama’s request that one be added to The White House for the duration of his incumbency. 

Image credit: Luxurious bathrooms inside the hotel. | Image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

Image credit: Luxurious bathrooms inside the hotel. | Image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

Strauss said that he wanted each of the rooms to feel like a safety deposit box, with the contents of each being unique and valuable. This certainly comes across and is particularly evident from the door to each room. Every door features the front of a safety deposit box, complete with a non-working keyhole and golden circular medallion bearing the likeness of Juno Moneta. On the walls and floor, the sumptuous, rich, red carpets evoke a feeling of warmth. They contrast directly with the imposing lobby of the building and give the sense that you are exploring a more intimate and sequestered part of the hotel. On the walls of the corridors are a collection of paintings, some depicting classical figures and others in a more contemporary style as if these pieces have been placed here by customers trusting the bank to protect their artistic investments. The lifts too are worthy of note, featuring marble floors and mirrors covered in silver leaf, which gives them an opulent antiquarian aspect. 

In the bar and restaurant it is clear that Strauss has attempted to bring something new to the city. “There may have been a certain standard of food and beverage outlets here that became quite institutionalised, and not necessarily in a good way,” he admits to me.  “So, it didn’t have much diversity, and going against that convention – especially in an area of the hotel that is typically most criticised – was really changing. DC is becoming a real foodie city.” Strauss’ aim was to provide something “bright and elegant, inspired by the grand cafes of Europe,” and that is certainly case here at Riggs. The high-vaulted ceilings provide a massive sense of space and the circular marble tables together with the trendy wooden and velvet chairs would not feel out of place in a continental eatery. It is no coincidence that the chairs themselves are the colour of money, in America at least. It would have been easy to use an overabundance of green throughout the hotel for its pecuniary associations and the decision not to do this in the rest of the development feels remarkably restrained. 

The luxury of space in the bar area has provided one of the largest  challenges in converting this part of the building. With the huge height of the room, Strauss and his team were keen to make sure the scope of the space was being fully utilised. To that end, Strauss installed massive velvet curtains, so weighty that their use necessitated reinforcing the wall. He also commissioned a bouquet of oversized fabric flowers from Ukraine – its bright colours and whimsical design are suggestive of the works of Lewis Carroll or Edward Lear. Yet despite their sheer scale (they come in at an eye-watering two storeys high) everything in the room feels perfectly in proportion. Even the six foot four inch gilt chandeliers that Strauss designed himself help to make the space feel intimate without taking away from the sense of grandeur. 

Image caption: Jacu Strauss commissioned a bouquet of oversized fabric flowers from Ukraine, which has become a statement piece in the public area of the hotel. | Image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

Image caption: Jacu Strauss commissioned a bouquet of oversized fabric flowers from Ukraine, which has become a statement piece in the public area of the hotel. | Image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

I journey downwards to the subterranean Silver Lyan bar, described by the hotel manager as an adult playground. It’s not hard to see why, the theming is fun without being gimmicky and the low ceilings, dark lighting and deep red chairs give the air of that most uniquely American thing: a speakeasy. There are also an array of fun little touches around the bar; secret messages hidden as optical illusions in the wall panelling, lighting inspired by classical Asian designs and hundreds of sporting trophies in cases across the walls, which Strauss is quick to tell me were all won by female athletes. 

Across the hall is the gym and fitness area, which perhaps rather tauntingly has an oversized gumball machine outside, which feels uniquely American and once again helps to play with the sense of scale and disrupt the sense of solemnity in the building. Despite the restrictions currently in place due to Covid-19, I can’t resist sampling one or two. The gym itself has enough equipment to ensure that even the most ardent of fitness fanatics can ensure they get a good workout and the marble pillars hardwood floors provide a sense of decadence as you sweat your way towards your fitness goals. There are also fun touches around the room, like the leather punching bag, that invites one to imagine a circus strongman with a handlebar moustache hard in training. There is also the door to what once would have been the bank’s strongroom, with its intricate mechanism, bolts and rivets on display.

As I check out, I am reminded of something Strauss said to me, that a hotel should provide an elevated experience rather than simply being “a home away from home” and Riggs Washington D.C. is certainly not that. It is a building that has always been about showmanship that has left lasting impression of strength and security.

Strauss’ next project, the Lyle in D.C., will be much more about calm and comfort – think mattresses like marshmallows that he describes as the “most comfortable” he has ever slept on. Yet here, the way The Lore Group has managed to turn what could have been a stark and austere building into something welcoming without losing any of the sense of grandeur is impressive. To summarise, Riggs DC embraces its past whilst remaining pitch perfect for its current use, ensuring its future place in the city for years to come. 

Main image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

Promo image of Ep 2 of DESIGN POD

DESIGN POD episode 2, with Director of Zaha Hadid Architects, has landed

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
DESIGN POD episode 2, with Director of Zaha Hadid Architects, has landed

LISTEN NOW: For episode of two of DESIGN POD, in association with Bathrooms Brands Group, editor Hamish Kilburn and co-host Harriet Forde invite Christos Passas, Director of Zaha Hadid Architects, to discuss architecture beyond boundaries…

Promo image of Ep 2 of DESIGN POD

Hosted by editor Hamish Kilburn and co-hosted by designer Harriet Forde, DESIGN POD’s latest episode, entitled ‘Architecture Beyond Boundaries’, is now available to listen to all major podcast platforms such as SpotifyAmazon Music and Acast – and welcomes Christos Passas, Director of Zaha Hadid Architect (ZHA), as the guest professional for the episode.

As well as discussing how ZHA stretches what is possible in design and architecture, the episode also dives deep into the legacy that the late Zaha Hadid left behind, whose outstanding contribution to the architectural profession has been acknowledged by professional, academic and civic institutions around the world, including (but not limited to) the Forbes List of the ‘World’s Most Powerful Women. “It is no coincidence that this episode has been released in the wake of International Women’s Day,” explains Kilburn. “Hadid’s vision was one that captured the imagination of more than industry professionals; her unapologetic, pioneering mindset continues, to this day, to resonate with every individual on the planet who believes in and strives for equality in all sectors.”

“When it comes to younger generations, I always look for people who are not afraid to work hard.” – Christos Passas, Director, Zaha Hadid Architects.

Passas, who first joined the international architecture and design studio 23 years ago and recently won Architect of the Year at The Brit List Awards 2020, agreed to be interviewed by Kilburn who was keen to understand more about how the studio has changed since the passing of Hadid as well as getting the low-down on the studio’s latest project, The Opus in Dubai, which Hotel Designs exclusively reviewed the design of last month. In addition to this, Passas describes what he looks for in  the young talent that walks through the ZHA doors. “The collaborative nature within our team is something to be learned from,” explains Passas in the interview. “We have always found a certain amount of pride and encouragement to be a company that is very much proactive on an individual level. When it comes to younger generations, I always look for people who are not afraid to work hard and for those who are able to test their ideas with others while working for the good of others.”

Listen to DESIGN POD on SpotifyAmazon MusicAcast, Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts.

Image of luxury design hotel guestroom at MarBella Elix in Greece

Early check in: MarBella Elix, a design hotel inspired by the sea

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Early check in: MarBella Elix, a design hotel inspired by the sea

The latest design hotel to arrive in the MarBella Collection portfolio, MarBella Elix, which is about to open on the mainland of Greece, is the brainchild of Konstantinos Kydoniatis and Dimitris Thomopoulos…

Image of luxury design hotel guestroom at MarBella Elix in Greece

MarBella Elix, which Hotel Designs first took a sneak peek of early last year,  is an inspirational and to many extends a timeless design hotel situated in a previously undiscovered area of Greece. As the third hotel to join the MarBella Collection portfolio – and the brand’s first property outside of the island of Corfu – MarBella Elix is perched above the beautiful Karavostasi Beach in the Parga region, looking west towards Corfu and Paxos.

Arial view of MarBella Elix design hotel

Image caption: MarBella Elix is unique to the current MarBella Collection properties as it uses typical Epirus traditional architecture, where the buildings follow the natural landscape. Image credit: Heinz Troll

The 146-key design hotel was built into the sloping mountain with every room looking out over the uninterrupted sea. The architecture is designed to reflect the natural location, mirroring the sandy cliffs and the surrounding area of astounding natural beauty. The interiors meanwhile lend themselves to a family-friendly resort, with expansive communal and dining areas and comfortable resting places, perfectly situated to admire the unspoilt surroundings.

The project was spearheaded by Konstantinos Kydoniatis whose idea was to blend the existing landscape into a premise built with tiered levels.

The architectural inspiration behind the design hotel was to create a hotel with contemporary simplicity, paired with breathtaking views. The project was spearheaded by Konstantinos Kydoniatis whose idea was to blend the existing landscape into a premise built with tiered levels suitable for couples and families alike. The existing traditional Greek building was radically redesigned, in order to serve the contemporary needs of a five-star hotel. The designers used high-end technology to ensure the building was constructed with the needs of a luxury traveller in mind, whilst at the same time achieving a high level of sustainability.

The overall brief for Marbella Elix was to redesign and recreate a traditional Greek property into a luxury, modern resort for families and couples, upgrading both premises and amenities seamlessly transition between the traditional and modern.

The transformation has been meticulously planned to play on the outstanding views of the Ionian Sea, ensuring the property is fully equipped for for its guests who expect premium luxury standard. Designed and created by Dimitris Thomopoulos and Kydoniatis, the style focuses on three key elements; the breathtaking, sea-view scenery; the proximity to the once-inaccessible vast coastline, which is now easily reached by a small path and the local architecture elements of stone, marble and wood.

“The inspiration behind the design comes from the breath-taking view of the infinite sea and the surrounding environment,” explained Thomopoulos. “The design of this five-star hotel is now a reflection of the existing materials and styles of traditional Greece, combined with a constant reminder of the beauty of nature.”

The lobby and dining area was conceived as a viewpoint. An uninterrupted line of vision flows directly from the entrance of the restaurant to the vast sea views, with a green filter created through a structure of plant life, to emphasise the natural synergies and surrounds.

Lounge/lobby inside design hotel by the sea

Image caption: The lobby and public areas carefully injects biophilic design into a contemporary space. | Image credit: Heinz Troll

The main restaurant follows the design approach of the lobby area, with natural light and plant features throughout. The à la carte restaurant is unique with its luxurious and distinctive darker tones, creating an elegant and authentic feel.

The distinct nod to nature continues in the guestrooms, with the entire design scheme including, floor-to-ceiling windows, working around and framing the unparalleled views of the Ionion sea. The designers have added a twist of something rare and unique to the area by redefining the traditional architecture of Epirus through minimal and clear lines.

Image caption: The use of natural elements adds a sense of place throughout the 146 spacious and contemporary guestrooms and suites. | Image credit: Heinz Troll

MarBella Elix is unique to the current MarBella Collection properties as it uses typical Epirus traditional architecture, where the buildings follow the natural landscape. Marbella Elix blends into the surroundings using built-in tiered levels that appear to come out of the steep slope landscape. This creates unobstructed views to the forest and Ionian sea. The rooftops have been used to create large 25 – 30 square-metre private pools for guests staying in upper-level rooms, tying in natural elements such as stone claddings to reflect the architecture of nearby towns.

Image of sunset from luxury pool

The hotel’s coastal location makes it an ideal spot to catch the sunset. | Image credit: Heinz Troll

The MarBella Collection currently boasts two unique properties in their portfolio, the iconic family 5* resort, MarBella Corfu Hotel located and in Agios Ioannis Peristeron and its adjacent sister, adult-only suite hotel MarBella Nido Suite Hotel & Villas which opened in May 2018 and is a proud member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World. In 2021, the highly anticipated MarBella Elix will be added to the collection, a design hotel curated for travellers seeking true luxury experiences.

Main image credit: MarBella Collection

Birdseye view of Private Pool Residences Collection residence

In pictures: Inside the largest overwater residences in the world

640 426 Hamish Kilburn
In pictures: Inside the largest overwater residences in the world

Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas, located on the Baa Atoll, has launched the largest overwater residences in the world with a major renovation of the resort’s two-bedroom over water pool residences…

Birdseye view of Private Pool Residences Collection residence

Setting a new precedent in naturally inspired design and luxury living, the renovation of the seven residences at Anantara Kihavah sees a careful preservation of the element of space while marrying a light and airy interior refit with smart technology home comforts.

Each overwater residence is generously spaced at 1,500 sq. m. and comes with the addition of a new fully equipped gym, a couples’ spa treatment room, a fully equipped professional kitchen with wine fridge, expanded outdoor decks and larger swimming pools. This follows a multi-million-dollar redesign of the two-, three- and four- bedroom beach pool residences in 2020 just before lockdown, with the four-bedroom residence at a commanding 2,000 sq. m. 

Anantara Kihavah Two-bedroom Over Water Pool Residence Spa Treatment Room View

Image credit: Anantara Kihavah

Two-bedroom overwater pool residences

The two newly completed two-bedroom overwater pool residences feature floor-to-ceiling windows across its entirety, guaranteeing vast views of the ocean. Fitted with a professional working kitchen in the living and dining room, each en-suite bedroom at either end features ample individual outdoor living space, whilst the extended infinity pool tiled in natural Sukabumhi stone and shaded outdoor dining sala is the ideal hangout for shared leisure activities.

Anantara Kihavah Two-bedroom Over Water Pool Residence Exterior Aerial

Image credit: Anantara Kihavah

With fitness and wellness being a bigger focus than ever in the modern-day traveller’s needs, the redesign of these residences sees the addition of a gym, fully equipped with the latest in TechnoGym machinery, and a couple’s spa treatment room. Both rooms are fitted with retractable blinds, allowing for natural sunlight by day and unfiltered stargazing at night. Whilst relaxing with a signature Anantara Spa massage, a view of the marine life just beneath the residence, is made possible with the strategic placement of glass panels underneath the spa treatment beds. Glass-bottomed whirlpool bathtubs have also been fitted in each bathroom, providing therapeutic massages even during bath time.

Staying true to the heritage of the Maldives, each residence features Kajan thatched palm roofs and Balau hardwood flooring spanning the entire length of its expansive outdoor deck, accompanied by netted hammocks suspended over water.

Two-, three-, and four-bedroom beach pool residences

Anantara Kihavah’s beach pool residences start from 1,330 sq. m for the two-bedroom option to 1,770 sq. m for the three-bedroom residence and 2,000 sq. m. for the four-bedroom pool sanctuary.

Surrounded by foliage and bright bougainvillea accents, occasional sights of coconut trees jutting through floors or ceilings is testament to the resort’s commitment toward preserving the natural beauty of the island, whilst optimising each residence’s space.

Anantara Kihavah - Guest Room Three Bedroom Beach Pool Residence Exterior View

Image credit: Anantara Kihavah

Like the over water pool residences, the architecture of each beachfront residence reflects Kajan palm roofs and Balau decks. The newly extended swimming pools are now fitted with massage jets, whilst an outdoor Sala Thai provides shaded relief for lounging and dining.

A light neutral palette uplifts a previously dark wood scheme, presenting an atmosphere that is at once comfortable and relaxed, yet modern and luxurious. Rattan details, woven straw carpets, Maldivian motifs and teak wood furniture further accent the distinctively tropical vibe of each room. Floor-to-ceiling doors of the main living and dining area effortlessly slide open for views of the tropics.

Further embodying island living at its most luxurious, a water feature wall designed to mimic that of a real waterfall, is the highlight in each revamped bathroom newly fitted with intelligent toilet technology. Wellbeing and fitness are also not forgotten – with each residence fitted with its own private double-bed spa treatment room and gym featuring a complete range of fitness equipment.

Anantara is a luxury hospitality brand for modern travellers, connecting them to genuine places, people and stories through personal experiences, and providing heartfelt hospitality in the world’s most exciting destinations. The collection of distinct, thoughtfully designed luxury hotels and resorts provides a window through which to journey into invigorating new territory, curating personal travel experiences.

 

Main image credit: Anantara Kihavah

Render of lounge inside Soho Beach House in the Caribbean

Soho House: A sneak peek of upcoming openings

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Soho House: A sneak peek of upcoming openings

Soho House, which shelters members-only Houses targeted towards ‘creative souls, has unveiled renders and details of projects that are expected to open this year. Editor Hamish Kilburn explores…

Render of lounge inside Soho Beach House in the Caribbean

Following a challenging year for all sectors in hospitality, Soho House, which was founded in 1995 by Nick Jones, has emerged from the pandemic with a teaser that showcases an optimistic year – with six new Houses that will soon become part of the members-only brand’s ever-growing footprint.

Aside from opening its first property in 1995, key milestones include the brand’s first countryside property (Babbington House in 1998), its arrival in the US (with the opening of its first property in New York in 2003), the brand’s venture into Europe (with the opening of its Berlin property in 2010) and the brand’s first opening in Asia (both in Mumbai and Hong Kong in 2019).

Fast-forward to the present day, and as the brand’s 27 Houses are awaiting the return of modern travellers, we take a look at the new destinations and Houses that are expected to open this year.

The Strand, London – coming soon

Just down the road from the original House – 40 Greek Street, Soho, London – 180 House, which will be located on The Strand, will become the brand’s 10th property in London. Just a short walk from Somerset House, the property will shelter a club, three floors of co-working space, and a rooftop pool with views of Westminster and St Paul’s Cathedral.

Canouan – opening Q1, 2021

The opening of the brand’s property in Canouan will mark its arrival in the Caribbean region and will be located on the secluded island of Canouan, which is part of St Vincent and the Grenadines. The renders of the 40 bedrooms and a gym show a paired back design that celebrates barefoot luxury and the authentic charm of the Caribbean.

Tel Aviv – opening spring, 2021

Located in a former convent in the historic Jaffa neighbourhood, the property will feature a pool, terrace, and 24 stylish bedrooms expected to reflect the life and soul of the destination.

Rome – opening summer, 2021

In recent months, there has been a lot of development interest in Rome – with brands such as Rosewood and Bvlgari Hotels also announcing debut arrivals excepted in the next few years. Located in the San Lorenzo district, the debut Soho House property in Rome – the brand’s seventh property in Europe – will shelter 49 bedrooms and 20 apartments, with unparalleled views stretching across the Eternal City from its rooftop, terrace and pool.

Paris – opening summer, 2021