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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 Tavel 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…

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.

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.

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.

Image of luxury Marriott f&b arae

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

For a brand that is known for amplifying creatives (connecting travellers and locals alike) in thriving neighbourhoods, it makes a lot of a business sense for the members-only lifestyle brand to expand its portfolio with a property in Paris. In the former red-light district of Pigalle – steps from the 19th-century cabaret Moulin Rouge – the brand’s property in Paris will shelter 35 bedrooms, a gym, and a courtyard garden overlooked by a pool terrace.

Austin – opening summer, 2021

On South Congress Avenue, Soho House Austin will become the brand’s first property in Texas and the 10th Soho House territory in North America, and will feature a rooftop pool, 46 bedrooms, and a members screening room.

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Main image credit: Soho House

A lounge area inside The Upper House in Hong Kong

André Fu Suite to open inside The Upper House

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
André Fu Suite to open inside The Upper House

The world-renowned Hong Kong architect André Fu, has been given the ultimate compliment by the owners of The Upper House who have named a suite in his honour. Hotel Designs learns more about what to expect in the suite when it opens this spring…

A lounge area inside The Upper House in Hong Kong

A brand new and soon-to-be ‘sought-after’ experience awaits guests at The Upper House with the arrival of the André Fu Suite this Spring. Although we are still eagerly awaiting the professional images of the suite, we have in the meantime managed to find out more details of what to expect inside, which is a space that gives a sensitive nod to Fu’s style that has effortlessly evolved in tandam with modern traveller demands and the brands expansion in new locations.

The 1,960-square-foot suite combines the understated luxury of the 117-key luxury hotel with the André Fu philosophy for living as realised through Fu’s own collection of furniture, homeware and decorative accessories. The suite is a tribute to the world-renowned Hong Kong designer and his enduring relationship as the architect of The House.

Perched above the metropolis that is known as ‘Asia’s World City’, on Level 48, the André Fu Suite presents a completely new experience from The Upper House brand and acts as an aspirational space that is a testament to what a suite can offer. As guests explore and interact with the surroundings during their stay, they enter and discover the world of André Fu Living and his collaboration with The House that has spanned over a decade.

“Framed sketches of the architect’s original concept designs of the hotel from 15 years ago adorn the walls.”

Giving a nod to both the architect and the hotel’s journey, framed sketches of Fu’s original concept designs of the hotel, from 15 years ago, adorn the walls. More than 100 pieces of homeware are curated from the André Fu Living Collection, including the Spring Summer 2021 collection while hand-selected books from the visionary’s personal library each translate the shared vision and history of Fu and The House into an immersive living experience.

The space draws on the philosophy shared by both brands that true luxury is in the experience and not just the aesthetics. As such, the suite is designed to act as a conduit for experiential and authentic connections to people and place.

A dining table, set for 20, is the perfect background for entertaining, whether for dinner parties, celebrations or more formal business lunches. The intimate and inviting space is intended to give visitors the sense of walking into somebody’s home, and enables hosts to embrace their personal expression of living.

A contemporary bed in a modern guestroom

Image credit: The Upper House

A place for rejuvenation, the suite’s integrated spa is a dedicated and transformative space featuring twin massage beds. Guests can embark on a completely immersive experience to cultivate inner peace and rejuvenation, or simply escape the urbanity of the city and their everyday lives.

The suite’s design is a testament to the sensibilities of its designer and his ability to bring a calm simplicity into interior spaces. Using a palette of mineral blue, dusty mink and pale ivory, the space will feature pieces from the existing André Fu Living collection, which first made its debut in Milan during Salone del Mobile 2019, as well as presenting brand new unseen pieces. These will include a collaboration with British heritage wallcovering specialist, de Gournay, and lounge seating upholstered in Lora Piano’s finest wools.

From the sculptural ottoman to the fluidity and linear structure of the Mid-Century inspired furniture, and the refined porcelain tableware delicately garnished with artisan brush gilding, each piece within the suite is an expression of Fu’s signature understated sophistication and fascination with craftsmanship, focusing not simply on how beautiful things look but how they make guests feel.

In addition to the arrival of the suite, Fu has turned his hand to transform level four from a place to check-in and out to a space that feels more akin to a living room. Replacing traditional check-in desks with a more open high table removes the barrier between guest and the guest experience team.

A fire in a modern lounge

Image credit: The Upper House

An adjoining lounge space, featuring pieces from André Fu Living, is also created for guests to conjure. The result is an increased sense of intimacy, interaction and relaxation in an area that combines form and function for an enhanced guest experience.

Fu reflects on his long relationship with The Upper House and how his and the brand’s style has adapted over the years. “When the Upper House first opened 11 years ago, it was considered the antithesis of what typically defines an Asian luxury hotel,” he says. “At the time, I attempted to infuse how I saw hospitality going forward into this property. Fifteen years later, I am still excited to evolve with the House as it has remained a key relationship for me throughout my career. I’m thrilled to be able to bring my own André Fu Living brand to the hotel as part of this new suite and once again, I’m eager to see how guests will respond to it, whether it’s through entertaining or indulging in an urban escape.”

After much anticipation, the André Fu Suite opens this spring, which champions his motto of design not being about ‘imposing a lifestyle’ and instead being ‘a personal expression of living’.

Main image credit: The Upper House/André Fu

A guestroom inside Six Senses Botanique showing nature through floor to ceiling windows

In pictures: Inside Six Senses Botanique, Brazil

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In pictures: Inside Six Senses Botanique, Brazil

The latest hotel to open in the Six Senses portfolio lies at the confluence of three river valleys in the heart of the Mantiqueira Mountains in Brazil. Hotel Designs takes a sneaky look inside… 

A guestroom inside Six Senses Botanique showing nature through floor to ceiling windows

Bookmarked by our editorial team as one of 2021’s hottest hotel openings, Six Senses Botanique, Brazil, which has been built from indigenous materials such as jacaranda and chocolate slate, has opened in the heart of the Mantiqueira Mountains, which is known as the “mountains that weep” due to the abundance of springs and rivers.

Image of the main building at the Six Senses Botanique hotel in Brazil

Image credit: Six Senses

There was never any question that the merge in 2019 between Six Senses and IHG wouldn’t distort the integrity and much-loved personality of the leading wellness hospitality brand. And Six Senses’ latest luxury hotel is no exception. In fact, guests checking in are being told to expect “out-of-the-ordinary experiences and emotional hospitality”, with the Six Senses integrated pillars of sustainability and wellness at the heart of the operation.

A private garden inside the hotel in the wilderness

Image credit: Six Senses

The first phase of the resort evolution are most notably gastronomy and wellness – with new menus at Restaurant Mina, a new Fire Side lounge menu, an exclusive eight-course gastronomic journey paired with wines from the resort’s select Adega, a reconnection experience with an artisanal outdoor picnic, and pioneering therapies at Six Senses Spa.

The property currently offers seven suites in the main hotel and 11 private villas dotted in the hills around it. A further 16 villas are planned, constructed off-site in a modular manner using local materials and sited to minimise their impact on the surrounding flora and fauna. There will also be 37 branded residences, again constructed using an eco-friendly modular approach, available for purchase off-plan.

Through the ‘Eat With Six Senses’ philosophy, Six Senses Botanique will bring out the best of the region’s cuisine and seasonal produce, starting with “Farm to Table” herbs, fruit and vegetables grown in the resort’s own organic gardens and farm.

Mina, the resort’s signature restaurant, offers modern, contemporary Brazilian dishes and 180-degree views of the mountains and valleys, with the suspended fireplace warming the dining room and rich wood floors underfoot.

The new Fire Side lounge meanwhile features a variety of drinks prepared with home-grown probiotics and a tonic with ingredients harvested from the surrounding vegetable gardens. 

The Adega (Wine Cellar) journey begins in the fireplace lounge, starting with a toast of bubbles with Chef Gabriel Broide as he himself explains the custom eight-course menu for the evening.

Reconnection Experiences offer guests the chance to reconnect with themselves and loved ones while exploring the local flora, fauna and timeless ways of living in tune with the natural world.

A luxury villa that shows a indoor private pool with stone surfaces

Image credit: Six Senses

Nowhere is the local influence more evident than in the spa, which currently features four treatment rooms, a beauty salon, floatation pool, isotonic pool, sauna and steam room with rainforest mist.  New treatment rooms, relaxation and wellness areas, as well as a fitness centre will be added later this year.

Six Senses Botanique will appeal to guests seeking an eco-retreat in nature along with authentic Brazilian design, culture and cuisine. The property is blessed with seven water springs providing guests with their own mineral water. There is a water treatment station to return clean water back to nature. Mindful of making responsible decisions, the resort team also works with community members to see how they can contribute to a better quality of life for everyone, while preserving and celebrating local traditions and culture and the beautiful natural environment surrounding the property.

Image credit: Six Senses

Six Senses, which is clearly leading the way in innovative wellness travel, now manages 18 hotels and resorts and 29 spas in 21 countries under the brand names Six Senses, Evason and Six Senses Spas, and has signed a further 27 properties into the development pipeline, including the highly anticipated Six Senses Ibiza which should arrive this Spring.

Main image credit: Six Senses

Pascale Lauber & Ulrike Bauschke on steps

5 minutes with: The hotel designers behind Ostuni’s new boutique jewel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
5 minutes with: The hotel designers behind Ostuni’s new boutique jewel

Pascale Lauber & Ulrike Bauschke, owners and hotel designers of Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa, have not had the smoothest ride to open their labour of love. Hotel Designs’ Hamish Kilburn catches up with the duo as they prepare to welcome the world to their dream boutique hotel…

Pascale Lauber & Ulrike Bauschke on steps

Back in early 2020, before Covid-19 had become the distraction of the year, Hotel Designs was packing its bags ready to check in to a new boutique hotel that had made it onto the editorial team’s radar. Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa is situated in the heart of Puglia’s White City of Ostuni – on the heel of Italy – and is elegantly sheltered inside a restored red palace.

Arial view of Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa

Image credit: 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa

The team were particularly impressed by the story of Pascale Lauber and Ulrike Bauschke, owners of the property, who painstakingly restored every inch of the former Italian palace using traditional handcrafted techniques, while injecting a splash of modern flair.

Unfortunately, days before our scheduled trip to review the new 11-key hotel that stands in stark contrast to the whitewashed buildings of the city around it, the spread of Covid-19 put a major halt on plans to visit the naturally stunning destination.

Almost one year later, plans to review the luxury lair are unsurprisingly still on hold. While we wait patiently, though, it felt fitting to catch up with Lauber and Bauschke in order to understand the context and challenges that come with such a magnificent project.

A vintage looking room inside 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa

Image credit: Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa

Hamish Kilburn: How did you come to take on the restoration project?

Pascale Lauber: It was in 2016. We were actually in Puglia to recharge and had no intention of taking on a new project at all. An Ostunian friend invited us to visit the Palazzo Rosso and we agreed, simply to admire the architecture of such a historic building. However, as soon as the red carriage door opened it was love at first sight and we knew instantly that we would not be able to resist. We were immediately drawn to the potential of the centuries-old gem. The height of its ceilings, its vaults, its frescoes, its red-stone.

HK: Did you always know that you wanted the building to be transformed into a hotel?

Ulrike Bauschke: For us, it was unthinkable not to make the building a hotel and accessible to the public, it really is just too beautiful to stay hidden! We have shaken up the rules of real estate and interior design in projects all over the world, from Romont, Lausanne and Verbier, Switzerland; to Paris, New York and Cape Town and knew instantly that we could do the same here.

“Several smaller details and treasures were also discovered, such as a wooden door with peepholes typical of 17th century cloisters” – Ulrike Bauschke.

A artefact of a monkey on a bar

Image credit: Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa

HK: What discoveries did you make during the restoration?

UK: We worked with conservator Maria Buongiorno to uncover the mysteries of the multi-secular Palazzo, which has so many stories to tell from the 17th Century to present day. The most ancient parts of the building from the 1700s including fireplaces, stone vaults and also frescoes, like the magnificent “Jesus and the Samaritan” were significant discoveries. Several smaller details and treasures were also discovered, such as a wooden door with peepholes typical of 17th century cloisters that suggests that the Palazzo once housed a convent.

PL: Equally, the beautiful original majolica tiles, which have been brought to new life in Bar 700. On the back of some of those tiles, we found an M stamp, the brand of a famous workshop owned by the three Massa brothers, ceramics masters of early 18th century Naples, suggesting the building was once in Neapolitan hands.

a dark room with high vaulted ceilings

Image credit: Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa

HK: You both worked on the project together, who does what and are you always in agreement on the design details?

UK: We have opened and renovated restaurants, boutique hotels and apartments all over the world together and we make a complimentary pair, each with our own, very distinct strengths.

PL: I’m an instinctive designer, something that runs through my veins and guides everything I do, so the architecture and interiors were very much my vision. I took the lead with the renovation, but the way I work is with few words and thousands of images in my head. Sometimes I wish one could invent a copy machine to print all my ideas that are spinning in my head 24 hours a day… I couldn’t have brought it to life exactly how I wanted it without the help of Ulrike, who as a passionate traveller as well knows exactly what makes an outstanding hotel.

UK: Yes so we are pretty much in agreement and the only challenge was to show and create understanding of what Pascale’s vision was. She had it all in her head so between us bringing it to life exactly as she envisioned it was the biggest challenge.

A large red headboard in a vintage setting

Image credit: Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa

HK: Let’s address the elephant in the room… You opened the hotel in the middle of Covid-19, how was this?

UK: The timing could not have been worse for us and like everyone in the hospitality and travel industry we have been badly affected. However, we’ve been luckily has it seemed that everybody wanted to come to Puglia when we finally managed to open our doors and welcome guests throughout the summer months. With only 11 rooms and plenty of beautiful outdoor space, the hotel is actually ideal for safe travel in these times so we are lucky in that respect as well and have always made sure the health and wellbeing of our guests and team is paramount. We have been blown away with the glowing feedback from our guests and if we can make a success of a hotel opening during a global pandemic, we can do anything!

HK: Pascale, can you explain your personal design ethos and would you say Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel embodies this?

PL: Each project I do is so different and distinct, but the creative association of old and new art, objects and furnishings in a head-spinning and yet personal mix is my trademark and signature design style. I have a vision that is multicultural and original down to the smallest detail and this creates a unique result that is coherent, deeply modern and stimulating. I would say that Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa embodies my design ethos. The heart of the hotel’s design and what I really set out to achieve was creating exquisite design in every detail with beautiful energy while also preserving and celebrating the history of the building.

HK: Where do you look to for inspiration?

UK: We love travelling and have been lucky to live around the world, providing a fantastic source of inspiration. Visiting countless international art and trade shows, but also local flea-markets, is always inspiring and for this particular project the architecture and heritage of Puglia was certainly an influence.

Image credit: Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa

HK: If (or should I say ‘when’!) I can come and visit the hotel, what should I do first?

UK: If you can, request to stay in the room called Onyx. Every one of our guest rooms and suites is different, but Onyx, which is black, is a firm favourite. Once you have checked it out, head to the pool, which is the only one in the city, for a refreshing swim followed by some time unwinding in the garden and of course an aperitivo at Bar 700. The next day you will be ready to enjoy beautiful Puglia- the food, culture, people, history, landscapes, countryside and sea!

A luxury pool with white washed buildings

Image credit: Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa

PL: With only 11 guest rooms, our friendly team are able to offer an insider experience so be sure to ask them for their personal tips and recommendations and also enjoy some of our bespoke experiences, from burrata making to motorbike tours or trips out on our boat, a former carabinieri boat transformed into a private yacht, Dragonfly.

Main image credit: Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa

Two images of lighting in kitchen and lighting in lounge

Franklite launches 15 new lighting product ranges

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Franklite launches 15 new lighting product ranges

With designers requesting for variety and choices, Franklite has introduced 15 new lighting ranges, each with its own variations within the brand’s new supplement…

Two images of lighting in kitchen and lighting in lounge

Over the last few months, following a busy 2020, the team at Franklite have been working tirelessly to design a range of products that are not only functional and efficient, but also beautiful and creative. In continuation of Catalogue 26, the brand is launching 15 new product ranges each with its own variations within the new supplement. Here’s our sneak peek of the collection, including our editor’s pick.

The Allium range is perfect for adding style and sophistication to any space. This range consists of two spherical pendants and two half-sphere flush ceiling lights in chrome with elegant, multifaceted crystals on wire stems. The organic curve of the cable adds to the floral aesthetic of the pendant, giving the impression of a stem or vine, perfectly paired with natural interior design elements.

Cut-out image of the Allium range from Franklite

Image credit: Franklite

For those looking for something a bit more contemporary and industrial, the Wain pendants are ideal. These rustic matt finish ‘wheel’ pendants on a chain suspension will compliment a space with wood tones such as exposed ceiling beams and wall panelling ideal in open plan living areas or restaurants. Designed to be used with decorative LED lamps these pendants are available in an eight and 10 light option depending of the size of the space.

Cut-out of Wain lighting product from Franklite

Image credit: Franklite

Editor’s pick

The Prophecy, Hotel Designs’ editor’s pick out of the collection, is a comprehensive range of modern matt black fittings with smoked glass spheres. There are three semi-flush fittings, two pendants for a longer drop, a matching wall bracket and a three light floor lamp. The pendants in the Prophecy range have adjustable arms which allow customers to style the pendant as they like. Whilst the bold, smoked globes create a moody and minimalist aesthetic.

For a more subtle, yet extraordinary, industrial pendant we have the Precis range. These elongated dome shaped pendants feature a sturdy, smooth cement outer shell. With two interior options, either in a copper or satin nickel finish, this pendant will go with most kitchen accents.

Cut-out of Precis in the Franklite range

Image credit: Franklite

Franklite 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.

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: Franklite

Black sink and dark patterned wallcover

Create an impactful bathroom using pattern with Burlington

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Create an impactful bathroom using pattern with Burlington

Renowned for offering the very best in traditional bathroom design, leading industry specialists, Burlington gives designers freedom to introduce impactful bathroom design with vibrant patterns. Hotel Designs explores…

Black sink and dark patterned wallcover

With an impressive and ever-growing collection, breadth of choice allows homeowners the opportunity to effortlessly pair complementary patterns and colour for expressive interior design.

From bold and beautiful wallpapers placed against coloured ceramics, to arresting basins and WCs adorned with decorative hand-illustrated details, there is a multitude of ways to add impactful pattern into the bathroom with Burlington.

The perfect contrast against dark and captivating wallpaper, the warm ivory of the Medici collection was inspired by the iconic colour palettes of the 1920s. The elegant and timeless ceramics and coordinating accessories stand proud within a darker, patterned setting and add a touch of vintage charm to traditional bathroom spaces, providing a more eclectic look.

To achieve a dark and decadent bathroom enlivened with pattern, combine Burlington’s Jet range with striking, exotic wallpaper. Encapsulating the deepest shade of black, the glossy ceramics seamlessly complement extravagant patterned schemes for an impressive, timeless bathroom.

Ceramics themselves can be embellished with pattern for an alluring bathroom statement. The Floral range from the Bespoke by Burlington collection injects beautiful, nature-inspired décor into the bathroom. Following trends for individuality, the delicate, hand-illustrated floral designs bring iconic elegance and character to creative interior schemes, transforming everyday bathrooms into works of art. With a choice of four exquisite patterns, the Floral collection promises to add a captivating, modern touch to traditional bathrooms.

Combining historical influences with a contemporary approach, Burlington’s expansive collection allows individuals to create an expressive and imaginative space where on-trend design coincides with timeless style for a modern traditional look the brand is renowned for.

Burlington 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.

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: Burlington

Collage of ME Dubai, including the exterior of the building, the sleek bedrooms and the luxury pool area

Checking in to ME Dubai, the ‘legacy project’ of Zaha Hadid

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Checking in to ME Dubai, the ‘legacy project’ of Zaha Hadid

We set renowned furniture designer Rock Galpin a comfortable mission to kickstart the year: to write the exclusive design review of ME Dubai, the brainchild of the late Zaha Hadid, which has become the destination’s latest architectural marvel…

Collage of ME Dubai, including the exterior of the building, the sleek bedrooms and the luxury pool area

Being a designer myself, and familiar with the pioneering and expansive body of work of Zaha Hadid since her very first project, I was very much looking forward to reviewing the recently opened ME Dubai, which is sheltered inside The Opus.

Known as Hadid’s ‘legacy project’, ME Dubai is the only hotel in the world to have both its interiors and exteriors designed by Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) – and its futuristic architecture, characterised by curves, sharp angles and bold materials epitomises the studio’s unique design style.

An exterior shot of the Opus

Image caption: Set in Dubai’s Burj Khalifa district, the Opus is a mixed-use mirrored glass building, designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, that shelters ME Hotel’s latest property. | Image credit: ME Dubai

Inside the 93-key hotel you can find lighting, furniture, patterns, bespoke-shaped products, rugs and seamless features and detailing, all of which have been designed by the forward-thinking studio – it really is a celebration of Hadid’s full scope of work and will be remembered, no doubt, for this.

Following Hadid’s passing, Christos Passas, who recently won Architect of the Year at The Brit List Awards 2020, was responsible for the project that aimed to ‘leave its mark’ in the urban space of Dubai. “I think the idea of having a coherent approach, to both interior and exterior design, is very compelling and indeed it requires a whole lot of commitment by the designer,” he told Hotel Designs. “We were given the opportunity to transit intellectually and emotionally from an architectural, large scale project to the finer details of the building that have to do with the user interfaces and the experience of the visitor. Such a context can allow designers to develop more holistic experiences for the user and to express the clients vision in a much more consistent and eloquent way.”

First impressions count

Having recovered in awe from taking in the huge glass cube facade and amorphic structure of the building in person, the entrance into the hotel itself is subtle and aptly plays down your reaction to what is to follow, with its minimal led forecourt dot lights, at night, tracing a suggested route to the door for cars. The proceeding experience, as you head into the reception is simply quite special.

Approaching the lobby, I was not surprised to be suitably impressed by the vast and completely and utterly unique parametric design styling of the four-storey atrium.

An image to show the expansive atrium inside the ME Dubai

Image caption: The expansive atrium inside the ME Dubai, which is a strong first impression. | Image credit: ME Dubai

“Here, all the rules are broken and re-written with inspiring results.”

Sweeping and fluid mezzanine balconies flow in rhythm around all floors, traced by a light channel and a sloped-in continuous glass railing at an impossible angle. There are so many examples of bold innovation and experimentation which demonstrate very advanced design vision and engineering feats indeed. Hadid’s undulating, fluid and visually engaging design typology references, for me, a soft bio mimicry that clearly push the technological boundaries of materials, fabrication and build possibilities. Here the rules are not only being broken they are being re-written with inspiring results.

Whilst the atrium is an addictive dream for any photographer, myself included, it does somehow feel perhaps lacking a little something if it’s aiming to house a ‘warm’ hotel reception. Therefore, I question whether the design in this space is too hard – are softer acoustics and materials absent? Some would argue that as a hotel lobby, the space is too sparse (or too white perhaps).

Close up of furniture in the atrium at ME Dubai

Image caption: ME Dubai is the only hotel in the world only hotel in the world to have both its interiors and exteriors designed by Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA). | Image credit: ME Dubai

The large oval-shaped seating zones carefully positioned around, which feature built-in sweeping curved sofas, provide neat social areas that create necessary micro enclaves of activity. These softer social spaces, within a vastly white atrium, work well but feel almost not enough to create warmth, softness and a welcoming feeling. In fact, it feels a little sterile – a tad cold – but nonetheless, no one can argue against this space being spectacular! When the hotel is up to speed, with a healthy occupancy and the vibrancy and colour of many guests, it may fill that void.

“If you love progressive architecture and interior design that pushes the boundaries, bringing interior typology and technology closer to us, then you will no doubt be impressed with ME Dubai.”

QUICK-FIRE ROUND

Hotel Designs: What will you remember most about the hotel?
Rock Galpin: The dynamic and compelling relationship between architecture and interior design and the emotive impact that this parametric based design has when experienced first hand.

HD: What should guests experience when checking in?
RG: DESEO Restaurant, bar and pool complete with Ibiza DJ, and the Wagu steak and Rum sponge. The 18:00 ‘lights on’ till 00:00 where the building’s facade comes to life with LEDs – most notable is the inner ‘hole’ which is more intensely lit.

HK: What could be improved?
RG: The extreme, experimental interior is impressive to say the least, however, there needs to be a further appraisal of how people feel in this space; how they react, how they interact and their needs in order to improve guest engagement. Despite the staff being lovely, the service throughout the hotel was, when I checked in at least, a little erratic.

HK: What was your favourite area of the hotel?
RG: DESEO restaurant and bar and of course the atrium.

HK: Can you describe the hotel in a sentence or two?
RG: This is a unique and inspiring hotel to be experienced first-hand. If you love progressive architecture and interior design that pushes the boundaries, bringing interior typology and technology closer to us, then you will no doubt be impressed with ME Dubai.

Between spaces, an often-forgotten part of the hotel experience

There’s a lovely journey to be had when walking from your room to most parts of the hotel, as you’re pleasurably forced to walk along the atrium mezzanines taking in beautiful elevated views of the upper floors. Aside from the DESEO restaurant and pool area, there is a distinctive lack of outdoor space in the hotel, so you do feel somewhat incubated with some light passing through the atrium roof.

Guestrooms and Suites

I had the opportunity to explore two category rooms; the standard Aura room at 47m squared and the much larger Personality Suite at 92m square. There are two colour schemes. Desert is much more subtle – think spiritual and cool. Meanwhile, the Midnight Blue scheme is deeper and more intimate that also packs a masculine punch. Both are equally as beautiful and any decision for either style will be down to personal preference.

Aura Room

The first impression of the generously sized Aura room was of light – there’s lots of it – from floor-to-ceiling windows which span the width of the whole room. The beds are quite something! Not only are they large, but they are super comfortable, with an angled cushioned Alcantara headrest at 45 degrees, which works really well.

The built-in cantilever bedside tables are a well-considered feature – there are no ugly plug sockets in sight. Instead, these are hidden under the table with a useful, minimal touchtronic operated black light arm sprouting upwards from the tables, with two useful USB ports at the base. The bed base also features flat areas to the frame that extend useful seats, which works well with the complementary, asymmetric matching rug underneath.

“No wall was perpendicular to another.”

As I started to look more at the interior, I was surprised to realised that no wall was perpendicular to another and that many materials are cut on the angle or applied in complex shapes. The full marble bathroom, for example, white in the Aura and black in the Personality Suites, runs on the diagonal in both directions, so the pieces are actually rhombus shaped. These features very much reflect the entire design approach, to experiment and push the limits of what has conventionally been done up until now.

Personality Suite

The Personality Suite, similar to the Passion Suite, is 92m square and is one of the hotels larger mid-level rooms. It’s differentiated by a separate lounge/dining area and two bathrooms, one with bath, double sinks and shower cubicle the other with toilet, bidet and another sink. The Midnight Blue suite felt special. The deep blues and darker colour scheme had more contrast to that of the Desert scheme. The black and white quartz streaked marble throughout the whole bathroom is beautiful, offset by the amorphic ZHA shaped double sink and mirrors, with parametric laser etched patination.

“The technology in the rooms match the design form in being progressive.”

All bathroom fittings are designed by ZHA and follow suit to studio’s typology. The technology in the rooms match the design form in being progressive, with touch plates on many walls for the double-skinned electric curtains and lighting throughout. In fact, download the ME Hotels App and you have full mobile electrical control of the entire suite, including the two large TVs.

The lounge area, complete with the boomerang shaped ZHA sofa and beautifully crafted dark wood desk blended in and, looks aesthetically harmonious. However, the comfort and desire to want to use this space was sorely missing. The sofas are extremely hard, no doubt to retain the sculpted form, but off-putting in terms of comfort and relaxation, where the lounge should be king.

Image caption: A ZHA designed sofa in one of the Midnight Blue themed suites in the hotel.

Image caption: A ZHA designed sofa in one of the Midnight Blue themed suites. | Image credit: ME Dubai

The F&B experience

The F&B journey within the luxury hotel starts on the ground floor. Botanica, described as a gin bar, features an Italian accent throughout and doubles as a lunchtime restaurant. It occupies part of the lobby, where the reception dominates with its music, reverberation and activity that is heard through the pale-slatted wooden walls of the bar. The space is soft, comfortable and pleasant, lending itself more to a relaxed lounge bar/restaurant.

Meanwhile, Central is the designated breakfast restaurant that seems quite lifeless outside of breakfast time, inward looking to the Atrium, which gives you the opportunity to take more of those lovely views in. This would seem a hard, austere place for a morning bite, however, despite the reverberation from lower down, the experience was actually very pleasant being relaxed and quite peaceful.

Where the Botanica, on the ground floor, is perhaps lacking some atmosphere, DESEO makes up for it ten-fold – in fact it is real contrast in most ways and a very welcome part of the hotel experience. This is where the up-tempo vibes lives.

The design of the restaurant uses Downtown skyscrapers as a backdrop and contrasts this with a leafy green design scheme that is simply lovely. With a raised freestanding bar and a wooden pergola adorned by a thousand wind cones, the impression was of movement and energy, mix that with a DJ on an Ibiza-style white podium – his back to a rectangular pool lined by sun loungers one side, slatted cabana’s the other – you realise DESEO has what it takes.

The gym is a generous in size and a pleasant space to work up a good sweat. there is also a sauna, which is an intimate small, pined welcome addition. On the fourth floor, a little bit out the way, but worth a trip just for the quirky space complete with high tech curved glass, as it’s on the cusp of the atrium’s ceiling curving into the vertical inner ‘void’ wall is a specialist massage treatment facility.

An industrial-styled gym in ME Dubai

Image caption: The hotel features a state-of-the-art industrial-style gym. | Image credit: ME Dubai

In addition, and not to be missed, there are two excellent restaurants, which are also part of The Opus building. The Maine is a big favourite of mine, from interior to food quality, and Roka restaurant is also a fantastic new asset to the local area.

Standing out in a city like Dubai, which is no shrinking violet, is one thing. But sheltering an interior design scheme that is equally as impressive as its architecture is an almost impossible task. The interior design scheme inside ME Dubai seamlessly compliments the buildings unique architectural form and meets, I would argue, the ever-changing demands of modern travellers and in-the-know locals alike.

Over and out,

Rock.

Main image credit: ME Dubai

Luxury pool at Domes Zeen, a Luxury Collection Resort, Chania

Marriott International to open almost 100 hotels in Asia Pacific this year

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Marriott International to open almost 100 hotels in Asia Pacific this year

Following Marriott International announcing its 800th hotel opening in Asia Pacific, the group is expected to open almost 100 more properties in the region this year alone…

Luxury pool at Domes Zeen, a Luxury Collection Resort, Chania

Last year, despite the pandemic putting a halt on travel demand, Marriott International opened 75 new hotels in Asia Pacific, representing more than one opening per week across the region. This year, the hotel group is expected to continue this growth in the region. In a recent press statement, Marriott announced announced its ambitious plans to open nearly 100 new properties in the area in 2021.

“I am proud of the way we have continued to grow and have moved quickly to adapt to the challenges that arose from the pandemic. With the launch of new global industry hygiene standards in April 2020, innovative offerings such as work anywhere packages and hyper-localised marketing and sales strategies, our nimble and forward-thinking approach will continue to lead us through the recovery,” said Craig S. Smith, Group President, International, Marriott International. “We are grateful for the continued resilience and positivity demonstrated by our associates and for the confidence our guests, owners and franchisees continue to have in us. We remain well-positioned to meet the travel demands of our guests across Asia Pacific and the rest of the world.”

Greater China has led the global recovery to date, and the company expects to soon celebrate its 400th hotel in Greater China and its 50th hotel in Shanghai with the opening of JW Marriott Shanghai Fengxian in spring 2021. With this hotel opening, Shanghai has the distinction of reaching this important milestone for the company in Asia Pacific.

“Mainland China is on track to become the world’s largest personal luxury market by 2025.”

According to a joint report by consultancy Bain & Co. and Alibaba’s Tmall Luxury unit, Mainland China is on track to become the world’s largest personal luxury market by 2025 even seeing year-over-year domestic growth in 2020 despite the pandemic. To leverage this trend, Marriott International continues to strengthen its luxury portfolio with expected openings in 2021 such as W Changsha, W Xiamen, St. Regis Qingdao and The Ritz-Carlton Reserve Jiuzhaigou. With the anticipated opening of the Ritz-Carlton Reserve, China will be the first country in Asia Pacific to house all of Marriott International’s luxury hallmarks.

Pool at Ritz-Carlton Reserve, China

Image credit: Marriott International/Ritz-Carlton Reserve, China

Marriott’s leisure bookings in China have been particularly strong, up over 25 per cent year over year in the third quarter in Mainland China, demonstrating the resiliency of demand once consumers are comfortable that the virus is under control and restrictions can safely be lifted. The company is introducing more travel experiences across its brand portfolio, including at popular leisure destinations such as Mianyang in the Sichuan province with the expected opening of Sheraton Mianyang, as well in the culturally-rich destination of Nanjing with the anticipated opening of The Westin Nanjing Resort & Spa.

Beyond Greater China, Marriott International continues to strengthen its footprint, with several expected brand debuts across Asia Pacific in 2021. In Japan, W Hotels is expected to debut with the opening of W Osaka, while The Luxury Collection is also slated to debut in Australia with the opening of The Tasman in Hobart. The iconic Ritz-Carlton brand is expected to celebrate its debut in the leading resort destination of Maldives in early summer, bringing legendary service to the picture-perfect archipelago.

A render of the first Luxury Collection hotel in Australia

Image credit: Marriott International/The Luxury Collection

Further expanding Marriott’s presence in breathtaking resort destinations, the JW Marriott brand is slated to bring its warm luxury experience to Jeju Island in South Korea with the planned opening of JW Marriott Jeju in late 2021. The company’s signature wellness brand, Westin, is also highly anticipated to debut in one of India’s top beach destinations, Goa, this summer.

Since you’re here, why not read ‘The Hot List’, referencing the most significant hotels openings expected in Q1, Q2, Q3 and Q4 of this year?

To support domestic travel in Japan, the company plans to open six additional Fairfield by Marriott hotels throughout 2021 along ‘Michi-no-Eki’ roadside stations aimed at revitalising the country’s local sightseeing spots. Japan expects to have more than 30 Fairfield by Marriott hotels by the end of 2023. Touted as one of the best cities in the world for art, culture, music and food, Australia’s Melbourne is expected to see the opening of the country’s second W Hotel with W Melbourne in spring and the opening of Melbourne Marriott Hotel Docklands in early 2021.

Pool area at Melbourne Marriott Hotel Docklands overlooking city

Image credit: Marriott International/Melboure Marriott Hotel Docklands

“The strength of our pipeline is testament to the long-term growth prospects in Asia Pacific,” said Paul Foskey, Chief Development Officer, Asia Pacific, Marriott International. “Despite a challenging environment in 2020, we are pleased with the signings we have achieved across the region during the year. We have full gratitude to our owners and franchisees for their belief in the resiliency of travel and the strength of Marriott’s portfolio of brands.”

Main image credit: Marriott International/Domes Zeen, a Luxury Collection Resort, Chania

A clean and luxury hotel room in Cairo

St. Regis arrives in Cairo, Egypt

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
St. Regis arrives in Cairo, Egypt

An epitome of modern Egyptian glamour, and heralded as a new beacon of luxury on the Nile, the new St Regis hotel brings exquisite design and signature service to the bustling metropolis and tourist hotspot…

A clean and luxury hotel room in Cairo

With Marriott International expected to meet its 2020 aims this year to to open 30 new luxury hotels in 2021, St. Regis Hotels & Resorts has announced the highly-anticipated opening of The St. Regis Cairo. Rising tall on the banks of the River Nile, The St. Regis Cairo is an illustrious icon weaving a powerful story of luxury in the region. Located at the North end of the Corniche, in the heart of Egypt’s bustling metropolis, the 39-story hotel offers easy access to the magnificent monuments of a city steeped in history.

“Egypt has historically been one of our key markets and strategically significant to our growth in the region,” said Satya Anand, President for Europe, Middle East and Africa, Marriott International. “Cairo is a storied destination that has long mesmerised the global traveller with its incredible energy offering a vibrant mix of history, culture, tradition and glamour. The St. Regis Cairo is an exciting addition to our fast-growing brand portfolio and is set to elevate Cairo’s luxury hospitality landscape with its remarkable design, uncompromising service, and exceptional culinary venues.”

Eng. Abdullah Bin Hamad Al Attiyah, CEO of Qatari Diar commented: “We are delighted to strengthen our global portfolio of hospitality developments with the opening The St. Regis Cairo. This luxury landmark will introduce higher standards of hospitality to this beautiful destination with its unparalleled levels of luxury and exceptional service – both of which the iconic St. Regis brand is renowned for.”

With its striking architecture, created by renowned architect Michael Graves, The St. Regis Cairo firmly establishes itself as a pivotal landmark in the city and beyond, carefully balancing opulence with refinement and elegance to evoke a profound sense of grandeur. Uncompromising in its decadence, the hotel is an exquisite reflection of a passionate vision that conscientiously draws on the city’s influential and storied past while confidently introducing its vibrant future.

Graceful geometric lines flow throughout the interiors, creating a repeated structural motif that quietly references the heritage of the region. Dark wood and rich textures combine with intricate embroidery, bejewelled paneling, bronze and wood carvings embellished with flashes of shimmering gold, mother of pearl inlays and imposing crystal chandeliers creating a dramatic Egyptian aesthetic with modern execution. A striking mural entitled “The Pink Sun” graces The St. Regis Bar. Staunchly modern in its execution, the mural references ancient Egypt and the birth of a modern civilisation.

The hotel’s approach to design pays particular homage to the hundreds of craftspeople who dedicated their time and handiwork to perfecting each and every detail offering a distinctly modern vision that immerses guests in moments that are simply awe-inspiring.

Main image credit: Marriott International/St Regis

Case study: a bespoke approach to lighting two hotels

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Case study: a bespoke approach to lighting two hotels

To showcase Heathfield & Co’s bespoke approach to lighting design, Hotel Designs explores how the brand designed unique lighting schemes for two well-known hotels in London… 

From cruise ships and shared working spaces, to five star hotels and restaurants across the world, Heathfield & Co’s bespoke portfolio showcases more than 40 years of knowledge and experience in commercial projects. Here are just two examples that illuminate the brand’s creative approach to lighting.

The Curtain

Located in the heart of Shoreditch, The Curtain is a 120-key go-to for London creatives.

Starting with the client’s initial brief, Heathfield & Co’s bespoke team worked closely with U.S. based Duncan Miller Ulmann to design unique lighting to suit the sophisticated urban city aesthetic.

From an initial project review, through to final delivery and site support, Heathfield’s dedicated project managers led every stage of the process, ensuring the budget was met and final designs were perfectly executed.

Adjustable bedside wall lights, perforated ceiling pendants and picture desk lamps were among the bespoke products designed, developed and manufactured exclusively for this stylish hotel.

Kimpton Fitzroy

Combining contemporary interiors with the original features of its 19th century building, the Kimpton Fitzroy in Bloomsbury is a London hotel like no other.

Collaborating with the creative teams at Tara Bernerd and Russell Sage Studio, Heathfield’s dedicated team of product designers and engineers created a series of extravagant chandeliers and sleek wall lights to complement the hotel interior. Specialist finishes and materials were developed and produced for the project to achieve a truly unique design.

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

Main image credit: Heathfield & Co

Discussing luxury furniture design with Oki Sato, founder of Nendo

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Discussing luxury furniture design with Oki Sato, founder of Nendo

Following our official ‘first look’ of the 2020 Minotti Collection – and to mark putting furniture under the editorial spotlight this month – editor Hamish Kilburn speaks to one of the designers behind the collection; Oki Sato, founder of Nendo

Airy with constructive details linked to Japanese tradition, the Torii modular furniture, designed by Nendo for Minotti’s 2020 Collection, plays with round-edged volumes, thin profiles and the apparent formal simplicity of an extremely detailed design.

With an interlocking game, the horizontal elements within the furniture are laid on the vertical supports, ensuring a sophisticated visual lightness that accommodates the padded volume, characterised by couture craftsmanship.

The Torii family includes sofas, armchairs, dining and lounge little armchairs, ottomans, coffee tables and console tables. To understand more about these pieces within the context of the timeless collection, I spoke to the visionary behind Torii’s creation; Oki Sato, the founder of designs studio Nendo.

Luxury interiors with Minotti furniture

Image credit: The Torii range of the 2020 Minotti Collection

Hamish Kilburn: Can you describe the Torii range in three words?

Oki Sato: Traditional, lightness, and secureness.

HK: How does your design within this collection challenge conventional furniture design?

OS: Generally, furniture legs are reinforced by connecting vertical members to horizontal members. On the contrary, the leg structure resembles a “torii,” a traditional gate of a Shinto shrine, with a horizontal member sitting on the two vertical timbers.

Moreover, the ends of the horizontal member are designed to look like they are biting into the seat, reminding us of traditional “wood joinery” often seen in vernacular Japanese wooden architecture. The design goal was to maintain the visual lightness while expressing a sense of secureness with each component firmly locked together in unity.

HK: In your own words, what were the major challenges when designing these pieces?

OS: We had received a presentation from Minotti family for this project. This was our very first time to receive a presentation from the brand, despite having presented many times before. I think it was a challenge to design Nendo-like details to evolve Minotti family’s first rough concept and to exceed their expectations. 

HK: Can you describe how the design evolved from initial sketches to the finished product?

OS: After we received first presentation by Minotti, the initial sketch was drawn by Minotti. It was 100 per cent Minotti design at the very first moment. And then, the essence of Nendo was gradually added to the sketch through meetings and prototypes with the Minotti family.

Minotti shared a specific image at the very beginning, which helped us to proceed prototype making faster than ever and we could devote more time to considering the details.

HK: How long did this process take?

OS: I believe this process took about nine months.

HK: Can you explain more about the material you used in the upholstery?

OS: Minotti’s high technology and extensive experience coordinated our idea to concrete shape. The brand arranged everything, including a selection of materials and the softness of the cushion.

HK: What is it about Japanese design that attracts so many luxury brands?

OS: I believe it is about light and shadow. Let’s say for Italians, when one says red, Italian designers can see a lot of different reds. They have hundreds of colours of reds, but not just red.

On the other hand, I think the Japanese perceive more tones of light and shadow. I guess light and shadows are about minimalism, poetry which is one of  the values of Japanese design.

Minotti London, which is exclusive style partner at MEET UP London, is one of our recommended suppliers. To keep up to date with their news, click here. And, if you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email  Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: Minotti

IN RENDERS: Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Otemachi

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
IN RENDERS: Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Otemachi

Legendary designer Jean-Michel Gathy infused a contemporary and traditional aesthetic in Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Otemachi, which is sheltered inside the city’s latest landmark building…

Soaring above Tokyo with panoramic views of the Imperial Palace, Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Otemachi is poised to reach a new height of luxury in its design statement with Japanese traditions melded seamlessly with a modern European aesthetic.

The 193-key luxury hotel is the design brainchild of Jean-Michel Gathy, legendary principal designer at the award-winning hospitality and design consultancy firm Denniston.

On the top six floors of the new 39-storey tower plus two additional floors (Ground Floor and 3rd Floor) adjacent to the Imperial Palace–the capital’s literal and figurative heart, Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Otemachi will be a restful haven for travellers delivering a new level of luxury experiences at the city’s latest sky-high social scene. The hotel will feature 193 well-appointed guestrooms and suites, a prestigious spa sanctuary and a 20-metre pool on the highest floor as well as four distinct F&B concepts.

“The cultural diversity of the country has drawn me to create a contemporary expression of the traditional values for this project.” – Jean-Michel Gathy

Orange entrance to the hotel

Image credit: Four Seasons Tokyo at Otemachi

Gathy skillfully presents authentic Japanese elements throughout the design in respecting Japan’s culture, traditions and heritage, while incorporating the finest elements and absolute DNA of Four Seasons. “The cultural diversity of the country has drawn me to create a contemporary expression of the traditional values for this project without arrogance or a sense of overbearing,” the designer commented. We aim to ignite the feeling of a home away from home with an inviting, warm and welcoming atmosphere in the most dynamic city.”

Reflecting the vibrancy of Tokyo, a traditional Japanese red-orange lacquer box featuring solid timber panels acts as the frame to the hotel entrance at the busiest district of Tokyo. Gathy has created an experience of sensory excitement from which travellers will discover the city’s intriguing blend of ancient and hypermodern.

To replicate the Japanese aesthetic, Gathy has personally curated a defining art collection to celebrate the distinctive craftsmanship and artistry, which embodies the traditional foundations of the country. Distinct examples can be found in the combination of the Japanese floral art Ikebana, hanging natural fibre/fabric artwork and the timber panel featured at the entrance to awaken the overriding strength of connection between east and west.

Board the lift to the reception lobby on the 39th-floor where an extraordinary view is revealed through a glass curtain wall fronted by a rock installation on a shallow pond. “To truly respect the tradition and interpret the tranquility of Japan, the water feature serves as a buffer area to deflect guests’ eyeballs as it may be considered as discourteous to look straight down into the Imperial Palace.” shares Gathy who leads his team to plan scrupulously and strike a balance between the pursuit of aesthetics and the preservation of culture and respect for traditions. The six-metre high ceiling and cosy nooks and crannies provide capacious space for the reception, while the colour theme of gold and black delivers a subtle and warm welcoming atmosphere to Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Otemachi.

Render of minimalist reception overlooking city of Tokyo

Image credit: Four Seasons Tokyo at Otemachi

The links between contemporary West and the traditions of Japan have contributed to the reception area where guests can discover the hidden details before experiencing the dynamism of Tokyo. In response to the Four Seasons’ core value of “East meets West”, the Japanese calligraphy with the meaning of “season” is harmoniously blended in a typical European pendant chandelier and ingeniously displayed on the bottom part of the dome. The Japanese Zen garden subtly sculpted and reflected on a 3-dimensional wall by the artist Pongsatat Uaiklan (Dong) sits behind an elegant Italian cat-leg cabinet decorated with Japanese blocks.

Distinct Japanese touches immerse guests in the local landscape, the flowing and multidimensional design can be found throughout the 193 guestrooms at Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Otemachi. Blending the art to the room flawlessly, Gathy appointed the Japanese award-winning photographer Namiko Kitaura to capture the bespoke fabric artwork displayed as the backdrop in each guestroom.

A very minimalist guestroom

Image credit: Four Seasons Tokyo at Otemachi

All rooms and suites are tailored for intimacy with an innovative open-plan layout. The sophisticated Japanese aesthetic flows through the interiors which are illuminated by natural light during the day and with bespoke modern light fixtures to reflect the after-dark glamour of Tokyo.

a modern suite overlooking Tokyo

Image credit: Four Seasons Tokyo at Otemachi

Celebrating an authentic wedding in the heart of Tokyo at Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Otemachi, the ballroom and the function rooms adjacent to the chapel promise magical settings for every moment of celebrations. 

Natural light and elegant décor at the chapel invoke an ambience of romance and peace with distinctive European touches. Incorporating private rooms for the bride and officiant, and offering seamless connectivity to the Ballroom Foyer, Grand Ballroom and each of the smaller function rooms, the Chapel can host not only the ceremony but all other types of wedding events, from intimate family brunches to gala receptions.

Image credit: Four Seasons Tokyo at Otemachi

The Grand Ballroom’s windows draw natural light into the spacious interior. The chandeliers and cascading lights without concrete shapes echo the beauty of nature and evoke the contemporary transition of Japanese culture. Gathy shares his vision for the project: “Inspired by the hotel name, Four Seasons, we are trying to reflect the essence of traditional literature and poetry – flow of the Seasons.”

Gathy applies his deft touch to create a serene sanctuary for THE SPA at Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Otemachi with the selection of a gentle and relaxing colour tone. The massive 3D natural fibre or fabric art installations in the spa lobby and pool area billow and sweep outward as if caught in a gust of wind, which offer a sanctuary of tranquility amidst bustling Tokyo for a journey of rejuvenation, relaxation and the pursuit of wellbeing.

A minimalist spa inside the hotel

Image credit: Four Seasons Tokyo at Otemachi

Gathy proudly leads his team to interpret the luxury brand DNA of Four Seasons with great respect to the culture and tradition of the country while celebrating the cutting-edge creativity and contemporary design ethos of Tokyo as a dynamic city. Gathy continues his innovative design inspiration which draws upon aspects of the country’s rich culture to the brand and his previous completion – Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok at Chao Phraya River will also open on October 1 2020.

Main image credit: Four Seasons Tokyo at Otemachi

Inside Selina Brighton, a new rough-edged boutique jewel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Inside Selina Brighton, a new rough-edged boutique jewel

Selina Brighton is a 31-key boutique hotel that is about to open its doors to an experience-led hospitality adventure on the South Coast. Ahead of its opening, editor Hamish Kilburn takes a peek inside…

Selina, the experience-led hospitality group for the modern nomadic traveller, has opened its third property this summer with the launch of Selina Brighton in the heart of the vibrant, boho city centre.

The timely arrival of Selina Brighton offers what is describes as the ‘ultimate staycation in 2020 and beyond’, and boasts unparalleled sea views from each of its 31 uniquely designed private rooms, suites and shared rooms. 

Playful, colourful and just a little bit cheeky is what we seem to be gathering from the hotel’s style – we’ve also been told to expect the unconventional.

Image credit: Selina

“We’re thrilled to bring our unique Selina concept to one of the most exciting cities in the UK, and in such a thriving and bohemian neighbourhood full of culture, individuality and a place to cultivate hedonism and escape social restrictions,” said General Manager, Hugo Carvalho. “We can’t wait to open our doors and provide a new hub for the Brighton community; a fairground for daring and unadulterated fun.” 

Selina sign above the entrance

Image credit: Selina

Designed to reflect Brighton’s ocean-front location and the city’s creative spirit, interior designer Tola Ojuolape collaborated closely with Selina’s workshop team, using materials that represent and embrace the community. As a result, each of the rooms has been given a quirky and whimsical twist, offering something new and unique to the accommodation sector in the city.

31 rooms range of categories including lofts, suites, family rooms that accommodate up to four, standard and micro-sized double rooms, with a further 19 opening in 2021 including shared community rooms which fit up to six guests. 

Social spaces are inherent in each of Seina’s properties, and the brand will be hosting specially curated programming, engaging workshops and unique pop-ups throughout the year in its Brighton property that are in-line with new social distancing guidelines.

The aptly named restaurant, The Old Pier, is set to become a Brighton favourite, serving a range of delicious dishes with a side of sea views, including sourdough focaccia with whipped burrata and fermented honey, Mexican style cactus salad and mac’n’cheese croquettes with truffle mayo. 

The understated lobby area will also be utilised as a social space for guests and locals alike, offering a grab and go coffee shop for your morning pick-me-up, as well as a sizable retail space selling products from local brands.

In addition, and to answer modern demands, a co-working space will also be launching for locals to use as a community hub with artwork created and curated by local artist Amy Isles Freeman, whose work themes around female sexuality, freedom and joy.

Selina currently operates +70 urban, beach, jungle and mountain-side locations across 20 countries worldwide and is developing a global infrastructure for nomads and remote workers who want to make the world their classroom, office, and playground.

Main image credit: Selina

5 minutes with: the founders of Avenue Interior Design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
5 minutes with: the founders of Avenue Interior Design

Following the completion of a handful of luxury hospitality projects in the States, Avenue Interior Design has become known for its refusal to be defined by any one style, as editor Hamish Kilburn learns when he interviews the firm’s founders…

Avenue Interior Design, led by founders Andrea DeRosa and Ashley Manhan, has positioned itself as a small yet mighty powerhouse in an industry full of giants.

Most recently, the firm spearheaded the design for Palms Casino & Resort’ renovation ‘From Dust to Gold’, and brought their skills to boutique properties such as The Ramble in Denver, La Serena Villas in Palm Springs as well as SLS Baha Mar.

With the world of hospitality slowly re-opening, there remain concerns and hesitations among operators and travellers on what will become of the industry. I speak to DeRosa and Manhan, two level-headed designers who understand and respect how design evolves around cultural shifts, in order to explore how the pandemic has affected hotel design decisions.

Hamish Kilburn: Let’s dive straight in, how will public areas look in the post-pandemic world?

Ashley Manhan: Business and convention travel will likely lag compared to leisure travel as we see safer at home orders lift. Convention travel has been a critical component for many hotels as occupancy and F&B revenue are strongly tied to properties located near convention venues or for properties that have large meeting facilities.

A luxury F&B interior area with plants and cute seating

Image credit: SLS Baha Mar

Andrea DeRosa: Accommodating large groups and conventions may require smaller breakout rooms with improved air circulation and potentially live streaming speakers to these smaller rooms. On the F&B front, buffets and family-style plating will likely be put aside for individual plates or packaged meals.

HK: What new/different materials might go into hotel builds now?

AD: Given that COVID-19 transmission has found to be primarily airborne, much consideration is going into upgraded air filtration systems. Increased ventilation and better filtration will be essential components of healthy building strategies. Additionally, we may see the use of mobile and handled UV disinfection systems for sterilisation and disinfecting of high use spaces. In terms of interior finishes and materials, and those selected for FF&E, designers will face the added challenge of selecting materials that can withstand more frequent cleaning and disinfecting.

AM: In terms of lobbies, our current clients are requesting short-term solutions for partitions and countertop shields at transaction points, check-ins, and other places social distancing may not be feasible.

Fitness spaces will likely decrease in size- a trend for some properties already in major urban areas with access to specialised gyms and studios. Look for more in-room fitness options and equipment like yoga mats and lightweight dumbbells.

Restaurants face some of the largest obstacles in terms of social distancing and the use of PPE by diners. Restaurants will surely seat fewer guests to accommodate for social distancing protocol. Menus may go digital or restaurants may offer apps to place orders from your own device. Larger service counters for pickups or extended “grab and go” options maybe also be more prevalent as people warm up to the idea of eating out again.

Modern interior design in a clean open bar area

Image credit: SLS Baha Mar

AD: In the short term, we are seeing many hotel brands unrolling programs to build guest confidence and implementing quick, sometimes temporary solutions now while permanent solutions are analyzed and explored. Long term, we anticipate pandemic related measures to be modifiable to give operators the option of adjusting to meet current health risk levels. Such modifications may include digital occupancy signage, movable partitions, and digital projections indicating recommended social distances in queuing areas. A large part of the equation is understanding guests’ demands, expectations, and associations with these changes. There will certainly be varying levels of concern depending on where in the country/world the guest is traveling from. Those guests from the hardest-hit areas are likely to expect greater measures than those traveling from areas less affected. Ongoing observation of guest behavior will inform decisions owners and operators make for long term modifications to their properties.

HK: How can hotels shelter these new hygiene protocols without disrupting the design or the experience?

AM: Taking into consideration that guest safety and wellbeing is, and always has been, a top priority for any property, the next priority remains firmly rooted in good design. Ownership teams require that our commitment to creating a hospitality quality experience remains the top priority just as it was pre-pandemic. Modifications to properties should be subtle, flexible and well-intentioned. This includes careful consideration to the function of the space, the circulation of guests through the space as well as more obvious elements like materials, furnishings and even wayfinding. Creating more space for guests to comfortably, and naturally, socially distance may be as simple as removing a few clusters of lounge chairs in a lobby or replacing a communal table with a series of smaller, movable tables that can be situated individually or easily paired together.

AD: Incorporating decorative, movable screens or drapery also allows for social distancing flexibility while providing a thoughtful, well-designed element to the space. Graphics, signage, and font styles can be utilised in a way that provides informative guidance on precautions or protocol in a way that is consistent with the design language of the brand or property. For new build properties, especially food and beverage venues, you will likely see more fluid floor plans with fewer permanent features to allow for flexibility in furniture layouts and the function of a space.

A blue interior scheme inside a junior king room

Image credit: The Ramble Hotel

HK: Have you already begun incorporating any changes into the hospitality projects you’re working on?

AD: Many of the modifications we’ve made for our current projects have been temporary or short term solutions that will allow our clients to adhere to guidelines as outlined by local jurisdictions. Before making more costly or broad-sweeping modifications, our clients are waiting to gauge guests’ expectations and behaviours to ascertain what long term modifications should look like. For instance, the addition of automated faucets and hand soap dispensers seem like a logical move, however, for many properties that have been without revenue for the last few months, the expense of a modification requiring any construction or electrical work may be out of the budget. Scale is a monumental consideration as well. The cost of making such a change in a hotel with 50 keys is likely more feasible than making that change in a hotel with more than 1,000 keys.

HK: Have you made any changes to guestrooms in the projects you are working on?

AM: Guestroom size, function, and programming have also been a hot topic amongst designers and Ownership teams. In recent years the emphasis was on creating public spaces so dynamic and engaging it drew people out of their rooms and into the lobby, restaurant, bar, pool, etc. Guestroom sizes were generally shrinking and the furnishings were becoming paired down and multi-purpose in their design. It will be interesting to see if guestroom sizes increase to become more of a mini-sanctuaries that offer personalised guest experiences.

Hotel Designs will be discussing topics such as adding personality in public areas and reassuring the post-corona consumer at Hotel Designs LIVE on October 13. If you are a designer, architect or hotelier, click here to participate for free.

Main image credit: Avenue Interior Design

Case study: Bentley & Studio Waldemeyer’s fresh approach to lighting design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Case study: Bentley & Studio Waldemeyer’s fresh approach to lighting design

To celebrate its 100 year anniversary, Bentley Motors approached Studio Waldemeyer to help the brand create all aspects of illumination on the most sophisticated concept car in the company’s history…

The vehicle Bentley Motors showcased to mark its 100 anniversary displays the future of luxury craftsmanship with seamless fusion of materials and intelligent curation of technology, whilst introducing light as a new luxury material – all highly relevant when centering the focus back to lighting solutions for tomorrow’s hotels.

Bentley, which is a brand that has flirted with hotel design for many years with a handful of luxury hotel brands sheltering ‘Bentley Suites’, approached Studio Waldemeyer to join their design team and help design and engineer all aspects of illumination on the show car.

The car manufacturer’s challenging design brief required a completely new approach to light design and engineering. Studio Waldemeyer created an innovative tool chain, seamlessly merging the latest in parametric design tools from the world of computational architecture with electronic circuit design software. This approach not only allowed the perfect 3D integration of light in the complex surfaces of the car, but also the turnaround of the project in record time.

Close up of the centre console of the Bentley car

Image credit: Bentley Motors

The Bentley EXP 100 GT is by far the most complex and challenging project for Studio Waldemeyer up to date and represents the perfect combination of artistic expression and technical innovation the studio is know for.  Entering a new creative discipline the studio has yet again helped to raise the bar of innovation, in this case producing the most sophisticated illumination in the history of vehicle design.

Starting at the very prominent front grill, the illumination continues along the central spine into the interior space and finishes off with the sophisticated treatment of the rear horseshoe panel and 3D rear light clusters. While the approach to the project was that of a holistic 3D body of light, each area had its own challenges – be it the exotic materials, complex curvatures and the interaction with specialist design teams and craftspeople.

Attention to detail was paramount – the flying B logo required a weeks worth of hand polishing before receiving the tiny bespoke LED component that illuminates its wings. Different approaches were taken for every material – be it the hand woven silk or the 5000 year old river wood. The interior contains two hand blown crystal pieces that visualise the inner workings of the car’s AI. Collaborating closely with Cumbria Crystal, Studio Waldemeyer worked on the 3D design, implementation and illumination of this central feature.

The champagne cream interior with led lighting of the car

Image credit: Bentley Motors

The biggest research effort went into the external illumination. Starting from the sculpted surfaces of the car’s exterior, thousands of LEDs had to be placed at precise locations, requiring large numbers of different bespoke circuit board designs. This is a unique problem for an industry that is normally geared to make large numbers of a single design. Since no design tools existed for this task, the studio created their own: merging parametric 3D software with PCB design programmes. The manufacture of these unique pieces of electronics was done in Italy – a country famous for its long tradition in fine craftsmanship.

The concept car created a splash far beyond the automotive world and continues to receive praise in the press – garnering coverage in publications such as Wallpaper and Forbes – whilst collecting some of the most prestigious design awards in the process.

Studio Waldemeyer 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: Studio Waldemeyer

Feature: specifying the hotel bed – sleep on it

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Feature: specifying the hotel bed – sleep on it

To kickstart putting ‘beds’ under this month’s editorial spotlight, Rosie Littler from Design Equals takes her grandma’s advice when specifying the bed in hotel design…

My Grandma always me some wise words that resonate: “Spend your money on your bed or your boots,” she said, “because if you are not in one, you are in the other.”

But when it comes to hotels, how important is the bed you choose and how do you make such a subjective comfort item desirable to all?

For hotels the bed is often the showstopper of the room that attracts attention and boosts bookings. But so many components frame the perfect bedroom setting. Design Equals offer design services – both commercial and residential – with a specific focus on boutique hotels.

Here are our top tips to consider when planning your next ‘Pinterest perfect’ guestroom.

From the top:

Headboard

Shape. Size. Texture. Fabric choice. It ALL matters. And it can really set the tone of your overall look. Make it a real feature to reflect the emotion you want to create within the room. It is a good opportunity to experiment with luxurious fabrics and compliment with cushions.

Bedding

Image credit: THE PIG in Brockenhurst

Image credit: THE PIG in Brockenhurst

Now this is a personal passion project of ours. We love love love beautiful bedding. But it comes at a cost. And we believe you do get what you pay for. Contemporary cottons, laid back linens and sumptuous satins make your guests experience memorable. So many of our residential clients ask us to create that hotel bedroom feeling and so often it will be the linen subconsciously they are referring to. But it needs to be fit for purpose. Durable, easy to launder and look new time after time. Work with wonderful suppliers to ensure you are getting the best value for the products you need.

Bed base

Image credit: Nimb Hotel - Deluxe Balcony Room

Image credit: Nimb Hotel – Deluxe Balcony Room

This is where you can up-sell your rooms if you have the space. Kings, Queens and more allow you to put a premium on your room rate. But in a bed base there is also the opportunity for flexibility. There are hundreds of bed frames to choose from and we are always really thorough with our clients when selecting bases as there are a couple of key things to consider. Height, durability, functionality and sustainability all need to be thought through consciously.

Mattress

It does not matter what grade, star or rating your property has, every establishment that rents out a room for the night is fundamentally selling a good night’s sleep on a clean mattress. Quantifying the cost of your mattress to the price per night principle will help you realise why buying a quality mattress is best for your clients and your business. We have a range of quality suppliers with an extensive choice. By working with a quality manufacturer, you are also gaining invaluable insight into what your guests really want as these companies are champions at customer research. Take the time to try different mattresses and think about the best mattress in your budget that reflects the quality of your stay.

Side tables

This is the opportunity to introduce unique features and give your guests an opportunity to place a morning coffee, bedtime book or dare we say it mobile phone on. The functionality of these pieces of furniture is not to be overlooked and can irritate paying customers if they are not fit for purpose.

Lighting

Image credit: The Hoxton Hotel, Paris

Image credit: The Hoxton Hotel, Paris

Set the mood and the style with beautifully procured lighting and make sure the switches are in a convenient place. That feeling of having to get out of bed to turn the light off is annoying. Make your hotel an escape from the mundane. Whether you are refurbishing rooms or starting from scratch it’s always a good idea to bring in a quality electrician from the get-go.

Final touches

Cushions, throws, accessories, aroma. Small things, big impact. This is an opportunity to bring your brands personality through into your hotel rooms. And make it really special. Draw on the senses by using aromatherapy diffusers and carefully chosen bathroom products to elevate your offering. It is also an opportunity to up-sell products to your guests. The addition of beautiful throws and plumped feature cushions can add the finishing touches to your hotel room that makes your customers want to photograph, post on social media and recreate in their own home.

Design Equals 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: Design Equals

Luxury outdoor terrace

The Luxury Collection debuts in Abu Dhabi

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The Luxury Collection debuts in Abu Dhabi

Luxury in the desert, Al Wathba, A Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa’s Arabian-style resort celebrates Emirati culture through design, cuisine and memorable desert experiences…

The Luxury Collection, part of Marriott International, has welcomed Al Wathba Desert Resort & Spa to its unique ensemble of iconic hotels, marking the debut of the portfolio in the UAE capital.

Luxury outdoor terrace

Al Wathba Desert Resort & Spa is located deep within the expansive landscape of Abu Dhabi. With a design reminiscent of a historic desert village, it is an intimate retreat suffused with natural beauty, unique tranquillity, and rare experiences.

Pool overlooking the desert

Image credit: Marriott International

“We are delighted to welcome Al Wathba, Desert Resort & Spa to our ensemble of hotels that define the destination and offer our global explorers an authentic desert experience alongside warm Arabian hospitality,” said Guido De Wilde, Chief Operating Officer, Middle East, Marriott International. “Abu Dhabi’s legacy as an international cultural destination with a rich history and heritage, together with the diversity of its dramatic landscapes, offers a unique opportunity for us to guide our guests on transformative journeys that touch their spirits and enrich their lives.”

Inspired by native architecture and the destination’s rich history, the resort’s 103 guestrooms and villas feature traditional Arabesque flourishes, mashrabiya detailing, and Bedouin accessories. Understated interiors and neutral tones sit in harmony with the desert landscape that wraps around this extraordinary hideaway. The villas come with spacious indulgence, private plunge pools and a patio that boasts unlimited views of the surrounding Arabian Desert.

Luxury Arabian-style suite

Image credit: Marriott International

Six dining venues and bars lend themselves to a range of unique epicurean experiences. Bait Al Hanine offers a generous menu, including a wide selection of Lebanese classics, for all-day dining. Al Mabeet features authentic Emirati cuisine in an understated desert setting. Hayaakom, a Bedouin inspired lounge serves afternoon tea and sandwiches. Terra Secca is a trattoria-style, classic Italian restaurant that offers guests a theatrical view of the kitchen and chefs. Al Mesayan, an intimate rooftop bar serves as an ideal spot for stargazing or dune watching, while Panache offers a relaxed pool respite.

Arabian style F&B area

Image credit: Marriott International

Nestled within a picturesque garden, the hotel’s spa is seen as the pinnacle of the entire hotel experience. Guests at Al Wathba can enjoy a range of health and wellness rituals in a contemporary setting, whilst harnessing age-old techniques. With 11 treatment rooms, the spa also boasts relaxation areas including a healing crystal salt sauna, traditional Turkish hammam, unique cryo experience, an open-air yoga pavilion, invigorating ice shower as well as steam rooms, plunge pools, and snow caves.

Luxury pool with palm trees in the desert

Image credit: Marriott International

Al Wathba Desert Resort & Spa joins The Luxury Collection brand’s rapidly growing portfolio in the UAE which includes iconic hotels such as Al Maha, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa, Dubai, Grosvenor House, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Dubai and Ajman Saray, a Luxury Collection Resort, Ajman.

Main image credit: Marriott International

Behind the scenes: designing the ‘hottest boutique hotel’ in Dublin

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Behind the scenes: designing the ‘hottest boutique hotel’ in Dublin

The Mayson is said to be Dublin’s ‘hottest new boutique hotel’ and one of the most modern and architecturally striking hotels added to the Dublin skyline. Editor Hamish Kilburn checks it out…

Located in the heart of Dublin Docklands, The Mayson is an exciting restoration project by ODOS of 45,000 square feet.

It now shelters a 94-key hotel, as well as destination bars, restaurants, a gym, ample event space and an outdoor courtyard.

a modern penthouse with copper bath

Image credit: The Mayson Dublin

The Mayson is a redevelopment of two protected structures – one formerly a town house built in 1860 and the other an industrial warehouse dating back to 1870. Architects ODOS have kept the original features and fixtures such as the fireplaces and the restoration of the old Valence & McGrath pub including its shop front and worked in collaboration with ODON on interiors.

Image credit: The Mayson Dublin

“This exciting restoration project is a redevelopment of No.81 and No.82 North Wall Quay,” said David O’Shea, founder of ODOS. “ Both buildings were in a dilapidated condition and had not been used in over two decades. The concept was to redevelop these strikingly unique buildings by drawing on their existing, inherent characters. The ambition for No.81 was to retain a public house on the ground floor, resulting in intervention to the existing structure and restoring the original features. No.82 is one of the few remaining warehouse structures on the north quays and presented a rare to establish this forgotten building.”

Image credit: The Mayson Dublin

The hotel also features an unusual ‘living’ wall where plants grow up through an internal courtyard, adding to the unconventional off-beat ethos of The Mayson. Offering a rooftop restaurant with views of all over Dublin, Ryleigh’s restaurant which serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and The Mayson Bar, which serves food all day long, there is a wide variety of food available.

Main image credit: The Mayson

citizenM has arrived on the USA’s west coast

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
citizenM has arrived on the USA’s west coast

Designed by architecture and design firms concrete and Gensler, citizenM Seattle has opened its doors, marking the brand’s arrival on the west coast of the USA…

Inspired by the neighbourhood and the boundaries between analogue and digital blur, citizenM Seattle has opened its quirky doors.

The seven-storey building is positioned on the corner of John Street facing Denny park and Westlake avenue that runs all the way towards lake Union. The area is home to the headquarters of Microsoft and Amazon and characterised by the iconic Space needle.

Image credit: Richard Powers for concrete

The concept design of the architecture and interior was led by Rob Wagemans from concrete, the firm behind other citizenM properties in areas such as Amsterdam, Munich, Shanghai and Copenhagen. The project work was executed by the Seattle team of architecture and design firm Gensler.

All 264 rooms are prefabricated modular units stacked on top of each other, creating a building with a series of large bedroom windows which are typical for the architecture of citizenM.

The ground floor public areas are spacious with lots of daylight coming from the large store front windows facing the street.

Image credit: Richard Powers for concrete

The bar with a large bottle rack and skylight above it, together with the elevator core wrapped in a bespoke art piece by local artist Jeffrey Veregge make this a remarkable citizenM.

Main image credit: Richard Powers for concrete

Inside the latest luxury lifestyle hotel in Mayfair, London

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Inside the latest luxury lifestyle hotel in Mayfair, London

From the people who brought us the renowned Cliveden House and Chewton Glen comes The Mayfair Townhouse, which is slated to open this Autumn…

Curious, engaging and witty, The Mayfair Townhouse is said to deliver the unexpected and redefines what it means to be a London hotel – think  Oscar Wilde meets Alice in Wonderland.

Part of Iconic Luxury Hotels, this will be the fifth property in the portfolio, but promises to offer a new unexpected personality from what the brand is traditionally known for. Bringing a new lifestyle product into one of London’s most distinguished neighbourhoods – The Mayfair Townhouse is the new charismatic ‘kid on the block’ – a product that has never been experienced in Mayfair.

“We’ve created a product – a personality – that’s exceptionally unique to our collection at Iconic Luxury Hotels.” – Andrew Stembridge, Executive Director of Iconic Luxury Hotels.

“There is nothing like The Mayfair Townhouse,” said Andrew Stembridge, Executive Director of Iconic Luxury Hotels, who has been instrumental in developing this outstanding lifestyle hotel for London’s Mayfair. “When the property debuts in Autumn 2020, you will see something that has not yet been done. We’ve created a product – a personality – that’s exceptionally unique to our collection at Iconic Luxury Hotels. We’re looking to give London and travellers from all over the world, something fresh, something totally different and something totally unexpected. This is a new and exciting chapter for Iconic Luxury Hotels, and as we welcome our second property in London, we look forward to creating remarkable memories in the heart of Mayfair.”

Render of the entrance to the bar

Image credit: Iconic Luxury Hotels

A carefully stylish, imaginative home for the modern traveller – the essence of the new Townhouse invites discerning travellers who appreciate an intuitive, perceptive level of service and a guest who above all, has a refined palette for curiosity. Without the traditions of a regular hotel, there is no room at the Townhouse that has not been thoughtfully curated. The hotel bridges the gap between ritzy high-end lavish hotels and the corporate enterprise properties that currently stand in Mayfair.

When guests walk through the doors of this new Townhouse, expect the unexpected. Moments of surprise await around every corner of the fifteen connected Georgian buildings that line Half Moon Street, which was once the setting for Oscar Wilde’s most famous play, The Importance of Being Earnest. Built from 1730, Half Moon Street was a colourful haunt for bachelors, bohemians and artistic types in Victorian London. During this time many of Half Moon Street’s townhouses were split into residential apartments for the elite to live before marriage. Iconic fictional characters, Oscar Wilde’s Algernon Moncreiff and Bertie Wooster in P. G. Wodehouse’s comedies resided here. Moments of this history and culture are immersed throughout The Mayfair Townhouse’s discreet address, and quickly become the central pillars of design and personality of the eclectic house.

A refined Mayfair restaurant inside the hotel

Image credit: Iconic Luxury Hotels

Dandy is the cornerstone theme and design language of The Mayfair Townhouse – building on the historic connections with Oscar Wilde, Half Moon Street and the dandy lifestyle associated with Mayfair. Capturing this playful spirit to create a new era of the Dandy, Goddard Littlefair has helmed an authentic, quick-witted design of the Townhouse. Telling the tale of Oscar Wilde’s world through an imaginative design, Goddard Littlefair has revived the interiors of the townhouses of which seven are Grade-II listed, bringing to life the Georgian spirit and blending this with a contemporary rhythm. The fox, the hotel’s mischievous motif, is woven throughout the hotel, from the art collection showcasing a series of fox images, to intricate design elements throughout the property.

The design delves into the personalities of the original inhabitants of the area, taking inspiration from characters like Wilde and his contemporary aesthetes, and also the flamboyant aesthetic movement of that period. The result? A contemporary Georgian style interwoven with English eccentricities, capturing the adventurous mischief of the dandy. Twists of the unexpected, curiosities, and a humorous, playful design tone resonate throughout the hotel through various fabrics and colour palettes, to create a flamboyant dressing on the residential townhouse.

Luxe dining area

Image credit: Iconic Luxury Hotels

If the walls could talk. Art plays a pivotal part of the hotel, with Minda Dowling, a leading art specialist, curating unique and unusual pieces for The Mayfair Townhouse to further bring each space to life. The hand-picked collection includes both known names and emerging artists, to celebrate different creators of our time all with their own wow factor. Take Clarita Brinkerhoff’s peacock sculpture for instance – the piece sits at 67 inches high and is made out of 25,000 Swarovski crystals. Guests are invited to learn about the art through special QR codes that have been developed – so guests can scan and absorb details.

The aptly named Dandy Bar is the heart and soul of the Townhouse. This is where you’ll find refuge from the bustling streets of Mayfair. A theatrical, dimly lit atmosphere that creates a place to see and be seen. Dandy Bar epitomises bespoke cocktails. Take The Mayfair Dandy for example – an avant-garde take on the classic Dandy cocktail once enjoyed by hedonists of the area, or AR Lenoble Brut Champagne, Oscar Wilde’s favourite. Of course, the design evokes the dandy spirit. Lampshades have silk pleated shades, seating is covered in printed velvets and leathers with marble, brass and high gloss timbers adorn the room. The flamboyance of feathers in flapper outfits and the traditional gentleman’s pocket inspires the design of the Dandy Bar.

A London hotspot bar

Image credit: Iconic Luxury Hotels

Flavours of whimsy yet practicality make its way through the Townhouse’s individually designed guest rooms and suites. From the functional Classic Rooms, to the indoor-outdoor living themed Garden Suites, to the Dandy muse ‘Penthouse Suites’ – every corner of each room is thoughtfully designed and appeals to what the discerning modern traveller is seeking today.

Super luxurious guestroom/suite

Image credit: Iconic Luxury Hotels

Expect to find the highest quality linens and robes, superb bathrooms, luxury mattresses, his-or-her toiletries, good lighting and intelligent use of space. Little touches reflecting the hotel’s quick-witted personality include minibar contents from local artisans, flamboyant spare socks, takeaway mints and in-room cocktail kits using the dandy’s ingredient of absinthe.

A very plush yet minimalist bathroom

Image credit: Iconic Luxury Hotels

With no traditional restaurant at The Mayfair Townhouse, you’re invited to the Lower Ground floor – a vibrant space located downstairs off the entrance lobby. Appealing to the modern nomad traveller, this is a place to work, explore and connect with the personalities of the time, and enjoy breakfast. Take in the whimsical characters on the walls as you enjoy this convivial Library-esque space. Beyond the walls lies a further dining room, which instils a feeling that it belongs to the residence’s owner. Your own private versatile oasis which can be used for private dining, or a ‘meeting of the minds’ gathering place.

From Autumn onwards, The Mayfair Townhouse is where you’ll find both luxury and the joy of the unexpected. Guests come for the exceptional service and inspiring atmosphere and leave with a renewed confidence that choosing personality over conformity is always worth it.

Main image credit: Iconic Luxury Hotels

Is this the most isolated hotel in Sweden?

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Is this the most isolated hotel in Sweden?

Pater Noster, described as a ‘home on the horizon’, is an unedited destination in Sweden where no hotel designer has dared to design – until now, that is. Editor Hamish Kilburn explores how a team of entrepreneurs, hoteliers, restaurateurs, designers and professional sailors have given this island a new purpose…

In the outpost of the archipelago that form the Pater Noster islands – one of Sweden’s most windblown, barren and exposed places – you will find an unlikely hotel experience that rises from the point where two straits (The Skagerack and Kattegatt) meet.

It is marked by a lighthouse; a masterpiece that gave hope and guided seafarers safely for more than a century. Adjacent to it, the keepers and their families built their home, a small-scale community on an island dictated by the elements that had always been perceived as uninhabitable. Until now, that is.

A dramatic view capturing the lighthouse and houses surrounding them

Image credit: Pater Noster

A team of Swedish entrepreneurs, hoteliers, restaurateurs, designers and professional sailors have breathed new life into the lighthouse master’s old home, creating nine design-led guestrooms, accommodating up to 18 guests.

Entrance to the building

Image credit: Pater Noster

Award-winning design agency Stylt, which has completed projects such as Stora Hotellet and HUUS Hotel, in Gstaad, was responsible for the concept and interior design. “During my 30 years within the hospitality business, I have rarely come across such a unique destination”, says Stylt’s founder and partner in the lighthouse project Erik Nissen Johansen. “It’s all there – the remote location, the fantastic nature, the extreme weather conditions, the thrilling history – and soon, great hospitality with a dash of roughness and low-key luxury.”

With the project being so isolated in the middle of the sea, logistics were perhaps the main challenge. “The extra layer of freight combined with heavy winds made things interesting,” Nissen explains. “We had an incident when our new DUX beds arrived at the dock. It was a rough sea and we lost a large box in the water. It quickly disappeared, and all the legs to 24 beds were drifting towardsDenmark. Luckily, we managed to catch all of them with our smaller boats, but they will probably rust faster than normal.”

The interior design has completely been inspired by the destination, even down to the fruit bowl that is a repurposed piece of driftwood that washed up on the shores as the work was being completed. “When we were completing building the large dining table, a piece of driftwood just floated ashore,” Nissen tells Hotel Designs. “It was as if the island wanted to help.” The washed-up item was upcycled into a fruit bowl that now rests on a large dining table that was so large it had to be manufactured inside the property.

Image credit: Pater Noster

The artwork in the dining hall, shot by underwater photographer Christy Lee Rogers, hangs in a respectful bow to the hundreds of shipwrecks that surround the island. The photographic works together push the possibilities of movement, colour and light.

“This is a home, not a hotel, filled with history.” – Mirja Lilja Hagsjö, Chief of Operations at Pater Noster.

Ship and artwork in hallway

Image credit: Pater Noster

The entire site, which is only about 250 metres long and 120 metres wide, includes a restaurant, a bar and outdoor café. “The spirit of the old lighthouse master is all over the place” explains chief of operations Mirja Lilja Hagsjö. “This is a home, not a hotel, filled with history.”

Pater Noster is an apt example how to meet the new demands within the world of hospitality, offering genuine guest experiences with a strong cultural heritage. Depending on the weather, the island is reached by boat or helicopter. It’s perfect for smaller groups looking for a one-off experience, hosting meetings and private parties as well as a range of activities such as deep-sea fishing, sailing, kayaking, scuba diving and visiting the legendary lighthouse itself.

The property is the result of like-minded people, all of whom have different crafts and skills, coming together with a common aim: to put the island on the travel bucket list of all modern travellers and explorers. These individuals behind the project are entrepreneur Olle Langenius, Mirja Lilja Hagsjö (Chief of Operations), Zana ”Sassa” Usorac – (F&B), Frida Langenius och Carl Sylvan – transportation and sea adventures and Erik and Elisabeth Nissen Johansen (design and concept).

Throughout August, Hotel Designs is exploring inspirational hotel concepts from around the world. If you would like to be included in this editorial series, please tweet @HotelDesigns.

Main image credit: Pater Noster

RPW Design unveils next stage of Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
RPW Design unveils next stage of Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire

As well as being responsible for designing the guestrooms inside Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire, which we are expecting to get a mock-up at the end of August, RPW Design has revealed the renovation of the hotel’s conference and banqueting space…

The refreshed interiors of the Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire’s meeting and event spaces seamlessly breathe fresh life into the historical Georgian property.

In order to appeal to both the social and business clientele at the Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire, RPW Design has artistically designed different identities for each of the conference and banqueting rooms. These offer guests a more varied collection of options to fulfil their individual requirements.  To ensure the hotel remains quintessentially British, RPW Design chose to specifically work with British manufacturers and suppliers.

“We are delighted to unveil the results of the collaboration between The Four Seasons Hampshire team and RPW Design,” says Elizabeth Lane, Partner at RPW Design. True to our convictions as a firm, the results are testament to our ability delivering designs that will stand the test of time.”

Image credit: RPW Design/Four Seasons Hampshire

Four Seasons Ballroom 

Intended to be both adaptable and flexible the Four Seasons Ballroom, the largest room in the renovation, focuses on neutral colours to complement the natural light that brightens the room. In order to create a stylish aesthetic and reconnect with the property’s magnificent architecture and picturesque countryside location, RPW Design has chosen sophisticated furnishings and light fittings to complement the soft tonal colour scheme of the overall refurbishment. By choosing neutral tones the design lends itself to personalisation of the space for a variety of clients’ needs.

Image credit: RPW Design/Four Seasons Hampshire

Circulation Area 

The design of the circulation area showcases RPW Design’s distinctive flair with a marvellous ceiling installation by Haberdashery, composed of 1,100 floating bone china leaves in natural white with 14 carat gold finishes. This spectacular yet organic display emphasises the central visual axis and circulation, welcoming guests into the Mandeville Ballroom.

Image credit: RPW Design/Four Seasons Hampshire

Mandeville Ballroom, Beckington Room and Bathurst Room

In order to create a sense of intrigue whilst maintaining a very classic design throughout, RPW Design has carefully chosen contemporary crystal chandeliers for the Mandeville Ballroom, Beckington Room and Bathurst Room by Vaughan and Dernier & Hamlyn. Within these rooms, classic soft blues and greys complement the neutral shades, providing an elegant contrast and breathing fresh life into the space.

Shrewsbury Room 

RPW Design has not only modernised the hotel’s spaces but reconnected it with the area’s rich history. Drawing inspiration from the surrounding Dogmersfield Park, RPW Designs has collaborated with Scottish fabric artisans Timorous Beasties to develop a beautiful bespoke chocolate-coloured velvet with gold printed bird motif upholstery for all four walls of the Shrewsbury room. This gives the room warmth and a luxurious feel, coupled with the unique carpet design which incorporates oak leaf canopies. Styled in this way, the Shrewsbury Room can now act as a multi-functional space lending itself to be a ‘mini cinema’, a meeting room or simply a lounge.

Main image credit: RPW Design/Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts

Inside Bermonds Locke – an alternative hotel experience

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Inside Bermonds Locke – an alternative hotel experience

Ahead of speaking at Hotel Designs LIVE in October, Lifestyle hospitality brand Locke will open its third London property this September. Before then, Hotel Designs has managed to get a behind-the-scenes glance at the interiors inside Bermonds Locke

Designed to be lived in, and offering an alternative to traditional hotels in the post-pandemic world, each individual studio apartment inside Bermonds Locke is equipped with fully fitted kitchens and modern living space.

Combined with activated public spaces and a locally-led cultural programme, Bermonds Locke will simultaneously allow guests to enjoy the benefits of a lifestyle hotel. The flexibility of the home-meets-hotel format appeals to a broad range of travellers across the leisure and business markets, for both extended and short stays. As the demands of contemporary travellers rapidly change, Locke’s burgeoning success and European expansion plans put it at the centre of the future of travel.

“We are delighted to open our third property in London with Bermonds Locke,” said Stephen McCall, CEO of edyn. “Locke aims to liberate guests from the confines of a typical hotel room by creating beautiful apartments that are designed to be lived in. The type of guest we’re accommodating wants to explore life as a local, and so the Bermondsey neighbourhood has played a significant role in defining the aesthetic, partners and programming.”

“Concrete testing cubes destined for landfill find new purpose serving as a plinth for a six-metre long terrazzo tables in the ground floor workspaces.”

Image credit: Locke

Bermonds Locke marks the first collaboration for the brand with London-based interior architecture studio Holloway Li. Paying homage to nature’s wonder in both aesthetic and eco-responsibility, Holloway Li have created a living experience out of re-purposed construction materials in both the public areas and private apartments. Concrete testing cubes destined for landfill find new purpose serving as a plinth for a six-metre long terrazzo tables in the ground floor workspaces; whilst in the rooms bespoke bed frames woven out of blackened rebar are accented with linen canopies to infuse old ideas of the concrete jungle with a new sense of sanctuary.

“We are really excited to be partnering with Locke to pave a new design direction for the brand’s home-meets-hotel concept,” explained Alex Holloway and Na Li, Co-Founders Holloway Li. “By challenging the purpose of materials, we hope to highlight how a circular material economy can generate an incredibly unique aesthetic and a new kind of living experience – doing more, with less.”

Image credit: Locke

Bringing the changing gradient of the desert sunset to south London, Locke’s signature studios on the upper floors will be dipped in blue, beige and grey hues and saturated vibrant pinks on the lower floors. Responding to a narrative and concept developed by Heather Tierney from Wanderlust (the visionary behind cult US restaurant The Butcher’s Daughter), Bermonds Locke evokes the Southern California cool of Joshua Tree, the Mojave Dessert and Abbott Kinney – a culture and food destination comparable to Bermondsey Street.

Rendering of bar with lots of plants around it

Image credit: Locke

Situated within walking distance of some of London’s favourite spots, guests can enjoy the energetic Bermondsey Street – home to some of the best bars, restaurants and art galleries in London. To the north of the property, guests can meander through the cobbled streets of Shad Thames and Maltby Street Market– the smaller, slightly more charming younger sister of Borough Market. As with all Locke properties, Bermonds Locke comes fully staffed by a team of House Hosts, offering excellent insight to ensure both long and short-term visitors have access to the best local knowledge and insider tips.

The opening of Bermonds Locke comes as the brand continues to expand both within the UK and internationally. With further openings planned in Dublin, Berlin, Lisbon, Munich and Copenhagen, Locke is also slated to open its fourth London outpost in Dalston in late 2020.

Main image credit: Locke/Nicholas Worley

TREND ALERT: 2020 outdoor/interior design styles

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
TREND ALERT: 2020 outdoor/interior design styles

Whether you are designing for a small patio, a city-sized rooftop area or a large piece of land, each outdoor living trend can be adapted to suit any interior/exterior style, writes Paisley Hansen…

Following on from predicting 2020 interior trends at the backend of last year, here are some ideas that will help designers and architects maximise their outdoor space in style.

Biophilic design

For years, the biophilic design ‘trend’ or ‘movement’ has been gaining in popularity. It began as a concept for commercial properties to bring nature indoors and has been expressed in the form of living walls and communal green spaces.

According to Stephen R. Kellert at Metropolis Magazine: “Biophilic design focuses on those aspects of the natural world that have contributed to human health and productivity in the age-old struggle to be fit and survive.” It is not enough to simply be outdoors; a purposeful design for an outdoor living space should complement and connect you to your outdoor space.

Hardscaping

The man-made features used in outdoor spaces are the basis for landscape design and generally are installed first. These include paths, walls, and patios. If you are not working with a professional landscape designer, it is wise to sketch your intended design and play with ideas on paper before you rent a bobcat.

Currently geometric designs for garden beds and patios are popular, however a curvilinear design is timeless. The style of your home will help you determine the design for your outdoor spaces.

Plant materials

It is wise to plan your garden on paper also, rather than plant, dig up and plant again. Make use of your public library, horticulture sites and the agriculture department of universities in your plant zone to compile lists of trees, shrubs and flowers that will grow in your area. Merely loving tulips will not make them grow well if you live in southern Texas. The biggest trend in plantings over the last decade is the installation of plants that are native to a climate instead of fighting to keep a plant alive in an inappropriate zone. Not only does this end up saving money it also discourages nuisance plants–especially those that become invasive.

More plant trends

Choosing a type of garden previously meant flowers or vegetables, but this has changed significantly in the last decade. Combination gardens are easy to grow and the variety of flowers, herbs and veggies that are available to home gardeners will help you create a beautiful garden for all your needs. Match plants according to the amount of sunlight and water for companion planting.

Furnishing outdoor space

The current trend in outdoor furniture is the use of natural materials like rattan, wood, or wood-like, along with wicker elements – just look at Minotti’s new 2020 collection.

Lifestyle shot featuring Minotti sofas outside

Image credit: Minotti

Styles range from mid-century modern and classic coastal to contemporary. The perennial favourite in outdoor furniture is the porch swing. The nostalgia associated with a big porch, a wooden swing and a warm summer night is classically American. With fewer front porches these days many people are finding alternatives to the hanging porch swing.

Furniture designs

Adirondack chairs have been fashionable for centuries and the style is popular even today, though many current pieces are brightly painted for a fresh new look. Egg chairs and barrel chairs are trending right now as is flexible outdoor seating. Furniture that can be moved around the yard for various occasions allows you to invest in a few quality pieces rather than buying furniture for every spot in the garden. When creating a fashionable outdoor area, choose what appeals to you. If an all-white garden gives you a sense of peace and harmony that should be your goal to create. For others, a riotous mix of colours may be your happy place.

Additional trends

The trends in lighting are currently focused on overhead string lights hung in outdoor-café style. Lights can also be strung on the perimeter of your space to give more definition to the area. Up-lighting beneath a specimen tree or shrub will highlight the structure of the special plant or vignette of plants. Fire features run the gamut from huge stone fire pits to small, gas-fuelled tabletop models. Water features are also available in a multitude of sizes and shapes.s

Current trends in outdoor design can be specific to a style or be an eclectic mix of styles. The most important part of outdoor design is making it fit your lifestyle.

Main image credit: Taylor Simpson/Unsplash